Colorado Railcar DMU Status

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Colorado Railcar DMU Status

Postby NellieBly » Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:49 am

I don't know what became of the single-level demonstrator, which I rode on the Princeton "dinky" on NJT a couple of years back. But Tri-Rail has got two three-unit sets of double-deck DMUs in service (motor-trailer-motor). These are true double-deck cars built by Colorado Rail Car.

I rode one of the DMU sets in Florida last month. The end (motored) cars have entrances with internal steps and sliding doors, much like the Chicago gallery cars, but the interior has two full-width decks a bit like Superliners, with two stairways, one on either side of the center door.

The trailer has a low floor in the center of the car. I didn't ride in it, so I don't know if it has a "split level" arrangement similar to the Bombardier cars. I think maybe it does, but with an even lower floor.

Florida is apparently considering the Colorado DMUs for the planned Orlando commuter service.
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Postby Nasadowsk » Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:21 am

Supposedly, they delivered a few, and (big surprise), found a large, overweight DMU based mostly on 40's design attitudes, plus updated motors and transmissions, doesn't really work.

They get an A for effort, but an F for execution.
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Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Aug 12, 2007 1:01 pm

The single level DMU burned at Pueblo test center.
And Florida does not have a lot of succes with their DMU's, the trailers have been operated with the Locomotives for most part.
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In short, don't expect Amtrak to be operating any of them soon.

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Postby SimplySam » Sun Aug 12, 2007 1:45 pm

So have they given up on the stupid idea to use them on the Vermonter?
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Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Aug 12, 2007 2:58 pm

not yet but Amtrak is always willing to run the service if state buys equipment, my gut feeling is they turn into SPV's redux.
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Postby Suburban Station » Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:06 pm

SimplySam wrote:So have they given up on the stupid idea to use them on the Vermonter?

I always thought adding double track to Hartford would be a better idea. Then you could have limited CT stops (maybe New Haven and Hartford.
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Postby MudLake » Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:59 pm

DutchRailnut wrote:not yet but Amtrak is always willing to run the service if state buys equipment, my gut feeling is they turn into SPV's redux.

Oh, boy. I'm expecting a post by hsr_fan any time now.
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Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Aug 12, 2007 5:17 pm

While possibly I am guilty of drawing this discussion off topic, I did not see any sign of the CRC DMU equipment when I was "down below" (that was my Father's term when he was in Florida) last March.

But I'm pleased to note that apparently CRC found a buyer for their equipment.

Next stop; can they expect to be a contender for an order of A-III's?
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Postby Irish Chieftain » Sun Aug 12, 2007 7:42 pm

a large, overweight DMU
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Postby AgentSkelly » Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:14 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Next stop; can they expect to be a contender for an order of A-III's?


I think they could be engineering-wise but actually production-wise they would have to contract out to someone with the large facilities like Bombardier.
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Postby trainhq » Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:19 am

At this point, that would be the best that CRC could do;
sell out their frame and interior designs to Bombardier, and let them put in some better power units. That way,
they might actually get a DMU that works.
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Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon Aug 13, 2007 9:23 am

[moved to Self Propelled Railcars for expanded discussion on the Colorado DMU technology - omv]
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Postby wigwagfan » Tue Aug 14, 2007 12:15 am

trainhq wrote:At this point, that would be the best that CRC could do;
sell out their frame and interior designs to Bombardier, and let them put in some better power units. That way,
they might actually get a DMU that works.


One of the selling points of the CRC DMU is that the mechanical systems are derived from bus systems. TriMet (Portland, OR) made this a major buying point, as it can use its existing pool of bus mechanics with little additional training - the engines/transmissions are virtually the same as those on TriMet's bus fleet.

However, the railroad industry is littered with these ideas that sounded great on paper - but didn't fly in real life service. The Budd RDC wasn't exactly a success story (at least it wasn't a failure), nor was the SPV-2000 (a clear failure). And diesel locomotive repowering jobs generally haven't been successful (i.e. using Caterpillar engines).
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Postby trainhq » Tue Aug 14, 2007 7:38 am

In theory, the CRC units should have run well. The engines and transmissions were chosen for maximum reliability and repairability. In reality, it didn't quite work that way. The engines are not powerful enough to make them run effectively when towing other non-powered units. Also, they have broken down more than
expected.
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Postby wigwagfan » Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:45 am

I'm not looking forward to the arrival of the cars.

TriMet intentionally violated its own procurement rules by allowing only one bidder (Colorado Railcar) to bid on the cars, and failed to conduct due diligence by looking at other manufacturers.

At least TriMet did include a performance clause, and I believe that CRC has a three year absolute guarantee on the cars, in which CRC must buy the cars back after three years if TriMet decides to return them. However unlike Tri-Rail, the entire commuter rail line in Oregon is being built with two-car DMU sets (with high-level boarding) in mind; so if the AeroDMU turns out to be a flop, buying MPI engines and bi-level coaches just isn't an option without rebuilding every single station platform.
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