AgentSkelly wrote:though it wouldn't surprise me if TriMet is going to invest in second hand equipment just as a backup. Might explain why there is a bunch of ex-Golden Pacific Railroad cars in Milwaukee randomly.
I spoke with TriMet's Commuter Rail Project Manager (before he retired from TriMet) - TriMet initially considered buying the Budd RDCs that ODOT owned (for the Lewis & Clark Explorer Train) but declined because it would cost too much to rebuild them and reliability would still be questionable. I was told that TriMet talked to the Trinity Railway Express folks which helped steer TriMet to their determination. (However TRE still runs Budd RDCs in daily service...?
The ODOT DMUs are now in Eastern Oregon. POTB owns two RDCs but only one is partially operable (only one functioning engine) and both are not in any condition to be put into semi-daily service. There are two ex-B&M/MBTA RDC-9s in Tigard owned by the Pacific Northwest Chapter NRHS but they lack cab controls and the engines (one per car, whereas a normal RDC has two per car) are non-functional.
The GPRR cars have nothing to do with TriMet; they were used on the steam engine excursions out of Tacoma. I don't believe they would meet any current regulations regarding non-tourist rail equipment, but if they could be made to work it would be interesting to see them in service. The problem with Beaverton-Wilsonville is that the line is literally built specifically for the DMUs (the station platforms). First of all, the station platforms are way too high for the bi-level door levels that are designed for low-level platforms. Secondly, the platforms are designed for a two car DMU train; at Tualatin, Tigard and Washington Square there would be a grade crossing/signal block conflict if two GPRR bi-levels had to be hauled by a locomotive.
However I do agree that TriMet will have some serious explaning to do should there be a major problem with the CRC cars that would put them out of service. RDCs would have to be found (probably from Trinity Railway Express, or VIA Rail) because there just isn't any other compatible equipment that exists in North America. It would make no sense to operate trains of a single locomotive and a single passenger car (assuming that TriMet could operate the DMUs in non-motored mode, or use the single trailer coach). TriMet couldn't run a longer train if it wanted to without building out each station platform; and that will be impossible to do at Beaverton TC (without building the track/platform on a bridge over Beaverton Creek) and Tualatin (it would involve encroaching on the front lawn of a historical house that is still used as a residence) - TriMet is having to go to GREAT lengths to satisfy the owners of that home, including building them a brand new driveway through the parking lot of the park-and-ride, and massive landscaping.