• Colorado Railcar DMU Status

  • Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.
Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.
  by DutchRailnut
The cars can not be operated from Back end, the car only has one operating station.
  by wigwagfan
DutchRailnut wrote:The cars can not be operated from Back end, the car only has one operating station.
Are you sure? My understanding, from TriMet, is that they do have a cab in the rear of the car.

Further, the TriMet schedule requires three trains in operation. There are only four cars (one of which is a trailer coach), and no turning facilities anywhere along the route (unless you count going from Tigard Yard, on the P&W Tillamook District about a mile or so to Cook, wye, return to Tigard...) So there has to be a cab in the rear of the car.
  by DutchRailnut
By 3 trains they may not neccesary mean 3 different train sets, it could be same train set making two round trips with other set doing middle trip.
  by wigwagfan
DutchRailnut wrote:By 3 trains they may not neccesary mean 3 different train sets, it could be same train set making two round trips with other set doing middle trip.
Here's a link to the schedule.

As an example, the first train leaves Wilsonville at 5:20 AM (a single-track terminus station) and arrives at Beaverton (a single-track terminus station) at 5:47 AM, a total of 27 minutes. But the train doesn't leave Beaverton until 5:57 AM, ten minutes later. It then arrives back at Wilsonville at 6:24 AM, a total of 64 minutes duration.

The second train leaves Wilsonville precisely thirty minutes later at 5:50 AM, arriving Beaverton at 6:17 AM, leaving at 6:27 AM, arriving back in Wilsonville at 6:54 AM.. Meanwhile, a third train has left Wilsonville at 6:20 AM, four minutes prior to the arrival of the first train which won't leave again until 6:50 AM - again, four minutes prior to the arrival of the second train.

So, TriMet's schedule requires no fewer than three cars to operate the schedule. Based on the schedule of eight trips in each direction, two of the cars makes three round trips, and one car makes two round trips.
  by mtuandrew
Quoted from GrandLuxe aka American Orient Express:
DutchRailnut wrote:no mention of their demise on their website:
It makes me wonder how Colorado Railcar is doing, they are parent company of Grand Luxe as I recall.
Their website is down to minimum info, no big bragging stories of DMU anymore Etc.
The Colorado Railcar website is almost unbelievably amateurish by now, and certainly doesn't exude confidence in their products. Now, the $64,000 question is whether it's holding the place for a new de-Raderized website, or for a website marked "this site for sale".
  by mxdata
Has anyone ever seen any kind of a report published on the CRC DMU that burned at Pueblo? Seems very strange that an incident like that, during testing at a public funded facility, would hardly get any mention at all, particularly since there is an obvious safety issue involved.

  by wigwagfan
mxdata wrote:Has anyone ever seen any kind of a report published on the CRC DMU that burned at Pueblo? Seems very strange that an incident like that, during testing at a public funded facility, would hardly get any mention at all, particularly since there is an obvious safety issue involved.
All I've heard is that it was some type of a "refueling accident".

My guess is that given the type of operation and its location, a NTSB or FRA investigation was unnecessary as it was essentially on a private, non-regulated railroad, not in any type of revenue service, did not involve any injuries/fatalities.

I had thought that a new Aero DMU was built for SFRTA, but apparently they no longer have a single-level DMU vehicle.
  by mxdata
That in itself is very strange. We refuel several dozen locomotives a day where I work, and I cannot recall any time we had a fire happen while refueling. Makes you wonder if they had a design flaw where an overflowing fuel fill could spill onto a hot engine. This being a vehicle where the passengers are riding right over the fuel tanks I would think that they would want to get all the facts known, particularly if it was not CRC's fault.

  by DutchRailnut
Fueling locomotives vs a DMU has one big difference, on locomotive the source of heat is above fuel tank.
on a DMU the source of heat is next to fuel tank and any big spill will cause problems, be it a leak at engine or fueling the thing.
on a DMU the engines, compressor, airconditioning etc pluss nummerous fans are located under the car body, a fire really will get out of hand fast.
  by wigwagfan
http://www.oregonlive.com/news/argus/in ... xml&coll=6
The contractor for the trains on the WES line, which is slated to run from Beaverton to Wilsonville on Portland & Western tracks, has been "financially distressed," according to TriMet.
"When we got the third DMU, the last vehicle in September, our engineers looked at it and said (it) needs lot of work. We can't have it ready," Fetsch said.

Fetsch said the agency is paying more than the original value of the contract to get the trains in service.
http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/sto ... 2545219500
Since then TriMet has stepped in and spent about $3 million over the budgeted amount for the railcars in order to ensure that the cars would be completed.

According to TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch, TriMet was going through CRM’s financial records in January when officials realized the railcar company was not paying its suppliers.

TriMet stepped in and began paying suppliers directly and then sent TriMet staff to the manufacturing plant in Fort Lupton, Colo., to ensure that the DMUs were being constructed.
TriMet is paying for five engineers from CRM and an engineering consultant to oversee the final manufacturing of the DMU.
According to Fetsch, TriMet paid suppliers directly for railcar parts and took on overseeing the manufacturing to ensure that it would get the cars.
http://www.djcoregon.com/articleDetail. ... il-opening
The project was supposed to open this fall (Sept., actually, which everyone sort of forgot about), but now it won't open until Feb. 2. One of the reasons is because the company responsible for delivering the rail cars, Colorado Railcar Manufacturing, has been "financially distressed and six months behind schedule," according to TriMet.
  by mxdata
I wonder what happened to the guy from Miami who put up the glowing report about Colorado Railcar on the previous page of discussions? Is he still working for them or is he out of work now?

  by Otto Vondrak
You know, when Dallas was looking for DMUs, they did the right thing and put some proven technology to work: fully rebuilt and reconditioned Budd RDC's!!

What was Colorado Railcar's original claim to fame? They could turn SP gallery cars into double-deck luxury coaches? Sounds like a solid business plan.

  by westr
The Portland Oregonian has an extensive story on Tri-met's dealings with Colorado Railcar for the DMUs for the Westside Express. It shows how precarious Colorado Railcar is and how much Tri-Met has put into it to keep the company going to get its DMUs. See http://www.oregonlive.com/special/index ... rimet.html There's also some details about what killed the "Marlboro Unlimited" train in the 1990s that I'd never heard.
  by Otto Vondrak
Good reading!

http://www.oregonlive.com/special/index ... rimet.html
An internal memo dated Feb. 23, 2005, from TriMet warning there was “some level of risk” in doing business with Colorado Railcar Manufacturing. By late 2007, TriMet was worried enough about Colorado Rail’s financial situation the agency hired Conrad Myers, a Portland forensic accountant, to investigate the company’s finances. His reports painted a picture of a company fast running out of cash.
The Marlboro Unlimited Debacle:
Tom Rader’s track record

Details about Tom Rader’s troubles running two other projects are chronicled in publicly available documents — Philip Morris documents posted online and court and securities filings related to Rader’s problems with a Florida company. TriMet officials said they knew of Rader’s past and it was not a “major concern.”

The Philip Morris debacle

Rattlesnake salad, lobster bisque and buffalo chili were on the lunch menu in 1995 as Rader hosted his customers from Philip Morris, the cigarette company. Rader was a gifted salesman, and Philip Morris the year before handed his company, Rader Railcar Inc., a $28 million contract to build one of the most luxurious trains to ride the American rails. Within months of that high-toned lunch, Philip Morris was suffering financial indigestion from its dealings with Rader. The project was behind schedule and costs were mounting by the millions.

Time after time, Philip Morris executives trekked to Colorado to investigate the problems. They described in reports their concerns with the lack of controls, inadequate engineering and ever-escalating costs. The company finally forced Rader to hire an outside project monitor. It wasn’t enough, as a brutally frank internal memo reported a year later. Rader and his executives “don’t know how to supervise people; results in much of rework; engineering also stinks,” the memo said.

Evaluating manufacturing flaws, another tobacco executive wrote of Rader’s operation that there was a “fine line between stupidity and dishonesty and I think we’re right on it.” By the spring of 1997, the $28 million train had become a $70 million train, and costs continued to mount. Philip Morris finally stopped the project, ordering Rader to cut the unfinished train into scrap.

Call it Debacle II

As the Philip Morris deal unraveled, Rader had other problems. He had set up a second company called Rader Railcar II. This business took over work unrelated to the Philip Morris project, including a $10 million contract with a Florida company. The contract was with First American Railways, a company Rader helped found. The company went public, raising millions to buy Rader’s train cars. Work quickly fell behind schedule.

“He ran out of money,” said Ray Monteleone, former president of First American Railways. “We had to feed him hand-to-mouth.” Monteleone sent officials to Colorado to monitor the books and help manage affairs. “We had to run his company to get those cars delivered,” Monteleone said. It wasn’t enough. The company reported to shareholders that Rader Railcar II missed one schedule and then an amended one for delivery of the cars.

Rader Railcar II still owed Florida three cars when it announced in November 1997 that it was shutting down. The firm blamed tardy payments from the Florida operation. That was news to First American, which fired back that not only had Rader Railcar II been paid on time, it had received advance payments as well. In 1998, First American Railways went bankrupt, blaming the late delivery of the cars for slow business.
— Les Zaitz
  by mxdata
Very interesting reading, thanks for posting those.

I notice that their website is now down to just one page, four pictures, with two e-mail links. All the formerly posted information about the product line, the links to the brochures, and the listings of company personnel, seem to have been taken down.

The agencies that are operating their products should have an interesting time seeking parts and technical support over the remaining operating life of the vehicles. Maybe they can hire some of the "experts" that used to chant the worship of DMU's to show them the way. That is, if they can find them now. :wink:

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