• The new DMU....what do you thik?

  • Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.
Discussion about RDC's, "doodlebugs," gas-electrics, etc.
  by Raakone
Colorado's DMU is now being experimented with in Florida.

What do you think?
Any opinions on the new DMU?
I say it's about time......look at Europe, they have really advanced DMUs.....over here refurbished RDCs, are the only thing available, as good as they are (although VRE would quickly disagree)

  by Hostler
They had the DMU in New Jersey last fall, they made a stop in Hackensack. I took a good look at her, especially underneath. I got to talk with some of the engineers (not the RR kind) that made the trip. They claim the studied the Budd SPV-2000 for it pluses and many faults. They are use available standard Diesels, nothing special. The transmissions are the same as used on European DMU's, so those are also proven reliable units. The trucks only have one powered axle each, the inboard ones. They claim the powered unit can haul one trailer. One interesting thing is that there is only one unit and it is a single ended cab, the other end has a door. The electronics used to control everything is home built. They tested the unit at the Railroad test facility at Pueblo. The design has been approved for use on freight lines. The prototype that they displayed is designed to show off many possible seating arrangement, seat types, interior designs and window types. It is interesting that they didn't construct a cab trailer so that they can run it in either direction. It is a design that is being seriously considered here in Bergen County NJ as a less expensive way to reactive passenger service on light service freight rail lines. Some proposals have looked at expanding the Hudson--Bergen light rail, but this would be very expensive.

  by MickD
Has there been anymore news about the cross county proposal??I'm a former BC resident transplanted to Cape Cod.

  by Xplorer2000
The Colorado DMU HAD originally been slated for testing by the MBTA,in May of either '02 or '03, but that was apparently cancelled at the behest of Mitt and his minions. Too bad, because it seems like a perfect fit for lines like the Fairmount ot the Greenbush, or even the much touted "Urban Ring", for which the "T" apparently still wants to pursue the fantasy of "Bus Rapid Transit". Now , however, our Governor is suddenly taking a "pro-rail"stance, so all may yet not be lost....

  by MickD
I agree with you Xplorer about DMU's on Fairmount&Greenbush.I felt when it was first suggested for those projects it was a good fit.Particuarly on the Fairmount.
When a shuttle was suggested from Hyannis to Middleboro I thought these might be very workable.Too bad that's not gonna happen.The Fairmount should be on the front burner with the T.
  by Hostler
Only a few weeks ago I read about that they are possibly going the DMU route rather than electrifiying the Northern RR line up to Tenafly. This would have allowed the HBLR to end there. Problem is that this is an active light freight line, only serving customers on the line. The cost of going LRV would be much higher that a shuttle arrangement using the DMU's. The cross county plan over the Susquehanna is still an option. They are just finishing the new NYS&W overpass on River St in Hackensack to increase clearance for truck traffic plus widen the road as well. Also with the plans coming into place to build the long awaited spur the the Meadowlands complex, and the future Xanadu, there is more interest for better mass transit. The Westshore is probably dead for passenger service as it is now only single tracked and is very busy with freight runs, about 1 an hour or more at times. Don't know why Conrail didn't keep it double tracked. The only hold-up is funding and where to start. The HBLR is slated to start to run the new section with a year, maybe sooner. The only problem is funding to build a few DMU's and start running them and see how they hold up. Remember we are dealing with a new Prototype and like any new idea it needs to be run to get the kinks out.
  by Franklin Gowen
I am optimistic that this new Colorado DMU design might someday lead to a couple dozen of them on SEPTA in Pennsylvania. They sound fairly well-suited for a future return to ex-SEPTA destinations such as Reading, Newtown, and Quakertown & Bethlehem.

The one flaw I can see thus far is that only half of the axles are powered. As there is disagreement in Philly about whether diesel service can go thru our center-city tunnel, one plan involves towing an (existing SEPTA) electric MU coach behind a DMU car. Use the EMU's electric traction power via pantograph while in the tunnel; use the DMU's prime mover outside. If this DMU design can haul one of our Silverliner electric MUs up a 2% grade at 50MPH, then there's hope for that local plan. We would likely pair them on a 1-to-1 basis.

Otherwise, we're looking at either having to terminate future diesel services at Amtrak's 30th St. Station, or at SEPTA's Wayne Jct. or Temple Univ. stations. Psgrs would have to transfer in order to reach the major center city stations, which would hurt ridership estimates. I'd really prefer that the Colorado DMU *work*, so we won't have to locally re-invent the wheel...

  by EDM5970
I have a design, using conventional equipment, that could solve the "diesel in the tunnel" problem. It would allow one-seat service all over the system. How do I sell SEPTA on a demonstration project? I can't even find decent phone numbers or email addresses on their site; I'm not interested in buying tickets.

  by Otto Vondrak
Is the Colorado DMU better than the good old reliable Budd RDC? I mean, those things seem indestructable... and proven to be "FRA compliant" even with today's railroading conditions.

  by Hostler
As far a I know the Colorado DMU has only been tested as far as getting its Federal rating to run on freight trackage. I don't know of it actually being run anywhere in everyday service, so it is an unknown entity. You would think that if there was interest in DMU's here in the U.S. that a European manufactuer would have considered trying to test run a set here. Areas of Europe, especially Germany, have seasonal conditions similiar to the Northeast so equipment there has been proven reliable. Remember decades ago when Amtrak tried different European locomotives and found that the 'Swedish Meatball' seemed to be what they needed, the rest is history. The closest to any DMU running on freight line trackage is the NJ RiverLINE. Those are diesel powered units and only time will tell if they are up to the long haul. Budd built a legacy in the RDC's and they were unable to repeat it in the SPV's. It appears there is interest, but no real takers as yet.



  by Raakone
Hostler, Tri-Rail is now trying a couple of Colorado DMUs. They're doing normal runs for 48-49 years (some downtime this year for maintenance and inspections)


  by Hostler
Raakone, unless I'm mistaken, the Colorado DMU were built in the last few years. You mentioned something about 48 - 49 years. It would take at least a couple of years to test the Colorado units to debug them and see how they hold up in every day service. The NJ RiverLINE is also brand new and we have yet to see how those units will fare. I think until any these DMU's are proven out over 2-3 years of service, it's unlikely we'll see many projects starting up soon. I don't think anyone wants to be the experimental test bed and spend millions and take a chance of failure. The Budd SPV's are a good example.
  by Raakone
I feel really stupid...I meant to say they'd be running 48-49 weeks out of the year....keeping a couple set aside for maintenance!


  by EDM5970
I like it; I rode the PJ&B twice Thursday, and the car seemed to do real well. Of course the commuter version would not have the big windows, be double ended, and not have the fancy seats and kitchenette. That was just for the demo, to show the car's versatility. (It was built for sightseeing service in Alaska, and the deal fell through.)

What I didn't like was the price, 2.9 million a copy. Read on this forum (I believe) about the rebuilt RDCs. Set up for commuter service, you could have maybe three or four for the same price, depending on the exchange rate, and how you want them equipped.

Or, what about taking Colorado's power train and genset, and putting it under a pair of push-pull cab cars, back to back. I think that also may come out cheaper.

Still, a neat piece of equipment, and I wish them well with it.

  by RK
Hi there, :)

Colorado Rail built the DMU without any orders on hand. The Alaska Railroad helped with the engine and tranmission setup, I heard. The ARR never ordered any, but did test it up here in Alaska. The ARR board hasn't made up their mind if they want any yet. The ARR likes the DMU. The ARR rebuilt their 4 RDCs a few years ago and expect them to run for many years. The ARR just bought 8 new SD70MACs rated at 4,300 HP and they are equipt with HEP. The first HEP SD70MACs built and probably the only ones to be built. I don't expect any DMUs running around up here soon. The ARR has out for bid for 2 double decker coaches. I expect they will come from Colorado Rail and will probably look like the new Holland Grayline coaches, that Colorado Rail built.