This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

August 21, 2002

New Passenger Rail Car Promises Cost-Effective Transit

Colorado Railcar Manufacturing, LLC announced on August 15th that it is now producing a passenger rail car that includes a diesel engine and operates on existing freight train tracks. Called a DMU (diesel multiple unit) in railroad parlance, the new vehicle opens opportunities to create cost-effective rail commuter systems using existing rail lines. Because the unit is self-propelled, it offers low-traffic rail lines the possibility of running only one passenger car, but it can also tow multiple cars.

Colorado Railcar says the new rail car is the first and only DMU that meets all federal requirements and is the first such vehicle sold in 40 years. A single self-propelled rail car will seat 92 passengers and cost an estimated $2.9 million. See the Colorado Railcar Web site.

And transit authorities are already getting the word: a recent report from the Regional Transit Commission of Southern Nevada concluded that light rail service using DMUs on one of the transit routes would be require much lower capital investments than a bus rapid transit system that had been proposed. See the Executive Summary in the "Las Vegas Valley Transit System Development Plan," posted on the transit commission Web site.