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Rail News: Passenger Rail

South Florida RTA to test DMUs


By 2004’s end, South Florida Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) plans to begin testing diesel multiple units (DMUs).

Florida Department of Transportation — which owns the authority’s corridor — received a $3.9 million Federal Railroad Administration grant to test the self-propelled vehicles, which are designed to be more fuel efficient than regular locomotives.

"The idea is to run a DMU in revenue service and look at performance indicators," says Jack Stephens, SFRTA deputy executive director. "People can tell you anything, but we want to look at all operating parameters and see what happens when you actually run it in a regular service environment."

Florida DOT and SFRTA currently are in negotiations with potential DMU manufacturers; depending on DMU availability, testing could begin by the end of December. Once the DMUs are tested, Florida DOT will determine if the vehicles will be purchased, says Stephens.

— Angela Claypool