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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

'Next-Gen' equipment committee signs off on locomotive standards


Yesterday, the Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee’s executive board announced it approved new specifications for diesel-electric locomotives.

Created under the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, the committee is charged with developing new rolling stock standards that will make it easier, faster and cheaper to build and purchase rail cars and other equipment for the United States’ emerging high-speed and intercity passenger-rail program. The committee comprises representatives from state departments of transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak, and rail equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

“Rail cars and locomotives that can be used by all the states will reduce costs while increasing the efficiency of procurement and manufacturing,” said Bill Bronte, who serves as the committee’s chairman and rail director for the California Department of Transportation, in a prepared statement. “Standard specs will also enable states to pool their equipment purchases and therefore generate more demand for manufacturers. This is fundamental to building and sustaining our own American-based manufacturing capability for passenger rail, and will generate investment and create jobs here in the U.S.”

Any state using federal funds for its passenger-rail program must use equipment that meets the committee’s specifications. Amtrak plans to use the standard specs where applicable to purchase new cars or locomotives for its national intercity passenger-rail system, as well.

In February, the committee approved specs for single-level, stand-alone passenger cars. In August 2010, the committee approved standards for bi-level coach, dining, baggage and business class rail cars.

To view the specifications, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/17/2011