Federal Railroad Administration Awards $4.9 Million To Florida DOT for Self-Propelled Passenger Rail Car Demonstration
Thursday, October 14, 2004 (Washington, DC) A demonstration project of self-propelled passenger rail cars between Miami and West Palm Beach will continue with a $4.9 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to the Florida Department of Transportation and the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority.
The technology represents the next generation of what is known as Diesel Multiple Units (DMU). Rather than being powered by a separate locomotive, a DMU uses more fuel-efficient diesel truck-sized engines located in the same rail car as the cab compartment and passenger seating.
“We are very excited about the potential of this new technology to lower fuel consumption and costs compared to locomotive hauled passenger rail cars,” stated Acting FRA Administrator Betty Monro. “We are committed to advancing new technologies to improve the safety, efficiency and environmental benefits of passenger rail transportation in America.”
Testing has demonstrated that in a typical commuter round trip of 60 miles, a DMU will use only one-half gallon of fuel per mile while a locomotive will consume two to three gallons per mile. In addition, a DMU generates less noise and produces fewer emissions than a locomotive.
The grant provides funds to purchase a new train set that will be added to the one currently being tested. It also will evaluate of the use of DMU equipment in regularly scheduled revenue service, document compliance with FRA passenger rail equipment safety standards, and assess its service reliability and maintainability of the equipment.
Florida DOT is matching the federal funds dollar for dollar. The demonstration project is scheduled to continue for 24 months.