New Equipment for a Modern System

North Carolina’s Department of Transportation is using funds from the Recovery Act to buy and refurbish two locomotives for daily Piedmont passenger rail service. Delaware is purchasing four rail cars as part of a 120-car order by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. The cars are being constructed by United Transit Systems, located in south Philadelphia. Delivery of these cars is expected in December 2011.

Standardized Rail Cars Will Create New Incentives for American Industry While Reducing Costs for States and Taxpayers

The first specifications for bi-level coach, dining, baggage, and business class rail cars to be constructed under the High-Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program were approved in August 2010. Rail cars that can be used by all the states will reduce costs while increasing the efficiency of procurement and manufacturing. Standard specifications are also expected to enable states to pool their equipment purchases and generate more demand for manufacturers.

The Next Generation Equipment Committee was established by Congress to “design, develop specifications for, and procure standardized next-generation corridor rail equipment.” Any state using federal funds for its high-speed and intercity passenger rail program must use equipment that meets these specifications. Members of the Executive Board include 11 state departments of transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration, and Amtrak. AASHTO acts as the secretariat for the Committee on behalf of the state DOTs. Efforts are currently underway to finalize specifications for a single-level car and diesel locomotive, which are expected to be approved in February 2011.

"The Committee’s work is critical to creating a pipeline of passenger rail equipment that will be needed over the coming decades. By providing a generic specification for rail equipment, the Committee is creating a strong incentive for the expansion of the U.S. rail equipment manufacturing industry.” —Committee Chairman Bill Bronte, Rail Director, California Department of Transportation