August 12, 2013

FRA issues RFP for next-gen railcars

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) invited U.S. manufacturers to submit bids to produce high-performance, next-generation diesel-electric locomotives.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) to manufacture approximately 35 new diesel-electric locomotives in America comes from a groundbreaking multi-state effort to jointly purchase standardized rail equipment to be used on state corridor routes in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Iowa in the Midwest and Washington, California and Oregon on the West Coast.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is leading the multi-state locomotive procurement, with first deliveries expected in 2016. The FRA has allocated $808 million to manufacture the next generation of passenger rail equipment including the 35 new locomotives and 130 bi-level railcars.

The engines will be built to standardized technical specifications developed by the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) Section 305 Next Generation Corridor Equipment Pool Committee and will comply with the latest Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.

The new uniform standards will drive down costs and allow more manufacturers and suppliers to compete, fostering a healthy competition while re-establishing the U.S. domestic supply chain for passenger rail equipment.

The intent to purchase 35 new locomotives comes as intercity passenger rail ridership continues to post and exceed ridership records. Last year, Amtrak carried more than 31.2 million passengers, marking the highest annual ridership total since they started operations in 1971, and the ninth ridership record during the last 10 years.

The state corridor routes where these new locomotives will be deployed are among those services with the highest ridership growth.

Selection of the manufacturer will occur in early 2014. Delivery of the locomotives is planned for 2016. A copy of the RFP can be found here.

RELATED: "High-Speed Rail Reaches A Crossroads."

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