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Heavy rail cars likely for SMART | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA
Saturday 16 May 2009, 08:58
Filed under: Marin, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad, SMART, Sonoma, transit

Heavy rail cars likely for SMART | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA.

The face of the Cloverdale-to-Larkspur rail commuter line likely will be a sleek, American-style, heavy-rail car that exists only in the imaginations of engineers.

Still, there was a more basic reason that a SMART subcommittee this week recommended to the full board that the agency choose heavy-rail cars over light rail. Members were told that manufacturers are willing to design and build only those heavy cars that will meet the Environmental Protection Agency emission standards that take effect in 2011. Manufacturers have said they would not redesign and build the lighter European-style cars to those EPA specifications because they don’t believe there is a market for them in the United States, Frandsen said.

Although heavy-rail cars are more costly and less efficient than lighter, European-designed cars, they would meet Federal Railroad Administration and Buy American requirements that otherwise could delay delivery time.

“It erases all regulatory concerns and improves the likelihood of achieving project implementation,” said Bill Frandsen of LTK Engineering, a consultant for the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit district.

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