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Colorado Railcar Not Dead Yet

Colorado Railcar has come out of bankruptcy. American Railcar Industries, a St. Charles, Mo.-based freight car manufacturer owned by investor Carl Icahn, announced a joint venture with Columbus, Ohio-based US Railcar:

US Railcar Company, LLC, the joint venture of US Railcar, LLC and ARI will be led by President & CEO Michael P. Pracht, a rail industry veteran with extensive experience with the world’s leading rail transportation companies. “These are extraordinary times with growth opportunities for passenger rail in the US” said Mr. Pracht. “The US Railcar Company DMU is designed to enable new cost-effective and environmentally friendly passenger rail service across a range of corridors and routes, all with a proven, existing equipment platform already in service.”

The US Railcar Company DMU was prototyped through a demonstration project in 2002 and is currently the only DMU that is fully compliant with Federal Railroad Administration passenger equipment safety regulations as stated in 49 CFR Part 238. This means the US Railcar Company DMU can be quickly pressed into service using existing freight tracks. 1O DMUs are currently providing reliable passenger service in Florida, Alaska and Oregon.

Colorado Railcar US Railcar is a classic example of how FRA/FTA “Buy-America” trade-protection policies foists expensive and unreliable rolling stock on transit agencies. The company’s survival depends on FRA regulation ’49 CFR Part 238′, which carves out special protected status against far superior offerings from foreign firms.

Even worse, US Railcar is seeking out taxpayer bailout.

US Railcar hopes to build a 100,000-square-foot passenger rail car factory in Gahanna that could employ up to 200 workers. But it needs $8.7 million in federal transportation stimulus
dollars for the project. Although Congress doesn’t directly award stimulus funds, It sure doesn’t hurt, does it? Jourdan said of Pracht’s appearances in Washington.

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