Requirements for surface preparation, paints and protective coatings are among thousands of specifications detailed in Amtrak’s new uniform technical standards for the manufacture of high-speed intercity passenger rail cars.
The establishment of technical standards for high-speed rail operations is required by the Passenger Railroad Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 and was developed by the Technical Subcommittee of the Section 305 Next Generation Equipment Committee.
The 580-page Specification for PRIIA Bi-Level Passenger Rail Car, released Aug. 31, “will enhance the ability of U.S. manufacturers to compete in what is set to become a burgeoning industry,” according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
“As part of the Obama Administration’s focus on maximizing manufacturing opportunities, these first-ever uniform standards will provide an unprecedented opportunity for manufacturers in the U.S.—from rails to wheel bearings, to final assembly—to build a strong, stable manufacturing base,” said Secretary Ray LaHood.
‘A Milestone in Rail Transportation’
The first technical standard will apply to bi-level passenger rail cars for use in high-speed passenger rail operations.
“This is a milestone in the history of rail transportation,” said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. “These standardized bi-level passenger rail cars will be able to operate nationwide and are compatible with existing equipment. A common design also makes it easier to train maintenance personnel, stock parts and perform repairs, which reduces costs.”
New bi-level cars will meet all current safety requirements and regulations, as well as be able to satisfy future regulations for crash energy management. As existing passenger rail vehicles are replaced, the addition of new stock will enhance system safety, DOT says.
The standards will ensure that newly manufactured cars can be used with the current passenger locomotive fleet, either alone or with existing bi-level cars, and are designed to accommodate entry and departure from low-level platforms. The new cars will also be Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant.
Similar standards for single-level passenger rail cars are expected to be adopted by the end of the year.
Paints and Coatings
Paint and coatings play a role in the new standards, and applications will be expected to have an eight-year life.
Included are requirements for corrosion protection for stored materials and steel components; exterior protective and aesthetic finishes; interior aluminum coatings; underframe coatings; paint process documentation, painting restrictions, maintenance painting; insulating coatings, and protective coatings for parts.
“The surface preparation, primer, paint and graphics applications shall ensure that the car can operate at least eight years between major exterior finish repairs or replacement,” the standards say.
The full Bi-Level Specification can be accessed at www.highspeed-rail.org/Pages/DocsSpecs.aspx.