Maryland’s proposed $1.68 billion, 16-mile light rail transit Purple Line has been endorsed unanimously by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board, bolstering the line’s advance ahead of two area highway projects also under consideration. The line would connect New Carrollton with Bethesda, serving as both a suburban connector and a circumferential feeder to Washington, D.C.’s Metro subway system.
The board also approved adding rail right-of-way west of Bethesda to Silver Spring, Md., to the long-range plan for the line, which would add $480 million to the project but which is anticipated to bolster chances for federal funding support.
Officials in Maryland's Prince George’s and Montgomery counties already have approved the plan, which is expected to carry 62,500 riders per weekday. The line would include four transfer points with the Metro system, as well as transfer points for MARC and Amtrak rail services.
The project has yet to be officially approved as light rail by the state. The governor’s office is expected to weigh in later this summer. Besides LRT, a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) option had been considered. The project also has faced environmental opposition in Montgomery County.
Columbus, Ohio-based US Railcar Co. LLC, has acquired the rights to build diesel multiple-unit (DMU) trains based on the designs of Colorado Railcar Corp., which sought to establish itself as a primary source for DMU production in North America. Fort Lupton, Colo.-based Colorado Railcar closed its doors Dec. 23 and terminated all operations Dec. 31.
US Railcar already is touting its newly acquired DMU design, completed with retouched photographs, on its website, http://www.amrailco.com/documents/ARC-Brochure.pdf. The company says its mission is "Bringing the former Colorado Railcar DMU back to life."