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Commuter Rail

Commuter rail is a passenger train that can be operated by diesel fuel, or overhead electrical wires or a combination of the two. This transit mode is used for local or regional service, typically of longer distances, operating between a central city and surrounding communities or activity centers. Commuter rail vehicles have a heavier frame and larger body than light rail vehicles, and usually operate in an existing rail corridor along freight and/or passenger lines. The interior is designed to provide a comfortable ride for longer distances with larger cushioned seats much like those found on RTD's Regional and skyRide bus routes.

Electrical Multiple Units
Electric Multiple Units (EMU) are powered by overhead electrical wires.
The EMU is heavier than a light rail vehicle, but operates in the same way. It is powered by an overhead electrical system.

Commuter rail car under construction

Diesel Multiple Units
Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) are powered by diesel engines.
Sleeker looking than a locomotive hauled train, a DMU is powered by a diesel motor rather than a locomotive.

Diesel-powered commuter rail car



Transit Technology Resources
Commuter Rail Analysis
Technology Fact Sheet
Updated EMU and DMU Technology Analysis - July 19, 2007
Responses to Questions from the RTD Board of Directors - July 23, 2007
Transit Technology Brochure




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