Denver's Commuter Rail Cars: Same as SEPTA's But Without the Defects

Denver's transit agency is running very similar Hyundai Rotem EMUs on their new A Line to the airport. The car shells are imported from South Korea and assembled in the same Philadelphia plant as SEPTA's problem-plagued Silverliner V cars.

2 minute read

July 11, 2016, 11:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

RTD Train


"[T]he recently discovered cracks in the equalizer bars that distribute the [SEPTA] cars’ weight over their wheels — the flaw that caused the transit authority to pull all 120 Silverliner Vs out of service last week — is simply the latest in a line of issues that have plagued the railcars since their intended delivery in 2011," writes Danya Henninger for Billy Penn, "a mobile platform for a better Philly."

Due to the loss of the 120 cars, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) weekday service to Delaware is operating on a Saturday schedule, notes an earlier post on how the faulty rail cars have disrupted service.

In Denver, the Regional Transit District's A Line trains are composed of 60 Silverliner V cars, although internally they refer to them as 'EMU (electric multiple unit) V' cars, notes Henninger. Service began last April.  "As of now, all of them are still in service, and RTD has no plans to pull them out."

“Our engineers have been carefully inspecting them since we heard about what happened in Philadelphia,” said RTD spokesperson Nate Currey.

“We have a slightly different model,” he continued, using an airline industry analogy. “It’s kind of like comparing a Boeing 737-500 to a 737-900er.”

The two Hyundai Rotem models: USA Denver EMU and USA Philadelphia SEPTA EMU among a 4-page list of EMUs. Hyundai Rotem is the train-making unit of Hyundai Motor Group

There are technical differences in weight, the equalizer bar, and design to accommodate platform heights (described in greater detail in article), which "could be relevant to why Denver isn’t worried about SEPTA’s current issue," writes Henninger. RTD's Currey went on to praise Hyundai Rotem

However, SEPTA is not alone in experiencing difficulties with Hyundai Rotem rail cars. Problems experienced by Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) with the manufacturer are described in another Billy Penn piece.

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