On my way to the National Plug-in Day Event in Normal Illinois this year I came across this passenger rail car attached to Amtrak Texas Eagle. My first thought was this was some rich persons restored car. Private rail car owners can pay fees to run their cars on Amtrak routes.
As train left station I told a person I was talking to that they should pay attention to a rich persons car. Only much later did I find out how completely wrong I was. Yes – first clue should have been words on the rail car. Honestly I just thought it was an old fashioned restored car.
Turns out it’s a track testing rail car used by Federal Railroad Administration. Inside is a bunch of technology that is collecting data on condition of tracks. Process is supposed to automate much of the data collection and in theory provide more accurate results.
I don’t recall ever seeing anything like this before. So I just made an assumption of what it was from previously seeing private cars in use. Of course I was wrong and definitely learned something new.
Rail Car DOTX 221 is part of Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Automated Track Inspection Program (ATIP).
AMTK 518 pulls up next to the wash racks at the Locomotive Facility in Chicago with two Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety cars (DOTX 220 & DOTX 221)