Pop Up Metro aims to provide affordable passenger operation

Rail entrepreneur Henry Posner wants to make passenger service more affordable and more available. He calls it Pop Up Metro, and to do it, he’s betting on batteries, remanufactured British multiple unit cars, and a bold business model to reduce the risk to potential rail operators.

If it were anyone but Posner, this project might be seen as a crackpot idea with little chance of success. But Posner is the co-founder of Railroad Development Corporation (RDC), which owns Iowa Interstate Railroad along with operations in England, France, Germany, Belgium, and Peru…

The Pittsburgh entrepreneur sees a variety of opportunities for low-cost passenger operations. A lightly-used branch line or short line railroad could co-exist with transit by running freight at night and passenger service during the day, a concept he calls temporal separation. Smaller communities and transit agencies, or larger agencies looking to extend service to less-populated areas, are candidates for Pop Up Metro.