From Staff Reports and News Releases Light rail and transit agencies in Texas and the U.S. rejoiced in July after the signing of a bi-partisan transportation law that is designed to provide stability, as well as develop, implement and maintain public transportation services for the future. Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) authorizes $105 billion for spending on transportation projects nationwide over the next two years. The bill, signed by President Barack Obama on July 6, 2012, is the first in 27 months that provides long-term transportation funding. In late June, Congress passed the bi-partisan bill with a 373-52 vote in the House and 74-19 margin in the Senate. MAP-21 includes a limited increase for federal transit programs, providing a total of $10.6 billion in authorized funding in FY 2013 and $10.7 billion in FY 2014. Public transportation officials were worried in June at the American Public…
Category: Light Rail / Commuter
By Tim Blackwell/Cowcatcher Magazine IRVING, TX — Dallas Area Rapid Transit debuted today the first phase of the 14.3-mile Orange Line expansion that will take light rail to D/FW International Airport during a dedication ceremony before local, state and federal officials at the Irving Convention Center. A special train loaded with dignitaries cut through a yellow ribbon at the Convention Center Station to mark completion of the 4.5-mile section of the $1.3 billion project. The section with three stations opens for revenue service on July 30 and will connect the University of Dallas and the Las Colinas Urban Center along the way. A public event is planned for Saturday. Dignitaries that included U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Congressman Kenny Marchant said the expansion will further embed North Texas on convention and cultural destination maps and change the face of Irving, which has waited for light rail since it began contributing sales tax…
By Tim Blackwell / Cowcatcher Magazine DCTA began running the first of two four-car sets of its Stadler GTW diesel-electric cars on June 16, less than two weeks after being granted an alternative design waiver by the Federal Railroad Administration to start operating the cars that can run along traditional, heavier rail lines and will expand the agency’s reach. The cars, which likely will be fully integrated on DCTA’s A-train line by September, are the first lightweight, low-floor vehicles permitted to run in U.S. rail corridors with freight trains and commuter rail cars. They are splitting morning and evening service with DCTA’s Rail Diesel Cars (RDCs) that have been in service since the 21-mile line from Denton to Carrollton opened a year ago. Administrator Joseph Szabo presented DCTA President Jim Cline the waiver on the platform of Union Station on June 4 in front of two cars that were on…
DALLAS, TX — Don Johnson wasn’t quite sure what to expect when a small group of people and a gaggle of news cameras converged on him as he got off the Red Line at Union Station on an early June Monday morning. What he soon found out was he was making history and the crowd was on hand to help celebrate. Johnson was the 250 millionth customer on Dallas Area Rapid Transits’ light rail system. The daily rider was greeted by DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas and Michael Melaniphy, president and chief executive officer of the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), who was is in Dallas for the annual APTA Rail Conference. Johnson was also congratulated by Cathy Rigby, who will appear in “Peter Pan” July 10 at Fair Park. “I started riding DART because of gas prices about 10 years ago,” Johnson said. “But it’s comfortable and gives me…
Improvements are under way on the final phase of 2012 upgrades to the Chicago-to-St. Louis high-speed route that will be used by Amtrak to run up to speeds of 110 mph. Installing premium rail with concrete ties and stone ballast are among planned upgrades in the joint project between the Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific. Upgrades are planned for bridges, culverts and drainage; signal and wayside equipment; and roadway-rail grade crossings. As of June 16, work will progress to north of Bloomington-Normal and most days it will lead Amtrak to charter motorcoaches for Amtrak Lincoln Service (Trains 300-307) passengers at St. Louis, Alton, Carlinville, Springfield, Lincoln, Normal, Pontiac, Dwight, Joliet and Summit, Ill. The Amtrak Texas Eagle (Trains 21/321/421 & 22/322/422) will detour between Chicago and St. Louis for the same period, with alternate transportation in both directions between Joliet and St. Louis. Motorcoaches are being used to…
One of Denton County Transportation Authority’s (DCTA) diesel-electric GTW 2/6 articulated rail vehicles built by Stadler Rail will be on display June 4-6 at Dallas Union Station. The car, which has yet to go into service on DCTA’s light rail line that runs from Denton to Carrollton, TX, is being displayed as part of the American Public Transportation Association’s 2012 Rail Conference in Dallas. Top public transportation officials willl convene at the conference June 3-6 at the Hyatt Regency. The first DMU cars are expected to begin service in August following approval of a Federal Railroad Administration waiver, said a DCTA spokesperson.
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The Cowtown Model Railroad Club has evolved from the former Lockheed Martin Recreation Association Railroad Activity, once Dallas/Fort Worth’s premier model railroad club. A handful of members have carried on the HO Gulf & Denver Railroad Authority, which is back in operation and sporting a new mission.
Time now for passenger rail
Tracks are aligning for a bright future in public transportation and travel by rail with the onset of a new administration on Capitol Hill. Funding opportunities await for returning Amtrak daily long-distance service and improving transit rail infrastructure. The key will be keeping several bills on course.
The Cowcatcher’s N-scale Whitehurst & Pine Ridge Railroad found a way to visually block the main line from Dallas to Kansas City when it comes a little too close for comfort.
BNSF Railway Co. (BNSF) and Wabtec’s exploration of the future of battery-electric locomotives crossed another milestone in early January with testing in revenue service between Barstow and Stockton, CA…
Pat Hiatte resumes his virtual travel along the nation’s rail network when passenger rail was king. He rides the Colorado Eagle from Denver to St. Louis…
LGB is producing an F7A-B locomotive set in Amtrak’s original paint to celebrate the passenger line’s 50th anniversary in 2021.
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