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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Building for the Future
Most modern-day short lines were born on tracks that larger railroads operated as branch lines or divisions to reach their customer base. Some serve Class 1 railroads on the very tracks they once owned but were left behind after business dried up. The Northwest Tarrant & Pacific is no exception. The Cowcatcher’s freelanced shelf-style project railroad is a prime example of a small short line that connects with a larger carrier after acquiring track that was abandoned.
Timing key for TrainTopia
The story of the Bob Sanders G-scale layout that has drawn visitors to the Frisco Discovery Center since last summer takes more twists and turns than the high trestles crossing rocky canyons between Texas and Arizona.
The 2,500-square-foot layout, the property of the Museum of the American Railroad, is about two-thirds of a planned exhibit. Already it offers an expansive, multilevel experience in a theatre setting complete with sophisticated lighting and sound. But in the next few months, “TrainTopia – A Railroad Odyssey in Miniature” will begin construction on an equally impressive O-scale layout to occupy the front portion of the room. How all of this got to MAR is a good story President and CEO Bob LaPrelle likes to tell.
Going DCC simplifies model railroad operation and is easier than it looks. Just don’t sweat the jargon. If you can read you can do it…
Streetcar history unfolds at the Milwaukee Transit & Archives Museum in Cudahy, WI…
TEXRail is off to a running start and officials are already talking about expanding the line that got rolling shortly after the first of the year.
THESE STORIES AND MORE, PLUS A FULL CALENDAR OF UPCOMING EVENTS!
BONUS WEB COVERAGE: In CRU Call in the March/April 2019 issue, Publisher Tim Blackwell tells of how adding a little clutter to right of ways adds realism without overdoing it on the Cowcatcher’s project layout, the Northwest Tarrant & Pacific Railroad…
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The 51st Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show in January packed more than 18,000 in the “Big E” in Springfield, MA, and new HO- and N-scale locomotives grabbed plenty of attention.
PIKO SmartControl light DCC System
Model railroaders seeking an affordable, easy-to-use DCC system for smaller layouts should consider the PIKO SmartControl light Basic Set. The set is designed for use with HO, N and TT layouts and has advanced features not seen in other entry-level DCC systems.
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