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Member Since 27 Feb 2009
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#107493 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 27 November 2017 - 02:23 AM


Yes, an overpass would have been sure to generate some TOD activity; and would have created a merging of the Stockyard Development with the Tarrant Express development.  All parties would benefit.  The recently announced Swift Stockyard Hotel and other private investment would have a seamless connection to the Airport and to Downtown. The reality seems clear - FWTA and DART refuse to allow TOD along this project unless they have 100% control.  North Side Station will be a carbon copy of the Richland Hills Station, but with even less use.


Hopefully, there will a rethink of this idea and the City of Grapevine, Fort Worth and the Stockyards will better served by Tarrant Express to correct this missed opportunity.


We can only hope that eventually a transit line will be put in between Downtown and Stockyards/Meacham.



I wonder if the city could put some of their mixed-use, urban village zoning in effect for the 28th and Decatur area (or preferably along 28th between the station and 35W), and if so, if property owners in the designated area might be able to "circumvent" some of the issues FWTA has with TOD that way.  Provided, though, that the city is not bound by a contract preventing them from doing that.

Otherwise I agree with renamerusk in that the North Side Station will be quite underutilized.  If you could get a bus line providing a direct connection between the station and the Stockyards, you might be able to get tourists to use the North Side Station.  But first, the area surrounding the station would need to look more attractive.

TODs are rarely built and open for business by private investors before the "Transit" component is built and open for business. I have no idea what the zoning will be around every station. The FWTA has no power over local cities on how they zone properties or neighborhoods. I wish advocates stopped suggesting they do.  Take that issue to your local city hall. 


The property in downtown Fort Worth surrounding the T&P Station and the ITC aren't owned by the transit agency. The land surrounding the property in downtown Grapevine and at DFW Airport aren't owned by the transit agency either. Some land adjacent to other TexRail and TRE stations are - usually for their own buses to use  and to provide parking for their customers. Most business in Fort Worth also provide parking for their customers as well.  Even most mixed use properties provide enough parking to attract businesses and residents.  There's nothing unusual about having parking near train stations, even airports have parking. Do you really think DFW Airport could survive long without lots of parking? 


Where's the advocacy for having mixed use properties  on DFW Airport property immediately adjacent to the airport's passenger terminals instead of parking? Will it be too noisy? Well, trains can be noisy too. :)

#107161 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 08 November 2017 - 08:35 AM


How many trains will be operating at once?


Until recently, I've been thinking only four trains at a time during rush hour (two trains in each direction an hour).


I've seen drawings where platforms look a little too short to accommodate two trains coupled together. However, I can't find documents showing platform lengths anymore.


There is a lot of space between train doors and the end of each train, so platforms may not need to be the full length of two trains.


Now, I'm thinking 8 trains at a time during rush hour. Seems like a waste to order 8 trains if you only need 4 or 5 trains at a time.


The TexRail Flirts will be 266 feet long, the platform lengths should be a minimum of 266 feet long.

These trains will require refueling during the day if ran continuously. What they will do is pull the trains after the morning peak, place other trains on during the day and pull them before the afternoon peak, place the earlier trains on for the afternoon peak, etc. That way they don't run up too many miles. Then they can refuel all of them overnight. There will be one additional train as a spare in case one breaks down and needs to be pulled for an entire day for corrective maintenance so the train schedules aren't affected. 


Eight trains in their equipment roster isn't too many. 



I'm going to have to dig through the FEIS to find the exact station platform lengths. 


The maximum length of any station platform from the beginning was 450 feet, but they always planned to build smaller (anywhere from 250-300 feet) and leave room for expansion later. Initial planning assumed 8 inches above the top of the rail for the platform height, but that was always subject to change depending upon the vehicle bought. Since they have bought the vehicles, the platform height will be 2 feet above the top of the rail (24 inches). The standard low floor height of a Stadler Flirt is 22 inches, so the platform will be about 2 inches higher than the train's floor at the door. The only platform length I could find in the Appendix E drawings of the FEIS was for the DFW Station, which will be 318 feet long initially, with room to expand to 450 feet later.


Even at 450 feet, the platforms will be too short to fit two 4 car Flirts. Therefore I think you are correct stating the platforms will be too short to run two existing 4 car Flirts. From  what I can gather over the web, 6 car DMU Flirts is a possibly in the future.  Maybe adding 2 more cars to the existing fleet or by buying brand new 6 car Flirts will be the expansion method chosen. I'm pretty sure a 6 car DMU Flirt would fit alongside a 450 feet long platform. 


Here's how I determined that. 

A regular (EMU) 4 car Flirt is 246 feet long

A regular (EMU) 6 car Flirt is 349 feet long

Math determining length of the DMU van.

266 - 246 = 20 feet

Therefore, adding 20 feet to 349 feet = 369 feet


If a 6 car DMU Flirt would be underpowered, adding a second DMU van and another 20 feet to the train should solve that problem, the train would be 389 feet long in that case. Still far short of the 450 feet reserved for platform length in their plans.

#107155 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 07 November 2017 - 02:26 PM

From one of the project updates:"∙Purchase of eight Stadler DMU FLIRT vehicles Fast Light Innovative Regional Train"Not sure if that's 8 trains consisting of 4 coaches each or 2 trains consisting of the 8 vehicles purchased.

Its 8 trains with 4 passenger coaches and 1 diesel power van each.
Stadler has built FLIRT trains with up to 6 passenger coaches in a single train.
The Stadler designed Class 745 to be built for England will have 12 passenger coaches in a single train.
The TexRail trains will match the largest FLIRT trains built to date with a diesel power van.

#106985 How to design streets for humans -- and self-driving cars

Posted by Electricron on 31 October 2017 - 06:05 AM

Computers might be better than humans at driving cars straighter, but humans will still walk or ride bikes in crooked lines in lanes next to them. It'll be humans crashing into robots, just like we do in front of trains that run straighter than an arrow at railroad crossings, whether we are driving our cars, riding our bikes, running or walking on foot. 

Of course we will not be ready for the future, golly - we are not ready for the present. 

#106928 Arlington Finally Catches the Bus

Posted by Electricron on 27 October 2017 - 04:57 PM

Arlington and Grand Prairie should together form a bi-city bus transit system, either jointly or separate;y. Neither FWTA or DART will treat either city with regular bus lines - they will offer pick up van service reserved a day in advance. If you want a traditional bus lines along traditional streets, like Division and Broadway, they're going to have to provide the service themselves. 

Once that last mile link is in place, watch DART and FWTA stumble over themselves to  bring some sort of rail down old US 80 or the I-30 corridors. I would suggest a light rail line if you want 90 minutes downtown Dallas to downtown Fort Worth services, or a commuter rail line if you want to travel that distance in 60 minutes.  The UP (ex T&P) rail corridor could support either if UP will allow it, as could I-30. The old US 80 route could support street running light rail at grade in dedicated lanes, but not commuter rail. There's options available, but so far no one has even started a study to find out which would be better because both Grand Prairie and Arlington have no bus services at all, either their own or joining others. Until that happens, nothing will advance. because there will be no money to even study it. 

#106788 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 20 October 2017 - 09:42 AM

It might be helpful if Tarrant Express Rail changed its logo from TE[red]X[/red]Rail to T[red]Ex[/red] Rail. Maybe that would be copying Fed[red]Ex[/red] to much for copyright infringement, but I believe more people will interpreted Ex as short for Express rather than EX.

Even changing TE[red]X[/red]to T[red]EX[/red] should make that clearer.

#106686 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 17 October 2017 - 09:43 PM

Keep us informed if the November 6 date remains on track. ;)


As for liveries, here's what other transit agencies have done on the latest Flirt 3 units.....

It is fun to compare......... ;)







Lodzka Kolej Aglomeracyjna




Rhein-IJssel Express








Newag dia PKP Intercity





Well, that's at least 10 different liveries, few if any used the opportunity to do anything fancy behind the cab where the main electrical cabinets are located. 


Maybe I'm thinking the TexRail livery isn't as bad as some of these. Maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder? 

From a lazy point of view, a gray (silver) exterior paint job is the easiest to keep clean, or looks clean the longest between washes. 

#106469 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 09 October 2017 - 09:46 AM

What rename doesn't seem to get is that those of us along the route outside Fort Worth (NRH, Grapevine) aren't interested in paying our share for trains that pass us by.

 Yes, I remember the outcries when DART Express Bus #205, 206,208,210,211,278,282,283 and the more publicized MAX (Arlington) routes were implemented and the DART community telling DART that it isn't interested in paying for a bus that passed it by.

All those express bus services are done on streets with “multiple”lanes, you know where there are passing lanes for buses to pass one another and other traffic. Now imagine providing the same express service on a street with two way traffic with just “ONE” lane! Wouldn’t you need passing lanes added to street so the buses could actually pass each other? No amount of scheduling of the buses can overcome the lack of lanes........

#106151 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 26 September 2017 - 02:14 PM

What you think it should be and what it really is - is often very different.
haha I know that's right!
I represent the end user, not the engineer!   double track double platform - flyover bridge - whatever, I just want to take a non-stop train from the Water Gardens to the Airport!

If you want non-stop, door-to-door services from public transportation, I suggest calling Uber or Yellow cabs.

#106150 Tarrant Transit Alliance

Posted by Electricron on 26 September 2017 - 02:06 PM

Lacking two city council members didnt cause the lack of a quorum, there were five council members missing.
Even the Star-Telegram conceded that this was a late maneuver in setting the tax rate process.
The tax rates were being lowered because the real estate evaluations had risen - to keep the amount of taxes faced by individual property owners the same. So this added 1cent to the property tax rates at the last second was actually a tax increase, although being disguised as a tax cut.
What FWTA needs is a referendum to increase its sales tax rate, so it can afford to provide much more from its own budget that it can control. Relying upon the good will of the city council on a year by year basis will Not be a reliable, steady source of income to do anything additional.

#106133 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 26 September 2017 - 07:46 AM

I'm no engineer or any sort of train connoisseur, but just like travel on a plane, direct flights are more desirable than connecting flights (to me, at least) and the same clearly would seem true on a train. If airport-downtown and downtown-airport trips are the most frequent, the reward should be quicker travel with fewer stops along the way. From the end user point of view, quick service cannot be ignored.


I've always thought beyond the double track requirement, another slot would be necessary at the stations being skipped.... something like, while the local train is loading and unloading from a third track, a station embarkation track, the express train just passes the station....  

What you think it should be and what it really is - is often very different. 

It's been my experience in life that everything is usually built by the cheapest bidder using the cheapest labor and cheapest materials possible. Few buyers go out of their way to buy the most expensive item when a cheaper item does the job satisfactory. 


Not even every TexRail station will be double tracked with two platforms. DFW North, Ironsides, and Beach stations will only be single track with single platforms - per the FEIS. They're only double tracking just enough track and stations to support 30 minute headways. The meets are set to occur at specific locations by the scheduling of the trains. If one train is early, it must wait for the train arriving on time to clear the track ahead before it can proceed. There are no advantages arriving early. If one train is late, the other train must wait on it. Passengers waiting on trains sitting stationary at signals usually are not very happy.  Shucks, most drivers in their cars waiting on traffic signals usually aren't very happy too.

#106131 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 26 September 2017 - 01:06 AM

I've looked through the TexRail FEIS drawings once again, to identify where TexRail will be double tracking the corridor..

Here's the layout upon initiating service.

Double tracks at DFW station, double tracks at downtown Grapevine, double tracks at Smithfield Station, double tracks plus an additional freight only track at Northside (28th Street) Station, double tracks at ITC, although only one track will have a platform for TexRail cars, and double tracks at T&P Station. You will not be able to speed through the end stations, so that leaves just three stations where express trains can pass other trains, Northside at MP 15, Smithfield at MP 24, and downtown Grapevine at MP 33. FYI, DFW Airport is at MP 36 and T&P is at MP 0. Note these stations are around 9 miles apart, 10 to 11 minutes travel time apart.

They estimate 53 minutes runtime from end to end, and plan 30 minute headways during peak rush hours.


So let's assume a 7 am departure from DFW, it should get to Grapevine in 5 minutes (1 station in between) adds another minute or so, at let's say 7:05, it should get to Smithfield in another 11 minutes, let's say 7:16, it should get to Northside in another 13 minutes (2 stations in between adds 2 minutes), let's say 7:29, and get to T&P in 19 minutes (1 station in between adds 1 minute) at 7:48.  Not quite the 53 minutes projected, so i'm around 5 minutes off somewhere. It's easy to figure out approximate times in one direction, now we have to make it work in the opposite direction.

Working backwards from where the trains must meet, 19 minutes displaced at least. So the train leaves T&P at 7:10, arrives 19 minutes later at Northside at 7:29 (a perfect meet), 13 minutes later at Smithfield at 7:42, and 11 minutes later at Grapevine at 7:53 and 5 minutes later pulling into DFW at 7:58.

Now will trains running 30 minutes later in both directions met at the appropriate places at the correct times? Let's start northbound first, leaving T&P at 7:40 we crash around 7:44, unless we meet at ITC using the wrong size platform? If we're lucky we reach Northside at 7:59, Smithfield at 8:12, Grapevine at 8:23, and arriving DFW at 8:29

Now lets look at the 30 minute later southbound, leaving DFW at 7:30, reaching Grapevine at 7:35, reaching Smithfield at 7:46 (we're 4 minutes off at Smithfield (need a little tweaking of my projected times), reaching Northside at 7:59(timing perfect), and completes the run at T&P at 8:18. 

With just there 4 train running in both directions 30 minutes apart, we needed Northside, Smithfield, and ITC meets. we avoided needing to have a fourth meet because the trains run the distance in less than an hour, so you could say they're meeting again at DFW and T&P. The only passing siding we didn't need to use in my example was Grapevine. I could have tried forcing a meet there instead of at Northside, who know how that one would have turned out? 

I don't see how it is possible to run an express train skipping stations at a faster pace that wouldn't disrupt the timing of all the train meets. And we still have to account for the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, which per chance, will not be running on the corridor during peaks, but when the trains are running at 60 or 90 minute headways instead of 30. It too will have to have a pretty strict schedule for the meets to happen properly, ;)

#106086 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 24 September 2017 - 12:34 AM

Maybe an explanation of track blocks and signals will help explain better than I.





The way to get a train to overtake another is to use a passing loop, which will be present as most station locations. Not every station on the TRE line initially had two platforms and a passing loop. 

A train one rail block behind a train going in same direction will see a red stop signal at the next signal. A train two rail blocks behind a train going in the same direction will see a yellow, medium approach signal which limits the train speed to a lower speed. To see a green go fast signal a train will have to have two rail blocks in front of it clear.  

Because the express train should be following the regular train by at least three rail blocks, when the regular train stops at a station the express train will reach a yellow signal making it slow down when it enters the second rail block. by the time it reaches the first rail block, the regular train should have left the station. But, if the switches were thrown at the passing siding or loop, to clear two blocks ahead of the express train, it will continue to see green signals and continue to go fast. it should see a yellow signal approach medium so as to take the switches at a slower speed at the passing loop. When the switches were thrown, the regular train now sees a red stop signal. And it will not see a yellow signal until the express train leaves the first block in front of it. So to pass a slower train with a faster train, 4 rail blocks will have to be clear of traffic coming from both directions. The regular train passed will have to sit as long as it will take the express train to travel through 4 rail blocks. That will make the regular train at least 10 minutes late, possibly 20 minutes late, depending upon how fast the express train travels through the 4 rail blocks.  If per chance there is another train coming in the opposite direction that was going to use the passing loop, than the express train will not be able to use it. The train coming from the opposite direction will use it, then allow both our regular and express trains to pass through, before it could proceed in its direction. It gets very complicated to make overtaking trains work in a single track environment with trains running in opposite directions. What usually occurs in situations like this with frequent trains running in both directions, is the express train leads the regular train. But neither Amtrak nor the TRE are going to wait any longer than possible, as soon as a yellow signal is present the engineer will put their train into motion. it's unlikely both trains will want to leave at the same time. But that was an Amtrak train that rarely runs on time. A scheduled express with all the trains running on schedule would be easier to set up to work - with the express train going first. But at EVERY station along the route, the express train will fly through the station at speed with passengers waiting on the platform for the next regular train. 

In New York's subways, express trains run on quad track lines, with the slower trains running next to the platforms and the express trains running on the tracks away from the platforms. Where the express trains stop, there will be an additional island platform for the express tracks and trains. Quad tracks is a far cry away from single track operations. 

#106052 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 23 September 2017 - 09:28 AM

How fast does an express train go on a mostly single track line?
Heres a YouTube video of the Texas Eagle on the TRE corridor, proceeding slower than most tRE trains....
Theres a reason why it is going so slow, the tracks sections ahead of it have a slower train on it.
To actually go at its maximum allowed speed of 79 mph the entire way, it needs a clear track ahead of it. More double tracking will be needed, and the TREis already half the way doubled track. An express train on the TexRail corridor would proceed even slower because it will not have as much double track as the TRE has today.
Thats a slow train in my humble opinion, not an express train!

#105962 Tarrant Transit Alliance

Posted by Electricron on 19 September 2017 - 07:43 AM

How does anything in El Paso have an effect on transit in Tarrant County?