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#108876 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 09 February 2018 - 10:22 PM

Interesting videos from the recent TRE2018 convention.

Paul Ballard speech (FWTA)

Kevin Feldt speech (NCTCOG)

Tim McKay speech (DART)


Tim Keith speech (Texas Central)


There are more speeches with videos posted at youtube for those interested for more.

#108763 Funding transit

Posted by Electricron on 06 February 2018 - 10:55 PM

Does the state allow one-cent "general fund" sales taxes to be diverted to services like transit?


I'm not aware of a city that has less than one full cent going towards their general fund. If it's possible, that's great news.

I don't think the State law allows the City to tell the State to send any of the first 1% to anything but itself, but there is nothing in the State law telling the City what it can and can not do with it. It's the second 1% where the City can ask the State to dedicate and send sales tax revenues to another government agency, like a transit authority, hospital district, or police fund. State law limits what that second 1% can go, but the first 1% can go anywhere.


While the City might find it easier to send some of its first 1% to FWTA, the City can just as easily take it back at any time on the political winds of the moment putting FWTA in a financial crunch if they had already spent money, or sold bonds, to support transit expansion with future expected revenues that aren't coming. This solution only works if FWTA remains on a cash only basis, and nevers borrows money from banks or sell bonds to speculators to raise cash now. Without the ability to borrow money or sell bonds, whatever FWTA will build will be relatively small in scope or delayed until it can save up the funds over many years to build a more expensive project.


The State already has implemented a better solution for transit agencies where the money can't be easily taken from them, a portion or all of that second 1% sales taxes dedicated and sent directly to them without the City touching it. 


Basically, this new City solution to grant more revenues to FWTA means it will never ever be completely independent from the city politics and under the rule of the city council. Maybe that is a good idea, maybe it is a bad idea. What do you think?

#108742 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 05 February 2018 - 01:04 PM

Just as a reminder why the southern TexRail corridor has half the construction costs of the northern half, it involves mostly double tracking the FWWR corridor, installing positive train control, and building four new stations. They are not going to need to tear up the existing tracks and relay them from the roadbed up because the FWWR and the Santa Fe before them maintained the existing tracks far better than DART maintained the ex-Cotton Belt corridor. Most of the expensive construction items already exist or just need expanding, and there's no flyovers required. I believe the biggest headache for construction will be where the FWWR crosses under I-20. The rest of the corridor should be relatively simple to build.

The easier something is to build the cheaper it is. :)

#108510 Tarrant Transit Alliance

Posted by Electricron on 25 January 2018 - 02:41 AM

The Tarrant Transit Alliance has their "Kick-Off" event this afternoon. 

 I'm very curious how region/regional will end up being defined and how that will impact priorities but I'm staying both optimistic and hopeful.


I'm pretty sure they are not including commuters from Cleburne, Granbury, Weatherford, and Decatur. 

It will never be a regional transit agency in my humbel opinion until it decides to serve commuters from neighboring counties. 

#108003 High Speed Rail - Texas

Posted by Electricron on 21 December 2017 - 12:52 AM


 Aha, selective principles to best serve one's argument.


(1) Nope. The comparison between actual expense and the displacement that a Cedars Station to the same for a southern sector station is not an exaggeration.  Its is disingenious to argue in favor of a more costlier Cedars Station but to argue against a more costlier cross over at the Tarrant Express North Side Fort Worth Station.  There is satisfaction that agreement is now in alignment that "there are more things to consider than just money when placing trains stations"; and which should include commuter stations as well, right?  Perhaps now, the "too costly" argument has been weaken when cost to benefit analysis is factored in.


(2) If a future railroad, say instance a Tarrant Express, were to have looked for a commercial  business partner who wants a station in the mist of its real estate development, say for instance the Stockyards, why did not the future railroad take that action? Was it really about costs or was really about something else?



The Stockyards also has lots of public money invested into it. I haven't read or heard of anyone within the Stockyards tax zone suggesting they were willing to pay all or any of the difference of hosting the TexRail train in the Stockyards vs having the commuter train station at 28th Street.


Texas Central will get funds or will get discounts from a real estate developer if they build their Dallas train station in the Cedars neighborhood. Which brings up the ole' saying about putting your money behind your talk, or actually walking the walk vs talking the talk. 

#107958 High Speed Rail - Texas

Posted by Electricron on 18 December 2017 - 09:28 AM


Which is near a transit hub.......If the HSR station in Houston is located at the transit hub identified in the DEIS, it will be located 5 miles away from  city hall, between 2 to 3 times the distances seen in much denser European cities. How close is close enough?


 You have consistently argued for transit project to be built in a responsible fiscal manner (ie Tarrant Express, CES HSR); yet when arguing for TCR, why, if fiscal responsibility is important to you,  the very expensive Cedars/Downtown Station in lieu of a East Oak Cliff Station near any southern sector DART Station?  Aren't southern Dart Stations close enough?


Yes, they would be close enough. Personally anything closer to downtown Dallas than Loop 12 would satisfy me. But I believe you are exaggerating how much more expensive a station at Cedars would be than at Loop 12. There are more things to consider than just money when placing train stations, things the DEIS spends much time on. Please take the time to read it....


Then there are things that the future railroad company looks at, like finding a commercial business partner who wants a train station in the mist of its real estate development. In Dallas Texas Central found one, in Houston it did not. 

#107924 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 16 December 2017 - 09:28 AM

Just look at that recent photo posted of the railroad viaduct, then count the number of posts and then calculate how long the viaduct is. yes, That far for a 25 to 30 feet elevation change so the TexRail trains will not interfere with freight railroad traffic on the UP Choctaw line at all. 30 feet vertically requires 3000 feet horizontally using a 1% grade, 1500 feet horizontally with a 2% grade. Then multiply by two to get the tracks back down to grade on the other side.

Don't you think TexRail would rather have crossed the UP Choctaw corridor at grade, that's how the GVVR using the Cotton Belt crosses it now? The steam train may cross the Choctaw corridor twice, possibly four times a day, but TexRail was going to cross it 50 to 60 times a day. So UP wouldn't allow TexRail crossing its tracks at grade, that's why TexRail is building that long viaduct. TexRail didn't want to wait 10 minutes for a freight train to pass through an at grade crossing either, another reason to go ahead and build that long viaduct. But even with the viaduct being built to take the TexRail trains over the UP tracks, UP asked and got Amtrak's Texas Eagle trains off their Ft. Worth corridor moved onto the TRE corridor - with all the expenses to make it happen paid for by TexRail. TexRail also had to get permission from the UP to cross another rail corridor with another viaduct. So UP really took them to the cleaners.

Imagine how much more TexRail would have had to pay to cross a third UP rail corridor along with BNSF and FWWR corridors just to get to the Stockyards directly? With the present routing, they don't have to cross the BNSF and FWWR owned corridors. at all That fact alone has saved TexRail scores and scores of millions of dollars.....


The main purpose is to get TexRail trains between downtown Fort Worth and DFW airport. TexRail has accomplished doing that, believe it or not, in the most economical way. That's what engineers and building contractors try to do all the time, because the most economical way usually means in the most profitable way. Going directly to the Stockyards has proven not to be the most economical way. 


The only economic way to build TexRail to the Stockyards was to continue it south through Forrest Park and bypassing downtown Fort Worth entirely. That routing failed it's primary mission of getting passengers to and from downtown Fort Worth, therefore during the planning process that routing was eliminated. 

#107833 TEX Rail project

Posted by Electricron on 14 December 2017 - 02:42 AM


I would also like to see the rail overpass going over 28th Street west of Decatur be widened to accommodate a road with wider lanes and bicycle/pedestrian access to points west of the railroad tracks (including the Stockyards).......


Peach Railyard overpass.






What might have been had Tarrant Express "overpass" the tracks between 21st - 28th Streets to place the North Side Station...sad!


It would have been much more expensive. To overpass the tracks between 21st and 28th streets would have meant crossing three freight railroad companies tracks twice more. It took FWTA 10 years to negotiate crossing UP tracks, and using DART tracks. I suppose it might have taken 30 years at that rate to negotiate crossing BNSF, UP, and FWWR tracks. 

As is. they have followed the old Cotton Belt tracks owned by DART, running on the east, then south side of the existing railroad corridor until past the FWWR yard in northeast Fort Worth. They still have had to build expensive overpasses just to build the shorter route. 

#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.