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Rail News: Mechanical

Fort Worth transportation agency prefers diesel multiple units for TEX Rail


Yesterday, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority's (The T) board approved a change in the type of TEX Rail vehicle that will be included in the agency's New Starts federal funding submittal form.

The vehicle in The T's New Starts submittal in 2011 specified a TRE-type locomotive-hauled coach (LHC); the proposed change specifies a diesel multiple unit (DMU), The T officials said in a prepared statement.

The agency previously planned to launch service with TRE vehicles due to their significantly lower purchase price and less lead time to procure in order to meet the 2016 schedule, with a long-range plan to move to DMUs in the future, they said.

A recent cost analysis found that the additional costs for the DMUs will be more than offset by lower operating costs, however. The DMUs are estimated to cost $88 million — about $25 million more than the TRE-type LHC. But the operating expense for DMUs is projected to be $4 million less per year than LHC operating costs.

In addition, partial funding — an estimated $55 million — from the Texas Department of Transportation and Regional Transportation Council is available to help pay for the DMUs, The T officials said.

The agency's fiscal-year 2035 financial plan will be updated to document the net financial impact.

"We are very pleased that these new benefits will potentially make it possible to initiate TEX Rail service with a DMU-type vehicle, and we look forward to working with the region to make this a reality," said The T President Dick Ruddell.

Formerly known as the Southwest-to-Northeast Rail Corridor, TEX Rail (short for Tarrant Express) is proposed to stretch from southwest Fort Worth, through downtown Fort Worth, on to Grapevine and into the north end of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/18/2012