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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

October 2014

Rail News: Passenger Rail

New rail systems under construction: A Passenger Rail at a Glance supplement


By Angela Cotey, senior associate editor


In Progressive Railroading’s annual Passenger Rail at a Glance guide, published in our October issue, we outlined the capital projects under way or scheduled to begin soon at transit agencies in the United States and Canada. And there are plenty of them: Major expansions and/or improvement projects are on the docket for agencies from San Francisco to New York, Dallas to Chicago. But there are plenty more cities throughout the United States and Canada that are planning brand-new rail systems to accommodate population and traffic growth in those areas. Here, we list a handful of them.

All Aboard Florida
A passenger-rail project being developed by Florida East Coast Industries L.L.C., All Aboard Florida will connect Miami and Orlando.

Route miles being constructed: 240 intercity rail
Rolling stock: 5 trainsets on order from Siemens, each consisting of two diesel-electric locomotives and four passenger coaches
Project cost: $3 billion
Number of stations: 4

All Aboard Florida recently launched construction on the first phase of its intercity passenger-rail project between Miami and West Palm Beach. Scheduled to be completed by 2016’s end, the corridor also will feature a stop in Fort Lauderdale. HNTB Corp. is serving as program and construction manager, assisting All Aboard Florida with infrastructure development and station connections, as well as overseeing design firms that are preparing preliminary and final plans for the track, structures, systems, facilities and site work. Suffolk Construction will provide pre-construction and construction management services for the Miami station. Construction on the facility is scheduled to begin in late fall. All Aboard Florida has not yet selected a contractor for the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations.

Phase 2 of the project will connect West Palm Beach and Orlando, and include an intermodal station at the Orlando International Airport’s future South Terminal. Construction is expected to begin once All Aboard Florida has completed an Environmental Impact Statement and the Federal Railroad Administration has issued a record of decision. The second phase is scheduled to open in 2017.

Fort Worth Transportation Authority
A regional transportation authority in Texas, The T jointly operates Trinity Railway Express commuter-rail service with Dallas Area Rapid Transit. The agency also is developing the TEX Rail commuter-rail line.

Route miles being constructed: 27 commuter rail
Number of stations: 8

The TEX Rail project calls for an initial service segment running from downtown Fort Worth, northeast across Tarrant County, to Grapevine and into Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal B. The target date for the opening of revenue service is 2018, and ridership estimates are 10,000 daily riders at the start of service. By 2035, The T expects TEX Rail will serve 10 stations and carry 15,000 passengers daily.

Region of Waterloo
A municipality in southern Ontario, Canada, the Region of Waterloo is building a light-rail transit (LRT) and adapted bus rapid transit (aBRT) system.

Route miles under construction: 17 light rail (Stage 1)
Rolling stock: 14 Bombardier Transportation Flexity Freedom light-rail vehicles, scheduled to be delivered in late 2016
Project cost: $818 million
Annual operations and maintenance costs: $4 million for operations, $4.5 million for maintenance, $8.7 million for lifecycle, $11 million for financing, $1.7 million for insurance
Number of stations: 16 (Stage 1)

The Region of Waterloo is constructing Stage 1 of a light-rail system serving that will operate along a 19-kilometer route between the Conestoga Mall transit terminal in Waterloo and the Fairview Park Mall transit terminal in Kitchener. Stage 1 also includes a 17-kilometer aBRT route operating from the Ainslie Street transit terminal in Cambridge to the Fairview Park Mall transit terminal in Kitchener. The aBRT project is scheduled to be completed in early 2015; the LRT system, in 2017. Grandlinq is serving as Waterloo’s public-private partner for Stage 1 and will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the system, to be named ION, for the next 30 years.

Stage 2 of the project calls for converting the aBRT route into a light-rail line, creating a 37-kilometer ION route with 23 stops between Cambridge and Waterloo.

Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit
SMART is a public agency created in 2002 by state legislation to build a commuter-rail system in California’s Marin and Sonoma counties. In 2008, voters approved Measure Q, a quarter-cent sales tax to help fund the system.

Route miles being constructed: 43 commuter rail
Rolling stock: 14 DMUs on order from Sumitomo Corp. of America, scheduled to be delivered in 2015
Project cost: $428 million (Phase 1)
Number of stations: 10 in Phase 1, 4 in Phase 2

The SMART rail system will serve a 70-mile corridor from Larkspur to Cloverdale. The first phase, currently under construction, calls for building a segment between San Rafael and Santa Rosa.

Triangle Transit
Planning a light-rail line serving Durham and Orange counties in North Carolina.

Triangle Transit is in the project development phase for the 17-mile Durham-Orange light-rail project, which would run from Chapel Hill to East Durham, with proposed stops at the University of North Carolina and its hospitals, South Square, Duke University, Duke University Medical Center, the VA Medical Center, Downtown Durham and North Carolina Central University. By January 2016, TTA plans to complete a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Final Environmental Impact Statement, after which the project will enter the engineering phase. The project is estimated to cost $1.3 billion. Voters in Durham and Orange Counties have approved a half-cent sales tax to fund the local share of the rail project. For more on TTA's proposed light-rail project and other rail plans that are on the docket, read this web-exclusive article on


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