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First Transit Inc. has signed an operations and maintenance services contract with the Denton County Transportation Authority's (DCTA) A-train.The agreement is the first North American rail contract for the company, a division of United Kingdom-based FirstGroup.
The A-train is a 21-mile regional rail system connecting Denton and Dallas counties. The line features five stations: two in Denton, Texas, and three in Lewisville, Texas. The line also connects with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) at its Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton, Texas, where passengers can transfer to DART's Green Line and get access to the Dallas-Fort Worth Area. Effective Oct. 1, the contract covers nine years with a five-year extension option. The scope of the work includes operations, dispatch and maintenance for DCTA's A-train commuter-rail service."We have a great deal of rail expertise in the U.K., and look forward to bringing it to the citizens of Denton County," said First Transit President Brad Thomas in a press release. "With our extensive rail operations, including passenger high-speed and commuter, and our strong relationship with DCTA, this is a natural fit."Fort Worth, Texas-based Rio Grande Pacific Corp. (RGPC) and CTC Inc. will support First Transit as service partners and provide dispatching, maintenance of way and signaling services. For its part, CTC will oversee the operation and maintenance of the A-train's signaling systems and grade crossings, as well as the implementation of positive train control. The engineering firm last fall was tapped to provide signal systems enhancements to the A-train.RGPC, a privately held railroad holding company that operates four short lines in six states, currently provides primary and backup third-party dispatching services for 10 short lines traversing more than 2,000 miles of track. DCTA's A-train carries more than 500,000 passengers annually.