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Old April 5th, 2007, 07:23 PM   #1
Sexas
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Austin Getting a Metro Rail

Austin Metro Rail on track for 2008 arrival
from http://[email protected]

Only about 2,000 votes kept a 52-mile light rail track out of Austin back in 2000. With half of voters feeling underserved by the project, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority went back to the drawing board.
They started by listening, and in the end heard input from nearly 8,000 citizens.

Capital Metro returned in 2004 with a scaled-back plan of 32 miles of commuter rail, using existing track rather than new. They also took the starting point of the line and moved it from Howard Lane, in Northwest Austin, north to the city of Leander. This plan, known as All Systems Go, passed with nearly 62 percent voter approval.

“For the amount of money we could put down, this route made the most sense. It was economical since the line was there, and it also passed through some of the fastest growing areas,” said Julie Martin, Capital Metro’s Community Involvement Coordinator who was there in 2004 taking feedback from the public. She points out that while moving from light rail to commuter rail meant cutting out other areas of Austin, these areas are better served with other parts of the All Systems Go plan, such as street cars.

Today, Capital Metro has branded this commuter line the MetroRail, and beginning in 2008 it will be running Austinites from the downtown Convention Center to Leander in around 55 minutes.

Making the MetroRail

MetroRail and the All Systems Go plan do not employ any bonds, raise taxes or incur debt. The $90 million MetroRail is funded from the existing one cent sales tax Capital Metro reaps from Austin and other areas that
Capital Metro services, government grants and rider fares. Last year Capital Metro received more than $135 million in tax revenue.

“MetroRail is one of the most [financially] efficient systems in the country because it’s already paid and it runs on existing track,” said Capital Metro spokesman Misty Whited. “Other cities that build from scratch pay much more, which is generally done with bonds or taxes.”

The MetroRail does not have the visual impact of other transportation projects, such as the toll roads, because the construction is minimal and spread out over a large area.

“One of the big misconceptions is that people don’t see anything being built, so they don’t think Capital Metro is on track,” Whited said. “Construction started in ’06 and a good example is the Leander Park and Ride.”

Construction has started on three projects along the rail line. Last July, Capital Metro approved a $711,000 contract for the Leander rail station, which opened Monday.

They approved contracts for two more projects in October, including a 2,000 ft. $5.5 million overpass on McNeil Road where MetroRail crosses the Union Pacific track, and the construction of the rail station at Lakeline Boulevard and Lyndhurst Street for $914,000.

Projects down the line include eight more stations, but Capital Metro has not yet executed the contracts for these projects.

Work on the first six rail cars has also begun. Capital Metro signed an initial $32.3 million contract with a Swiss rail manufacturer for six cars with an option of adding 12 more cars in the future. Each car is self-propelled by two diesel-electric engines.

“These particular cars are quieter than other commuter rail systems and are environmentally friendly, so noise and vibration shouldn’t be a problem,” Whited said.

The areas that the MetroRail cuts through are already crossed by freight trains carrying construction equipment and gravel, which will continue to run outside of peak commuter hours.

Rail as an investment

A major concern in 2004 was if ridership would justify the amount spent on commuter rail. Capital Metro’s most recent numbers estimate there will be 1,700 to 2,000 trips taken per day on the MetroRail.

“We feel that even those who aren’t ever going to ride the MetroRail are still going to benefit from less cars on the road and less air pollution,” Whited said. “Over time, as the rail becomes more common, more people will ride. Regional population growth is going to double in the next 25 years, so this is a plan that will accommodate that future.”





I think it look nice with the red, what you guys think?
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Old April 5th, 2007, 08:25 PM   #2
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Really good looking trains! Awesome for Austin!
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Old April 5th, 2007, 08:30 PM   #3
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Nice! Reminds me of th O-Train in Ottawa.
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Old April 6th, 2007, 01:54 AM   #4
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sweet!
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Old April 6th, 2007, 02:10 AM   #5
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Looks cool and futuristic, cept that stupid horn thing on top of the train. I wish BART would get some new trains...
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Old April 8th, 2007, 11:45 PM   #6
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Looks really nice. Good job!
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Old April 9th, 2007, 05:37 AM   #7
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Austin looks to have a really high quality transit system. How is it funded?
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Old December 10th, 2007, 04:15 PM   #8
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Austin Rail - Capital MetroRail

For such a liberal tree hugging city, I can't believe they are going with a DMU belching diesel fumes everywhere.

Here's the article


Austin:
Rail transit project passes major milestone with completion of first railcar

Central Texas's first rail transit project – the 32-mile non-electrified light regional railway being installed by the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Capital Metro) based in Austin – passed a major milestone in March with the completed assembly of the system’s first "urban commuter rail" car by the Stadler Rail Group at its manufacturing plant in Switzerland. The railcar vendor has begun static testing of the vehicle, and track testing will follow in the next few months.

The first of 6 light diesel-electric articulated cars for the service to be called Capital MetroRail, the first vehicle will arrive in Austin this fall for testing on Capital Metro’s own tracks. Each car will have room for more than 200 passengers (with 108 seated) and will feature bicycle and luggage racks, high-back seats, and free WiFi. The cars, purchased for a total of about US$34 million, exceed both U.S. and European safety standards.

Although the cars are described as "low floor", they could more accurately be described as "medium-floor", since floor height is about about 2 feet, or more than 200 mm, higher than the standard 350 mm (about 14 inches) for lowfloor light rail cars, but lower than the high-platform systems used in heavier rapid transit systems. Each car will provide level boarding at medium-high platforms, similar to those used on New Jersey Transit's River Line between Camden and Trenton, and on Ottawa's O-Train. In effect, Capital MetroRail will quite resemble a Schnellbahn ("fast-train") service widespread in Europe, connecting exurbs and suburbs to central cities.

Serving approximately 10 stations, Capital MetroRail trains will begin service in late 2008 from the exurb of Leander into downtown Austin. Initially, trains will run every 30 minutes during morning and afternoon rush hours. The entire project has an investment cost of about $90 million, or approximately $3 million per mile.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:04 PM   #9
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Too bad it does not have light rail frequencies or hours. It would be great to see Austin and San Antonio get LRT networks.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 08:01 PM   #10
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Old December 11th, 2007, 08:25 PM   #11
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Old December 11th, 2007, 08:26 PM   #12
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Old December 11th, 2007, 08:32 PM   #13
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Capital Metro’s Commuter Rail Vehicles
Assembly
The Capital MetroRail trains are being manufactured in Switzerland by Stadler Bussnang AG.

Each vehicle will be self-propelled by two diesel electric engines and will be able to start and stop faster than traditional commuter rail vehicles.

The trains have a capacity of 200 passengers, 108 seated and 92 standing, as well as spaces for passengers with wheelchairs (fully ADA com-pliant) and bicycles.

Each train will feature luggage racks, high back seats, low floor entry for easy access, and WiFi.

The rail car communications system includes visual and acoustic passenger information, a video recording system and a wireless LAN infrastructure.

After assembly of the first two rail vehicles, Stadler conducted static and track testing. Capital MetroRail trains will exceed both U.S. and European safety standards.


Shipping
The entire journey from Switzerland to Austin took about 5 weeks. Each train was shipped in three parts. The trains were trucked from Switzerland to the German port of Bremerhaven.

Once the ship carrying the trains reached the Port of Galveston, trucks transported the trains to Austin.

Arrival
The first two trains arrived at Capital Metro’s Rail Facility in late October.

Shortly after the trains arrived, the reassembly process began.

Crews used cranes to lift the vehicles off truck flatbeds and place them on the track.

Then, crews reassembled the engine to the two passenger compartments.

Testing
In December, Capital Metro will begin testing the vehicles along the rail line from Howard Lane and Mopac down to 47th street and Airport Boulevard.

Testing will occur between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily, including weekends.

During initial testing, the rail car will reach speeds of 20-45 mph and not travel more than 20 mph over railroad crossings.

Capital Metro will also conduct 1,000 miles of testing for each vehicle to ensure certain specifications and reliability. This requirement is part of Capital Metro’s vehicle acceptance program.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 09:48 PM   #14
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Oooh, how euro
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Old March 28th, 2010, 08:34 PM   #15
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AUSTIN | Public Transport

Austin - Capital MetroRail

image hosted on flickr

Austin, TX (HDR) by Peter Talke Photography, on Flickr


Opened March 22, 2010 our first commuter rail line opened. Below are some information and pictures from my little tour on the last train on the last free day.

Website:
http://www.capmetro.org/MetroRail/

From Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_MetroRail

System Map:




















































































Last edited by desertpunk; September 2nd, 2013 at 03:43 AM.
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Old March 28th, 2010, 09:10 PM   #16
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Doesn't look much like a Commuter Rail line, but it's very nice!
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Old March 28th, 2010, 11:12 PM   #17
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Is this woman wearing a snuggie??! LOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!

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Old March 28th, 2010, 11:54 PM   #18
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I just read that it finally opened. Nice pictures. I really like the maps at the stations of all the bus connections and surrounding bus stops. Were there so many people because it was free? I read that they expect only 2,000 people per day.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 03:08 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldbough View Post
I just read that it finally opened. Nice pictures. I really like the maps at the stations of all the bus connections and surrounding bus stops. Were there so many people because it was free? I read that they expect only 2,000 people per day.
This is an Embarrassment of a line compared to DART's or Houston's first line. It doesn't seem to go anywhere.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 04:09 AM   #20
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^ how long is Houston's? Don't they just have a 7-8 mile rail system only? Anyways this is 32 miles long which isn't bad for a starter system. Anyways I like the look of the trains & congrats to Austin!
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