Originally Posted by dfwcr8tive
No plans or need for them anytime soon. All of the older vehicles were retrofitted in 2008 and extended to become longer SLRVs; new vehicles joined the fleet during the latest expansion (for a total of 163 vehicles).
Whole-heartly agree. No transit agency can afford to replace light rail vehicles with less than 20 years of service. These vehicles were designed and built to provide 40 to 50 years of service. DART had 115 LRVs before buying 48 brand new SLRVs, and refurbished all of the existing 115 into SLRVs too.
They did a study, and refurbishing the existing vehicles by adding the "C" section saved DART around $150 Million. A new SLRV costs around $5 Million each, the "C" section around $1 Million each, and a new LRV around $4 Million each. So DART spent $115 Million refurbishing the existing LRVs, and spent another $240 Million for 48 brand new SLRVs, approximately a total of $355 Million on trains.
DART could have made the decision not to refurbisned old trains into SLRVs, nor buy new SLRVs, they could have decided to buy a new modern design Kinkisharyo LRV instead. Using a rule of thumb that two "C"sections is the equivalent of one LRV as far as capacity is concerned, the math comes out as follows to reach the same passenger capacity.
115 + 48 (C Sections)/2 = 81.5 LRVs.
81.5 LRVs + 48 LRVs = 129.5 LRVs.
129.5 LRVs x $4 Million = $518 Million.
$518 Million - $355 Million = $163 Million.
Not only did DART save lots of money, all their trains are now identical, using the same parts, procedures, training, etc; and can be used on every line. Not every LRV can be lengthened into a SLRV by just adding a "C" section like DART's Kinkisharyo trains. The propulsion motors were oversized to begin with, so while the additional weight slowed acceleration, the result was still well within operational parameters. They added a new unpowered truck, but gave it the same brakes as on the other axels, therefore the new longer trains have the same braking capacity as before. The only additional load to the system was the additional hotel power consumed, lights, air conditioning, automatic doors, etc. by every train, and these additional hotel equipment were placed on the "C" Sections. So very little changes had to be made to the existing LRVs to add the "C" Sections, just the "C" Sections and the additional trucks.