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  #21  
Old Posted Jun 12, 2009, 11:06 PM
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Keep Houston out of this thread or it will be locked, and the people perpetuating this distraction will face consequences.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 1:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonhouse View Post
Keep Houston out of this thread or it will be locked, and the people perpetuating this distraction will face consequences.
Calm down, I was responding to UrbanactivistTX's comment about Houston needing a hybrid system like Dallas's. I'm not trying to get into Houston vs Dallas but how Dallas's system can't work well in Houston.

Quote:
Originally Posted by electricron View Post
So what? Metro reports 39,500 rail riders per day, Dart reports a total of 71,100 rail riders per day. Source, both Wikipedia articles.
Riders per mile math:
39,500 / 7.5 = ~5300 passengers per mile.
71,100 / 45 = ~1600 passengers per mile.

Houston Metro's Red Line takes 30 minutes to travel a distance of 7.5 miles, Dallas Dart's Red Line takes 66 minutes to travel a distance of 27 miles. In 7.5 miles, Metro's line has 16 stations, averaging a station every 0.46 mile. In 27 miles, Dart's line has 25 stations, averaging a station every 1.1 mile. Why is it surprising Houston's Metro Red Line gets more ridership per mile? You're never further than a 1/4 mile between rail stations.

But, lets now compare the average speeds of the trains. Dart's Red Line trains average 25 mph, Metro's Red Line trains average 15 mph. When you're building a rail line out to the second ring of suburbs around a major city, speed is more important than riders/mile. I would like to point out Metro's Red Line doesn't even reach Houston's city limits in either the northern or southern direction. Additionally, it doesn't reach north of downtown Houston yet.

So, you're trying to compare Apples to Oranges. Dart has 13 member cities while Metro has 16 member cities. But, their Board of Directors are set up entirely differently. Metro has 7 Board Members, 5 appointed by Houston and 2 by the rest (15 cities). I think it is obvious Metro is set up to favor Houston unfairly. Meanwhile, Dart has 15 Board Members, split proportionally to member cities population. Presently, 8 represent Dallas, the remaining 7 represent the rest. I think it is obvious Dart isn't set up to favor Dallas unfairly.

Because of how the two Boards are set up, it easy to understand why Dart builds rail lines to the suburbs while Metro doesn't. I suggest the reason why Dart has twice the number of daily passengers on its trains is because rail actually goes to the suburbs.
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Originally Posted by jtk1519 View Post
It does seem a little disingenuous to try and compare Houston's red line, which is in all reality a street car system, to DART's red line which is over 3 and half times longer. Now, if you could isolate just the section of red line that runs through downtown from the Cedars station to the Pearl station, then you could compare that to Houston's line because for that short stretch, the two lines are similar in design and execution, but beyond that the DART red line leaves the city streets and becomes a true rapid transit line.
My point was that Houston can't emulate DART as Urbanactivisttx suggested. I think DART's success is dubious since it does cover a lot more ground then METROs yet only has ~71,000 passengers currently but I am sure it will get better as the system grows. I wasn't trying to compare Houston to Dallas success but to show how two different types operate. I didn't have time to elaborate on it till now, I wasn't trying to start anything.

Houston needs LRT or a "streetcar system" or whatever you want to call it because Houston has significant employment centers within a 5 mile radius of downtown. Plus we already have a commuter system in place, which may not be as effective or flashy as rail but it's there. Maybe DART's setup is the best way to serve the Dallas metro; it seems to try and be a hybrid of commuter rail and light rail but offer none of the advantages of them.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 2:31 AM
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The definition of light rail is somewhat loose, but there is no denying that DART is not only true light rail, but indicative of the style of light rail found everywhere including Denver, Portland, Charlotte, etc. The red line is not commuter rail which is typically defined as heavy rail with high capacity and greater frequency between stops. In the Dallas area, that would be the TRE and forthcoming DCTA. What separates a light rail line like DARTs from trams (like Portland's street car, Houston's Metro, etc.). is that it's separated from the street which allows for greater speeds.

Stats are also a bit misleading. DART's red line is very long with several suburban stops. Obviously, ridership is going to be less in the burbs, but I would put the ridership numbers of the Red Line from Mockingbird Station to Cedars up against pretty much anybody in the country. Ask anybody who has to make the rush hour commute on the Red Line just how packed those trains can get the closer the line gets to the city center.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 2:57 AM
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Lightbulb

To add, when the Green and Orange lines enter service, doubling the milage of Dart light rail tracks, don't be surprise reading Dart reporting over 140,000 rail passengers per day by 5 years afterwards (~2017).
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  #25  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 4:09 AM
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Some construction pics from the past couple of months...

MLK station...





Baylor Medical Center station...





Fair Park Station...





www.dart.org
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  #26  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 4:40 AM
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Drove by the Fair Park Station yesterday and all I can say is: WOW!!!

DART has put a lot of detail into this station and those two above pictures don't do it justice. Good job DART! Can't wait to see this one finished.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 5:30 AM
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One of my favorite details of DART stations are how they all look relatively alike except for the columns...

The DART Zoo Station:

Photo by Pamela H Nelson
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  #28  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 3:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtk1519 View Post
The definition of light rail is somewhat loose, but there is no denying that DART is not only true light rail, but indicative of the style of light rail found everywhere including Denver, Portland, Charlotte, etc. The red line is not commuter rail which is typically defined as heavy rail with high capacity and greater frequency between stops. In the Dallas area, that would be the TRE and forthcoming DCTA. What separates a light rail line like DARTs from trams (like Portland's street car, Houston's Metro, etc.). is that it's separated from the street which allows for greater speeds.

.

Does anyone believe that the DFW region could support a system like this one day. Not what the TRE is. But the system that is currently in Washington DC, Atlanta, and San Francisco. I think it can if they wanted it. I know the cost is a gigantic hurdle though. That MLK station looks like a heavy rail station everytime I see it.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 7:47 PM
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBoi View Post
Does anyone believe that the DFW region could support a system like this one day. Not what the TRE is. But the system that is currently in Washington DC, Atlanta, and San Francisco. I think it can if they wanted it. I know the cost is a gigantic hurdle though. That MLK station looks like a heavy rail station everytime I see it.
Heavy rail, using a third rail, either below or to the side, requires complete separation from people and other vehicles for safety. You wouldn't want to make it easy for people to electrocute themselves, intentionally or accidentally. That seclusion raises costs significantly.

Dart's light rail vehicles are shorter in height & length, and are much quieter than heavy rail vehicles. Which makes them very popular with its neighbors. The main advantages of heavy rail is technically achieved by using longer trains, and by being grade separated from all other traffic. All of Dart's light rail stations were built only so long (planned expansion up to 4 LRVs or 3 SLRVs). You'll have to completely redesign and rebuild all the stations to switch from light rail to heavy rail. Most crossings are at grade level. Replacing them with grade separations will be very expensive. Heavy rail can't run down city streets like Dart's light rail trains do through downtown Dallas. Most area citizens prefer the train stations to be open, where they are very visible, easy to find, and easy to access. The openness also gives a sense of security.

While it could be done in the future, I don't think Dart will as long as light rail vehicles move the traffic demanded from them.

Last edited by electricron; Jun 19, 2009 at 12:57 AM.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2009, 8:26 PM
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Oh I wasn't talking about redoing or rebuilding your entire current system and transforming this system to a heavy rail network. Sorry for the confusion. I think Dallas and DART should keep this system. I think light rail and heavy rail can coexist. I was just saying that if the region itself can come together and build a system from scratch, do you believe it could happen in say the next 30-50 years. By then, I think the area increases it's density unless it really wants to sprawl to Oklahoma.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2009, 6:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBoi View Post
Does anyone believe that the DFW region could support a system like this one day. Not what the TRE is. But the system that is currently in Washington DC, Atlanta, and San Francisco. I think it can if they wanted it. I know the cost is a gigantic hurdle though. That MLK station looks like a heavy rail station everytime I see it.
I'm not sure I get what you're asking. What I typed that you highlighted, does describe the TRE line which is heavy rail.

Are you asking could the entire region support a rail system of some kind that spans the entire region? If that is your question, I would say that would be difficult. There are around 200 cities and towns that make up the DFW Metroplex and getting all of them on the same page is unlikely, but enough have and will to make a region wide system possible. In fact, it's already started, just with 3 different transit authorities. Most of the major cities are already already covered under either DART, The Fort Worth Transportation Authority or the Denton County Transportation Authority. Arlington is the only major standout as they continue to defy reason. Still under what exists already, there already is or will be rail connecting Dallas, Ft. Worth, Denton, Irving, Garland, Plano, DFW, Grapevine, Lewisville, North Richland Hills, etc. Yeah, it would be ideal if all three agencies were under one roof and their operations consolidated, but for now, DART, The T and the DCTA are better than nothing.

The NCTCOG has released a plan for region wide rail transit by 2030...



I think a lot of that is a bit of a pipe dream. As nice as it would be, rail to Frisco, TMS, McKinney, etc. is probably not going to happen by 2030, but I believe a lot of that will. The Cotton Belt line, the A-Train from Denton to Dallas, and I do believe in the next 21 years, Arlington will pull their heads out and we will some kind of passenger rail running through Arlington. I also don't believe that map includes the street car in Ft Worth which I think will be a huge asset.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2009, 3:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtk1519 View Post
I'm not sure I get what you're asking. What I typed that you highlighted, does describe the TRE line which is heavy rail.
Well there is a slight difference in terminology between heavy rail and commuter rail here in the states. The TRE is similar to what the DC area has in the VRE and MARC in that they use locomotive services. The heavy rail that I'm talking is one that uses electricity to move and has a higher capacity than light rail. I guess I'm asking in relation to strictly rapid transit which DART is but only in light rail form.

Basically, do you believe the region can support a system like this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3YukwiOFiw
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  #33  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2009, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBoi View Post
Well there is a slight difference in terminology between heavy rail and commuter rail here in the states. The TRE is similar to what the DC area has in the VRE and MARC in that they use locomotive services. The heavy rail that I'm talking is one that uses electricity to move and has a higher capacity than light rail. I guess I'm asking in relation to strictly rapid transit which DART is but only in light rail form.

Basically, do you believe the region can support a system like this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3YukwiOFiw
Okay, I see what you're saying now. Basically electric power commuter rail rather than the diesel locomotives the TRE uses. I'm admittedly very uneducated here, but I think DART is looking into that for the Cotton Belt and I think the DCTA's A-train is as well (though don't quote me on that). It's not possible for the TRE since the track the TRE uses is shared with freight. It is my understanding though that DART owns the Cotton Belt line and because of noise concerns where the line runs through North Dallas and Addison, they are probably going to go with what you're talking about...

Quote:
6.4.2 Vehicle Technology

Electric-powered LRT is the logical vehicle choice for
most corridors given that they will be extensions of or
interlined with the existing LRT system. The Cotton
Belt corridor has the best potential for alternative
technology, whether it is a FRA compliant vehicle, or
non-compliant self-propelled light rail vehicle. Use
of one common technology or vehicle types can
create efficiencies for maintenance facilities and create
purchasing power benefits. Thus, as the Denton
County Transportation Authority (rail from Denton
to Carrollton) and the T (Cotton Belt west of DFW
Airport) evaluate technologies for their planned rail
lines, there may be opportunities to create a second
common vehicle technology with one or both of
these corridors.

A key consideration for the Cotton Belt corridor, as in
other corridors, is the desire for an environmentallyand
community-friendly vehicle that has
characteristics comparable to DART light rail. DART
will continue to monitor technological advances that
can be applied not only to this corridor but to the
entire rail fleet in order to maximize environmental
and cost benefits and support future vehicle
technology decisions. Key conditions relative to the
Cotton Belt corridor vehicle are contained in Section
3.2.4.
http://www.dart.org/2030plan/DART2030PlanJan2007.pdf
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  #34  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2009, 3:39 AM
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That would be great if they would use that technology over the locomotive one and it would be better if it was successful. I find it much faster than regular locomotive engine commuter rail. Thanks for the info, jtk. Getting back to the current lines, one of you Dallasites need to be out there taking pictures once it opens this Fall at Fair Park. I can just imagine how crowded the trains will be during that time. DART will have very high ridership for the Texas State Fair. Also, I can't get enough of the MLK station. That's just one nice looking station.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2009, 2:14 AM
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBoi View Post
That would be great if they would use that technology over the locomotive one and it would be better if it was successful. I find it much faster than regular locomotive engine commuter rail. Thanks for the info, jtk. Getting back to the current lines, one of you Dallasites need to be out there taking pictures once it opens this Fall at Fair Park. I can just imagine how crowded the trains will be during that time. DART will have very high ridership for the Texas State Fair. Also, I can't get enough of the MLK station. That's just one nice looking station.
The DCTA will be using DMU trains between Trinity Mills (Dart's Green Line) and Denton Texas. I guess somebody needs to define the various types of trains systems in the USA today.

Streetcars/Trolleys > Almost always a small tram running down city streets.




Light Rail > Refers to rail systems with rapid transit-style features that usually use electric rail cars operating mostly in private rights-of-way separated from other traffic but sometimes, if necessary, mixed with other traffic in city streets. Light rail vehicles are never mixed with freight trains.




Metro (Heavy) Rail > A rapid transit, metro(politan), subway, underground, or elevated (railway) system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with high capacity and frequency, and which is grade separated from other traffic always in their own right-of-ways. Metro lines never run down city streets.




Light Trains > Lightweight DMU trains, are built too light to meet FRA compliance. Are often referred to as light rail without electric lines, although lightweight EMU trains are also built. They're also called commuter rail trains, but make no mistake, they're too light to share the same tracks with freight trains.




Heavy Trains > FRA compliant trains that can run on the same tracks as freight trains. Most often called commuter rail.


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  #36  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2009, 2:45 AM
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Thanks electricron. I still think the region itself could work with a typical heavy metrorail system but that could probably come in due time. So the DCTA will run Light Trains? Similar to what Austin is building?
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  #37  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2009, 7:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBoi View Post
Thanks electricron. I still think the region itself could work with a typical heavy metrorail system but that could probably come in due time. So the DCTA will run Light Trains? Similar to what Austin is building?
I believe that's the plan. They've been using this pic on their website...


http://mya-train.com/

I believe that is also DART's plan for the Cotton Belt line. In some online publications, they've been using a pic of Austin's CapMetro train, but photoshopped with DART's colors...


http://www.dart.org/cottonbeltppp/cottonbeltppprfi.pdf

Though none of that is official.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2009, 3:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TexasBoi View Post
Thanks electricron. I still think the region itself could work with a typical heavy metrorail system but that could probably come in due time. So the DCTA will run Light Trains? Similar to what Austin is building?
Yes! DCTA is buying 11 Stadler GTWs for the 21+ mile line between downtown Denton and the Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton. It'll be running on the ex-MKT (Katy) freight single track railroad corridor. Almost half the tracks had been removed from the corridor and the tracks on the other half were in very bad shape, so DCTA will replace every inch of mainline track with new. DGNO sends one freight train a day as far north as Lewisville today. DCTA plans to get temporal separation from the FRA so both freight and light non FRA compliant passenger trains can use the same tracks, but not at the same time. The sole freight train a day will be able to use the tracks very late at night (or very early in the mornings).
NJT considers these trains diesel powered light rail. NCTD considers these trains non FRA compliant commuter rail. CapMetro tried to call them both. DCTA calls them commuter rail or new technology light rail. This relativity new to the USA diesel powered light train is hard to classify. I prefer light train to distinguish them from light rail, just like I prefer to classify streetcars differently from light rail. In Europe, trains like these are called DMU, and there are identical in appearance EMU sisters.

The total costs, including a paved bike/hike path on half the corridor, five train stations with park & ride lots, 11 DMU trains, and 21 miles of new rail is approximately $310 Million. That's around $15 Million per mile. Just the track work alone costs $200 Million, around $10 Million per mile. That's far cheaper than DART can build light rail lines, which average from $40 to $60 Million per mile.




Compared to DART, DCTA saves on construction costs by eliminating electrification of the entire line, and by eliminating the second main track by having longer headways between trains. In the future when demand increases, more second main track can be added; when EPA requires cleaner trains, DCTA could buy EMU versions of their DMUs and electrify the line. Compared to the TRE, DCTA saves on operation and maintenance costs by using much lighter trains.
But DCTA DMUs will never be able to move as many passengers per hour as the TRE. The DCTA stuff to capacity DMU vehicle can carry 200 passengers each, and with a limitation of three coupled cars, a maximum of 600 passengers per train. The TRE BiLevel cars can also carry 200 passengers each. But each TRE train can have up to 11 cars, depending upon the horsepower of the locomotive, potentially 2200 passengers per train. Of course, the TRE would have to lengthen most train station platforms if they ever plan to push-pull that many cars.

Dart demands a FRA compliant DMU passenger train for the entire Cotton Belt. The existing Stadler GTW trains is not FRA compliant, which is why NJT, CapMetro, and DCTA require Temporal Separation waivers from the FRA. Therefore, the DART photoshop version of this partially low floor train will probably never be seen, but a variant all high floor version might. DART is working with several vendors, including Stadler, to build a new FRA compliant DMU, sized similar to these or DART light rail vehicles.

All FRA compliant passenger cars and EMUs built today are sized like the TRE RDCs.


Note: No one builds DMU versions that are FRA compliant anymore.

Last edited by electricron; Jun 19, 2009 at 4:30 PM.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2009, 11:06 PM
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Some updated pics of the first four green line stations which will open in a little over two months...

Baylor University Medical Center


(The Ambrose on one side and a new park on the other)









Deep Ellum









Fair Park











MLK







http://www.dart.org/newsroom/greenli...hdeepellum.jpg
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  #40  
Old Posted Jul 2, 2009, 11:52 PM
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Looking good! I'm really digging that Fair PArk station too. It seems everything was thought of here, right down to the appropriate typeface. You should be proud.
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