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March 1997 - Page 12


S P E C I AL R E P O RT

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Courtesy DART

In Dallas, commuter rail's future will take on the shape of the past once a lIeet of RDCs (rebuilt by GEC-Alsthom/AMF Transport in Montreal) re place an interim fleet of leased equipment. The much-delayed RDCs should be holding down Trinity Commuter Railway schedules by early summer.

Dallas Welcomes Trinity Commuter Railway
D allas Area Rapid Transit's Trini ty Railway Express ( T R E ) " u n wrapped" its Christmas present t o the Dallas-Ft. Worth area o n Dec. 7. Sporting a big red bow on its roof, D A RT's first reb u i l t VIA R a i l C a n a d a B u d d R D C-T R E N o . 2 0 0 1 -w a s d i s p l a y e d a t DART's South I rving Transporta tion Center for public inspection. DART personnel were enthusias tic, and potential riders seemed pleased with the spectacularly re stored RDC. Unfortunately, looks can be (and were) deceiving. Despite all the fanfare, DART's first RDC had been delivered with out being fully operational; under
1 2March 1 997

a c loak of darkness, Union Pacific had towed the R D C to DA RT's new Irving rail station. As of press time, TRE 200 1 remains the only u n i t d e l i ve re d to D A RT from

At the DART board meeting, three days a fter the unveiling at I rving, Executive Director Roger Snoble told board members that "we are proba b l y not g o i n g to

DART personnel were enthusiastic, and potential riders seemed pleased with the spectacularly restored ROC
G E C-Alsthom/ AMF Transport in Montreal, and it seems likely that D A RT m a y n o t h a v e e n o ugh equipment for the scheduled start of the commuter service. have a commuter rail car ready for the 3 0 t h . We are looking at leasing cars for a few months . " Snoble also stated that "even up until Saturday, we thought we

would make it. But it just did not turn out to be." This news shocked some DART Board members. One, referring to the news that 200 1 was inoperable, questioned why TRE had accepted a 'display mode\. ' Despite GEC/ A M F 's optimistic rhetoric, those fol lowing the progress of the pro ject had long suspected that the manufacturer would be unlikely to d e l i v e r t h e fu l l c o m p lement of RDCs by Dec. 30. The D a l las-Ft. Worth media, s u p p o r t i v e of the s t a r t - u p of DART's successful light rail oper ations six months earlier, jumped all over this bungling. B o t h D A RT a n d G E C/A M F admitted that the schedule for re building the vintage 1 9 50's RDes had been ambitious. Mike Monte-

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