FRA Approves First Integrated Use of Stadler GTW Rail Vehicle for DCTA – The RftV/Leewood Study is Shovel Ready!

Good news everyone, in the USA the Federal Railway Administration has approved theAi??first integrated use of the Stadler GTW Rail Vehicle for Denton County Transportation Authority’s new passenger rail line.

Not quite TramTrain and not quite an old Budd RDC or Bombardier O-train, theAi??Stadler Diesel LRTAi??fits the market for light weight diesel rail cars for use on secondary rail lines that now only handle freight service. Well golly gee whiz, doesn’t that sound like the former BC Electric interurban service from Vancouver to Chilliwack. ForAi??under $600 millionAi??(less than half the cost of the 11.5 km SkyTrain Evergreen line) the region could operateAi??a basic hourly passenger service from downtown Vancouver (Central Station) to Chilliwack.

Success is written all over thisAi??project and it this makes the the powers that be in TransLink (and BC Transit for that matter), very worried. Maybe 33 years of hackneyed andAi??badly datedAi??SkyTrain only planning by provincial and regional transit planners would be all too evident if an affordable light rail transit service were to be built connecting the Fraser Valley to downtown Vancouver and more importantly, from downtown Vancouver to the Fraser Valley.

Let us hope that a new provincial government will see the importance of a light railway connecting Vancouver to Chilliwack, through the Fraser Valley, as the public has already recognised the importance of reinstating the former BC Electric interurban service.Ai??

FRA Approves First Integrated Use of Stadler GTW Rail Vehicle for DCTA

Source: Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA)

On Monday, June 4, 2012, Administrator Joseph Szabo of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in conjunction with the American Public Transportation Association Annual Rail Conference formally announced approval of DCTAai??i??s request to operate the Stadler GTW concurrent with traditional, compliant equipment. This means that for the first time ever; light-weight/fuel efficient, eco-friendly low-floor vehicles will be permitted to operate in rail corridors concurrently with traditionally compliant vehicles. The waiver, a first of its kind, will expand commuter rail options for transportation authorities across the United States.

In 2009, the FRAai??i??s Rail Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) prepared a set of technical criteria and procedures for evaluating passenger rail train-sets that have been built to alternative designs. The alternative designs enable lighter, more fuel-efficient rail vehicles equipped with a Crash Energy Management system to commingle with traditionally compliant equipment. The DCTA/Stadler alternative design waiver is the first comprehensive submittal that follows the RSAC Engineering Task Force (ETF) procedures for Tier I equipment. The approval of the DCTA/Stadler waiver request demonstrates that the enhanced crashworthiness and passenger protection systems inherent to DCTAai??i??s new rail vehicles meet the latest and most stringent safety standards in the U.S.

ai???Stadler is excited and proud to have the opportunity of announcing this milestone and appreciates the immense joint effort conducted by DCTA and the FRA,ai??? stated Steve Bonina, Stadler USA president. ai???Stadler continues to be hopeful that the FRA codifies the RSAC guidelines into regulatory requirements in order to open the North American Rail Network to this outstanding, safer, eco-friendly rail technology, which will help to make rail systems safer, more efficient, more reliable and less

Stadler, DCTA and DCTAai??i??s vehicle consultant, LTK Engineering Services, have been working closely with the FRA to achieve this waiver since 2009. DCTA partnered with Stadler to make modifications and enhancements to the GTW to comply with the required safety guidelines. Modifications include changes to the fuel tank design, window glazing and passenger and operator seats.

ai???This approval is the result of unprecedented cooperation between DCTA, the FRA LTK and Stadler,ai??? stated Jim Cline, DCTA president. ai???Our efforts to operate the nationai??i??s first alternative compliant vehicle demonstrate not only our commitment to increased safety for our passengers and operators but to improving safety for the commuter rail industry. We are setting the conditions for future success for commuter rail expansion in North Texas and the conditions will allow us to advance the integration of these vehicles onto our

DCTA purchased 11 diesel-electric GTW 2/6 articulated rail vehicles from Stadler. The vehicles are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and incorporate enhanced air conditioning, passenger information system, video surveillance and numerous FRA compliant elements. The spacious interior has room for wheelchairs, strollers and bicycles. There are 104 seats and standing room for 96 persons in every vehicle along with bright compartments, large windows and comfortable seating. DCTA and Stadler will begin integrating the cars into service this summer.


One Response to “FRA Approves First Integrated Use of Stadler GTW Rail Vehicle for DCTA – The RftV/Leewood Study is Shovel Ready!”
  1. Haveacow says:

    This is big! For the first time since the rail transit revival began in North America in 1969, there is a compliant vehicle that has system wide acceptance in the US. That means Transport Canada will have no choice but to comply as well. Rail lines that have been disallowed transit service because they have freight running on them will no longer completely stop a new “light” transit service. The O Train in Ottawa may run like diesel light rail but to Transport Canada it is defined as a commuter rail line and must comply within this narrowly defined box. Allowing freight and a secondary transit vehicle to operate together is the first operational hurdle to be removed so that we can start modernizing transit services and use some ready made under used rail lines. This also makes it faster because you do not need a federal environmental assessment if the rail line already exists. You still need Transport Canada to do a approval process for an operating certificate but a major impediment could be removed. It is important rules like this that need to change to really make things like Tram Trains a operational reality here.

    Zweisystem replies: I agree completely. The real issue for safety is not “buff strength” in case of collision (which was the excuse by railways for not letting secondary transit operate), but eliminating any chance of collision at all! This means improved, fool-proof, signaling.

    Let us remember that the Karlsruhe TramTrains have been track sharing on the mainline railways since 1993, without a serious collision between TramTrain and train.

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