Rail Transition

It’s been about one month since Capital Metro hired the new passenger and freight rail contractors, and we’ve reached some key milestones along the way.

Staffing

Herzog Transit Services has filled 58 of its 60 positions and has selected Terry Bruner for the position of General Manager.  He has more than 30 years of experience in the railroad industry and has worked for Herzog since 1996.  Most recently, Bruner served as Transportation Manager of the Trinity Railway Express in Dallas-Ft. Worth.  His first day as MetroRail General Manager was Dec. 21.

Programming

The Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) signal programming work required to complete the project and open the system concluded on schedule at the end of 2009.  Implementation and installation of the new programming began Jan. 4.

Freight

Capital Metro has selected Charles DeWeese as the new Business Manager of Freight Rail Operations.  He is responsible for the financial planning and operational processes of the freight line and works closely with the Authority’s freight operator, Austin Western Railroad.  DeWeese has more than 40 years of rail experience and comes to Capital Metro from HDR Engineering.  His first day was Jan. 4.

Rail Line Assessment

Part of Herzog’s transition included a detailed assessment of the rail bridges, track bed infrastructure, CTC system and crossings.  The assessment has identified the need for strengthened maintenance and inspection procedures, which are currently being finalized and will be implemented prior to the start of service.

  • Tracks – Herzog will restore the 32-mile passenger rail corridor to “like new” conditions and maintain it this way.
  • Bridges – Herzog has brought in a supplemental team to focus on bridge maintenance. Capital Metro and Herzog will work together to finalize a long term capital bridge repair/rebuild program.
  • Crossings – Herzog and HAX, a signal maintainer firm, are conducting a thorough annual inspection on all crossings in the corridor and are making necessary adjustments.

These necessary upgrades will cost approximately $2.2 million and will be paid through Herzog’s operations and maintenance contract.

Launch Date

Capital Metro and Herzog estimate completing the project and beginning service in the first quarter of this year.

5 thoughts on “Rail Transition

  1. daveninja

    Are we still looking at only weekday daytime service? Missing a huuuuge opportunity if you don’t supply recreational service. Was the entire reason everyone I know was excited about rail service to downtown in the first place!

    1. Erica

      daveninja–

      alas, yes. When MetroRail starts up, it will be a commuter service to get people to work M-F. We can’t immediately expand to all day/night/weekend service because we are obligated by law to carry freight (remember passenger and freight rail use the same set of tracks). Of course we will work towards expansion over time–we want to take you to downtown at night!–but it will take time because we have to build more track and possibly get more railcars, too.

    2. Spending scarce local rail dollars on a service which even if/when double-tracked and run all day will, by the Feds own judgement back in 2000, be a ridership loser, is a really bad idea – especially when we have a much better local project needing the money (city urban rail plan).

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