Capital Metro is taking an exciting step on our way toward doubling both the capacity and frequency of our MetroRail service. This week, we’ve received shipment of two new trains from the manufacturer in Switzerland!
The trains were loaded onto a barge in the city of Bussnang in February for a one-month journey to Galveston, arriving last week. From there, they began their journey to Austin on six 90-foot trucks, with three additional escort vehicles. The caravan arrived in Austin around lunchtime today and were escorted by Metro Security and the Austin Police Department to our railyard in North Austin.
The trains will be unloaded and assembled onto the tracks. Be sure to check local media for video of the unloading and assembly of the trains on Thursday.
The trains will need to go through a five to six-month testing period before being integrated into the MetroRail fleet, and it’ll be another year or so before Cap Metro will be able to truly expand service. But, like refurbishment of our existing train compartments — the arrival of the trains marks another important milestone in our planned improvements to MetroRail service.
Over the next year, we will add double tracking to the 32-mile MetroRail Red Line so that trains can pass in more places. Currently, there are just two rail stations — MLK and Kramer — that have tracks on either side of the platforms, which allows both northbound and southbound trains to operate at once. When double tracking is added in other spots along the route, we’ll be able to operate the Red Line more frequently. Eventually, trains will run every 15 minutes during peak times, instead of every 30 minutes. In addition, signal improvements are also planned throughout the line, to ensure safety remains our top priority.
Great things continue to happen at Capital Metro for our customers!