Cap Metro Achieves PTC Milestone

PTC

By Dave Dech, VP of Rail Operations

Capital Metro has been working to put in place a positive train control (PTC) system along the 32-mile MetroRail line. We have now met an important threshold by completing all of the statutory requirements to qualify for an extension to the federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31.

PTC is a technological upgrade of the nation’s rail lines designed to create an additional layer of safety to rail. Congress mandated the improvements back in 2009 and gave rail operators until the end of this year to implement PTC.

The good thing is that Capital Metro has met all of the statutory requirements, which enables us to request the extension. Essentially, that means we’ve demonstrated sufficient progress on the project to convince the government that we’re on our way to full implementation. The Federal Railroad Administration is now reviewing our request, and we expect to receive notice of approval within 90 days. Until then, Capital Metro will continue to operate and continue work on PTC implementation. That means that customers will still occasionally experience disruptions to MetroRail service during this work.

Cap Metro is among many rail operators across the country to request this extension, including Caltrain in the San Francisco Bay area and New Jersey Transit. It allows the agency another two years to fully implement the PTC system, a goal that we are committed to reaching.

New Rail Schedule Rolls Out March 19

Rail-Schedule_3-19-2018

Capital Metro will put in place a new MetroRail schedule next week for evaluation. We’ll operate on this new schedule beginning the week of March 19 and evaluate how the service performs. The new schedule was developed in response to recent service disruptions on the MetroRail Red Line.

 

Please refer to these schedules, beginning March 19:

The agency is currently working on two major construction projects along the 32-mile rail line. These projects are an investment in the future of MetroRail, and will pay off with doubled frequency and capacity. Capital Metro is building additional passing points along the MetroRail route that will enable the service — once the new Downtown Station is completed — to double its frequency and capacity. The other project is implementing a federally mandated positive train control system, which will ensure the long-term safety and security of the service.

The projects will continue throughout 2018, and some service disruptions can be expected for the remainder of the year. During the week of March 19, though, we will evaluate the new schedule, which should minimize service disruptions. To ensure the transition will be seamless, routes for rail connector buses have been adjusted as well.

So, About those MetroRail Delays …

flowersMetroRail riders — and probably anyone within regular earshot of MetroRail riders — have noticed that the service has had difficulty as of late keeping to its schedule. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and for the disruption to your plans. But let us try to explain what’s happening, what’s causing the delays and what we’re trying to do to remedy the situation.

First, the delays themselves.

Since January, MetroRail trains have experienced delays of anywhere between 5 and 45 minutes. It hasn’t happened every day, but often enough. And, once it starts happening, it’s difficult to get back on schedule, and so brief delays in the morning rush hour can turn into lengthier delays by the evening. The best thing to do is to use the Next Departure feature on the CapMetro App and on our website to determine when your train’s gonna be there.

But what’s causing all this, you’re asking yourself.

Well, here’s the deal … it’s not just one issue, unfortunately. The delays stem from two separate projects that are under construction at the same time. We’re building additional passing points along the MetroRail route that will enable us — once our Downtown Station is completed — to double the frequency and capacity of the service. We are also implementing a federally mandated positive train control system, which will ensure the long-term safety and security of the service.

Continue reading “So, About those MetroRail Delays …”

Bridge work to affect MetroRail service

LEANDER STATIONTrain service will be affected in June when Capital Metro makes scheduled upgrades to the MetroRail Red Line on a bridge between Lakeline and Leander Stations. But don’t worry, Leanderites — Leandereans? Leanderthals? Leanderers? Leandermenandwomen? — we’ve got you covered whatever y’all call yourselves.

The last morning departure from Leander to Downtown Station and the first afternoon train from downtown to Leander will not run between Monday, June 5 and Friday, June 30. Capital Metro will instead provide bus service between Lakeline and Leander Stations for those affected by the stoppage.

Continue reading “Bridge work to affect MetroRail service”

West Austin Studio Tour 2017 | May 13-14 & May 20-21

Go WEST!

West Austin Studio Tour is one of the great things Austinites look forward to each spring. Now in its sixth year, 309 participants will open their studios, workshops and galleries for two weekends of self-guided art, exhibition tours, hands-on activities, and more, for visitors of all ages. With only a limited amount of time it’s hard to see it all but, with help from your art-loving friends at Capital Metro, we can help you discover dozens of creative spaces across South Austin.

Continue reading “Go WEST!”

Our New Trains Have Arrived!      

Train in Galveston
A train compartment being loaded onto a truck bed in Galveston

Capital Metro is taking an exciting step on its way toward doubling both the capacity and frequency of MetroRail service. This week, we 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 was escorted by Metro Security and the Austin Police Department to our railyard in North Austin. The trains were unloaded and assembled onto the tracks.

Continue reading “Our New Trains Have Arrived!      “

Feel the Need for Speed?

F1-banner

The Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix is returning to Austin Nov. 15 – 17, and Capital Metro is in on the action! 

During Formula 1’s premiere in Austin in 2012, the total weekend attendance was over 260,000. As a result of its expanded MetroRail service last year, Capital Metro saw a dramatic surge in weekend ridership, including a 435 percent increase over a typical Saturday.

This year, F1 fans can again take advantage of Capital Metro’s expanded MetroRail service during the weekend.  Trains will operate from northwest Austin to downtown on the following schedule:

  • Friday, Nov. 15: 6 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. (Saturday morning)
  • Saturday, Nov. 16: 8 a.m. – Midnight (Service to all MetroRail stations except Leander)
  • Sunday, Nov. 17: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Service to all MetroRail stations except Leander)

MetroRail’s route is divided into two fare zones. The cost to ride one zone is $1, or $2.75 if you cross the fare zone boundary between Howard and Kramer stations. You can buy a MetroRail pass at ticket vending machines on station platforms or at the Transit Store, located downtown at 209 W. 9th Street.

The Nov. 15 – 17 weekend will prove to be a busy one, not only because of F1 but also because of Austin Fan Fest and the Nov. 16 UT football game. Buses will run as usual throughout the weekend, though riders can expect some route changes in the downtown area. Detours will begin on Nov. 14. Access all downtown routes – with the exception of MetroAirport – along Guadalupe and Lavaca from Nov. 15 – 18.

MetroAirport service from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to downtown will run its regular schedule from early in the morning until late at night.

Plan your fun! Find the latest F1-related transit information including routes, schedules, detours and a helpful trip planner at capmetro.org/f1.