Be Patient and Stay Safe: Vehicle and Pedestrian Rail Safety 

Did you know that, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration, a person or vehicle is struck by a train at a highway rail grade crossing every four hours? Trains can’t stop quickly. A freight train that is traveling 55 miles per hour can take more than a mile to stop, even if an emergency application of the brakes is applied.

 

In 2019, Texas ranked as the state with the most collisions in the U.S. with a total of 251 highway-rail grade crossing collisions. As a result, 31 people lost their lives and 123 were injured. Never try to beat a train! Follow these tips to stay safe and help us reduce the number of incidents at rail crossings:

  • Stop if you see flashing red lights
  • Only cross at a highway-rail grade crossing
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing

In 2019, the state of Texas also ranked as the state with the second highest pedestrian rail trespassing casualties with a total of 100, out of which 44 lost their lives and 56 resulted in  injuries. If you are walking near a train, remember:

  • Only cross at a designated public crossing. Crossing at any other place is trespassing, illegal and dangerous
  • Never walk around or behind lowered gates at a crossing
  • Only cross if gate arms are up, lights have stopped flashing and bells have stopped ringing
  • Look both ways before crossing tracks

Don’t become part of the statistics. Follow these tips and help us reduce the number of highway-rail grade crossing collisions and trespassing casualties. Remember, be patient and stay safe!

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 …”