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February 7, 2002
29 DART Light Rail Vehicles, 30 Buses Represent North Texas
Big D 'Trains' For The Olympics After All, Thanks To DART
Dallas may have been left at the station by the 2012 Olympic Committee, but at least some of its higher profile citizens will have the inside track when the 2002 Winter Games kick-off in Salt Lake City.
Twenty-nine light rail vehicles (LRVs) are there to perform, doubling the capacity of Salt Lake's newly completed TRAX system transporting the Olympic crowds. Eight rail operators and four rail maintenance team members from DART are on assignment in Salt Lake City to support the operation. Buses have long been loaned between transit agencies to support major events -- 30 of DART's buses also made the trip to Utah -- but this is believed to be the first such effort in the U.S. to involve LRVs. From the bus side, six operators and two mechanics will be using vacation time to help ease the manpower crunch as well.
"Actually, it was a marriage of convenience for both agencies," said Dave Kubicek, DART's Senior Manager for Rail Fleet Maintenance. "Not only were our LRVs among the most compatible with their system, our accelerated acceptance program allowed us to spare the vehicles before our own extensions come on line later this year." DART is scheduled to open light rail service in Garland, Richardson and Plano later this year.
The TRAX system needed a slight modification to allow the use of the DART LRVs. "The TRAX cars are 13 feet shorter and about 30,000 lbs. lighter than ours, so there had to be a little remodeling of some station platforms," Kubicek said. "It took the cooperation of several railroads, including Union Pacific, Burlington North Santa Fe, Dallas/Garland/Northeastern (DGNO), plus Utah's own rail authority, to make the rail car loan possible. They all deserve a lot of credit," Kubicek said.
DART maintenance personnel are being deployed to Salt Lake at different stages of the project, to assist with the off-loading, testing and support during the games and through March 4. As soon as the final train rolls out of service, the entire process will be done in reverse, as the trains return to Dallas in time for the new LBJ/Skillman Station opening May 6.
"That's when the real race against the clock begins," Kubicek added. "As for right now, I'm just happy everything arrived without incident, and we're glad to be a part of their successful Olympic effort."
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