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April 11, 2008
More seats, easier boarding
New super DART Rail vehicles debut this summer
Customers can stretch out and step on the next generation of light rail vehicles as DART begins modifying its current fleet with the addition of a new, low-floor section.
The key is a new center section of the vehicles that adds seating capacity for about 25 more passengers and improves access through level boarding, which will allow passengers with disabilities - plus people with strollers, bicycles and the like - to step or roll directly onto the trains without using mechanical lifts. The newly modified cars will begin service in early Summer 2008. The vehicle conversion is scheduled for completion by the end of 2010.
To take full advantage of the level-boarding function, DART will need to modify all current stations, except Victory Station, which was built to accommodate level-boarding at the time it was constructed. The platform work began in November 2007 and will continue for two years. The platform improvements also will enable DART to operate longer, three-car trains through the Dallas CBD. For customers using wheelchairs, it's important to note DART will continue using high-block boarding areas at the stations until the platform work is complete. To ensure access, customers using wheelchairs will need to continue boarding from the high block area during the platform modification.
The modified cars are known as Super Light Rail Vehicles (SLRVs) because of the greater length and added passenger capacity. The SLRV will seat approximately 100 passengers compared with 75 on the current vehicles. Standing passengers on the vehicle can nearly double the capacity.
Because the initial SLRVs are modifications of the current fleet of 115 LRVs, they also have another advantage: the inserts are less expensive than full-sized vehicles.
' However, DART will need to modify all current stations, except Victory Station, which was built to accommodate level-boarding at the time it was constructed. The platform work began in November 2007 and will continue for two years. The platform improvements also will enable DART to operate longer, three-car trains through the Dallas CBD.
The SLRVs - designed in partnership with rail vehicle manufacturer Kinkisharyo of Osaka, Japan and are assembled at two DART facilities in Dallas. DART's first SLRV, Car #170, went into service on the Blue Line in 2002 as a prototype.
Editors Note: Additional information about the SLRV and high-resolution photos are available at www.DART.org/factsheet/slrv.
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