Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Capital Metro contracts Modern Railway Systems to provide PTC

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Texas' Capital Metro board of directors approved a contract with Modern Railway Systems, Inc. to design, build and commission a positive train control (PTC) system.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) currently regulates Capital Metro's commuter rail system. The approved contract will allow Modern Railway Systems to complete a portion of the work within 15 months, which will make the agency eligible to apply for a two-year extension to the December 2018 PTC deadline to complete the rest of the system.

The board also approved an amendment to Capital Metro's contract with freight operator WATCO, which would allow the company to utilize a 23-mile stretch of track that is currently dormant between Elgin and Giddings. WATCO will operate and maintain the new segment and provide Capital Metro with a portion of the gross revenue generated, projected to bring the agency $13 million over the contract period.

Prior to the track's reopening, Captial Metro says it will conduct community outreach to area residents, businesses and other stakeholders to provide information to schoolchildren from the Operation Lifesaver national train safety program. Capital Metro expects that freight trains will run once a day, with service estimated to start during the first quarter of 2018. In the proposal, WATCO states that the primary product transported will be aggregate.

Additionally, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) reappointed Wade Cooper to another three-year term on the Capital Metro board of directors. Cooper, who is the managing partner at law firm Jackson Walker L.L.P., has been on the board for three years and has served as chair for the past two. During his time on the board, Cooper played an integral role in the final negotiations of the Plaza Saltillo redevelopment agreement and major planning initiatives such as Connections 2025 and Project Connect.