Service on one of America’s fastest growing new commuter rail system, the Trinity Railway Express, opened as scheduled on December 30, 1996. Supporting Dallas Area Rapid Transit since 1990, LTK provided all program management services and engineering support to develop, design and implement start-up rail service between downtown Dallas and Irving. An LTK advisor was seconded to the DART Project Management Department staff (reporting directly to the senior vice president of project management) to provide project oversight and direction. Service on the corridor was extended to downtown Fort Worth in December 2001, with a station at Centreport providing convenient bus transfer service to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
LTK project duties initially included implementation studies, site selection, environmental assessments and community input. Staff members also facilitated negotiations between DART and all major players in the impacted corridor, including the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth which jointly own the rail corridor; the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads, which operate freight trains on the corridor; and the city of Dallas and a consortium of five railroads, which jointly own a downtown terminal station (Union Station) that would be used.
Once all agreements were completed in 1994, LTK’s emphasis shifted to the selection, procurement, and manufacture of 13 vintage 1950s Budd Company Rail Diesel Cars (RDC). LTK prepared a rehabilitation specification and had direct responsibility for the management of the RDC remanufacturing contract. LTK followed the cars through their warranty period.
Activities also included engineering design and construction contract preparation, award for a new equipment maintenance facility, two commuter rail stations, and one joint commuter rail/light rail station. Negotiations continued with the railroads, cities and the Federal Transit Administration over the funding, design, and construction of capacity improvements to the single track corridor that would permit simultaneous operation of freight and passenger operations. Both new tracks and railroad signal improvements were required.
The final project stage included developing a scope of services for an independent contractor to operate the service and maintain the vehicles and equipment maintenance facility, and negotiating with the proposers and supervising start-up efforts.