MetroRail has been in service since 2010, and it is undeniably a success story. But with packed trains serving at or near capacity during morning and evening commutes - not to mention the beyond-standing-room-only crowds during special events like Pecan Street Festival, SXSW and ACL - MetroRail is ready for an upgrade.
Capital Metro has now taken the first step toward doubling MetroRail's capacity.
By improving the interior of our rail cars to comply with Federal Rail Administration regulations, we will be able to run freight and passenger rail at the same time. Those upgrades include new seats and modified tables - though the cars are the same size and feature the same number of seats, tables and handholds.
We currently operate freight and passenger service on the same track but at different times of the day - generally passenger service during the day and freight service at night. Capital Metro's goal is to have the ability in the future to operate both services throughout the day in order to meet the demands of our customers (both passenger and freight), however we need to apply to the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) to do that. The improvements we are currently making to MetroRail are designed to ensure that we meet all safety regulations before we begin the application process.
The fact that we'll be able to increase our freight revenue will enable us to offer our riders better service and, in the near future, double MetroRail's capacity and frequency.
Other upcoming projects that will make that a reality include:
- A new Downtown Station
- New rail cars
- Potentially expanded and/or moved stations elsewhere along the 32-mile line
- Double tracking that will enable us to run trains every 15 minutes during peak times
We are building a better system that can serve more people, alleviate overcrowding and offer more frequent service.