Texas' first rail director is stepping aside in June

Posted Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Texas' first rail director is stepping down, nearly four years after the position was created to get the state up to speed on passenger rail service.

Bill Glavin, who lives in Southlake but has mostly resided in Austin since he took the position in December 2009, confirmed Wednesday that he will leave the Texas Department of Transportation at the end of June.

Before entering public service, Glavin had decades of experience with freight railroads, including Burlington Northern and North American RailNet.

"I turned 60. I qualify for railroad retirement," Glavin said in a phone interview when asked why he is leaving. "Half my pay goes toward commuting between here and Austin and having ... to do all the things to make that work. [Retirement] just seems to make sense."

Glavin played a major role in preparing Texas for better passenger rail services that could be built in the next few years, including improved Amtrak service and a proposed high-speed line with 220-mph service from Houston to Dallas, rail supporters said.

"We've gone light-years ahead in the past couple of years compared to where we were the past couple of decades before that," said Peter LeCody, president of Texas Rail Advocates.

On Glavin's watch, the state has made progress in a proposal to move Amtrak onto the Trinity Railway Express line in Dallas-Fort Worth, LeCody said. Also, a study of higher-speed rail service from Oklahoma to Fort Worth and South Texas is underway.

State officials, the Union Pacific Railroad and Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway Co. are also working to improve massive freight congestion at Tower 55, a notoriously busy rail intersection just southeast of downtown Fort Worth.

The state-owned South Orient Railroad corridor between Brownwood and San Angelo has also been improved, resulting in a dramatic increase in shipments.

Gordon Dickson,

817-390-7796

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