One of the first TEX Rail cars off the assembly line was publicly unveiled last week during a transit exposition in Atlanta — and Fort Worth officials say the vehicle was a hit among those who saw it.
TEX Rail is the new commuter train line that will run between downtown Fort Worth and Dallas-Fort Worth Airport with stops at the Stockyards, North Beach Street, North Richland Hills and Grapevine. Service is expected to begin in late 2018.
The trains manufactured by the Swiss company Stadler, which opened a facility in Utah to build rail cars for TEX Rail and other commuter lines in the United States, were unveiled during the American Public Transportation Association’s event (known in the industry as “APTAEXPO”).
The Stadler FLIRT looks a lot like a subway car on the outside and a trolley on the inside. It has ample standing room, panoramic windows and ground-level boarding that makes it easier for people with wheelchairs, bicycles or strollers to get on and off.
Despite the sleek, modern look, the vehicle is a self-propelled, diesel-powered rail car. Once TEX Rail is open, rail cars will typically run in pairs. The train operator will be able to use controls on either the front or the back of the set (so no turning around is required).
TEX Rail is being built by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority. The agency, also sometimes called the T, operates bus service, Molly the Trolley and other transit programs in Tarrant County.