February 2, 2012

Denton County files alt vehicle tech waiver

Texas-based Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) submitted the rail industry's first Alternative Vehicle Technology (AVT) waiver to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to obtain permission to use the Stadler GTW rail vehicles, with their alternate crashworthiness elements, in revenue service concurrently with its current fleet of traditional vehicles.

The submission completes months of study and analysis, in cooperation with the FRA, DCTA's Swiss vehicle supplier Stadler and systems consultant LTK Engineering Services, to establish the equivalency of the Stadler vehicle design with traditional United States compliance standards.

DCTA's submittal, which is the first of its kind in the nation, demonstrates that the enhanced crashworthiness and passenger protection systems inherent to its new fleet of rail vehicles are equivalent to current U.S. safety standards. DCTA will continue to work with the FRA to advance the AVT application through the review and evaluation process and anticipates receipt of the FRA's response in the coming months.

DCTA employs temporal separation (where traditional and new vehicle fleets are always separated) over the A-train corridor, so integration of the Stadler GTWs into service is not contingent upon receipt of the AVT waiver. However, the waiver will allow the authority to introduce the new cars sooner to run in mixed-use with the traditional cars currently in operation.

 

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