Alstom has been awarded a 10-year passenger transport contract with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). Additionally, Metrolink locomotives powering regional/commuter rail service in Southern California now use renewable fuel; Metrolinx is upgrading Mimico GO Station in Toronto; Vancouver’s TransLink launches tunnel video ad; Utah Transit Authority on April 18 decommissioning its FrontRunner Comet cars; VIA Rail Canada resumes most services by end of June; and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has partnered with MITER to improve its safety management system.
Alstom has signed a 10-year contract with DFW to provide operation and maintenance services for the Skylink Automated Commuter (APM). The company has been providing maintenance support since APM opened on May 21, 2005. Since then, its availability has exceeded 99% every year, according to Alstom; before the pandemic, the APM transported more than 20 million passengers a year.
The new contract, valued at just over $216 million (€200 million), covers ongoing preventive and corrective maintenance for the system’s 64 Innovia APM 200 vehicles (including associated subsystems and components, which include switches, electrical distribution, station gates, public address announcements, and station signaling) as well as the 4.97-mile (8-kilometre) two-lane elevated guideway (including running surface , guide beam, third rail power and associated switches, power distribution, guide track heating systems and automatic train control equipment).
“We are extremely pleased and proud to extend our partnership with Dallas Fort Worth International Airport,” said Michael Keroullé, President of Alstom Americas. “The customer’s renewed confidence in Alstom proves our expertise in operations and maintenance to help customers provide an efficient, reliable and safe service to their end users.
In a similar vein, the Houston Airport System in April 2021 awarded Alstom a $105.1 million (€87 million) 10-year contract for the operation and maintenance of the APM Skyway at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Texas.
Metrolink in Southern California reported on April 13 that all locomotives powering its regional/commuter rail service use renewable fuels. The transition, completed in February, follows a 2021 pilot program that implemented a product made from natural fats and recycled vegetable oils, and will help reduce carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80%, according to the agency.
Metrolink said it “continues to pursue zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell and electric battery technologies and sees renewable fuel as a bridge to zero emissions.”
“This Metrolink transition to using renewable fuel will help further reduce air pollutants from our locomotives and improve air quality for all communities along our 538 miles of track,” Vice-Vice said. Metrolink Board Chairman Larry McCallon, who is also a member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District Board of Directors.
“It’s a pride to be the first railroad in the nation to use renewable fuel to move people in Southern California,” said Metrolink Chairman Ara Najarian. “We are committed to continuing to work for better air quality in our region and to reduce our effect on climate change for the planet.”
On April 13, Metrolinx announced that it had signed an amended agreement with Vandyk Properties to deliver an updated GO Mimico station on the Lakeshore West line.
The original 2019 deal covered construction and integration of improvements by Vandyk into its mixed-use development project adjacent to the station, in exchange for Metrolinx transferring development rights above the station, said Metrolinx. Since that time, Vandyk has acquired additional land around the station, presenting “an opportunity for additional station improvements to be built on Metrolinx’s behalf,” according to the agency.
Station improvements will include two station access points on the north side; a new fully accessible main station building; a new secondary tunnel entrance building; 300 reserved GO parking spaces in the basement; 96 spaces for storing bicycles, including secure and covered bicycle parking; an integrated transit plaza with pick-up and drop-off facilities; and a greenway allowing pedestrians and cyclists to access the station.
The transit-oriented community at Mimico GO Station will now also include more housing.
Metrolinx said it would retain control over station design and construction standards. A construction start date has not yet been determined.
Mimico GO Station was built in 1967, the year GO Transit launched, and served some 1,600 riders a day in 2019. By 2031, ridership is expected to triple, according to Metrolinx.
“This partnership will transform Mimico GO Station into a modern, integrated transit station for the community,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster. “This is another joint success where public transport, urban planning and real estate development are integrated. This will ensure that more people can rely on public transit to get where they need to go, better and faster.
SkyTrain passengers on the Expo line can watch full-screen videos in the Dunsmuir Tunnel thanks to a TransLink partnership with Vancouver-based adtrackmedia. Each tunnel advertising system, made up of 360 vertical LED lights, uses sensors to detect incoming trains so videos can be displayed automatically. Currently, 10-second silent videos are being played for passengers traveling eastbound from Waterfront at Burrard Station, and in the coming months they are expected to be played for passengers traveling westbound from Stadium-Chinatown at Granville Station. .
adtrackmedia installed and will maintain the technology at no cost to TransLink, while also managing ad content, TransLink reported. TELUS is the first company to buy advertising space; TransLink will also use the technology for communication with customers.
“This new technology provides an innovative and immersive experience for customers traveling along the Expo Line,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn. “This technology, a first in Canada, is transforming marketing and communications on transit systems around the world while allowing agencies to collect new revenues.
UTA has retired its Comet cars from FrontRunner commuter rail service. The 50-year-old cars built by Pullman Standard (upgraded by Bombardier) had run on New Jersey Transit; UTA bought them and started using them when FrontRunner was launched in 2008. According to UTA, it is “becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain the  cars and replacing worn or broken parts, which are almost impossible to find. The challenges of keeping the cars in good working order and safe for our drivers necessitate their removal. The agency said the move would help it save between $600,000 and $800,000 a year on fuel and maintenance costs.
UTA noted that it would retain the Comet cars in case they were “needed to provide increased capacity for large community events or unexpected peaks in ridership.”
As part of planning efforts for the future FrontRunner service, UTA said it is “assessing options for replacement vehicles, but no decision has been made at this time.” The agency added that it is “currently working with elected officials and partner agencies on modernization plans.”
WMATA awarded a three-year contract to MITER to assess the agency’s security culture; develop a plan to improve safety data analysis; and deploying a secure Voluntary Safety Reporting Program (VSRP). The reporting program should provide WMATA employees “the opportunity to voluntarily and confidentially report security risks,” MITER said. “Data captured from these reports will be analyzed, enabling proactive, data-driven identification and management of safety risks, leading to a safer transit experience for Metrorail, Metrobus and Metro riders. paratransit.”
WMATA’s vision is to become the industry leader in security, and we intend to achieve this vision by developing a world-class SMS [Safety Management System]said Theresa Impastato, the agency’s executive vice president and chief security officer. “This partnership with MITER is the cornerstone of our safety strategy, and we look forward to bringing MITER’s expertise in this area to the transit industry.”
“MITER leverages our decades of aviation security experience to increase safety in all forms of transportation, from roads to space,” said Dr. Christopher Hill, Director of Surface Transportation at the Development Center MITER’s advanced aircraft systems. “Our collaboration with Metro [WMATA] will lead to a stronger safety culture and increase rider safety throughout the region.
VIA Rail Canada announced on April 14 that it will restore most of its service by the end of June (see chart below). Corridors in Ontario and Quebec that once hosted multiple trains have been reduced to one or two daily round trips in 2020 due to the pandemic. (For a recent service report, read “Two Years After COVID: Amtrak Lags, VIA Rail Hopes.”)
“This is an important and critical step in our plan to resume service after two incredibly difficult years,” said President and CEO Cynthia Garneau. “We look forward to welcoming more of our customers aboard our trains again and doing our part to encourage Canadians and tourists to get out and explore this beautiful country during the summer travel season.