September 25, 2017 - / TRA Newswire -

An energy entrepreneur wants to set up a commuter rail system to further his vision of weaning Vermont from fossil fuels and getting cars off the highways, and he has taken the first step toward moving it beyond the theoretical by buying a dozen rail cars.

David Blittersdorf spent $5 million of his own money to buy the fully functional, 1950s-era cars that were operated by DART and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority on the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) between Dallas and Fort Worth, and he has hired one of the state's most experienced rail experts to get those cars carrying passengers once again. The same cars were also used for the start-up service of the Denton County A-Train before newer equipment was placed in service.
 "Part of the vision is you've got to show the pictures, you've got to show the real stuff," Blittersdorf said recently inside one of the new cars. "If we were to buy the new hardware or worked the way the folks have been working on rail it would be decades away and we don't have time.

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TRA Editorial comment: The state of Texas and North Texas in general passed on an opportunity to keep these well-maintained passenger rail cars in Texas to use for future start-up commuter and regional passenger rail services. The self-propelled railcars could have been used on miles of existing right-of-way that DART has designated for passenger rail service, including the proposed Cotton Belt line with a quick start-up from a station in Addison to DFW Airport or from Denton to Fort Worth along the busy I-35W corridor. The cars would also have been ideal for additional frequencies on the Texas/Oklahoma DOT's shared service, the Heartland Flyer.  Additional daily frequencies between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City could have been possible if the state of Texas would have been pro-active and pursued an interest in passenger rail along the I-35 corridor. Opportunities lost that will not be available again.