Game Delay: With Fresh Snow, Fresh Problems For Dallas Area Rapid Transit's Light Rail

Categories: Transportation
dartatpresby_picnik.jpg
Dr. Chris Dreiling
The DART light-rail station across the street from Presbyterian Hospital, where not much is moving at present
Morgan Lyons, director of media relations for Dallas Area Rapid Transit, says this morning that he too is "ready for some warmer weather." Certainly would take some of the sting out of this morning's kick to the crotch courtesy The Dallas Morning News's editorial board, which chastises the transit agency for Tuesday morning's froze-over meltdown. But Lyons would remind: "Folks are sleeping in their offices, and everybody's working as hard as they can to try and make this work. This has just been one of those storms that doesn't happen often."

Or ever.

That said, DART's light rail is once again in low gear this morning, with delays running well past the 30-minute mark courtesy the still-falling snow and the fourth consecutive day below freezing.

"We had some ice build-up in doors, and they won't close property, and in some of the air lines, some of the condensation builds up and four days of sub-freezing weather can freeze some of that and affect different systems," he tells Unfair Park. "It's caused us some problems, but I'm hoping before too much longer we can get to a 30-minute schedule, where trains would run every 30 minutes. We'd like to improve on that, but right now we have 30-minute delays. What that means is 30 minutes past the operating schedule."

But unlike Monday night and into Tuesday morning, DART did run the trains during the night.

"But the forecast of a dusting turned into six-plus inches, and it's taking us a while to clear switches of compacted snow, which we have to do by hand," he says. "And that's helped us get more trains out. We have 26, 27 trains out -- not terribly far from normal."

Just hope the power doesn't go out. Especially like it did Wednesday, Lyons says, when those rolling blackouts took even DART by surprise.

"On Wednesday nobody told us about rolling blackouts," he says. "We had our first loss of signal power and thought it was a garden-variety TXU-Oncor problem. It took an hour before we found out we were subject to rolling blackouts, and they happened through the day. In the spring, when we know to expect storms, we can stage equipment and do different things, because we know which parts of town are usually affected by bad weather. We can redirect power and we have backup systems, but the randomness of the blackouts and the randomness of the duration -- and their scope -- you couldn't get ahead of it."

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9 comments
cp
cp

That's why you put an alcohol mix in your air lines!!!!!

bird
bird

A REAL railroad has alcohol injection ready to go at switches, when the weather mandates it. Rolling stock can also be equipped with it. DART is apparently still suffering from growing pains. Maybe they'll learn from this, that bad weather CAN happen, even in Dallas.

warden62
warden62

When has ANYbody's snow forecast been accurate when it comes to DFW? If I were DART, I wouldn't depend on a forecast. With that said, I also think everyone has been taken by surprise by the culmination of all climate/weather-related activity here this week.

Bart Bell
Bart Bell

what a mess.....Dallas is basically in the middle of nowhere....no wonder the Okies left for California during the Dust Bowl. The Cowboys, Chargers and the rest of the old AFL should go back to being a minor football league and leave the NFL to the big dogs- Chicago, NY, Green Bay, Cleveland, Pittsburgh etc.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

Uh, Okies are from Oklahoma, that's why they are called Okies. And they obviously made a good decision as I understand California is doing swell now.

small point
small point

The Cowboys were never AFL. The Dallas Texans were AFL

Bert Ball
Bert Ball

You forgot to mention the Canton Bulldogs, Big Dog.

warden62
warden62

Because we happened to have a coincidental freakish week of ice, snow, and freezing temperatures during the week before the Super Bowl? Please. Give me a break.

Rob Kuelbs
Rob Kuelbs

The 30 minute mark may be somewhat hopeful. Waited for about 30 minutes at Akard this morning for a Northbound Green Line. When I finally walked east, found a Red Line train broken down at Pearl. The supervisor there talked to me and explained that the air lines had frozen up in it, and also that they had freezing door issues.

When the train started moving, I took the Green train behind it. We made it a block, half-way to St. Paul, before the train ahead broke down again. After another 30 minute wait, trapped inside the train, we made it to St. Paul and I got off and walked home for the day.

If you take the train today, take a big cup of coffee and a large dose of patience. Or just call it a Snow Day.

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