Take the A-Train... In Texas

Providing regionally connected transit service for Denton County

Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) | Denton County, Texas, USA | 2005 - Ongoing

First rail line in Texas to be PTC-certified

Provides approximately $30 million in annual sales tax revenue for DCTA member cities

Carried over 4.4 million passengers since the A-train system opened in 2011


  • Following the development of the 21-mile commuter rail passenger service between Denton and Carrollton, TX (known as the A-train), DCTA needed to implement a positive train control system (PTC) as mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
  • DCTA sought vehicle acquisition support, operations analyses, PTC engineering, and alternate vehicle technology (AVT) compliance.


  • Reviewed passenger rail vehicle technology encompassing new and second-hand, self-propelled vehicle choices.
  • Evaluated and assisted with selection of preferred technology for use on the A-train system.
  • Developed new vehicle procurement technical specifications, assisting DCTA with the development of procurement documents and with manufacturer negotiations.
  • Provided a PTC plan and used our TrainOps® simulation software to analyze the impact of the new PTC system on existing operations.
  • Assisted with engineering, project management, and technical support during design and implementation of DCTA’s enhanced automatic train control system (E-ATC).
  • Acted as the Technical Project Manager to acquire 11 diesel multiple units (DMUs) from Swiss railcar manufacturer, Stadler, and manage vehicle upgrades and modifications to comply with FRA Engineering Task Force (ETF-1) crash energy management AVT guidelines.


  • Received the industry’s first AVT waiver from the FRA, granted in May 2012. Successfully managed reporting and analysis for the AVT waiver effort to allow DCTA to operate the Stadler GTW with traditional FRA compliance.
  • Eliminated schedule delays with a newly designed signal system incorporating over 40 road crossings.
  • Minimized run time delays and overall vehicle fleet size by analyzing the addition of supplemental stations in the Lake Cities area and developing an operating plan for varying train performance characteristics of interim and new vehicles.
  • Assisted in designing a vehicle maintenance facility, advising on recommended support equipment, space requirements, and layout while providing vehicle-to-facility interface support.

Project numbers

$5.2 million worth of project service costs
11 trains in the fleet
5 stations
21-mile-long A-train line
19-mile-long adjoining rail trail
104 passenger seats per car

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