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Capital MetroRail is a commuter rail service, under construction, for Austin, Texasmarker under the authority of the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The project is underway and was scheduled to open on March 30, 2009, but has since been delayed indefinitely because of safety issues and construction delays. The system — which is being built largely on pre-existing freight rail lines — will serve downtown Austin, east Austin, north central Austin, northwest Austin and Leandermarker in the first phase

Although it provides a commuter rail service, MetroRail uses tram-train operation, with semi-frequent services and street running in the downtown portions of the city. The system is not considered light rail, because it shares the main-line tracks used by freight trains, and because of its infrequent rush hour-focused service.

Rolling stock

In September 2005, Stadler Rail won a bid to build six diesel-electric light regional railcar for the system. Each of the trains are worth about $6 million, and will run on two 400 hp diesel-electric engines.

The vehicles have a capacity of 200 passengers, 108 seated and 92 standing. The trains will have priority seating areas (fully ADA compliant) for wheelchairs. A "VIP section" with room for laptop use with WiFi access is also included. Bike racks, luggage racks, high back racks, and low floor entry for easy access are all features of what Capital Metro calls the safest and most technologically advanced trains in North America. For safety, the vehicles have ten cameras outside and six inside, as well as a sophisticated communications system.

Stations

The first rail line is called the Red Line, and has nine stations. The northern terminus is the Leander Station and Park & Ride and the southern terminus will be the Downtown (Convention Center) Station. Each station will feature an accessible platform with varying canopy designs, ticket vending machines, bike racks, and informational displays. Stations in more suburban settings will feature Park & Rides for commuters; more urban locations will be accessible by foot, bike, and bus.

The following Red Line stations are listed north to south.

Future expansions

Even though the first line, the Red Line, has yet to launch, the need for expansion is clear. The Red Line will help reduce congestion on Loop 1 (MoPac) and US-183 but will do little for other major roads. Capital Metro's All Systems Go Plan includes a study into potential future service. Two lines that are identified as well-fit for regional rail service are: TxDOT's abandoned MoKan Corridor and a freight line from Downtown to Manormarker. Any future expansion would require another referendum.

Capital Metro Green Line

In September 2008, Capital Metro evaluated the ever growing need for rail service to alleviate pressure from congestion downtown to as far east as the town of Elgin. To fix this problem, CapMetro decided to plan for adding another rail line to their service, or the Green Line. The Green Line would operate the same as the Red Line, as it would run on existing freight rails with adjustments made to them to allow for passenger rail service.

Trains would depart the red line and begin to head east in between the red line stations MLK Jr. and Plaza Saltillo, where its first stop would be a shared station with the potential Austin-Bergstrom International Airportmarker Commuter Rail Connector. It would then continue on to 4 more stations with the last one being Elgin. This is where the line would end.

In December 2008, a presentation, and then a follow-up, were given to the CAMPO Transit Work Group about the Green Line. Other than that, nothing else has developed with the Green Line.

MoKan corridor

This line's southern terminus would be near the Red Line's Plaza Saltillo Station or closer to Walter E. Long Municipal Park, depending on where Capital Metro locates it. The north end would be well into Round Rock, near Dell Diamondmarker. The northern terminus could potentially intersect with the planned Austin-San Antonio commuter rail line. This expansion would help extend service into northeast Austin and the suburbs of Pflugervillemarker and Round Rockmarker.

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