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DCTA set to grind tracks

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

Officials: Work to help keep A-train running smoothly

Denton County Transportation Authority rail maintenance crews will begin a 10-day rail maintenance project Sunday.

The project, funded by a $204,000 capital project in the recently approved DCTA budget, will provide routine maintenance aimed at continuing smooth operations for A-train commuters.

The work will begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday near the Trinity Mills station in Carrollton and continue north until the entire 21-mile corridor has been covered, according to Dee Leggett, vice president of communications and planning.

She said the work will continue until noon Sunday. Work will resume at 9 p.m. and continue to 4 a.m. Monday through Friday.

“If we still need to work through the next week, we will,” Leggett said. “We hope to get it done sooner than 10 days but we anticipate a 10-day work window.”

Rail grinding is required to retain the proper interface between the rails and the wheels of the trains that travel them. The project will extend the life of both the rails and train wheels.

Loram, a rail maintenance firm, will provide the grinding equipment, said Jarrod Varner, vice president of transit operations.

The machine used in the grinding is about the size of a locomotive and designed to do as much as possible to limit the amount of debris and sparks created throughout the process.

“We have a four-person crew that will follow the equipment to do two things: fire prevention, and we have a signal maintainer to make sure as the vehicle comes through, that crossings work properly.”

The grinding will rid the tracks of mill scale, rust and other types of debris, Varner said.

“While we scrub the track on a regular basis, it doesn’t do it hard enough to replace the mill scale,” he said. “We have areas with significant rust built up. While the vehicles remove a certain amount of rust, periodically we need to come in and make sure [there is] clean wheel-to-rail contact.”

Because the rails run near the landfill in Lewisville, Varner noted that the tracks build up a type of film from the settling of the dust created by turnover at the facility.

“We feel that is material that needs to be cleaned off properly,” he said.

Varner said the grinding vehicle will put out the same amount of noise at the A-train’s rail cars.

“We recognize that this will cause some inconveniences to the community,” he said. “We will work swiftly and safely to keep any disruptions to a minimum.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is