10 Mar 2010, 10:23pm
Commuting Passenger rail:

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Austin back in the passenger rail game

Promo image from Capital Metro

Promo image from Capital Metro

After a 70-year hiatus, much debate and then a yearlong delay, Austin will soon join American cities that have added passenger rail back into the commuting mix.

On March 22, Capital Metro will start running diesel trains on a 32-mile route with nine stops from Leander to downtown Austin, the agency recently announced. A one-way trip will last a little more than an hour and the regular fare will be $3. 

Trains will come by every 35 minutes during peak travel times, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Nearly 200 people can fit in a car, including standing room.

To match the capacity of a highway lane, you’d have to hook up┬áthree cars at a time and run┬áthem every 15 minutes.┬á

Metro shelled out $105 million for its┬árail system, a figure that doesn’t include some direct costs, the Statesman said.┬áStill, at about $3.3 million a mile, using an old rail line, the city struck a bargain as far as rail projects go.

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