I’m back finally with another blog post. Work has been stressful this past month that I decided to take a much-needed break and leave town for a bit. That’s why I planned a trip up to the Dallas/Fort Worth area from Sunday 8/12 to Tuesday 8/14. And while I wasn’t able to do much fanning as possible due to weather, I still managed to gather some information.
My initial plan was to spend Sunday gathering photos, do a bus and rail trip on Monday, and spend a little time in Dallas Tuesday morning before leaving. Well mother nature had other plans as it rained 95% of the time I was there. That doesn’t mean I didn’t grab any photos. I hopefully plan to post those on my Flickr site within the next week (time permitting of course).
I arrived in Fort Worth Sunday afternoon and it rained nonstop, so I spent the rest of the day hanging out with a friend. Monday’s bus/rail trip was cancelled due to rain once again. So instead I headed out in my truck to see what photos I could get, and what information I can gather from any changes.
First stop was Arlington, TX to see if I could spot the 2 ex-Capital Metro D35LF’s. After driving around for 30 minutes, I did not find them anywhere. They were either stored somewhere out of sight, or were probably retired for good this time. Who knows.
Next stop was Fort Worth. My main concern was the status of the remaining C30LF buses. When I was last up here there were 19 still in service from the original 42. Now that number has shrunk again as there appears to only be 10 left in the fleet, 6 dedicated to Molly service and 4 for regular line service. While I was in town, I only saw two in active service, #431 on the Molly and #411 starting a run from garage on the 27. They have also moved the Molly buses to the side small storage lot. This is the lot where they usually store retired or scrap/parts buses. That doesn’t mean they are retiring due to #431 being in service. Hard to tell at this point.
Another change was the logo on the buses. Earlier this year FWTA decided to update their logo and change from “The T” to “Trinity Metro.” Most of the old logos have been removed from buses and the new one applied already. Some don’t have any logos at all, and are probably waiting for them to be applied.
Christmas came early for FWTA as they have received new buses. It appears that the 6 articulated NFI XN60’s have all been delivered and are getting prepped for service. I’m still not sure what route they will be running on as they only have 2 doors instead of 3. They have also received new Gillig CNG buses that appear to be ready for service. I only counted 8 sitting at the garage, so I’m not sure how many are in this batch. The only notable difference on these new Gilligs from previous orders are the flush mounted windows.
From here I would’ve liked to head up to Denton to catch more of their bus fleet and document it for the CPTDB wiki, however weather conditions worsened and traffic became a horrible nightmare. So I had no choice but to return to my hotel in Dallas.
Dallas DART has a few changes as well. The most noteworthy change is the recent addition of Proterra Catalyst BE35 FC buses used for the downtown D-Link shuttle. From the outside they look to be alright buses as they were super quiet and fast. I didn’t get the chance to ride one despite the fare being free.
Another change is the lack of 2003 NABI 416.14 buses in service. I’m afraid most are already gone with maybe a few still in service. The only one I caught running was #5708 on route 52 Monday morning. They were mostly replaced by the addition of 2016/17 NFI XN40’s.
While heading back into town Tuesday I managed a quick stop in Waco for a fleet update there. There appears to be no changes, still a mostly Optima Opus fleet and the XD35’s they purchased last year. They still had 5 ex-Corpus Christi RTA buses parked in the back of the yard being used as parts buses.
I also managed a quick stop in Austin to check out the Proterra electric bus being demoed for 2 weeks. I was hoping to ride it however I caught it being charged at the north ops yard. From what I’ve heard they plan to test a few other electric buses in the coming weeks. And while heading back to San Antonio on Tuesday, I actually managed to pass a VIA bus being delivered. I caught Nova bus #731 in Belton, TX. I saw it in the yard last night (8/15) with everything installed, but now it’s waiting on the inspection sticker.
Even though it feels like I didn’t accomplish much during my trip, I at least had some time away from work and got to see different buses. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job driving for VIA, but sometimes you need that time away to de-stress from the unruly passengers, traffic, and bus breakdowns. At this point, I don’t know what my next trip will be. I’m hoping I can head to Corpus Christ by the end of the year, and maybe do a few more trips to Austin to start documenting their 2003 D35LF’s. As far as a trip back to Dallas/Fort Worth, that will probably be next summer.