USA: Fort Worth Transportation Authority signed a $100m contract on June 9 for Stadler Bussnang to supply eight Flirt 3 diesel multiple-units for the future TEX Rail commuter line, with options for more.

This follows Federal Transit Administration approval for the engineering phase of the TEX Rail project. A Parsons/TranSystems joint venture is design consultant, and an Archer Western/Herzog joint venture is to provide pre-construction services, working with the design team ‘in order to achieve a more efficient and cost-effective design’.

The 43 km TEX Rail line will start in central Fort Worth and follow existing freight railway alignments northeast across Tarrant County to Grapevine and Terminal B at Dallas Fort International Airport, serving 10 stations. Opening is planned for September 2018, with an estimated initial ridership of 10 000 passengers/day predicted to rise to 14 500 by 2035.

The DMUs are scheduled to be delivered in July 2017 for testing and approval by March 2018. While Stadler has previously supplied 49 GTW multiple-units to the USA under four contacts, the latest deal is the first US order for its Flirt family. The deal is also the first to include an element of federal funding and thus be subject to Buy America regulations which will require 60% of the contract value to be sourced in the USA.

The bodyshells and bogies are to be produced in Switzerland, with final assembly at a new factory which Stadler is to open in the USA. Stadler CEO Peter Spuhler and Martin Ritter, the future CEO of Stadler US, are currently in the country examining possible locations for the plant.