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last updated: 03-10-2010

Just like Laura Palmer, ticket kiosks and ticket validation machines are shown here, wrapped in plastic, on the occasion of Dr. F’s recent visit to the MetroRail’s MLK Jr. station.  Whether this new covering was for the protection of the fancy new machines from the elements or from vandalism, I cannot say. Last Summer’s brutal heat, sent the computers in the newly installed ticket machines, into a tizzy. Simultaneously, moisture was also a problem, as  “horizontal rains,” soaked the ticket machines temporarily disabling them. These and many other problems contributed to the delay in opening the Red line.

The weeds are all gone from last springs visit still, the rails are looking a bit rusty;  that should all soon change though, as a March opening is promised by Cap Metro for MetroRail’s Red Line.

Today we sent word to the Federal Railroad Administration…we expect to be operationally ready to begin service at the end of February.

Trains will be running again, but no paying customers–not just yet, anyway.

This doesn’t mean we’ll open the service at that time, though. At that point, Herzog will simulate full testing of everything for two weeks, and if things go well we’ll be ready to open later in March.

Originally scheduled to launch in 2008, passenger rail service, was delayed by a host of engineering, computer programing and signaling issues, several of which have yet to be resolved. In spite of this,  Cap Metro leaders say they are confident, and expect the rail line to begin operating sometime in March.

None of these are going to keep us from opening the system. Let’s be clear on this. These are not issues that will stop us from opening up…

Issues–smissues.  After firing its contractor Veolia Transportation,  Cap Metro awarded the commuter rail contract to Herzog Transit Services and the freight line contract to Watco Companies Inc., three-fourths of the rail’s “new start” FRA requirements have been addressed leaving only four major issues yet to be resolved.

But there are still issues with signal and crossing programs, the linchpins that delayed startup before.

Whatever label you hang on this story as it’s cause:  stumbling-block, linchpin, programing issues, the fact is, Austin has a passenger railroad, but without any riders, and by default no revenue being generated, no extra automobiles being taken off crowded roadways or carbon emissions saved.

Someday, hopefully someday real soon, this railroad’s gonna open, and when it does there will rise up a cry from the people of  “Hallelujah–it’s about damn time”.

see also:  capmetroblog.com, We’re opening in March, Cap Metro could begin running MetroRail by mid-March, Cap Metro confident MetroRail nearing completionMayor pulls support for vote on urban light rail

This is a follow-up to the original 2009 Frankensteam blog entry titled:  All Systems Go Capital MetroRail Prepares For Service

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He’s no angel but he sure is a felon, now. By definition, a felon is someone who commits a felony.

Joe Angel Felan

Joe Angel Felan

Waco…wanted in connection to a drive-by shooting Saturday that killed 20-year-old Carnelyuis Fields. Joe Angel Felan, 22…is one of three people charged in his murder.

Felan and a yet-to-be-indentified third suspect are still at large.

see also: Waco police seek two suspects in drive-by shooting, Waco man, 25, arrested in drive-by-shooting death, Police seek second in drive-by murder, Felon (film), a 2008 drama film starring Val Kilmer

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Fair play and a reasonable decorum — un-like some recent town-hall meetings where protesters stole the show — was the dominate mood of the crowd that gathered outside the the CommUnity Care Healthy Kids Fair, in Northeast Austin Saturday, to hear from their respective congressman and senator.

A crowd, of around 250 people descended on the Northeast Austin clinic after printed reports stated U.S. Senator John Cornyn of Texas and Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett would be speaking to the media. The assumption was [that]a question and answer session would take place after the official business of the clinic was done.

Organizers of the kids clinic and participants of the health fair were taken aback by the sudden and unexpected appearance of sign carrying citizens who had little or no interest in the fair itself, but instead, were more than eager to connect with their representatives.  Health-care reform supporters seemed to out numbered reform dissenters by about four to one.

One notable exception to the generally peaceful crowd occurred when an unidentified woman threw herself on the hood of Senator Cornyn’s Mercury. A small group of protesters, rushed in the direction of the Senator’s vehicle.   The Senator’s personal security man was all over the woman in an instant, growling menacingly at her. The Senator drove away, unscathed, leaving Congressman Doggett to deal with Cornyn’s supporters that remained behind.

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Cornyn supporters. The burnt orange tee-shirt reads: " A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have." --Thomas Jefferson The blue tee-shirt reads: Young Conservatives of Texas, For 26 Years Supporting Fiscal Responsibility Lower Taxes Limited Government Strong National Defence Traditional Family Values

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The CommUnity Care healthy kids fair in Northeast Austin Saturday are taken by surprise by large crowd estimated to be in the hundreds.

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Crowds are dogging the steps of Congressman Lloyd Doggett in hopes of getting some answers about health care reform.

Supporters of Texas Senator John Cornyn gather around his veihicle.

Supporters of United States Senator John Cornyn, gather around his veihicle as he departs.

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Some were there to show their support for health care reform, others had some tough questions for the congressman.

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Congressman Doggett weighed in with his own thoughts on the bill. "...it's far from a perfect bill. I hope that we can make it better, it's designed to ensure that we have more competition, more individual choice and more opportunity for the millions of Americans who do not have access to health care to get it," Doggett said.

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Doggett responds to health care questions at fair.

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At the CommUnity Care healthy kids fair in Northeast Austin Saturday, Doggett responded to questions from a large crowd.

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Some of those in the crowd didn’t just ask questions of the congressman, but also argued with each other.

see also: Doggett responds to health care questions at fair, Right-Wing Turncoat Gives the Inside Scoop on Why Conservatives Are Rampaging Town Halls, The ‘Me-First, Screw You Crowd’ Are No Longer Hiding Their Antics

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