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March 19, 2012

Trinity Railway Express passengers stranded by bomb hoax; agencies reviewing communication plans as a result

Updated: 12:30 p.m.

The Trinity Railway Express is reviewing its communication plans after dozens of passengers were stranded for several hours by a bomb hoax. Some passengers told television station WFAA they were taken off a train between stations east of CentrePort and left standing in a field for so long they were forced to urinate outdoors. Dallas Area Rapid Transit spokesman Morgan Lyons struck an apologetic tone, and said the agency should have done a better job communicating with stranded passengers in the field, as well as Dallas Union Station, about the status of their train ride. Waitingfortre

DART and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority are co-owners of the Trinity Railway Express, which operates Monday through Saturday between downtown Fort Worth and Dallas.

Many of the passengers were weekend revelers, decked out in green, attempting to return to Fort Worth after celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Big D.

Here's an email from Lyons sent Monday morning to clarify what happened Saturday night:

"We had two trains - one east between CentrePort and West Irving - and one headed west (at West Irving) when the call came in to Irving PD Saturday night just before 9. We stopped the trains immediately. That's why the eastbound train was between stations and why customers were evacuated away from the stations. The train had traveled too far east to go back and in any case it's most important to get them off the train. Train crews were able to talk to customers at both locations. We will review how they communicated with customers at those locations and see if we could improve. There were about 150 customers waiting for a westbound train at Union Station. That would have been the one coming from CentrePort that would turn. We did not communicate with them. That's the area we need to improve and that's what I said Sunday. We have a project for station message boards and that could have helped, but that's a year or so off. We're looking at how we could get people there to do make sure customers know they're going to be significantly delayed. Saturday was a big ridership day for DART and the TRE. It largely went quite well. We did what we felt was most important to keep the customers safe given the bomb threat. We're reviewing what we can do to keep them more informed when their schedules are disrupted. We're disappointed the customers on those trains didn't get the information they needed."

@gdickson

 

 

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