AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS GONE

TRANSPORTATION It couldn’t come at a worse time, following the recent elections in which DART was reaffirmed in four key suburbs, but PETE TRENARY, a former General Electric mechanical engineer, has come up with a new mass transit idea he calls DallRail. In Trenary’s vision, cars hang from a regular two-rail track, propelled by powerful electric motors. “We’ll be able to accelerate and stop as fast as the people standing in the aisles can tolerate,” says Trenary. And speed is his big selling point. DART’s surface-rail cars will average forty miles per hour between stations (and will have to deal with road-level traffic). Trenary says his will go up to seventy miles per hour between stations.

DART is too busy to listen, so Trenary and FRANK L. MEIER, owner of an architectural firm, are doing things the old Dallas way-quietly showing their idea around to civic and business leaders. “We’ve shied away from the politicians,” says Meier, “because we’re afraid we’ll get in with the wrong crowd.”

One person who has been modestly impressed is the transportation engineer for the city of Piano, TOM WALTON. “It’s an interesting idea,” he says. He agrees with Trenary that the individual working parts are in use all over the country, but he says the system has two major drawbacks: it’s too late for DART to give it a serious look, and there’s no working system that people can actually go out and test ride.

Trenary says his system can be built for about $15 million per mile, compared to DART’s estimated cost of more than $25 million per mile. “And we can have 150 miles up and running by 1995,” says Trenary. “So we’re late [with our idea]. But you’ve got a dying patient-are you just going to let it die?”

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