FirstGroup wins first American rail contract

Aberdeen-based transport giant FirstGroup has won its first rail contract in North America with the A-train commuter rail service in Texas — a 21-mile regional rail system that connects Denton and Dallas Counties.

FirstGroup said the US rail sector offers a number of potential opportunities in a market that is increasingly focused on outsourcing.

The A-train connects with the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for access to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The contract is for nine years with an additional five-year option and will go into effect October 1, 2016.

It will earn revenues of about $9 million a year.

FirstGroup’s First Transit business already has a presence in the area through a transit management contract with Denton County Transit Authority.

The group’s First Student division operates buses in Lewisville within the same county, and the Greyhound division is headquartered in Dallas.

FirstGroup chief executive Tim O’Toole said: “We are very pleased that the Denton County Transit Authority has awarded us the contract for A-train service, our first rail contract in North America.

“This contract for A-train service represents an exciting new development for the group and we welcome the opportunity to develop and share our rail expertise with a progressive partner such as the Denton County Transportation Authority.

“Our US rail team blends our significant experience in rail in the UK with North American transit expertise in both rail and bus.

“We look forward to building on this success as we explore further opportunities in the sector.”

Jim Cline, DCTA President said: “We’re excited to extend our partnership with First Transit to our A-train rail operations and maintenance.

“First Transit’s innovative solutions in rail infrastructure maintenance will enable us to provide enhanced rail services for the many communities we serve.”