Reporting Joel Thomas
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Nestled in Fort Worth’s Intermodal Transportation Center, surrounded by gleaming Amtrak Trains and modern T buses, is a 100-year-old piece of Fort Worth’s past.
The wooden trolley car was once part of a tandem of vehicles that plied the tracks between Fort Worth and its neighboring cities.
“This particular vehicle operated on the Interurban to Dallas between 1924 to 1935 during that period,” said The T President Richard Ruddell.
But the old trolley car is part of a bigger picture that puts a new face on The T’s commitment to commuter rail and its solidarity with Fort Worth’s leadership.
The T has been under intense scrutiny by the federal agencies in charge of $450 million dollars of transportation money.
After a series of delays on commuter rail deadlines and questions raised about travel expenses by now former T board members, Fort Worth and The T are trying to rebuild trust — and every good piece of PR counts.
The new T board was installed last week, in part, to show a new focus on solidarity after city leaders said candidly the board was not communicating with the city council that appointed the board’s members. The message was made clear by council members following the swearing in on the new
board there would be a single-minded commitment to commuter rail and a unified message.
Here is what Council Member Jungus Jordan said at the swearing-in ceremony; “Traditionally Fort Worth has been a railroad town. And we think commuter rail service is something in our future and in the vision of our mobility.”
In fact, Jordan made a presentation at that ceremony outlining the importance of rail in Fort Worth’s past.
And now the T echoes that message with the historic display.
“Passenger rail service has been very important to Fort Worth, to Dallas and to north central Texas,” Ruddell said a week after the ceremony as he stood in front of the historic street car. “And so this shows us it goes back quite a ways. The technology has changed but transportation and getting around is still very important.
Its a subtle show of unity.
But Fort Worth leaders hope it has major impact as a sign they’re on track to rebuild The T’s image.
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