Thursday, August 28, 2014

DART Orange Line To DFW Opens

A DART light rail vehicle breaks a ribbon as it enters DFW Airport StationAs you TransGriot readers know, I'm an unabashed mass transit supporter, especially when that transit system in question contains a rail component.

Normally as a proud Houstonian, I'm usually hating on anything Dallas related with a passion, but for once you're going to see me write something that praises Dallas. 

And naw, hell ain't freezing over and we aren't experiencing blizzard conditions in H-town right now . 
While former congresscritter Tom Delay, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX), and the Harris County Republican Party have been fighting METRO tooth and nail to keep them from getting the federal funding to build light rail here in Houston,  DART has been gleefully taking the federal money METRO hasn't been able to and began getting busy assembling the largest light-rail network in the United States with 90 miles (137 km) of track, a commuter rail line that terminates in Denton, TX with another rail line to Ft Worth .

As a matter of fact, to build the initial 7.5 mile segment of the METRORail Red Line that opened ten years ago, METRO had to use its own money to do so

I finally got a chance to ride the DART Orange and Red Line trains during the recent Black Trans Advocacy Conference back in late April and May.   The Doubletree Campbell Center hotel that hosts BTAC is near the Lovers Lane station on the northern end of the Orange and Red Lines.  

When I get off the Megabus from H-town at the DART East Olive Street transit center downtown, I'm a short two block walk from the St. Paul and Pearl Arts Stations.   Those stations are on that Bryan Avenue-Pacific St corridor in which all four DART light rail lines currently converge in their run through downtown Dallas.

Even better, the St Paul station has a 7-Eleven nearby so I can get my Slurpee fix before I shell out the $2.50 for my northbound DART train ticket to Lovers Lane.        

I was well aware of DART's Orange Line being extended toward DFW Airport through Irving.  Construction had started on the DFW Airport station that was scheduled to open in November.  

In my conversations with this year's BTAC attendees, they lamented the fact it wasn't open, and were hopeful that when they returned to Dallas for the 2015 edition of the conference, the DART light rail line would be open for revenue service from DFW.    

Well peeps, you got your wish.  The extension and the DFW Airport Station in Terminal A was finally completed four months early and under budget.   It opened for revenue service on August 18.  

That's great news for all the peeps who travel to Dallas to attend conferences.  It also makes me hopeful that with our own METRORail Purple Line being just 5.5 miles from its current Palm Center termination point to Hobby Airport, funding can be found (hint hint) to extend it and connect at least one of our airports to the rail system like Dallas has done for DFW. 

But nice to know that the next time I fly into DFW, I can take the train into downtown and anywhere else along the DART Rail network .

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