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This commuter rail service is more than a way for passengers to get to DFW Airport

TEXRail trains have been making test runs to Grapevine. Full service between Fort Worth and DFW Airport is scheduled to begin in January.
TEXRail trains have been making test runs to Grapevine. Full service between Fort Worth and DFW Airport is scheduled to begin in January. Trinity Metro

If you’ve noticed more trains rolling in to Grapevine this week, it might be TEXRail, which is expanding its test runs to the city.

TEXRail is a 27-mile commuter rail line that runs from Fort Worth to Terminal B at DFW Airport. There are stops in Fort Worth, North Richland Hills and Grapevine.

“We are extremely proud of TEXRail, and it will set the premium,” said Bob Baulsir, senior vice president of Trinity Metro, which launched the TEXRail project. “This is a welcome change in North Texas.”

The test runs take place from 2 p.m. to midnight. Trains are running at 70 mph from TEXRail’s maintenance facility at Long Avenue to Grapevine. Work is still underway on Terminal B at he airport, he said.

TEXRail will have a special run New Year’s Eve, with full service starting on Jan. 5.

The cars were designed in Switzerland. Every seat will have a USB port and each car will have a bike rack. There is even a “quiet car” where the lights will be dimmed and passengers will have to forego using their cell phones.

When trains start running, people will have more options for traveling to employment hubs in Fort Worth,Grapevine and at the airport, Baulsir said.

Transit-oriented development is already taking shape in North Richland Hills and Grapevine.

In North Richland Hills, the Iron Horse and Smithfield stations are the two stops for the TEXRail trains. Townhomes, apartments and retail are planned for a development called Iron Horse Commons, a five-minute walk from the station. The townhomes will have direct access to the Cottonbelt Trail.

Work is underway at the $105 million Grapevine Main, a mixed use development featuring a five-story station and a boutique hotel, which is scheduled to open in fall of 2019.

“This is an opportunity for us to build our brand as a destination, a hospitality-friendly venue. It is less than a block from our historic Main Street,” said Bob Farley, Grapevine’s economic development director.

TEXRail will also give visitors another way to get to the festivals, such as Grapefest without, driving their cars.

“Grapevine has been proactive for a long time trying to anticipate opportunities like this and set aside funds for the train station,” Farley said. “We wanted to do something more than put up a kiosk.

In 2006 Grapevine voters approved allocating a portion of the sales tax toward the commuter train service.

TEXRail is on track to begin commuter train service Dec. 31 from downtown Fort Worth to Grapevine and DFW Airport. On Tuesday, Trinity Metro opened its maintenance yard.

Elizabeth Campbell: 817-390-7696, @fwstliz

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