There are a lot of misconceptions out there about North Texas’ newest passenger rail line, TEXRail.
The commuter train service officially opens to the public Jan. 5, connecting downtown Fort Worth to North Richland Hills, Grapevine and DFW Airport.
“I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that TEXRail is light rail rather than a commuter rail line,” said Laura Hanna, spokeswoman for Trinity Metro, the local transit organization building the passenger train service. “Another is people don’t think it will run on Sundays.”
Metroplex residents are likely to hear a lot of media coverage about TEXRail, beginning Monday (New Year’s Eve day), when dignitaries from cities with stations on the line will take part in a celebratory ride, ending with music and refreshments at DFW Airport.
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So, for those who aren’t sure about where and how often the trains will run, and what kind of service they will provide, here are five things to know about TEXRail:
▪ Around the clock effort — It’s much more comprehensive than the Trinity Railway Express, which doesn’t run Sundays. TEXRail trains will operate seven days a week, with eastbound service going from 3:17 a.m. to 12:17 a.m. and westbound from 4:55 a.m. to 1:46 a.m.
▪ Affordable — A one-way trip from downtown Fort Worth to DFW Airport Terminal B will be $2.50. A day pass to use all trains and buses within Tarrant County (including TEXRail) will be $5. For those who want to transfer to Dallas trains — and that will be super-easy to do at DFW Airport, where TEXRail will serve Terminal B and DART’s Orange Line is a short walk away at Terminal A — a regional day pass will be $12. Cheaper fares are available for seniors, children and people with disabilities.
▪ Smooth ride — Trinity Metro bought its rail cars from Stadler Rail of Bussnang, Switzerland. These vehicles are built to give riders the feeling of a street car, although they have safety features to operate on freight tracks (including the TEXRail line). They have level boarding, so people with strollers or wheelchairs can easily come aboard.
▪ “Shhh!” Quiet — Most crossings along the railroad line will be federally designated quiet zones, meaning it’s safe for the train operator to go through the intersection without blowing the horn (although the operator can sound the horn for unexpected obstacles, such as a person or animal on the tracks.) This will be particularly important in Colleyville, where some residents opposed TEXRail and many expensive homes were built near the tracks.
▪ New neighborhoods — North Richland Hills and Grapevine both have ambitious plans to build transit-oriented development around their stations.