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TEX Rail commuter station approved at DFW Airport, to open in 2018

Canopies cover the DART light rail station at Terminal A of DFW International Airport in 2014. Airport officials say an adjacent station for the TEX Rail commuter line will open by September 2018.
Canopies cover the DART light rail station at Terminal A of DFW International Airport in 2014. Airport officials say an adjacent station for the TEX Rail commuter line will open by September 2018. Star-Telegram

TEX Rail commuter train service is scheduled to begin boarding passengers in late 2018 in downtown Fort Worth.

And when that service begins, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport officials say they’ll be ready with a station of their own at the other end of the 27-mile-long line.

DFW Airport board members have agreed to hire contractor Archer Western of Irving to build a station at Terminal B at an estimated cost of $28.4 million. A contract with Archer Western, which along with rail operating company Herzog is overseeing the TEX Rail project, was approved during a board meeting earlier this month.

The airport also has a light-rail station that opened in 2014 for Dallas Area Rapid Transit on the ground level of Terminal A. The DART station and the TEX Rail station will be connected by a walkway, making it possible for riders to easily transfer between the transit systems.

“We’re excited about that. We’re on track,” DFW Airport chief executive Sean Donohue said of the planned TEX Rail station. “The look and feel of the station will be very similar to the DART station at Terminal A. We’ll pretty much use the same design.”

TEX Rail

TEX Rail commuter trains are expected to begin service in late 2018, connecting Fort Worth, Grapevine and North Richland Hills. Residents of other nearby cities are expected to use the rail line as well. More than 8,000 daily riders are expected in the early years, and that number is expected to grow to 13,000 daily riders by 2035. Map is zoomable, click on stations and rail lines for more info.

The DFW TEX Rail station is expected to be completed by September 2018, airport officials said, with TEX Rail service tentatively scheduled to begin in November 2018.

The TEX Rail line will start in downtown Fort Worth and offer stops near the Stockyards, the Mercantile area of north Fort Worth, North Richland Hills and Grapevine before reaching DFW.

In December, the Federal Transit Administration approved a full-funding grant agreement for TEX Rail, ensuring the project will receive its federal funding request of $499.39 million.

The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, which is the lead public agency for TEX Rail, has begun construction of the project north of downtown.

The airport’s TEX Rail station will be designed to accommodate a second rail line for DART’s planned Cotton Belt project, which would essentially extend TEX Rail north and eastward into Addison, Dallas and Plano by cutting diagonally across airport property. DART’s board recently approved the Cotton Belt project, with the goal of opening by 2022.

Contract specifics

The contract with Archer Western includes demolition of an old people mover guide-way that ran in the bowels of DFW before the airport opened its SkyLink service. An airport operations area gate will also need to be moved to a nearby taxiway, according to a DFW Airport staff report.

Some airport board members noted during a recent committee meeting that the $28.4 million price tag is substantially lower than the $40 million they had expected to spend on the TEX Rail station.

Airport officials noted that the TEX Rail line, which will feature self-propelled diesel rail cars, is different from the DART light-rail line, which features electric-powered cars. Also, they said, the contracting climate allowed for some lower costs for TEX Rail that weren’t available when the DART station was built a few years ago.

The airport ended up spending $35.6 million on the DART Terminal A station, spokesman David Magana said. DART covered the cost of getting the train tracks built onto airport property, he said.

TEX Rail trains are expected to operate about every half-hour during peak periods, with about 44 trains per day in all. About 9,000 passengers per day are expected to ride the trains in the service’s first year, and that number could expand to 14,000 riders per day by 2035, Fort Worth Transportation Authority officials say.

This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Gordon Dickson: 817-390-7796, @gdickson

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