Transit in Dallas
In late October
2000 I had a chance to visit The Big “D” on business. I was working a
swing shift so I had a chance to do some transit riding and photography
during the day. The weather was being Oregon like, overcast and light
Dallas is fast
becoming a transit Mecca in the south central US.
This is hard to believe with the high dependence on cars in this area
of the country. DART Light Rail
first opened in 1996. The first segment has proven popular. There are two
lines, the Red and Blue. They operate together through downtown and
separate on the south end of town. A good portion of the system is grade
separated, especially on the north end. There is a
“subway” portion under US-75 between Mockingbird and just north
of Pearl St. Stations. There is one station in the subway, CityPlace,
which opened in 12/2000. The system does not use signal pre-emption at
traffic lights, which causes many slow downs on the system, but otherwise
the system is great to ride. The unique yellow paint scheme keeps the cars
There are two
extensions under construction to the north towards Plano (Red Line) and
Garland (Blue Line) Texas. There are also plans for an entirely new line
that runs more or less east west, joining the original alignment downtown.
This route will go to Carrolton and North Irving (possibly to Dallas Fort
Worth Airport) in the west and Pleasant Grove to the east.
On McKinney Ave
there is another older trolley service in operation. The McKinney Ave.
Transit Authority operates antique trolley cars on this historic line.
When the line was (re) opened the original streetcar tracks were unearthed
under the pavement for the trolley cars. Currently the rails are being
replaced so there is very limited service on the line. The line is to be
extended on either end into the West End area to the south and to the
CityPlace station in the north. They operate a Birney, an original Dallas
Stone & Webster car, an Aussie W-2 and have other cars under
maintains a commuter rail system, the Trinity Railway Express.
It started out using RDC’s operating between Dallas Union Station and
South Irving. In September 2000 the line was extended to Richland Hills,
just short of Fort Worth. The line should be extended into Fort Worth in
2001. There is a stop near Dallas Forth Worth Airport at Centerport.
Shuttle buses take passengers to the terminals. There are plans to extend
a branch line into the terminals. The RDC’s now share the line with
tri-level cars patterned after the Toronto GO cars (Also used in many
other cities in the US and Canada). They operate push/pull style.
did have an opportunity to photograph one train at Centerport before
catching my flight back home. The 3-car train was scheduled to end its
trip from Dallas here. The train appeared to be coming in HOT. It actually
stopped past the station platforms and had to back up in order to allow
passengers to disembark safely.
Finally there was
a trip to nearby Fort Worth to visit the Tandy Subway. This line was
originally opened by a department store to connect the basement of the
store with acres of parking by the Trinity River. Ex-Washington DC PCC’s
were obtained, converted to high platform and re-stylized. The subway
itself is only about 1000 feet in length. The
entire line is about 1 mile long with 5 stops, 4 in the parking lot.
(Radio Shack) converted the store into an office building, but retained
the “subway”. They “modernized” the cars one more time. This time
they put boxy shells on the cars. The cars have no semblance to a PCC
except for the trucks. I did notice that one of the foot pedals still had
the St. Louis logo on it however. The line is still popular with the
parking lots very crowded during the weekdays, it may help that parking
and the trolley ride are both free.. The basement of the Tandy Center
retains a shopping mall, which brings in more than just the office
workers. There are 6 cars still on the property, with 2 Chicago ‘L’
PCC cars in storage, my guess for parts.
wanted to take some photographs of the cars at the subway portal. The cars
had been running about every 5 minutes. 10 minutes went by, no car. A
maintenance truck however flew by and the worker ran into the substation
for the line. I guessed re-setting a breaker. Later security went around
to the stations telling passengers the trolleys were not operating. I went
to investigate. At the far end of the line the cars change ends. There are
simple ropes inside the cars to swap the poles. Well it looked like
somebody forgot to do that. The leading pole was up and ripped down the
wire, breaking the pole off of the springs in the process. This is why it
is important to swap the poles!