These were the words of Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate as he spoke at the TEXRail New Year's Eve inauguration event Dec. 31 at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport North Station in Grapevine. Tate took his turn speaking alongside Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and North Richland Hills Mayor Oscar Trevino. The event formally introduced the TEXRail trains to the public as several hundred members of Tarrant County were invited to be among the first to ride the trains.
The trains will officially begin operation and ticket sales Jan. 5 and will operate free of charge for the month of January.
TEXRail is a commuter rail line operated by Trinity Metro. The rail line extends for 27 miles from downtown Fort Worth across northeast Tarrant County, through North Richland Hills and Grapevine and into Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport's Terminal B. There will be nine stops along the line in total.
The trains will contribute greatly to the success of the cities they stop in, several speakers at the event said.
"We don’t want to be stuck in the past," Trevino said. “Those who refuse to advance will have a hard time prospering."
"TEXRail becomes the spine of a new transit system not only for Tarrant County but the entire region," Trinity Metro Chair Scott Mahaffey said. "Connectivity is the most important thing you can possibly bring to an area."
As riders rode the train from their destination to the DFW Airport North station and back, many commented on the quality of the ride.
"I hear them talk about how quiet it is," train conductor Lavonnie Alvarado said. "Most of them expect it to be a locomotive engine, but it's diesel, so it's a lot quieter."
He said people also commented on how smooth the ride was and how easy it was to move around the train cars even as the train was in motion.
Tate said the trains will feature prominently as the Tarrant County area continues to grow.
"It’s a necessity," he said. "We can’t continue to just travel by car throughout the Metroplex alone. ... This is the beginning of something big."