Prior to the debut of TEXRail on Jan. 10, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $908 million loan was awarded to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit System to connect the DART to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. This system would be built along the Cotton Belt line and would supply east-west rail connecting downtown Plano to DFW Airport. TEXRail connects DFW Airport to Grapevine and several other stations on its route to Fort Worth.
The Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Project is a 26-mile passenger railroad extending from DFW Airport eastward to the Plano/Richardson area, covering three counties and seven cities. The project will be constructed primarily within the existing DART-owned railroad right of way. The tracks are currently used for freight rail service.
TEXRail service brings passengers from downtown Fort Worth to the DFW Airport. When complete, the Plano DART extension will bring passengers from Plano to the airport, where they are able to connect to places such as Grapevine and Fort Worth, and vice-versa, through TEXRail.
“The funding of this project is a real win for North Texas and couldn’t come at a better time,” Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate said in a statement. “The additional travelers that come as a result of this expansion will have the opportunity to take advantage of our historic downtown area and Grapevine Main station, creating a positive economic benefit that will ultimately accrue to our residents.”
The Cotton Belt rail project scope includes upgrading the existing track to meet passenger rail standards, converting single-track configuration to double-track, building 10 new stations along the 26 miles, and acquiring eight vehicles. The current TEXRail system includes passenger rail along 27 miles with nine stations.
“The excitement over the start of TEXRail is even greater than I anticipated, and the expansion will make for even better connections, allowing our residents the ability to travel seamlessly across the DART system,” Tate said.
Construction is expected to be complete in 2022.