Transit agency, Richardson officials break ground on North Texas' 26-mile passenger rail project

Officials from Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the city of Richardson and the University of Texas at Dallas ceremoniously broke ground Sept. 19 on the Silver Line project.

Officials from Dallas Area Rapid Transit, the city of Richardson and the University of Texas at Dallas ceremoniously broke ground Sept. 19 on the Silver Line project.

North Texas’ regional public transit agency has made good on a decades-old promise to construct an east-west running passenger rail line servicing suburban cities north of Dallas.

On Sept. 19, city officials and Dallas Area Rapid Transit representatives ceremoniously broke ground on the Silver Line—DART’s 26-mile passenger rail project stretching from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Plano.

“Often times, people will say ‘Gary, you’ve got the longest light rail system in North America…but it all kind of goes in and out of downtown Dallas,’” DART president Gary Thomas said. "'When are you going to get that … east-west route done?’ Here it is. We’re ready."

The Silver Line’s projected opening in December 2022 will mark the first time some DART-participating cities have had access to the transit agency’s rail network.

“Patience is a virtue, and this project proves that,” Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker said at a groundbreaking ceremony held at the University of Texas at Dallas. “This Silver Line will pay dividends for our residents, our businesses and this university."

While the Silver Line will end at the DFW airport, Trinity Metro’s TEXRail will continue into downtown Fort Worth. That will provide passengers with 60 miles of transit spanning from Fort Worth to Plano, Thomas said.

Construction of the Silver Line will include a new station in Richardson at UT Dallas near the university's ongoing Northside mixed-use development.

“The Silver Line will connect Northside to the region, country and the world in a much broader manner,” UTD president Richard Benson said. “Imagine that you can land at DFW airport, board the Silver Line and then arrive at one of the nation’s youngest and most dynamic universities.”

The Silver Line had previously been called the Cotton Belt line due to its location along the historic Cotton Belt railroad corridor.

The line will pass through seven cities, including Grapevine, Coppell, Dallas, Carrollton, Addison, Richardson and Plano.

Passengers will be serviced by diesel trains contracted to be built by manufacturer Stadler US.

Each train will seat 230 passengers and measure 318-feet long, according to DART. The diesel motors used in the trains meet some of the strictest Environmental Protection Agency emissions regulations for nonroad engines and vehicles.

The line's schedule will provide service at 30-minute intervals during peak traffic hours. Off-peak hours will have 60-minute service intervals.

See the map below for a complete route of the Silver Line.

By Gavin Pugh
Gavin has reported for Community Impact Newspaper since June 2017. His beat has included Dallas Area Rapid Transit, public and higher education, school and municipal governments and more. He now serves as the editor of the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake edition.


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