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Rail News: Passenger Rail

DART celebrates 5th birthday

Dallas Area Rapid Transit June 14 celebrated five years’ service by offering passengers a piece of train-shaped cake in the morning at West End Station, and "light rail cookies" and bottled water on the return commute at Mockingbird, Park Lane, Westmoreland and Ledbetter stations.

Since opening the 20-mile starter system in 1996, bus, train and high-occupancy vehicles lanes ridership has nearly double to a record 94.7 million trips in fiscal-year 2000.

"It’s a great accomplishment for DART and the region to have so successful a light-rail system in such a short period of time," said DART Chairman Jesse Oliver in a prepared statement. "Thanks to our customers and supporters, we’re not only celebrating our first five years, we’re doubling the size of the system during the next two years and accelerating our expansion beyond 2003."

Twenty-four miles of extensions are under construction in Richardson, Garland and Plano, Texas. And $922 million in transit-oriented development is keeping pace with the system’s construction, including projects that combine urban living with services, shopping, entertainment, offices and public transit access.

Looking even further into the future, plans already are on the drawing board for a 10.2-mile Southeast extension from downtown Dallas to Deep Ellum and Fair Park, scheduled to open in 2006, and service to Pleasant Grove in 2007.

An additional 17.5 mile Northwest extension would go from downtown Dallas to Northwest Highway in 2007 and Carrollton in 2008. A branch would serve the Las Colinas Urban Center in 2009 and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in 2010.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/25/2001