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Rail News: Passenger Rail

DART updates plans to double system

While many industries continue to face economic uncertainty, Dallas Area Rapid Transit is doing its part to keep light-rail transit construction crews busy. The agency plans to open its three-mile White Rock Station-to-Mockingbird Station extension Sept. 24, but test trains already are running the route.

Initial tests are to determine if the proper amount of electricity is going to the vehicles as they travel the corridor. Additional tests discern whether there are any clearance issues to be resolved, followed by communications and signaling systems tests. Finally, engineers would begin running the route to gain familiarity with its operating characteristics and timetable before opening for revenue service.

But crews will have no time to slow down when that $56.1 million segment opens; another three-and-a-half-mile, $85.1 million segment to LBJ/Skillman Station is due to open in spring. And that’ll be followed by the four-and-a-half-mile, $98.7 million extension to Downtown Garland Station, due to open the following fall. DART refers to the total 11.2-mile extension as the Northeast Light Rail Expansion, which also includes construction of four new stations and 3,220 parking spaces. Officials predict about 10,000 passengers will ride trains on the new extension.

And if that’s not enough to keep crews busy, they can move over to the 12.5-mile North Central Light Rail Expansion project, which also is divided into three segments. Plans call for 10 stations with 4,819 parking spaces to be added, and DART officials expect to post 16,000 average weekday trips.

The first segment, a $118.1 million four-mile line from New Park Lane Station to LBJ/Central Station, is slated to open in summer 2002. The segment would include four stations with a total of 1,153 parking spaces divided between three of them.

The LBJ/Central Station-to-Galatyn Park Station would extend the line an additional five miles and also open in summer 2002. With $87.4 million planned for construction, the segment would include three stations with 1,503 parking spaces divided between two.

The final planned $62.8 million segment would run three miles from Galatyn Park Station to Parker Road Station. Plans include three stations with 2,163 parking spots divided among two stations. This segment is scheduled to open in summer 2003.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/25/2001