Amtrak's Texas Eagle passengers have discovered that Dallas, Texas, is an outstanding destination for a weekend mini-vacation or a longer stay, because of the unique availability of DART light rail service and the variety of hotels, restaurants and entertainment options near Union Station. Because of the new DART service, Dallas has become a model city in the Southwest in terms of convenient public rail transportation. With DART, a variety of activities can be easily accomplished without the use of an automobile. For passengers planning more distant activities, car rental agencies are available nearby. The Texas Eagle provides convenient service which easily facilitates weekend trips from other cities in Arkansas and Texas.
To view the current passenger train schedule, and for additional helpful hints about traveling along the route of the Texas Eagle, visit the Texas Eagle web site. To return to this Dallas travel guide page, use the "BACK" button on your web browser.
The Hampton Inn (formerly Holiday Inn) is located at 1015 Elm Street at Griffin, adjacent to the West End Historic District. This hotel may be accessed by taking the DART Red Line/Park Lane or Blue Line/Pearl trains to the West End station, then walking about 2 blocks to the Hampton Inn. Hampton local reservation phone: 214-742-5678; national reservation phone: 800-426-7866.
The Adams Mark Hotel is located at 400 North Olive Street at Bryan. To access this hotel via DART, take the Red Line/Park Lane or Blue Line/Pearl trains from Union Station to Pearl Street station. Pearl Street is the fourth stop from Union Station. The hotel is approximately one-half block from the DART station. Local reservation phone: 214-922-0380.
Passengers desiring a hotel more removed from the downtown area may choose the Radisson Central Dallas Hotel, located at 6060 North Central Expressway at Mockingbird Lane. This location is approximately two-tenths of a mile from DART's Mockingbird station, and free shuttle service to and from the DART station is offered by the hotel. Pay phones to contact the hotel are available on the upper (street) level platform at Mockingbird Station, but Amtrak passengers may wish to call the hotel just prior to departure from Union Station on DART. Local reservation phone: 214-750-6060. Do not confuse with another Radisson Hotel on West Mockingbird Lane, which is several miles from the DART Mockingbird station.
At Union Station, DART uses the two tracks closest to the station itself. The next three tracks are used by Trinity Railway Express and Amtrak. Passengers are encouraged to use the underground tunnel to access train loading platforms, but walkways across tracks are also provided. Should you use the walkways, watch closely for DART trains. Trinity Railway Express operates weekday service between Union Station, Medical/Market Center Station and South Irving Station, using self-propelled Rail Diesel Cars. During morning and evening rush hours, service is provided on twenty to thirty minute intervals; other service is on approximately hourly intervals from 6am until 11pm. Standard DART tickets are valid. Trinity Railway Express is a joint operation of DART and Fort Worth Transit; service will eventually be expanded to downtown Fort Worth.
Service to north Dallas is provided by the Red Line/Park Lane route, with service as far north as Park Lane at North Central Expressway. The Blue Line/Pearl Street route operates over the same trackage but terminates at Pearl Street station. Traveling in the opposite direction, the Red Line/Westmoreland and Blue Line/Ledbetter Drive lines serve south and southwest Dallas. These lines operate over the same trackage as far as the 8th & Corinth station before splitting into two separate routes. DART light rail lines in South Dallas (Blue Line) and Oak Cliff serve a variety of ethnic neighborhoods including a large population of African-American and Hispanic citizenry. The art and decor of the rail and transit stations in these communities is designed to depict the history and culture of these neighborhoods and to recognize the contributions these groups have made to the history of Dallas. For riders who wish to sample the cuisine, Tachito's Mexican Restaurant & Private Club at 3210 West Illinois (Illinois at Westmoreland) is reportedly a good choice. The restaurant is located on the same side of Illinois Street as the DART Westmoreland station, the end terminal of the Red Line.
Fares on DART are $1.00, and are valid for 90 minutes from the time of issue. (In other words, if your round trip can be completed within 90 minutes, only one ticket is needed.) Tickets are purchased from automated ticket vending machines (TVM's). A reduced fare of $0.50 applies to children and to all passengers traveling within the downtown business district (Convention Center-Union Station-Pearl Street Station). One-day passes are available for $3.00. TVM's are designed to accept currency from $1.00 to $20.00 but some machines have a high rate of rejection of bills. TVM's also take coins, and the Susan B. Anthony dollar coins are particularly useful in this regard. Detailed instructions for operating TVM's are posted on the machine.
Platforms at most stations are designed to service trains of multiple car lengths. Shorter length trains will stop at the forward end of each station platform, near where wheelchair lifts are located. Depending on the operator and whether there is a heavy load of passengers, train doors may or may not automatically open at station stops. To manually open doors when standing outside the train, use push buttons located on each side of door; for detraining passengers, push buttons are located on vertical handrail poles near exit doors. Tickets are checked at random, and there is a fine for failure to purchase a ticket before boarding train. Non rush hour DART trains usually have ample seating, but during rush hours standee conditions sometimes prevail and standing areas are provided near the doors. Trains stop at all stations, and a schematic route map is posted in each end of all cars.
McKinney Avenue Trolley
The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA) operates meticulously restored trolley cars, the earliest of which was constructed in 1906. Within the next several years the line will extend into the West End, but at present a close connection with DART can be achieved by detraining from Red Line/Park Lane or Blue Line/Pearl Street trains at the St. Paul Street station. Walk north along St. Paul street approximately four blocks to the present end of MATA track. MATA trolley cars operate daily, 10am-10pm Sunday through Thursday, and 10am-midnight on Friday and Saturday. Cars arrive and leave the St. Paul & Ross end of track approximately on the hour and 30 minutes after the hour. Fares for the 30 minute round trip are $1.50 for adults, $1.00 for children, and $0.50 for senior citizens. Pay trolley motorman upon entering car. This route operates along McKinney Avenue from St. Paul to North Hall, where a loop turns the car for its return trip. Numerous restaurants, antique shops, boutiques and other attractions such as the Dallas Children's Theatre, Meyerson Symphony Center and Dallas Museum of Art are along the route. Passengers are encouraged to disembark at intermediate trolley stops to shop or eat, and may reboard a later trolley at no additional charge to complete their round trip. Pull the bell cord above windows about one-half block in advance of your stop to alert motorman, and ask for a trolley token which will be used as a ticket to reboard a later car.
The trolley car barn is located just off McKinney Avenue on Bowen Street, and passengers are welcome to detrain and walk through the shop to see restoration and maintenance work in progress on these vintage machines. A gift shop offers t-shirts, caps, postcards and other trolley souvenirs, as well as memberships in the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority, the volunteer organization which restores and operates the trolleys. Phone: 214-855-0006 for an "Uptown Dallas" trolley brochure detailing the various shops and restaurants along the route.
One of the more popular restaurants along the trolley route is the Hard Rock Café, located on the corner of McKinney and Routh. The restaurant opens at 11am daily; a merchandise shop featuring the now famous (infamous?) Hard Rock t-shirts and other memorabilia opens an hour earlier. Phone: 214-855-0007. Trolley cars enroute to the St. Paul end of track pass the Hard Rock Café at approximately 10 minutes and 40 minutes past the hour. While standing at designated trolley stop, signal to motorman as trolley approaches, but do not step off curb to board car until motorman has stopped the trolley and flagged vehicle traffic. The MATA website provides additional schedule information as well as information about special runs and special events throughout the year.
North Park Center
The Red Line/Park Lane route presently terminates at Park Lane and Greenville Avenue. At the Park Lane station, a North Park executive shuttle operates on continuous 20-minute headway from 10:10am until 10:10pm Monday through Saturday, and from 12:10pm until 7:10pm on Sunday. [Most shops are open until 9pm, 6pm on Sunday.] The executive shuttle, which is operated at no charge for DART passengers, discharges and receives riders at the shopping center entrance adjacent to F.A.O. Schwartz. The center houses numerous retail shops, department stores, food courts and restaurants. For information on the executive shuttle or for a list of stores in the North Park Center, phone: 214-363-7441.
The Galleria shopping center, one of the premier shopping destinations in Dallas, offers four levels of shopping in over 200 stores, along with a five sceen theatre, an ice skating rink, and numerous restaurants. Unfortunately, there is presently no convenient public transportation from downtown Dallas to the Galleria. A DART bus route from the Red Line's Park Lane station does serve the Galleria, but the route is quite circuitous and time consuming. Amtrak passengers desiring to shop at the Galleria may prefer to catch a taxi from the Hyatt Regency cab stand. Depending on the time of day and number of passengers, a taxi ride from downtown to the Galleria will cost approximately $16 each way. The Westin Hotel is located adjacent to the Galleria, with the hotel lobby opening into the Galleria area. After shopping, a return taxi can be readily secured from the cab stand at the Westin Hotel.
The Red Line/Westmoreland route serves the Dallas Zoo from a station located immediately across the street from the main zoo entrance. The zoo is well maintained and has extensive exhibits and grounds, as well as numerous refreshment kiosks in season and the Flamingo Food Court (hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, etc.) which is open year-round. Since the opening of the DART light rail line in mid-1996, attendance at the zoo has increased by almost 40% due to the ease of traveling to the site. The zoo is open from 9am-5pm daily (except Christmas Day), and admission is $5 for persons over 12, $2.50 for children 3-11. Note that when traveling to the Zoo from Union Station it is necessary to utilize the Red Line. Should passengers inadvertently find themselves on a Blue Line/Ledbetter train, detrain at 8th & Corinth and wait for a Red Line train which will be following shortly, traveling in the same direction and on the same track. [No additional fare required.]
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
The Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District is located several blocks north of Union Station on Houston Street, within easy walking distance of Union Station. This site provides historical interpretation of the events surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Like the Pearl Harbor attack experienced by an earlier generation, the assassination of the president and the subsequent events in Dallas remain one of the most vividly remembered events of the twentieth century. A memorial is in Dealey Plaza, just north of Union Station, and the museum itself is located on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository Building (on Houston Street, between Elm and Pacific). The exhibit is open daily (except Thanksgiving day and Christmas day). Phone: 214-747-6660 or visit the Sixth Floor Museum website at http://www.jfk.org for specific information on hours and admission fees. Note: For most web browsers to successfully access the Sixth Floor Museum website, it is first necessary to install a Macromedia plug-in.
Prepared for Arkansas Rail by Bill
Last revision: 3 January 2001.
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