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My new Dallas Rail Miles

by Chris Guenzler

I had wanted to attend the 24 Hours At Saginaw, Texas event for years and decided that 2018 would be the year. For over a decade, the North Texas Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society has had the privilege of hosting a twenty-four hour rail watching event at the Saginaw Depot over Memorial Day weekend starting on Friday evening and ending Saturday evening, for a full twenty-four hours. In past years we have had approximately 100 or more railfans attend this event to watch trains day and night. In addition to watching trains, we schedule programs to entertain guests between trains including slide shows, speakers, clinics, videos and railroad trivia. Skip Waters, the man in charge of the unique railfanning event, offered me the great opportunity to be the featured program on Friday night and I would show my Friday night Winterail programs plus a spot on Saturday to show more of them. I asked Chris Parker to come and he thought that was a great idea. I bought my flights and booked hotels then started to plan the trip. In addition, Dallas had built more rails for me to ride, so it all came together.

5/24/2018 I arose and went to work at Heninger Elementary School and was up on the balcony during a light rain shower while our first through fifth graders gave a violin concert with 710 children playing. The fifth graders played every song during the concert and was truly an impressive event. I came home, finished packing then my good friend Carl Morrison drove me to John Wayne airport. Security was a piece of cake and I waited at the gate for my one-way flight to Love Field in Dallas.

Southwest Airlines Flight 63 5/27/2018

This flight departed late but it took me there as I read my Classic Trains magazine during the flight. I found Chris Parker then we picked up our Hertz rental car, a Nissan, before driving to the Ramada by Wyndham Dallas Love Field for the night.

5/27/2018 Chris and I arose at the Ramada Inn where first I discovered cockroaches running around in the bath tub. During the night, Mr. Parker had one in bed running on his arm. finally I spotted one in my bed and he became an ex roach. We put our luggage out in the rental car then went in and had a breakast of cereal and toast. We then drove to the Trinity Mills station in Carrolton to start our day riding the Denton A-train.

First came a southbound Green Line train for Buckner.

The Green Line station at Trinity Mills.

The Denton A-train station at Trinity Mills.

A northbound Green Line train for Carrolton-Frankford station.

Denton A-train

The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) is the transit authority that operates in Denton County, Texas. It operates bus service in three cities within Denton County, as well as the A-train, a regional commuter rail line to Carrollton.

About the A-train

The A-train is a 21-mile regional rail system connecting Denton and Dallas Counties. DCTA has five A-train stations; two in Denton and three in Lewisville and also interfaces with DART at their Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton. Passengers can transfer to the Green Line, which provides access to Downtown Dallas, the Medical District, Pleasant Grove, Fair Park, DART's Red, Orange and Blue Lines and the Trinity Railway Express. Visit for DART service and schedule information.

Our trip

Our Denton A-train arrived into the station from Denton.

The Denton A-train Stadler GTW 2/6 DMU 109 at Trinity Mills station.

The inside of Denton A-train unit 109. We were soon underway on my first trip on the Denton A-train.

The Sam Rayburn Tollway interchange with Interstate 35E.

The George W. Bush Tollway interchange with Interstate 35E before we stopped at the Hebron station.

We next ran by Denton A-train shop complex.

Denton A-train Stadler GTW 2/6 diesel multiple unit 105.

Denton A-train Stadler GTW 2/6 diesel multiple unit 103.

Denton A-train Stadler GTW 2/6 diesel multiple unit 102.

Denton A-train unit Stadler GTW 2/6 diesel multiple unit 102. We made stops at Old Town station and then onto Highland Village/Lewisville Lake.

The train crossed an arm of Lewisville Lake. The train stopped at the MedPark station before it arrived at the downtown Denton station where we detrained for a few minutes during the layover here.

Our train at Denton.

This Denton Entrance welcomes train riders to the station.

Union Pacific MCVX 911119 at Denton. We reboarded the Denton A-train for the trip back to Trinity Mills.

Denton A-train Stadler GTW 2/6 diesel multiple unit 106.

Denton A-train Stadler GTW 2/6 diesel multiple unit 105.

Denton A-train Stadler GTW 2/6 diesel multiple unit 109 has returned our train and us to the Trinty Mills station. It had been a very fine trip on the Denton A-train.

Dallas DART Green and Orange Line expansion

On July 3, 2006, the Federal Transit Administration approved a US $700 million Full Funding Grant Agreement - the largest grant ever awarded to DART - to kick-start a $2.5 billion expansion of the light rail system. This phase included two new light rail lines that doubled DART's light rail mileage. Construction began in September 2006. Upon completion of the project in 2013, the size of DART's light rail system doubled to 90 miles. In maps before 2006, DART labeled the Pleasant Grove to Carrollton route the "Orange Line", and the Irving route was the "Purple Line". Green was generally used on DART maps to denote the route of the Trinity Railway Express. By the time construction started, DART was using the new Green Line designation as part of its marketing efforts, saying "Like the color green, this line is a symbol of our city on the move".

The Green Line began operation on September 14, 2009 with a route from downtown Dallas southeast to Fair Park; this short route was scheduled to open in time to service the 2009 State Fair of Texas. On December 6, 2010 the line extended further at both ends - to Pleasant Grove, as well as continuing northwest from Victory Station to Farmers Branch and Carrollton; both extensions, completing the Green Line. The Green Line's northern end connects with the A-train line run by the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA). This line connects Denton to Carrollton, with stops in Lewisville and Highland Village. The commuter train may stop in other Denton County cities, should they choose to join the DCTA. The second line, the Orange Line originates at LBJ/Central on the Red Line and runs concurrently with the Red Line to downtown, then with the Green Line to northwest of Love Field Airport at Bachman Lake, where it branches off toward Irving, then continuing to DFW International Airport. DART is cooperating with Love Field to link that airport to the Orange Line, but service is currently connected by a bus shuttle. The line runs through Las Colinas and connects to the Las Colinas APT System. DART had preliminary plans for the Orange Line to run concurrently with the Red Line from downtown Dallas to LBJ/Central Station. The line ends at LBJ/Central Station with rush hour service to Parker Road Station. The first Orange Line stations opened on July 30, 2012, while service to Belt Line Station in Irving began on December 3, 2012. An extension of the Orange Line from Belt Line Station to DFW Airport Station opened on August 18, 2014.

Our ride

This whole green line will be new milege except through downtown Dallas where all the DART light rail trains share the same tracks.

A train for Carollton/Frankford came into the Trinity Mills station.

Our train arrived but it was only going to West Hills/Denton Road station. We rode the train to that station.

The Southern Pacific Carrollton station seen from our Green Line train.

Downtown Dallas looms ahead of our train.

Our train after we got off at the West Hills/Denton Road station.

Our trolley left for their maintenence facility.

Our trolley for Buckner soon arrived with us boarding the train.

Bachman Lake.

A unique building in Dallas. We rode through downtown Dallas and out to the east end of the Green line at Buckner station.

Our train at Buckner station.

The downtown Dallas skyline. We returned to downtown Dallas, exiting the train at St. Paul and walking around a building to our next ride on this trip.

McKinney Avenue Transit Authority

The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority (MATA), a non-profit organization, operates the M-line Trolley in Dallas, Texas. The offices and car barn are located at 3153 Oak Grove. In operation since 1989, it is an example of a heritage streetcar running historic cars. The main stretch of the line runs down McKinney Avenue in Uptown. While the "M-Line" name was officially adopted for the service in 2002, the line continues to be commonly known as "the McKinney Avenue trolley" (or streetcar). Since 2002, the M-line Trolley is free to the public, thanks to a joint operating subsidy received from Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the Uptown Improvement District. DART designates the streetcar as route 825 at transit stops. The M-line Trolley connects with the DART light rail system at Cityplace/Uptown on the northern end and St. Paul on the southern end.


Metropolitan Dallas had numerous streetcar lines from the late 19th century through 1930s. Previous to MATA, the last streetcar ran in Dallas during the mid-1950s. Numerous maps of the old trolley routes are available online. During the 1980s, there was a movement to restore streetcar service in Dallas's Uptown neighborhood after some of the original rails were uncovered on McKinney Avenue. New rails were first laid in September 1988 near Hall Street. The initial infrastructure would be in place in the summer 1989. On July 22, 1989, Dallas saw a return of the streetcar as car 122 broke a celebratory banner. In 1995, the agency had to fix subsidence in Cole Avenue causing a dip in the tracks between Hall and Bowen Streets. About 200 feet of track was replaced. By the late 1990s, it became apparent that the 110-year-old brick pavement on McKinney Avenue could no longer support modern-day car, truck and bus traffic. Repairs began in July 1999 and were completed in December 2000. The street was repaved with concrete brick and most of the old brick was saved for sidewalks and other amenities. Work was done on one lane of the street at a time. Many times the streetcars were rerouted, sometimes with a shoofly. For several months the north loop was inaccessible due to utility work at Allen and McKinney.

First expansion

The first expansion of the system opened in 2002. Both Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and MATA desired the streetcar to meet up with DART's Cityplace subway station a few blocks from the route. The first new track for the Cityplace extension was laid on Cole Avenue south of Blackburn in June 2001. In the summer of 2002 while the tracks were being laid, construction crews unearthed history as old center-of-the-street rail from Dallas Railway and Terminal tracks were discovered. On May 6, 2002, the extension was opened for the public (after a ceremonial opening on April 13, 2002, without service starting). It is now possible to ride the DART Light Rail system and get off at Cityplace station and board the streetcar to Uptown. Effective May 6, 2002, all service on the line became free. The extension increased the line's length to 3.8 miles. The line was given the name "the M-Line" in the local transit system at this time.

Second expansion

The City of Dallas and MATA worked together to further expand the streetcar system past the southern terminus further into downtown. The plan was for a line to split off from the current line at McKinney and Olive Streets and travel down Olive to the light rail transit mall downtown near Pearl Station. Part of the money needed for the expansion was put to voters in the form of a bond. On November 7, 2006, the voters of Dallas approved Proposition One, which asked voters if they would like to approve "The Issuance of $390,420,000 general obligation bonds for street and transportation improvements." The bond was approved 87.4% to 12.6%. Engineering for the project was to follow, with construction planned for 2010.On Thursday, July 8, 2010, it was announced that the federal government would grant an additional $5 million for the M-Line trolley project, specifically to help complete the downtown loop for the McKinney Avenue trolley line, and the line will be able to run faster, more modern cars and penetrate deeper into downtown. In May 2015, MATA started running trolleys on the new downtown extension. The line extended past Ross Ave., making a loop along Federal St. and Olive St. and then reconnecting to the line on McKinney Ave. The new line formally opened on June 5, 2015 followed by a public celebration event held on June 6, 2015. The event encouraged citizens to ride the free trolley and send pictures via social media for a chance to win one of several prize packages from local businesses. Two dozen other local uptown and downtown businesses participated in the event by offering free samples and discounts.


The trolley can make all the following stops during a roundtrip if passengers want to board or get off: Cityplace, Uptown, Cityplace West & Noble, Cityplace West & McKinney, McKinney & Blackburn, Blackburn & Cole, Cole & Lemmon East, McKinney & Lemmon East, Cole & Lemmon, Lemmon & Cole, McKinney & Lemmon, Cole & Hall, McKinney Plaza, Cole & Bowen, Trolley Barn, McKinney & Bowen, McKinney & Seed, Cole & Allen, McKinney & Allen, McKinney & Worthington, McKinney & Boll, McKinney & Routh, McKinney & Fairmount, McKinney & Maple, McKinney & Pearl, McKinney & Olive, McKinney & Harwood, Olive & Colby, St. Paul & Woodall Rodgers, Klyde Warren Park, Spur 366, Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, St. Paul & Munger, Olive & Flora, St. Paul & Ross, Olive & Ross, First Baptist Church, Olive & San Jacinto, St. Paul & Wenchel, Federal & Olive, St. Paul & Federal and the Federal & Harwood stations.

Our trip

The 754 Trolley came into the St. Paul station and we boarded for a ride over all the tracks on which they operate.

The inside of the 754 Trolley.

Leaving the St. Paul station, we turn onto Olive Street heading west.

The history of this particular trolley.


Rolling down Olive Street.

Turning north onto McKinney Street. Now enjoy the views as we travel north up McKinney Street. The trolley only stops to let on people at stations where they are visible to the crew.

The trip up McKinney Street.

We turned east onto Cityplace Blvd.

The trip to the Cityplace station at the end of the spur, where we detrained for pictures.

Trolley 754 at the station.

We then departed Cityplace.

Returning down Cityplace Blvd back to McKinney Street.

Turning north onto McKinney Street.

We travelled a few blocks north up McKinney Street.

We turned west onto Haskell Street.

Rolling down Haskell Street.

We turned onto Lemmon Street.

We rolled down Lemmon Street.

We turned onto Cole Street.

We then turned onto Allen Street.

That road took us back to McKinney Street. Enjoy the ride down McKinney Street in Dallas.

We passed the other car, Trolley 7169 "Emma".

The trip south down McKinney Street.

We made the east turn onto St. Paul Street.

The trip down St. Paul Street.

Our trolley leaving St. Paul. A special thank you to the McKinney Streetcar crew for a most excellent trip aboard their trolley today.

Our trolley at Dallas Union Station.

Dallas Union Stationm designed by Jarvis Hunt and built in 1916, as seen on the walk to the Dallas Streetcar, our next ride.

Dallas Streetcar

The Dallas Streetcar is a 2.45-mile modern streetcar line in Dallas. It is owned by the city of Dallas and operated by Dallas Area Rapid Transit, which also operates the light rail system. Construction on the line began in May 2013 and it opened for public service on April 13, 2015. The streetcar line operates between downtown Dallas and Oak Cliff by way of the Houston Street Viaduct. The streetcar line originally operated from Union Station to Methodist Dallas Medical Center, but an extension to the Bishop Arts District opened on August 29, 2016.

Background The Dallas Streetcar project is a collaborative endeavor among DART, the City of Dallas, and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG). The project received $23 million in initial funding via a federal TIGER grant awarded to DART in December 2010. An additional $3 million in federal stimulus dollars was later granted to the project. DART reallocated $22 million in local funds to the streetcar project which were originally scheduled for a proposed people-mover between Inwood Love/Field station and the Love Field airport terminal. In January 2013, NCTCOG approved reallocating $31 million in state funds, which were also earmarked for the proposed Love Field people-mover, to the streetcar project. The combined funding would allow for construction of both the first and second phases of the streetcar project.


Phase 1 (Union Station to Dallas Methodist Medical Center)

Phase 1 of the Dallas Streetcar line, running from Union Station to Methodist Dallas Medical Center (the line's "Beckley" stop), opened on April 13, 2015. Service runs at 20-minute intervals on weekdays, with no cost to ride. In February 2016, streetcar operating hours will be expanded to between 9:30am and midnight weeknights, and will offer weekend service.

Construction on Phase 1 began in May 2013. By September 2014, most track construction for Phase 1 had been completed.The first of the two streetcars on order from Brookville was delivered on March 20, 2015. At the time of the phase 1 opening on April 13, 2015, the second streetcar vehicle had yet to be delivered. It was delivered on May 15, 2015.

Phase 2 [Dallas Methodist Medical Center to Bishop Arts District] Phase 2 of the Dallas Streetcar line runs south from the line's original southern terminus at Methodist Dallas Medical Center (Beckley stop), to the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff.On April 28, 2015, the DART board of directors approved a construction contract for the Bishop Arts extension. On June 17, 2015, the Dallas City Council agreed to fund Phase 2 construction using up to $27.5 million in available grant money. In preparation for the Phase 2 opening, DART said that the frequency of service would increase from 30 minutes to 20 minutes by introducing a second streetcar on the line. The extension opened on August 29, 2016.

Future expansion plans

Future plans for the streetcar line include extensions from Union Station to the Dallas Convention Center, and a connection to the McKinney Avenue Trolley via the Main Street District.The $92 million project, called the "Central Link", will use one of three alternatives traveling east from Union Station to Olive and St. Paul streets, where the McKinney Avenue Trolley already terminates. It will be built in conjunction with the "D2" light rail project. Rolling stock

In February 2013, an order was placed with Brookville Equipment Corporation for two low-floor streetcars to provide the service on the line. The Brookville "Liberty" model articulated cars are 67 feet long and have limited capability to operate away from overhead trolley lines by operating on battery power. This battery-powered operation allows the streetcars to travel across the Houston Street viaduct, which does not have overhead lines installed. The first car (No. 302) was delivered on March 20, 2015, and at the time of the line's opening in mid-April it was the only car in the fleet. The second car, No. 301, was delivered on May 15, 2015.

Our trip

Dallas Streetcar 301.

Three trains in Dallas Union Station: The Texas Eagle 21, Trinity Rail Express and a DART train.

Dallas Streetcar 301 at the Bishop Arts station at the end of the line.

On the return trip the weather turned really nasty and the two of us returned in a torrential downpour of very heavy rain, so we made a beeline into Dallas Union Station to stay dry. We went back outside to the cover of the DART canopy to wait for any train to take us back to West End.

This picture shows how much it was raining.

UP 5142 West came through the station in the rainstorm.

Our train for West End came in and we boarding for the one-stop ride. At West End we made a run to a canopy on the westbound track.

The train that took us to West End.

Our train arrived and picked us up. Fares were inspected and we both enjoyed our trip. Chris Parker would get off at Trinity Mills station and do some work while I would ride to the north end of the line to Carrolton/Frankford station, then join him back at Trinity Mills.

The American Airlines Arena in Dallas where the Dallas Stars NHL team plays their games.

After I rode to Carrollton/Frankford with a one minute turn-around, I took a picture of my train leaving Trinity Mills for Buckner.

One last picture of the Denton A-train at Trinity Mills. We drove Interstate 35E north to Main Street and took that road through Blue Mound to Interstate 35W until traffic forced us onto surface streets to reach the Days Inn, where we checked in for our two-night stay. Next we would go over to Saginaw for the 24 Hours at Saginaw event which started at 7:00 PM but we arrived there at 5:40 PM.

Click here for Part 2 of this story.