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Wichita Falls Railroad Museum and Tex Rail 5/24/2019



by Chris Guenzler



I got up at Bonnie's apartment and after shaving, I headed to Wichita Falls. I stopped at a McDonalds for Hot Cakes and sausage then drove Interstate 44 The H.E. Bailey Turnpike for 110 miles back into Texas and stopped at the Texas Welcome Center picking up a State of Texas map and got good directions that took me right to the Wichita Falls Railroad Museum.

The Wichita Falls Railroad Museum

The Wichita Falls Railroad Museum is a railroad museum in Wichita Falls, Texas.

The museum is located in the Historic Depot Square in downtown Wichita Falls beside the railroad tracks. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of rolling stock in the area that pertain to the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (the "Katy").

The museum has one steam locomotive and one diesel locomotive, along with 13 other associated railway cars. There are also eight small rail vehicles such as motor cars or speeders and a hand car.

The Wichita Falls Railroad Museum also sports two rubber-wheeled "Kiddie Trains" for use at the museum and at civic functions around town representing the museum and its supporters.

My Visit

The museum was closed so I took my pictures through the fence.



FW&D 2-8-0 304.





The FW&D Wichita Falls station.





The train behind the FW&D 2-8-0 304.





Unknown Railway Post Office car.





MKT NW2 1029 and MKT troop sleeper No. 100261.





A Pullman sleeping car.





MKT caboose 212.





MKT caboose 111.





FW&S caboose 13.





Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad coach Silver Falls.





Unknown passenger car.





MKT troop sleeper No. 100261.





CB&Q passenger cars. At least I got pictures of most of their equipment.

The drive to Fort Worth

I took US 287 Business out of Wichita Falls but only got to the south of town when I had to pull off the highway and cross the mainline and I could not believe my luck this morning.





BNSF 9319 East at South Wichita Falls. He had the Norfolk Southern Virginian Hertage unit 1069 in his consist on a loaded Powder River coal train.









Norfolk Southern Virginian Hertage unit 1069. I then drove south down US 287 but a short while later I had another train approaching so I pulled off.







BNSF 4406 West heading for Wichita Falls. I then drove all the way to Saginaw and pulled in to the parking lot to wait for Amtrak.







The Heartland Flyer came through Saginaw this early afternoon. I then drove to the Texas and Pacific Station in Fort Worth and parked in a lot on the southside of the station. I went into the tunnel bought my single region ticket then went up onto the platform.





Trinty Rail Express train 2931 came into the Texas and Pacific station it shares with the TEXRail trains that go to DFW Airport.

TEXRail Fort Worth to DFW Airport

TEXRail (also known as the Tarrant Express Railway) is a commuter rail line in Tarrant County, Texas, United States that provides service between downtown Fort Worth and DFW International Airport via Grapevine and other Tarrant County communities. It is operated by Trinity Metro (formerly Fort Worth Transportation Authority) and started service on January 10, 2019, with a preview service having occurred on December 31, 2018.

The new line is worth $1 billion. This segment of the Cotton Belt Rail Line will be operated independent of the other two segments, as it was built by Trinity Metro, instead of DART, who will be building segments to the east.

Officials with Trinity Metro are hoping the new rail line will entice non-member cities along the line to join the transit agency in its quest to become a regional transit entity. Cities along the route include Colleyville, Haltom City and North Richland Hills. The route also goes through small parts of Hurst and Southlake. Unlike Grapevine, those cities do not have room under the state-mandated 8.25% sales tax cap for the 1/2 cent need to join. Trinity Metro will not build a station along the line in those cities unless they become a member city first.

History

Grapevine citizens voted 8,058-2,898 on November 7, 2006 to levy a full cent sales tax, of which three-eights of a cent would authorize Grapevine to contract with Trinity Metro for rail service and another 1/8 cent for other transit improvements, like a downtown parking garage. This includes an expansion of the commuter rail system to link southwest Fort Worth to the north end of DFW International Airport.

Trinity Metro's Board of Directors finalized their plans in October 2006 for the southwest-to-northeast expansion. Two commuter routes, a light rail route and a bus rapid transit route were under consideration. The Board's recommendation was a commuter rail line that runs in the southwest part of the city near Sycamore School Road, running near Texas Christian University and the Medical District on its way to the existing T&P Station and Fort Worth Central Station. At that point it turns northwest toward the Stockyards before turning northeast toward DFW International Airport. Preliminary plans call for nine new stations with eleven total, and could be contingent on other cities along the corridor joining the agency.

A proposal to use private funding to construct both TEXRail and DART's Dallas County segment was considered, but this plan was abandoned after necessary legislation was not passed in the State Legislature. Following this legislative defeat, Trinity Metro began pursuing federal grant funds in order to build TEXRail. On March 5, 2014, it was announced that the TEXRail project would receive $50 million in federal grant funds from President Barack Obama's 2015 New Starts Funding Budget.

In April 2015, Trinity Metro approved a contract for pre-construction services, awarded to an Archer Western Contractors/Herzog Contracting Corp (Archer Western Herzog) a joint venture, as well as approving the final design for the Iron Horse and Smithfield Road stations.

On June 9, 2015, Trinity Metro ordered an initial eight Stadler Rail 4-car articulated FLIRT3 (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train) DMUs. The contract was valued at $106.7 million, with an option for up to 24 additional DMUs, and includes the supply of components for 10 years. This is Switzerland-based Stadler's first order in the US for any model outside its Stadler GTW product line, therefore making it subject to the regulations of the Buy America Act. As such, one element of the contract is that the final assembly of the trains will take place in the US, at their plant in Salt Lake City.

That same month, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave approval for the project to advance into the engineering phase that immediately precedes the start of construction.[12] In June 2016, Trinity Metro received a Letter of No Prejudice from the FTA, essentially green-lighting the project. In reaction to this, Trinity Metro said they planned to start preliminary construction in July 2016, on track for a planned opening date in December 2018. DFW Airport also said they would provide the $40 million to build the station at Terminal B, with an opening date in late 2018.

Construction on the line officially started on August, 24, 2016, with a groundbreaking held at Grapevine's historic depot, the site of Grapevine-Main Street station.

On January 4, 2019, less than 12 hours before service was scheduled to commence, the opening was suspended due to signal issues identified during an inspection by Federal Railroad Administration officials along the southern end of the line in Downtown Fort Worth. The new opening took place on January 10, 2019.

Future expansion

Scott Mahaffey, Trinity Metro board chairman, has expressed interest in extending the line south and adding two stations to serve the medical district and Texas Christian University at an estimated additional cost of $200 million. This extension could be completed by 2023. City Councilman Jungus Jordan has said that he would like to see the line go even farther south to serve Tarleton State University's new campus near the Chisholm Trail Parkway.

Operations

Estimated travel time from T&P Station to DFW International Airport is estimated to be approximately 52 minutes. There are 48 trips per day with predominantly 1-hour headways; all but the earliest westbound and latest eastbound trains runs the full length of the route.

The line is predominantly single tracked, with passing sidings installed to allow for 30-minute headways.

My Ride

This would my first ever ride on this service plus riding the Stadler built train sets.





My first picture of a Stadler's built train set. I walked to the first car to board.





The inside of the Stadler's train set. I showed them my ticket to make sure I had the right one and they all said "Yes!"



Union Pacific 6313 came by my train.





Union Pacific 6218 West passes my train. At 1:25 Train 230 started moving with a very smooth ride, My new rail mileage on this trip would be from the junction with the TRE to where the Grapevine Vintage railroad comes into these tracks at that junction and then east of Grapevine all the way to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport station.





Tower 55 still stands in 2019.





Amtrak 82 power for the Heartland Flyer. The train stopped first at the Downtown ITC Fort Worth Station. The train then went through the building and around a couple of curves to the TRE junction.





My new rail miles begin.





Crossing the BNSF mainline to Saginaw.





The bridges across the Clear Fork Trinity River.





Railroad junctions along our route.





Me on the TEXRail train 230.





Our next station stop was at the North Side Station.





Next we went by the TEXRail Shops along the south side of our route.





The Mercantile Center Station.





The North Richland Hills Iron Horse Station.





The North Richland Hills Smithfield Station.





Fake bulls in a pen.





Santa Fe caboose wide vision 999729.





Southern Pacific 2-8-2 771 in Grapevine.





Grapevine Vintage Railroad FL9.





Grapevine Vintage Railroad turntable and engine house.





Grapevine Vintage Railroad SPV2000 1629.





Grapevine Vintage Railroad Tower 16 from Sherman, Texas.





Grapevine Main Street Station with the Grapevine Vintage Railroad train in both pictures. I am now on new rails.





The train took a curve on the way to our next station stop.







The DFW Airport North Station.





The International Parkway.





The DFW Airport.





The DFW Airport Radar Unit.





The Skylink trains used at the DFW Airport. The train pulled into the DFW Airport Terminal B Station and I detrained for pictures. My new mileage is now over.











The train at DFW Airport Terminal B Station. I reboarded the train and it is now Train 237. The train left the DFW Airport Terminal B Station for Fort Worth.





A DART Orange Line train for Dallas.





FWWR GP-38-2 2005.





FWWR GP-38-3 2000 and GP-40-2 2022.





FWWR SD-40-2 2029.





FWWR SD-40-2 2017 Kid Curry.





The Clear Fork Trinity River.





Downtown Fort Worth.





Back to TRE Junction.





Fort Worth Texas and Pacific Station.





The Fort Worth Santa Fe Station.





One last view of Tower 55.





The TEXRail train returned me to the Fort Worth Texas and Pacific Station. It had been a great trip on this new service they now provide. I then drove and checked into the Days Inn Fort Worth Stockyard Motel for my two night stay here.



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