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Denton County, Texas A-Train

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Denton County Transportation Authority "A-Train" at Hebron Station. Photo by Jim Cumbie, June 2011.

Contents

Overview

A new commuter line opened in the North Texas Metroplex on June 18, 2011: The Denton County Transportation Authority's "A-Train" connecting downtown Denton with the DART Green Line Trinity Mills station. The inaugural festivities included free rides between Lewisville's Hebron Station and the Downtown Denton Transit Center. Full service to Trinity Mills began on the following Monday, June 20, 2011.

The A-Train's first cars are some borrowed Trinity Railway Express RDCs. The first delivery of their own eleven Swiss-built Stadler Bussnag AG diesel multiple unit cars is expected to arrive in August 2011. Testing will continue through August 2012 with "fleet transition" scheduled for September 2012. These new cars will be similar to the Stadler DMUs now running on Austin, Texas' Capital Metro Line.

The A-Train's line is built on an old M-K-T right-of-way. Cars of the Texas Interurban Railway Company ran on the Katy tracks in that corridor between Dallas and Denton from 1928 to 1932.

The line roughly parallels Interstate 35E and includes five stations in Denton County serving the agency's three member cities. Although the A-Train runs through a few rural-like settings, the most scenic part of the railroad is its crossing of Lake Lewisville, Dallas's principal water supply.

Hundreds of people turned out to ride the inaugural trains. Despite the frustrations and disappointments of trying to get on board the air conditioned trains the crowd was generally well behaved. The DCTA's train crews and volunteers did their best to apologize for and explain the reasons for the delays.

After waiting to board a train for more than an hour in the 105 degree heat, I took a shuttle bus to the next station down the line and was able to get on a southbound train there after 30 minutes. If size of the opening day crowd is a portent of the future, this new line will be a tremendous success.

August, 2012 Update

On August 18, 2012, Stadler, the manufacture of Denton County Transportation Company's new diesel-electric multiple unit railcars, sponsored a "party" to mark the implementation of the cars into revenue service and enhancements to the A-train's schedule. The public was treated to free rides, hot dogs and ice cream.

These new Swiss-built cars incorporate a crash management system that distributes structural crash energy throughout the length of the cars to safely protect the riders. In June, the Federal Railroad Administration issued DCTA an Alternate Vehicle Technology Crashworthiness waiver to allow the Stradler cars to operate on conventional freight railroads throughout the the north Texas area. The cars exceed the most stringent safety standards in the US and are said to be among the safest commuter rail cars in the world.

The new articulated cars are divided into three sections. From observation, it appears that the diesel motors are in the middle section. Each car can accommodate 200 passengers. The ride is comfortable, quiet and smooth. Onboard pre-programmed station and passenger information are broadcast in English and Spanish.

Starting August 20th, the rail cars will operate during mid-day as well as during rush hours. Previously buses provided mid-day service.

As the RDCs are phased out they will be returned to the Trinity Railway Express.

Photo Gallery


Image 132546
(88k, 752x560)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Hebron

Image 132547
(89k, 752x554)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Car Interior/Misc

Image 132548
(95k, 752x564)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Hebron

Image 132549
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Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Downtown Denton Transit Center

Image 132550
(88k, 752x564)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Downtown Denton Transit Center

Image 132551
(101k, 752x559)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Hebron

Image 136634
(88k, 752x564)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Car Interior/Misc

Image 136635
(96k, 751x557)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Downtown Denton Transit Center

Image 136636
(89k, 752x560)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Hebron

Image 136637
(77k, 750x566)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Hebron

Image 136638
(76k, 752x558)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Car Interior/Misc

Image 136639
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Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Trinity Mills

Image 136640
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Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Trinity Mills

Image 136641
(85k, 751x560)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: A-Train Yard/Shops



Photos by Location

Downtown Denton Transit Center, MedPark, Highland Village/Lewisville Lake, Old Town, A-Train Yard/Shops, Hebron, Trinity Mills, Car Interior/Misc

Links

Official Site - Denton County Transportation Authority. The official site of the DCTA, including schedules, fares, and more.

Page Credits

By Jim Cumbie.









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