DART Dallas Area Rapid Transit

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DART LRV no. 121 at Mockingbird Station. Photo by Bob Vogel, June 2008.


On August 13, 1983 voters in Dallas and 13 suburbs approved the creation of the Dallas Area Transit Authority, to be funded by a 1¢ sales tax and the promise of upgrading the current bus system and beginning construction of the first rail line by March 1985. However, higher than expected costs to expand and improve bus service coupled with ongoing political wrangling over the cost and type of rail service delayed the opening of the 20-mile starter rail system until June 1996. In the meantime only one small member city had dropped out of DART.

The starter system was roughly in the shape of an inverted “Y” from Pearl Station at the east end of the downtown transit mall to the Illinois station, opposite the old Texas Electric shop building in South Oak Cliff (Blue Line) and to Westmoreland in West Oak Cliff ( Red Line). On June 14 and 15, DART offered free rides between the Pearl and Convention Center Stations. It is estimated that some 40,000 people rode the trains that weekend.

DART was able to buy rail lines made surplus by their mergers into the Union Pacific system. Generally speaking, all of the light rail lines outside of the Central Business District utilize these rights of way. Part of the Blue line to Illinois uses an old Texas Electric right of way. A one-mile spur branches off from the Cedars station to the DART shops at the site of a former Santa Fe freight yard.

However, a sticking point was the corridor to enter downtown from the north. In the end, DART was forced to choose to co-ordinate their line with the reconstruction of US 75 (Central Expressway). Delays in the highway construction led DART to consider tunneling under the highway. This proved to be a wise choice as the “Austin Chalk” rock strata under Central proved to be soft enough to facilitate excavating and twin tunnels were bored under US 75 and provision was made for a future subway station for the Cityplace development.

In January 1997, the Red Line was extended northward through the tunnel and over a former SP freight line to the Park Lane Station. In May 1999, an extension of the Blue line down the center of Ledbetter Avenue was opened. Starting in 2000, Blue Line trains began running through the subway to Mockingbird Station. In 2002, the Blue Line was extended incrementally, reaching its current terminal – Downtown Garland in November. The Red Line was also being extended and opened northernmost terminal at Parker Road in Plano in December 2002. This section of the Red Line uses a former SP route, portions of which closely paralleled the tracks of the Texas Electric.

In 2005, DART opened a one-mile branch to Victory Station serving the American Airlines (entertainment) Center. This station was only served during special events there.

Then in 2009, DART opened the first 2.6 mile segment of the Green Line, providing regular service to the Victory Station. Red and Blue Line trains no longer serve that station. Victory is the first leg of the Green Line to the northwest that will terminate in Carrollton. The entire route is expected to be open in 2010.

The Orange Line to serve north Irving and the DFW Airport is also under construction and is scheduled for a 2012 opening. In addition, DART is studying the best way to construct a second line in downtown Dallas.

In addition to being a rush hour carrier, DART trains serve several points of interest that generate off-peak traffic including three hospitals, the Dallas Zoo, Fair Park, the Convention Center, American Airlines Center, the Cityplace connection with the McKinney Avenue Trolley and the Plano Interurban Museum. In addition, DART Rail has generated considerable economic stimulation, not only in downtown, but also with several new transit-oriented retail and residential stations in place or planned along the rail lines. Rail line patronage has consistently exceeded expectations. The Red Line is the 7th most ridden light rail line in America.

Station By Station

As of December, 2012, DART has 85 miles of route and is the largest Light Rail System in the US -- and is still growing.

Green Line

On September 14, 2009, DART inaugurated revenue service on the first phase of the new Green Line. A "Super Saturday" preview was held on the 12th with free rides and attractions at each station. Despite a heavy downpour all day, the event was well attended.

The new line leaves the end of the Bryan Street Transit Mall, ducks under US 75 and continues down the median of Good-Lattimer Expressway to the Deep Ellum Station. It then enters former T&P right-of-way to Baylor University Medical Center Station. Continuing on the T&P, it crosses Parry street and runs alongside it in fron of Fair Park, home of the annual State Fair and many year-round attractions. At the end of the fair grounds, the line enters former SP right of way and follows it to the MLK, Jr. station, currently the last stop on the line. Between the Fair and MLK, a 2000 foot-long spur, also on an old SP line, connects the Green Line with DART's yard and shops.

The entire 28-mile-long Green Line will open in 2010 and run from Pleasant Grove in southeast Dallas northward to the City of Carrolton. There it will connect with the commuter trains of the Denton County Transportation Authority.

Currently the Green Line terminates at Victory Station. The Trinity Railway Express Trains now make regular stops at that station to facilitate transfers to the Green Line.

The segment now open is not a high-speed line at all. Generally the speed limit is 25 mph and is 10 mph in front of the Fair Grounds, but after more than 50 years rail service to Fair Park has been restored.

Green Line, December 2010 Update

On December 6, 2010 DART officially opened the remainder of the Green Line. Totaling 28 miles it now runs east and south from Downtown to Pleasant Grove in Dallas and northwest from Downtown to the northern side of the suburb of Carrollton in Collin County. For the most part, the southern section runs at grade and passes through the scenic White Rock Green Belt. The northern section is almost entirely elevated, serving well-developed areas. The Green Line also includes a short "subway" under Mockingbird Lane; the line descends to cross under a this major thoroughfare and there is about a minute of tunnel running. Excluding Downtown, there are 20 stations on the line.

The Green Line parallels the TRE as far as the Market Street Station, but the TRE does not stop there. There is a pedestrian overpass over the TRE there.

DART offered free preview rides on December 4, 2010, from 1 to 4 PM and every train seemed to be a rolling "sardine can" with each car jammed to capacity. An all-day free event at Fair Park (which the line serves) could have contributed to the size of the crowds. The new line has received very positive response from the public. Commenting on the Green Line, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff stated "No city has done a better job of building out the transit vision than Dallas." DART now has 72 miles of revenue trackage, making it the largest light rail system in the United States.

Bachman Station on the Green Line has three tracks, the middle track can be boarded from either side of the trains. The Orange Line to North Irving and DFW airport branches off the Green Line just north of the Bachman Station. There is also to be a new Northwest Rail Operating Facility, accessed by the Green Line, to be a second DART yard and shops. The 3-track arrangement at Bachman Station is similar to that near the Cedars Station at the junction of the original yard lead and the main line, so perhaps this 3rd track is used for staging trains to and from the new facility.

On December 6, 2010, the Orange Line debuted as a rush hour only service connecting Parker Road Station at the north end of the Red Line with the Bachman Station on the Green Line. Eventually the Orange Line will have its own full service identity, branching off of the Green Line to serve North Irving and DFW Airport. Also on December 6th, DART opened its first new station on an existing line: the Lake Highlands Station between the White Rock and LBJ/Skillman stations on the Blue Line. The Lake Highlands Station is part of a large retail complex under construction and is reached by a new street cleverly named "Whistle Stop Place."

Starting in June 2011, the Denton County Transit Authority's "A Train" diesel commuter line, will run from the city of Denton to the Green Line's Trinity Mills Station. Also a people mover may connect DART's Burbank station with nearby Love Field airport.

Orange Line

On July 30, 2012, the first 4.5 mile long segment of the Orange Line from the Green Line Bachman Station to the Irving Convention Station opened. There are two other stations on this segment: University of Dallas and Las Colinas Urban Center. Covering over 2 million acres, Las Colinas in Irving is a master planned office, retail, recreational and residential virtual city within a city. An elevated "Area Personal Transit" people mover runs on two routes through the Urban Center. The guideway is being extended to DART's Las Colinas Station. Currently the APT only runs from 10:30 AM to 2:00 PM weekdays, but will expand its operating hours once the DART connection is complete.

Orange Line trains still operate over the Green Line from Bachman to downtown Dallas. Leaving downtown, they run northward on Red Line tracks to Parker Road during rush hours and to the LBJ/Central Station during off hours. A few Orange Line trains run to or originate from the Green Line Fair Park Station. Such trains are en route to or coming from the DART yards and shops. The Orange Line will eventually terminate at the DFW International Airport.

On December 3, 2012, DART opened revenue service on an extension of the Orange Line to Belt Line Road in Irving.

Blue Line, December 2012 Update

On December 3, 2012, DART opened revenue service on a 5.3 mile extension of the Blue Line to the city of Rowlett. In 2016 a planned extension of the Blue Line southward from Ledbetter to the University of Dallas will open.

Route Map


Our map is out of date. A current map can be found on the official DART site, here.

Track Map



DART’s rail cars were built by Kinki Sharyo. They were 92' 8" long over couplers, 9'10" wide with a capacity of 76 seated and 84 standing. Handicapped boarding was via ramps at each station. The agency is currently in the process of upgrading its fleet by adding low-floor center sections to each car to facilitate handicapped boarding and add seating capacity. The center sections also include bicycle racks. All stations in the system are being modified to accommodate the new cars which DART calls “Super LRVs” – very striking and handsome 117 foot-long cars riding on four trucks with two articulation joints. To date, roughly 60% of the fleet has been converted; when all stations have been modified, the handicapped boarding ramps will be removed.

Photo Gallery

Five Random Images

Image 37681

(85k, 600x400)
Photo by: Don Ross
Collection of: Joe Testagrose
Location: Ledbetter

Image 37844

(123k, 720x478)
Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Spring Valley

Image 43599

(136k, 752x550)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: Deep Ellum

Image 87282

(174k, 820x620)
Photo by: Bob Vogel
Location: Mockingbird

Image 136334

(96k, 752x564)
Photo by: Jim Cumbie
Location: University of Dallas

More Images: 1-50 51-100 101-150 151-184

Photos By Location

Red Line and Downtown Trunk

Photo locations: Parker Road, Downtown Plano, Bush Turnpike, Galatyn Park, Arapaho Center, Spring Valley, LBJ/Central, Forest Lane, Walnut Hill, Park Lane, Lovers Lane, Mockingbird, Cityplace/Uptown, Pearl/Arts District, St. Paul, Bryan/Pacific, Akard, Lamar/Pacific, West End, Market/Pacific, Victory Wye, Union Station, Convention Center, Cedars, 8th & Corinth, Dallas Zoo, Tyler/Vernon, Edgefield Avenue, Hampton, Westmoreland, Yard/Shops, Misc/Unknown/Car Interiors

Blue Line Branches

Photo locations: Downtown Rowlett, Downtown Garland, Forest/Jupiter, LBJ/Skillman, Lake Highlands, White Rock, Morrell, Illinois, Kiest, VA Medical Center, Ledbetter

Green Line Branches

Photo locations: North Carrolton/Frankford, Trinity Mills, Downtown Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Royal Lane, Walnut Hill/Denton, Bachman, Burbank, Inwood/Love Field, Southwestern Medical District/Parkland, Market Center, Victory, Deep Ellum, Baylor, Fair Park, Martin Luther King, Hatcher, Lawnview, Lake June, Buckner

Orange Line Branches

Photo locations: Belt Line, North Lake College, Irving Convention Center, Las Colinas Urban Center, University of Dallas

Photography Rules

DART (Dallas) Code of Conduct does not prohibit photography but does not specifically allow it, either. However, signs are posted that permission is required to take photos in the Cityplace/Uptown subway station.


Official Site - Dallas Area Rapid Transit. The official site of the DART system, including schedules, fares, and more.

Page Credits

By Jim Cumbie. Track Map by Michael Calcagno.

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