It occurred to me, recently, that I’ve bit a bit presumptuous in my discussion of the whithers and wherefores of that most sublime of public transports in our fair Metroplex, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail system. Sure, I’ve given you the basics: how much you pay, what the trains look like inside and out, and a general idea of what the routes are and where they go. But have I actually provided the particulars of where, exactly, you can catch the train? I fear not, beyond mention of a few of the stations. My goal with this blog entry is to remedy that.
At the moment, DART has two basic lines, the Red and the Blue. There’s also the Trinity Railway Express, but we’ll get to that later. Two other lines, the Green and the Yellow, are a-building; and when they finally open, you can bet I’ll cover them thoroughly. Meanwhile, let’s talk about the Red Line, which if I’m not mistaken is the longest and oldest.
There are 25 stops, so far, on the Red Line. Like the Blue Line (about more anon), the Red Line of the DART system was built from south to north. It starts way the heck down in Oak Cliff at Westmoreland Road, and then makes its way north through stops at Hampton Road and Tyler/Vernon at Tyler Street and Vernon Avenue in West Oak Cliff, then proceeds on to a stop at the Dallas Zoo (which is usually my destination when I get on the Red Line.) This is the last stop before it joins up with the Blue Line at 8th and Corinth Station in downtown Dallas. From there the stops for the two lines are identical until they diverge at Mockingbird Station. Cedars Station, north from 8th and Corinth Streets, lies at the convergence of Belleview and Wall Streets. I have no idea where it got it’s name — after all, it’s basically a field of concrete. As far as I know, no cedars are anywhere nearby.
Anyway, from there you go up to Convention Center Station, which is located under the Dallas Convention Center, so that’s pretty cool. Then it’s on to Union Station, about which you have previously heard my opinion more than once. This is the one station that serves all three existing lines, and actually has a big, if plain, waiting room where you can get out of the sun. But for heaven’s sake, don’t ask <> for change for the soda machines.
Would it hurt them to install a change machine so people wouldn’t bug them? Apparently so.
But I digress. Just north of Union is West End Station, where you can get access to a whole heapin’ helpin’ of Dallas culture, shopping, and restaurants. I haven’t really given you a taste of the West End yet, but I promise I’ll be going there soon…next week’s looking good, in fact. Now, if you proceed north on the red line from the West End, you’ll end up at the Akard Street, St. Paul Street, and Pearl Street stops, all of which are plain vanilla downtown stations. Nothing especially shiny here, but they do offer good access to the heart of the business district. Thence on to Citiplace Station, which is a way cool underground station that I already sang the praises of in my discussion of our Ft. Worth trip. You’ll find lots of shopping there, some really neat architecture, and a good view of downtown in the distance (once you get to the surface, anyhow).
After that you move on to Mockingbird Station. Mockingbird’s a pretty cool stop. Not only can you go straight west to Southern Methodist University’s campus, there used to be a lot of shopping there at the station, including a Virgin Megastore — but apparently that’s changed, or so I’ve been told. I’ll have to go back and check it out for you soon. North from Mockingbird we find basic stops at Lover’s Lane (yes, that’s its real name), Park Lane, Walnut Hill Road, Forest Lane, and LBJ/Central, which is at approximately (but not quite) the intersection of LBJ Expressway (IH 635) and Central Expressway (IH 75). By now, we’re on the fringes of Richardson, a quiet suburb of the Big D that I lived in for more than ten years. Onward ho! The line takes us through stations at Spring Valley Road, Arapaho Road, Galatyn Park, George W. Bush turnpike (*sigh*, we’re such suck-ups here), and thence into Plano, for stations at Downtown and Parker Road.
That’s as far as old Red has gotten so far, though hopefully they’ll get a move on and finish extending it through Allen and into McKinney, which has some lovely Victorian houses. (Old downtown Plano does too, for that matter, especially off 18th Street.) Whether this extension will ever happen is, of course, still up in the air. I suspect if it happens, it’ll be a triumph of political arm-twisting. But hey — maybe we’ll get lucky.
As for the Blue Line, lest I start to bore you, I’m going to leave the discussion of its 19 stops for the next exciting issue. Ditto the ten stops of the TRE, which I’ve already discussed elsewhere but will recap briefly next time. See you then!