DART Rail: Where to Stop, Where to Go, Part II

 

Hey there, and welcome to the exciting conclusion of our scintillating discussion of the existing DART train lines and their currently active stations! I know you’re all excited, but please hold your applause until the very end, if you will.

Today, I’ll tell you more about the Blue Line and the Texas Railway Express. At the moment, La Ligne Bleue, as we local sophisticates like to call it, consists of 19 stops, ten of which it shares with the La Ligne Rouge (the Red Line, for you philistines). Currently the Blue Line services neighborhoods from South Oak Cliff north and east to Garland (the town where I live), but at some point in the near future there are plans to extend the line a little further south to Interstate 20, and north from Garland to the next town over, Rowlett. Rowlett’s a delightful little town mostly surrounded by Lake Ray Hubbard and it’ll be nice when I can hop the train to go visit, rather than have to deal with the always crowded, always under-construction local highways and back roads.  

Since I’ve already discussed the shared stops on the Blue Line, I’m only going to cover the other nine here. Like the Red Line, Big Blue was constructed from south to north, beginning with Ledbetter Station, which is actually on Lancaster Road, south of Ledbetter Drive. That’s in deep South Oak Cliff, barely in the Metroplex at all. From there it heads north to the VA Medical Center at Lancaster and Mentor Avenue. I’ve got to applaud them for putting a station here — while veterans may comprise only a small percentage of those who use it, the station makes it much easier for them to get to the VA hospital than before. 

The next stop to the north of VA Medical Center is Kiest, at the intersection of Kiest Boulevard and Lancaster Road. The next station, Illinois, is actually north of Illinois on Denley Drive. I guess they thought that since Denley already had a Drive, he didn’t need a station named after him. Anyway, it’s on to Morrell Station at Morrell and Woodbine Avenues after that, and thence to 8th and Corinth Station, which is where Red and Blue become joined at the hip for a while. Just think of them as really big, abstract Siamese twins, okay? Though I don’t know what you’d call the TRE, so I guess that’s where that particular analogy breaks down. 

Blue and Red part ways at Mockingbird Station, which is located on Mockingbird Lane — a fact that might amuse all you Munsters fans out there. (Okay, so maybe only a little.) Then the line jogs east and north to stop at White Rock Station. This particular station is named for the reservoir it’s located next to, not a street; it’s actually on Northwest Highway, a major artery from Garland to Dallas that’s also called Loop 12. I haven’t gotten around to writing about White Rock Lake yet, but I will — there are some interesting old landmarks and devastatingly beautiful houses lining the lakeshore.   

After White Rock comes the LBJ/Skillman stop, which as fate would have it is on the intersection of LBJ Freeway (IH 635) and Skillman Avenue. Northeast of that is the Forest/Jupiter Station (you guessed it — at the intersection of Forest and Jupiter Roads), and, finally, magnificently, the Downtown Garland station, which is where I generally get on. Here’s what it looks like. 

Downtown Garland Station

Never let it be said that DART doesn’t make an effort to decorate its stations. They’re mostly open-air, but actually pretty nice. Here’s a decorative element I’m fond of: 

Art

And across the street, at the Transit Center where you can park and catch a bus if you want, they’ve built this curiosity: 

DART clock

One of these days, I’m going to do an entry about the public art at the DART transit centers. I’ve seen some pretty cool stuff. 

On, then, to the Trinity Railway Express. I’ve written up the TRE in its own entry, but to be complete I though I’d better include it here, too. The TRE is quite simply the quickest, easiest connection you can enjoy between Dallas and Fort Worth, unless you hire a car service or happen to have a chauffeured limo handy. It shoots pretty much straight west from the infamous Union Station, though it does have a crook to the southwest on its far end. Besides Union there are two stops in Dallas, actually very close to where you get on at Union. Victory Station specifically serves our newest sports stadium, the American Airlines Center (yes, it’s going to be written about here someday), and is only open for special events. The next stop is the Medical/Market Station, which is at the intersection of Medical and Motor Streets. This is a good stop if you need to get to the Medical Center, I guess.  

Traveling west, you soon come upon South Irving Station in, where else, Irving — one of those magical little “mid-cities” between Dallas and Fort Worth. You can find it on Rock Island Road. The West Irving Station, to the west of course, is on Jackson Street. Continuing on, you soon encounter the CenterPort/DFW Airport Station, which lies at the extreme southern end of the Airport on Statler Boulevard. Apparently, this is where people who fly in to see games and other events at the American Airlines Center get on the line. The Dallas Stars (hockey) and Mavericks (basketball) are big draws here. (And yes, they’ll get their own entries, too. Eventually.) 

Proceeding onward (and this is starting to sound like that old Route 66 song, isn’t it?), you’ve got two more mid-cities stops, Hurst/Bell on Bell Spur Drive in Hurst, and the eponymous Richland Hills Station on Burns Drive. Shortly after Richland Hills is where the TRE line turns a bit to the southwest and proceeds on to the Fort Worth Intermodal Transport Center, where you can catch buses to all the important shopping, events, restaurants, and cultural attractions in Fort Worth. That’s where I’m going to get off when I make my next trip to Fort Worth to stock up on travel info for this here blog.

There’s just one more station, and it’s a doozy, but the transportation from there is limited. This is the end of the line, the T&P Station, which drops you off at the old Texas and Pacific Building. This is a beautiful structure, with a lovingly renovated waiting room restored to its original Zigzag Moderne luster. Sadly, a recent rerouting of the local highway has left the T&P Building mostly high-and-dry in regards to getting anywhere in town, though of course there are a few, occasional buses. You should really get back on the TRE and go back to the ITC Station if you want to enjoy Fort Worth, but first, check out the T&B Building’s waiting room. 

T&P Building Floor Shot

And that, as they say, is that. Tune in next time for the next exciting episode, covering an all-new subject! 

(You may applaud now.)

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