Dallas—The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system is continuing its expansion, including the much-anticipated Silver Line, which extends between DFW Airport and Shiloh Road in Plano. The rail line traverses seven cities: Grapevine, Coppell, Dallas, Carrollton, Addison, Richardson and Plano.
Gordon Shattles, external relations officer for DART, explained some of the upgrades DART is planning.
“We are able to improve and expand thanks to a Federal Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA),” Shattles said. “We’re continuing our platform extension project, which consists of a total of 28 DART stations throughout the network. We’ve been able to extend the platforms to allow for three car trains.
“When DART first began the starter system, all we needed were two cars. As the area has grown, our ridership has grown. This worked well until the pandemic, but we still plan to have all of the tracks replaced, so that means each of the 65 stations in the DART network will be able to handle three cars.”
The City Line/Bush Station will be located at 1300 E. President George Bush Hwy in Richardson.
“At the City Line/Bush Station, the DART Silver Line is scheduled to go into operation in the fourth quarter of 2024,” Shattles said. “They’ve already begun laying the foundations for what will eventually be the double-track line coming through this station. The area is already served by City Line/Bush with Red and Orange Line light rail vehicles. The vehicles for the Silver Line will be diesel electric vehicles, doing away with the need for overhead catenary lines.
“The City Line/Bush Station is one of four stations in the city of Richardson, which is one of our 13 service area cities. It is definitely one of our most popular courses.You can see the transit-oriented development that has popped up around City Line/Bush.There are so many restaurants and stores around here, because they know the Silver Line is going to come through here.
“Ten stations [lie] along the DART Silver Line, two of them being in Plano, and one at Shiloh Road, which is the beginning of the circuit before it stops at 12th Street Station, or what will be 12th Street Station, continuing on to George Bush, or 190. Fortunately,there’s plenty of parking underneath the bridge. That’s where the existing parking is for the light rail station. It’s a great opportunity for a Park-and Ride area for the DART Silver Line as well.
“We began continuing our platform extension project, which consists of a total of 28 DART stations throughout the network. We’ve been able to extend the platforms to allow for three-car trains. When DART first began the starter system, all we needed were two cars. As the area has grown and as our ridership has grown pre-pandemic, we realized the need to expand to three cars from two, increasing ridership by 50 percent. The pandemic slowed us down, but we still have plans to keep going and have all of [the tracks] replaced by 2024.”
DART kiosks are located around the network to help keep passengers informed.
“We have scheduled 300 of the DART kiosks to be placed throughout the DART network, providing everything from train routes and timing to different locations in the network,” Shattles said. “We partnered with Smart Cities to provide information about restaurants and local points of interest that would serve our customers.”
The University of Texas/Dallas Station is located north of the University of Dallas campus, just north of SH 114.This station is served by the DART Orange Line.
“At the University of Texas/Dallas Station, the area is around the college, and they’ve been looking forward to the Silver Line for a very long time,” Shattles said. “Transit around the development has been in place from the beginning and will be supported as the as the college grows. We’re seeing new restaurants, new apartments and condos coming to the area, all looking forward to the day that Silver Line opens in 2024.”
The Addison station is part of the original Cotton Belt, and some of the old tracks can still be seen there.
“Addison was one of the original 13 DART service area cities,” Shattles said. “Since the beginning, Addison has not been served by light rail. We have one of the largest bus stations at our bus transit center in the city of Addison. So, as you can imagine, Addison has been looking forward to the Silver Line for a very long time. When we had the first groundbreaking in September of 2019, the excitement from both the elected officials and the people of Addison was very impressive.
“Addison is well known for several festivals, some of which are the largest festivals in the DFW area, including Oktoberfest and the Fourth of July Kaboom Town. They believe the light rail service will be a great addition to alleviate traffic in the area, but also to extend the growth they’ve experienced so far.”