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DFW Station Links DART Light Rail with the World

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) opened its portal to the world Aug. 18 with the launch of the last segment of the light rail Orange Line, which terminates at a new station at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport. With the addition of 4.7 miles of new track, DART operates the longest U.S. light rail system while linking to the fourth busiest U.S. airport—the third busiest with a direct ­public transit connection.

“The opening of the DFW Airport station is so critical to the citizens of North Texas because it gives them a choice, and that’s what we’re really all about. It’s about moving people safely, efficiently, and effectively, and we’ve got a great partner at DFW Airport,” said DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas.

Thomas noted that DART was able to open the station four months ahead of schedule by working with the airport on construction duties. He added, “Construction of the station and the Orange Line extension has been a true collaboration.”

“Connecting DFW Airport by light rail makes Dallas a more competitive, more attractive destination for business and travelers,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese ­McMillan. “It’s part of a sustained partnership over decades that’s bringing billions in investment, more jobs, and a better quality of life to North Texas.”

Sean Donohue, chief executive officer of the airport, said, “With the DART Orange Line connecting DFW to downtown Dallas, DFW is now on a par with global hub airports that have integrated rail, which is a major selling point for customers and conventions.”

In videotaped remarks presented at the DART dedication luncheon, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the station opening “a great day for the people of the 13 cities who are a part of the DART system who now have another convenient, affordable way to catch a flight, and for people coming to North Texas to easily get to a business meeting, a family event, or just take in some of our state’s many attractions.”

The station design echoes elements seen throughout the airport property: for example, the tensile-fabric canopies that arch over the station platforms are similar to awnings that line the walkways between the station and Terminals A and B. Portions of the walls that shade the station platform feature a wave pattern cast in glass fiber-reinforced concrete, a subtle reference to the DFW Airport logo. 

The inaugural DART Orange Line train breaks through the ribbon at DFW Station.
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