FAQs

For more information on the TEXRail project, questions and answers are organized by General, Design/Construction, Operations, Stations/Parking, Cost/Funding, and Environmental. Can’t find it here? Please contact us with your inquiry.

General

TEXRail is a 27-mile commuter rail project being developed by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (FWTA) and will be the next passenger rail service coming to Tarrant County. The initial section of TEXRail will extend from downtown Fort Worth, and continue through the Northside, North Richland Hills and Grapevine to the northern entrance of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, ending at Terminal B of the Airport. This section is projected to have more than 8,000 daily riders at the initial start of service using nine rail stations. By 2035, the ridership is expected to have grown to 13,000 daily riders.

TEXRail construction officially broke ground on August 24, 2016.

For most of the route, TEXRail would use existing right-of-way that is publicly owned by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), or owned by existing freight railroads. FWTA will need to acquire private property along the primary route of the line near the Purina Mill area to facilitate an adjustment of the route to avoid passing through the mill. In areas where stations are proposed, FWTA will need to acquire property to provide adequate station amenities and parking, where appropriate.

The owner of the property and right-of-way ultimately makes legal decisions on any property. However, those decisions would be influenced by any operating agreement in place with the property owner.

Acquisition is in progress. FWTA is following federal and state property acquisition regulations and processes. The majority of landowners where right-of-way or acquisition is being considered have already been contacted. If you believe your property will be needed and have not been contacted, you can reach TEXRail by emailing info@TEXRail.com, send correspondence to TEXRail Project, 801 Cherry Street, Suite 850, Fort Worth, TX 76102, or call 817-215-8785.

Studies from around the country show that property values are usually enhanced by their proximity to a passenger rail station. Studies also have shown that property values are usually not affected one way or the other by their proximity to passenger rail lines if they are not located close to a station. These studies provide additional research data and information: “Assessment of the Potential Fiscal Impacts of Existing and Proposed Transit-Oriented Development in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Service Area”, “The Estimated Value of New Investment Adjacent to DART LRT Stations: 1999-2005”, “Impacts of Rail Transit on Property Values”, “Impacts of Transit Rail Lines on Property Values” Draft Report”, “Impacts of Transit Rail Lines on Property Values” RailVolution 2007 Presentation”, “Light-rail can turn into money train.”

FWTA will access use of existing railroad tracks and right-of-way through agreements with the railroads that own the tracks. Leasing or purchase arrangements have yet to be determined.

No. The Cotton Belt Rail line currently is owned by Dallas Area Rapid Transit. FWTA has obtained an agreement with DART to operate TEXRail in the Cotton Belt Corridor.

Passengers on this line will be able to transfer to the TRE in downtown Fort Worth. The two commuter rail lines will have two common stations in downtown Fort Worth.

No. It is not anticipated that any additional sales taxes would be imposed in FWTA’s member cities, or in North Richland Hills and Grapevine since those cities already allocate a portion of their sales tax already to FWTA.

FWTA completed a Strategic Plan in 2005 that calls for implementing more passenger rail service in Tarrant County. The Strategic Plan involved many Tarrant County residents, and the most frequently suggested transit improvement was rail. FWTA also completed in 2006 an analysis of various transit improvements in this corridor. The result of the Alternatives Analysis (AA), was a recommendation that FWTA build a passenger rail line along the identified route. Bus service enhancements also were considered during the AA, and some enhancements to existing service, such as more frequent rail feeder service, will be implemented along with the proposed passenger rail service. However, passenger rail was the preferred technology because it provided reliable travel time and travel time savings along corridors that, even with major roadway improvements, were forecast to have significant highway congestion over the next two or three decades.

The Equipment Maintenance Facility (EMF) will be the site of TEXRail vehicle maintenance. It will be constructed off of the TEXRail track near the intersection of Sylvania Avenue and Long Avenue in Fort Worth.

Bicycle and pedestrian access to all stations will be accommodated, and bicycles will be allowed on the trains. Specific security provisions for bicycles have yet to be determined, but bicycle racks will be provided at stations.

Service will begin in late 2018.

Send an email to info@TEXRail.com, send correspondence to TEXRail Project, 801 Cherry Street, Suite 850
Fort Worth, TX 76102, or call 817-215-8785.

Design/Construction

FWTA is working with existing railroads to share existing tracks, which would mean most of the route would operate on a single track. Selected locations will have a second track added for passing ability, and to meet schedules for both passenger and freight traffic. Double tracks also will be placed at stations.

This corridor connects directly with TRE at the two existing downtown Fort Worth stations. The TRE is connected to the DART Light Rail System which is also connected to DCTA A-Train. In addition, TEXRail DFW International Airport Station will be connected to DART Orange Line DFW International Airport Station via a short walk.

New rail will be installed along the entire 27-mile TEXRail corridor.

Forty at-grade rail crossings have been identified. It may be necessary to modify or close some crossings because of traffic or safety issues; however, every attempt will be made to keep crossings open. The environmental analysis did not identify the need for additional grade-separated crossings. The final determination on all streets/grade crossings will be determined as final design takes place.

The railroads that own the current train bridge crossings over the Trinity River have indicated those bridges are or will soon be at capacity, and there would be no opportunities for the proposed passenger trains to get across using the existing bridges. The railroads also have indicated concerns about liability issues related to allowing a passenger train to use their bridge crossings.

The connections to the route would provide at the ITC and T&P stations an east-west connection on Trinity Railway Express (TRE). An east-west connection to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system also would be available at DFW International Airport.

Operations

In December 2012, the FWTA Board approved use of diesel multiple unit (DMU) vehicles for the TEXRail project. Diesel-powered vehicles will meet strict federal emissions standards. This technology is NOT light rail as seen in the DART system, which depends on overhead electric power. Instead, this proposed system uses self-powered rail vehicles, which would be significantly less costly than electrified light rail.

In June 2015, FWTA signed a $106 million contract with Stadler Bussnang AG for the manufacture and delivery of eight DMU rail vehicles for its TEXRail commuter rail.

The trains will seat 229 passengers and have hand rails for standing passengers. The new trains will have level boarding meeting the ADA requirements. There will be four entry points on each side of the train for easy access.

In addition, the DMU rail vehicles purchased are significantly quieter than the previous option. The previous train option would have required mitigation along the route because of the noise, such as sound walls. The DMU option does not require mitigation because the DMUs are so quiet.

There are two main reasons why TEXRail will use diesel technology. The cost (both construction, and ongoing operational costs) of an electrified rail system is much higher than a diesel rail system, and the existing railroad tracks on which TEXRail will share with freight railroads do not have electrification.

The new train system is projected to have more than 8,000 daily riders at the initial start of service using nine rail stations. By 2035, the ridership is expected to have grown to 13,000 daily riders.

The speed of train travel will depend on the type of terrain, the number of crossings, the current train location on the line and other related factors. Speeds likely would range from 0 to 70 mph.

Estimated travel time from T&P Station to DFW International Airport would be approximately 52 minutes.

During peak hours, (the three hours associated with morning rush hours, and the three hours in the evening associated with evening rush hours), trains will run about every 30 minutes. Outside of peak hours, trains would run about every 60 minutes. This frequency is expected to occur in the year 2035, with less frequency possible at startup. Train service and frequency would be consistent along the entire length of the route.

The train frequency projected is for the year 2035. Projections for population, employment growth and other factors would be needed to project any increase in train frequency beyond 2035.

Circulator bus service will be implemented and/or current bus routes will be altered to serve stations. The size of the buses necessary will be determined by demand. It is anticipated smaller buses may be used in some locations, while large buses used in others. FWTA will work with local jurisdictions along the corridor to plan future bus operations.

FWTA has obtained agreements with appropriate exsiting railroads to operate passenger rail service in railroad rights-of-way.

There will be a main dispatch center for the passenger rail service, which will coordinate passenger service and also handle any issues that may arise with railroads or other rail agencies. FWTA is coordinating closely with DART, local railroads and other entities that would have an impact on this project to ensure close coordination during implementation and operations.

FWTA has obtained agreements with appropriate existing railroads to operate passenger rail service in railroad rights-of-way.

Security on TEXRail train and at stations will be handled similarly to how security is handled for the TRE, which includes a combination of local law enforcement, on-board and in-station cameras, and train-specific security agents.

The fare structure will be determined at a later point in the project development process. However, it is anticipated the fare to ride the train will be similar to the fares charged on the TRE.

Stations/Parking

All stations will be adjacent to the railroad tracks at the following locations (listed from south to north): T&P, ITC, North Side, Beach Street/Mercantile, Iron Horse, Smithfield, Grapevine, DFW International Airport North (on airport property between Grapevine and DFW International Airport), and DFW Terminal B.

A typical TEXRail station will include train platform(s), parking areas at all stations except for the ITC and DFW International Airport Terminal B Station, and access to the station area. Station amenities include canopies, benches, trash receptacles, ticket vending machines, bicycle racks, fencing, and landscaping.

All station sites will offer parking with the exception of the DFW Terminal B station and ITC.

Station parking is designed to provide enough parking to meet ridership demand in the year 2035 plus some contingency.

Typically, 6-12 acres are needed for a station, depending on the amount of parking needed.

FWTA is looking at the potential to allow overnight parking at some stations, but no decision has been made.

FWTA will continue to work closely with each jurisdiction in the corridor to integrate station plans into local land use, economic development and/or comprehensive plans. Several workshops regarding Transit Oriented Development (TOD) were conducted during the EIS phase of the project to bring key development stakeholders together to discuss potential development relative to the proposed station locations. The cities of Fort Worth, North Richland Hills and Grapevine are working on various TOD (transit-oriented-development) plans for the stations in their cities.

Some stations, not all of them, could see mixed-use, retail, office and residential development. There are some station areas that seem to be ready for redevelopment, while other areas have more constraints or are already developed.

No determination has been made about which station would be constructed first. However, all nine stations will be open at the same time.

Cost/Funding

Current estimates place the total project cost at an estimated $1 billion.

The project would be financed through a combination of several funding sources. FWTA’s members cities dedicate one-half cent of sales tax for transit service. A portion of this funding will help finance the proposed rail project. Voters in the City of Grapevine enacted a 3/8-cent sales tax to fund their participation in this proposed rail line, and voters in Tarrant County approved a bond issue that also would provide some funding for the project. FWTA has an agreement with the City of North Richland Hills (NRH) to provide funding for NRH stations. FWTA is also requesting federal dollars to help construct the project through the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts Funding program.

We are confident that the project will qualify for federal funds. The TEXRail project has been included in the President’s Budget for the last three years.

FWTA is seeking 50 percent of required construction funds from the federal government, with the other half anticipated to come from local or regional sources.

The specific costs for ongoing maintenance at stations will be determined following completion of final design. Maintenance costs also will need to be discussed with local jurisdictions for those cities in which a station may be built, who are not members of FWTA.

Environmental

The EIS documentation includes an assessment of the potential environmental impacts, and proposed actions to address the impacts.

The project evaluated potential impacts of the proposed rail system on the natural environment (such as parklands, open space, wetlands, threatened and endangered species and other biological resources, floodplains, and agricultural lands) and the developed environment (such as land use, cultural resources including historic sites, hazardous materials sites, air quality, noise and vibration, utilities, traffic, and community facilities).

Mitigation measures included changes in design, alterations to rail system operations or related infrastructure recommendations, including sound barriers or implementation of crossing quiet zones.

Using federal standards, the environmental analysis determined the locations where noise impacts are significant enough to require mitigation measures. Recommended mitigation for noise impacts is the implementation of quiet zones. Under this plan, rail-street intersections would use additional crossing protection such as four quadrant gates or raised medians to prevent automobiles from crossing tracks when trains are approaching. Once an intersection is designated a Quiet Zone, trains would not be required to blow their horns as a warning when approaching intersections. Quiet zones will be implemented in all residential areas.

Yes. Noise modeling incorporated the number of trains (both passenger and freight) expected to use the rail line in 2030.

According to the noise level chart in the presentation, a DMU at 50 feet emits about 80 dBA, while a diesel locomotive at 50 feet emits a bit less than 90 dBA. TEXRail will use DMU rail vehicles.

Quiet zones would eliminate horn blowing by all train traffic on the line, including freight and the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. However, the ability of the Vintage Railroad to blow its horn will be examined as operations get closer.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) generally is the authorizing agent for quiet zones. The FRA prefers to establish contiguous quiet zones along a corridor that has several quiet zones implemented. FWTA is working with local jurisdictions and FRA to implement quiet zones in all residential areas.

Lights at stations will be adjusted to avoid shining into adjacent residential properties. The type of lighting used also will be selected with consideration of impacts on local properties.

Yes, the EIS identified specific property parcels that are impacted by the project.

It is not anticipated any changes in freight traffic would be imposed because of initiating passenger rail service. Any cargo currently traveling by train on the existing rail tracks could continue to do so when FWTA begins passenger rail service on this corridor.

FWTA and Chesapeake are in agreement that rail platforms, track and other components of the rail project may be safely constructed, operated and maintained above natural gas pipelines, provided that the pipeline conforms to all federal and state regulations, and city ordinances. The project team has been in constant communications with Chesapeake, and will continue to work with Chesapeake and other gas well companies to ensure there are no conflicts with the project.

Safety of passengers and the general public is extremely important. A safety evaluation of the entire corridor was included in the Draft EIS. Final design activities will incorporate railroad roadway markings, flashing lights and crossing gates as appropriate to deter both vehicles and pedestrians from crossing the tracks when a train is approaching. Additionally, FWTA will work with a program called Operation Lifesaver, which provides rail safety education and training to the public and communities.

Regulations stipulated by the FRA will govern train safety, as is the case on all existing rail lines today. FWTA anticipates using FRA-compliant vehicles, which will be as safe as vehicles operating on freight rail lines.

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