Category Archives: TEXRail

Grapevine mayor: City stands to benefit from Plano DART extension

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Prior to the debut of TEXRail on Jan. 10, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $908 million loan was awarded to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit System to connect the DART to the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. This system would be built along the Cotton Belt line and would supply east-west rail connecting downtown Plano to DFW Airport. TEXRail connects DFW Airport to Grapevine and several other stations on its route to Fort Worth.

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Courtesy Trinity Metro

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Grapevine’s parking garage delayed by weather, not to be ready for TEXRail’s premiere Jan. 10

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Graphic courtesy City of Grapevine

Although passengers may experience TEXRail’s commuter rail service for the first time beginning Thursday, Jan. 10, they will not find parking available at the unfinished parking garage adjacent to the train platform, according to a Jan. 4 news release from the city of Grapevine. Construction work was delayed due to weather.

TEXRail will service a 27-mile route between downtown Fort Worth and the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and Grapevine plans to provide free parking for train commuters in the garage.

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TEXRail ramping up for service in January

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Have you heard the train whistles blowing through Grapevine lately? That’s just TEXRail ramping up to start hauling passengers beginning on January 5, 2019.

The 27-mile track will take passengers from Downtown Fort Worth, to North Richland Hills, Grapevine, and Terminal B of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

They will be offering FREE rides from January 5 to January 19, 2019. This will not effect The Grapevine Vintage Railroad or the Cotton Belt Depot.

[Update from Community Impact: From Jan. 5-Jan. 31 passengers will be able to try out the train service for free. Officials said this provides a daily commuting option for regional employees and travelers.

“TEXRail is a premium service, and we want to give everyone an opportunity to ride,” Bob Baulsir, Trinity Metro senior vice president, said in a statement.

On Feb. 1, TEXRail passengers will pay $2.50 for a one-way ticket, or they can purchase a $5 day pass for all rail and buses in Tarrant County.]

“This line is projected to serve more than 8,000 daily riders at nine stations by the end of the first year of operation. By 2035, nearly 14,000 riders are projected to ride the system,” according to the TEXRail website.

For more information about the train or Grapevine’s construction around the Depot, visit https://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/grapevine-vintage-railroad/texrail/.

TEXRail trains moving full steam ahead into Grapevine

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After 13 years of discussion, 29 months of construction and almost as many months of testing, TEXRail is nearly ready for passengers. All nine TEXRail stations across northeast Tarrant County will begin operations Jan. 5, including the Grapevine station at Dallas Road and Main Street.

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A picture of a train has been imposed on top of this photo of construction at the parking garage and TEXRail station at Dallas Road and Main Street in Grapevine, depicting the city’s upcoming project. (Source: City of Grapevine, Trinity Metro/Community Impact Newspaper; Photo Illustration by Renee Yan, Ellen Jackson/Community Impact Newspaper; Courtesy Trinity Metro)

TEXRail is a new 27-mile commuter rail project that will extend from downtown Fort Worth through Grapevine and Colleyville and into Terminal B at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Colleyville will not have a TEXRail station.

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TEXRail service to begin Jan. 5 with two weeks of free rides

 

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Graphic: Community Impact Newspaper

On Jan. 5, Trinity Metro, formerly known as the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, will begin operations of its TEXRail light-rail system. TEXRail is a new 27-mile commuter rail project that will extend from downtown Fort Worth, through Grapevine and Colleyville, and into the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport at Terminal B.

To help the rail pick up steam passengers can ride at no charge during the first two weeks of operation, or from Jan. 5 to Jan. 19.

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Grapevine City Council approves maximum budget for Phase 2 of TEXRail train station development

 

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Photo: City of Grapevine

Grapevine City Council authorized a guaranteed maximum price to pay Coury Hospitality for Phase 2 of the Grapevine TEXRail station project during its meeting Nov. 20.

The maximum price set for Phase 2 is $46,859,820, and it will allow Coury Hospitality to complete construction of the TEXRail station, the observation tower and the plaza in Historic Downtown Grapevine, according to the meeting agenda packet.

Nearly a year ago, during a Dec. 5 meeting, Grapevine City Council approved a contract with Coury Hospitality for Phase 1 of the project, which was not to exceed $30,185,180, to begin work on the parking garage that will be part of the TEXRail station.

Read more from Community Impact…

TEXRail Officially Begins Service In Grapevine on Jan 5, 2019

Trinity-Metro-Logo__Vertical-WebIt’s Time to Train! We are so proud to be a part of Trinity Metro’s TEXRail project. This integral light rail system not only makes transportation a cinch, it also connects our communities. TEXRail is a new 27-mile commuter rail line that will extend from downtown Fort Worth, across northeast Tarrant County, through North Richland Hills and Grapevine, and into DFW International Airport’s Terminal B.

This line, which will begin service on January 5, 2019, is projected to serve more than 8,000 daily riders at nine stations by the end of the first year of operation. By 2035, nearly 14,000 riders are projected to ride the system. As a courtesy extended by Trinity Metro, everyone may ride the TEXRail route at no charge during the first two-weeks of operation.

Visit RideTrinityMetro.org/TEXRail to learn more about this impactful project. View schedules at RideTrinityMetro.org/TEXRail/Schedules/.

TEXRail test runs this week

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This week, TEXRail trains will operate their test runs Monday through Friday between 9am and 7pm between the Mahaffey Maintenance Facility (at Long and Sylvania in Fort Worth) through Grapevine.

These test runs will operate with horns and flagmen (at crossings) and will travel at speeds up to 70mph. These trains may stop at stations and they may run through them – depending on the particular test run they are operating. Please remain a minimum of 15′ from train tracks at all times.

For additional information regarding the TEXRail project, please visit bit.ly/2IX34ZX

Hello, Media? There’s a Train Coming…

By Chris Daigle

For some reason, the big players in Houston and Texas media continue to ignore one of the biggest news stories of our day. Maybe they’re too focused on a certain judge in Washington, or posting photo galleries of the best neighborhoods to live in or best restaurants to eat at, and can’t find the time. In the process, corporate-owned media in Texas are missing an opportunity to do their real jobs as watchdogs for the rest of us.

You’ve probably heard about the purported high speed train that will one day in the far, far future connect the booming economies of Houston and Dallas. You’ve seen snippets of smiling politicians lauding the innovative (yep, that’s the word for everything now) technology of modern trains, and you’ve seen public relations pieces boasting of a new board chairman or a new CEO joining the team of Texas Central Railroad (TCR) to forever change the way we travel in Texas.

What you aren’t reading anywhere is an in-depth analytical look at the feasibility of this project, the money that surrounds it, the public endearment that it is certainly not capturing, and the way a high speed train will factor into transportation a decade from now. For the life of me, I can’t understand why big media outlets haven’t jumped on the opportunity to do some real, if difficult, work.

The latest news about Texas Central Partners and its “bullet train” was quietly released last week in the Dallas Morning News: “Texas Central Partners has secured a $300 million loan to continue its pursuit of a new 240-mile high speed rail route from Houston to Dallas. The company said it will use the financing to move ahead on permitting, design, and engineering on what would be the first high speed rail in Texas.” The loan is a tiny percentage, they say, of the total $15 billion project overall cost. Others estimate it will cost closer to $20 billion.

For anyone who has followed the slow drip of news on this project since its 2015 announcement, the $300 million loan should serve as sticker shock to the general public. The reason? The interest bearing loan comes from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development. Say that real fast at a party, and nobody goes home drunk.

Good on the Dallas Morning News for at least reporting about the loan (I could find nothing in the Houston Chronicle lately). But if you know the background of this project, and the promises made by Texas Central Railroad, we should all raise an eyebrow.

TCR has constantly told us they have local investments worth enough to get the project to the construction phase. To a bum like me, I took that to mean they would get through all the studies and permitting, and consulting work needed to start laying the first columns of concrete.

I read through the tea leaves, whatever those are, and discovered that wasn’t the case at all. Instead, they needed $300 million additional, and somehow can’t find the complete funding locally (in America) to continue the project without the help of two Japanese banks. To answer your upcoming question, Texas Central Railroad plans to use Japanese technology – not compatible with high speed rails across the rest of the world – to build this new rail system. No wonder our friends from the Far East have ponied up the dollars to get the project through the U.S. government’s approval process.

Interestingly, news of this loan brought one of the larger opponents of the project out of public hiding last week. A company called SNCF America, the Maryland based arm of the French National railway company which is based in Paris, France (not Paris, Texas). They jumped on news of the Japanese bank loan.

Scott Dunaway, a spokesman for SNCF America, said, “Texas Central Partners comes clean on its empty promise of private funding led by Texas investors. Now Japanese taxpayer funds are being loaned to finance the planned Texas to Houston rail. Two Japanese government agencies are supporting an attempt to corner the market with technology that lacks interoperability (won’t match other rail systems anywhere) and creates a monopoly on the future of Texas high speed rail.”

I tried to contact Dunaway directly to get more information on his company’s concerns. As the spokesman for the company, I thought he seemed a logical place to start. I was told Dunaway the Spokesman, “Isn’t conducting interviews, but talk to SNCF America’s President and CEO, Alain Leray. I thought that would be great, but Leray works in Paris, and he was counting sheep when I needed an interview.

My point is, SNCF probably has as much to lose (or gain) from what happens to this TCR bullet train as any other company in the world, so you have to be careful using their information to form educated opinions on the project.

That gets me back to where we started. Where are our major media players when we need them most? Sorry, but this reporter is a one-man show. Ne team of investigative reporters here, so the best thing to do is sound the alarm.

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Northwest Mall: New rail depot for shoppers, or an architect’s next bold vision in glass and steel? We’re still waiting. (Photo: Chris Daigle)

So I will ask the pressing questions to help our brethren in the big media to look this way. Is there any possible way this project is going to happen? Hopefully not, say the legions of landowners whose lives and property will be disrupted by this ongoing drama. A few months ago, it was announced that Northwest Mall, standing proud across the highway from the tracks since 1967, would be the Houston stop for the bullet train. Does that mean a dash to Palais Royal for shoes and shirts before heading to Dallas? Does that mean no more mall, and the lot stays barren for a decade while we wait for construction? Estimates for completion are for 2024, but delays in starting mean delays in finishing.

Has anyone bothered to think about the future of transportation around this concept of high speed rail? For instance, TCR says you won’t sweat the drive to Dallas anymore. Just watch a movie or get some work done on the 90-minute run in comfort. But aren’t there self driving cars that accomplish the same thing coming right up? Has anyone taken a look at the California high speed train project? It’s a catastrophe, and getting worse. We should be paying attention.

With me being in Houston, and the Grapevine Source being near Dallas, this seems like a seamless solution to get to the office one day. But if the parent company already needs foreign money just to complete the studies, is it really that great of an idea?

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Chris Daigle is a Houston historian, photojournalist and a regular contributor to The Grapevine Source. To read more of his articles, click HERE.