DART Light Rail Scheduled to Land at DFW Airport in 2013
Photo: Courtesy DART)
DART takes delivery of first rail for the Orange Line to Irving

Travel to and from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport will soon involve trains as well as planes. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit board put plans in motion to connect the Orange Line to DFW by 2013.

“The 14-mi Orange Line is a key component of a regional rail expansion that will lead to the doubling of DART’s rail network to more than 90 miles by 2013,” Morgan Lyons, DART spokesman, told Texas Construction. “The Orange Line will run parallel with the Green Line through downtown Dallas to Bachman Station in Northwest Dallas. From Bachman Station, the Orange Line heads northwest to the Las Colinas Urban Center, in 2011, and DFW Airport in 2013.”

The DFW leg of the light rail line will be the third phase of the Orange Line and will take riders to the airport’s Terminal A.

“We needed to make the decision for the final section so we could hit our deadline of December 2013,” Lyons says.

Construction on the first two sections of the Orange Line, from the future Bachman Station in northwest Dallas to Las Colinas and then to Belt Line Station, began earlier this year under the leadership of the design-build joint venture of Kiewit, Stacy and Witbeck, Reyes, Parsons.

Kiewit, Stacy, Witbeck, Reyes, and Parsons is a joint venture of by Kiewit Texas Construction of Fort Worth, a subsidiary of Kiewit Corp. in partnership with Stacy and Witbeck of Alameda, Calif., Reyes Group of Markham, Ill. and Parsons, which has an office in Dallas.

The approximately $430-million contract is for design and construction of the 9-mi, six-station rail line from Bachman Station on the Green Line in northwest Dallas to Belt Line Road on the southern portion of DFW Airport. Funding for the project is included in DART’s 20-year financial plan. Project design began in January with major construction set to begin in May.

The sections are scheduled to open in December 2011 and 2012, respectively. A contract for the final section to the airport is scheduled to be awarded next year, Lyons says.

The DART board voted to add a future light-rail connection from the Orange Line to the Cotton Belt, a DART-owned rail line that crosses through airport property north of SH 114. It would provide additional rail access to the airport.

DART owns 52 mi. of the Cotton Belt, which is presently used as a freight rail line between the Collin County city of Wylie and Fort Worth. DART’s long-range plan is to connect the Red Line in the Plano/Richardson area to DFW Airport in 2027.

The Fort Worth “T” currently has plans to operate rail service by 2013 on the western half of the Cotton Belt between Fort Worth and the airport as part of its Southwest/Northeast project. DART and the T are also exploring a public-private partnership to accelerate the start of Cotton Belt passenger rail service.

With the final Orange Line section to DFW Airport, DART will more than double its 45-mi light rail system in 2013. That doesn’t include the second rail line through downtown Dallas that is scheduled to get under way in 2014 or the Blue Line extension from Ledbetter Station to UNT Dallas in 2018.