The Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) in Lewisville, TX, initiated service on the A-train, its 21-mile regional rail line, at 5 a.m. June 20 and continued fare-free operation through June 24. DCTA also greeted opening-day riders by giving them breakfast sandwiches.
Southbound commuters began boarding at the Downtown Denton Transit Center as early as 4:30 a.m. Many of the initial early morning customers were destined for the Trinity Mills Station, where they could transfer to Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Green Line.
“The first week of service was successful. We averaged more than 3,000 passengers a day,” said Tom LeBeau, DCTA vice president of rail development. “We anticipate that, over the next few months, ridership will fluctuate, but these early indications show tremendous interest in the A-train and transportation alternatives.”
In advance of the opening, DCTA introduced the A-train to the public during the June 18 Rock n’ Rail Station Celebration, carrying more than 8,300 passengers in six hours. The agency marked the grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring remarks from Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), and DCTA Board Chairman Charles Emery, and continued with activities at each of the line’s five stations.
Emery noted that community leaders first proposed regional rail less than 10 years ago, adding: “This major infrastructure project will change the way people travel and change the way our communities grow.”
DCTA used local funds, a combination of sales tax and excess toll revenues, to cover the entire $320 million cost of the A-train project—including design, engineering, capital construction, and vehicle acquisition.
North Texas Rail Group, a joint venture of Herzog Contracting and Archer Western, served as the general contractor for 21 miles of track, five stations, a rail operations and maintenance facility, 43 rail crossings, one elevated overpass, and an eight-mile adjacent bicycle and pedestrian trail, and Herzog Transit Service Inc. has been hired as contract operator for the line. DCTA is using rail vehicles leased from Trinity Railway Express, which connects Dallas and Fort Worth, as it awaits the arrival of vehicles being manufactured by Stadler Bussnang AG in Switzerland.