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

What is the TEXRail project?

TEXRail is a 27-mile commuter rail project being developed by Trinity Metro with  passenger rail service in 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 start of service using nine rail stations. By 2035, the ridership is expected to have grown to 13,000 daily riders.

What is the status of the project?

TEXRail construction officially broke ground on August 24, 2016.

Will Trinity Metro need to acquire property for this rail line?

For most of the route, TEXRail would use existing right-of-way that is publicly owned by Trinity Metro, or owned by existing freight railroads. Trinity Metro has acquired 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, Trinity Metro has acquired property to provide adequate station amenities and parking, where appropriate.

Who is going to make legal decisions about Right-of-Way issues and other matters?

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.

When will property acquisition begin, and what is the process Trinity Metro will use to acquire property?

Acquisition is in progress. Trinity Metro 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.

How will this affect my property values if my residence is adjacent to the rail line?

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.”

How will Trinity Metro gain access to use of the track? What will the leasing arrangements be?

Trinity Metro 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.

Will Trinity Metro buy the Right-of-Way on the former Cotton Belt Rail line from DART?

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

What will the impact of this line be on Trinity Railway Express (TRE)?

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.

Will my taxes go up to pay for this service?

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

Why is Trinity Metro proposing to build and operate a passenger rail line? Why doesn't Trinity Metro just add more buses to its existing bus service or provide some other transit improvements?

Trinity Metro 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. Trinity Metro also completed in 2006 an analysis of various transit improvements in this corridor. The result of the Alternatives Analysis (AA), was a recommendation that Trinity Metro 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.

Where will the trains be maintained?

The Mahaffey Maintenance Facility (MMF) is the site of TEXRail vehicle maintenance. It was constructed off of the TEXRail track near the intersection of Sylvania Avenue and Long Avenue in Fort Worth.

With respect to bikes will there be bike access at stations, bike security, and will bikes be allowed on trains?

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.

When is passenger service scheduled to begin?

Service will begin in late 2018.

How can I communicate with FWTA about the TEXRail Project?

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

Will the line be a single track or double track?

Trinity Metro 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.

Will this proposed rail line connect with the TRE or other rail system operated by either DART or DCTA?

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.

How much new rail will there be in comparison to existing rail?

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

How many street/grade crossings will there be?

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.

Why is a new bridge over the Trinity River necessary?

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.

Are there any east/west connections to rail?

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

What kind of train will this be?

In December 2012, the Trinity Metor 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, Trinity Metro 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.

Why will TEXRail use diesel technology rather than using electricity like DART?

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.

What is the estimated ridership on this line?

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.

How fast will the train travel along the route?

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.

How long will the train ride take from Downtown Fort Worth to DFW International Airport?

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

When will the trains operate? Will hours of operation vary by location?

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.

Is there a plan to increase train frequency in the future?

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.

What is the plan for getting people from the train station to their ultimate destinations? Will there be feeder bus service? What will the buses be like?

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. Trinity Metro will work with local jurisdictions along the corridor to plan future bus operations.

What are the plans for dealing with other rail traffic?

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

How will this rail service interface with other rail lines, and coordinate with other agencies or railroads?

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. Trinity Metro 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.

What impact would running rail have on Union Pacific Railroad, and is UP cooperating in the negotiations?

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

How will you address security on the trains and at stations for both on- and off-peak hours?

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.

What will the fares be on the train?

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

Where will stations for this rail line be located?

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

What exactly will be at the stations? What will they look like? Will they look different for each community along the route? Will type of amenities will be at the stations?

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.

Will there be Park-and-Ride lots at train stations?

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

If ridership estimates are conservative, are the parking accommodations at stations conservative?

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

What is the typical station acreage?

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

If overnight parking is not allowed, how will airport travelers be accommodated?

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

How will local economic development and land use plans be incorporated into station planning?

Trinity Metro 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.

In general, what types of development do you expect at stations?

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.

Which stations will be constructed first?

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

What is the cost of the project at this time?

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

How is the project being financed?

The project would be financed through a combination of several funding sources. Trinity Metro’s member 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. Trinity Metro has an agreement with the City of North Richland Hills (NRH) to provide funding for NRH stations. Trinity Metro is also requesting federal dollars to help construct the project through the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts Funding program.

Will this project qualify for federal funding?

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.

How much funding must be in place to construct the project?

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

What are the ongoing costs for a station after it is built?

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 Trinity Metro.

Environmental

When and how will potential environmental impacts be addressed?

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

What kinds of potential impacts were evaluated?

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).

What kinds of measures were considered to avoid, minimize or mitigate any potential environmental impacts?

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

How were noise impacts determined, and can blowing the train horns be waived through neighborhoods along the route?

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.

Was freight train horn noise included as part of the noise analysis?

Yes.

Was the increased frequency of trains included in the noise assessment?

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

What is the level of noise (in decibels) for a train besides the horn at a distance of 50 feet?

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.

Would quiet zones affect freight trains and the Grapevine Vintage Railroad?

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.

Are the locations of quiet zones flexible?

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. Trinity Metro is working with local jurisdictions and FRA to implement quiet zones in all residential areas.

How will lighting at stations impact residences?

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.

Does the EIS identify specific houses or addresses to be impacted?

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

Would hazardous freight shipments be prohibited because the rail line also carries passenger traffic?

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 Trinity Metro begins passenger rail service on this corridor.

Did the vibration study include existing freight train traffic?

Yes.

Have the impacts of gas well lines been assessed?

Trinity Metro 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.

What about safety? What will be done to make sure motorists and pedestrians are safe?

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, Trinity Metro will work with a program called Operation Lifesaver, which provides rail safety education and training to the public and communities.

What are the safety impacts of operating on private railroad right-of-way?

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

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