DART Rail Turns 25

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
DART debuted June 14, 1996 with 11.2 miles of Blue and Red line starter services. Today, it spans 93 miles with 65 stations—the longest light rail system in the country. Pictured: West End Station on opening day.

DART debuted June 14, 1996 with 11.2 miles of Blue and Red line starter services. Today, it spans 93 miles with 65 stations—the longest light rail system in the country. Pictured: West End Station on opening day.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is marking 25 years of light rail service in North Texas on June 14.

The system debuted June 14, 1996 with 11.2 miles of starter service on the Blue Line (between Illinois Station and Pearl/Arts District Station) and Red Line (between Westmoreland Station and Pearl/Arts District Station). Today, DART spans 93 miles with 65 stations, and is the longest light rail system in the country. The newest station, Hidden Ridge in Irving, Tex., opened in April to serve Orange Line riders.

DART has served 500 million riders since 1996, reaching rider No. 250 million on June 2, 2012. In celebration of 25 years of service, the agency is offering riders an opportunity to win 25 days of free rides if they share on social media a photo of themselves riding DART rail or explaining how DART rail benefits them.

Among DART’s key dates since opening:
• Red Line Service: Pearl/Arts District to Park Lane, January 1997; Cityplace/Uptown Station, December 2000; Park Lane to Galatyn Park, July 2002; and Galatyn Park to Parker Road, December 2002.
• Blue Line Service: Illinois to Ledbetter, May 1997; Pearl/Arts District to White Rock, September 2001; White Rock to Downtown Garland, November 2002; Lake Highlands Station, December 2010; Downtown Garland to Downtown Rowlett, December 2012; and Ledbetter to UNT Dallas, October 2016.
• Green Line Service: Victory to MLK, Jr., September 2009; Victory to Frankford, December 2010; and MLK, Jr. to Buckner, December 2010.
• Orange Line Service: LBJ/Central to Bachman, December 2010; Bachman to Irving Convention Center, July 2012; Irving Convention Center to Belt Line, December 2012; Belt Line to DFW Airport, August 2014; and Hidden Ridge Station, April 2021.

DART is still growing. In March, the Dallas City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the D2 Subway project, a second, below-ground light rail line through downtown Dallas that will extend from Victory Park to Deep Ellum. And by 2023, Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex residents will have improved rail access to DFW International Airport, when DART’s Cotton Belt Silver Line and Trinity Metro’s TEXRail commuter rail lines converge at Terminal B.

On July 12, Nadine Lee will become DART’s next President and CEO, succeeding David Leininger, who has served in an interim role since November 2020.

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