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A-train (Texas)

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OwnerDenton County Transportation Authority
LocaleDenton County, Texas
TypeHybrid rail
SystemDenton County Transportation Authority (DCTA)
Operator(s)Rio Grande Pacific (operations)
Stadler US (rolling stock maintenance)[1]
Rolling stock11 Stadler GTW 2/6
Daily ridership800 (weekdays, Q1 2024)[2]
Ridership233,500 (2023)[3]
OpenedJune 20, 2011
Line length21 mi (33.80 km)
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed79 mph (127 km/h)
Route map
Map A-train highlighted in yellow
Downtown Denton Transit Center
Highland Village/Lewisville Lake
Old Town
Rail Operations and
Maintenance Facility
North Carrollton/Frankford (DART)
Trinity Mills

Handicapped/disabled access All stations are accessible

The A-train is a hybrid rail service in Denton County, Texas, United States. The service is operated by Rio Grande Pacific[1] under the authority of the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA).

The 21-mile (34 km) line runs parallel to Interstate 35E between Denton and Carrollton. It acts as an extension of DART Light Rail's Green Line, which connects Carrollton to Dallas Love Field, Downtown Dallas, and Fair Park. The line opened on June 20, 2011.[4]

In 2023, the line had a ridership of 233,500, or about 800 per weekday as of the first quarter of 2024. It is the fourth-busiest commuter rail line in Texas and the twenty-ninth busiest in the United States.


The right of way was established by the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. Eight miles (13 km) of the disused line was purchased by the city of Denton in 1993, with a rail trail opening in 2001.[5]

A formal Alternatives Analysis study conducted in 2004–2005, which included extensive community and citizen involvement, identified the proposed rail line as the best and most cost-effective mobility solution for Denton County and the region. It cited the impacts of projected population growth, growing safety, traffic congestion and air quality concerns, as well as the need to improve access to Denton County's vital health care facilities and three major college and university campuses.

In May 2005, the DCTA Board of Directors approved the study's recommendation to construct the rail alignment on east side of I-35E using an existing railroad corridor. The DCTA worked closely with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to meet the Federal and local regulatory requirements. In March 2008, the DCTA Board of Directors approved the Final Environmental Impact Determination that detailed the proposed measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of the rail project and the Regional Transportation Council approved funding of in August 2008.[citation needed] Federal funds were not used in the construction of the rail link.[6]

The A-train name, station names, and station locations were publicly revealed in September 2008. DCTA's then-director of transportation services, Dee Leggett, stated that the A-train name "represent[s] Denton's position as the apex of the Dallas/Fort Worth region."[7]

On April 4, 2011, the DCTA began tests of railcars, communications systems and signals on track between Carrollton and Lewisville Lake, with tests on the remainder of the route projected to begin later in the month,[8] though this date was later pushed back to mid-May.[9]

The A-train was opened on June 20, 2011, with celebrations at five train stations.[10]


On July 20, 2016, First Transit (the American subsidiary of British transportation operator FirstGroup) signed an agreement with DCTA to operate the A-train starting from October of that year.[11] First had already been the operator for DCTA's bus service since in 2007.[12] The contract would last nine years with a five-year extension option.[11] Local rail operator Rio Grande Pacific was also contracted to provide signaling, dispatching, and track maintenance.[13][1]

On November 3, 2020, Rio Grande Pacific assumed the operations of the A-train for the remainder of the contract and partnered with Stadler US for the maintenance of rolling stock.[1]


The North Central Texas Council of Governments Mobility 2045 plan calls for the A-train to be extended south to interchange with the DART Silver Line.[14] As of April 2021, DCTA is in discussions with DART to extend the A-train to Downtown Carrollton as part of an agreement in which DCTA would host a DART Silver Line maintenance center at the existing A-Train Operations and Maintenance Facility, including track upgrades and a new A-train station at Downtown Carrollton.[15]



Fares are fully integrated with the rest of the DCTA system, with single rides costing $1.50. Two free transit zones exist on the system: between Downtown Denton Transit Center and MedPark, as well as Hebron Station to Trinity Mills.


Since September 7, 2021, the A-train operates with a 30 minute headway during rush hours and interpeak every weekday, while on Saturdays the service runs every 60 minutes. There is no service on Sundays and major holidays. Interchanges with the DART Green Line are irregularly timed.[16]


All stations have a park and ride lot and are fully accessible.

Station Address Municipality Points of interest and connections
Downtown Denton Transit Center 604 E. Hickory Street Denton Historic downtown Denton
Bus interchange Connect Bus: 3, 6, 7
GoZone: Denton
MedPark 3220 MedPark Drive Medical City Denton
Bus interchange UNT Campus Shuttle: CE 171
GoZone: Denton
Highland Village/Lewisville Lake 2998 N. Stemmons Freeway Lewisville City of Highland Village
Lewisville Lake recreational area
GoZone: Lewisville/Highland Village
Old Town 617 E. Main Street Historic downtown Lewisville
GoZone: Lewisville/Highland Village
Hebron 952 Lakeside Circle GoZone: Lewisville/Highland Village
Trinity Mills 2525 Blanton Drive Carrollton Dallas Area Rapid Transit Green Line
Bus interchange DART Bus: 232
GoLink: Keller Springs

Rolling stock[edit]

DCTA placed an order for 11 Stadler GTW 2/6 DMUs in 2010. The first of the new trains were delivered in late 2011 for testing prior to their entry into service.[17] The full order was fulfilled by August 2012, and in September 2012 the new units replaced the Budd DMUs leased from TRE.[18] The line uses diesel-electric hybrid motive power.[19]

Class Image Type Top speed Inventory Unit Numbers Built
mph km/h
Stadler GTW 2/6 Diesel Multiple Unit 60 100 11 101-111 2010–2012

The A-Train began operations using 10 Budd RDC-1s leased from Trinity Railway Express, which were used until DCTA's own purpose-built fleet was delivered.


  1. ^ a b c d Bryant, Paul (November 8, 2020). "Fort Worth company takes control of DCTA's A-train commuter line". Denton Record-Chronicle. Denton Media Company. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  2. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2023" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 4, 2024. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  3. ^ "Transit Ridership Report First Quarter 2024" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. May 23, 2024. Retrieved May 31, 2024.
  4. ^ Peterson, Matt (June 20, 2011). "A-train railway begins rolling, carrying commuters from Denton to Carrollton". The Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on July 1, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  5. ^ "Denton, DCTA sorting out A-train issues". The Dallas Morning News. November 30, 2009. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  6. ^ "Is the Federal Transit Administration involved in the project? :: My A-Train, DCTA". Archived from the original on October 8, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  7. ^ Eakin, Dan (September 23, 2008). "Public gets look at DCTA rail project plans". Lewisville Leader. American Community Newspapers. Retrieved February 6, 2024.
  8. ^ "DCTA to begin testing signal, communications equipment on A-train corridor". Progressive Railroading. April 4, 2011. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
  9. ^ "Denton – Dallas A-Train services to start in June". Railway Gazette International. May 16, 2011. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  10. ^ "Train stations celebrate opening of A-Train". Pegasus News. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved June 21, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "First Transit wins contract with DCTA". Lewisville Leader. Star Local Media. July 21, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  12. ^ Lewis, B. J. (April 29, 2014). "DCTA votes to extend contract". Denton Record-Chronicle. A. H. Belo Corporation. pp. A1 – via NewsBank.
  13. ^ "Rio Grande Pacific, CTC Inc. of Fort Worth awarded Denton County transportation contract". Fort Worth Business Press. November 28, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2024.
  14. ^ "Mobility 2045: Maps" (PDF). Mobility 2045. North Central Texas Council of Governments. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  15. ^ "DCTA April 2021 Board Packet" (PDF). DCTA. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
  16. ^ "A-train". DCTA. Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  17. ^ BJ Lewis (August 21, 2011). "New rail cars in testing phase". Denton Record-Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2011.
  18. ^ "Vehicles". MYA Train. July 27, 2010. Archived from the original on May 10, 2010.
  19. ^ "Denton's new A-train cars may help expand regional rail". The Dallas Morning News. January 29, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2019.

External links[edit]

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