Cotton Belt Rail Line

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This article is about planned commuter rail lines in northern Texas. For the historical U.S. Class I railroad commonly known as the Cotton Belt, see St. Louis Southwestern Railway. For other uses, see Cotton Belt (disambiguation).
Cotton Belt Rail Line
Type Commuter rail
System Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Fort Worth Transportation Authority
Status Preliminary Engineering, under construction (TEX Rail)
Locale Tarrant, Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall Counties, Texas, USA
Termini Shiloh Road Station to DFW Airport Station (Cotton Belt Line)
DFW Airport Station to T&P Station (TEX Rail)
Website DART Cotton Belt Rail Line,
TEX Rail
Owner DART, The T
Line length 67.7 mi (108.95 km)
Track length 67.7 mi (108.95 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Route map
Cotton Belt Rail Line Map.gif

The Cotton Belt Rail Line is a planned 67.7-mile (109 km) group of commuter rail lines in Tarrant, Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall Counties in the U.S. state of Texas. The lines will provide service from Dallas's northeast suburbs to Southwest Fort Worth with a major terminal at the north end of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The project has been broken up into several lines under development by Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority.

Together, the corridor would connect downtown Fort Worth, Grapevine, and DFW Airport with Carrollton (at a junction with both the Denton County Transportation Authority A-train[1] commuter rail line and DART's Green Line light rail line), Addison, Richardson, and Plano.

The current name for the line comes from a former subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad, the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, commonly known as the Cotton Belt, which previously owned the line. DART purchased the right-of-way in 1990 for future transit use.

A plan to use private funds for construction of both the Dallas County and Tarrant County segments of the Cotton Belt Rail Line was abandoned in 2013, but the T started construction on the Tarrant County segment, TEX Rail, in late August 2016.

TEX Rail[edit]

Main article: TEX Rail

TEX Rail (formerly known as the Southwest-to-Northeast Rail Corridor) is the under-construction in Tarrant County, Texas, United States that will provide service from southwest Fort Worth to DFW International Airport via Grapevine and other Tarrant County communities. It is being constructed by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority ("The T") and is scheduled to open in 2018.

The T plans to provide TEX Rail service using self-propelled Diesel Multiple Units capable of carrying up to 450 passengers.[2] In April 2015, Stadler Rail was awarded the contract for eight 4-car articulated FLIRT3 DMUs,[3] signed at a ceremony on June 9, 2015 at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC) by the Chairman of the T (Mr. Scott Mahaffey), the CEO of the T (Mr. Paul Ballard) and the CEO of Stadler Rail (Mr. Peter Spuhler). In June 2016, the T received a Letter of No Prejudice from the FTA, essentially green-lighting the project. In reaction to this, the T said they planned to start preliminary construction in July 2016, on track for a planned opening date in 2018.[4]

TEX Rail started construction in late August, 2016.[5]

Cotton Belt Line[edit]

Planned project route[edit]

The Dallas County segment (that upon completion will be named the Cotton Belt Line[6]) of the Cotton Belt would run approximately 26 miles (42 km) between Richardson or Plano to DFW International Airport.[7]

This section is being planned by Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and will serve as a crosstown route in northern Dallas County and southern Collin County, connecting the Red Line in Richardson or Plano, the Addison Transit Center, the Green Line in Carrollton (where it will also connect with the Denton County Transportation Authority's northbound A-train[1]), and the Orange Line at DFW North Station (where it will connect to the TEX Rail segment to southwest Tarrant County[8]).[7] It will also pass through a portion of the city of Coppell, a charter member of DART that later pulled out of the system in 1989, though the possibility of rail service may entice Coppell to rejoin.

Planned stations[edit]

Stations identified for this segment:[9]

Project status[edit]

This section of the line is part of DART's 2030 Plan, which had initial hopes of opening sometime near 2013.[10] However, in 2010 DART scrapped much of their 2030 plan, citing deficits and drops in revenue.[11] A proposal to use private funding to construct both the Dallas County and Tarrant County segments was considered, but this plan was abandoned after the Texas Legislature failed to enact legislation necessary to the plan during the 2013 state legislative session.[12]

DART officials have stated that without private funding options, the agency will not be able to build out the Dallas County segment until at least the mid-2030s.[12] However, DART is reviewing the possibility of using bus rapid transit as a less costly alternative for current funding.[13]

DART announced in late August that the project could be completed as early as 2022, after DART had noted that they had secured half the money needed to complete the project.[14]

Downtown Wylie Extension[edit]

Planned project route[edit]

An additional segment of the Cotton Belt line has been labeled for future expansion. Although no planning has occurred, Segment 3 would extend the route from Shiloh Road in Plano to Wylie, with stations in the downtowns of Murphy and Wylie.[15] Neither of these towns are DART member cities.

Planned stations[edit]

Stations identified for this segment:[citation needed]

  • Downtown Murphy
  • Downtown Wylie


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "TEX Rail Diesel Multiple Unit Train Sets RFP 14-T008" (PDF). The T. June 30, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  3. ^ "TEX Rail contracts approved". Trains Magazine. April 28, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ "TEX Rail Set To Become Reality, But…". CBS DFW. June 28, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Finally, TEX Rail project underway from Fort Worth to Grapevine and DFW". Star-Telegram (Fort Worth). Retrieved 25 August 2016. 
  6. ^ "Cotton Belt Line". Dallas Area Rapid Transit. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  7. ^ a b "Cotton Belt Corridor Regional Rail Scoping Summary Report" (PDF). Dallas Area Rapid Transit. January 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Young, Stephen (August 25, 2014). "The Cotton Belt Rail Line May Still Happen, Despite Objections from Nearby Residents". Dallas Observer. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Lindenberger, Michael (April 28, 2010). "Money woes will force DART to cut jobs, rail plans". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved April 12, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Dickson, Gordon (May 29, 2013). "Cotton Belt funding bill dies in Legislature". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ Formby, Brandon (August 25, 2014). "DART to consider dedicated bus roads for long-languishing Cotton Belt rail corridor". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  14. ^ "DART Looks To Fast-Track The Cotton Belt Line To 2022". CBS 11 News. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  15. ^

External links[edit]