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Dallas Streetcar opens for service

Liberty 302 running off-wire across the Houston Street Viaduct on 13 April. (Image: DART)

The new USD51m Dallas Streetcar was launched at 09.00 on Monday 13 April, with a ceremony attended by city council member Scott Griggs and DART President Gary Thomas. Passenger service began at 11.30; the fare-free service runs every 20-30 minutes between 05.00-19.15, Monday to Friday.

The 2.6km (1.6-mile), four-stop route links the Methodist Hospital in Oak Cliff in the southwest of the city with Union Station in downtown Dallas. The terminus at Union Station hub allows onward connection to the DART light rail system’s Red, Blue and Green LRT lines and the Trinity Railway Express to Fort Worth. It is operated by a pair of 70% low-floor Liberty modern streetcars from Brookville Equipment Corporation that have a maximum speed of 70km/h (44mph); the USD9.4m rolling stock contract, signed in March 2013, includes an option for a further two cars.

The bi-directional three-section Liberty design is 20.3m long and is equipped with two 550V batteries that allow operation away from the overhead wire on the Houston Street Viaduct over the Trinity River.

The line’s second phase, an extension to Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District, is expected to be completed by early 2016, while the third planned section will expand the streetcar line to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and Omni Dallas Hotel.

Construction of the new line began in May 2013, with funding including a USD26m TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant awarded in December 2010 for a proposed peoplemover between Inwood and Love Field, which was subsequently reallocated. A further USD25m came from DART, with the remaining USD3m raised from road tolls. The line is owned by the City of Dallas, with services operated by DART.