Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

June 24, 2013

reflections - on Riding the Rails...

— I’ve got to suggest a trip for you this summer. The only problem with what I am about to propose is that you can’t do it on Sunday! But, with that and the exception of the 4th of July, the sky is the limit every other day!

Recently, Raf and I went on an adventure that I would recommend to everyone. We went to Dallas!  

Dallas, you say? Yep, we went to Dallas, and although you may have heard me say many times that I hate going to Dallas, it’s really only because of the traffic (too many foreigners... and by that I mean Yankees, driving like Yankees do!).

However, we did not have one traffic problem. We did not have one problem at all.

Why, you ask.

We rode the train!

We drove to the old, beautiful T&P Station just south of downtown Fort Worth. The parking is free! We bought our all-day ticket from a ticket machine on the ground floor and rode the elevator to track level.

Trains leave about every 45 minutes, all day; but for the complete timetable, go to trinityrailwayexpress.org/.

We climbed aboard the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) and set out for Mockingbird Lane in Dallas. There because a friend I grew up with lives there, and she had invited us to lunch, and she picked us up at the station, as well.

We rode past eight stations, including Bell, DFW, Downtown Irving and Medical Market Hall before alighting at Union Station in downtown Dallas across from Reunion Tower.  Right before we got to the station we passed Dealey Plaza where President Kennedy was shot.

At Union Station we crossed a couple of tracks and waited for the DART train (Dallas Area Rapid Transit). We had several trains from which to choose, but we took the Red Line. Trains come by about every 10 to 15 minutes, but you can get a schedule online at www.dart.org, and, frankly, if you miss one, another will be along soon.

If you want to, you can take the Red Line all the way to Parker Road, which is north of downtown Plano, and it also goes south to Westmoreland and past the Dallas Zoo. The Blue Line goes from Ledbetter to Rowlett. The Green Line goes from Buckner Boulevard to North Carrollton and also to Denton; and the Orange Line goes from Parker Road to Belt Line, through Irving.

Our next trip will be to Plano, and we plan on my friend, Helen, getting on at Mockingbird to join us.

A word or two in planning. The TRE is a large, much more comfortable train. DART has smaller cars, and it is much more urban... reminding me, in some ways, of the subway in New York City. Getting on the TRE is a leisurely process, but getting on and off the DART takes some listening. They announce which side of the train to use, and you need to move fairly quickly.

The price for an all-day ticket is $5, and children are $1.25. However, if you’re old, as we are, your ticket is $2.50 for the day. You can’t beat that for a day-long trip; and some of the stations, like downtown Dallas, Mockingbird, Plano, are situated where there are food, galleries and other sites.

When you are ready to come home, just go back to Union Station and catch the TRE back to Fort Worth. The last train to Fort Worth leaves Dallas at 11 pm. Oh, and the first one going to Dallas leaves Fort Worth at 5 a.m.

So, try traveling on the rails.

It’s really a lot of fun!