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Dallas orange line

The Suburbanites’ Guide to Dallas Rail: DART Orange Line

The DART Orange Line (labeled as the Purple Line on maps prior to 2006) is a 37-mile long light rail line operated by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system in Dallas, Irving, Richardson and Plano, Texas. 37 miles y’all.  Let that sink in on how ridiculously long that is.

If you love adventure and don’t want to stray too far from home just look to our own Dallas Rail System – DART and the TRE.  Yes, this same train that gets you to school or work can also take you from the ‘burbs into all sorts of experiences such as the Irish Festival to the yummy cafes in Deep Ellum to the Dallas Aquarium.  In the last 2 years while living in Plano, I have seen explosive growth in our town which also means lots of construction, traffic and cars galore.  Adventuring on the train makes life . . . well, an adventure with none of the hassle of navigating the concrete jungle of Central Expressway and the Dallas Parkway.  Dallas and its surrounding cities are bursting with cultural experiences, dining and entertainment, all walkable, UBERable, bussable or bikeable from a DART rail station or bus stop.

The Orange Line started operation on December 6, 2010, with weekday peak service from the Parker Road Station to Bachman Station on stations shared with DART’s Red and Green lines. The first Orange Line-exclusive stations opened with the extension to Irving Convention Center on July 30, 2012,[14] and two more were added on December 3, 2012. The current northwestern terminus, located at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, opened on August 18, 2014.

orange line

The line’s current northwestern terminus is DFW Airport Station, located inside Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The line proceeds southeast through Irving, providing service to the Irving Convention Center, Las Colinas, and the University of Dallas, before merging with the Green Line north of Bachman Station. The Orange Line shares the rest of its route with existing light rail lines, with stops along the Green Line from Bachman to Victory Station, through downtown Dallas on a corridor shared with the Green Line, Blue Line, and Red Line, and then northward along the Red Line corridor into Richardson and Plano.

Planned future Orange Line stations include a DFW North Station loop and an eastern extension down Scyene Road to Masters Drive (previously planned as a Green Line expansion).

 

dart rail map

Now, when I mention to friends that I often taken the train, many times the responses are not favorable.  I get it.  Public transportation has its variety of weirdos, smells, musicians, loud talkers . . you name it, every train has it.  But I believe the Pros far outweigh the Cons.  And if you think you might be unsafe on a train there are some common sense tips and tricks.  I’ll get into those further down in the article (I’ve got some good ones and for the record, have never had a bit of trouble).  I’ve taken the train early in the morning, late at night and from Parker Road station in Plano all the way to DFW airport (yep, that’s a long ass ride).

The Orange Line is a fantastic addition to Dallas.  When I wait at Parker Road station for the Red line, I occasionally cut my 20 minute wait down by being able to catch the orange line.  The orange line runs all the way to the Plano stations overlaps with the green line through Victory Park and then shoots at west towards DFW.  It only runs all the way to Planoduring busy times, so that would be rush hour or after an event at the American Airlines arena.  Otherwise, you’ll find that it makes its stop at LBJ/Central station.  If you end up having to get off here, don’t fret, a red line will be by to pick you up and transport you further North.


Things to Know Before you Go:

  • Download the GoPass app to purchase tickets (you can also purchase tickets at the machines by the station but the app is much more convenient if you are jumping on the train last minute)
  • No food or drinks (don’t bring your Starbucks, sometimes you are standing and it would not be good to spill.  DART trains are some of the cleanest public transport you’ll find in the country.)
  • Generally the tickets cost $5.00 for your full day round trip (yes, you can buy 2-hour passes, off peak hour passes, senior tix etc)
  • Most stations have free parking (parking is super abundant on the weekends)
  • If you walk up to the train and the doors are shut, just push the button to the left of the door
  • The DART employees are extremely helpful and you can ask them questions (don’t be shy)

In this section, I’ll go through each station, so skim ahead to the stations you might want to hop off at and take a look around:

DFW Airport Station

For $2.50, you can arrive at Terminal A of DFW airport – there is no cheaper way to get here.  Plan on giving yourself plenty of time to do this but also know there will be no traffic jams or surprises on the highway that could suddenly slow you down.  Its not perfect, but it works.

DFW airport DART

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

Belt Line Station

Go to the Red line for more info

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

North Lake College Station

If North Lake CC is your school, then this is the best way to get there.  No traffic, no parking passes, no hunting down parking spots.

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

Irving Convention Center Station

One of the most architecturally stunning convention centers I have ever seen.  Wish this was the home of all of my tradeshows.

 

Outside_Irving_Convention_Center

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

Las Colinas Urban Center Station

Las Colinas is a unique blend of hotel, office and restaurants and definitely worth a look, maybe even a gondola ride or SUP ride down the waterways.

las colinas gondolas

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

University of Dallas Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

Bachman Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

  • Bachman Lake Park
  • Bachman Recreation Center
  • Club Schmitz
  • Dallas Police Department’s Northwest Operations Division

 

Burbank Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

  • Grauwyler Park Branch Library
  • Grauwyler Recreation Center
  • Southwest Airlines corporate headquarters

 

Inwood/Love Field Station

This is the station to catch your flight from Love Field.

There’s just one trick . . once you exit the train, you’ll need to head downstairs to street level to catch the bus/shuttle to the airport.  Its called the Love Link 524. Its totally included in your train ticket and makes for an affordable way to arrive at the airport (and at the front door).

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Southwestern Medical District/
Parkland Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

Market Center Station

(check out the Green line article)

Dallas green line

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

Victory Station

This is one of the most popular stations especially when the Mavs or Stars are playing, and pretty much the best way to get into an event without dealing with the chaos heading into downtown Dallas.  The train will stop a few hundred feet from the door of the American Airlines Center.

If you get to an event early, you can easily walk over to the W for dinner and drinks, walk the area and even walk under the Stemmons bridge into the West End or House of Blues.

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

West End Station

This is the station to keep in mind when you have out of town guests that want to see Dallas’ history.  At this stop, you’ve got the 6th Floor Museum, Dealey Plaza, the Old Red Courthouse and lots of photo ops and activities to keep you busy for the entire day.

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

The next few stations I cover thoroughly over here on the Red Line

DART mockingbird station

 

Akard Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

St. Paul Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Pearl/Arts District Station

Check out more on the Red Line here

DART mockingbird station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

Cityplace/Uptown Station

More here

DART mockingbird station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Mockingbird Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

Lovers Lane Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Park Lane Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Walnut Hill Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

 

Forest Lane Station

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

LBJ/Central Station

 

During non-peak hours, this is where the Orange Line stops.  No worries, you can always catch the Red Line further North to the last station.

lbj central orange line

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Spring Valley Station

Go to the Red line for more info

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

  • Brick Row
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Greenville Avenue Stadium
  • Waffle House

 

Arapaho Center Station

Go to the Red line for more info

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Galatyn Park Station

Go to the Red line for more info

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

CityLine/Bush Station

Go to the Red line for more info

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

plano texas

Downtown Plano Station

Go to the Red line for more info

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Parker Road Station

Go to the Red line for more info

Popular Attractions and Destinations:

 

 

Remember, the more you take the train, the more comfortable you’ll become.  And soon enough you’ll learn to love it!

 

What questions do you have for me?  Tweet me @ConvoCounts

 

what to do in plano

P.S.  Want even more exploration, click here Lonely Planet Texas  (love this)

P.P.S. Or, check out the Austin Road Trip here


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