The Loop – Riding Four Trains Around DFW

Where do these mid-cities trains go and what are they like?

     With the opening of the TEXRAIL and the DART Orange Line to the airport, it’s now possible to travel in a sort of loop around DFW on trains. Of course, the scheduling of the commuter trains is easy enough, but recently I decided to take a trip that would also incorporate Amtrak into the Dallas-Fort Worth leg. Amtrak isn’t known for being on time, so this was certainly a challenge! Luckily, for my trip, Amtrak was only 8 minutes late and everything went according to schedule.

     The regional day pass only costs $12, so this is an excellent way to see the DFW Metroplex. The Amtrak I rode travels on TRE lines, so the additional expense and headache isn’t necessary for sightseeing but the comfortable seats and cafe car are a huge bonus. The regional day pass works for every train besides Amtrak, including the TRE, TEXRAIL, DART trains and buses as well as Trinity Metro buses. It’s a great way to get around, and you can even get longer term passes if you plan to use these services more frequently. Everything is accessed through the GoPass app, which seems to work really well.



The Trains


Trinity Railway Express

Pros: Refurbished cars are nice and clean.

Cons: Light Saturday service, no Sunday service. Many cars are dirty and showing their age

Features: Plugs (AC at tables, USB in other locations, in refurbished cars)

Route: Between Dallas and Fort Worth, Mon-Saturday


Refurbished coach cars have made the TRE good again

Unfortunately not every car has received the treatment

Anyone who’s ridden the TRE in the past is familiar with the aging, cloth seating and general dinginess of the coach car experience. Luckily, TRE has been working to refurbish their cars which has made a huge impact on the experience, despite being a relatively minor upgrade. At the time I rode the TRE not every car had received the updated interior, with my train to Dallas having only older style coaches. Hopefully this change is made to all their coaches soon, as it greatly elevates the experience.

The refurbished interior is nice and features AC and USB plugs



Pros: Great Seating, fairly clean and a Cafe Car

Cons: Alright for longer distances, but mid-cities travel is predictably inconvenient

Features: OK but somewhat expensive food. Alcohol is pricey but nice to have.

Route: All over the U.S., check Amtrak’s website for more info

  • Dallas Union Station allows Amtrak riders to connect to several other services, including DART light rail and buses, the Dallas Streetcar to Oak Cliff and the TRE train to Fort Worth

An affordable option for long-distance

Amtrak is a long-distance train, unlike the other trains on this list. While it’s definitely useful for that kind of travel, on this occasion I only rode it from Dallas to Fort Worth. At $9 for the lowest fare and with the potential for massive delays, it’s not really a great solution for mid-cities travel. Of course, Amtrak isn’t intended for this kind of journey, since the TRE runs the same line with more stops and less delays.

Notably, however, the TRE does not include a Cafe Car and most certainly doesn’t serve alcohol. If you want to drink on a train and aren’t pressed for time, Amtrak is an option, I guess.

Some coaches now feature updated seating

Having a snack on Amtrak

The Cafe Car on Amtrak isn’t perfect (or cheap) but it’s still nice to have for a quick snack or meal



Pros: New, clean and quiet train with comfortable seating and a spacious bathroom

Cons: Trains are only run once per hour during some parts of the day

Features: Plugs (AC and USB), Tables and small(ish) luggage racks

Route: Between Downtown Fort Worth and DFW Airport, running through NRH and Grapevine

A great way to travel the mid-cities

The TEXRAIL, built in 2019, is a fairly new addition to the Metroplex. It travels between downtown Fort Worth and DFW Airport, passing through North Richland Hills and Grapevine. Not only is this a nice train, but Grapevine has put a lot of work into making their train station worth visiting, with a combination hotel and food court located right by the station. Called Harvest Hall, it’s absolutely worth a visit with a variety of foods and inexpensive drinks.

The train itself is quiet, comfortable, and truly a vision of what rail travel could be like in DFW. And with DART ordering the same trains (slightly modified) for their Silver Line, it looks like the local presence of Stadler trains will only grow in the future.

TEXRAIL is a European-style train in the heart of Texas.

TEXRAIL trains are clean and comfortable, with plugs (AC and USB), tables and even tray tables.



Pros: Trains run frequently and cover a large area of Dallas, with good connections to other services

Cons: Old trains, not very comfortable

Features: None, really

Route: All over Dallas and slightly beyond. Check DART’s website for more info

  • The DART Airport station is very convenient for travelers

Not the nicest, but functional

DART isn’t a nice train, but the high frequency of trains (often one every 20 mins) and scale of the DART network as well as its connections make it a highly usable public transit system. With a simple refresh or even a complete replacement, DART could be a really enjoyable way to travel. And new trains aren’t just a fantasy- Stadler is building FLIRTs (the train that TEXRAIL uses) for DART’s new Silver Line at this very moment. It’s easy to see Stadler building trains for other lines too at some point in the future.


DART trains severely need an update

Built in the 90s, DART trains are starting to show their age

What would Arlington’s commuter rail system look like?

Unfortunately, Arlington has no rail transit system. Our main rail line runs along Division, but this is privately owned and probably isn’t usable for passenger service. For Arlington to gain a rail service, it would take considerable public will and funding, as well as the purchase of private property by the government. This would be a huge obstacle, but luckily there’s an easier solution that I’ll be exploring in a future post: Streetcars. is an advocacy group that’s not affiliated with the Trinity Metro, Dallas Area Rapid Transit or any other transit agency or government entity.


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