Construction machinery, piles of bricks and orange cones lined unused train tracks Thursday just a short walk from the doors to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal A.
There was little activity as snow and subfreezing winds whipped through the outdoor construction site. But later this year, the partially covered area will be filled with people trying to catch planes or hop on trains.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit and airport officials are turning the tan-bricked area into DFW Airport Station — the first light-rail stop at the region’s largest economic engine. They gave a visiting federal official and reporters their first glimpses of the long-awaited station Thursday morning.
“It’s beautiful,” said Therese McMillan, deputy administrator for the Federal Transit Administration.
The station is about 400 feet from the A10 entrance to the airport’s Terminal A. It is the end-point for DART’s Orange Line, which runs through Las Colinas into downtown Dallas and up to Plano. DART planned to open the station in December, but is now hoping to do so by September. No firm date has been set.
Trains will run every 15 minutes during morning and evening peak hours and every 20 minutes all other times. The agency is still working on an exact schedule.
Passengers flying American Airlines out of Terminal A will have a short walk from the train to baggage check and the security checkpoint. Travelers not checking bags and who leave out of other terminals can check in at A10, go through security and take the airport’s Skylink to their destination. Travelers on other airlines who do have checked luggage can catch airport shuttles to other terminals outside the A10 entrance.
DART and airport officials say the station essentially connects the region’s largest transit authority directly to the entire world.
“This really kind of opens it up,” said DART president and executive director Gary Thomas.
Airport officials say international travelers, especially those from large Asian and European cities, have long asked for a train from the airport to downtown Dallas.
“They’re so used to having that service,” said airport CEO Sean Donohue.
McMillan said the station will add the airport to the list of colleges, hospitals, mixed-use developments and employment hubs that North Texans can reach by light rail.
“It’s going to be a wonderful connection,” she said.
For DART, the near-completion of construction is creating excitement about delivery of a long-promised station.
“We’ve looked forward to this for a long time,” said DART board member Faye Moses-Wilkins.
Although still in the early planning stages, officials believe that the line could be opened by 2015 if they can secure the $1 billion needed to build it.
The new headquarters more than doubles the work area for the Midwestern equipment manufacturer.
The Los Angeles Airport Commission is expected today to award a multimillion-dollar contract to overhaul the aging Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX.