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DART to mark 20th anniversary of light-rail system

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) next week will mark the 20th anniversary of its light-rail system.

On June 14, 1996, the agency debuted an 11-mile network of Red and Blue lines that extended from Pearl Station in the north, through downtown Dallas to 8th and Corinth Station, where the two lines separated. The Blue Line continued mostly due south to Illinois Station, while the Red Line went south and southwest to Westmoreland Station, all within the Dallas city limits.

DART Rail's current 90-mile network is the longest light-rail system in the United States, agency officials said in a press release. The system has accommodated more than 360 million passenger trips throughout its history.

Additionally, the system has led to $5 billion worth of private transit-oriented development at or near rail stations. DART Rail has 62 stations in eight cities.

"DART Rail is delivering new development in every community we serve," said DART President and Executive Director Gary Thomas. "Dallas is enjoying a renewed downtown, new destinations, and better access to health care. Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Garland, Irving, Plano, Richardson and Rowlett each have new, vibrant transit-oriented communities that are gaining national attention."

Meanwhile, the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter-rail system later this year will mark 20 years of operation. Jointly owned by DART and the Forth Worth Transportation Authority, the Dallas-Ft. Worth commuter railroad debuted Dec. 30, 1996.

TRE currently has 35 miles of rail.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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