By Raymond Suarez, DCTA CEO
On Friday, June 18, we at the Denton County Transportation Authority will celebrate our A-train commuter rail line turning 10 with FREE train rides all day! Bring your family and friends on the A-train and explore Denton County or connect to other North Texas cities. To get a free ride, all you need to do is say “Happy 10th birthday A-train” to our rail operators.
Visit our birthday party invitation to view all the details about our celebration, read A-train fun facts and download the DCTA Safety Kids birthday coloring sheet.
In addition to our celebratory birthday affair, I also want to highlight some key facts and many achievements we’ve had with our A-train in the past decade.
A-train Fast Facts
- 21 miles of track
- Five A-train stations
- 104 seats per rail car
- 19-mile A-train Rail Trail alongside commuter rail line
Top 10 A-train Milestones
Launching our A-train would not have been possible without the support of Denton County voters, community leaders and the hard work and diligence of our board and staff. Below are major A-train achievements from the past 10 years:
- DCTA received a waiver from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in June 2012 to operate its Swiss-made, Stadler GTW rail vehicles on the same tracks as freight trains. For the first time, lightweight low-floor vehicles were permitted to operate in rail corridors concurrently with traditional vehicles, helping to expand commuter rail options for transportation agencies across the country.
- After two months of initial service, DCTA expanded A-train midday service Monday through Friday, as well as Friday and Saturday night service in August 2012.
- DCTA celebrated exceeding one million A-train passengers in September 2013 after the agency launched its commuter rail service.
- The agency celebrated community enhancements in February 2015 that were completed for the Denton portion of its A-train Rail Trail. Enhancements included installation of park benches and decorative historical markers featuring DCTA and Southeast Denton Neighborhood Association (SEDNA) history, planting of new trees and plants and added safety and privacy fencing.
- In May 2016, DCTA began operating both single-car and multi-car trains for A-train service which enabled the agency to save nearly $680,000 a year in fuel, maintenance of equipment and car miles.
- The agency signed a new contract in October 2016 with First Transit which included the operations, dispatch and maintenance of the agency’s A-train service.
- In May 2018, DCTA became the first public transit agency in Texas to begin testing Positive Train Control (PTC) – an FRA mandate designed to prevent collisions and other incidents by automatically detecting and controlling the movement of trains.
- The agency completed the full construction of its A-train Rail Trail in December 2019. The rail trail is adjacent to DCTA’s A-train commuter rail line.
- Rio Grande Pacific (RGPC) was awarded a contract to manage the operations and maintenance of DCTA’s A-train in November 2020.
- In late December 2020, DCTA became the first transit agency in Texas to have its commuter rail line FRA-certified.
For more information about our A-train’s 10th birthday, to leave a special birthday message about how the A-train has benefited you and your community, visit RideDCTA.net.