DBadger wrote:"Yeah, it's disappointing. Comparing it to my Denver scenario it fails even in the most basic sense in that there's no direct route from DFW to Union.
But regardless, if this part of downtown gets more developed I hope Union st. gets some amount of attention and isn't relegated to being mostly event space and an unpleasant waiting room forever."
That could be easily fixable. The tracks exist and there should be an hourly train that goes directly between DFW and Union Station. May be one stop at Las Colinas Urban center. That would be 26-29 minutes instead of almost an hour.The other trips can go through all the stops. I would rather stay longer at the airport or downtown and wait for the direct train than to be on the Orange line for over an hour. Many cities have this option.
The first part is very easy (I proposed something similar in the D2 Subway thread). The existing wye has a single LRT track between Union and Victory (the other two legs are dual track), which is primarily used for non-revenue movements (typically positioning extra AAC post-event trains). To add a second track (not sure that it's totally required, but I'm inclined to say it would help keep the other routes clear) they'd need to move a TPSS and re-work the switching and signaling to make sure there's space for at least a 2 car train to occupy the wye without blocking the other routes. They'd also need to add an extra platform at Union station to accommodate a terminating train, which could come from the row of parking spaces facing the existing NB platform.
As for the second part, there aren't many passing opportunities on DART's LRT network, so an express train wouldn't save much time. The only place I can think of is Bachman station, where there are 3 through tracks, so you'd need to time the "express" such that it leaves Union right before a regular Orange line reaches West End, then catches up with and passes the preceding local at Bachman (using the central track). I'd need to dig up the Orange/Green line EIS docs to see if there's anything about the speed limits and dwell times, since all of the existing published schedules are based on trains speeding up/slowing down for each station and waiting 30-60 seconds at each one, but my hunch is that there's not a huge amount of time to be saved by skipping stops between Downtown <-> DFW. The segment from Belt Line to DFW alone takes 8 minutes, the UofD to Bachman segment takes 6, and the portion through the Urban center has a much lower speed limit that most sections due to the winding route. You might knock 5 minutes off each of the Union <-> Bachman and Bachman <-> DFW segments.
The bigger benefit would be the ability for someone leaving downtown to wait inside the building until the "Airport Express" arrives, then board and wait in air-conditioned comfort without having to worry about missing the train, rather than having to walk to West End and wait in the elements. It's much easier for out of town visitors to comprehend than telling them to take Red/Blue train to West End, then cross over to the other side and wait for an Orange Line train.