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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Light Rail and Transit » Throwing "Darts"

   
Author Topic: Throwing "Darts"
Gilbert B Norman
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Until a trip this past Saturday to visit with my Niece, who with her two girls as I write this are "Jonah" swallowed by the whale, or otherwise in flight on a Qantas A-380 to Sydney.

Well, as part of my "poor man's way to DFW", I used DART light rail to and from Pearl Street station, or one block away from my Marriott hotel.

I had not set foot in Dallas in over thirty years. As far as I knew, Texan's idea of mass transit was a Silverado going 85mph down one Freeway or the other. So imagine my surprise finding out there was a "train" that would take me from DFW to, essentially "the Hotel's front door".

Well, not quite.

First, you must get on a "terminal link" bus that meanders all over this sprawling airport, which American as good as "owns" (United there?, some "two bit player"). It seemed about like an hour to get to the Dart light rail on the airport premises, but "uh, not exactly" convenient (wonder what "parties in interest" assured that?).

So after buying my $3.00 ticket, which could have been a $1.50 Senior, I boarded this yellow, I think Stadler, two car train. It goes up to 70 along its own electrified ROW, but it still has grade X-ings, as it goes through one "planned community" or the other that be assured wasn't even dreamed of when I was last there.

Now for the "well almost". Weekend trackwork had it shut down at a sports arena (who else but American Airlines named), and the rest of the way on a "busteetoot", which eventually "inched" it's way to the station. Adding insult to injury when I said I'd be there at 3, its now 345 - and my Niece's phone had died.

But she was there; drinking tea in the bar-restaurant. "I knew you'd get here. Uncle Gil".

Never have I been somewhere where the whole thing was a blur of planes, trains, busses, hotel, taxicabs to restaurant and back. I was in Dallas, but I had no experience of being there (that George Clooney movie "Up In The Air").

To DFW on Sunday, the bus part much faster, but still a meander throght DFW, a thoroughly overpriced "Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse Texas Ribs" at DFW, a half hour "ground hold" on the tarmac, another "busteetoot", on the CTA, two hour Sunday frequency on METRA/BNSF, and I wasn't home until 10 (7 or 8 expected).

If it wasn't for seeing my Niece, minus two "hyper" tweenie girls, I'd be sitting there saying "why, why am I doing this"? But instead it's "glad I did, but glad it's over".

Posts: 9390 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
George Harris
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In the original stage of planning in the mid 80's (I was part of it for 2 years) the intent was to be fully grade separated. The whole thing died a political death in 1987 (or was it early 1988?) When it was resurrected in the mid 90's it was decided to eliminate the concept of full grade separation to save money. Thus we ended up with the streetcar like run through downtown and multiple road crossings elsewhere. Probably ought to shut up at this point. Don't know a thing about the routing inside the airport so I can't comment on that. However, being involved in another airport's rail access concept, the architects did not want the rail lie immediately adjacent to the terminal buildings because it detracted from the appearance of the airport as a whole. (Convenience, what's that?)
Posts: 2693 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
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Here is a map of DFW:

http://ontheworldmap.com/usa/city/dallas/dallas-fort-worth-airport-map.jpg

Note that DART is at Terminal A (United uses Terminal E) - and not that all well signed. The bus driver knew where it was, but I don't know how this "rube" was to ("just let him get in a $50 taxicab") know.

I knew nothing of Skylink - a "mover" concrete rail shuttle that runs between the terminals. Only problem, it's "planeside"; so if you've exited the TSA secure area, "sorry 'bout that".

Further, lunch at DFW is even more "rip off" than at ORD. At Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse, a plate of ribs (gotta do something Texas on the trip) and a can (yes, a can with a pop top) of Chardonnay was $28 - and it wasn't all that good!

Now today I learn that a real Texas institution, Whataburger, is located in that Terminal E....G'rrrrrr.

But then, the good; going down, the First Attendant knows (and loves) Maureen. You can be sure that was worth some extra service - and a selfie on arrival in the forward Galley.

And my Niece; no hypertweenie girls or struggling musician husband around - none of whom I hate, but "just don't need 'em" - just time to be with my favorite of my Sister's three.

Finally, according to Flightaware, her QF8 has now landed at YSSY/SYD. I know lots of folk say Qantas is a good airline and that A380 is certainly "distinctive". But 10PM CT July21 to now is too long to be incarcerated in "the back of the bus".

Posts: 9390 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Vincent206
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My first backpacker trip to Europe started at DFW. The airfare was so low that some friends and I drove from Seattle to Dallas to save on airfare. The car was an almost brand-new Cadillac that someone wanted delivered to Dallas. The newspaper want ads in those days used to have a section for people to find jobs as one-way auto couriers. We scored a driving job from Seattle to Dallas, delivered the car to its destination in Dallas and then flew to London the next day in an almost empty Braniff 747. There were more flight attendants than passengers on the flight and we were allowed to sit anywhere we wanted, except First Class, because there was a paying customer in F.

I rarely pass through DFW these days because it's usually not convenient for my most common itineraries. But I will be changing planes there next month on a trip from Mexico City.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Vincent, you noted your experience flying Braniff. where they were flying a 747 and it pretty much a case of "which row of seats would you like to have?

This book Splash of Colors, by John J. Nance - a one time air disaster commentator for ABC News, former Flight Officer with Braniff, and author of aviation related works of fiction and non-fiction.

Posts: 9390 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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