Last night I realized that the only way I was going to get the Trinity Railway Express done was by waking up early and getting the final four intermediate stations I needed during the AM rush hour. I woke up (nearly on my own) after a terrible nights sleep due to a man snoring and was at the train station buying another $10 Regional ticket at 7:01, this would serve me all day including up to Denton County. I had a nice time in the cooler morning taking the 7:05 train to Centerport/DFW, doubling back on the 7:24 train to West Irving. From there I had to take the 7:43 train to Hurst/Bell and spent a whole 30 minutes there before the 8:26 train out to Richland Hills. While I was there a couple of fire trucks and ambulances started arriving as the train I had just gotten off of remained in the station. Eventually the paramedics brought someone off the train as the 8:41 train took me into Victory Station. There I transferred to the Green Line and took it out to Buckner and started wending my way back in getting photo essays. When I got to MLK Jr. and wandered over to the Fair Park itself (I was panning to walk anyway). I decided I wanted to wonder inside the Dallas Natural History Museum for a little air conditioned break with my Transit Museum membership. The small galleries were kind of odd but it was need seeing what wildlife (in stuffed form) is native to Texas. I then got on DART again, got the last few downtown stations on the Green Line (including the only island platform on DART in the middle of an urban boulevard), before taking the Blue Line out to White Rock reversing to Mockingbird and getting off for more photos at City Place. There I figured out I needed the 2:59 Green Line train which would connect me to the first Denton County A-train of the day. I had plenty of time to grab a quick bite to eat and get another ride on the McKenna Avenue Trolley back into downtown.
I got on the Green Line and found myself a seat for the ride up to Trinity Mills, as we headed north the sky started getting darker and darker before claps of thunder became audible as I dozed off from my early start this morning. I got to Trinity Mills and it had really started raining. As soon as everyone got aboard transferring from DART, the A-Train’s two car Budd RDC DMU (leased from the TRE with an odd hybrid livery) left for Denton. Yes there is another transit line in this country called the A-Train. This one has been modernized (complete with florescent lights) and seats that look like those on the M1/M3s if they had two by two seating except with much different patterned seat covers. It kept raining as we headed up to Denton and I debated what to do. The A-Train runs every 26 minutes during rush hour and the stops are spaced far enough apart that the doubling-back trick wouldn’t work to get its 4 intermediate stops. I got to Denton and did a rainy photo stop during the 13 minute layover. I got back on and decided I was determined to get at least one intermediate stop. I got off at a rainy Medical Market and the train didn’t leave the station, it was waiting for a train to come the other way. I got back on slightly confusing the conductor of the old 1949-1962 RDCs. These have manually operated doors and even traps over modified (for modern commuter rail platform heights) steps that must be manually opened at every station (there is an on platform ramp of a temporary looking nature at each stop for wheelchairs).
I got off at the next stop, Highland Village/Lewisville Lake Station for a very rainy 25 minutes, and did the same at Old Town Staiton. I kept thinking the rain would stop but it just didn’t. I felt like a drenched rat, realized my pictures weren’t really coming out and decided to skip Hebron Station (which will be the only non-Amtrak rail station in all of Texas I didn’t visit on this trip). I went back to Trinity Mills and did hop up to New Carrolton for a few dark rainy photos before heading back into downtown. I got off and wondered around trying to find some place for dinner. The only decent places are along the McKenna Avenue Trolley, the Trolley was luckily there at its downtown terminus so I hopped aboard Matilda, the ex-Melbourne trolley again for a trip up to a burger joint. After eating my dinner I realized I was going to miss the 8:20 train and end up on the 9:20 again. Feeling cold and wet I wondered back to the underground City Place DART Station (one of the only indoor non-airconditioned places I could find in Dallas) and almost let a few trains go by. I took the Red Line down to Cedars to pass the rainy time but didn’t get any night photos because there were about ten police cars lined up along the platform (in a park and ride lot) arresting someone on the platform. I get out of there on the next inbound train and get back to Union Staiton at about 9:00 for my 9:20 train back to South Irvine.
I get back to the hostel and have a very late night hanging out with 3 Britts (two of them also 22) also staying in the hostel. The other guests are a few odd older resedents most of whom are in town for the Ron Paul Convention.