Streetcar No. 302 made its debut for the Dallas media this morning at the DART Rail Operations headquarters near Fair Park.
It is the first car that is ready for testing on the new Oak Cliff line, expected to open April 13.
The car was manufactured by Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corp. It has 34 seats and can fit about 100 passengers. Riders step up into the car’s middle section, which has handicap seating plus room for wheelchairs, bikes and standing. Two steps up on either side of the center section have seats similar to DART trains, and there are driver’s seats on both ends of the reversible car.
When the inaugural line opens, it will run from 5 a.m.-7:15 p.m. Monday-Friday between Union Station and Methodist hospital. The line will be extended in the next couple of years to Bishop Arts and the Dallas convention center. The city and DART also have plans to extend it to the Dallas Art District, although that part has not yet been funded.
The streetcar project started with an idea from the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, the brainchild of neighbors including Louis Salcedo and Jason Roberts. Members of that group applied for a $23-million federal transportation grant, and they won it with help from U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. That was enough to pay for about half of initial 1.6-mile line. Another $22 million came from DART and $3 million from the federal government funded the rest. The North Central Texas Council of Governments is putting $32 million into building the extensions to Bishop Arts and the convention center.