A-train diesel multiple unit train at the Downtown Denton Transit Center.

(Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



The A-train is a hybrid rail service in Denton County, Texas, United States. The service is operated by Rio Grande Pacific under the authority of the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA).

The 21-mile (34 km) line runs parallel to Interstate 35E between Denton and Carrollton. It acts as an extension of DART Light Rail's Green Line, which connects Carrollton to Dallas Love Field, Downtown Dallas, and Fair Park. The line opened on June 20, 2011.

In 2023, the line had a ridership of 233,500, or about 900 per weekday as of the fourth quarter of 2023. It is the fourth-busiest commuter rail line in Texas and the twenty-ninth busiest in the United States.


A map of the A-Train's Routes.

(Wikimedia maps | Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors)



The right of way was established by the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. Eight miles (13 km) of the disused line was purchased by the city of Denton in 1993, with a rail trail opening in 2001.

A formal Alternatives Analysis study conducted in 2004–2005, which included extensive community and citizen involvement, identified the proposed rail line as the best and most cost-effective mobility solution for Denton County and the region. It cited the impacts of projected population growth, growing safety, traffic congestion and air quality concerns, as well as the need to improve access to Denton County's vital health care facilities and three major college and university campuses.

In May 2005, the DCTA Board of Directors approved the study's recommendation to construct the rail alignment on east side of I-35E using an existing railroad corridor. The DCTA worked closely with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to meet the Federal and local regulatory requirements. In March 2008, the DCTA Board of Directors approved the Final Environmental Impact Determination that detailed the proposed measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of the rail project and the Regional Transportation Council approved funding of in August 2008. Federal funds were not used in the construction of the rail link.

The A-train name, station names, and station locations were publicly revealed in September 2008. DCTA's then-director of transportation services, Dee Leggett, stated that the A-train name "represents Denton's position as the apex of the Dallas/Fort Worth region."

On April 4, 2011, the DCTA began tests of railcars, communications systems and signals on track between Carrollton and Lewisville Lake, with tests on the remainder of the route projected to begin later in the month, though this date was later pushed back to mid-May.

The A-train was opened on June 20, 2011, with celebrations at five train stations.



On July 20, 2016, First Transit (the American subsidiary of British transportation operator FirstGroup) signed an agreement with DCTA to operate the A-train starting from October of that year. First had already been the operator for DCTA's bus service since in 2007. The contract would last nine years with a five-year extension option. Local rail operator Rio Grande Pacific was also contracted to provide signaling, dispatching, and track maintenance.

On November 3, 2020, Rio Grande Pacific assumed the operations of the A-train for the remainder of the contract and partnered with Stadler US for the maintenance of rolling stock.



The North Central Texas Council of Governments Mobility 2045 plan calls for the A-train to be extended south to interchange with the DART Silver Line. As of April 2021, DCTA is in discussions with DART to extend the A-train to Downtown Carrollton as part of an agreement in which DCTA would host a DART Silver Line maintenance center at the existing A-Train Operations and Maintenance Facility, including track upgrades and a new A-train station at Downtown Carrollton.



Fares are fully integrated with the rest of the DCTA system, with single rides costing $1.50. Two free transit zones exist on the system: between Downtown Denton Transit Center and MedPark, as well as Hebron Station to Trinity Mills.

Since September 7, 2021, the A-train operates with a 30 minute headway during rush hours and interpeak every weekday, while on Saturdays the service runs every 60 minutes. There is no service on Sundays and major holidays. Interchanges with the DART Green Line are irregularly timed.



Station Address Municipality Points of interest and connections
Downtown Denton Transit Center 604 E. Hickory Street Denton Historic downtown Denton,  Connect Bus: 3, 6, 7. GoZone: Denton
MedPark 3220 MedPark Drive Denton Medical City Denton, Bus interchange UNT Campus Shuttle: CE 171, GoZone: Denton
Highland Village/Lewisville Lake 2998 N. Stemmons Freeway Lewisville City of Highland Village, Lewisville Lake recreational area, GoZone: Lewisville/Highland Village
Old Town 617 E. Main Street Lewisville Historic downtown Lewisville. GoZone: Lewisville/Highlsand Village.
Hebron 952 Lakeside Circle Lewisville GoZone: Lewisville/Highland Village
Trinity Mills 2525 Blanton Drive Carrollton Green Line  DART Bus: 232, GoLink: Keller Springs

Rolling stock

DCTA placed an order for 11 Stadler GTW 2/6 DMUs in 2010. The first of the new trains were delivered in late 2011 for testing prior to their entry into service. The full order was fulfilled by August 2012, and in September 2012 the new units replaced the Budd DMUs leased from TRE. The line uses diesel-electric hybrid motive power.


A Stadler GTW 2/6 at Downtown Denton Transit Center in September of 2015.

(Michael Barera, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Class Type Top speed Inventory Unit Numbers Built
Stadler GTW 2/6 Diesel Multiple Unit 60 mph (100 km/h) 11 101-111 2010–2012

The A-Train began operations using 10 Budd RDC-1s leased from Trinity Railway Express, which were used until DCTA's own purpose-built fleet was delivered.



Owner: Denton County Transportation Authority
Locale: Denton County, Texas
Termini: Downtown Denton Transit Center / Trinity Mills station
Stations: 6
Website: dcta.net/a-train
Service Type: Hybrid rail
System: Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA)
Operators: Rio Grande Pacific (operations); Stadler US (rolling stock maintenance)
Rolling stock: 11 Stadler GTW 2/6
Daily ridership: 900 (weekdays, Q4 2023)
Ridership: 233,500 (2023)
Opened: June 20, 2011
Line length: 21 mi (33.80 km)
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed: 79 mph (127 km/h)