I recently hopped on TEXRail to see what the buzz was about. Departure times are listed as “Eastbound” and “Westbound” with trains leaving both stations hourly. Parking at Fort Worth’s T&P Station is free, and TEXRail fare is cheap — $2.50 for a single ride or $5 for a day pass! The commuter train appeared to be brand new and had several passenger compartments that held a mix of roomy seats and tables. I grabbed a table, pulled out my laptop (typical writer move), plugged my phone into a nearby USB port and waited to experience my first TEXRail trip.
Grapevine Mainstreet Station will take you into the heart of a popular tourist destination — Historic Downtown Grapevine. Here, you’ll find seemingly endless shopping, dining and entertainment options. Kids will love the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, which hosts a life-size Thomas the Train. Hungry? Weinberger’s Deli is my go-to dining spot. This Chicago-style deli has dozens of delicious subs and sandwiches! Another favorite of mine is Outlaw Cider Company, a local cidery that serves up adult beverages in a fun taproom setting.
If you have more time to venture out, catch a quick ride to Southlake (only 7 minutes away from Historic Downton Grapevine). Southlake Town Square is a prime destination for grabbing a bite to eat and shopping ’till you drop.
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS
The North Richland Hills Iron Horse Station offers an excuse to pack up your golf clubs for a day out on the green. Iron Horse Golf Course boasts one of the finest greens in DFW with a Dick Phelps-designed championship layout and nearby dining. Needless to say, it’s a hole-in-one.
FORT WORTH STOCKYARDS
North Side Station places you within a very short Uber ride or brisk walk of Fort Worth’s world-famous Stockyards. The history behind this once-bustling meatpacking district can still be felt and seen through area museums. Twice-daily cattle drives (11:30 AM and 4 PM) are a must-see! Area clothing stores offers great deals on authentic cowboy regalia, and the restaurants serve some of the best steaks and barbecue in the region. My personal recommendation is Horseshoe Hill Cowboy Cafe, which serves an award-winning chicken fried steak.
DOWNTOWN FORT WORTH
For travelers, the last stop from the airport is my home of Fort Worth. Downtown Fort Worth Station puts you within easy walking distance of Sundance Square, Fort Worth’s premier spot to shop, dine, and be entertained. Nearby Acre Distillery is one of my favorite watering holes and serves a silky smooth whiskey—the perfect way to end a day.
Hop off at this station and find yourself in the Near Southside, one of the hippest parts of town, where you’ll see beautiful historic building being refurbished. The Collective Brewing Project will give you a taste of the funkier side of Fort Worth craft beer. Trendy restaurants continually opening here, but Cannon Chinese Kitchen, Twilite Lounge (Cajun cuisine) and Four Sisters – A Taste of Vietnam top my culinary recommendations. If you can catch a ride or don’t mind a 10-minute walk south, West Magnolia Avenue has dozens of popular non-chain restaurants that locals flock to daily.
I was impressed with my first TEXRail experience, and I plan to use the commuter train whenever I depart from DFW International Airport (or whenever I want to leave my car at home for a day of TEXRail adventuring). For visitors, the rail line offers a convenient way to explore west DFW—and I imagine the new transit system will nudge locals to explore more of their own neck of the woods, too.