For a rail fan, Dallas and Fort Worth are great places to hop off of the Texas Eagle or Heartland Flyer and spend some quality time riding around town on steel wheels. The Texas Eagle stops at Dallas Union Station, and the platform is shared by the Trinity Railway Express commuter line, as well as the Red and Blue light rail lines. The Green (and soon, Orange) LRT line is one stop away. Take Red or Blue north, or just walk a few blocks (you'll go past the Kennedy Assassination site). The Fort Worth ITC (Intermodal Transportation Center) platform hosts the Texas Eagle, the Heartland Flyer to Oklahoma City, and the Trinity Railway Express. Note that it's not the terminus for the TRE -- the train has one more stop before it turns around and comes back. The ticket machines at Dallas Union Station and the Fort Worth ITC accept cash, coins, and credit cards (watch out, not all stations in Dallas have been converted to use plastic). A Day Pass is your best bet -- you can get a one-way ticket, but come ON. You rode Amtrak all the way to Dallas and you're only going to ride ONE local train? You can also (from the new machines) get a 7-day pass and a 31-day pass, which are roughly the price of a day pass every weekday with weekends as a bonus. DART hasn't had ticket voucher booklets for years -- I wish they'd bring them back. One thing to keep in mind is that Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (FWTA aka The T) are separate agencies. But they've standardized their fare structures to make things easier for cross-Metroplex commuters. Another very important detail: The Trinity Railway Express (commuter rail) does NOT run on Sundays! The only exception is during special events, like the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, and the Fort Worth Arts Festival. Basic fares (as of May 2011): * "Local" Day Pass, $4 This gets you on any Light Rail line (Red/Green/Blue/Orange), or any Local bus (all numbers except 200s on DART, all FW routes). Does not include commuter rail. * "System" Day Pass, $7 Everything from the "Local" pass, plus DART 200-series Express buses, and the Trinity Railway Express to Centerport Station (DFW Airport via bus shuttle). The fare zone boundary on the TRE was recently modified so that a "System" pass gives you access to/from DFW from either Dallas or Fort Worth. * "Regional" Day Pass, $10 This gets you on any bus or train in the Metroplex, including the Trinity Railway Express all the way from Dallas to Fort Worth and vice versa. Both DART's light rail and the Trinity Railway Express (a joint venture with The T) work on an honor system. There are no turnstiles. Random fare checks are all that enforce paying the fare. (This causes consternation on local forums from time to time, from folks who can't do cost/benefit calculations.) Have your ticket available to present to a uniformed transit officer on DART LRT, or a conductor on the TRE. If you'll be in town for a while and get a multi-day pass, you'll probably want to get the Local, unless you know you'll be taking several rides on the TRE. You'll probably be better off just buying a Regional Day Pass for the one day you'll need it. The staff on the TRE commuter trains are very friendly, and I'm sure they'd love to talk train topics with a rail fan. The train doesn't turn around at the end of the line -- the back car has an engineer's cab. The frontmost passenger seat has a direct view in front of the train (or, in the other direction, behind the train). The trains run up to 80mph on a route a few miles north of the UP tracks, with a good amount of double-track segments, shared with freight but not overloaded. They almost always run right on schedule. The DART Light Rail trains, by contrast, don't have any staff except for the driver, who is in the sealed cab at the front. DART even replaced the station announcements with a robot, much to my chagrin. I liked hearing the different operators. DART police and fare enforcement will come on board randomly, and are also pretty friendly (though moods may vary). The LRT is very reliable, unless something crazy has happened -- like this year's snow storms, which froze the switches, fouled the catenaries, and generally created chaos for a system designed for long stretches of 100 degrees, not 10 degrees. Bus drivers, of course, can run the gamut from chatty to stoic to surly, though the surly ones aren't common. (For some reason, I've had more surly drivers in Fort Worth, but only on the non-tourist routes.) Buses have card-swipe turnstiles if you're using a day- or multi-day pass. You can buy a Day Pass on the bus with exact cash & coins, no change given. Just be sure to tell the driver what sort of pass you're getting before you put in any cash, so he can punch in the right pass type. And double-check it when you get it; make sure it says "Local", "System", or "Regional" (not "Reduced"!). That will get you around town! I'll post more about what to see and how to get there, but right now, I've got to get back to work. Gotta save up for that big Amtrak trip this fall.