Friday, October 02, 2009

Super Bowl rail plan to Cowboys Stadium may change

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Cowboys Stadium will get temporary commuter rail service for the 2011 Super Bowl, but it might not be the plan that was previously announced, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments, told transportation professionals gathered for an aviation summit that there are two rail options. The one using a commercial corridor has already been mentioned publicly, but another possibility involves an existing commuter rail line and a shuttle service.

"We will have rail service Super Bowl Sunday," Morris said. "We should be within 30 days of final negotiations and a decision about the Trinity Railway Express or Union Pacific corridor."

The rail issue is a tricky one for Arlington, which is the nation's largest city without mass transit. The initial plan, which was mentioned by Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck last month, would have allowed commuter rail trains to use the Union Pacific tracks on Super Bowl Sunday. A temporary station could be placed less than a mile from the stadium although the exact location is part of the current discussions.

Another option, Green said, is to use the Trinity Railway Express line that runs north of Arlington. Although it doesn't offer service on Sunday, it could open for this special event. However, the CentrePort rail station is about eight miles from Cowboys Stadium, and a large number of shuttle buses would be needed to get people to and from the venue.

"Our hope is we'll work out an agreement with UP, and we won't need any service on the Trinity Railway Express," Morris said.

He said if the Union Pacific deal is finalized, the TRE trains would be used on that line on the day of the Super Bowl.

Green said the need for alternative transportation is critical for the Super Bowl because of security. Fans usually aren't allowed to park within 300 feet of the stadium on game day, which eliminates a large number of parking spaces.

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