Take the A Train

by Jessica on June 22, 2011

Our early morning symphony of rustling cereal bags and cries for ‘more juice’ will soon be punctuated with the woo-woo of a train whistle.  Our suburban county has just completed the installation of the “A-Train,” a commuter train that connects Denton County with downtown Dallas.  Designed primarily to service the two universities that call Denton home, the train is also hoping to meet the needs of downtown commuters.

Public transportation outside of the major metropolitan areas in Texas is somewhat foreign, so it is exciting to have a station almost right in our backyard.  Most likely, we will not use the train often, but it is nice to have the option for train travel when we want to go in to the big city. For the inaugural week of the A-Train, tickets are free, so we decided to take a ride.


Some trips just have a vibe from the beginning that they are not going to go as planned.   I had started the day with a funny feeling in my throat and chest, but shrugged it off as drainage and continued the day as planned.  By mid afternoon, the drainage had settled in my throat and I was almost totally without a voice.  My voice is my main weapon of choice should I encounter a munchkin mutiny, so I knew that I was beginning the trip with a handicap.  Unfortunately, I suffer from Alice in Wonderland syndrome (I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it), so we soldiered on.

Our plan was to catch the train at our local station and ride it all the way to the end of the line to a downtown area to check out the rock shop and soda fountain.  We arrived at the station with a few minutes to spare, but as we were approaching the track the train arrived and we were not able to navigate the unfamiliar station quickly enough to catch the train.


No need to worry, I assured the kids, as I checked the schedule to see when to expect the next train.  Being used to the public transportation systems of Chicago and New York, I expected the next train to be along shortly.  Not so.  The next train was scheduled for 30 minutes later.  I guess we can say that we celebrated the first day of summer by soaking up the Texas heat and humidity.

The train finally arrived and we boarded and took our seats.  The view could not really be described as scenic, but the boys were impressed with the novelty of riding the rails and peering out the windows.   Looking out the window as we neared our stop, I could see that we had another problem.  The press release I had read indicated that the last stop would take us to downtown Carrollton.  Again, not so.  To reach downtown Carrollton and the coveted rock shop and soda fountain, we would need to buy a ticket and board a bus.  Whatever happened to truth in journalism?

At this point, the little tickle in my throat had mutated into full fledged Black Death and I was looking around for the nearest bed to crawl into.  Reluctantly, but without too much complaint, the boys climbed back onto the train and we took the ride back.



Despite the lack of entertainment at the end, the kids seemed to enjoy the trip.  My oldest summed it up to his dad by saying, “Well the destination was a bust, but going and coming were fun.”  I am planning to take a look at a route map and take the kids to the rock shop later this week when I have recovered from the Black Death.  Meanwhile, at least I have a jaunty little tune in my head as I drift off into a cold medicine induced slumber.




ligata June 23, 2011 at 3:19 am

I love travelling by train! You have more space!
Here in the Netherlands is really popular, you could hardly find an intercity bus service.

walkingontravels June 23, 2011 at 11:19 am

Sorry to hear the plague hit you and the train ride was a bust. As you and I are both finding though, it really is the journey that can be the most exciting sometimes. At least your kids weren’t totally disappointed. Although I would be throwing a fit if I missed out on the soda shop 😉

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