After an unprecedented three-day shutdown, Dallas Area Rapid Transit's light rail system is slowly creaking back into service, with an eye toward being operational again by Monday morning.
DART rail service shut down late Thursday night due to the ice storm, for only the second time in its history. (The prior shutdown occurred during the Super Bowl ice storm in February 2011.) No trains ran for the entire weekend. Buses were deployed to take over the train routes.
DART sent out an alert on Sunday at 11:20 am that safety testing was underway.
"We're preparing for the start of passenger service by testing our tracks, power systems and vehicles," said the alert. "We have to operate trains throughout the system to make sure everything is working correctly and safely. These are test trains. No customers are allowed."
The testing, as well as the ability to restore service, was dependent on the weather. "Bottom line, we need some ice to melt from the tracks and overhead power lines," said the alert.
According to DART officials, the service interruption was due to ice on the cables running over the trains. The cables carry electric power; when coated with ice, the electricity stops.
Test trains began rumbling through the lines by 2 pm on Sunday.
"Our goal is to be in operation Monday, and we're doing everything we can to achieve it," said the alert. "However, it's also possible that we may not have the full rail system open Monday. We are still operating buses along the rail corridors to get you where you need to go."