LRT to debut June 26

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May 10, 2004 // UPDATED 1:33 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

After a nearly three-month delay, the first yellow light-rail transit (LRT) train is expected to depart from Downtown's Warehouse District/Hennepin Avenue station on June 26.

In a statement announcing the new opening date, Metropolitan Council Chair Peter Bell said, "As we move closer, trains will begin operating around the clock. The light-rail system is designed to be safe, and our staff is focused on that effort. But safety is a partnership. It will take an awareness and commitment from all us who drive and walk near the line to ensure safety."

Metro Transit will launch partial service this summer between Downtown and Fort Snelling. Full service to the airport and the Mall of America along the 12-mile line will begin in December, as originally planned before Metro Transit went on strike this spring.

The ride from Downtown to Fort Snelling is expected to take 23 minutes.

Bob Gibbons, Metro Transit's director of customer relations, said opening day festivities are planned at LRT stations. The first train is scheduled to depart the Warehouse District at 11 a.m. Rides will be free the first two days of service, June 26-27.

"The station teams organizing the events will now attempt to recreate what they had planned for April 3, but in general, there will be entertainment and food at each of the rail platforms so people can get off the train and experience the neighborhoods and what they have to offer," Gibbons said.

There will be larger parties at stations near the Warehouse District, Metrodome and Fort Snelling, he said.