Riding the new light rail in Minneapolis

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Ralph, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    The new Hiawatha light rail line opened at the end of June and will run between the airport, the Mall of America and downtown Minneapolis. Four miles of the system still need to be completed (January 2005) to reach the airport but there are several stations to the south of the city that can now access the downtown area. Here's one of the spiffy new trains powered by overhead catenary coming in to Fort Snelling station where there is a large park and ride lot.

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  2. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Here's a closeup of one of the trains. There are motorman controls at each end.

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  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    I sat at the rear of the train and was able to photograph the controls through the window at that end.

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  4. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    During the 23 minute ride from the most southbound point to downtown we passed these car barns for the line. There were also two very small diameter return loops in this yard area.

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  5. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    The train pulls into Nicollet Mall station, the next to the last on the line as we enter downtown, having just passed the Metrodome (home of the MN Twins and Vikings) and the Governemnt Center Plaza. I got off here and walked down the mall on a nice summer day. The machine pictured at the right is a ticket vending ATM styled device. The fare is $1.75 during the rush hours but tickets are good for two hours. I walked around the mall, got some coffee, read the paper, and then hopped back on the train for a free return trip.

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  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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    Trains run every 7-8 minutes during peak times and every 10 otherwise. How do they keep a constant movement on two tracks? The north and south bound tracks widen at the end of the line so turnouts can lead to a third track in the middle. The train leaves the southbound track, takes this middle track and then backs onto the northbound track. The motorman walks from one set of controls to the other and they are eady to go, allowing the system to have constant movement with frequent trains.

    There are many local critics of the expense of this light rail project but so far ridership is well above projection and the link to the airport and Mall of America should make it even more popular. It was a smooth quiet ride and it was fun to glide past Hiawatha Ave and observe our speed to be faster than the cars going 40 MPH. Its also nice to avoid the traffic stops that interfere with bus routes. Of course, as a rail fan I'm prejudiced in any case. I had a great ride and would use this service daily if it went by my neighborhood!

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  7. Rusty Spike

    Rusty Spike Member

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    I need to make a special trip up to take a ride. Despite the common theme here in outstate MN, I think this is some of the best spending of my tax dollars I've seen yet!
  8. interurban

    interurban Active Member

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    NICE!!!!!!!
    I love it Ralph, It looks very much like the light rail they put in Manchester UK.
    I wish I could get down there for a ride.
    Thanks for the update. :thumb:

    I can smell the ozone from up here.
  9. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

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    great pics :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  10. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

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    Minneapolis Light Rail

    I had the pleasure of riding the new light rail line a couple of weeks ago (just after it had opened) during the NRHS Convention. I agree with all that has been said here about it. The cars are nice and the ride is nice. We also had an opportunity to visit the shops, which were not very busy, as the line is so new. I also think it is a great use of the money, and I would certainly be a regular user, if I lived in the area. Unfortunately, I don't.