Minneapolis – St Paul light rail line opens
USA: The Green Line light rail link between Minneapolis and St Paul opened on June 14 with a weekend of free travel.
The 18 km route shares 2 km with the Blue Line before branching off in eastern Minneapolis to run along University Avenue to St Paul, where it interchanges with Amtrak at the recently reopened Union Depot. There are 18 stations in addition to the five that are shared with the Blue Line.
Construction began in 2010. Half of the $957m cost has come from the federal government, with the remainder financed by the Counties Transit Improvement Board (30%), the state of Minnesota (9%) and local sources (11%).
Services are operated by Metro Transit 24 h a day at 10 min frequencies during the day, dropping to 10 to 15 min in the evenings and hourly during the night. End-to-end journey time is around 40 min. Ridership is forecast to be 40 000 passengers per day in 2030.
The line is worked by 47 S70 Avanto light rail vehicles built at Siemens’ Sacramento factory. The order also includes an additional 12 LRVs for the Blue Line so that both lines can operate three-car units during peak times and for special events. Each car has capacity for 200 passengers, including 68 seated. Maximum operating speed is 56 km/h. The Green Line fleet is serviced at a depot in central St Paul, although maintenance is undertaken at the Blue Line depot in Minneapolis.