AUGUST 26 was due to see the formal opening of the 12·9 km Cross-County light rail line in St Louis, with Metro President Larry Salci and other VIPs joining a festival near Shrewsbury station. This was to be followed by two days of free rides before the start of revenue services on August 28.

Running from the existing Forest Park- DeBaliviere station to Clayton and Shrewsbury, the line adds nine stations to the MetroLink light rail network. Metro has already taken delivery of 22 SD460 LRVs from Siemens to work the new line. These were delivered from mid-2004 to cover for refurbishment of the existing fleet.

From August 28 Metro expected to operate two light rail routes. Services will run every 10min from Shiloh-Scott to Lambert Airport on the existing line and from Emerson Park to Shrewsbury, overlapping to provide a 5min headway through the city centre. Bus services to the southwest of the city are being restructured to coincide with the opening of the new line.

When construction began in April 2003, the project was expected to cost $550m. Owing to problems which led to the dismissal of the construction management consortium, the final figure is likely to be around $132m higher. The project has been funded entirely from local sales tax revenues.