Two trains running

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Well almost.

First come the rails.

The trains? That will take about two years on the new rails of Central Corridor.

The photo above, courtesy the Metropolitan Council documents the ‘join’ between two light rail routes.

Here’s how the agency news release describes the scene.

“Welder Duane Dopp of Herzog Contracting Corp. waves to a passing Hiawatha LRT train shortly before the weld occurred this afternoon on the flyover or train bridge built over Interstate 35W in Minneapolis between the Cedar Riverside and Metrodome LRT stations.”

It’s the section of track near downtown Minneapolis just east of the Metrodome where trains on the new Central Corridor between St. Paul and Minneapolis and trains on the existing Hiawatha line between Minneapolis and the Mall of America will come together.

Not at the same time, of course.

Here’s how Central Corridor project manager Mark Fuhrmann describes the significance of the join in a Met Council news release.

“This weld is our own version of the golden spike for the transcontinental railroad as it connects the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis.”

And take a look at this! Who says welding isn’t fun?

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Again from the Met Council news release.

“Welder Miguel Ayala of Herzog Contracting Corp. stands back as flames shoot briefly from the weld.”

I’ll be you could roast some wienies on that fire.

Fuhrmann and the CCLRT crew supply these additional factoids about where the projects is at:

• Six LRT stations are structurally complete. In late August, the Fairview Avenue and Snelling Avenue stations were structurally completed, joining the Westgate, Raymond Avenue, Robert Street and Union Depot stations.

• The first traction power substation, one of 14 that will help to power the light rail vehicles, was installed last week.

• The Huron Boulevard-University Avenue intersection in Stadium Village reopened this week to traffic, and the south sidewalks on Washington Avenue between Huron and Church Street reopened for the start of fall semester at the University of Minnesota.

According to the release, at the end of July, the project was 68 percent complete and well on its way to achieving the 75 percent completion milestone by the end of the year.

One hundred percent completion can’t happen soon enough for affected businesses. Some have put on a brave face and are touting all the foot traffic generated by the tens of thousands of light rail riders. Others continue to suffer silently or loudly over the loss of business caused by the construction .

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