A million miles later, a Blue Line train chugs along

There’s nothing we enjoy more than a nice, round number.

A million? Nice.

Metro Transit posted an image today of the first Metro Transit light rail line car to hit a million miles. It happened a little after 1 today on the Blue Line.

In truth, that light rail car isn’t even ready for a mid-life crisis yet. It has about another 1.5 million miles to go or a total of 30 years if it has a typical light-rail lifespan.

Big props to Metro Transit for honoring the people who make it happen.

Customers on the train at the moment of its milestone got coupons for a free ride.

  • Sweet.

    It’s a shame the TC Metro ditched our world-class trolly system back in the 1950’s…


    • Jeff

      The old street car system was romanticized actually it was a mess by the end and people welcomed the buses. http://www.startribune.com/9-things-you-didn-t-know-about-twin-cities-streetcars/434510963/

      Perhaps you’re one of those who wish the system had never been dismantled. Perhaps you have a romantic notion of quaint cars clattering along, carrying office workers and shoppers. If you’d been around when they stopped running, you would have been in the minority.

      • Jack Ungerleider

        I was just typing up something similar. The bus lobby (“Big Bus”?) was working all of the smaller cities that had street cars to convert to buses. The buses would move with the traffic on the road, they’d be easier to maintain, etc. Who was “Big Bus”? General Motors, Goodyear, Standard Oil (Esso then, ExxonMobil now) and similar corporations in the same market space. If you read about the history of the Street Car system in the Twin Cities you’ll find that some of the long lived bus routes have numbers that are the same as the street car routes they replaced.

      • And yet, there is talk of bringing back streetcar lines…


  • MrE85

    This light rail boondoggle will never work, I tell you! (shakes fist)

    • Joseph
    • The word “boondoggle” needs to make a comeback

      • Aaron

        The word was used vociferously by opponents of LRT, both before the Blue and Green lines. That word is always ready to be whipped out.

    • RBHolb

      People would appreciate light rail more if it were more like everyone’s vision of a train. Why not have fake steam coming out of it at the stations? Or synthesized “chugging” sounds, to go with the synthesized “bell” that the trains sound? Have the operators wear peaked caps and long gloves.

      For reasons I can’t fathom, Metro Transit does not welcome my suggestions.

    • Jerry

      I agree mostly, but after having been to Denver, I have come to the conclusion that it was a mistake running the Green Line down University through the Midway and Frogtown instead of down 94.

      • Joe

        I disagree 100%!

        I used to live in Denver, and the rail down the middle of the freeway works okay-ish for commuting, and terrible for everything else. It’s at least a half-mile walk from each station to anything, including many stairs.

        If we built an express train between the cities, I wouldn’t object. But the correct starting point was to serve all the people along the way.

        • Jerry

          I was thinking more of having the light rail as an integrated part of the public transportation system. There would be buses which radiate out from the stops that would go down Snelling, Lexington, Dale, etc.

          I admit the light rail system in Denver was in many ways outdated when it came to access, especially for the disabled, but I was amazed how convenient it was to get from my hotel at the Denver Tech Center to downtown. I feel if the Green Line didn’t have to deal with city streets and have stops only a few blocks apart it might have been possible to stretch much further east, possibly all the way to 3M. That would help the usually ignored and underserved East Side.

          • Don’t get Bob started on public transportation from the eastern suburbs, it won’t end well.

          • 212944

            Bob is a wise man.

          • Joe

            Well then it wouldn’t really have served the usually ignored Frogtown and Midway regions. Taking a bus (84) to the freeway, walking down the stairs, and catching the Green Line would be much slower than just taking the 16 along University.

          • Jerry

            Actually, one of my complaints is that it duplicates the 16. That and for most of its run, if it ran on the north side of 94, there would only be about a two block walk between it and university.

          • Jerry

            University actually would have been an ideal location for a streetcar or some other non-street seperated rail system.

      • Aaron

        I agree 100%!

        We should have FAST public transit between our two downtowns. At the very least the rail should have been elevated above Uni. That would have been very costly, but worth it in the long run!

  • Barton

    I love the LRT (Blue Line user mainly). I can’t wait until they connect it to more places in the suburbs (….. crickets…..)

    • I currently work where the SW line will eventually go. There is actually a bit of construction activity and what seems to be the beginning of eminent domain signs around here. One of the stops is slated to be right outside our door.

      Of course my building is now sold and we will be moving, but they seem to have started prepping for the SW line.

  • lindblomeagles

    I’d like to publicly thank former Governor Jesse Ventura for making the Blue Line happen. He wasn’t my favorite governor, and he left office with low approval ratings and some decisions even I still question (like the tax rebate and pushing referendums for school funding), but IT WAS VENTURA who took time to tour the United States and ride, at the time, new light rail trains in Portland, Denver, and Saint Louis. He was the guy that said over and over again, “Minnesota needs a modern transit system,” and it was him that made light rail a priority when others said, “Not so fast.” He rarely gets credit for being supportive of this process, but he should, because if it weren’t for him pushing it through, our lovely system might not be here today.

    • RBHolb

      The process started under Arne Carlson, but yes, Ventura made it a reality.

      Actually, light rail had been discussed for many years. The original version had it start out by connecting the two downtowns.

      • lindblomeagles

        As I recall, Airport to Downtown Minneapolis solved about 3 problems, avoiding the NIMBYs, revitalizing Hiawatha Avenue, and stimulating growth in downtown Minneapolis. But, yes, Ventura made that happen, and I do remember him touring other facilities in the U.S.

        • RBHolb

          MnDOT had the land along Hiawatha already for the ill-conceived idea of replacing the street with a freeway. That took care of the eminent domain issues and, as you say, the NIMBYs.

          • Jerry

            The problem is that right now Hiawatha is a freeway with stop lights. It is incredibly slow while still dividing Longfellow and Seward from the rest of south Minneapolis. It would actually be easier to cross for man and car if it had overpasses.

          • Rob

            Or woman and car

          • Jack

            Don’t forget the bikes and animals.

          • Rob

            Furry woodland creatures especially

  • Jim in RF

    300k in my Scion xb, but no one writes articles about me.

    • Rob

      If it was 300,000 miles in a ’68 Bullitt Mustang, we’d be with ya