Thursday, April 23, 2015

One Month To The METRORail Green And Purple Lines Opening

The long awaited opening of revenue service on the METRORail Green and Purple lines has been reset several times for different reasons, many of them not in METRO's control.  First there was a strike at the factory building the H3 rail cars needed for the expanded service.   Then there was a new downtown hotel construction accident that punctured a chilled water line underneath the Green and Purple line shared tracks that forced the ripping up of several hundred feet of track to deal with it,, the replacement of that track along with the fiber optics for the signals..  

There were also problems with the axle counters that help METRO Rail Operations keep track of where the trains are, and the delay in getting the bypass past the Union Pacific tracks built to connect the Magnolia Transit Center and Cesar Chavez stations with the rest of the Green Line because of contaminated soil..

But despite all that, we are just a month away from getting revenue service cranked up on those new rail lines.   We Houstonians are beginning to see rail cars doing test runs on the Green and Purple lines, and the new H3 rail cars entering service on the existing Red Line.

The Green and Purple Lines once opened will allow Houstonians to use rail to get to the Theater District, the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green, Minute Maid Park, BBVA Compass Stadium, the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, TDECU Stadium, MacGregor Park and the east and southeast sides of town.

Local political leaders were recently given a ride on the new rail lines, and construction has started on the new overpass bridge that will carry Harrisburg Blvd and the Green Line over the Union Pacific rail tracks toward those two orphan stations and complete the rest of the line.

Hopefully one of the things that was discussed by METRO officials and our political leaders was getting the funding to extend our rail system which is four years ahead of ridership projections to Hobby and Dallas and Denver have done with their rail systems.

I'm just hoping that this May 23 revenue service start date sticks, and one month from now I get to ride two new rail lines headed toward east and southeast Houston.


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