Light rail to open first phase in June

Bridget Haeg

Light rail transit will begin June 26, the Metropolitan Council announced Monday.

The first train will operate at 11 a.m. from the Minneapolis warehouse district, said Bob Gibbons, Metro Transit spokesman.

The date marks the first phase of the light rail transit system, with 12 stations running from the warehouse district to Fort Snelling Gibbons said.

The final group of 15 train operators is finishing its training and two train cars still need to be delivered.

On opening weekend, passengers can ride the light rail and buses for free.

The complimentary rides will celebrate the opening of the lines and introduce passengers to using the light rail and bus system for their commutes.

“It’s worthy of our own little celebration,” Gibbons said.

Communities housing light rail stops are planning activities with food and entertainment for their respective stations.

All light rail lines will open in December and passengers will be able to ride to the airport and Mall of America, Gibbons said.

Twenty-four cars will run when the full line opens, Met Council Chairman Peter Bell said.

The Met Council changed the inaugural light rail opening date from April 3 because of the Metro Transit bus strike, Gibbons said.

But Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005 President Ron Lloyd said the strike did not cause the postponement of the light rail transit.

The trains were not ready for the initial opening day, Lloyd said.

“It fit in all perfect for them to use (the strike) as an excuse,” he said.

No apparent setbacks will prevent the light rail transit opening on June 26, Gibbons said.