A green light for the Green Line

New light-rail line makes debut

Riders arrive at St. Paul's Union Depot Station after a trip on the new Green Line on opening day Saturday, June 14. Credit: Photo by Sarah McKenzie

Tens of thousands of people took a ride on the new Metro Green Line this weekend — the region’s second light-rail line that links Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Despite the rainy and windy weather, about 45,000 people boarded Green Line trains on Saturday, exceeding expectations of Metro Transit officials. Some people sported green outfits to celebrate the launch of the light-rail line, including Mayor Betsy Hodges and Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh who celebrated opening day with several other community leaders at St. Paul’s Union Depot Station.

“The Green Line is a shining example of the impact public investment in rail can have on economic development,” Hodges said. “… The Green Line showcases the connection and partnership between Minneapolis and St. Paul, and I am eager for the opportunities that will flow from it.”

Haigh called the launch of the line a “new beginning for our region.”

“Transit is fundamentally about connecting — connecting one neighborhood to another, one city to another, a working mom to quality child care, a college student to classes, baseball fans to the stadium, and employers to their employees. Implementing a comprehensive transit vision makes us stronger, healthier and more connected metro region,” she said.

Hennepin County Peter McLaughlin, who has been a major player in making the region’s light-rail system a reality, said the Green Line “re-twins the Twin Cities” and will be a “critically important factor in sustaining the economic competitiveness of our metropolitan area.”

A ride from Target Field Station to the Union Depot Station took a little over an hour on opening day. On a more typical day, rides are expected to take about 50 minutes between those stations. The 11-mile line has 23 stations, including five shared with the Blue Line in downtown Minneapolis.