Facts About Trains and Construction
Minnesota’s first light-rail line opened in 2004
Before & After Study: This report provides an overview of the planning, development, funding, construction and early operation of the METRO Blue Line (Hiawatha). View the report (note: large file, 9 mb)
Length: 12 miles, connecting three of the Twin Cities’ most popular destinations — downtown Minneapolis, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and Mall of America in Bloomington.
Stations: 19 (see map)
Opening: Service between the Warehouse District and Fort Snelling began June 26, 2004; full service to the airport and Mall of America began Dec. 4, 2004.
Ridership: Since opening in June 2004 through 2011, customers have boarded METRO Blue Line light-rail trains 69.8 million times. Ridership in 2011 totaled 10.4 million.
Financial results: See results by calendar year.
Patron generators: Downtown Minneapolis, Metrodome, University of Minnesota, 11 neighborhoods, Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, Mall of America and VA Medical Center.
Impact: More than 50 percent of train riders are new to transit since rail service began.
Major park-and-ride lots: At Fort Snelling (1,080 spaces) and 28th Avenue (1,550 spaces)
• Broke ground January 17, 2001
• Completed mining of airport rail tunnels October 2002
• Opened partial service June 26, 2004
• Redesigned bus service to coordinate with rail June and December 2004
• Began full service Dec. 4, 2004, 27 days ahead of schedule
Light-rail vehicles: 27 cars, each 94-feet long and manufactured by Bombardier. A train typically consists of two cars coupled together. Each car has four doorways and can hold 66 seated passengers plus standing room for 120. Inside each car are four luggage racks and four bicycle hangers.
Accessibility: Fully ADA compliant stations and vehicles with four wheelchair locations per vehicle. Level boarding at each train door. Ramps and tactile edges at all stations. Elevators at stations on bridges.
Power: Electrically powered by wires 16-feet overhead.
Yard and shop: 26.5 acres with a maintenance facility between Cedar and Franklin avenues.
Top speed: 55 mph, with a general service speed of 40 mph and slower speed in downtown.
Feeder bus service: 46 Metro Transit routes connect to 14 rail stations with timed transfers.
Fare collection: Self-service, barrier free, proof of payment.
Fares: Light-rail fares are the same as bus fares. Transfers valid between bus and light rail if used within 150 minutes. Transfers from Northstar trains to light rail are free. Transfers from light rail to Northstar require an additional fare.
Light Rail Construction
Construction funding (in millions $):
Federal - 334.3
State of Minnesota - 100.0
Metropolitan Airports Commission - 87.0
Hennepin County - 84.2
Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality grant - 49.8
Transit capital grant- 39.9
Minnesota Dept of Transportation - 20.1
Construction approach: Design/Build with separate contracts for light-rail vehicles and airport tunnels.
Corridor development potential: 7,150 new housing units, more than 19 million square feet of new commercial space with up to 68,000 new jobs by year 2020.
Metropolitan Council – owner
Metro Transit – operator
MnDOT – design and construction
Metropolitan Airports Commission
City of Bloomington
City of Minneapolis