Tanya Young tells people she was raised to be a train operator on the METRO Blue Line.
As a child, she lived just east of Hiawatha Avenue, at the time a one-lane highway with apple trees. Her mom ran a business in downtown Minneapolis, and her grandfather lies in rest at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.
"So, there are these landmarks of my life along the way,’’ Young said.
Young’s career at Metro Transit didn’t begin in light rail, though.
In the late 1980s, she started as a part-time bus operator but left to pursue a career as a tailor for a department store. After running her own sewing and alterations business, she returned in 2001 as a part-time bus operator. Young has been a full-time train operator since 2009.
“I like the freedom of operating a train,” she said. “Once you get in your vehicle, you are on your own."
Sewing remains a pursuit, but today she takes on work for friends and co-workers, including those who’ve lost weight and need their uniforms tailored. "Sewing is definitely my passion,” she said. “I could lose myself in sewing.”
Young has had many memorable moments in her 12 years as a train operator, the most-recent of which occurred this spring. Leaving the Franklin Avenue Station after finishing a shift, she saw a man fall off the platform and onto the tracks, get up and fall again.
“I was thinking, `Oh, my gosh. A train comes through there every 10 minutes or so,'’’ Young said.
Young called the Rail Control Center, which paused an approaching train and called for help. Paramedics soon arrived, carried the man off the tracks, and began to revive him.
“Operator Young’s quick actions likely saved a life,’’ Catrina Boucher, assistant manager of rail transportation, wrote after the incident.