Houston Metro opens two new lines

Written by Kevin Smith, Editor-in-Chief, International Railway Journal

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro), Houston, Tex., marked the opening of two new light rail lines over the weekend of May 23, 2015.

The 3.3-mile East/Green Line runs southeast from Theater District in downtown to Altic/Howard Hughes serving seven stations, while the 6.1-mile Southeast/Purple Line shares tracks with the Green Line from Theater District to EaDo/Stadium from where it heads south to Palm Center Transit center via the University of Houston Central Campus, and Texas Southern University.

The line is served by a fleet of 39 H3 LRVs supplied by CAF USA with the first six vehicles entering service in January on the North Main Street (Red) line. The 88.25-foot-long vehicles can accommodate up to 242 passengers, 64 of them seated.

Metro hosted :Railfest” on May 23 to mark the start of the service, which included a free concert and fireworks display, while all rides on the new service were free throughout the day.

“Since construction started you can see the difference that light rail is making in these neighborhoods,” says Metro chairman Gilbert Garcia. “Old businesses are expanding and new businesses are emerging.”

A further two-station extension of the Green Line is under construction on an existing freight line, which will provide service to the Magnolia Transit Center. The extension is expected to open in 2017.

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