Testing set for Houston MetroRail extension

Written by Douglas John Bowen

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Houston Metro) says a test train will appear on the MetroRail North Line light rail transit extension Tuesday, May 28, presaging the opening of the extension ahead of schedule.

The test train will not run under its own power; it will be towed to test clearances along the route. But the testing is indicative of an earlier-than-expected opening, possibly before Christmas 2013, Metro officials said Thursday, May 23.

The 5.3-mile link will extend Houston’s initial 7.5-mile Main Street/Red Line, which debuted Jan. 1, 2004. The $756 million extension line links, one of three lines being built by Texas’ largest city, links University of Houston-Downtown with Northline Commons north of Loop 610, via Main Street and Fulton Street.

“They are making good progress and instead of early 2014, will be opening the North Line in December, sometime before Christmas,” Metro spokesman Jerome Gray said. Metro said the extension is roughly 80% complete.

Most of the remaining construction involves electrical work, landscaping, and finishing the eight stations along the extension. Platform work is well advanced and other construction is ahead of projected timetables, Metro said.