From Barb Thoman, Program Consultant.
The dark skies did not dampen the excitement of the eager residents of Big Lake and St. Cloud who began lining up Saturday morning at 7:30 am for a chance to get one of the few remaining tickets for the first ride on the Northstar Commuter rail. The crowd built all morning and people enjoyed music, food, and a few speeches under a big white tent set up in the parking lot at the Big Lake Station.
Many riders spoke of their excitement to be better connected to Minneapolis and all it has to offer; others spoke of a faster, lower stress commute; and some look forward to a much lower cost trip to the Minneapolis/ St. Paul Airport. Many said that the line needs at least one mid-day train and nearly everyone wanted the train to be extended to St. Cloud. TLC participated in the opening events as volunteers greeted riders at all the stations. The train pulled out of the station right on time at 11:35 am headed south to the beautiful new Target Field station.
Below are some photos from the event.