Metro’s Newest Light Rail Line Is Ready To Roll

The countdown is on for the opening of Metro's newest light rail line. That's the extension of the Red Line, which will take riders through historic northside neighborhoods, from the University of Houston-Downtown to the Northline Transit Center.


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As the train pulls out of the U-of-H Downtown station, it heads to the Burnett Street overpass, where the route’s only elevated station features colorful artwork and sweeping views of the downtown skyline. There’s also going to be a lot of activity underneath the station. 

One of our guides for the tour is Metro Vice-President David Couch.

“We will also be building a bus transit center that will be constructed in the next 12 months, that will provide service for six buses to come in. So it gives us a way to go ahead and provide a transfer from the other routes into this station.”

Couch points out the sights along the North Line. 

It’s a five-mile route that takes riders up Main Street, makes a quick jog on Boundary Street, and then turns onto Fulton. 

We go into the cab to watch the train round the curves.

As the train sweeps onto Fulton Street, we talk with Operations Vice-President Andy Skabowski.  

He’s been watching for several weeks as the trains have been making test runs.  

Along with making sure the trains are operating safety, Skabowski says they also need to teach the operators how to drive the route.

“They know the stops, they know the turns, they know the speeds in the different turns. We do something called simulated service, which is what you’ll be seeing in the next week, where we’re actually running through how it would operate on a daily basis.”    

The North Line extension carries a price tag of $756 million. Federal funds are paying over half of the cost. 

Two more light rail lines are set to open next year.

KUHF’s Gail Delaughter talks to Metro Vice-President Andy Skabowski on the new North Line extension.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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