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Houston's METRO marks 10 years of light-rail service

On Wednesday, the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) marked the 10th anniversary of Houston's first light-rail line.

Known as the Main Street or Red Line, the route achieved major milestones years ahead of projections, such as by exceeding the 50-, 75- and 100-million boarding marks four years ahead of schedule, agency officials said in a press release. Those achievements were reached when METRO operated only 18 rail cars.

Today, the agency operates 37 rail cars and nearly 13 miles of track with the recent opening of the North Line, a 5.3-mile extension of the Red Line. Two more light-rail lines — the East End (Green) and Southeast (Purple) — are scheduled to open in 2014.

"The success of the Main Street Line validates the importance rail plays in the city’s transportation landscape," said METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia. "It has been and continues to be a reliable means for customers to get to work, school, medical care, museums, sporting events and conferences, and our city’s world famous Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and more."

Nearly $4 billion in public and private development has been invested along the 7.5-mile Red Line, METRO officials said.

"The development that occurred after light-rail was built, and the development that is happening today shows growth and promise of a downtown that's better connected and more walkable," said Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Lambert.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/3/2014