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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Light rail line links Illinois, Missouri


Bi-State Development Agency’s MetroLink May 7 connected St. Louis, Mo., with Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Ill., with the opening of the $339.2 million St. Clair County extension, more than doubling the light-rail system from 17 routes miles to 34.4 route miles.

"With completion of this system, our communities enter a new era of connectedness, not only for St. Clair County, but for the St. Louis area as a whole," said U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) in a prepared statement. MetroLink credits Costello’s leadership with helping bring the extension to fruition.

In preparing to begin revenue service, Bi-State Development April 19 enabled citizens with disabilities the opportunity to preview the extension. St. Clair County Transit District and Bi-State Development representatives provided tours of the eight new stations, assistance with facilities and answered passengers’ questions.

All of MetroLink’s 24 new light rail vehicles feature four wheelchair-designated seating positions and floors that are level to station platforms. Twenty-two ticket vending machines feature voice and text options available in English, German and Spanish. And timetables, brochures and handouts are offered in large print and in Braille.

Ribbon-cutting celebrations were held at each station along the extension May 4 as the trains progressed eastward into new light rail territory to the new terminus at the college.

Bi-State Development continued the festivities May 5 and 6, offering free service on MetroLink, MetroBus and Call-a-Ride.