From the Star Tribune:
It took nearly 13 years, $317 million and a few political derailments, but the Northstar commuter rail line made its initial run this morning, moving full speed ahead out of Big Lake at 5 a.m.
While those of you in bigger cities that are use to commuter trains might not get all that excited, the new North Star line is a huge deal for the Twin Cities. While the cities have roughly the population of Staten Island, our expressways are jam packed during rush hour because of the sprawl that has taken place over the past 30 years. Honestly, trying to get around outside of St. Paul or Minneapolis without a car is very challenging. The reason being we have little public transit, especially when it comes to commuter trains connecting us to our surrounding suburbs.
The North Star is a great first step in re-establishing a commuter train network that will get people into and out of the city core without driving. Although the North stop goes to Minneapolis only, it will be connecting with the future LRT line that will connect Minneapolis to St. Paul, which is scheduled to open in 2014.
Even though the TC are trailing a little bit, it is great to see the North Star line up and running. You can see a video here and slide show here.