The Northstar Commuter line

The Northstar Commuter line


Metro Transit will mark the opening of the newest station along the Northstar Communter line today with a ribbon cutting at 1 p.m. at the Ramsey City Hall.

Trains will start serving the new Ramsey Station on Wednesday.

The new station adjacent to City Hall at 7550 Sunwood Drive is the seventh along the 41-mile line from Big Lake to Minneapolis, and the first to open since the commuter rail line began operating in 2009.

To entice riders, Metro Transit will offer free rides on the Northstar all day Wednesday and Thursday from all stations, not just the Ramsey station, Metro Transit officials said.

The promotion comes as Metro Transit has tried to boost ridership on the commuter rail line. Earlier this year, it cut fares by 25 percent in hopes of increasing ridership. The number of passengers has dropped from 710,426 in 2010 to 703,427 in 2011.  Metro Transit if forecasting 688,200 riders in 2012.

When service begins Wednesday at the new $13 million station, trains will offer riders 12 weekday trips and six runs on weekends. Special trains also will run during Vikings and Twins games, and special events such as the Holidazzle parades.

The fare will be $3.50 each way from the Ramsey station.

"Ramsey Station will provide hundreds of daily connections for commuters and travelers, including veterans accessing the new Northwest Metro VA Outpatient Clinic in Ramsey," said Metro Transit's General Manager Brian Lamb.

On weekdays, commuters can catch southbound trains to Minneapolis at 5:16, 6:06, 6:36, 7:06 and 7:36 a.m., along with one afternoon departure at 5:21 p.m. The trip to downtown is projected at 35 minutes.

Northbound trains to Elk River and Big Lake will depart at 6:43 a.m. and 4:27, 4:57, 5:27, 5:55 and 6:45 p.m.

On Saturdays southbound trains will depart at 10:38 a.m. and 1:38 and 5:28 p.m. Northbound trains will leave at noon, and 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.

On Sundays, southbound departures will be at 9:48 a.m., 2:08 and 2:58 p.m.  Northbound departures will be at 11:10 a.m., 1:50 and 5:25 p.m.

Along with an 800-space surface lot patrolled by city and Metro Transit police, there also is a skyway from the adjacent Ramsey Municipal Parking Facility.

The station, served by bus route 887, also features a covered and enclosed waiting areas with on-demand heating systems, platforms with wheelchair accessible ramps, security cameras. Conductors are on each train to assist passengers.

Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look will emcee today's festivities, which includes a ride on the Northstar from Ramsey to Elk River.

Mayor Bob Ramsey, Counties Transit Improvement Board Chair peter McLaughlin and Met Council member Edward Reynoso will speak.


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