Sunday, June 15, 2014

Green Line Light Rail Opening June 14 - Target Field Minneapolis to Union Station St Paul "With Smart Phones, we are all photographers now." Andy Snow

I had a vision to meet friends at the West Bank Station, the first new station on the Green Line Light Rail during the Grand Opening, yesterday, June 14. When the first line opened I on a June 20 Saturday, I traveled with Steve Basil, Rhonda Robinson, Deborah Aurianivar and Ron Morris.  I sent an email invite to many, and Bob Pahl, new resident to St Paul was the only one who agreed to meet at 1 PM for ethnic food and music.  Thanks Bob....A spontaneous adventure, as I walked to the corner of Dakota and Cedar Lake Road just before noon, and had a free bus ride from the MTA, Metro Transit Authority to the Bus Transit Center by Target Field.  Here is first photo image of the day as I was directed to join the line east to St Paul while live folk music was played below on a stage.
Image of the stage with musicians, and noticing the windy and rainy weather influenced the size of the crowds showing up. Did not  dampen my spirits however.  :-)
Signage at Target Field Station, so as to not get lost.  I lot of helpful guides around for the event. 

View to the N East from the line, the converted Ford Factory building in the background with the stairs to the stage below, with trains indicating that his is the hub for the North Star Line to Big Lake (and eventually to St Cloud) as well as places east like St Paul. 

Standing in line to get on a Green Line Train, saw many folks having fun in costumes.
Storm Troopers and Princess Leia in the distance with the black hatted photographer guy in the foreground.  Like how I heard my 21st Century Photographer Cousin, Andy Snow say ""With Smart Phones, we are all photographers now."  This guy looks like he has a serious SLR set up too.
Scene as first in line for the next Green Line Train.  Everyone very helpful and seem to be having a good time, despite the cloudy weather.

After I sat down, and looked back through the cars, the kind gentleman recognized me "Hi Tom Weaver" and on the Green Line, it is Ken Green with his purple dressed partner. I did not recognize him without a beard.  He was the first ritual elder I knew in our MN LKP community back in the 1990's.  The Greens on the Green Line!   Fun memories. 

Somehow when I got to the U of M West Bank Station, I forgot to take photos as I was engaged in finding Bob Pahl. There was a music tent behind Midwest Mountaineering and food tents with a fusion of Somali, Ethopian, Greek and Mexican food.  Bob and I shared a meet pie, talking to a Somali and a Mexican guy, Middle Eastern meat and veggies dipped in the Mexican jalepeno sauce, with a baklava for dessert. MMMM got my West Bank pin here. I new thing to get souvineer pins of 7 of the new stations.....And as we went east, the Welcome Station Tents had no greeters. We learned at Stadium Village where they were closing (got our last direct pin) that storms might be heading this way, and they had orders to just have events in Union Station.  (I couldn't help but think about over reaction led by teams of lawyers afraid of being sued..:-) ..and it is what it is) I think this is Snelling or Hamline Station somewhere in St Paul, showing the evacuated tents.  :-)

After the ride down University Ave, I learned that the green line loops around the Capitol complex before crossing I 94, going down Cedar to a Central Station, prior to ending at the iconic Union Station.  Here is the front entrance.  Live music on two stages. Ran into Blaine McCutcheons son who is a photographer here and an author, Steve Glischinski, a Minnesota Native who sold me a copy of the 2012 U of Minnesota Press: Minnesota Railroads, A Photographic History 1940-2012.  Nice fellow and he knew about the Rock Island, MNS, Chicago and NW, the routes I took with my grandparent Glessners to Chicago.  One train I took, left Union Station I recall back in the 1950's. Fun to share stories   He autographed the book and writes "To Tom Weaver. Keep watching and liking trains!" 6-14-14

Union Station front stage with dancers, Indian style from India, as we considered eating here. For price and ambiance reasons, Bob and I decided to try the Kelly Station Bar that Steve the author suggested where got good food at a reasonable price, and met a retired U of M physiologist who worked in Millard Hall and did his undergrad at MIT (from Michigan) with his IT experienced wife who worked at Control Data back in the Norris Days.  Fun to share in the spontaneous adventure with tehanshi Bob.

This author with several of the pins I received at the various stations.  Leaving Union Station for the ride back to the West Bank. Then to check my PO Box and head home by 6 PM.  6 hours of fun and enter train ment.......if I were to coin a new word. 

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