The wait is over for new, convenient, expanded rail service in the region. Beginning Saturday, May 23, 2015 there will be more transit options as two new light-rail lines begin serving the community. The Green Line (East End Line) travels along Harrisburg through the historic East End and The Purple Line (Southeast Line) travels through one of Houston’s oldest African-American neighborhoods.
“This is a huge step forward for our region. These two new lines will provide greater transit options and help spark development in the communities they serve.” said Gilbert Garcia, METRO Chairman. “This has been a long time coming; people have been working on this for 20 years. We opened the Northline extension of the Red Line in December 2013. There has been a great deal of success with that line and we expect to do very well with these two new ones.”
“The start of METRORail service to the vibrant, diverse historic east and southeast communities marks a major milestone in METRO’s commitment to expanding transportation options for Houstonians,” said Mayor Annise D. Parker. “Congratulations to Chairman Garcia and the METRO Board for their vision and leadership to improve transportation options for all Houstonians.”
The new lines provide customers with convenient travel to downtown’s Theater District and nightlife and entertainment centers including Discovery Green, the George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, BBVA Compass Stadium and Minute Maid Park with continued access to midtown, the Museum District, Texas Medical Center, Moody Park and the Northline Transit Center / HCC. The Green Line (East End) runs 3.3 miles from downtown, east along Harrisburg, while the Purple Line (Southeast) runs 6.6 miles traveling southeast connecting downtown with the University of Houston, Texas Southern University and Palm Center. Both new routes will cross the existing Main Street Red Line.
Each rail station platform will showcase Metro’s Arts in Transit program, featuring the work of 22 artists who illustrate the cultural and artistic diversity of the communities in which they serve. Stations on the Southeast line highlight African American heritage and those on the East End line focus on Mexican American culture.
METRO will provide FREE light-rail rides all day, and there will be a FREE concert sponsored by Parsons and Houston Rapid Transit (HRT). RAILFEST 2015, will take place on Saturday, May 23, 2015 in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, BBVA Compass Stadium and CBS Radio. RAILFEST 2015 will celebrate METRO’s Connecting Communities initiative with a showcase of the city’s finest attributes including inaugural rides on the new rail lines, live music, family fun activities and a spectacular fireworks show.
Starting at 3 p.m., METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia and Mayor Annise D. Parker along with community stakeholders will host pep rallies with live entertainment and formal ribbon-cutting ceremonies at stations located at the Palm Center, East End and Theater District. Stakeholders will take the inaugural ride to the BBVA Compass Stadium for additional festivities and a free concert.
Headlining the event is GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer, NE-YO. With three #1 albums, over 10 million albums sold worldwide, NE-YO, has also written and produced chart-topping hits for today’s biggest stars including Rihanna, Beyonce, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion and many more. NE-YO recently released his sixth full-length studio album Non-Fiction, which topped the R&B Charts.
Also performing is the GRAMMY nominated, multi-platinum recording artist Frankie J. Former member of the Kumbia Kings, Frankie J has performed chart-topping English and Spanish hits to adoring crowds across the world. Rounding off the entertainment line-up is the Ernest Walker Band, Zenteno Spirit, Mario Havikoro Dancers and Herman Charles Dancers. A fireworks finale will conclude this grand occasion.
WHEN: SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2015 from 3-9 p.m.
3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Purple, Green, Downtown Lines Inaugural Ride and Community Celebrations begin
Palm Center – Ribbon Cutting
East End – Ribbon Cutting
Theater District – Ribbon Cutting
5:00 p.m. Community Rally Finale and Daytime Fireworks
5:30 p.m. Concert Entertainment begins with Ernest Walker Band, Zenteno Spirit, Mario Havikoro Dancers and Herman Charles Dancers
7:00 p.m. Frankie J
8:00 p.m. NE-YO
8:45 p.m. Fireworks Finale
Times are subject to change.
WHERE: Ribbon Cutting Rail Line Stations:
Palm Center: 5330 Griggs Rd.
East End: 4516 Harrisburg Boulevard
Theater District: 800 Bagby St.
Main Festival Entertainment:
BBVA Compass Stadium: 2200 Texas Ave.