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Community celebrates completion of
Hiawtha Light Rail Line, December 4, 2004

Photo essay by Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

Accompanying news story, Minneapolis Labor Review, December 15, 2004

In a heated tent at the Bloominton Central Station, Republicans and Democrats alike praised each other and celebrated the completion of the 12-mile, 17 station, Hiawatha Light Rail Line.

Left: Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner, was introduced by Metropoltian Council chair Peter Bell as "perhaps the person who is singularly most important for us being here today."

Left: Congressman Martin Sabo, one of several elected officials who worked over many years to win funding for the Hiawatha Light Rail Line. "I voted for the first time on the Hiawatha corridor… in 1963 in the state legislature," Sabo said.

As a clock counted down to the 12 noon start time, the speeches wrapped up and the crowd moved outside to the station to await the first trains, one coming from the Mall of America, one coming from downtown Minneapolis.

Right: the first train from the Mall of America arrives at the Bloomington Central Station.

Left: at nearly the same time, the first train arrived at the Bloomington Central Station from downtown Minneapolis.
Right: Jerry Ewald, financical secretary-treasurer of ATU 1005 (left) and Arnie Entzel, former ATU 1005 president. ATU 1005 members operate and maintain the Hiawatha LRT trains. "This is going to be a huge success," Ewald said.
Left: a bi-partisan ribbon-cutting ceremony with (left to right) Congressman Martin Sabo, Hennepin County Commissioners Randy Johnson and Peter McLaughlin, Mall of America vice president John Wheeler, and Metropolitan Council chair Peter Bell.

Public officials were among the many VIPs riding the first trains.

Right: Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead and Hennepin County Commissioner Randy Johnson. At the opening ceremony, Winstead praised the Hiawatha LRT project for adapting plans to reflect community concerns. "It's everything we could ever ask for," he said.

Left: standing-room-opening crowds rode the trains, attracted by free rides.

Continue to page 2 of photo essay

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