New METRORail Lines

Free rides and fireworks as new METRORail lines set to open: Here's what's happening

Free rides and fireworks as new METRORail lines set to open in Houston

HGO MetroRail
Houston Grand Opera staff and artists donned full make-up and costume in honor of the May 23 opening of two MetroRail lines that pass through the Theater District. Photo by Lynn Lane

The opening of METRO's East End and Southeast rail lines this weekend is something to celebrate for Houstonians.

In honor of the two new lines beginning service Saturday, staff and artists from Houston Grand Opera donned full-makeup and costume to pose at the Theater District stop near the Hobby Center in downtown Houston where both the East End (Green) and Southeast (Purple) lines begin. Posing for a photo at the stop were Die Walkure's heroic Valkyrie and The Magic Flute's Queen of the Night, as well as Papageno and a dancing bear.

Downtown Houston will be busy with the light rail festivities, Comicpalooza at the George R. Brown, and game 3 of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the Rockets and Golden State.

METRO will be celebrating the grand opening of the new rail lines with Railfest 2015 on Saturday. The event celebrates METRO's Connecting Communities initiative with a concert featuring NE-YO and Frankie J, free rides on the rail lines and a fireworks show.

While the concert at BBVA Compass Stadium is free to the public, all tickets had been distributed as of Friday.

Houstonians who don't have concert tickets can still gather at pep rallies with live entertainment and formal ribbon-cutting ceremonies at The Palm Center, East End, Theater District and EaDO rail stations at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Rides on all three rail lines are free on Saturday. Downtown Houston is expected to be a hubbub of activity with the light rail festivities, Comicpalooza at the George R. Brown Convention Center, and the NBA Western Conference Finals game 3 between the Rockets and Golden State Warriors.

The 6.6-mile Southeast line begins in downtown's Theater District and runs into the Third Ward before stopping about a mile southeast of MacGregor Park, and the 3.3-mile East End line travels from the Theater District through the Second Ward. The two lines intersect at the BBVA Compass Stadium and run parallel as they travel into downtown where they also connecting with the Main Street (Red) line at Central Station. The opening of the two lines comes roughly eight years after construction began.

Each rail station platform showcases METRO's Arts in Transit program, featuring the work of 22 artists who illustrate the cultural and artistic diversity of the communities they serve. Stations on the Southeast Line highlight African-American heritage and those on the East End line focus on Mexican-American culture.

Here is the full schedule of activities:

3 – 4:30 p.m. Purple, Green, Downtown Lines Inaugural Rides and Community Celebrations begin, with ribbon cuttings at The Palm Center (5330 Griggs Rd.), East End (4516 Harrisburg Blvd.), Theater District (650 Rusk St.) and EaDO BBVA Compass Stadium stations (2200 Texas Ave.).                             

5 p.m.  Community Rally Finale and Daytime Fireworks

5:30 p.m.  Concert begins at BBVA Compass Stadium with Ernest Walker Band, Zenteno Spirit, Mario Havikoro Dancers and Herman Charles Dancers

7 p.m.              Frankie J

8 p.m.              NE-YO

8:45 p.m.         Fireworks Finale


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