MetroLink Blue Line Service Returns August 22: Team’s Ingenuity Restores Service to both MetroLink Lines in Under Four Weeks
Metro Transit announced today that Blue Line MetroLink train service would return to all Blue Line stations on the 46-mile light rail system on Monday, August 22. Three weeks ago, record rainfall and flooding heavily damaged the MetroLink system in the City of St. Louis and in St. Louis County, Missouri.
“It is incredible that despite major damage to our MetroLink system during this historic weather event, our teams and contractors were able to get trains up and running on the entire Red Line in 72 hours. We commend them for that and are pleased to announce that because of their continued hard work, we are resuming train service on the entire Blue Line. Trains will run all the way through now. That means our Blue Line riders will once again be able to transfer by train between the Red and Blue Lines without having to take shuttle buses,” said Taulby Roach, Bi-State Development President and CEO. Bi-State Development operates the Metro Transit public transportation system in the City of St. Louis and in St. Louis County in Missouri, and in St. Clair County in Illinois.
While Metro Transit teams have worked around the clock to keep the St. Louis region moving on public transit following the unprecedented flooding, restoring Blue Line service has been especially challenging given that vital MetroLink signal, communications and fiber optics systems were damaged or destroyed by floodwater. Because of the signal and switching issues, operating partial service on the Blue Line has meant Blue Line trains have been unable to connect to MetroLink stations with Red Line trains. Blue Line customers are currently being transported on bus shuttles to access Red Line trains and those bus shuttles will no longer be needed effective Monday, August 22. That is when the MetroLink team will implement a modified single track operation that will allow trains to serve all stations on the light rail system, Blue Line as well as Red Line.
“It is truly remarkable that I can say less than 4 weeks after we experienced this historic rainfall and devastating flash flooding event, that both Blue Line and Red Line trains will be serving the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station and all of the MetroLink stations on the light rail system,” said Roach. “That is nothing short of amazing and it shows you how determined and talented our transit team is about restoring service for our MetroLink customers in the St. Louis region.”
Preliminary damage estimates were between $18 and 20 million. Now that deeper assessments have been conducted over the last three weeks, the adjusted total is estimated at $40 million.
The majority of the damage is concentrated on a 2-mile section of MetroLink between the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station and the Delmar Loop Station. Roach said the transit organization is seeking state and federal FEMA funding to help offset the losses and for further flood mitigation.
Repairs to the MetroLink system will be an ongoing process. Roach said Metro Transit will rebuild the MetroLink system back with resiliency so even if another historic flash flood event occurs in the future, the light rail will be able to withstand it and critical signal and communications components will be protected.
Metro Transit cameras captured the flash flooding as it occurred on the MetroLink system July 26 between the Delmar Loop Station and the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station.
For MetroLink Customers
The Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station is a main transfer point between the Red Line and the Blue Line. During the modified single-track operation at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station:
- All eastbound & westbound Red Line trains will board on the westbound side of the platform
- All eastbound & westbound Blue Line trains will board on the eastbound side of the platform
During the modified single-track operation at the Skinker Station and the University City-Big Bend Station:
- All eastbound & westbound trains will board on the eastbound platform
Under the Modified MetroLink Single Track Service Plan, trains will arrive every 20 minutes, which is the weekend MetroLink schedule. Blue Line customers should plan for 10-minute delays between Forest Park-DeBaliviere and the University City-Big Bend Stations due to extra time needed for trains to move through the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station under the new operations plan. Red Line customers should anticipate 10-minute delays between the Delmar Loop and Forest Park-DeBaliviere Stations because of the speed restrictions still in place because of the flood damage in that section of MetroLink.
“Please allow extra time in your trip to accommodate delays on the Blue Line between Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station and the Delmar Loop Station,” said Charles Stewart, Metro Transit Executive Director. “Also plan for short delays on the Red Line between Forest Park-DeBaliviere and University City-Big Bend Station due to speed restrictions that are in place through that section which was damaged during the flash flooding.”
Both elevators at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station are damaged beyond repair from the floodwater. MetroLink customers who need elevator service and start or end their trips at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere Station are asked to call for special transportation starting on August 22. The number to call is 314-982-1400 extension 4870 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and outside of those hours, they should call 314-289-6872.
For more information, riders can go to metrostlouis.org or text Metro Transit Information at 314-207-9786 or call 314-231-2345 Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.