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Cleveland RTA Light Rail 8/17/2022

by Chris Guenzler

After our fantastic trip on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Elizabeth drove us to the Green Road station and parked the car.

Cleveland Rail Lines

Four rail lines join at Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland, the former Cleveland Union Terminal. Three lines share their tracks at Tri-C-Campus District and East 55th stations. This sharing of one route by light and heavy rail trains is quite unusual. The shared stations have connected platforms of two heights to accommodate the two types of trains and both use the same maintenance facility since they use the same track gauge and source of power (overhead catenary).

Red Line

The Red Line, a heavy-rail route, runs in both directions on fully grade-separated rights-of-way built from 1955 to 1968. It serves Cleveland's southwest suburbs, with its southwestern terminus at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Heading northeast, the Red Line serves University Circle before heading to its northeastern terminus at the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland.

Blue, Green, and Waterfront Lines

The Blue and Green light-rail lines (alternatively known as the RTA Shaker Rapid) were built from 1913 to 1936 as grade-separated lines closer to downtown and surface lines along street medians in the streetcar suburb of Shaker Heights.

The two lines part ways at Shaker Square, a historic mixed-use community in Cleveland proper, just west of the Shaker Heights border. The Blue Line veers southeast along Van Aken Boulevard until reaching its terminus near the intersection of Warrensville Center Road and Chagrin Boulevard (U.S. Route 422 and State Route 8). The Green line continues due east along Shaker Boulevard (State Route 87) until reaching its terminus at the intersection of Green Road.

Light rail vehicle on the Waterfront Line

The Waterfront Line, opened in 1996, extends the Blue and Green Lines from Tower City north through The Flats. It then travels northeast along the shoreline of Lake Erie, servicing the local Amtrak station and terminates in the Muni lot. The Waterfront light rail line provides access from Tower City Center to the Flats, First Energy Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Burke Lakefront Airport. This line is currently closed due to bridge conditions.

We crossed over the tracks where we found our bearings.

The list of stops for the Green Line.

The Cleveland Rail Map. You pay at the end of the line or when you get off.

Our Green Line train arrived on the other track and we walked over and boarded. This train stopped at West Green, Belvoir, Warrensville, Courtland, Eaton, Attleboro, Lee, South Park, Southington, Coventry, Shakers Square, E. 116th-St. Luke and Buckeye-Woodhill. We then went through Brookpark Shops RTA maintenance facility.

Cleveland Light rail vehicles at the shops.

Cleveland Red Line heavy rail vehicles.

Cleveland RTA 44 ton switcher 033 built by General Electric.

Cleveland light rail vehicles at the shops.

Cleveland Red Line heavy rail cars. The train then stopped at E. 79th Street, 55th Street, Tri-C Campus District and entered Tower City Center.

Our train at Tower City Center. We bought day passes and re-boarded the same train. After the Shaker Square station our train diverged on the Blue Line which was unexpected but we had the time and did not mind. Stops were made at Dexmore, South Woodland, Southington, Onaway, Ashby, Lee, Avalon, Kenmore, Lynnfield, Farnsleigh and Warrensville, the end of the Blue Line. I dertrained for pictures.

The train at Warrensville. We reboarded the train and returned to Shaker Square to wait for a Green Line train.

Our Blue Line train at Shaker Square. We walked over to the other platform and waited for about ten minutes.

A Green Line train for the city arrived at the station.

Our Green Line train picked us up and took us back to the Green Road station, where upon exiting, we scanned our cards and walked back to our car. Elizabeth drove us to Macedonia and we ate at Culver's before checking into the La Quinta Inn.