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Cleveland, Ohio: The Waterfront Line


The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority opened the 1.5-mile Waterfront Line (light rail) on 10 July 1996. Beginning at Tower City where it connects with the Red Line and the Green and Blue Lines, it first proceeds west along the Red Line tracks, then almost immediately descends to ground level and runs north through the "Flats" entertainment district on the east bank of the Cuyahoga River. It then swings to the east along the Lake Erie waterfront, and passes near the new Cleveland Browns football stadium, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and other attractions, before ending at the South Harbor station a short distance east of East Ninth Street.

The Waterfront Line operates as an extension of the Green and Blue Lines, with trains running through Tower City to and from Shaker Heights. The line has been very successful, and the RTA is now studying the feasability of extending it from its present terminal at South Harbor into a loop that would serve the eastern part of downtown Cleveland and re-join the other rail lines east of Tower City.


[picture] An outbound train emerges onto ground level from the ramp leading down from the Red Line viaduct at right. Tower City is visible in the background. (August 1999)

[picture] An inbound train stops at the Settlers Landing station. The white latticework decor is typical of Waterfront Line stations. (August 1999)

[picture] An outbound train leaves Settlers Landing. (June 2000)

[picture] This aerial view looking north from the Veterans Memorial Bridge shows the Waterfront Line running alongside the Cuyahoga River and past the "Flats" entertainment district. At the bottom you can see the north end of the Settlers Landing station, which lies underneath the bridge. (June 2000)

[picture] After leaving Flats East Bank heading north, the line curves to the northwest, climbs to cross the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks on the bridge in the foreground, then makes a sharp 180-degree turn to the southeast, descends to ground level in the background, and finally turns east to pass under the West Ninth St. bridge. This unusual structure is necessary because there isn't enough space for the line to pass over the tracks and under the bridge while making a simple 90-degree turn from north to east. In the distance is the new Cleveland Browns football stadium. (June 2000)

[picture] An inbound train stops at the West Third Street station, which opened in August 1999 to serve the new Cleveland Browns football stadium. (August 1999)

[picture] An inbound train passes the Amtrak station. The light-rail tracks run between the station and the railroad tracks, so that Amtrak passengers have to walk across the light-rail tracks to get to and from their train! The North Coast light-rail station is visible in the distance. (August 1999)

[picture] The North Coast station at East Ninth Street. (August 1999)

[picture] A train ends its run at the South Harbor station. These trains were built by Breda in the mid-1980s for the Green and Blue Lines. This one sports a new paint scheme with a wavy line in the blue band above the side windows, symbolizing the waterfront. In the background is a train in the old red/orange/white paint scheme. (August 1999)

This page was last updated on 3 May 2002, and reviewed on 5 December 2007.

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