It was all aboard for the inaugural trip out of the Ramsey Rail Station Nov. 8.
The train pulled into the newest Northstar Commuter Rail station around 1 p.m. for the ribbon cutting and to provide the first ride to Big Lake.
“I am very excited to have this here,” said Erin Stinson, who lives in Ramsey’s COR.
Stinson is looking forward to taking the train from Ramsey to Minnesota Twins games and eventually to St. Paul when the light rail line is extended, she said after securing her bicycle to the inside wall of the rail car.
But Stinson and the other riders will have to wait a little bit longer to take the train.
Regular service will not begin until Nov. 14.
The only thing Bernette Ratzlaff did not like about Northstar was because of how long it took to open because she could have taken the train four years ago when she was still working downtown.
Joining Ratzlaff on the train ride was her friend Joni Nalzezny.
It was good to have it done before the snow flies, said Nalzezny, who lives in Ramsey.
Although she has been using the Ramsey Star Express commuter bus service, Nalzezny is excited to switch over to the commuter rail service, she said.
The bus was a nice first step, but she prefers the train, Nalzezny said.
The Ramsey Star Express bus service will end Nov. 13.
Ratzlaff said the Northstar Commuter Rail is a great way for commuters to save money.
Her neighbor uses the rail to commute from Big Lake and it saves him money, she said.
“These are truly exciting times going on in the city of Ramsey right now,” said Anoka County Commissioner Matt Look, who also heads the Anoka County Regional Rail Authority (ACRRA).
With the addition of the Ramsey rail station, Ramsey is becoming a destination, he said.
“People have been very excited for this project for many, many years,” Look said.
It seems like they were in Ramsey just a couple of weeks ago to break ground for this rail station, said Metropolitan Council member Ed Reynoso.
The Ramsey station is the latest of the seven stations on the line, he said.
This station project, which was constructed by Sheehy Construction, came in on time and under budget, Reynoso said.
According to Look, there was $2 million in savings on the $13.2 million project.
The ACRRA’s funding partners for the project with the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), the Metropolitan Council, the state and the city of Ramsey.
This is a momentous day for Ramsey, said Mayor Bob Ramsey.
When the city began developing the COR, it was asked what the initials stood for, he said.
It should be City on the Rail, Ramsey said.
The station will benefit the stores and restaurants in the COR and will allow people to commute every day as well as attend Twins and Vikings games, he said.
Nov. 16 is Northstar Commuter Rail’s third anniversary and opening the Ramsey rail station is the perfect way to celebrate, Reynoso said.
Northstar riders will also be able to celebrate next week as there will be no rail fares charged Nov. 14 or 15, he said.
Normal fares will be $3.50 per individual for a one-way trip to Minneapolis.
Other fares can be seen on the Metro Transit website, metrotransit.org/northstar, or by calling 612-373-3333.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org