METRO Celebrates Opening of New Light Rail Lines with Free NE-YO Concert

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Release Date:  Monday, May 11, 2015

METRORail Fest 2015 Kicks Off Historic Opening of Two New Light-Rail Lines

Connecting Communities with Rail Service and Free NE-YO Concert



The wait is over for new, convenient, expanded rail service in the region. Beginning Saturday, May 23, 2015 there will be more transit options as two new light-rail lines begin serving the community. The Green Line (East End Line) travels along Harrisburg through the historic East End and the Purple Line (Southeast Line) travels through one of Houston's oldest African-American neighborhoods. 




This is a huge step forward for our region. These two new lines will provide greater transit options and help spark development in the communities they serve,” said METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia. “This has been a long time coming; people have been  working on this for 20 years. We opened the North Line extension of the Red Line in December 2013. There has been a great deal of success with that line and we expect to do very well with these two new ones."




 “The start of METRORail service to the vibrant, diverse, historic east and southeast communities marks a major milestone in METRO’s commitment to expanding transportation options for Houstonians,” said Mayor Annise D. Parker. “Congratulations to Chairman Garcia and the METRO Board for their vision and leadership to improve transportation options for all Houstonians.”




The new lines provide customers with convenient travel to downtown Theater District and nightlife and entertainment centers including Discovery Green, the George R. Brown Convention Center, Toyota Center, BBVA Compass Stadium and Minute Maid Park with continued access to midtown, the Museum District, Texas Medical Center, Moody Park and the Northline Transit Center / HCC. The Green Line (East End) runs 3.3 miles from downtown, east along Harrisburg, while the Purple Line (Southeast) runs 6.6 miles traveling southeast connecting downtown with the University of Houston Central Campus, Texas Southern University and Palm Center. Both new routes will cross the existing Main Street Red Line.




Each rail station platform will showcase 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.




METRO will provide FREE light-rail rides all day and there will be a FREE concert sponsored by Parsons and Houston Rapid Transit (HRT). RAILFEST 2015, will take place on Saturday, May 23 in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, BBVA Compass Stadium and CBS Radio. RAILFEST 2015 will celebrate METRO’s Connecting Communities initiative with a showcase of the city’s finest attributes including inaugural rides on the new rail lines, live music, family fun activities and a spectacular fireworks show.




Starting at 3 p.m., METRO Chairman Gilbert Garcia and Mayor Annise D. Parker along with community stakeholders will host pep rallies with live entertainment and formal ribbon-cutting ceremonies at stations at the Palm Center, East End and Theater District. Stakeholders will take the inaugural ride to the BBVA Compass Stadium for additional festivities and a free concert.




Headlining the event is GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer, NE-YO. With three #1 albums and 10 million albums sold worldwide, NE-YO, has also written and produced chart-topping hits for today’s biggest stars including Rihanna, Beyonce, Usher, Carrie Underwood, Celine Dion and many more. NE-YO recently released his sixth full-length studio album Non-Fiction, which topped the R&B Charts.




Also performing is the GRAMMY nominated, multi-platinum recording artist Frankie J, a former member of the Kumbia Kings. Frankie J has performed chart-topping English and Spanish hits to adoring crowds across the world. Rounding off the entertainment line-up is the Ernest Walker Band, Zenteno Spirit, Mario Havikoro Dancers and Herman Charles Dancers. A fireworks finale will conclude this grand occasion.





railfest poster  


WHEN:  SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2015 from 3-9 p.m.

3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Purple, Green, Downtown Lines Inaugural Rides and Community Celebrations begin

  • Palm Center – Ribbon-Cutting
  • East End – Ribbon-Cutting
  • Theater District – Ribbon-Cutting


5:00 p.m.  Community Rally Finale and Daytime Fireworks


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


7:00 p.m.                Frankie J


8:00 p.m.                NE-YO


8:45 p.m.                Fireworks Finale




Times are subject to change.




WHERE:               Ribbon-Cutting Rail Line Stations:


                              The Palm Center: 5330 Griggs Rd.


                              East End: 4516 Harrisburg Boulevard 


                              Theater District: 650 Rusk St.


                              Main Festival Site:


                              BBVA Compass Stadium

                              2200 Texas Ave.