Party Train Hits Denver

Live bands, cheerleaders, mascots, free soupââ?¬â??what else could it be but another light rail celebration? This time Denver area railers let loose for the grand opening of the Southeast line. Flashback: At a 2003 groundbreaking ceremony in Seattle, amid the fireworks display, free bbq sandwiches, and live bands belting out classics like “Brick House,” local dignitaries proclaimed that rail would help make their city “world class,” and even lift the region’s psyche. And at a 2005 Phoenix area shindig:

Dignitaries flipped a gigantic “on” switch that illuminated a 30-foot replica of the light-rail bridge that will stretch across Tempe Town Lake, just east of the existing railroad bridge. When the real-life $21 million span is complete, it will glow with special lights. During a dramatic demonstration, taped orchestral music thundered and fake smoke swirled as the replica’s lights shifted colors. Officials also filled a time capsule that will be sealed and put inside a future Metro station.

Then there was Charlotte later in 2005, which included (shutter) a group hug among politicos:

After hammering a golden spike into a section of track, a giddy Mayor Pat McCrory simultaneously hugged [FTA head Jennifer] Dorn and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C.

Think those three have gotten huggy since then? And these aren’t always carefully-planned, publicly-funded events. Light rail has also been known to provoke spontaneous celebration. Andrew Brantingham and his roommate were so geeked up about Minneapolis’ first light rail line that threw their own rager for the Hiawatha line. Related: Party-Pooping Economists