This November, RTA celebrates fifty years of direct rapid transit service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. When the final extension was completed, Cleveland became the first metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere to have a direct rapid transit connection between its central business district and an international airport. It wasn’t Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or even Washington DC, but Cleveland, Ohio. The Red Line began operations in the 1950’s, and progressively extended service west until November 1968 when the final segment connecting the West 150th Street Station with Hopkins Airport was completed.
Today, the Red Line is still running strong. It provides a direct line to the airport 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with trains departing every 15 minutes—which adds up to nearly one hundred daily arrivals and departures.
By taking advantage of the Red Line, customers can:
- Avoid daily fees by parking for free at one of our many lots
- Dodge traffic, and all the stress that comes with it
- Evade inclement weather, as the Rapid drops you off inside the airport terminal.
- Travel from the Tower City Station to the terminal in about 25 minutes
Regardless of where you live—west side, east side, or downtown—the Red Line is the perfect connection to your next flight. Because whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, the Rapid will always deliver a first-class experience.
The Cleveland Transit System (CTS) breaks ground behind the Windermere Carbarn in East Cleveland, marking the start of construction on Cleveland’s new heavy rail line, the Red Line.
Service begins between Cleveland Union Terminal and the Windermere Station to the east and to the West 117th Street Station to the west. More than 8 million people ride the Red Line that year, as service is provided by a fleet of rail cars manufactured by the St. Louis Car Company. Their nickname “Blue Birds” comes from their distinctive blue color paint scheme.
The last leg of the Red Line is completed to its new western terminus, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. With it’s opening, Greater Cleveland has the distinction of being the only major metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere to have a direct rapid transit connection between its central business district and an international airport.
CTS accepts the final delivery of “Airporters”, rail cars built by the Pullman-Standard Car Manufacturing Company, specifically designed for Red Line service to the airport. This second generation car is much longer than the Blue Birds (72’ vs 48.5’), and features interior luggage racks to better serve customers traveling to Hopkins.
The Red Line station rehabilitation program commences with the opening of the new Tower City Rapid Station. The new station represents a major component of the overall project to revitalize the City’s most iconic landmark, the Terminal Tower. Over the next 30 years, over a quarter of billion dollars will be invested in the reconstruction of all stations along the Red Line. Station redesigns include added customer amenities, enhanced safety and security and full ADA accessibility.
Reconstruction of the Windermere Station in East Cleveland is completed. At its dedication, the station is renamed the Lou Stokes Station at Windermere to honor of Congressman Louis Stokes, a leader in the community, a long-time member of Congress and a staunch advocate and supporter of public transportation.