Nov 15, 2018

CLEVELAND, OH – The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) today is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Red Line service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

On November 15, 1968, the first rapid transit train broke through a banner stretched across the entrance to the Airport, making Cleveland the first city in the world with direct public transit rail service between a city’s Downtown district and an international airport.

“Cleveland landed on the world map, and the most convenient rail connection was established,” said Dr. Floun’say Caver, RTA’s interim CEO and General Manager.

“It wasn’t Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or even Washington D.C.,” said Caver. “It was Cleveland, and RTA’s service became one of many of Cleveland ‘firsts’ and a major asset to the region. Today, it remains a critical component, not only to Downtown economic development but to the burgeoning travel, tourism and convention business in the city.”

“The Red Line offers the most convenient connection to your next flight,” Caver said. “Once you’ve boarded the Red Line heading to or from the airport, you never have to step outside to make your connections between Cleveland and major cities across the world,” he said.

ODOT award

Today RTA also announced that ODOT is providing nearly $9 million in new state funding for track reconstruction on the Red Line near the Airport.

“ODOT contacted RTA this week saying that its Office of Transit is awarding $8.68 million of Ohio Transit Preservation Partnership Program funds to RTA for 2019,” Caver said. “Those funds will be used to reconstruct a critical section of track between the Airport and West Park Station.”

“The Red Line logged more than 6.3 million riders in 2017. No doubt that our funding partners know how valuable the Red Line is to this region, and we are always grateful for their generous support,” Caver said.

RTA service

RTA operates the Red Line more than 21 hours a day, between 3:30 a.m. and 1 a.m., 365 days a year with a 10-minute frequency during rush hour and a 15-minute frequency during other hours. The Airport station logs nearly 100 daily arrivals and departures.

RTA partnered with Icelandair to commemorate the 50th Anniversary with a sweepstakes offering round-trip airfare for two to Reykjavik, Iceland.  The winner was announced at today’s event.

The History of the Red Line

  • 1952, the Cleveland Transit System (CTS) began construction on Cleveland’s new Red Line near the current Windermere Station.
  • 1955, service began between Cleveland Union Terminal and the Windermere Station to the east and to the West 117th station to the west.
  • 1968, the last leg of the Red Line is completed to its new western terminus, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.  With its 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.
  • 1993, RTA dedicates the newly rebuilt Airport Station.  Incorporated into the new station’s design is the ceramic art of Angelica Pozo which celebrates Cleveland’s rich flight-related heritage dating back to the 1930’s and the National Air Races.
  • 2015, the new Little Italy Station opens on Mayfield Road. With its completion, RTA opens it first new station on the Red Line since the opening of the Brookpark Station in 1969.

Commemorative photos, additional details of the history of the Red Line and timeline are here.