160 students take free trip on light rail Youngsters travel to Timonium

June 16, 1993|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

Today is the last day of school at Ferndale Elementary School, which probably makes it the best day of the year for many students.

But yesterday must have been a close second because 160 students from the school spent part of it picnicking and the rest riding the Central Light Rail Line to Timonium and back -- for free.

"It feels like we're riding on air," said sixth-grade student Kristin Hall, 11, as the car pulled out of the North Linthicum station.

The students were invited to ride the line by Henry Muir, a bus supervisor with the Mass Transit Administration, and the parent of four Ferndale students.

"I got involved with the kids during professional day," Mr. Muir said. "We would come to the school, talk about what we do, bring in equipment.

"I just thought it would be a great experience for them to come out here and learn just how the trains work. I just want them to know how to use the trains and how to be safe," he added.

The Light Rail system opened for limited service, traveling from Timonium to Camden Yards, May 17, 1992. Since then, the $462.5 million system has expanded its service as far south as Linthicum. Two additional stops will open Sunday at Ferndale and Cromwell Station/Glen Burnie.

Three spurs to connect the line to Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Hunt Valley and Pennsylvania Station also may be completed by 1996.

But yesterday, Ferndale students weren't concerned about future plans of the light rail. They were more concerned about the ride.

"This is my second time riding," said 11-year-old Elizabeth Horn, who once rode to the Inner Harbor. "But this is my first time riding all the way. I like it.

"It feels like you're flying, like you're in the air. It's awesome," the fifth-grader added.

It might have been awesome for her, but not for 11-year-old Tiffany Spires. While riding backward, the jerking motion the train made when starting and stopping caused the color to drain from the sixth-grader's face. "I think I'm going to be sick," she said throughout the two-hour trip.

But for Chris Kinsey, 12, the jerking motions of the train were a bonus. "I like the jump when you start or stop," said the sixth-grade student. "It feels like you're going to ram head first but then get thrown back. It feels like you might collide with the next train."

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