San Diego’s Mid-Coast Trolley extension debuts!

Today was the big day! San Diego’s new Mid-Coast Trolley extension opened for regular service! And there were free rides and a big public celebration at the main UCSD campus station!

The greatly lengthened Blue Line now serves nine brand new trolley stations between Old Town and the UTC shopping mall. Much of the new line runs along Interstate 5 and is elevated. So imagine the great views!

I had to take photos, of course! And check out each new station!

A huge crowd turned out, and in some of the cars passengers were packed like sardines. But everyone was having a fun, memorable experience. Families with kids were everywhere, and the kids were especially excited!

I took loads of photos–so many, in fact, that I’ve left them somewhat unedited. But they provide a sense of what the day was about.

Here we go! Starting at the Old Town Transit Center, heading north…

Another trolley heads north from Old Town. Beyond that distant Interstate 8 overpass, the Mid-Coast Trolley extension passes over the San Diego River and Friars Road, then heads along Morena Boulevard into Bay Park.
Peering through the driver’s compartment. What lies ahead?
Passing over the San Diego River. Those other trolley tracks veer eastward into Mission Valley–the Green Line which I often take to work.
Passing over Friars Road. Some environmental work still underway, left over from creating new railway bridges.
I step off at the Tecolote Road station and take a photo of the trolley continuing on north. While I waited for the next trolley, I asked MTS ambassador Pat about possible new public art along the Mid-Coast Trolley extension, and she thought it would be cool to have owl art at this station. Tecolote is Spanish for owl!
I got on the next UC San Diego Blue Line train and have already arrived at the Clairemont Drive station.
There it goes!
Here comes the next trolley!
Heading north past Mission Bay we could see water and palm trees in the distance.
It’s getting noticeably busier at the Balboa Avenue station! A sizeable parking lot here was used by many passengers on this free ride day.
The trolley continues north toward Rose Canyon. You can see Mount Soledad in the distance on the left.
A path for pedestrians and bicyclists heads toward Balboa Avenue.
Bicyclists descend to Balboa Avenue.
Lots of passengers on this special day!
Heading north past industrial buildings by Rose Creek. Climb those hills to the east and you’d find yourself in Clairemont.
Autumn scenery is a bit blurred as we move rapidly along.
The Amtrak and Coaster train tracks, which we’ve been traveling beside, now veer northeast toward Miramar. We soon veer a bit west to pass over Interstate 5 and commence an elevated journey beside the freeway.
Our first glimpse of Golden Triangle office high-rises and the exotic temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Pulling into the Nobel Drive station, which is across the freeway from the distinctive Mormon temple.
Folks walk along the station platform.
Looking back south. Some construction is still going on.
Look both ways!
Looking north. You can see the big VA Medical Center building in the distance, to left of center.
Continuing on the trolley north.
Approaching the VA Medical Center station. The best photo I managed to get at this moment. (The trolley car was jam-packed!)
We’ve arrived!
Flags and plaques honor the five branches of the Armed Services at the VA Medical Center station. I’ll be posting more photos that I took here shortly.
One last look down at the freeway before we curve our way into the large campus of UC San Diego. I took photos of Mid-Coast Trolley extension construction some time ago from this same bridge.
There’s a good deal of construction activity around the new UC San Diego Central Campus trolley station.
Here we are!
The trolley cars emptied here as people flooded down toward a big Mid-Coast Trolley extension opening day celebration and festival!
Somebody already got a cool new shirt!
Down some stairs we go.
Lots of stuff going on beneath the elevated station!
A sign indicates the Grand Opening Celebration event is this way!
That’s the big celebration in the distance. Meanwhile I spotted these dancers.
It’s the San Diego Dance Theater! They perform the annual Trolley Dances! You’ve seen them many times before on Cool San Diego Sights!
Oh, man! Look at that line! I’m afraid I didn’t have the patience to wait. More places to go today…
I did take a photo from outside the big Grand Opening Celebration event. They had a huge stage for speeches and entertainment. And kettle corn, of course!
Heading back under the UC San Diego Central Campus trolley station I noticed this cool public art. Words and phrases fill the plaza! I’ll blog more about his later.
Heading up stairs on the station’s other side.
A view of UCSD campus construction near the new trolley station. UC San Diego has been expanding like crazy the past few years.
More construction photographed from the same stairs.
The top of the elevators to the station platform.
Well, here we are a short time later at the UC San Diego Health La Jolla station. That’s quite a mouthful!
The longest station name ever.
Not much action at this station. A MTS worker is keeping things clean.
Looking around.
We’re now on our way to the Executive Drive station.
I’ve arrived at the Executive Drive trolley station near the heart of University City. Gleaming office buildings are all around. That pedestrian bridge provides easy passage to one nearby building.
From here the Blue Line heads south above Genesee Avenue for a short distance.
I see the UTC shopping mall a short distance to the south.
I watch a trolley head toward its final destination–the UTC Transit Center.
I’m riding there now!
Look at all the passengers disembarking!
At the UTC Transit Center trolley platform, on the west side.
Stairs head down to a nearby parking lot.
MTS buses at the UTC Transit Center below, on the east side of the trolley platform.
People head into the popular UTC shopping mall.
One last look north up Genesee Avenue.

That is a little of what many experienced on this day, November 21, 2021.

History was made in San Diego!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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