Purple Line Divided: $5.6 Billion Light Rail Moving Forward

By Brittany Britto

Capital News Service

Harry and Barbara Sanders at the New Carrollton event where the light rail Purple Line was announced as the locally preferred option.

Photo provided by Barbara Sanders.

When Gregory Sanders was a child, his father, Harry Sanders, would take him to the railroad tracks by their Silver Spring home. There, the two would walk the nearby state-owned CSX trail and catch sight of a coal train as it sped off to a heating plant in Georgetown, on the other end of the tracks.

It was the 1980s. Both were infatuated with the train and how fast it was. Harry Sanders, a transportation advocate, would think about how cool it would be to travel downtown by a faster, more convenient mode of transportation.

Meetings in the Sanders’s living room followed. Gregory helped his father pass out fliers about the Purple Line around Metro stations around the age of 5, his mother, Barbara Sanders, said. Harry would attend conferences on public transportation around the country on his own dime. He took transportation planning courses at the University of Maryland and visited light rails and trains around the country and in Europe while on vacation with his family — all to study the possibilities.