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Shelly Xiao, left, was feted by Mayor Dave Bronconnier, centre, and Ald. Bob Hawkesworth, right, as the C-Train's billionth rider. ((CBC))

Calgary's C-Train, which is powered by wind energy, celebrated its one billionth passenger on Wednesday.

Mayor Dave Bronconnier, city aldermen and Calgary Transit director Fred Wong congratulated Shelly Xiao at a ceremony at the 1st Street S.W. C-Train station.

Xiao was randomly picked as the one billionth customer since the light rail transit system began operating on May 25, 1981.

"I feel very overwhelmed," said Xiao, who has been riding the south line from her Braeside home to her job at Shaw downtown for the last five years.

Calgary Transit presented Xiao with monthly transit passes until the end of this year, a limited-edition model SD 160 C-Train car and an iPod.

"This is quite the milestone for our organization," Wong said in a statement.

The C-Train carries more than 280,000 people every weekday. Ridership on the C-Train has doubled over the past decade, officials said.

The city's plans to build the west leg of the LRT will double the size of the network in just over a decade, they said.

The new line is tentatively slated to open in 2012.