From 24 Oct 2020 until late 2022, the Gold Line (L) is split due to the construction of the access to the Regional Connector tunnel at Little Tokyo/Arts District.
With 4 million inhabitants, Los Angeles is the centre of a metropolitan area which is home to some 14 million people within a narrow stretch of land between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountain ranges in Southern California.
After all streetcar lines had been closed down by 1963, Los Angeles became the model for a car-friendly city. Finally in the 1980's, the county and region decided to return to rail-based public transport and to build a network of metro and light rail lines.
The current system has a total length of ~170 km (05/2016), with two subway lines (Red & Purple Line) and four largely grade-separated LRT lines (Blue, Green, Gold and Expo Lines).
23.6 km - 14 stations
The first section of L.A.'s subway system, the Metro Red Line, opened to the public, after seven years of construction, on 30 January 1993 in downtown Los Angeles between Union Station and Westlake/MacArthur Park. In 1996 it was extended westwards to Wilshire/Western, and in 1999 the branch to Hollywood/Vine started operating, before it eventually reached its northwestern North Hollywood terminus in 2000. The distance between Hollywood/Highland and Universal City stations is 5.2 km as the Metro Red Line crosses the Santa Monica Mountains, which separate Los Angeles from the San Fernando Valley. The entire Metro Red Line is underground.
All stations boast interesting designs. Due to the city's geographical situation, tunnels had to be built to resist earthquakes up to magnitude 7.5. Rolling stock was bought from Breda (Italy); power is supplied via a third rail.
From the Metro Red Line's North Hollywood terminus an exclusive right-of-way to be used by rapid bus transit was built. This 22 km route with 13 stops is promoted as the Metro Orange Line and opened on 29 Oct 2005.
Visit Metro Red Line Station by Station Gallery!
8 km - 8 stations
Since 2007, the former Metro Red Line Wilshire branch has been designated as the Metro Purple Line. It now shares tracks with the Metro Red Line between Union Station and Wilshire/Vermont (6.2 km), before serving two stations exclusively. The entire Metro Purple Line is underground.
Visit Metro Purple Line Station by Station Gallery!
35.5 km - 22 stations
Construction began in 1985 on the Metro Blue Line, which starts in downtown L.A. and then runs south for 30 km (22 miles) to Long Beach; between the Washington and Willow stops it uses a former railway alignment which had not seen any passenger service since 1963. At the southern end, the Blue Line turns in a single-track loop through downtown Long Beach, with short street-running sections. The northern terminus at 7th St./Metro Center/Julian Dixon (underground station) opened in 1991 and provides a link to the Metro Red Line. All stations have high platforms which allow easy access into the LRT vehicles (3-unit trains manufactured by Sumitomo-Nippon Sharyo, Japan - overhead power supply). Journey time for the entire route is 53 minutes.
Visit Metro Blue Line Gallery!
31.3 km - 14 stations
In 1995, the Metro Green Line was inaugurated as an east-west line along the median strip of I-105 (Century Freeway) from Norwalk to Aviation, while the western section to Redondo Beach continues on an elevated structure. It intersects with the Metro Blue Line at the Imperial/Wilmington station.
The Metro Green Line is totally segregated from other traffic, so although it uses the same rolling stock as the Metro Blue and Gold Lines, it can be classified as a full metro line. Normally P2000 Siemens 2-unit trains are used on this line. The distance between Long Beach Blvd and Lakewood stations is 6.8 km. A trip from end to end takes about 32 minutes. A branch from the Aviation Station (where free shuttle service to LAX passenger terminals is available) into the airport itself may be built in the future.
Visit Metro Green Line Gallery!
50.1 km - 27 stations
A northern LRT route from Union Station to Pasadena, the Metro Gold Line, opened in July 2003. It was originally planned as the northern part of the Metro Blue Line, and runs along a former railway corridor from Los Angeles to Claremont. The Metro Gold Line is mostly separated from road traffic with a few level crossings. At Union Station it departs from one of the former railway platforms, while the Metro Red/Purple Line is underground. Before and after the Highland Park station, it runs at relatively low speed on a reserved lane along Marmion Way. There is a short tunnel in old Pasadena, between Del Mar and Memorial Park stations. Some 500 m beyond Memorial Park station the Metro Gold Line gets aligned in the median of freeway I-210 up to its terminus at Sierra Madre Villa. Normally P2000 Siemens 2-unit trains are used on this line.
The Metro Gold Line was later extended towards the east from Union Station, with stations at Little Tokyo/Arts District, Pico-Aliso, Boyle Heights Mariachi Plaza, Soto, Indiana, Maravilla, East L.A. Civic Center and Pomona/Atlantic. This 9.6 km line includes a short 2.7 km tunnel section with two underground stations. It opened in Nov. 2009.
The Metro Gold Line was further extended eastwards from Sierra Madre Villa to Azuza, adding 18.4 km and 6 stations. In the next stage, another 19.8 km will be added and bring the Metro Gold Line via Pomona to Montclair (2025/26).
From 24 Oct 2020 until late 2022, the Gold Line is split due to the construction of the northern access to the Regional Connector tunnel at Little Tokyo/Arts District.
Visit Metro Gold Line Gallery!
24.5 km - 19 stations
Construction of this light rail line began in 2006, with the first section from downtown west to Culver City (approx. 14 km) finally opened in 2012. The underground downtown terminus is shared with the Blue Line, and both lines run south before the Expo Line branches of to the south of Pico station to continue west along Exposition Boulevard. The second stage (10.6 km) brought the line to Santa Monica in 2016. See BuildExpo.org
Visit Metro Expo Line Gallery!
13.5 km - 9 stations
- Crenshaw/LAX Line - 13.5 km light rail link between Expo/Crenshaw on the Expo Line and Aviation/LAX on the Green Line. The route originally included 8 stations, with a ninth added a later stage to provide an interchange with the under-construction people mover that will connect all the airport terminals. Construction was launched in Jan. 2014, and the initial section was brought into service in Oct 2022. Eventually Pink and Green Line services will be combined, with routings to be determined.
For more details see metro.net/projects/crenshaw_corridor
14 July 1990: Metro Blue Line opened
30 Jan 1993: Union Station - Westlake/MacArthur Park
12 Aug 1995: Metro Green Line opened
13 July 1996: Westlake/MacArthur Park - Wilshire/Western
12 June 1999: Wilshire/Vermont - Hollywood/Highland
24 June 2000: Hollywood/Highland - North Hollywood (10 km)
26 July 2003: Metro Gold Line Union Station - Sierra Madre Villa (22 km)
15 Nov 2009: Metro Gold Line Union Station - Atlantic (9.6 km)
28 Apr 2012: Metro Expo Line 7th Street/Metro Center - La Cienega/Jefferson (without Farmdale) (12.3 km)
20 June 2012: Metro Expo Line La Cienega/Jefferson - Culver City + Farmdale station added (1.6 km)
05 March 2016: Metro Gold Line Sierra Madre Villa - APU/Citrus College (18.4 km)
20 May 2016: Metro Expo Line Culver City - Downtown Santa Monica (10.6 km)
07 Oct 2022: Metro Pink Line (K) Expo/Crenshaw Westchester/Veterans (9.7 km)
- The second stage of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension will add another 19.8 km from Azuza via Pomona (2025) to Montclair (2028) - For more details see Foothillgoldline.org
- The Regional Connector is planned to connect the various light rail lines in the city centre via a tunnel following Flower and 2nd Streets (3 km), with three new stations: 2nd/Hope, 2nd/Broadway, and Little Tokyo/Arts District at 1st/Central. Construction started in Oct 2014 for completion in mid-2022. For more details see metro.net/projects/connector
- Westside Extension - planned Purple Line extension to Westwood/VA Hospital generally following Wilshire boulevard, 14.4 km in length, with seven new stations: Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, Wilshire/La Cienega (2023), Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City (2025), Westwood/UCLA, Westwood/VA Hospital (2027). For more details see metro.net/projects/westside
- East San Fernando Valley Light Rail - between the G Line (Orange - BRT) Van Nuys station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station in the northwest of the metropolitan area (> 2028) [More info]
For more projects click here!
OC Streetcar on UrbanRail.Net - under construction in Santa Ana, Orange County
Metro (MTA) - Official Page
MetroLink (Commuter Rail)
L.A. Metro Rail at Wikipedia
Los Angeles Transit at nycsubway.org (incl. many pictures and maps)
Hundreds of photos at SubwayNut
Read your webmaster's comments on the Los Angeles urban rail system (Aug 2012)
SUBWAYS & LIGHT RAIL
in the U.S.A.
-- The Book! --
Vol. 2: The West
Click here for more info!
Thanks to Elson Trinidad and Yuri Popov! Thanks also to Robert Saunders at LAMTA for the help!
Heavy Rail (Subways)
There are only two subway lines in L.A., one of which shares most of its stops with the other. Underground heavy rail is admittedly not our strong point—blame it on fault lines and politics.
The tour showcased Metro's three new underground stations — Little Tokyo/Arts District, Historic Broadway and Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill. A rail line running through the heart of downtown Los Angeles, better connecting the foothills to the beaches, opens on June 16, Father's Day weekend.What is the difference between subway and light-rail? ›
LRT vehicles are smaller and slower than subways, but travel faster and carry more passengers than streetcars or buses. Subways are larger and longer – a subway train can hold up to 1500 passengers (in 'crush' conditions). An LRV can hold 255 people in each vehicle, and can be linked into a train of two or more cars.Does LA Metro go underground? ›
Metro Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority - Wikipedia is the main district that runs the subway, light rail, and busses in Los Angeles county, with lines that have stops just over county lines . There are 2 fully underground subways and 3 light rail lines that run part of their line underground.What is the famous train in Los Angeles? ›
A little history of the Angels Flight® Railway
The 118-year-old funicular takes passengers on a short ride between Hill Street and Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill. Originally opened in 1901, Angels Flight® — the world's shortest railway — has given more than 100 million rides on its hillside track.
Metro Trip Planning: The Basics
All transit rates start at a base fare of $1.75. In addition to a single-ride fare, options include the Metro Day Pass ($7) and the 7-Day Pass ($25). On the Metro Rail and the Metro Orange Line, single-ride fares, passes and stored value must be loaded on a Metro TAP card.