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 California . USA

Los Angeles Metro map OC Streetcar


With 4 million inhabitants, Los Angeles is the centre of a metropolitan area which is home to some 18 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 ~182 km (06/2023), with two subway lines (Red & Purple Lines) and four largely grade-separated high-floor light rail lines (Blue, Green, Gold and Pink Lines).

 [B] Metro Red Line

23.6 km - 14 stations

Metro Red Line GalleryThe 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!

 [D] Metro Purple Line

8 km - 8 stations

Metro Purple Line GallerySince 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!

 [A] Metro Blue Line

79.2 km - 44 stations

Metro Blue Line GalleryConstruction began in 1985 on the original Metro Blue Line, which started in downtown L.A. and then ran 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. It was extended north to 7th St./Metro Center/Julian Dixon (underground station) in 1991 where interchange with the Metro Red and Purple Lines is provided. 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 35.5 km route was 53 minutes.

Upon completion of the 3.1 km Regional Connector on 16 June 2023, the northern leg of the former Metro Gold Line (L) was connected to the Metro Blue Line, creating a long cross-city line from Azusa and Pasadena to Long Beach, as originally planned.

A northern LRT route from Union Station to Pasadena opened in July 2003 as the Metro Gold Line. It runs along a former railway corridor from Los Angeles to Claremont. It 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 departs 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 route gets aligned in the median of freeway I-210 up to its initial terminus at Sierra Madre Villa.

The former 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 Blue Line via Pomona to Montclair (2025/26).

From 24 Oct 2020 until June 2023, the former Metro Gold Line, which had reached a total length of 50.1 km, was split due to the construction of the northern access to the Regional Connector tunnel at Little Tokyo/Arts District.

Visit Metro Blue (A) Line Gallery!


 [C] Metro Green Line

31.3 km - 14 stations

Metro Green Line GalleryIn 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!

 [E] Metro Gold Line

35.4 km - 29 stations

Metro Gold Line GalleryExpo Line GallerySince the completion of the Regional Connector on 16 June 2023, the present E line has combined the former Metro Expo Line (E) and the eastern leg of the former Metro Gold Line (L).

The eastern leg of the Metro Gold Line was later opened in Nov. 2009 from Union Station towards the east, 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 route includes a short 2.7 km tunnel section with two underground stations.

Construction of the former Metro Expo Line (colour aqua)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 was shared with the Metro Blue Line; the Expo Line branched off just south of Pico station to continue west along Exposition Boulevard. The second stage (10.6 km) brought the line to Santa Monica in 2016.

Visit Metro Gold (E) Line Gallery!


 [K] Metro Pink Line

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 was originally designed with 8 stations, with a ninth added at 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

Metro K Line Metro K Line Metro K Line Metro K Line


14 July 1990: Pico - Anaheim Street (31.4 km, Blue Line)
04 Sept 1990: Long Beach loop (3.1 km, Blue Line)
15 Feb 1991: Pico -7th Street/Metro Center (1.2 km, Blue Line)
30 Jan 1993: Union Station - Westlake/MacArthur Park
12 Aug 1995: Norwalk - Redondo Beach (31.5 km, Green Line)
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: Union Station - Sierra Madre Villa (22 km, Gold Line)
15 Nov 2009: Union Station - Atlantic (9.6 km, Gold Line)
28 Apr 2012: 7th Street/Metro Center - La Cienega/Jefferson (without Farmdale) (12.3 km, Expo Line)
20 June 2012: La Cienega/Jefferson - Culver City + Farmdale station added (1.6 km, Expo Line)
05 March 2016: Sierra Madre Villa - APU/Citrus College (18.4 km, Gold Line)
20 May 2016: Culver City - Downtown Santa Monica (10.6 km, Expo Line)
07 Oct 2022: Expo/Crenshaw Westchester/Veterans (9.7 km, K line)
16 Jun 2023: 7th Street/Metro Center - Little Tokyo/Arts District (2.5 km, "Regional Connector) [Project Website]


 Current Projects

- The second stage of the Foothill Extension will add another 19.8 km from Azuza via Pomona (2025) to Montclair (2028) - For more details see Foothillgoldline.org

- 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 (2025), Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City (2026), 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 (> 2030) [More info]

For more projects click here!


Los Angeles Downtown Streetcar Project

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)

Friends for Expo Line

Hundreds of photos at SubwayNut

Read your webmaster's comments on the Los Angeles urban rail system (Aug 2012)


Subways and Light Rail  2

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!


2004 © UrbanRail.Net by Robert Schwandl