Todd's Railfan Guide to
Light and Heavy Rail Systems



Light Rail
     The Blue Line
     The Green Line
     The Gold Line
Heavy Rail
     The Red Line
     The Purple Line

Los Angeles and the area at one time had one of the largest transit systems around, with the Pacific Electric running their Red Cars, and the Los Angles Railway and their Yellow Cars.  After WWII, the systems were systematically taken apart until 1963 when nothing was left.

Then, on July 14th, 1990, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, AKA the Metro, opened it's first Light Rail line, 27 years after the end of streetcar service.

The current (2011) Metro rail system comprises 5 lines with 70 stations, with 23 under construction, for a total line length of 79.1 miles.  The five lines are the Blue, Green, Gold, Red, and Purple.

The Blue Line was the first of the 5 lines.  It runs from downtown LA in the financial district to downtown Long Beach.  The line runs entirely on the surface.

The Green Line runs from Redondo Beach to Norwalk, and is fully elevated.

The all surface Gold Line runs from East Los Angeles east to Pasadena.

Both Heavy Rail Lines, the Red and Purple, are underground.  The Red Line connects downtown LA with North Hollywood.  The Purple Line also runs from downtown to Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire.

Three of those lines are light rail lines: The Blue, Green, and Gold.  History of the lines is as follows:
July 14, 1990 - First segment of the blue line opened Pico to Anaheim St
Sep 1, 1990 - Blue line Long Beach Loop, Anaheim St to Pacific
Feb 15, 1991 - Blue Line to the Financial District, Pico to 7th St/Metro Center
Jan 30, 1993 - Red Line MOS-1, the Red & Purple line go from Union Station to Westlake/MacArthur Park
Aug 12, 1995 - Green Line, Redondo Beach to Norwalk
May 26, 1996 - Red Line MOS-2 West, Red & Purple Line Westlake/MacArthur Park to Wilshire/Western
Jun 12, 1999 -  Red Line MOS-2 North, Red Line Wilshire/Vermont to Hollywood/Vine
Jun 24, 2000 - Red Line MOS-3, Red Line Hollywood & Vine to North Hollywood
July 17, 2003 - Gold Line to Pasadena, Union Station to Sierra Madre Villa
Nov 15, 2009 - Gold Line Eastside Extension, Union Station to Atlantic
Nov 2011 - Expo line from downtown to Santa Monica opens
Each light rail line has it's own yard.  The Green and Blue lines can share cars and other services, for they share an interchange at the Rosa Park station.  The Gold Line is on it's own, for it does not interchange with any of the other lines.

The Red and Purple line shops is kind of "around the corner" from Union Station, along the river, with the shop buildings themselves on the north side of East 4th Street.  Nice shops, I had a tour of it back in 1996 or so.

The Gold Line at Highland Park.... Photo from Wikipedia, by the Port of Authority.

Proposed Crenshaw Light Rail Line.  The route has many local residents angry because the Leimert Park stop may not become a reality due to budget restrictions.  NOV2012

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New 10/28/2011
last Modified: 10 Jan 2014