Red Line (Los Angeles Metro)

Red Line (Los Angeles Metro)

Metro Red Line

Los Angeles Metro rapid transit line
Image of Red Line train.
Red Line train awaiting departure.
System Metro Rail
Operated by LAMetroLogo.svg Metro (LACMTA)
Line number 802
Type heavy rail
Status in service
Opened January 30, 1993
Daily ridership 171,163 (July 2011) [1]
(combined with Metro Purple Line)
Website Red Line
Character Subway (fully underground)
Termini Union Station
North Hollywood
Stations 14
Line length 16.4 mi (26.4 km)
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge standard: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification 750 V DC third rail
Rolling stock Ansaldobreda A650
Train length
six cars
Yard Division 20 (Downtown Los Angeles)
Route map
Continuation backward Unknown BSicon "uCONTg"
End station + Hub
Urban head station in tunnel + Hub
Urban station on track + Hub
Union Station
Urban tunnel straight track Unknown BSicon "uCONTf"
Union Station Connections:
Urban tunnel straight track
Gold & Purple Lines, El Monte Busway,
Urban tunnel straight track
Metrolink, Amtrak, & FlyAway
Urban tunnel station on track
Civic Center
Urban tunnel station on track
Pershing Square
Urban tunnel station on track + Hub
Unknown BSicon "utKBFa" + Hub
7th Street/Metro Center Blue & Expo Lines
Urban tunnel straight track Unknown BSicon "utCONTf"
Urban tunnel station on track
Westlake/MacArthur Park
Urban tunnel station on track
Urban tunnel junction to left Unknown BSicon "utCONTl"
Purple Line
Urban tunnel station on track
Urban tunnel station on track
Vermont/Santa Monica
Urban tunnel station on track
Urban tunnel station on track
Urban tunnel station on track
Urban tunnel station on track
Urban tunnel station on track
Universal City
Urban End station in tunnel
North Hollywood

This route map: view ·

Hollywood/Highland Station is located in the heart of Hollywood's tourist attractions
North Hollywood is the northern terminus of the Red Line in the San Fernando Valley

The Red Line is a subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles via the districts of Hollywood and Mid-Wilshire to North Hollywood within Los Angeles where it connects with the Metroliner Orange line (bus rapid transit) service for stations to the Warner Center in Woodland Hills.

The red line, which is one of five lines forming the Metro Rail rapid transport system opened in stages between 1993 and 2000. It is the busiest line which, together with the purple line, caters for 179,000 daily weekday boardings (as of July 2011).[1] It is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.


Service description


The Red Line begins at Union Station and travels southwest through Downtown Los Angeles, passing the Civic Center, Pershing Square (near the Historic Core) and the Financial District. At 7th St/Metro Center, travelers can connect to the Metro Blue Line. From here, the train follows 7th Street west through Pico-Union and Westlake, arriving at Wilshire/Vermont in the city's Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown district. Up to this point, track is shared with the Metro Purple Line: at Wilshire/Vermont, the two lines diverge.

From here, the Red Line travels north along Vermont, and then west along Hollywood Boulevard, traveling through Koreatown and Hollywood. Finally, the line turns northwest and crosses into the San Fernando Valley, where it terminates in North Hollywood.

Hours of operation

Trains run between approximately 4:30 am and 1:00 am the following morning.[2] First and last train times are as follows:

To/From North Hollywood

  • First Train to Union Station: 4:31 am
  • Last Train to Union Station: 12:54 am
  • First Train to North Hollywood: 4:30 am
  • Last Train to North Hollywood: 12:17 am


Planning and construction

The Red Line project consisted of the current Red Line and Purple Line corridors, plus other corridors that were never built. Rather than building the entire project all at once, the SCRTD divided the project into "minimum operating segments" (MOS). These were corridor segments that could be built as distinct project phases, that would provide incremental benefit as they opened.

The line was originally intended to run along the Wilshire Corridor to Santa Monica, but a 1985 methane gas explosion at a Ross Dress For Less in the Fairfax area resulted in Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-CA) legislation for a ban on Federal money being used for tunneling under Wilshire Blvd in his district, due to methane gas safety concerns and anti-subway sentiment by developers and neighborhood associations along the proposed route. Metro had always maintained that technological advances would allow it to tunnel safely.


MOS-1 which consisted of the original five stations from Union Station to Westlake/MacArthur Park opened in 1993.[3]

In 1995, during construction of the subway, a sinkhole appeared on Hollywood Boulevard, barely missing several workers and causing damage to buildings on the street. Subway construction was halted until the situation could be resolved. The contractor, Shea-Kiewit-Kenny was replaced with a new contractor, Tutor Saliba.[4]

MOS-2 included three new stations between Westlake/MacArthur Park and Wilshire/Western which completed the branch now served by the Purple Line opened in 1996[5] and five new stations from Wilshire/Vermont to Hollywood/Vine which opened in 1999.[6]

In 1998, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky introduced a Los Angeles County initiative called the MTA Reform and Accountability Act of 1998 (Los Angeles County Proposition A). This initiative, passed by voters in 1998, bans the use of Los Angeles County revenue from existing sales taxes for subway tunneling. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky later stated that local money could be used to cover subway-related costs, as long as it was not used directly for tunneling.[7] In the time since this proposition became law, a new sales tax measure, Measure R, was passed by voters which specifically provides funds for subway development.

MOS-3 which added new stations and extended the Red Line from Hollywood/Vine to its final terminus at North Hollywood opened in 2000.[8]

During construction 2,000 fossils were discovered, including 64 extinct species of fish, the tusk of an Ice Age elephant and the bones of an ancient longhorn bison, a report funded by the MTA found. The report was authored by paleontologist Bruce Lander of Paleo Environmental Associates in Irvine. Lander worked with a team of 28 scientists during construction of the Metro Rail Red Line. Fossil evidence showed that tens of thousands of years ago, ground sloths, horses, elephants and camels roamed among redwood trees in what is now Los Angeles, according to an MTA summary of the 300-page report. The scientists also found evidence of a great flood in the San Fernando Valley 9,000 years ago that swept away trees. Among the 64 extinct species of marine fish 39 were never before discovered, the report said. The scientists found bones of an American mastodon, a western camel and a Harlan's ground sloth. They found wood and pollen of land plants including incense cedar and coast redwood trees and bones of birds, shrews, cottontail rabbits, gophers, mice and kangaroo rats. Some of the fossils are as much as 16.5 million years old.[citation needed]

During construction there were allegations of corruption and safety, including cost overruns and tunnel walls having thicknesses less than specified or required by law.[9]

In October 2005, the new Orange Line (Los Angeles Metro) began service. The busway was constructed instead of a further Red Line rail extension in the Valley. The Orange Line uses train-like two-cabin articulated bus bodies to provide high-capacity transit service across an east-west corridor in the southern San Fernando Valley. The Red Line connects to the Orange Line at North Hollywood station. The Orange Line feeds about 15,000 new boardings into the Red Line at the North Hollywood terminus. Currently, little chance exists for further underground Red Line extension west from its northern terminus.

What is now known as the Metro Purple Line was originally simply the Wilshire branch of the Red Line. In August 2006, Metro decided to designate the Purple Line as a separate line.[10]

Future extensions

Track area of Hollywood and Vine station

The route currently known as the Red Line was originally intended to continue beyond its eastern terminus at Union Station to East Los Angeles. At the north end of the route, the Red Line was to turn west from North Hollywood station toward Warner Center. However, a 1998 proposition was passed by voters, which banned use of county sales tax revenue for subway construction due to the high cost of construction and problems associated tunneling under Hollywood Blvd.

The tunneling ban put an end to expansion of the Red Line for the foreseeable future. The route to Warner Center was turned into the Metro Orange Line, a bus transitway (BRT) service. However, in recent years, new legislation has been passed reflecting new public support for subway development, and Metro is now working on two subway projects (the Westside Subway Extension and the Regional Connector) in other parts of the county.

Extension to East Valley

Mayor Villaraigosa has mentioned extending the Red Line from its current North Hollywood terminus along Lankershim Boulevard to the northeastern San Fernando Valley, with a terminus in Sylmar.

One long-term possibility might be an underground extension of another mile or two to a future high-rise housing district, or to a multi-modal transportation hub at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, a distance of approximately four miles. It would possibly go under Vineland Avenue and Vanowen Street. In 2006 a large number of housing units, including a high-rise tower was completed very near the North Hollywood (NoHo Arts District) station. A master planned multi high-rise complex further to the north could justify a future short extension, and also allow more commuter parking to be developed. No plan of this sort has been formally proposed, though some transit advocates have suggested that the Orange Line may be extended along the same route as mentioned above.

Extension to Arts District

In 2010, at the request of L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, Metro staff studied the possibility of adding a station along the west bank of the Los Angeles River to 6th Street and Santa Fe. The study concluded that such an extension, completed at-grade along Metro-owned right-of-way, could be completed for as little as $90 million.

The study suggested an alternative station at the Division 20 yard north of 4th Street and Santa Fe. This station would be closer to the residential population of the Arts District. And since new turnback tracks are going to need to be built as part of the Westside Subway Extension (to deal with shorter headways), this Arts District extension could possibly be partially completed as part of the Westside Subway Extension project, lowering the incremental cost of the station while increasing its usability.[11]

Extensions East

Plans of extending the Red Line to the Eastside have been set aside with opening of the Metro Gold Line East extension to the neighborhoods of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. Although there are no plans to do such, it is conceivable that plans for a future eastward extension could involve the San Gabriel Valley rather than the Eastside. Some citizen proposals have included the conversion of the El Monte Busway to heavy rail, although this would disrupt the existing bus and Metrolink service along that corridor. Other rights-of-way that could host a Red Line extension, whether subway or at-grade, include the Union Pacific's Alhambra Trench, the former Pacific Electric two-track right of way extending through the City Terrace area to El Monte and Covina, and the median of Huntington Drive, which also held a two-track Pacific Electric line extending as far as Azusa, until the 1950s, when it was removed.

Westside Subway Extension (Purple line)

Metro is planning the Westside Subway Extension to extend the Purple Line (originally part of the Red Line) westward, to the Westside.

Station listing

The following table lists the stations of the Red Line, from east to west:

Station Connections Date Opened
Union Station Purple Line  Gold Line  Silver Line  El Monte Busway
Metro Rapid: 704, 728, 733, 740, 745, 770
Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
Amtrak  Metrolink
January 30, 1993
Civic Center Purple Line  Silver Line
Metro Rapid: 728, 730, 733, 740, 745, 770, 794
Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
January 30, 1993
Pershing Square Purple Line  Silver Line
Metro Rapid: 720, 728, 730, 740, 745, 753, 770, 794
Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
Angels Flight
January 30, 1993
7th St/Metro Center Purple Line  Blue Line  Silver Line  Harbor Transitway
Metro Rapid: 720, 753, 760, 770
Metro Express: 450X
Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
January 30, 1993
Westlake/MacArthur Park Purple Line
Metro Rapid: 720
January 30, 1993
Wilshire/Vermont Purple Line
Metro Rapid: 720, 754, 920
July 13, 1996
Vermont/Beverly Metro Rapid: 754 June 12, 1999
Vermont/Santa Monica Metro Rapid: 704, 754 June 12, 1999
Vermont/Sunset Metro Rapid: 754 June 12, 1999
Hollywood/Western Metro Rapid: 757, 780 June 12, 1999
Hollywood/Vine Metro Rapid: 780 June 12, 1999
Hollywood/Highland Metro Rapid: 780 June 24, 2000
Universal City Metro Rapid: 750 June 24, 2000
North Hollywood Orange Line June 24, 2000



The Red Line operates out of the Division 20 Yard (Santa Fe Yard) located at 320 South Santa Fe Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. This yard stores the fleet used on the Red and Purple Lines. It is also where heavy maintenance is performed. Cars reach this yard by continuing on after Union Station, making a right turn and surfacing at the Eastern terminus of Ducommun Street. They then travel south to 1st Street, through a washing station, and enter the yard.

Rolling stock

The Red Line uses Ansaldobreda A650 75-foot (23 m) electric multiple unit cars built by Ansaldobreda in Italy. Trains usually run in six-car consists during peak hours and four-car consists outside of peak hours. The acceleration for cars #530 and up is similar to that of cars used by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority because they both use General Electric traction motors.[12][13] The cars are maintained in a yard on Santa Fe Drive near 4th Street alongside the Los Angeles River in downtown Los Angeles.


2006 Mercury spillage

On December 22, 2006, a man spilled a vial of mercury on the platform at the Pershing Square station. He then located a passenger information intercom and told the operator that he spilled mercury before boarding a train.[14] The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was not notified until the next day, eight hours later. Metro has responded since the incident by giving hazardous materials (Hazmat) training to its field employees and operators so they can identify hazardous substances and take correct action in the future.[15]

2011 Stabbing

On August 19, 2011 an altercation between two passengers resulted in a fatal stabbing of one of the involved on the train near the Hollywood and Vine station.[16] The suspect was caught on August 24.[17]

In popular culture

  • In the videogame Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas Market Station in Los Santos is a fictional train station served by Brown Streak Railroad in the game is one of the stations based on the Metro Red Line, possibly the Civic Center station.
  • In Heroes, Hiro Nakamura rides the Red Line.
  • On the popular television series Alias, the CIA black ops unit Authorized Personnel Only is located behind a maintenance door at the Civic Center station near the Los Angeles City Hall.
  • In Season 2 of Numb3rs, a wanted man spilled some potentially lethal gas in the subway system on the train during a test on Episode 5 "Soft Target." and during a chase sequene in Season 4, episode 1 Trust metric
  • In Season 6, hour 2 (7:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.) of 24, Jack Bauer follows a suicide bomber to a red line station. After the terrorist boards a train bound for Union Station, Jack confronts the terrorist. A brief skirmish ensues, with Jack ejecting the terrorist through the back window of the train only seconds before the terrorist detonates the bomb.
  • Part of the film Speed transpires on a Red Line train departing Pershing Square station and ultimately crashing through the street surface at the then-under construction Hollywood & Highland station.
  • Part of the film Volcano takes place on the Wilshire branch of the Red Line where lava stops the train from operating and the passengers must be rescued in the tunnel. The film also features a fictional protest from Beverly Hills residents against an extension of the subway into the neighborhood, responding that it will "bring Downtown's problems west".[18]
  • In The Italian Job, a heist takes place underneath the Hollywood/Highland station and through the Red Line tunnels until it reaches the Blue Line tunnel opening between 7th/Metro Center station and Pico station.
  • The Red Line is also featured in S.W.A.T. where police chase a fugitive from Pershing Square station to Wilshire/Normandie station. The "Pershing Square" exterior is 7th St/Metro Center, while the interior is Wilshire/Western.
  • In the P. T. Anderson-directed music video for "Fast as You Can" by Fiona Apple, much of the action takes place on a moving Red Line train, which originates at the Hollywood/Western station. Anderson directed another music video for Apple, "Paper Bag," which was filmed at Union Station, but that was because of the Art Deco surroundings; the Red Line terminus was not featured.
  • In the music video for "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter, the Red Line Pershing Square Station and vicinity is used as part of the daily commute for two singles and eventually where they meet.
  • In the music video for "All for You" by Janet Jackson, Janet and company ride a subway to Venice (Beach), California, a trip which is not currently possible. While not explicitly shown to be the Red Line, it is an interesting nod to proposals to extend the subway from midtown to the beach.
  • In the music video for "Wait a Minute" by The Pussycat Dolls, the opening scenes take place in a Red Line subway station and aboard a train; also in the music video for "When I Grow Up", they perform in front of the Hollywood/Vine portal that currently has construction activities occurring for the W Hotel.
  • In the novel "Homefront: The Voice of Freedom", the Red Line, which has become considerably run down, has one of its subway trains destroyed by the main antagonist in a series of suitcase bombings across the nation targeting mass transit systems.

See also


  1. ^ "Ridership statistics". /
  2. ^
  3. ^ Katches, Mark (January 31, 1993). "Red Line Rolls to Raves – It's Smooth Railing As L.A. Subway Opens". Daily News of Los Angeles. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bloom, David (May 22, 1996). "MTA Unveils New Downtown Line". Daily News of Los Angeles. 
  6. ^ Hiestand, Jesse (June 13, 1999). "Hollywood Subway Picks Up Rave Reviews". Daily News of Los Angeles. 
  7. ^ Greater West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Business Monthly, January 2006. Retrieved February 14, 2007.
  8. ^ Sheppard, Harrison (June 18, 2000). "End of the Line". Daily News of Los Angeles. 
  9. ^ "Los Angeles Asks: Is Subway Safe?". The New York Times. September 12, 1993. 
  10. ^ Metro Board Meeting, August 8, 2006
  11. ^
  12. ^ Red line train
  13. ^ Washington Metro train
  14. ^ Blankstein, Andrew and Jean Guccione. "MTA admits subway spill errors". Los Angeles Times. January 19, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2007.
  15. ^ Blankstein, Andrew and Jean Guccione. "Transient held in MTA mercury spill", Los Angeles Times. January 24, 2007. (Retrieved on January 31, 2007)
  16. ^ Powell, Amy. "Passenger fatally stabbed on Metro Red Line". Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  17. ^ Hernandez, Miriam. "Metro Red Line stabbing suspect arrested". Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  18. ^

External links

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