|Other name(s)||Red Line (1993–2019)|
|Owner||Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority|
|System||Los Angeles Metro Rail|
|Depot(s)||Division 20 (Los Angeles)|
|Rolling stock||Breda A650 running in 4 or 6 car consists|
|Daily ridership||65,390 (Weeday, 2021)|
|Ridership||21,398,104[a] (2021) -6.1%|
|Opened||January 30, 1993|
|Completed||June 24, 2000|
|Line length||16.4 miles (26.4 km)|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Character||Fully underground (except yard)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Electrification||Third rail, 750 V DC|
|Operating speed||70 mph (110 km/h) (max.)|
33.9 mph (54.6 km/h) (avg.)
The B Line (formerly Red Line from 1993–2020) is a 16.4 mi (26.4 km) rapid transit (known locally as a subway) line operating in Los Angeles, running between Downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood. It is one of six lines on the Metro Rail system, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The B Line is one of the city's two fully-underground subway lines (along with the D Line). The two lines share tracks through Downtown Los Angeles before separating in Koreatown. As of 2019[update], the combined B and D lines averaged 133,413 boardings per weekday.
In 2020, Metro renamed all of its lines using letters and colors, with the Red Line becoming the B Line (retaining the red color in its service bullet) and the Purple Line becoming the D Line.
The B Line is a 16.4 mi (26.4 km) line that 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. The 7th St/Metro Center station allows riders to transfer to the A Line (Blue Line) and E Line (Expo Line). From here, the train travels between 7th Street and Wilshire Boulevard (and briefly Ingraham Street) west through Pico-Union and Westlake, arriving at Wilshire/Vermont in the city's Koreatown district. Up to this point, the track is shared with the D Line; at Wilshire/Vermont, the two lines diverge. The B 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.
This route roughly follows a branch of the old Red Car system through the Cahuenga Pass, dismantled in the 1960s during what was later called the General Motors streetcar conspiracy.
B Line trains run every day between approximately 4:30 a.m. and midnight. Trains operate every ten minutes during peak hours Monday through Friday, every twelve minutes during the daytime on weekdays and all day on the weekends after approximately 10 a.m. (with a 15-minute headway early Saturday and Sunday mornings). Night service is every 20 minutes.
The following table lists the stations of the B Line, from north to south:
|Station||Date opened||City/Neighborhood||Major connections and notes|
|North Hollywood||June 24, 2000||North Hollywood|| |
Park and ride: 1,085 spaces
|Universal City/Studio City||Studio City||Universal Studios Hollywood shuttle|
Park and ride: 782 spaces
|Hollywood/Vine||June 12, 1999|
|Wilshire/Vermont||July 13, 1996||Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown|
|Westlake/MacArthur Park||January 30, 1993||Westlake|| |
Park and ride: 6 spaces
|7th Street/Metro Center||Downtown Los Angeles|
|Civic Center/Grand Park|
|Union Station|| |
Amtrak, LAX FlyAway and Metrolink
Paid parking: 3,000 spaces
Note: Ridership figures are for B and D Line combined.
Main article: History of Los Angeles Metro Rail and Busway
The current B Line is the product of a long-term plan to connect Downtown Los Angeles to central and western portions of the city with a subway system. Original proposals in the 1980s had it running down Wilshire Boulevard to Fairfax Avenue and then north to the San Fernando Valley. Residents in some parts of the city bitterly opposed the subway. A 1985 methane explosion at a Ross Dress for Less clothing store near Fairfax gave Rep. Henry Waxman, who represented the Fairfax District, a reason to derail the project that was opposed by his constituents by prohibiting tunneling in an alleged "methane zone" west of Western on Wilshire.
After some political wrangling, a new route was chosen up Vermont Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard.
The groundbreaking for the first segment of the subway was held on September 29, 1986, on the site of the future Civic Center/Grand Park station. Today's B Line was built in four minimum operating segments:
On June 22, 1995, during the construction of MOS-2B, a sinkhole appeared on Hollywood Boulevard, barely missing several workers and causing damage to buildings on the street. Subway construction was delayed during the investigation and repairs of the sinkhole. The contractor on that segment project was replaced, and because of the perceived mismanagement of Red Line construction, in 1998 voters banned the use of existing sales taxes for subway tunneling.
Construction of MOS-3, by comparison, proceeded with relatively few issues. Tunneling from North Hollywood for the subway started in 1995. Workers dug under the Santa Monica Mountains using tunneling machines. Work progressed an average of 50 to 200 ft (15 to 61 m) daily, performed by work crews round-the-clock six days a week.
Original proposals for the subway system included expansions east from Union Station to East Los Angeles and west from North Hollywood towards the Warner Center transit hub in the San Fernando Valley. Barred from subway tunneling, Metro turned to other types of mass transit. In the San Fernando Valley, residents passed a law in 1991 mandating that any rail line in the area be built underground, so Metro built a busway (now the G Line) from North Hollywood to Warner Center, which opened on October 29, 2005. East of Union Station, Metro built a light rail line with at-grade and underground segments to East Los Angeles, now part of the L Line, which opened on November 15, 2009.
The B 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 B and D Lines, and where heavy maintenance is performed. Cars reach this yard by continuing past 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.
The B Line uses A650 75 ft (23 m) electric multiple unit cars built by Breda in Italy. Trains usually run in six-car configurations during peak hours and four-car configurations otherwise. The cars are maintained in a Metro yard on Santa Fe Avenue near 4th Street alongside the Los Angeles River in downtown Los Angeles.
In March 2017, Metro ordered new CRRC HR4000 railcars, which will operate on the B Line when they are delivered.
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 Avenue. 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 Avenue. This station would be closer to the residential population of the Arts District. As new turnback tracks will need to be built as part of the Purple Line Extension (to allow shorter headways), this Arts District extension could possibly be partially completed as part of the Purple Line Extension project, lowering the incremental cost of the station while increasing its usability.
Main article: Vermont Transit Corridor
One of the proposals for the Vermont Transit Corridor being considered by Metro would extend a subway line from Wilshire/Vermont station down Vermont Avenue to 120th Street. Metro is also considering other types of mass transit for the line, including light rail and busway options.
The Red Line operates 16.4 miles between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood.