|Other name(s)||Gold Line (2003–2020)|
|Status||Defunct, split between A and E lines|
|Owner||Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority|
|System||Los Angeles Metro Rail|
|Depot(s)||Division 21 (Elysian Park)|
Division 24 (Monrovia)
|Rolling stock||Siemens P2000, AnsaldoBreda P2550 or Kinki Sharyo P3010 running in 2 or 3 car consists|
|Ridership||4,999,638 (2021) -26.3%|
|Opened||July 26, 2003|
|Closed||June 16, 2023|
|Line length||31 miles (49.9 km)|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Character||Mostly at-grade in private right-of-way, with some street-running, elevated and underground sections|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Electrification||Overhead line, 750 V DC|
|Operating speed||55 mph (89 km/h) (max.)|
The L Line and Gold Line are former designations for a section of the current Los Angeles Metro Rail system. These names referred to a single light rail line of 31 miles (50 km) providing service between Azusa and East Los Angeles via the northeastern corner of Downtown Los Angeles, serving several attractions, including Little Tokyo, Union Station, the Southwest Museum, Chinatown, and the shops of Old Pasadena. The line, formerly one of seven in the system, entered service in 2003. The L Line served 26 stations (including two underground stations, and one open trench station).
In October 2020, the line was broken into two disconnected segments with the closure of the Little Tokyo/Arts District station in preparation for the opening of the Regional Connector tunnel. On June 16, 2023, the new tunnel opened, along with a new Little Tokyo/Arts District station in a nearby location. As of that date, passengers may now transfer between the two segments of the former L Line at this station, or stay on board to continue through Downtown LA. The L Line ceased to exist as a distinct line within the system, with the northern half serving as an extension to the A Line and the southern half serving as an extension to the E Line.
The line's northern terminus was at APU/Citrus College station just west of Citrus Avenue and the two universities. The line ran west through Azusa before stopping at Azusa Downtown station at Azusa Avenue, north of Foothill Boulevard, near the downtown shops and government buildings.
Continuing west, the line crossed over the I-210 freeway and ran parallel to it, entering Irwindale before stopping at Irwindale station at Irwindale Avenue. After this station, the line continued west, crossing over the San Gabriel River and underneath the I-605 freeway, diverging from I-210 and entering Duarte, before stopping at Duarte/City of Hope station located on the north side of Duarte Road, across from the City of Hope National Medical Center.
Continuing west, the line paralleled Duarte Road, entering Monrovia, before diverging northwest just before arriving at Monrovia station. In this area, the line ran adjacent to single-family homes. Entering Arcadia, the train crossed all street crossings on bridges except for First Avenue at the at-grade Arcadia station.
Continuing west, the line reconverged with and entered the median of I-210 and continued west to Sierra Madre Villa station in Pasadena. Six stations served different parts of Pasadena, with three of them in the freeway's median. In Old Pasadena, the line traveled underground for almost half a mile, passing under Pasadena's main thoroughfare, Colorado Boulevard, which makes the Memorial Park station below grade. The station served most of Pasadena's fine dining, shops, malls, and civic center. The Pasadena City Hall is visible upon exiting the station. The line continued south through downtown Pasadena and South Pasadena, primarily at grade.
North of Highland Park, the route crossed over the Arroyo Seco Parkway (State Route 110) via the grand Santa Fe Arroyo Seco Railroad Bridge towards Highland Park. After Highland Park station, the train ran in the median of Marmion Way, where trains went at only 20 miles per hour (32 km/h). After 50th Avenue, the L Line operated primarily at grade in its own right of way, except for a short underpass below Figueroa Street.
From here, the route continued, with a handful of stations serving the hillside communities north of downtown, including Lincoln Heights, Mount Washington, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian. Northeast of Chinatown, the line crossed over the Los Angeles River on an elevated viaduct. Continuing on the elevated viaduct, the line stopped at Chinatown station before arriving at Union Station. This entire section of the line north of Union Station followed the current and former right-of-way of the Pasadena Subdivision.
At Union Station, riders could transfer to other trains and modes.
South of Union Station, the L Line crossed over US 101 on a curved elevated viaduct into Little Tokyo, where the line then serviced the former at-grade Little Tokyo/Arts District station. After this, the line then swerved right to enter the median of 1st Street, crossing the Los Angeles River again, entering the neighborhood of Boyle Heights. Here, the L Line then serviced Pico/Aliso station, before diving underground underneath 1st Street to service Mariachi Plaza station and Soto station. Adjacent to Evergreen Cemetery, the line then reemerged at-grade in the median of 1st Street before swerving to the east side of Indiana street to service Indiana station. After this, the line swerved again to enter the median of 3rd Street, entering East Los Angeles. Crossing underneath SR 60 and above I-710, the line then serviced Maravilla station, East LA Civic Center station, and Atlantic station, where the line terminated.
Prior to its discontinuation, the L Line was broken into two disconnected segments in October 2020, with the closure of the segment between Union Station and Pico/Aliso station, including the closure of Little Tokyo/Arts District station. This was done in preparation for the opening of the Regional Connector, which opened on June 16, 2023. Prior to this date, riders seeking to travel between the then disconnected segments of the L Line had to use a temporary bus shuttle to make the connection.
As of 2023, before the L Line was subsumed into the A and E lines, L Line trains ran every day between approximately 4:30 a.m. and 12:15 a.m. Trains operated every 10 minutes during peak hours Monday through Friday, and every twelve minutes during the daytime on weekdays and all day on the weekends. Evening service (after 7 p.m.) was every 20 minutes.
L Line trains traveled at a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour (89 km/h). It took 48 minutes to travel its 29-mile (47 km) length, at an average speed of 26.2 mph (42.2 km/h) over its length. The L Line was particularly slow through the Highland Park area, where trains reach speeds of only 20 mph (32 km/h) while operating in a street running section on Marmion Way.
The following table lists the stations of the former L Line, from north to south.
|Station||Date Opened||City/Neighborhood||Major connections and notes|
|APU/Citrus College||March 5, 2016||Azusa||Park and ride: 200 spaces|
|Azusa Downtown||Park and ride: 521 spaces|
|Irwindale||Irwindale||Park and ride: 350 spaces|
|Duarte/City of Hope||Duarte||Park and ride: 125 spaces|
|Monrovia||Monrovia||Park and ride: 350 spaces|
|Arcadia||Arcadia||Park and ride: 300 spaces|
|Sierra Madre Villa||July 26, 2003||Pasadena||Park and ride: 965 spaces|
|Lake||Park and ride: 22 spaces|
|Del Mar||Park and ride: 610 spaces|
|Fillmore||Park and ride: 155 spaces|
|South Pasadena||South Pasadena||Park and ride: 142 spaces|
|Highland Park||Los Angeles (Highland Park)|
|Southwest Museum||Los Angeles (Mount Washington)|
|Heritage Square||Los Angeles (Montecito Heights)||Park and ride: 129 spaces|
|Lincoln/Cypress||Los Angeles (Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park)||Park and ride: 94 spaces|
|Chinatown||Los Angeles (Chinatown)|
|Union Station||Los Angeles (Downtown)|| |
Amtrak, LAX FlyAway and Metrolink
Paid parking: 3,000 spaces
|Little Tokyo/Arts District||November 15, 2009||Los Angeles (Little Tokyo/Arts District)||At-grade station closed on October 24, 2020|
|Pico/Aliso||November 15, 2009||Los Angeles (Boyle Heights)|
|Indiana||East Los Angeles||Park and ride: 42 spaces|
|East LA Civic Center|
|Atlantic||Park and ride: 289 spaces|
Following the extension to East Los Angeles in 2009, the line's ridership increased to almost 30,000 daily boardings. As of October 2012[update], the average weekday daily boardings for the L Line stood at 42,417, and as of December 2014[update] the average daily weekday boardings had increased to 44,707. Following the extension to Azusa, ridership rose to 49,238 as of May 2016.
Main article: History of Los Angeles Metro Rail and Busway
Much of the L Line's right-of-way through the San Gabriel Valley was built by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad in 1885, eventually taken over by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, as part of the Pasadena Subdivision, which saw Amtrak service until 1994, when construction began on the conversion to light rail. The project was originally called the "Pasadena Metro Blue Line," and planners envisioned extending the existing Blue Line from Long Beach, but when a ban on sales tax spending on subway tunnels passed in 1998, the project became a separate line terminating at Union Station.
The Gold Line opened between Union Station and Sierra Madre Villa station in East Pasadena on July 26, 2003.
Following a new right-of-way, the Gold Line Eastside Extension extended the line east between Union Station and East Los Angeles, opening on November 15, 2009.
Phase 2A (the section between LA and Pasadena was Phase 1) of the Foothill Extension, running between Sierra Madre Villa station and APU/Citrus College station in Azusa, opened on March 5, 2016.
Main article: Regional Connector
The Regional Connector Transit Project constructed a 1.9-mile (3.1 km) light rail tunnel across Downtown Los Angeles that connected the L Line with the A and E lines. The project finally completed the late 1990s vision of the "Pasadena Blue Line," connecting the northern (Union Station–Azusa) segment of the L Line to the A Line (formerly the Blue Line), which runs between Los Angeles and Long Beach. The southern (Pico/Aliso–East LA) segment was combined with the previously existing E Line, which ran between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The new east–west line kept the E Line name but uses the L Line's gold color.
The at-grade Little Tokyo/Arts District station was demolished in 2020 and was rebuilt as a subway station approximately 500 feet (152 meters) south and on the opposite side of Alameda from its former location. Between 2020-2023, shuttles connected the two portions of the line.
The groundbreaking for constructing the Regional Connector took place on September 30, 2014, and it opened on June 16, 2023.
After the Regional Connector opened, the L Line became the first letter designation on the Los Angeles Metro Rail system to be permanently discontinued.
Main article: Foothill Extension
Phase 2B of the Foothill Extension, running between APU/Citrus College station in Azusa and the Pomona–North Metrolink station in Pomona, is currently under construction, with a current estimated completion date of 2026. This extension, like the original Gold Line to Pasadena, and the first phase of the Foothill Extension is being built by a specialized construction authority, independent of Metro. The original plan called for the extension to end at Montclair in San Bernardino County, but budget challenges forced the construction authority to cut the line back to Pomona.
When this project is completed, it will be served by the A Line.
Main article: Eastside Transit Corridor
Metro is planning an extension of the L Line's southern leg eastward from its current terminus at Atlantic station. The proposed line would travel south on Garfield Avenue to the Citadel Outlets in Commerce, then turn east on Washington Boulevard making stops in Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs and Whittier. The project is currently under environmental review, with a forecasted opening in 2035. When this project is completed, it will be served by the E Line.
The L Line was operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
The L Line fleet is stored and maintained and is operated at Division 21 and Division 24. Division 21 is located on Vin Scully Drive (Elysian Park Drive) just north of North Broadway, overlooking the Los Angeles River, and Division 24 is located south of the I-210 freeway in Monrovia.
As of April 2023, Division 11 and Division 14 have been added to the operations of the L Line. Division 11 is situated at the end of 208th Street between I-710 and the Los Angeles River in North Long Beach within the A Line. Division 14 is situated between Centinela Avenue and Stewart Street in Santa Monica within the E Line.
Main article: Los Angeles Metro Rail rolling stock
L Line trains are typically two-car trains off-peak. During peak hours on weekdays, some three-car trains run. On New Year's Day, the L Line uses three-car trains for service to the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl Game.
Like the A, C, E, and K lines, trains are composed of high-floor articulated light rail vehicles (LRVs). The AnsaldoBreda P2550, the Kinki Sharyo P3010, or the Siemens P2000 operated the line. The P2000 initially operated the line in 2003 until 2012 when the fleet was transferred to increase availability at the A Line yard for service as a result of the inauguration of the E Line. During testing of the Regional Connector, the P2000 returned to L Line service as a result of training operations for post–Regional Connector service. Rolling stock is now shared between the A and E Lines, which subsumed the trackage of the L Line.
The following noteworthy incidents have occurred on the L Line since opening.