|Other name(s)||Gold Line (2003–2020)|
|Owner||Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority|
|System||Los Angeles Metro Rail|
|Depot(s)||Division 21 (Elysian Park)|
Division 24 (Monrovia)
|Rolling stock||AnsaldoBreda P2550 or Kinki Sharyo P3010 running in 2 or 3 car consists|
|Ridership||4,999,638 (2021) -26.3%|
|Opened||July 26, 2003|
|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||65 mph (105 km/h) (max.)|
The L Line (formerly the Gold Line before 2020) is a 31-mile (50 km) light rail line running from Azusa to East Los Angeles via Downtown Los Angeles serving several attractions, including Little Tokyo, Union Station, the Southwest Museum, Chinatown and the shops of Old Pasadena. The line, which is one of six in the Metro Rail system, entered service in 2003 and is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). The L Line serves 26 stations (including two underground stations).
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 in 2022. At that point, the L Line will cease 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. Bus shuttles connect the two portions of the line.
Beginning in East Los Angeles, the L Line initially runs west toward Downtown Los Angeles. From its southern terminus at Atlantic, the line travels west along 3rd Street to Indiana Street, where it turns north for two blocks to 1st Street. From here, the line continues west to Little Tokyo, partly through a tunnel under Boyle Heights with two underground stations. At Alameda Street in Little Tokyo, the line turns north and crosses over the Hollywood Freeway, and stops at Union Station on tracks 1 and 2. At Union Station, riders can connect with the Metro B and Metro D subway lines, the Metro J bus rapid transit line as well as several other transit bus lines, Metrolink regional commuter trains, and Amtrak services including the Pacific Surfliner regional route and long distance interstate trains.
From Union Station, the L Line proceeds north on a elevated viaduct to Chinatown and then crosses the Los Angeles River adjacent to the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5). From here, the route continues north/northeast, serving the hillside communities north of downtown, including Lincoln Heights, Mount Washington and Highland Park. Through this stretch, the L Line operates primarily at grade, except for a short underpass below Figueroa Street.
North of Highland Park, the route crosses over the Arroyo Seco Parkway (State Route 110). The route continues through South Pasadena and then downtown Pasadena, primarily at-grade. In Old Pasadena, the line travels underground for almost half a mile long, passing under Pasadena's main thoroughfare, Colorado Boulevard. (Memorial Park station, just north of Colorado Boulevard, is below grade.) Then, the L Line enters the median of the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) and continues east to Sierra Madre Villa station, in Pasadena just west of the Arcadia city limits.
East of Pasadena, the route crosses over the eastbound lanes of Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) west of Santa Anita Avenue, with stops at the Arcadia Station, located at the corner of First Avenue and Santa Clara Street, then it crosses over Huntington Drive and stops at the Monrovia Station, north of Duarte Road at Myrtle Avenue. It continues eastbound with a stop at the Duarte/City of Hope Station located at the north side of Duarte Road, across the street from the City of Hope Medical Center, then continues going over the San Gabriel River and stops at the Irwindale Station at Irwindale Avenue, continues over the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) over Foothill Boulevard and stops at the Azusa Station at Azusa Avenue, north of Foothill Boulevard, and its terminus is at the APU/Citrus College Station just west of Citrus Avenue.
L Line service hours are approximately from 5:00 AM until 12:15 AM daily. Monday through Friday, trains on the L Line operate every 10 minutes during peak hours, every 12 minutes during the midday hours, and every 20 minutes into the evening. During the weekends, trains operate every 12 minutes most of the day, but every 20 minutes in the early morning and evening hours.
The L Line trains travel at a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour (89 km/h). It takes 73 minutes to travel its 31-mile (50 km) length, at an average speed of 26.2 mph (42 km/h) over its length. The L Line is 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 current stations of the L Line, from south to north.
|Temporary shuttle bus stop|
|Station||Date opened||City/Neighborhood||Major connections and notes|
|Atlantic||November 15, 2009||East Los Angeles||Park and ride: 289 spaces|
|East LA Civic Center|
|Indiana||Park and ride: 42 spaces|
|Soto||Los Angeles (Boyle Heights)|
|Pico/Aliso||Temporary northern terminus of rail service|
|↓ Section Closed (Bus Bridge) ↓|
|1st/Marquez||Los Angeles (Boyle Heights)|
|1st/Vignes||Los Angeles (Arts District)|
|Little Tokyo/Arts District †||November 15, 2009||Los Angeles (Little Tokyo/Arts District)||Station closed on October 24, 2020|
|1st/San Pedro||Los Angeles (Little Tokyo)|
|Patsaouras Transit Plaza (Union Station)||Los Angeles (Downtown)|| |
Amtrak, LAX FlyAway and Metrolink
|↑ Section Closed (Bus Bridge) ↑|
|Union Station||July 26, 2003||Los Angeles (Downtown)||Temporary southern terminus of rail service|
Amtrak, LAX FlyAway and Metrolink
Paid parking: 3,000 spaces
|Chinatown||Los Angeles (Chinatown)|
|Lincoln/Cypress||Los Angeles (Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park)||Park and ride: 94 spaces|
|Heritage Square||Los Angeles (Montecito Heights)||Park and ride: 129 spaces|
|Southwest Museum||Los Angeles (Mount Washington)|
|Highland Park||Los Angeles (Highland Park)|
|South Pasadena||South Pasadena||Park and ride: 142 spaces|
|Fillmore||Pasadena||Park and ride: 155 spaces|
|Del Mar||Park and ride: 610 spaces|
|Lake||Park and ride: 22 spaces|
|Sierra Madre Villa||Park and ride: 965 spaces|
|Arcadia||March 5, 2016||Arcadia||Park and ride: 300 spaces|
|Monrovia||Monrovia||Park and ride: 350 spaces|
|Duarte/City of Hope||Duarte||Park and ride: 125 spaces|
|Irwindale||Irwindale||Park and ride: 350 spaces|
|Azusa Downtown||Azusa||Park and ride: 521 spaces|
|APU/Citrus College||Park and ride: 200 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 now renamed Gold Line, between Union Station and Sierra Madre Villa station in East Pasadena, opened July 26, 2003.
The Gold Line Eastside Extension, following a new right-of-way, extended the line east between Union Station and East Los Angeles, opened on November 15, 2009.
Phase 2A (LA–Pasadena was Phase 1) of the Gold Line Foothill Extension, running between Sierra Madre Villa station and APU/Citrus College station in Azusa, opened on March 5, 2016.
Main article: Regional Connector
Metro is currently constructing the Regional Connector, a light rail subway tunnel across Downtown Los Angeles that will connect the A, E, and L Lines. The project will finally complete 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 will be combined with the current E Line which runs between Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The new east-west line will keep the E Line name but use the L Line's gold color icon.
The at-grade Little Tokyo/Arts District station was demolished in 2020 and is being rebuilt as a subway station approximately 500 feet south and on the opposite side of Alameda from its former location.
The groundbreaking for the construction of the Regional Connector took place on September 30, 2014 and it is expected to be in service by 2022.
Main article: Gold Line Foothill Extension
Phase 2B of the Gold Line 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 in environmental review, with a forecasted opening in 2035.
The L Line fleet is stored and maintained 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.
Main article: Los Angeles Metro Rail rolling stock
L Line trains are typically two-car trains. 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.
Trains are composed of high-floor articulated light rail vehicles (LRVs) either the AnsaldoBreda P2550 or the Kinki Sharyo P3010. The line originally operated with Siemens P2000 LRVs, but they were transferred to the A Line and E Line in April 2012. Once the Regional Connector is open, all of Metro's LRV fleet will be used on the line.
The following noteworthy incidents have occurred on the L Line since opening.
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