Three Distinct Lines

The L.A. area features three very distinct light rail lines, each with a color name.  The Blue Line is the oldest, and goes from downtown Los Angeles south to Long Beach.  The Green Line runs generally east-west between Redondo Beach and Norwalk, keeping far away from center city L.A.  And the newest, the Gold Line, runs from Pasadena into downtown Los Angeles and then to East Los Angeles.

The Blue Line dates to the early 1990s.  It operates over a 22-mile route, starting with a short subway downtown.  Its single center city station, 7th St./Metro Center, is a transfer point with Metro's Red and Purple heavy rail lines.  A significant portion of the route is constructed along the right of way of the long-gone Pacific Electric interurban to Long Beach.   

The Green Line runs about 20 miles, much of it in the median of a major freeway.   It's a route that some have said goes essentially from nowhere to nowhere, but is doing a decent business these days.  Blue and Green Lines intersect on separate levels at the Imperial/Wilmington transfer point, near Watts. 

The Gold Line, almost 20 miles long, began service in 2003 on its original segment between Pasadena and Union Station.  That opening was earlier than originally scheduled, and its cost, under budget.  It uses in large part former Santa Fe right of way to twist into Pasadena.  In late 2009 an extension took it from its former downtown L.A. terminal into Eastside neighborhoods and communities.

A fourth route, the Expo Line, is under construction.  It will carry passengers to and from Culver City starting in 2010.  The L.A. area, with some major transit missteps and fiascos along the way, is still expanding its diverse rail systems, with planning in various stages for additional extensions.

The view on this page shows a Long Beach-bound Blue Line train by the Pico station,  at the fringes of downtown, shortly after it has left the subway portal.