Free Rail Zone
Portland Mall

Until the summer of 2009 all MAX light rail traffic in downtown Portland followed the original routing to and from Steel Bridge.  This took trains along NW and SW 1st Ave., and across city center westbound on SW Morrison St., and eastbound on SW Yamhill St. 

That changed with the opening of rail along Portland Mall.  The newer service crosses Morrison and Yamhill at right angles along SW 5th Ave. southbound, and SW 6th Ave., northbound, near Pioneer Courthouse Square and the heart of the shopping district.  Its rails carry two main MAX routes: the relocated center city portion of the Yellow Line to and from Expo Center; and the Green Line to and from Clackamas Town Center, new to the system that year.

After leaving Steel Bridge heading southbound, Mall rails curve briefly away toward the northwest and Union Station, and then curve again, sharply, to travel along NW and SW 5th Ave. for a run that encompasses six stations out to the campus of Portland State University.   Trains in the opposite direction travel one block further west through downtown, and also have six stations in downtown.

The Mall is a bit over one and one-half miles long.  The terminals, southbound and northbound, are within the Free Rail Zone.  This image shows the last station southbound, appearing on the block ahead, identified on maps as PSU Urban Center/SW 5th & Mill.  Trains then go out of service, as the nearer train has done, to continue further before looping over to SW 6th and then some blocks further, beginning the return journey. 

The rails crossing MAX toward the bottom of the scene belong to the Portland Streetcar, on its one-way routing toward downtown and Northwest Portland. 

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Next in Series: Pioneer Courthouse

The Next Big Thing Downtown Plans Laying Track Downtown
Tracks Cross Turnaround, Southern End Near Union Station
Union Station, 2009 Green Means Go Center City
Future Turnaround Union Station, 2008 Two Different Systems
SW 6th & Pine Steel Bridge Beyond Three Tracks
First Stop Inbound Autumn, Harrison Crossing Mill
From Steel Bridge Main Line Rails To Steel Bridge
Innermost Track No Service Streetcar Beyond
Three Runs Together Crossing Madison Autumn Leaves, City Hall
No Trains Downtown Lanes Crossing Over
Bank of the West Curve Ahead Blocks Near Union Station
In Downtown Skyscraper View Vintage Trolley, 2009
Downtown Shopping Area Powered by Orange Union Station and Train
On a Loop Track Portland State Toward Union Station
Crossing Market Banks and Low Clouds MAX Crossing
Downtown Map Vehicle Comparison City Hall Beyond
At Madison, Northbound Young Trees, Color Change Crossing Morrison
Dwelling in the Loop Jefferson Crossed Pioneer Place Crossing
Beginning a Turn Downgrade By SW Stark
Last Mall Stop North SW 6th & Pine Southbound at Washington