Four Routes Serving Three Counties

The Portland area features an extensive light rail system consisting of four routes, with more than fifty-two miles of unduplicated coverage.  The system is collectively referred to as MAX, and is operated by the agency commonly known as TriMet.

The original MAX route went between downtown Portland and the eastern suburb of Gresham.  This line started operation in 1986, fairly early in the era of North American light rail renaissance.  That route has since been expanded far to the west, and the entire through service is named the Blue Line.  Newer tracks branch off on the Eastside north to Expo Center (Yellow Line), and  to Portland Airport (Red Line).  In 2009 the Green Line began operation, also on the Eastside, but to the south, to Clackamas Town Center.  With system expansion that year, a second route began serving downtown, on a generally north-south alignment.  All four lines cross the Willamette River on the massive Steel Bridge. 

In and near center city there is also a modern-day version of a local streetcar line; it is under different ownership, and it is treated in a separate series on this website.

There follow in this series a large number of pages from all over the MAX system.  A bit more about the organization of the material is presented on the next page in the sequence.

In this photo a westbound Blue Line train is passing along narrow, tree-rich SW Morrison St. in downtown Portland.  It is just about to cross the southbound Portland Streetcar track.  The curving rails in the foreground have served as leads to a center city turnaround area at various times during the history of MAX.  These tracks are not currently used by any regular service.