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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / LA Metro board approves new light rail line

LA Metro board approves new light rail line

By | January 28, 2022

First phase of 19.3-mile, $8.5 billion project not expected to open until 2033

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Map of light rail line to be built in Los Angeles County
Map of light rail line to be built in Los Angeles County
The LA Metro board has approved construction of a new 19.3-mile light rail line in Southeast LA County. The board approved Alternative 3, shown in pink on this map, for the project’s first phase. (LA Metro)

LOS ANGELES — The LA Metro board of directors on Thursday approved construction of a 19.3-mile light rail line, following a former Pacific Electric route, to connect downtown Los Angeles to the southeast LA County city of Artesia.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports the new line, called the West Santa Ana Branch, will cost $8.5 billion and will be constructed in two phases. The first, of 14.8 miles, will run from Artesia to the Florence-Firestone area, where it will connect with the existing A (Blue) Line at the Slauson Avenue station; riders will then have to change trains to continue to downtown.

Metro staff had recommended ending the line at this point, but the Metro board voted that a second phase must be built to continue the line to L.A. Union Station, a 4.5-mile project that could include an underground segment, which would increase the cost.

The timeline for the project is a lengthy one: construction will not begin until 2023, with completion of the first phase estimated for 2033; the second phase would take at least another 10 years.

12 thoughts on “LA Metro board approves new light rail line

    1. Yes quite slow and actually 14.5 miles in 10 years and 19 in 10+. But on the other hand, at least LA is thinking ahead and acting on priorities.

      Another thought. Will light rail with continuous overhead catenary be obsolete by then if battery technology continues to advance. Indeed could battery powered bus right of way, with occasional catenary for recharging, shared by bicycles and pedestrians when no busses are around be preferred by then.

  1. Makes one wonder if the builders and operators of the Pacific Electric are laughing in their graves and saying we left you with a great system, yet you tore it up. Now look at the cost.

    1. When PE was built, most of LA County was farmland. It’s rather easier to build in open land than in a densely populated city.

      In addition, the whole POINT of PE (like the Key System and others) was to build trains to new “streetcar” suburbs which the PE’s sister companies were happy to sell you a house in (as long as you were white).

  2. Glad to see they’re expanding, albeit at a snail’s pace. I still think it’s crazy that for a city the size of LA they’re continuing on with Light Rail. Would make more sense to use heavy rail here.

    1. MILES – You bring up topic ….. are we seing all this light rail because no one wants to pay for the real thing? No one can afford what Washington and San Fran did a genenration and a half ago.

    2. One of the original alternatives for this route submitted as public comment was to make this line an extension of either the Red/Purple line subway. Presently these lines terminate in their yard SE of Union Station. The idea was to follow the LA River and parallel to Amtrak (i.e. east of the dashed orange line on the map) initially at grade to the Santa Monica Freeway, then elevated over Alameda St (the Orange line) and parallel to and with in the same right-of-way as the Blue Line, and finally either elevated, or at grade all all the way to Artesia. The rational was this abandoned in place R/W is all grade separated in the middle of the blocks. Trouble crossing the grid on a diagonal, most of it would have to be elevated. A larger map may be found here: https://www.metro.net/projects/west-santa-ana/

      PE’s Santa Ana branch line is also being reused for light rail in Orange County. The Orange County Streetcar will terminate in Garden Grove, southeast of Artesia, using about a mile of the R/W. There are no plans to connect them. Two projects built in two separate counties that historically don’t always cooperate with each other. Here is an overview from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OC_Streetcar#cite_note-45

    3. Can’t use heavy rail in the LA Basin. Passengers would get robbed of their stuff not unlike an Amazon container.

  3. Yes, those light rail cars have such hard, uncomfortable seats.
    Metro link seats provide a soft, cushy ride!
    But at the pace of their construction, many of us won’t live to see it.

  4. To put in perspective, completion of the new light rail line from downtown Los Angeles to the City of Artesia will be over a century after the release of the motion pictures “Casablanca”, “Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz”. The reward of not being born over a decade since those movies were made will be to see and ride the new line when completed.

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