LA Regional Connector opens to re-organise city’s light rail
Posted on 19th June 2023 at 10:36
At 04.00 on 16 June Los Angeles Metro opened its Regional Connector, a 1.9-mile (3.1km) subway under the city centre to bring together light rail lines serving four suburban corridors. There were opening ceremonies at Little Tokyo at 10.00 and free rides all weekend. A, E and L lines were replaced by new A (Blue) and E (Gold) lines to provide through services from Long Beach to Azusa (A) and Santa Monica to East LA (E). Both run every 12 minutes at peaks and every 20 minutes off-peak, though Metro hopes to improve the headways if a driver shortage can be overcome.
The 49.5-mile (79.2km) Line A has an end-to-end running time of 1h 57m, and the 22.5-mile (36km) E 1h 9m. Metro claims the A line as the world’s longest light rail line, surpassing the Belgian coastal tramway (67km). The new subway has three stations: Grand Ave Arts/Bunker Hill, Historic Broadway and Little Tokyo/Arts District, the latter replacing a surface stop on the former Gold Line. Broadway station features a 148-feet mosaic paying homage to the Red Cars (Pacific Electric interurbans) whose abandoned rights-of-way are largely used by the new light rail lines. There are grand scale works of art at the other new stations as well.
The USD 1.8bn project is two years late and USD 335M over budget. The federal government provided USD 870M in New Start funds and USD 160M in infrastructure loans. It is crucial to Metro’s plan to expand light rail service in advance of the 2028 Olympic Games. The Connector was first studied in 1992-1993.The draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project was published in September 2010 and the ground-breaking ceremony for construction took place on 30 September 2014. Testing started on 9 April 2023.
Los Angeles introduced light rail for the modern era on 14 July 1990 on the 19.1-mile (30.6km) Long Beach line and the system has since expanded to 86.3 miles (138.1km) prior to the opening of the new subway. Annual patronage is around 53.3M, carried on 337 LRVs, with Kinki Sharyo delivering the latest batch of 235 in 2016-2022. The city has also built a heavy rapid transit metro from Union Station (interchange with light rail) to North Hollywood and Wilshire/Western (21.1 miles/33.8km) opened from 1993 and now lines B and D (Red/Purple).
The Regional Connector is shown as theBlue and Gold lines; red and purple is the metro. (LACMTA)
Tagged as: Los Angeles, Metro
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