Expo Line (Los Angeles Metro)

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Metro Expo Line
LACMTA Circle Expo Line.svg
Expo Line train at Culver City Station platform looking east.
Expo Line train at Culver City Station platform
looking east.
Owner Metro Rail
Transit type Light rail
Line number 806
Number of stations Phase 1: 10 (in service)
Phase 2: 9 (under construction)
Daily ridership Phase 1: 27,155 (January 2014; ave. weekday)[1]
Phase 2: 64,000 (estimated 2030)[2]
Website BuildExpo
Began operation Phase 1: April 28, 2012; 23 months ago (2012-04-28)[2]
Operation will start Phase 2: 2015; 1 year's time (2015)[2] (approx.)
Operator(s) LAMetroLogo.svg Metro (LACMTA)
Character Mostly at-grade in private right-of-way, with some street-running, elevated, and trench sections.
Number of vehicles Phase 1: Siemens P2000,
Nippon Sharyo P865 and P2020
Phase 2: Kinkisharyo P3010
Train length 2–3 cars
System length 8.6 mi (13.8 km)[3] (Phase I only)
15.2 mi (24.5 km)[2] (Phases I & II)
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
(standard gauge)
Electrification 750 V DC overhead catenary
Top speed 55 mph (89 km/h)

The Expo Line is a light-rail line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City, with service to Santa Monica (Phase 2) planned to begin in 2015.[4] The line is named "Expo" as it follows Exposition Boulevard for most of its route. The first portion of Phase 1 of the Expo Line opened in April 2012;[5] the remaining two stations of Phase I opened on June 20, 2012.[6]

Hours of operation and headways[edit]

The Expo Line operates from approximately 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Maximum speed on the route is 55 mph (89 km/h). As of June 2013, trains run approximately every 12 minutes during the daytime, every 10 minutes during the evening, and every 20 minutes after midnight.[7]

Route of the Expo Line


Interior of a westbound train, first day of operation to Culver City

The line is being built in two phases; the first phase comprises the 8.6 miles (13.8 km)[2][5] section between Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City. Construction began in early 2006 and most stations opened to the public on April 28, 2012.[5] The Culver City and Farmdale stations opened on June 20, 2012.[5][6]

Design and construction on the 6.6 miles (10.6 km)[2] portion between Culver City and Santa Monica started in September 2011, with opening anticipated in 2015.[4]


Compatible with the rest of Metro's light-rail network, the Expo Line shares standard Metro light rail vehicles with the Blue Line. Metro estimates that it has 47 light rail cars to provide service on the Expo Line under the peak-hour assumption of 3-car trains running at 6-minute headways.[2]

Expo vehicles are currently maintained at the Blue Line's maintenance facility in Long Beach, California; however, a new yard is slated to open in the vicinity of the Olympic/26th Street Station in Santa Monica with the completion of phase 2 construction.


Steam railroad[edit]

The line was built in 1875 as the steam-powered Los Angeles and Independence Railroad to bring mining ore to ships in Santa Monica harbor and as a passenger excursion train to the beach—first independently and later after purchase by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1877. When the Santa Monica harbor closed to shipping traffic in 1909 the line was leased to Pacific Electric who converted it to electric traction.

Early electric service[edit]

By 1920 the line was known as the Santa Monica Air Line[8] providing electric-powered freight and passenger service between Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Service was discontinued in 1953 but the tracks continued to be used sporadically for diesel-powered freight deliveries to warehouses along the route until about 1989.[citation needed]


From 1989, Southern Pacific maintained ownership of the right-of-way, but no longer used or continued maintenance on the rails. Portions of the right-of-way were leased for use as storage facilities, parking lots, impound lots, and various businesses, but no permanent structures were built.

Community rescue[edit]

The abandonment of the line spurred concerns within the community to prevent the line from being sold off piecemeal, destroying one of the few remaining intact rail corridors within Los Angeles County. Advocacy groups including Friends 4 Expo Transit[9] supported the successful passage of Proposition C in 1990, which allowed the purchase of the entire right-of-way from Southern Pacific by Metro (LACTC).

Metro successfully lobbied the federal government to use the remainder of Red Line funding for a different project to the Mid-City district of Los Angeles in 1998. That same year Los Angeles County voters approved Proposition A, another sales tax increase for transit, allowing Metro access to additional funds for transit projects. Metro then released a Major Investment Study in 2000 which compared bus rapid transit and light rail transit options along what was now known as the "Mid-City/Exposition Corridor".[10]


  1. ^ "Ridership Statistics - Rail Ridership Estimates". LAMetroLogo.svg Metro (LACMTA). August 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Expo Line project fact sheet". LAMetroLogo.svg Metro (LACMTA). 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  3. ^ "Facts at a Glance". LAMetroLogo.svg Metro (LACMTA). Retrieved 2013-11-16. 
  4. ^ a b "Expo Line Phase 2 - About Expo Overview". BuildExpo.org. 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  5. ^ a b c d "L.A. Metro - Facts at a Glance". LAMetroLogo.svg Metro (LACMTA). June 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  6. ^ a b "Two more Expo Line stations to open June 20". L.A. Times. June 5, 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  7. ^ "Expo Line FAQ". The Source (LAMetroLogo.svg Metro (LACMTA)). April 2, 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-06. 
  8. ^ "Santa Monica Air Line". Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California. 
  9. ^ The Expo Line - Friends 4 Expo Transit Home Page
  10. ^ "Mid City Westside Transit Draft EIS/EIR: 1.0 History, purpose and need". LAMetroLogo.svg Metro (LACMTA). 

External links[edit]