MetroLink (St. Louis)

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MetroLink
St Louis MetroLink Logo.svg
St Louis Metrolink train.jpg
A MetroLink train leaving Union Station.
Overview
Locale St. Louis Metropolitan Area
Transit type Light rail
Number of lines 2
Number of stations 37[1]
Daily ridership 53,123 (FY 2013)[2]
Headquarters St. Louis, Missouri
Operation
Began operation July 31, 1993 (1993-07-31)[3]
Operator(s) Metro aka Bi-State Development Agency
Reporting marks BSDA
Number of vehicles 87
Train length 2 articulated vehicles
Headway 5 Minutes
Technical
System length 46 mi (74 km)[1]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Electrification Overhead lines, 750 V DC
Average speed 24.7 mph (40 km/h)
Top speed 65 mph (105 km/h)
St. Louis MetroLink System Map
MetroLink map Oct2008.svg

MetroLink (reporting mark BSDA) is the light rail transit system in the Greater St. Louis area of Missouri and the Metro East area of Illinois. The system consists of two lines (Red Line and Blue Line) connecting Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and Shrewsbury, MO with Scott Air Force Base near Shiloh, Illinois through downtown St. Louis. The system features 37 stations[1] and carries an average of 53,123 people each weekday.[2]

A second line, the "Cross-County Extension", known as the Blue Line, opened to the public August 26, 2006 (2006-08-26). This 8-mile (13 km), nine-station line connects Washington University, Clayton, the popular Saint Louis Galleria shopping center, and Shrewsbury to the system.[4] Further extensions are under study, but no alignments have yet been chosen, engineered, or funded.

MetroLink is operated by the Bi-State Development Agency, operating as Metro since 2003,[5] in a shared fare system with the MetroBus lines.

History[edit]

A view of the MetroLink system passing through Belleville, Illinois.

Construction on the initial MetroLink alignment from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to the 5th & Missouri station in East St. Louis began in 1990. The portion between North Hanley and 5th & Missouri stations opened in July 31, 1993 (1993-07-31),[3] and the line was extended westward to Lambert Airport Main station in 1994.[6] At that time another station, East Riverfront, was opened in East St. Louis.[7] Four years later, in 1998, the Lambert Airport East station was added.[8] The capital cost to build the initial phase of MetroLink was $465 million. Of that amount, $348 million was supplied by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).[9]

MetroLink exceeded pre-opening ridership estimates, but the system has expanded slowly. Construction on proposed extensions has been delayed by the increasing scarcity of FTA funds. As time has passed, an ever-greater share of the costs has been borne by state and local governments. The most recent work has been entirely funded by local dollars.

Construction on the St. Clair County MetroLink extension from the 5th & Missouri station to the College station in Belleville began in 1998 and opened in May 2001. The extension added eight new stations and seven park-ride lots. The total project cost was $339.2 million, with the FTA and St. Clair County Transit District sharing the burden at 72% ($243.9 million) and 28% ($95.2 million), respectively. Local funding was provided by the St. Clair County Transit District as a result of a 1/2 cent sales tax passed in November 1993.[9]

In May 2003, a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) extension from Southwestern Illinois College to Shiloh-Scott station opened. This $75 million project was funded by a $60 million grant from the Illinois FIRST (Fund for Infrastructure, Roads, Schools, and Transit) Program and $15 million from the St. Clair County Transit District.[9]

A westbound MetroLink train arrives at the Grand Station platform in midtown St. Louis.

The recent Cross-County Extension project was funded by a $430 million Metro bond issue. Metro cited repeated delays and cost overruns as its reasons for firing its general contractor in Summer 2004. The contractor, itself a coalition of four general contractors (Cross County Collaborative), in turn cited excessive change orders by Metro as the cause of the problems. After firing the general contractor, Metro functioned as its own general contractor on the project. Metro sued the Collaborative for $81 million for fraud and mismanagement. The Collaborative counter-sued for $17 million for work that Metrolink hadn't yet paid for. On December 1, 2007, the jury voted in favor of the Cross County Collaborative, awarding them $2.56 million for work as yet unpaid for.

The rail portion of the extension opened to the public August 26, 2006 (2006-08-26), and a parking garage at the Brentwood I-64 station opened on June 12, 2007 (2007-06-12). The garage parks 1000 cars where riders can park for free.

On October 27, 2008 (2008-10-27), Metro renamed the two MetroLink lines using color designations: the Lambert Airport branch was renamed to the Red Line; the Shrewsbury branch, the Blue Line. Service was also extended on the Blue Line from its former terminus at Emerson Park to Fairview Heights. All trains have a red or blue sign on the front that identify the train as a Red Line or Blue Line train, and all operators make station announcements identifying the Red Line or Blue Line.[10]

Chronology[edit]

Below is a chronological list of dates on which specific portions of the MetroLink system opened for service.

Date Event Stations Length
July 31, 1993 (1993-07-31) Line opens between North Hanley and 5th & Missouri 16 13.9 miles (22 km)
May 14, 1994 (1994-05-14) East Riverfront opens between existing stations 1
June 25, 1994 (1994-06-25) Extension to Lambert Airport Main opens 1 3.15 miles (5.1 km)
December 23, 1998 (1998-12-23) Lambert Airport East opens between existing stations 1
May 5, 2001 (2001-05-05) Extension to College opens 8 17.4 miles (28 km)
June 23, 2003 (2003-06-23) Extension to Shiloh-Scott opens 1 3.5 miles (6 km)
August 26, 2006 (2006-08-26) Extension to Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44 opens 9 7.5 miles (12 km)
Total 37 46 miles (74 km)

Rail lines[edit]

MetroLink map showing Red Line, Blue Line, and Purple (shared alignments).

Red Line[edit]

The main Metrolink alignment begins at Lambert St. Louis International Airport, making stops at the main and east terminals. It then proceeds through Kinloch before making a stop North Hanley in Bel-Ridge. It then makes two stops (UMSL North & South stations) at the University of Missouri St. Louis located in Normandy. Following that, it makes stops in Pagedale at St. Charles Rock Road and in Wellston, before crossing the county line at Skinker Boulevard; and making a stop at Delmar Boulevard, serving the popular Delmar Loop area that straddles the St. Louis/University City border. It meets up with the Blue Line at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere station. From this station on till the Fairview Heights station, it shares tracks with the Blue Line. The line is a total of 38 miles with 28 stations. For the rest of the Red Line, see "Shared alignment".

Blue Line[edit]

University City-Big Bend Station along the Blue Line, near Washington University.

The Blue Line starts in Shrewsbury just to the west of River des Peres. It crosses Interstate 44 and then continues northeast till the next 2 stations located in Maplewood, one at the Sunnen Industrial Complex, the other at Manchester Road. From there, it continues north to the Brentwood I-64 station located in Brentwood just south of Interstate 64. It then proceeds underneath Interstate 64, continuing to the Richmond Heights station in Richmond Heights. This station serves the popular St. Louis Galleria shopping center. Following that it proceeds to Clayton Central station in Clayton, serving the Central Business District of St. Louis County. From here, it continues in a tunnel right under Forest Park Parkway, making stops at Forsyth Boulevard and Big Bend Boulevard in University City, serving Washington University. It then makes a stop at Skinker Boulevard in St. Louis City, before meeting the Red Line at Forest Park DeBaliviere station. It is 24 miles long, with 24 stations. For the rest of the Blue Line, see "Shared alignment".

Shared alignment[edit]

The 1874-built Eads Bridge carries both MetroLink tracks across the Mississippi River between Missouri and Illinois on its lower rail deck, under the road.

Both MetroLink lines meet at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere station and continue for 14 more stations east on shared tracks until the Blue Line terminates at Fairview Heights.

From the Forest Park station, the trains continue to the Central West End station, serving the Barnes-Jewish Hospital complex and the popular Euclid Avenue shopping district. From there, it proceeds to the Grand station under the Grand Boulevard viaduct, which services the St. Louis University complex and hospital. The trains pass under the Jefferson Avenue viaduct before they enter the next station near Union Station, located underneath 18th Street just near the popular Union Station shopping mall. A short distance later, the trains stop at the Civic Center Station, with transfer to the Gateway Transportation Center and the Scottrade Center. The trains then continue to run parallel under the 14th Street and Tucker Boulevard viaducts to the elevated section of Interstate 64 till the Busch Stadium station, originally serving the old, and now the new Busch Stadium. The trains continue underground through a series of formerly-abandoned, but repurposed, railway tunnels, with stations at 8th & Pine streets, and the Convention Center under Washington Avenue and 6th Street, serving the Edward Jones Dome and Convention Center. It then makes stops on both sides of the Eads Bridge at Arch-Laclede's Landing station and at the East Riverfront station in East St. Louis, which serves the Casino Queen Gambling Casino & Hotel. From there, it runs at-grade from the 5th & Missouri station till the Fairview Heights station in Fairview Heights, IL. Here, the Blue line trains terminate, and the Red line trains continue till the line terminus at Shiloh-Scott AFB station at the gate to the base in Shiloh, Illinois.

Rolling stock[edit]

Interior of a MetroLink light-rail vehicle.

MetroLink operates a fleet of 87 light-rail vehicles composed of 31 SD-400 and 56 SD-460 vehicles. Each 90-foot (27 m), single articulated vehicle has 4 high platform doors per side and has a capacity of 72 seated and 106 standing passengers.[11][12] The cars are powered by an electric motor which gets its electricity from a catenary wire with a 750 volt supply.

Each car has an enclosed operator cab at each end. This allows the most flexible system for managing operations, but prevents travel between cars except at stations. Each car also has separate doors for station level and track level access. In normal operations the track level doors (equipped with stairs) are unused.

The system also has two different railroad yards along the line for the storage and maintenance of light-rail vehicles: Ewing Yard is located between the Grand and Union Station stops just west of downtown St. Louis; 29th Street Yard is located between the JJK and Washington Park stops in Illinois. On October 27, 2009, Metro had recently opened a paint booth facility on the Illinois railyard in East St. Louis, IL.

Brand-new Siemens SD-400 unit on the then-newly opened MetroLink system in 1993.

Roster information[edit]

Unit Type Year Built Quantity Numbers[13]
Siemens SD400 LRV 1991–1993 31 1001–1031
Siemens SD460 LRV 1999 10 2001–2010
Siemens SD460 LRV 2000 24 3001-3024
Siemens SD460 LRV 2004–2005 22 4001-4022

Fares[edit]

MetroLink uses a proof-of-payment system. Tickets can be purchased at ticket vending machines at the entrance to all stations and must be validated before boarding the train. Effective July 1, 2012 (2012-07-01), the fares are as follows:

  • 1 Ride Ticket-$2.25 (reduced fare-$1.10) (rail only)
  • 2 Hour Pass-$3.00 (reduced fare-$1.50) (unlimited use on Metrobus and Rail for 2 hours only)
  • 2 Hour Pass from Lambert Airport $4.00 (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)
  • One-Day Pass-$7.50 (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)
  • Weekly Pass-$25.00 (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)
  • Monthly Pass-$72.00 (reduced fare-$36.00) (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)
  • Semster Pass-$150.00 (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)

Reduced fares can be purchased by seniors ages 65+, people with disabilities, and children ages 5–12. Children under 5 ride free. Proof of age may be requested of all people riding with reduced fares. Other types of passes, such as a Semester Pass for full-time students are also available in addition to the fares listed above.[14]

A fare increase will go into effect on July 1, 2014, the beginning of the new fiscal year. One-rides will be $2.50. Weekly passes will be $27.00. Monthly passes will be $78.00. Semester passes will be $175.00.[15]

You can calculate how much your car transportation costs are and compare with MetroLink's costs at the following link: DumpthePump.

List of stations[edit]

Potential plans and extensions[edit]

The idea of MetroLink has been around for more than 20 years in the region. There have been plans and priorities that have been laid out for the region since 1989. These priorities are determined by a System Analysis for a region which is required by the federal government. The East-West Gateway Council of Governments conducted a System Analysis in 1989 in the St. Louis region and determined that there were three tiers of priorities for MetroLink expansion for the region.

  • Tier I - Cross County, St. Charles and St. Clair County, IL
  • Tier II - North County, South County and West County
  • Tier III - Southwest County and Madison County, IL

These extensions may increase the MetroLink light rail system with as much as 80 miles (130 km) of trackage.

Daniel Boone Corridor[edit]

Daniel Boone Corridor - Clayton to Westport
A study performed in 2000 recommended a new MetroLink line from Clayton, Missouri to Westport Plaza in Maryland Heights, Missouri. The 8–10-mile (13–16 km) line would run north from the Clayton station along the old Rock Island Railroad right-of-way paralleling I-170, then turn west to follow existing TRRA trackage to Page where the line would then follow Page Avenue to Westport Plaza.[16] This future alignment will add up to six stations between Clayton and Maryland Heights in the I-170-Page Corridor. Metro officials have suggested that this line could be the next MetroLink extension to be built.[17][18]
Phase II - Westport to Chesterfield
This 12-mile (19 km) extension is part of Phase II of the Daniel Boone Line to connect Westport Plaza to Chesterfield, Missouri in West County.

MetroNorth Corridor[edit]

MetroNorth Corridor - Clayton to Florissant
This 12-mile (19 km) extension project would extend the current Blue Line from Clayton to North County into Florissant. Like the Daniel Boone line, some of it will follow along the old Rock Island Railroad right-of-way paralleling I-170.

MetroSouth Corridor[edit]

MetroSouth Corridor - Shrewsbury to Butler Hill
This 12-mile (19 km) extension project would extend the current Blue Line from its terminus in Shrewsbury further into South County beyond I-270/I-255 to Butler Hill Road. An environmental impact study was completed in 2004; however, selection of a locally preferred alternative was deferred due to the lack of local funding sources as well as many other factors.[19]

NorthWest Connector[edit]

NorthWest Connector- Northside to Daniel Boone and North County
This future 6-mile (9.7 km) connector cuts off from the Northside Line in North St. Louis, passing over the Red Line to the future Daniel Boone and North County Line extensions.

NorthSide Corridor[edit]

NorthSide Corridor- Downtown to Goodfellow & I-70 to St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley
[20]

The 12-mile (19 km) extension starts north from Downtown St Louis further northwest to the Florissant Valley Community College. A study for this extension was completed in 2008 and a Locally Preferred Alternative selected.

SouthSide Corridor[edit]

SouthSide Corridor - Downtown to Bayless to Butler Hill
[21] The 9-or-17-mile (14 or 27 km) extension starts from Downtown to the south of St. Louis County to Bayless I-55. A study for this extension was completed in 2008 and a Locally Preferred Alternative selected. The Locally Preferred Alternative begins at the Multi-Modal Transit Center at 14th & Spruce Sts., continues south on 14th St. to Chouteau Ave., travelling west on Chouteau to Jefferson Ave., then travelling south on Jefferson to Meramec St., where it then follows a right-of-way on Interstate Highway 55 to a terminus at Bayless Ave.

St. Clair Extension[edit]

St. Clair Extension Phase 3 - Shiloh-Scott to MidAmerica Airport
This 5.3-mile (8.5 km) extension to MidAmerica Airport was originally part of the St. Clair County Extension Phase 2 project that extended MetroLink to Shiloh-Scott, but was separated into its own project by the Federal Transit Administration due to low ridership projections. Design work for this extension has been completed, but funding for construction has yet to be secured.[22] As of 2010 the plans for the MidAmerica extension have been removed from the Moving Transit Forward's 30-year plan, as they are no longer planning on completing the line since MidAmerica serves no passenger airlines.

Madison County Corridors[edit]

Madison County Corridors - East St. Louis to Alton or Edwardsville
A feasibility study was performed in 2005 to investigate the potential costs, ridership, and impacts of extending MetroLink into Madison County, Illinois. The recommended alignment options would extend MetroLink from the 5th & Missouri station in East St. Louis north to Madison, Illinois and potentially to Alton or Edwardsville 21–23 miles (34–37 km) away, though as of 2010, the Metro 30-year plan is suggesting commuter rail to Alton and the MetroLink extension would be to Edwardsville. No further studies have been performed nor any sources of funding identified.[23] In 1997, voters in Madison County rejected a half-cent sales tax proposal to fund a MetroLink extension.[18]

St. Charles Corridor[edit]

St. Charles Corridor - Lambert Airport to St. Charles
Possible plans to extend service 16–20 miles (26–32 km) northwestward into St. Charles County were abandoned after St. Charles County voters twice rejected a sales tax in 1996 to fund an extension. Five years later, as part of major service cuts, Metro eliminated its express line connecting Mid-Rivers Mall to the North Hanley MetroLink station, citing low ridership. This service was restored, with additional St. Charles County stops, as St. Charles Area Transit (SCAT). Public opinion polls have continued to show that St. Charles County's citizens would reject taxes for public transit. To this day, St. Charles County lacks any public transit system, except for the SCAT line.[24]

SouthWest Corridor[edit]

SouthWest Corridor - South St. Louis to Fenton
This 16–20-mile (26–32 km) extension to Fenton, Missouri in Southwest County is considered for study by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Procurement Information". Bi-State Development Agency (Metro). 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  2. ^ a b "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (FY 2013/FY2012)" (PDF). Bi-State Development Agency. November 22, 2013. p. 149. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "History - The 1990s - MetroLink". Bi-State Development Agency (Metro). 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  4. ^ "Metro Announces August 26 Grand Opening Date for Cross County MetroLink Extension" (PDF) (Press release). Metro. 7 August 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Bi-State Development Agency Adopts "Metro" As New Name" (PDF) (Press release). Metro. 2003-01-24. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  6. ^ Tipton, Virgil (1994-06-22). "Takeoff: MetroLink Opens Lambert Stop Saturday". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  7. ^ Goodrich, Robert (1994-04-27). "East St. Louis Starring in MetroLink". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  8. ^ "2nd MetroLink station opens at Lambert". St. Louis Business Journal. 1998-12-23. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  9. ^ "Service Changes Effective October 27, 2008" (PDF) (Press release). Metro. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  10. ^ "Siemens AG - Projects - Rolling Stock". Siemens AG. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  11. ^ "SD460 Light Rail Vehicle - St. Louis" (PDF). Siemens AG. Retrieved 2007-01-23. 
  12. ^ Modern Urban Rail Systems Bi-State Transit Info & Roster
  13. ^ "Fare Chart". Metro. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Metro Transit Fare Increase to be Implemented on July 1". Metro. May 23, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  15. ^ "MetroLink Planning - Daniel Boone". East-West Gateway. Retrieved 2007-06-01. [dead link]
  16. ^ Hilligand, Terry; Bryant, Tim (2008-07-29). "Commuters in St. Charles, Madison counties still waiting for the train". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  17. ^ a b Leiser, Ken (2008-10-30). "St. Louis County MetroLink expansion: West Port Ho!". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  18. ^ "East-West Gateway Board Defers Selection of MetroLink Alternative for Metro South Study Area". East-West Gateway. 3 November 2004. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  19. ^ "MetroLink Planning - Northside". East-West Gateway. Retrieved 2008-10-30. [dead link]
  20. ^ "MetroLink Planning - Southside". East-West Gateway. Retrieved 2008-10-30. [dead link]
  21. ^ Wolinsky, Julian (July 2002). "For St. Louis, a long-term strategy - St. Louis, MO's rail transit plan". Railway Age. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  22. ^ "MetroLink Planning - Madison County". East-West Gateway. Retrieved 2008-10-30. [dead link]
  23. ^ Leiser, Ken. "St. Charles County loves its cars despite gas prices." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 9, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

External images
Rapid Transit Systems – St. Louis Photographs of the MetroLink system.
Railroad Picture Archives: MetroLink – MetroLink photographs at Railroad Picture Archives.
Skips Railroad Depot MetroLink Photo Page

Coordinates: 38°37′32″N 90°13′15″W / 38.62565°N 90.22073°W / 38.62565; -90.22073