Southeast/Purple Line (METRORail)

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  Southeast / Purple Line
Type Light rail/Streetcar[1]
System METRORail
Status Under construction
Locale Houston, Texas
Termini Smith Station (north)
Palm Center Station (south)
Stations 11
Opening April 2015 (planned)[2]
Operator(s) METRO
Character Street running downtown, exclusive right-of-way elsewhere
Line length 6.1 mi (10 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Overhead cantenary
Highest elevation At-grade with city streets

The Southeast/Purple Line[3] is an under construction 6.1-mile (9.8 km) METRORail light rail/streetcar[1] route that will be designed, constructed, and operated by METRO in Houston, Texas. The line is currently undergoing testing, and is expected to open in April 2015.[2][4]


The Southeast Line begins at its northern terminus at Smith Street with split tracks on Capitol and Rusk Streets.[3] The northbound track will run along Capitol Street in downtown, while its southbound counterpart will run down Rusk Street. Both of these downtown sections involve street running in mixed traffic like a traditional streetcar line.[1] Four of the line's stations will be in downtown with stops at Smith, Main, Fannin, and Crawford. Transfers to the Red Line will occur at the Fannin Station. Before crossing US 59 the 2 tracks converge to run together on Texas into the East End where it and the East End/Green Line diverge after Bastrop Station, which has access to the BBVA Compass Stadium where the soccer team; Houston Dynamo play.

From here, the line continues southward towards the next stop at Leeland. Traveling south on Scott Street leads to the next stop, which will be at the intersection of Elgin Street—providing access and transfers to the University/Blue Line. The next stop at Cleburne will provide access to the University of Houston and Texas Southern University. The route then takes a southeastern turn onto Wheeler to the UH South/University Oaks Station, which also provides access to the University of Houston. Turning onto Martin Luther King Drive, the route will head to the MacGregor Park Station. Another southeastern turn onto Griggs leads to the line's southern terminus, the Palm Center Station. From here the tracks continue a short distance further into a planned storage facility for the METRORail trains.


Construction began July 2009.[5] On December 8, 2011, the FTA announced the award of a $450 million grant from the New Starts transit program to fund construction of the Southeast line.[6] Phase I construction was due to be completed by Spring 2011, with Phase II construction finishing by Fall 2013,[7] and a planned opening for 2013 or 2014. By fall 2010, it became clear that a late 2013 opening was impossible, and the line would not open until late 2014.[8]

The construction was temporarily halted in the summer of 2012, when the University of Houston opposed the line's initial route around the campus, though the dispute was soon settled.[9][10]

Problems with non-MetroRAIL construction projects downtown, as well as with the axle-counters used to regulate light rail traffic, subsequently pushed back the opening of the line to April 2015.[2]


The following is a list of planned stations for the Southeast Line, listed in order from north to south:[11]

Southeast/Purple Line
Theater District
Central Station Main*
Convention District
Leeland/Third Ward
Elgin/Third Ward***
UH South/University Oaks
MacGregor Park/MLK
Palm Center Transit Center

*Note: Station shared with Red Line to provide transfers between the two lines

**Note: Station shared with East End/Green Line to provide transfers between the two lines

***Note: Station shared with University/Blue Line to provide transfers between the two lines


A possible expansion for the Southeast Line would allow it to head east onto Griggs Road and into the Gulfbank area. From there it would head south to William P. Hobby Airport.[12]

Impact on students[edit]

The light rail route is expected to benefit students of the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, by giving students (especially those without transportation) access to Houston's attractions and Downtown restaurants and nightlife. METRO expects college students to be the biggest rider demographic for the Southeast line.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Station Guide Downtown" (pdf). METRORail. March 7, 2014. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 2014-07-24. 
  2. ^ a b c "Construction Issues Prompt New April 2015 Rail Opening Date" (Press release). Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro). September 25, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  3. ^ a b "Southeast Line". METRORail. Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  4. ^ Begley, Dug (September 17, 2014). "More trouble for rail lines as opening pushed to next year". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Newspapers, LLC.). Retrieved 2015-01-14. 
  5. ^ Retrieved 2009-01-16.[dead link]
  6. ^ "900m awarded to extend Houston's light rail system". December 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-08. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Construction Schedule". METRORail. Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  8. ^ "Rail Lines Will Not Meet Oct. 2013 Deadline". KRIV (FOX 26 Houston). September 9, 2010. Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  9. ^ Bell, Nick (August 27, 2012). "Metro rail blurs line between city and campus". The Cougar (University of Houston). Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  10. ^ Mellon, Ericka (July 31, 2012). "UH, Metro come to terms on rail line route". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Newspapers, LLC.). Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  11. ^ "Southeast Line [map]" (PDF). METRORail. March 27, 2012. Retrieved 2015-01-15. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Rhor, Monica (June 30, 2012). "UH, TSU envision a boost from new light rail lines". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Newspapers, LLC.). Retrieved 2015-01-15. 

External links[edit]