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: 12 (in service)
Phase 2: 7 (under construction)
Daily ridership Phase 1: 31,710 (July 2014; avg. weekday)[1]
Phase 2: 64,000 (estimated 2030)[2]
Website BuildExpo
Began operation Phase 1: April 28, 2012; 3 years ago (2012-04-28)[2]
Operation will start Phase 2: 2016 (expected.)
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: Kinki Sharyo 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)
System map
Tail Tracks
7th St./Metro Center
Flower St.
Blue Line to Long Beach
Washington Bl.
LATTC/Ortho Institute
Flower St. trench
Figueroa Tunnel
Exposition Bl. trench
Expo Park/USC
Arlington Av.
7th Av.
11th Av./Degnan Bl.
Buckingham Rd.
La Brea
Hauser Bl.
La Cienega
Jefferson Bl.
Ballona Creek/
City of Culver City
National Bl.
Washington Bl.
Culver City
End Phase 1
Venice Bl.
City of Los Angeles
Bagley Av.
National Bl.
Motor Av.
Northvale trench
Overland Av.
Westwood Bl.
Military Av.
Sawtelle Bl.
Pico Bl.
Gateway Bl.
Barrington Av.
City of Santa Monica
Centinela Av.
Maintenance facility
Stewart St.
26th St.
Cloverfield Bl.
Olympic Bl.
20th St.
19th St.
14th St.
11th St.
Lincoln Blvd.
7th St.
5th St.
Downtown Santa Monica

The Expo Line is a light-rail line that currently runs between Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City. An extension that will provide service westward to Santa Monica is scheduled to open in 2016. The line is named "Expo" after Exposition Boulevard, which it runs alongside for most of its route. It is one of the six lines in the Metro Rail system, and is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

The Expo Line largely follows the right-of-way of the Santa Monica Air Line, which ceased operation in 1953. Several Expo Line stations are built in the same location as Air Line stations, although no original station structures have been reused.

Service description[edit]

Route of the Expo Line


An independent agency, the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority, was given the authority to plan, design, and construct the line by state law in 2003. After construction is complete, the line will be handed over to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for operation.[4]

The line is being built in two phases; the first phase comprises the 8.6-mile (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-mile (10.6 km)[2] portion between Culver City and Santa Monica started in September 2011, with opening anticipated in early 2016.[7] Testing along the phase 2 segment began on April 6, 2015.[8]

Hours of operation[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.[9]


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.[9][10][11]


Maximum speed on the route is 55 mph (89 km/h), though it generally runs much slower than this.[12]


Train in downtown Santa Monica, 1894

Steam railroad[edit]

The line was first built in 1875[13] 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 called the Santa Monica Air Line[14] providing electric-powered freight and passenger service between Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Electrically-powered passenger service stopped in 1953 but diesel-powered freight deliveries to warehouses along the route continued until March 11, 1988.[15]


While Southern Pacific maintained ownership of the right-of-way after 1988, it no longer used or maintained 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[16] 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".[17] Construction began in August 2010.[18]


Metro conducted study on the Expo Phase 2 from 2007 to 2009 and approved the project in 2010. The project is expected to be open to Santa Monica in early 2016. The Expo Construction Authority officially handed over control of the Expo Phase II track to L.A. Metro for the county transit agency to begin pre-revenue service on January 15, 2016.[19]

Proposed developments[edit]

Regional Connector Transit Corridor[edit]

The Regional Connector Transit Corridor (also known as the Regional Connector, Downtown Connector or Downtown Light-Rail Connector) is an under-construction light-rail subway corridor through Downtown Los Angeles that is to connect the current Blue and Expo Lines to the current Gold Line, and to allow a seamless one-seat ride between the Blue and Expo lines' current 7th Street/Metro Center terminus and Union Station.[20]

Once the Regional Connector Transit Corridor is completed, the Eastside leg of the Gold Line will be connected to the Expo Line, which by that time will be running between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. At the same time, the northern leg of the Gold Line through the San Gabriel Valley will be joined with the current Blue Line connecting Downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach, creating what will be the longest light-rail transit line in the United States. Names and/or colors for these new lines have not yet been officially announced, but it seems likely that the current Expo Line-eastern leg of the Gold Line will become the new Gold Line, and the Blue Line-northern leg of the Gold Line will become the new Blue Line.[21] Under a proposed system in which each Metro rail and BRT line would be assigned a letter and a color, the current Expo Line and the southern leg of the current Gold Line would be combined into the gold-colored Line E, retaining elements of the identities of both current lines.[22][23] The groundbreaking for the construction of the Regional Connector Transit Corridor took place on September 30, 2014, and the alignment is expected to be in public service by early 2020.[24]

Station listing[edit]


Metro Expo Line heading westbound to Jefferson/La Cienega Station leaves Expo/Crenshaw Station.
Interior of a westbound train, first day of operation to Culver City

The following is the complete list of stations from Downtown Los Angeles traveling west.[25]

Station Connections/Notes Date opened City/Neighborhood
7th Street/Metro Center  Red Line Metro Red Line
 Purple Line Metro Purple Line
 Blue Line Metro Blue Line
 Silver Line Metro Silver Line
Metro Local: 14, 16, 18, 20, 37, 51, 52, 53, 55, 57, 60, 62, 66, 70, 71, 75, 76, 78, 79, 81, 96, 316, 352, 355, 357, 378
Metro Express: 442*, 450*, 460, 487, 489
Metro Rapid: 720, 760, 770
Antelope Valley Transit Authority: 785*
City of Santa Clarita Transit: 799*
Foothill Transit: 481*, 493*, 497*, 498*, 499*, 699*, Silver Streak
LADOT Commuter Express*: 409, 422, 423, 430, 431, 437, 438, 448, 534
LADOT DASH: A, B, C (weekdays only), DD (weekends only), E, F
Montebello Transit: 40, 50, 341*, 342*
Orange County Transportation Authority: 701*, 721*
Santa Monica Transit: 10
Torrance Transit: 4*

"*:Indicates commuter service that operates only during weekday rush hours.

February 15, 1991 Downtown Los Angeles
Pico  Blue Line Metro Blue Line
 Silver Line Metro Silver Line
Metro Local: 30, 57, 81, 330, 357, 442, 460
LADOT Commuter Express: 419, 422, 423, 438, 448
July 14, 1990
LATTC/Ortho Institute  Silver Line Metro Silver Line
Metro Local: 37, 55, 81, 355, 442, 460
Metro Express: 450, 460
LADOT DASH: D, F, King-East
Torrance Transit: 4
April 28, 2012 Los Angeles
(North University Park)
Jefferson/USC Metro Local: 38, 81, 102, 200
Metro Express: 442
LADOT DASH: F, King-East
April 28, 2012
Expo Park/USC Metro Local: 81, 102, 200
Metro Express: 442, 550
LADOT DASH: F, Southeast
April 28, 2012 Los Angeles
(Exposition Park)
Expo/Vermont Metro Local: 102, 204
Metro Rapid: 754
Metro Express: 550
LADOT DASH: F, Southeast
April 28, 2012
Expo/Western Metro Local: 102, 207
Metro Rapid: 757
April 28, 2012
Expo/Crenshaw Metro Local: 210
Metro Rapid: 710, 740
April 28, 2012 Los Angeles
(Jefferson Park)
Farmdale Metro Local: 38 June 20, 2012 Los Angeles
(Baldwin Hills)
Expo/La Brea Metro Local: 38, 212, 312
April 28, 2012
La Cienega/Jefferson Metro Local: 38, 105, 217
Metro Rapid: 705
Culver CityBus: 4
"TheLink": Baldwin Hills Parklands Shuttle
April 28, 2012
Culver City Metro Local: 33, 220
Metro Rapid: 733
Metro Express: 534
Culver CityBus: 1, 5, 7
Santa Monica Big Blue Bus: 5, 6, 12, Rapid 12, Rapid 20
June 20, 2012 Culver City


The following stations of Expo Phase 2 are under construction and expected to be operational in early 2016:[26]

Station City/Neighorhood
Palms Los Angeles (Palms)
Westwood/Rancho Park Los Angeles (Rancho Park)
Expo/Sepulveda Los Angeles (West Los Angeles)
26th Street/Bergamot Santa Monica
17th Street/Santa Monica College
Downtown Santa Monica


Maintenance facilities[edit]

The light rail vehicles used on the Expo Line are maintained at the division 11 yard in Long Beach, California, the same maintenance facility that is used by the Blue Line. However, the new division 14 yard, located east of Stewart Street and north of Exposition Boulevard[27][28] in the vicinity of the 26th Street/Bergamot station in Santa Monica, is slated to open with the completion of Phase 2.

Rolling stock[edit]

Compatible with the rest of Metro's light-rail network, the Expo Line shares standard Metro light rail vehicles (Nippon Sharyo P865 and P2020, and Siemens P2000) 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.

Upon completion of Phase 2, it is expected that new P3010 light rail vehicles (LRVs) from Kinki Sharyo,[29] that were ordered by the L.A. Metro board of directors in 2012,[30] will begin operation, replacing the current LRVs in operation on the Expo Line. The opening of extensions of the Expo and Gold lines may be delayed, due to lacking enough new railcars from Kinki Sharyo for operations.[31]


The Expo Line Bikeway parallels the route of the light rail line, and includes a mixture of bike lanes on Exposition Boulevard and off-street paths alongside the rail tracks.[32]


  1. ^ "Ridership Statistics - Rail Ridership Estimates". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. August 20, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Expo Line project fact sheet" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Facts at a Glance". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ "About Expo Overview". BuildExpo. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "L.A. Metro - Facts at a Glance". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Two more Expo Line stations to open June 20". Los Angeles Times. June 5, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2013. 
  7. ^ Zeller, Heidi (March 30, 2015). "Art for the Expo Line: installation at Expo/Sepulveda Station". The Source. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  8. ^ Nunez, Jennifer (April 9, 2015). "Testing begins on LA Expo Line phase 2". International Railway Journal. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Expo line timetable" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 23, 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Bus and Rail System (map)" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. December 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Expo Line FAQ". The Source (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority). April 2, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2013. 
  12. ^ Hymon, Steve (November 22, 2011). "Our first ride on the Expo Line". The Source. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  13. ^ “First Train of the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad”. Volume 5, Number 20. © Los Angeles Herald, 1875. Newspaper. Los Angeles Herald. October 19, 1875.
  14. ^ "Santa Monica Air Line". Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California. 
  15. ^ Morgenthaler, Anne (March 14, 1988). "End of the Line: The last train out of SM blows a final whistle". Santa Monica Outlook. 
  16. ^ "The Expo Line". friends4expo.org. 
  17. ^ "Mid City Westside Transit Draft EIS/EIR: 1.0 History, purpose and need" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 
  18. ^ Nelson, Laura J. (December 16, 2013). "Residents living near Expo Line stations reduce car use, study shows". Los Angeles Times. 
  19. ^ "Metro Takes Control of Expo Line to Begin Pre-Revenue Service | Santa Monica Next". www.santamonicanext.org. Retrieved January 29, 2016. 
  20. ^ "Regional Connector Transit Corridor (project website)". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. March 19, 2015. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Regional Connector Transit Project" (PDF). Metro. April 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  22. ^ "PowerPoint: Metro staff proposal to rename rail and BRT lines". TheSource. Steve Hymon. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  23. ^ "LA Metro Could Switch Rail Line Names From Colors To Letters". Curbed Los Angeles. Curbed Staff. Retrieved April 3, 2015. 
  24. ^ Hymon, Steve (September 30, 2014). "Ground is broken for Regional Connector project to link Blue, Expo and Gold Lines". The Source (Metro). Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Metro Expo Line Timetable" (PDF). Metro. June 19, 2014. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Metro Rail Exposition Corridor Phase 2" (PDF). Metro. January 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Construction Overview". Build Expo. 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  28. ^ Hymon, Steve (March 21, 2012). "Expo Line maintenance facility". The Source. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Retrieved March 31, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Light rail vehicle procurement" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. June 17, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Special Board Meeting April 30, 2012 - Subject: Light Rail Vehicle Procurement" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. April 30, 2012. Retrieved April 20, 2014. 
  31. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (November 3, 2014). "Gold Line, Expo Line extensions may sit idle waiting on rail cars to carry passengers". San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  32. ^ Kavanagh, Gary (December 2013). "State of Expo Phase II Bikeway Corridor, & the Biggest Remaining Concerns". Santa Monica Next. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 

External links[edit]