METRORail Red Line

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Red Line
METRO Light Rail3.jpg
TypeLight rail
LocaleHouston, Texas
TerminiNorthline Transit Center Station (north)
Fannin South (south)
OpenedJanuary 1, 2004
Expanded on December 21, 2013[1]
Line length12.8 mi (20.6 km)[3]
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrificationoverhead cantenary
Highest elevationAt-grade with two elevated sections[2]
Route map

Northline Transit Center/HCC Bus interchange
Melbourne/North Lindale
I-610 (North Loop East)
Lindale Park
Moody Park
Fulton/North Central
Quitman/Near Northside
Burnett Transit Center Bus interchange
Central Station Main
Main Street Square
Downtown Transit Center Bus interchange
Wheeler Bus interchange
Museum District
Hermann Park/Rice University
Memorial Hermann Hospital/
Houston Zoo
Texas Medical Center
Transit Center
Bus interchange
Smith Lands
Stadium Park/Astrodome
I-610 (South Loop West)
Fannin South Parking

The Red Line is one of three light rail routes on the METRORail network operated by METRO in Houston, Texas. It is the oldest line in the METRORail system, with the first 7.5-mile (12.1 km) section of the line between Fannin South and UH–Downtown opening on January 1, 2004.

Construction on a 5.3-mile (8.5 km) extension to the north[4] began July 2009, and was expected to continue until 2014,[5] though the opening date was later pushed back to 2015.[6] 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 Red Line.[6][7] Better than expected construction progress eventually led to the new line opening ahead of schedule on December 21, 2013.[1]


The approximately 12.8-mile (20.6 km)[3][8] Red Line runs through the heart of the historic North Side, a storied neighborhood rooted in rail that came into being with the expansion, in the 1880s, of the Hardy Rail Line.


UH–Downtown, the northern terminus of the line for nearly 10 years

Starting at Fannin South, the Red Line travels parallel to Fannin Street, crossing under I-610, until it shifts onto Greenbriar Drive. It turns onto South Braeswood Boulevard briefly before returning to Fannin Street, which it follows through the Texas Medical Center. Through the Museum District, trains travel on one-way streets: southbound trains use Fannin Street, while northbound trains move onto San Jacinto Street. The tracks rejoin just south of I-69 before merging onto Main Street, which it follows through Midtown and Downtown. Along this stretch, the line intersects with the eastbound Green Line and Purple Line at Rusk Street and the westbound lines at Capitol Street. The tracks eventually move onto the west side of Main Street as they approach UH–Downtown station, the original terminus of the line, located adjacent to the University of Houston–Downtown campus.

Since 2013, the Red Line continues north, following Main Street through the Burnett Transit Center and on to Boundary Street, where it crosses east to Fulton Street, and proceeds north on Fulton through the Near Northside to its current terminus at the Northline Transit Center, located adjacent to the Northline campus of the Houston Community College.[9]


In Houston's Museum District, northbound and southbound trains take separate streets.

As with the other METRORail lines, the Red Line is predominantly at-grade and street running, with paved tracks laid down the median of Main Street in downtown, Fannin Street to the south, and Fulton Street to the north. These tracks are not physically separated from road traffic, though they are located in dedicated lanes and trains receive priority at intersections at cross-streets by means of preempted traffic signals. However, flashing grade crossing signals and gates are present where trains cross parallel traffic lanes as they move from one street to another, and along the section of the line south of Old Spanish Trail, where tracks are laid out on a right-of-way parallel to the road rather than in the median. Two sections along the Red Line extension north of UH–Downtown, though, are located on elevated structures: the Burnett Transit Center and the tracks leading to and from it, and a grade-separated crossing of a freight line along Fulton Street south of the Northline Transit Center.

The line is fully double-tracked, with stations mainly consisting of a single island platform serving trains in both directions outside the central section along Main Street. However, the Main Street section of the line have split platform designs where platforms are located on both sides of a cross-intersection between the two tracks, each of which serve trains in one direction only, as do the side platforms on parallel streets at Museum District station.

Rolling stock[edit]

Services on the Red Line are operated mainly by Metro's two generations of Siemens S70 LRVs: the H1 series delivered in 2004 for the opening of the initial section, and the H2 series delivered in 2012 for the Northline extension. Since 2015, H3 series CAF Urbos LRVs, which are mostly used on the Green and Purple Lines, can also been found on the Red Line. Trains are generally formed by two units coupled together.


The following is a list of stations for this line, listed in order from north to south.

METRORail line key[edit]

     Green Line
     Purple Line

Station Opening
Northline/HCC 2013 23, 29, 36, 45, 56, 79, 96
Melbourne/North Lindale 2013
Lindale Park 2013
Cavalcade 2013 26
Moody Park 2013
Fulton/North Central 2013 79
Quitman/Near Northside 2013 66
Burnett Transit Center/Casa De Amigos 2013 3, 51/52, 79
UH–Downtown 2004
Preston 2004 various routes nearby
Central Station (Main) 2015           various routes nearby
Main Street Square 2004 various routes, Greenlink
Bell 2004 various routes nearby
Downtown Transit Center 2004 6, 11, 32, 44, 51/52, 54, 82, 85, 102, 108, 137, 160/161/162, Park & Ride lines
McGowen 2004 54, 82, 283
Ensemble/HCC 2004 9, 261, 283
Wheeler Transit Center 2004 5, 25, 65, 152/153
Museum District 2004 5, 56, 65, 292, 298
Hermann Park/Rice University 2004 56, 292, 298
Memorial Hermann Hospital/Houston Zoo 2004 28, 56, 292, 298
Dryden/TMC 2004 56, 84
Texas Medical Center Transit Center 2004 2, 4, 10, 14, 27, 28, 41, 56, 60, 68, 84, 87, 402 (Quickline), Park & Ride lines
Smith Lands 2004 84
Stadium Park/Astrodome 2004 60
Fannin South 2004 8, 11, 73, 87


A possibility for expansion of the line would take the route to George Bush Intercontinental Airport.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Metro says North rail line to open early - Houston Chronicle". Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b "Houston Facts 2014" (PDF). Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas. 2014. Retrieved 2015-08-11.
  4. ^ "METRO About Us". Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas. Retrieved 2015-08-11.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "$900m awarded to extend Houston's light rail system". December 8, 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  7. ^ KUHF Houston Public Radio. "Houston Gets Its Next Portion Of Light Rail Funding". Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  8. ^ "METRORail". Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas. Retrieved 2015-08-11.
  9. ^ Houston Metro Rail. "8 Stations from UH–Downtown to Northline Transit Center". Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Metro Light Rail (Houston, Sugar Land, Galveston: 2015, university, tax) - Texas (TX) - City-Data Forum". Retrieved 31 May 2014.

External links[edit]