Purple Line (Los Angeles Metro)
Metro Purple Line at Union Station.
|Transit type||Heavy rail|
|Number of stations||8|
|Daily ridership||149,096 (July 2016; avg. weekday, combined with Metro Red Line)|
|Began operation||January 30, 1993(as a branch of the Red Line, renamed in 2006)|
|Character||Subway (fully underground)|
|Number of vehicles||Breda A650|
|Train length||4 cars (2 cars during off-peak hours)|
|System length||6.4 mi (10.3 km)|
|No. of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Electrification||750 V DC third rail|
The Purple Line is a heavy rail subway line operating in Los Angeles, running between downtown and the Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown districts. It is one of six lines on the Metro Rail System, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The Metro Purple Line is one of the city's two subway lines (along with the Metro Red Line). Although they separate west of Downtown Los Angeles, the two subway lines (Purple and Red) were originally branded as two branches of the Red Line. The Purple Line was instituted as its own line, separate from the Red Line, in 2006. As of October 2013[update], the combined Red and Purple lines averaged 169,478 boardings per weekday. Out of the eight stations served, only two of them are exclusive to the Purple Line, with the other six shared with the Red Line.
The Metro Purple Line is a 6.4-mile (10.3 km) line that begins at Union Station. At Union Station, passengers can connect to the Metro Silver Line bus rapid transit line, and the Metro Gold Line. The Purple Line travels southwest through Downtown Los Angeles, passing the Civic Center, Pershing Square (near the Historic Core) and the Financial District. Passengers can connect to the Metro Silver Line (both directions) at Civic Center Station. At Pershing Square Station, passengers can board the northbound Metro Silver Line bus at Olive Street/5th Street. At 7th St/Metro Center Station, travelers can connect to the Metro Blue Line, Metro Expo Line and the Metro Silver Line. From here, the train travels between 7th Street and Wilshire Boulevard (and briefly Ingraham Street) west through Pico-Union and Westlake, arriving at Wilshire/Vermont in the city's Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown district. Up to this point, track is shared with the Metro Red Line: at Wilshire/Vermont, the two lines diverge. The Purple Line continues west for one additional mile, and terminates at Wilshire/Western.
Duplicate service on Wilshire
The Purple Line runs underground, below Wilshire Boulevard which is served on the surface by Metro Local route 20 and Metro Rapid route 720. Despite the duplicate service, Metro considers the redundant bus service justified because both bus routes run frequently from Downtown Los Angeles. Unlike the Purple Line, they run along the entire Wilshire corridor, west to Beverly Hills, Westwood and Santa Monica.
Hours of operation
Trains run between approximately 4:45 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. daily, with late night weekend service running until approximately 2:00 a.m.
First and last train times are as follows:
- First Train to Union Station: 4:41 a.m.
- Last Train to Union Station: 11:42 p.m. (2:01 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights)
- First Train to Wilshire/Western: 4:56 a.m.
- Last Train to Wilshire/Western: 11:27 p.m. (2:12 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights)
During the evenings Purple Line trains sometimes run as shuttles. Passengers must transfer to a Red Line train at Wilshire/Vermont. This will change once the Purple Line is extended to Westwood.
Trains on the Purple Line operate every ten minutes during peak hours Monday through Friday. They operate every twelve minutes during the daytime weekdays and all day on the weekends after approximately 10 a.m. (with a 15-minute headway early Saturday and Sunday mornings). Night service can range between 20–30 minutes.
The Purple Line is utilized mostly as a downtown shuttle on its shared segment with the Red Line. The stub between Vermont and Western has a very low ridership. According to Metro Service Coordinator Conan Cheung, the stub is operating 11% full during peak hours, and even lower at other times.
The current Purple Line is the product of a long-term plan to connect Downtown Los Angeles to central and western portions of the city with a heavy rail subway system. Originally planned in the 1980s to travel west down Wilshire Boulevard to Fairfax Avenue and then north to the San Fernando Valley, a methane explosion at a Ross Dress for Less clothing store near Fairfax in 1985, just as construction got underway, led to a legal prohibition on tunnelling in a large part of Mid-Wilshire. Instead, after some wrangling, a new route was chosen up Vermont Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard. However, a short one-mile branch down Wilshire from Vermont to Western was allowed to remain in the system.
The service currently designated as the Purple Line opened in two minimum operating segments:
- MOS-1, which consisted of the original five stations from Union Station to Westlake/MacArthur Park, opened on January 30, 1993.
- MOS-2A, including three new stations between Westlake/MacArthur Park and Wilshire/Western, opened in 1996.
The Vermont branch began service in 1999. Initially, both branches were designated as part of the Red Line, but in 2006 trains travelling between Union Station and Wilshire/Western were rebranded the Purple Line for greater clarity.
Current and proposed extension
Metro is now aiming to complete the subway to the Westside. The new project is called the Purple Line Extension (the project was previously called the Westside Subway Extension) and the first phase broke ground on November 7, 2014. Metro released the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on March 19, 2012, and the first phase of the project (to Wilshire / La Cienega) was approved by Metro's Board of Directors on April 26, 2012. Notice to proceed was issued to Tutor Perini on April 26, 2017 for phase two from Wilshire/La Cienega Station to Century City/Constellation Station. Pre-construction has commenced. Metro is still attempting to obtain funding for phase three.
The following table lists the stations of the Purple Line, from east to west:
|Station||Connections||Date Opened||Station Parking||City/ Neighborhood|
||January 30, 1993||Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)||Downtown |
|Civic Center/Grand Park||
||Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)|
||Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)|
|7th Street/Metro Center||
||July 13, 1996||Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)||Mid-Wilshire|
The Purple Line is operated out of the Division 20 Yard (Santa Fe Yard) located at 320 South Santa Fe Avenue Los Angeles. This yard stores the fleet used on the Red and Purple Line. It is also where heavy maintenance is done on the fleet. Subways get to this yard by continuing on after Union Station. Trains make a right turn before coming to surface level at Ducommun Street, and then travel south to 1st Street where they enter the yard.
The Purple Line uses Breda A650 75-foot (23 m) electric multiple unit cars built by Breda in Italy. Trains usually run in four-car consists during peak hours and two-car consists outside of peak hours. The acceleration for cars #531 and up is similar to that of cars used by the Washington Metro because they both use General Electric traction motors. The cars are maintained in a Metro yard on Santa Fe Drive near 4th Street alongside the Los Angeles River in Downtown Los Angeles.
- Purple Line Extension
- Red Line (Los Angeles Metro)
- Los Angeles County Metro Rail
- Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
- "Ridership Statistics - Rail Ridership Estimates". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. August 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
- "Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project Contract No. E0119 – Operations and Maintenance Plan (Final)" (PDF). 2.1 Metro Light Rail Overview. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. September 10, 2013. p. 2-1. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
The Purple Line operates 6.4 miles between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and Wilshire/Western Station in Koreatown...
- Simon, Richard; Rabin, Jeffrey L. (October 22, 1997). "Beleaguered MTA on Verge of Tunnel Triumph". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Red & Purple lines timetable" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. June 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- "Metro Bus & Rail System Map" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. December 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Gabbard, Dana (November 23, 2010). "Metro's Conan Cheung Updates on Next 18 Months of Service Planning". Streetsblog LA. Retrieved 2016-02-01.
- Katches, Mark (January 31, 1993). "Red Line Rolls to Raves – It's Smooth Railing As L.A. Subway Opens". Los Angeles Daily News.
- Bloom, David (May 22, 1996). "MTA Unveils New Downtown Line". Los Angeles Daily News.
- "Purple Line Extension - Final EIR/EIS". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. February 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
- Red line train
- Washington Metro train
- "L.A. Metro inks pact with CRRC for up to 282 new rail cars". Progressive Railroading. March 24, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
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