B Line (Los Angeles Metro)
|Other name(s)||Red Line (1993–2020)|
|System||Los Angeles Metro Rail|
|Rolling stock||Breda A650 (4 or 6 car consists)|
|Daily ridership||133,413 (2019; avg. weekday, combined with D Line)|
|Opened||January 30, 1993|
|Line length||16.4 mi (26.4 km)|
|Number of tracks||2|
|Character||Fully underground (except yard)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Electrification||750 V DC third rail|
|Operating speed||70 mph (110 km/h)|
The B Line (formerly the Red Line) is a heavy rail subway line operating in Los Angeles, running between Downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood. It is one of six lines on the Metro Rail system, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The B Line is one of the city's two fully-underground subway lines (along with the D Line). Although they separate in Koreatown, the two subway lines (B and D) share tracks through Downtown Los Angeles. As of 2019[update], the combined B and D lines averaged 133,413 boardings per weekday.
The B Line was originally the Hollywood branch of the Red Line. In 2006, the other branch of the Red Line was designated as the Purple Line. In 2020, Metro renamed all of its lines using letters and colors, with the Red Line becoming the B Line (retaining the red color in its service bullet) and the Purple Line becoming the D Line.
The B Line is a 16.4-mile (26.4 km) line that begins at Union Station and travels southwest through Downtown Los Angeles, passing the Civic Center, Pershing Square (near the Historic Core) and the Financial District. The 7th St/Metro Center station allows riders to the A Line (Blue Line) and E Line (Expo 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 Koreatown district. Up to this point, the track is shared with the D Line; at Wilshire/Vermont, the two lines diverge. The B Line travels north along Vermont, and then west along Hollywood Boulevard, traveling through Koreatown and Hollywood. Finally, the line turns northwest and crosses into the San Fernando Valley, where it terminates in North Hollywood.
Hours of operation
Trains run between approximately 4:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. the following morning. On Friday and Saturday evenings, trains are extended until 2:00 a.m. of the following morning. First and last train times are as follows:
To/From North Hollywood
- First Train to Union Station: 4:32 a.m.
- Last Train to Union Station: 1:02 a.m. (2:22 a.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings)
- First Train to North Hollywood: 4:10 a.m.
- Last Train to North Hollywood: 12:21 a.m. (2:21 a.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings)
Trains on the B 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 is every 20 minutes.
The current B 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. Original proposals in the 1980s had it running down Wilshire Boulevard to Fairfax Avenue and then north to the San Fernando Valley. However, in 1985, a methane explosion at a Ross Dress for Less clothing store near Fairfax led to a legal prohibition on tunneling in a large part of Mid-Wilshire. After some political wrangling, a new route was chosen up Vermont Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard. This ban was later rescinded in the early 2000s, allowing for the Purple Line Extension (now the D Line).
The line opened in three minimum operating segments:
- MOS-1, consisting of five stations from Union Station to Westlake/MacArthur Park, opened on January 30, 1993. (At this point, the line's operator was still the Southern California Rapid Transit District).
- MOS-2B, consisting of five stations from Wilshire/Vermont to Hollywood/Vine, opened in 1999. (MOS-2A is a separate branch that is now part of the D Line.)
- MOS-3, extending the Red Line from Hollywood/Vine to North Hollywood, opened in 2000.
Tunneling from North Hollywood for the subway started in 1995. Workers dug 70 feet (21 m) deep using tunneling machines. Work progressed an average of 50 to 200 feet (15 to 61 m) daily, performed by work crews round-the-clock six days a week. The machines bored through soil that once lined the bottoms of ancient oceans.
The tunnel to connect from Hollywood/Vine to North Hollywood was overseen by Traylor Brothers/Frontier-Kemper and cost $136 million ($202 million adjusted for inflation). The tunnel went through the Santa Monica Mountains. It was opposed by the Santa Monica Conservancy and the Sierra Club, but ultimately went ahead. Environmentalists had also expressed concern that the removal of billions of gallons of groundwater might affect springs, wildlife and vegetation.
The two tunnels between the North Hollywood and Universal City stations were a total of 10,541 feet (3,213 m). The cost of building the two tunnels was $65.4 million ($97.1 million adjusted for inflation) and involved 250 workers.
Potential future extensions
In 1995, during Red Line construction, a burst water main under Hollywood Blvd. halted work for two months. In the aftermath, voters in 1998 passed a ballot proposition that barred the MTA from using sales tax revenue for any subway projects within Los Angeles County. In response, the MTA turned to other types of mass transit. In 2005, Metro began service on the Orange Line (now G Line), a bus rapid transitway (BRT) service running from North Hollywood station to Warner Center. In 2009, Metro finished work on the Gold Line Eastside Extension, a light rail line connecting Union Station to East Los Angeles.
In the early 21st century, new sales tax Measure R (in 2008) and Measure M were approved by voters to specifically provide funds for rail development. While the B Line does not figure into currently active expansion plans, several concepts have been proposed that would build off of it.
Extensions to the North
One long-term possibility might be an underground extension of another mile or two to a future high-rise housing district, or to a multi-modal transportation hub station at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, a distance of approximately four miles. It would possibly go under Oxnard Street, the NoHo West development, Laurel Canyon Blvd, and Vanowen Street to the Burbank Airport. In 2006 a large number of housing units, including a high-rise tower was completed very near the North Hollywood (NoHo Arts District) station.
In 2011, Bob Hope Airport conducted a transportation study for improving transit options in order to make it an "epicenter for multimodal connectivity" in the San Fernando Valley. One option they mentioned was a Red Line extension to the airport.
Extension to Arts District
In 2010, at the request of L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, Metro staff studied the possibility of adding a station along the west bank of the Los Angeles River to 6th Street and Santa Fe Avenue. The study concluded that such an extension, completed at-grade along Metro-owned right-of-way, could be completed for as little as $90 million.
The study suggested an alternative station at the Division 20 Yard north of 4th Street and Santa Fe Avenue. This station would be closer to the residential population of the Arts District. As new turnback tracks will need to be built as part of the Purple Line Extension (to allow shorter headways), this Arts District extension could possibly be partially completed as part of the Purple Line Extension project, lowering the incremental cost of the station while increasing its usability.
Extensions to the East
Original ideas to connect the Red Line to the Eastside were set aside with the opening of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension in 2009. Some citizen proposals have included the conversion of the El Monte Busway to heavy rail, although this would disrupt the existing bus and Metrolink service along that corridor. Other rights-of-way that could host a B Line extension, whether subway or at-grade, include the Union Pacific's Alhambra Trench, the former Pacific Electric two-track right of way extending through the City Terrace area to El Monte and Covina, and the median of Huntington Drive, which also held a two-track Pacific Electric line extending as far as Azusa & Glendora, until 1951, when it was removed.
Extensions to the South
Purple Line Extension
In 2006, Metro formally renamed the Red Line branch ending at Wilshire/Western as the Purple Line (later designated the D Line in 2020). In 2014, they began construction on the Purple Line Extension, a seven-mile expansion to the Westside, with nine new stations. It will open in three phases from 2023 to 2027.
The following table lists the stations of the B Line, from South to North
|Station||Date Opened||City/Neighborhood||Major connections and notes|
|Union Station||January 30, 1993||Downtown Los Angeles|| D Line, J Line, L Line, Amtrak, LAX FlyAway and Metrolink|
Paid parking: 3,000 stalls
|Civic Center/Grand Park||D Line and J Line|
|Pershing Square||D Line and J Line|
|7th Street/Metro Center||A Line, D Line, E Line and J Line|
|Westlake/MacArthur Park||Westlake|| D Line|
Park and ride: 19 stalls
|Wilshire/Vermont||July 13, 1996||Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown||D Line|
|Vermont/Beverly||June 12, 1999||East Hollywood|
|Hollywood/Highland||June 24, 2000|
|Universal City/Studio City||Studio City||Universal Studios Hollywood shuttle|
Park and ride: 782 stalls
|North Hollywood||North Hollywood|| G Line|
Park and ride: 1,085 stalls
The B Line operates out of the Division 20 Yard (Santa Fe Yard), located at 320 South Santa Fe Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. This yard stores the fleet used on the B and D Lines, and where heavy maintenance is performed. Cars reach this yard by continuing past Union Station, making a right turn and surfacing at the Eastern terminus of Ducommun Street. They then travel south to 1st Street, through a washing station, and enter the yard.
The B Line uses Breda A650 75-foot (23 m) electric multiple unit cars built by Breda in Italy. Trains usually run in six-car configurations during peak hours and four-car configurations otherwise. The cars are maintained in a Metro yard on Santa Fe Avenue near 4th Street alongside the Los Angeles River in downtown Los Angeles.
- On December 22, 2006, a rider accidentally spilled a vial of mercury on the platform at the Pershing Square station. He notified the operator on a passenger intercom before boarding a train, but Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department did not know of the spillage until eight hours later. In response, Metro implemented new hazardous materials (Hazmat) training to its field employees and operators.
- On August 19, 2011, near the Hollywood/Vine station, an altercation between two passengers resulted in one being fatally stabbed. The suspect was arrested on August 24.
- On September 4, 2012, a 54-year-old man fell onto the tracks at the North Hollywood station and was hit by an oncoming train. He was rushed to hospital, where he later died.
- On May 22, 2018, an unidentified man "probably jumped" onto the tracks at the 7th St/Metro Center station and was hit by an oncoming train. He rushed to a hospital, where he later died. It is unknown if it was suicide or not.
- "Interactive Estimated Ridership Stats". Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. January 1, 2020. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- "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. pp. 2–1. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
The Red Line operates 16.4 miles between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and North Hollywood.
- "Red & Purple lines timetable" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. December 11, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
- "Metro Bus & Rail System Map" (PDF). Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. December 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
- Masters, Nathan (February 23, 2016). "When a Methane Explosion Derailed L.A.'s Subway Plans". KCET. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
- Katches, Mark (January 31, 1993). "Red Line Rolls to Raves – It's Smooth Railing As L.A. Subway Opens". Los Angeles Daily News.
- Hiestand, Jesse (June 13, 1999). "Hollywood Subway Picks Up Rave Reviews". Los Angeles Daily News.
- Sheppard, Harrison (June 18, 2000). "End of the Line". Los Angeles Daily News.
- GORDON, LARRY; KENNEDY, J. MICHAEL (June 23, 1995). "Street Vanishes in Subway Sinkhole : MTA: Burst water main weakens earth above tunnel, causing half a block of Hollywood Boulevard to collapse" – via LA Times.
- "Anti-Subway Funding Measure Wins Easily". Los Angeles Times. November 4, 1998. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
- Business Monthly, January 2006. Retrieved February 14, 2007. Archived January 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Garland, Chad (July 23, 2015). "Study outlines potential transit improvements at Bob Hope Airport". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
- "Feasibility study" (PDF). media.metro.net. June 16, 2010.
- Nelson, Laura J. (March 18, 2015). "Metro could expand subway service to the downtown L.A. Arts District". Los Angeles Times.
- Sampson, Rich. "Two Rail Lines, One Mission: Connecting Southern California" (PDF). RAIL Magazine (22). Washington, DC: Community Transportation Association of America. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- "Purple Line Extension". www.metro.net. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
- "Metro B Line (Red)". www.metro.net. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- "Metro Parking Lots by Line". www.metro.net. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
- "L.A. Metro inks pact with CRRC for up to 282 new rail cars". Progressive Railroading. March 24, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- Blankstein, Andrew; Guccione, Jean (January 19, 2007). "MTA admits subway spill errors". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 2, 2007.
- Blankstein, Andrew; Guccione, Jean (January 24, 2007). "Transient held in MTA mercury spill". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 31, 2007.
- Powell, Amy (August 19, 2011). "Passenger fatally stabbed on Metro Red Line". KABC-TV. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- Hernandez, Miriam (August 24, 2011). "Metro Red Line stabbing suspect arrested". KABC-TV. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- "Man rescued from under Metro Red Line train at North Hollywood station". Los Angeles Daily News. September 4, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- "Death Of Man Rescued From Underneath Metro Red Line Train Under Investigation". KCBS-TV. September 5, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
- "Man who 'probably jumped' in front of Metro Red Line train dies". May 22, 2018.
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