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Gold Line (Los Angeles Metro)


Gold Line (Los Angeles Metro)

Metro Gold Line
Metro Gold Line AnsaldoBreda P2550 train at Atlantic Station.
Metro Gold Line AnsaldoBreda P2550 train
at Atlantic Station.
Owner Metro Rail
Transit type Light rail
Line number 804
Number of stations 21
Daily ridership 42,695 (July 2014; avg. weekday)[1][2]
Website Gold Line
Began operation July 26, 2003 (July 26, 2003)
Operator(s) Metro (LACMTA)
Character Mostly at-grade in private right-of-way, with some street-running, elevated and underground sections.
Number of vehicles AnsaldoBreda P2550
Train length 2–3 cars
System length 19.7 mi (31.7 km)[3]
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
(standard gauge)
Electrification 750 V DC overhead catenary
System map
East L.A. Civic Center
Interstate 710
State Route 60
Mariachi Plaza
Los Angeles River
Metrolink and Amtrak
Future Regional Connector
Little Tokyo/Arts District
U.S. Route 101
Union Station       
Metrolink, Amtrak, & FlyAway
Los Angeles River Yard
Los Angeles River
Metrolink and Amtrak
Interstate 5
Arroyo Seco Low Bridge
State Route 110
Heritage Square
Figueroa Street
Southwest Museum
Highland Park
State Route 110
Arroyo Seco High Bridge
South Pasadena
State Route 110
Del Mar
Memorial Park
Sierra Madre Villa
Arcadia Wash
Arcadia 2015
Santa Anita Canyon
Monrovia 2015
Monrovia Canyon
Duarte/City of Hope 2015
Interstate 605
San Gabriel River
Irwindale 2015
Interstate 210
Azusa Downtown 2015
APU/Citrus College 2015

The Gold Line is a 19.7-mile (31.7 km)[3] light rail line running from Pasadena to East Los Angeles via Downtown Los Angeles serving several attractions, including Little Tokyo, Union Station, the Southwest Museum, Chinatown, and the shops of Old Town Pasadena. The line, which is one of six in the Metro Rail system, entered service in 2003 and is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). The Gold Line serves 21 stations[3] (including two subway stations).


  • Service description 1
    • Route 1.1
    • Hours of operation 1.2
    • Headways 1.3
    • Speed 1.4
    • Ridership 1.5
  • History 2
    • Planning 2.1
  • History 3
    • Operation 3.1
      • Original Gold Line to Pasadena 3.1.1
      • Gold Line Extension to Eastside 3.1.2
  • Proposed developments 4
    • Foothill Extension 4.1
    • Eastside Extension Phase 2 4.2
    • Regional Connector Transit Corridor 4.3
  • Station listing 5
  • Operations 6
    • Maintenance facilities 6.1
    • Rolling stock 6.2
      • Commemorative cars 6.2.1
    • Advertising 6.3
  • Incidents 7
  • Gallery 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Service description


Beginning in East Los Angeles, the Gold Line initially runs west toward Downtown Los Angeles. From its southern terminus at Atlantic, the line travels west along Third Street to Indiana Street, where it turns north for two blocks to First Street. From here, the line continues west to Little Tokyo, partly through a tunnel under Boyle Heights with two underground stations. At Alameda Street in Little Tokyo, the line turns north and crosses over the Hollywood Freeway, and stops at Union Station on tracks 1 and 2. At Union Station, riders can connect with the Metro Red and Metro Purple Lines, the Metro Silver Line bus rapid transit line as well as the Metrolink regional system.

From Union Station, the Gold Line proceeds north on elevated rail to Chinatown, and then crosses the Los Angeles River adjacent to the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5). From here, the route continues north/northeast, serving the hillside communities north of downtown, including Lincoln Heights, Mount Washington, and Highland Park. Through this stretch, the Gold Line operates primarily at grade, except for a short underpass below Figueroa Street.

North of Highland Park, the route crosses over the Arroyo Seco Parkway (State Route 110). The route continues through South Pasadena and then downtown Pasadena, primarily at-grade. In Old Town Pasadena, the line travels underground for almost half a mile long, passing under Pasadena's main thoroughfare, Colorado Boulevard. (Memorial Park station, just north of Colorado Boulevard, is below grade.) Finally, the Gold Line enters the median of the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) and continues east to Sierra Madre Villa station, in Pasadena just west of the Sierra Madre city limit.

Hours of operation

Metro Gold Line trains run between approximately 4:30 a.m. and 12:45 a.m. daily.[4] Service on Friday and Saturday nights continues until approximately 2:00 a.m. First and last train times are as follows:

To Sierra Madre Villa Station

  • First Train to Sierra Madre Villa Station (from Union Station): 3:40 a.m.
  • First Train to Sierra Madre Villa Station (from Atlantic): 4:21 a.m.
  • Last Train to Sierra Madre Villa Station: 11:46 p.m. (1:43 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights)
  • Last Train to Union Station only: 12:43 a.m. (2:03 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights)

To Atlantic Station

  • First Train to Atlantic Station (from Chinatown station): 3:41 a.m.
  • First Train to Atlantic Station (from Sierra Madre Villa station): 4:36 a.m.
  • Last Train to Atlantic Station (from Sierra Madre Villa station): 11:41 p.m. (1:38 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights))
  • Last Train to Union Station only: 12:58 a.m. (2:09 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights)


Trains on the Gold Line operate every six minutes during peak hours Monday through Friday.[4][5] Middays consist of 12 minute headways, while weekends all day have a frequency of seven to eight minutes.[4][5] Nighttime service operates every 15 minutes, with 20 minute headways during late night weekend service.[4][5]


The Gold Line takes 54 minutes[4] to travel its 19.7-mile (31.7 km) length.[3] This means the Gold Line averages 21.9 mph (35 km/h) over its length, making the Gold Line the second-slowest of all of Metro Rail's lines. In particular, the Gold Line is slow through the Highland Park area, where trains reach speeds of only 20 mph (32 km/h), and through the curves, where trains travel at about 25 mph (40 km/h).


Following the extension to East Los Angeles in 2009, the line's ridership increased to almost 30,000 daily boardings.[1] As of October 2012, the average weekday daily boardings for the Gold Line stood at 42,417, and as of October 2013 the average daily weekday boardings had increased to 43,923.[1][2]



The Gold Line's initial route was formerly the right-of-way of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, where passenger trains like the Southwest Chief and the Desert Wind operated until Amtrak service was re-routed along the Southern Transcon to San Bernardino via Fullerton in the early 1990s. Although this route was better suited for and already built to long distance commuter standards which would have allowed Metrolink to begin service almost immediately at minimal cost, the city of Pasadena was adamantly opposed to continued running of conventional diesel locomotives through the city and lobbied hard for Light Rail because of the latters aesthetic visual appeal that would highlight Pasadena as a modern 'progressive' transit oriented city, even if it meant several times the cost and wait time of nearly a decade. This is evidenced by the rehabilitation and subsequent development along the route including at and around the site of the former Santa Fe depot.

A line through Pasadena was proposed in the early 1980s as a part of a more extensive regional urban rail network, however it would not come to fruition until almost two decades later. Initial planning and construction was done by the LACMTA. After the project was halted due to a lack of funding the "Los Angeles Pasadena Blue Line Construction Authority" was established by State legislation to reactivate and complete the then 11% completed project.

The Gold Line was originally planned as a part of the Blue Line. Making that connection as originally planned would require a new "Regional Connector" to connect Metro Center with Union Station. Because this light rail line did not connect to the Blue Line, to avoid confusion the line was given a different color. The Rose Line was a strong contender because of Pasadena's Rose Bowl and Rose Parade. Because planned extensions would go beyond Pasadena, the LACMTA board voted to name the line the "Gold Line".


The Right of Way through the San Gabriel Valley was originally built by the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad in 1885. Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad was sold and consolidated on May 20, 1887 into the California Central Railway. In 1889 this was consolidated into Southern California Railway Company. On Jan. 17, 1906 Southern California Railway was sold to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, as part of the Pasadena Subdivision. The Pasadena and Los Angeles Electric Railway built a light rail line from LA to Pasadena that opened in May 6, 1895, this later became a Pacific Electric Railway red car line in 1906.[6][7][8][9]


Original Gold Line to Pasadena

The original Gold Line, between Union Station and Sierra Madre Villa, opened in July 2003.

Between February 13, 2006 and December 16, 2007, the Gold Line was the first in the Metro Rail system to implement both local and express limited stop service during rush hours in both direction calling on at Union Station, Highland Park, Mission, Del Mar, and Sierra Madre Villa, eliminating five minutes of travel time from end-to-end.

Since October 29, 2006 end to end travel time were reduced by five minutes, resulting in 30% less waiting time at stations. Ridership hit an all-time high of 21,000 boardings in September 2006.[10]

A noise barrier was constructed along the route in South Pasadena between the Mission and Fillmore stations to address noise complaints from South Pasadena residents between April 2007 and July 2007 during the track construction.

In December 2007, Express Service was discontinued and (local) trains began to run more frequently at 8 minute intervals. Service was increased to every 6 minutes in June 2011 as a result of increased ridership.[11]

Gold Line Extension to Eastside

Gold Line Maravilla station under construction in December 2008.

In November 2009, Metro opened the first phase of the Gold Line Eastside Extension. The project extended the Gold Line from Union Station to Atlantic Blvd. near Monterey Park. The extended route now serves Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. The project added eight stations, two of which (Mariachi Plaza and Soto) are underground stations, only the second set of subway stations in the light rail portion of the Metro Rail system (after the 7th Street/Metro Center station).

Proposed developments

Foothill Extension

Map of the Gold Line, with the Foothill Extension along the top.

Metro and the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority plan to extend the Gold Line beyond Pasadena into the northeastern part of the county. The Gold Line Foothill Extension project will extend the Gold Line through the foothill region to Montclair, California. The Construction Authority's original mission was to extend the line even further, to the Ontario Airport, but the project is on indefinite hold due to disagreements between the Metro Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority and SANBAG.[12]

Eastside Extension Phase 2

Metro is considering a new extension of the Metro Gold Line in the Eastside. This second phase of the Eastside Corridor would extend the Gold Line's southern leg eastward, from its current terminus at Atlantic station to the San Gabriel River.

As of August 2010, Metro has completed the Alternatives Analysis phase. The next step for Metro is to conduct an initial environmental study, leading to publication and approval of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).[13][14]

The two alignments to be studied in the DEIR are:

Regional Connector Transit Corridor

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 designed to connect the current Blue and Expo Lines to the current Gold Line and allow a seamless one-seat ride between the Blue and Expo Lines' current terminus at 7th Street/Metro Center and Union Station.

Once the Regional Connector Transit Corridor is completed, 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. The Eastside leg of the Gold Line will be connected to the current Expo Line, which by that time will be running between downtown Los Angeles and near the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica. In the construction of this project, the current Gold Line Little Tokyo station will be demolished, and a new below grade station (1st Street/Central Ave) will be constructed. Names and/or colors for these new lines have not yet been officially announced, but it seems likely that the Blue Line-northern leg of the Gold Line will become the new Blue Line, and the current Expo Line-eastern leg of the Gold Line will become the new Gold Line. The groundbreaking for the construction of the Regional Connector Transit Corridor took place on September 30, 2014, and it is expected to be in public service by 2020.

Station listing

The following table lists the current stations of the Gold Line, from south to north.

Station Station Connections Date Opened City/ Neighborhood
Atlantic   Metro Local: 260
Metro Rapid: 762
Montebello Transit: 10, 40, 341, 342
El Sol: City Terrace/ELAC, Whittier Blvd/Saybrook Park
November 15, 2009 East Los Angeles
East LA Civic Center   Metro Local: 258
Montebello Transit:40
El Sol: City Terrace/ELAC, Union Pacific/Salazar Park, Whittier Blvd/Saybrook Park
November 15, 2009
Maravilla   Metro Local: 256
Montebello Transit: 40
El Sol: Union Pacific/Salazar Park, Whittier Blvd/Saybrook Park
November 15, 2009
Indiana   Metro Local: 30, 68 Shuttle (Weekdays Only), 254, 620, 665
Montebello Transit: 40
Whittier Blvd/Saybrook Park
November 15, 2009
Soto   Metro Local: 30, 251, 252, 605
Metro Rapid: 751
November 15, 2009 Boyle Heights
Mariachi Plaza   Metro Local: 30, 620 November 15, 2009
Pico/Aliso   Metro Local: 30 November 15, 2009
Little Tokyo/Arts District   Metro Local: 30, 40, 330
LADOT: DASH Routes: A, D
November 15, 2009 Little Tokyo
/ The Arts District
Union Station         Metro Red Line  
Metro Purple Line  
Metro Silver Line  
Metro Local: 33 (owl), 40, 68, 70, 71, 78, 79, 378
Metro Express:485, 487, 489
Metro Rapid: 704, 728, 733, 745, 770
Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
Amtrak Metrolink
July 26, 2003 Downtown
Chinatown   Metro Local: 45, 76, 81, 83, 84, 90, 91, 94, 96
Metro Rapid: 794
LADOT DASH: B, Lincoln Heights/Chinatown;
Commuter Express: 409, 419
July 26, 2003 Chinatown
Lincoln/Cypress   Metro Local:81, 84, 90, 91, 94, 251
Metro Rapid: 751, 794
July 26, 2003 Lincoln Heights
/ Cypress Park
Heritage Square   Metro Local: 81, 83 July 26, 2003 Montecito Heights
/ Mount Washington
Southwest Museum   Metro Local: 81, 83 July 26, 2003 Mount Washington
Highland Park   Metro Local: 81, 83, 256
DASH: Highland Park/Eagle Rock
July 26, 2003 Highland Park
South Pasadena   Metro Local: 176 July 26, 2003 South Pasadena
Fillmore   Metro Local: 260, 686, 687
Metro Rapid: 762
July 26, 2003 Pasadena
Del Mar   Metro Local: 177, 256, 260, 686, 687
Metro Rapid: 762
July 26, 2003
Memorial Park   Metro Local: 180, 181, 256, 260, 267, 686, 687
Metro Rapid: 762, 780
July 26, 2003
Lake   Metro Local: 180
Metro Express: 485
July 26, 2003
Allen   Metro Local: 256, 686 July 26, 2003
Sierra Madre Villa   Metro Local: 181, 264, 266, 268
Metro Express: 487
Foothill Transit: 187
July 26, 2003


A new AnsaldoBreda P2550 train at Highland Park

Maintenance facilities

The Gold Line is operated out of the Division 21 Yard (Los Angeles River Yard) located on Elysian Park Drive overlooking the Los Angeles River. This yard stores the fleet used on the Gold Line. It is also where maintenance is done on the fleet. Trains access this yard via a single track junction near North Broadway. Northbound Trains may enter without difficulty, while soutbound trains must transfer onto a side track then reverse into the yard.

Rolling stock

Gold Line trains are typically two-car trains, except in evenings and weekend mornings when they consist of single cars. On New Year's Day, the Gold Line uses three-car trains for service to the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl Game. Service operates from approximately 4 am to 1 am, with service approximately every 6 minutes during peak hours, 12 minutes middays, every 6 minutes on weekends, and 20 minutes until the close of service.

Trains are composed of articulated light rail vehicles (LRVs) which are compatible with Metro's light rail systems. As of April 2012, the Gold Line uses 50 AnsaldoBreda P2550 LRVs. The Metro Gold Line has 50 active cars (701–750).

The Metro Gold Line has 50 AnsaldoBreda P2550 cars (701–750) in use. P2550s have been featured in many television ads by Metro. Metro transferred the last of the Gold Line's Siemens P2000 trains in April 2012 to the Blue Line to transfer some overhauled Nippon Sharyo P850 (100–153) cars to Expo Phase 1 while the Ansaldobreda P2550 cars replaced the Siemens P2000 trains on the Gold Line.

Commemorative cars

On December 21, 2007, Metro introduced cars 233 and 235, which are the special commemorative trains for the 119th Tournament of Roses Parade and the 94th Rose Bowl Game. These are known as the 2008 "Tournament Train".[15]


On October 3, 2007, Metro Gold Line trains began having advertisement banners on the sides of trains, like on the Metro Green Line. On February 13, 2008, Metro removed the banner ads on all Metro Gold Line trains. But in mid-June 2008, banners promoting the Long Range Transportation Plan were added on car 246. On July 14, 2008, banner ads were added on cars 229, 235, 236, 238, 239, 244, 250, and 302.


The following noteworthy incidents have occurred on the Gold Line since opening.

  • August 12, 2004 – An SUV flipped and crashed into the center wall of the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) near the Madre Street exit killing three and injuring five others, including an 8-year-old boy who was hurled onto the adjacent Metro Gold Line tracks where his foot was severed by a passing train. No train passengers were hurt. Investigators believe the driver drifted to the right and then swerved to the left to avoid hitting another vehicle.[16]
  • September 11, 2007 – A driver was critically injured and six passengers, including an LA County Deputy Sheriff and the train operator, suffered minor injuries when a pickup truck ran a red light at Avenue 55 and Marmion Way before being hit by a train.[17][18]
  • September 21, 2007 – Six people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, including two minor injuries after an SUV broke off the crossing arms and was struck by a northbound Metro Gold Line train (243) at Avenue 50 and Marmion Way in Mt. Washington. The vehicle caught fire and a section of the train was also burnt. It was claimed that the female SUV driver had tried to beat the train. A local resident extinguished the fire in the car with a garden hose before Los Angeles Firefighters arrived.[19][20]
  • October 13, 2007 – Service was suspended for 12 hours at 1:20 am after a big rig hit the center divider of the eastbound Foothill Freeway at Sierra Madre Blvd. and went on the Metro Gold Line tracks. During the course of the accident, buses were provided to bypass the accident site.[21]
  • August 26, 2011 – An altercation between passengers resulted in a non-fatal stabbing during a trip through Pasadena. The train was stopped at the Memorial Park station where the victim was transported to a hospital and the suspect was detained.[22]
  • April 24, 2014 – Service was suspended between the Lake and Sierra Madre Villa stations after a collision between two tractor-trailers on the eastbound Foothill Freeway resulted in one vehicle landing on the Gold Line tracks, damaging the tracks and overhead wires. Full return to normal service took several days.[23]



  1. ^ a b c "Ridership Statistics - Rail Ridership Estimates".  
  2. ^ a b "Monthly Ridership Plot" (pdf).  
  3. ^ a b c d "Facts at a Glance".  
  4. ^ a b c d e "Gold Line timetable" (pdf).  
  5. ^ a b c "Metro Bus & Rail System Map" (pdf).  
  6. ^ Historic Pasadena: An Illustrated History, By Ann Scheid, Ann Scheid Lund, page 31-32.
  7. ^ Abandon Rail Line, The Second District of the AT&SF
  8. ^ Historic Pasadena: An Illustrated History, By Ann Scheid, Ann Scheid Lund, page 31-32.
  9. ^ Abandon Rail Line, The Second District of the AT&SF
  10. ^ "Metro Gold Line Trains Now Run Faster, More Frequently".  
  11. ^ Hymon, Steve (June 21, 2011). "More frequent Gold Line and Silver Line service begins soon". The Source ( 
  12. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (April 28, 2014). "Gold Line to Ontario Airport off track; bill withdrawn by author".  
  13. ^ "Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2".  
  14. ^ "Metro Narrows Routes for Gold Line East Down to Two". Eastern Group Publications, Inc. EGP.COM. August 28, 2014. 
  15. ^ "L.A. Metro, Rose Queen® and Royal Court Roll Out Special Commemorative Metro Gold Line Train for 119th Tournament of Roses Parade and 94th Rose Bowl Game®".  
  16. ^ Allen, Marshall; Hoffman, Gretchen (August 13, 2004). "3 killed, 5 injured in crash on Foothill Freeway". Pasadena Star News. 
  17. ^ Blankstein, Andrew; Abdollah, Tami (September 12, 2007). "7 hurt when Gold Line train hits truck at Highland Park crossing".  
  18. ^ "Train, truck collide".  
  19. ^ Abdollah, Tami; Rabin, Jeffrey L. (September 22, 2007). "6 hurt when Gold Line train hits vehicle".  
  20. ^ "Car Collides With Metro Gold Line Train".  
  21. ^ "Big rig hits Gold Line tracks, causes traffic".  
  22. ^ Knoll, Corina (August 27, 2011). "Gold Line stabbing victim in critical but stable condition".  
  23. ^ Allen, Lily (April 24, 2014). "Gold Line service suspended between Lake and Sierra Madre Villa stations due to freeway truck accident". The Source ( 

External links

  • Gold Line Eastside Extension website
  • Gold Line schedule
  • Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority
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