Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy 10th Birthday, Metro Gold Line!

Remember "Discover Gold?"
A decade ago today, The Metro Gold Line, Los Angeles' first light rail line in the 21st Century opened on one hot Saturday. Originally planned as an extension of the Metro Blue Line to Pasadena, it's the only direct transportation link between the Los Angeles and Pasadena downtowns (The 110 Freeway ends short of it).

The Militant, who has yet to miss an opening day for a Metro Rail line, was there, and remembered waiting in a long-ass line that snaked around the Gateway Plaza parking garage (the one some of you park in to ride the Dodger Stadium Express bus to games). It took nearly forever, but The Militant got on his train, rode all the way to the Sierra Madre Villa station, where the celebration had already ended in the parking structure there, and headed back.

Old-school Gold Line vehicles, now since replaced with the silver/gray Italian-built Ansaldobreda trains.
A few things have changed since Opening Day; the original 13.5-mile line is now nearly 20 miles long, having been extended from Union Station to East Los Angeles back in 2009. Originally an under-performing line due to its apparent slowness (something the Expo Line knows all too well), it now carries over 42,500 riders per day. Also, the orange-striped white Siemens light rail vehicles no longer run on the line, having been moved to their new tours of duty on the Green, Expo and Blue lines. And a few of the stations have changed their names: Lincoln/Cypress (originally Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park), Heritage Square (originally French Ave), Highland Park (originally Avenue 57) and South Pasadena (originally Mission).

Long-ass lines that day in the parking structure!

The future's bright for the Gold Line: In just two years it will be extended even farther into the SGV, terminating in Azusa with a station near Azusa Pacific University and Citrus College (The Militant won't miss that one fo' sho!). And by the next decade, the line will function as it was originally planned, when the two-mile Regional Connector tunnel is completed under Downtown Los Angeles. But alas, most of what the "Gold Line" is known for will no probably longer be named as such. Potential plans for the line may likely integrate the Union Station-to-Azusa section into the Blue Line, leaving the Eastside segment remaining Gold (and turning the Expo line into "Gold") in the process.

If you're feeling nostalgic for re-living the line circa 2003, take The Militant's Ultimate Gold Line Tour, which came out in 2009, and shows you places of significant interest along the old school Union Station to Sierra Madre Villa route.

Happy Birthday, Metro Gold Line! Here's to many more years, in whatever form you may or may not become!


Anonymous said...

Hey awesome blog, man! I especially enjoyed your article on the red line, it was way more fun than reading the Wikipedia article on it. That was a cool "red line swag" contest by the way, hopefully the militant picked up some "purple line swag" at the metro booth at the last ciclavia. I was eight when the Pasadena gold line opened, so Ihave a hard time remembering when there wasn't a gold line. I have been taking the gold line to PCC for the past year so its the metro rail line I use most.

Militant Angeleno said...

Anonymous: Wow, you were already born into a Los Angeles that had rail transit...fascinating.

The Militant is certain the next CicLAvia in October will have a Metro booth with the same Purple Line swag, so no need to worry.

Unknown said...

Great blog!
I remember that when I was a little kid, my family and I would take the subway to Union Station and go to Chinatown. I was a little scared of the screeching breaks and the lights flashing by in the tunnels!

Chanel said...

This is cool!

wet said...

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Anonymous said...

Hey militant, this a bit off topic, really belongs in your red line article, but still related to metro rail.

I just ran into this on youtube, it is a trailer for a movie about making the subway, and it seems to have some awesome footage, I really want to see it but can't seem to figure out how to purchase the DVD.

Here is an LA times article on this film:

Anonymous said...

hey have you seen this bloggers photos? he does a photojornalist article on every US & canada urban train line, he has done the whole LA system. good pic of every station