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Purple Line (Los Angeles Metro)

Metro Purple Line
Metro Purple Line at Union Station.
Metro Purple Line at Union Station.
Owner Metro Rail
Transit type Heavy rail
Line number 805
Number of stations 8
Daily ridership 150,774 (April 2014; avg. weekday, combined with Metro Red Line)[1]
Website Purple Line
Began operation 2006 (2006)
Operator(s) Metro (LACMTA)
Character Subway (fully underground)
Number of vehicles Breda A650
Train length 4 cars (2 cars during off-peak hours)
System length 6.5 mi (10.5 km)[2]
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
(standard gauge)
Electrification 750 V DC third rail
System map
Union Station       
Metrolink, Amtrak, & FlyAway
Civic Center     
Pershing Square    (northbound only)
7th Street/Metro Center        
Westlake/MacArthur Park   
Wilshire/La Brea
Wilshire/La Cienega
Century City
Westwood/VA Hospital

The Purple Line is a heavy rail subway line operating between Downtown Los Angeles and Mid-Wilshire/Koreatown, Los Angeles, California in Los Angeles; one of six lines on the Metro Rail System. The line is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Inside train fleet number #530 on the Metro Purple Line.

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, the combined Red and Purple lines averaged 169,478 boardings per weekday.[1]


  • Service description 1
    • Route 1.1
      • Duplicate service on Wilshire 1.1.1
    • Hours of operation 1.2
    • Headways 1.3
    • Ridership 1.4
  • History 2
  • Future extension 3
  • Station listing 4
  • Operations 5
    • Maintenance 5.1
    • Rolling stock 5.2
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Service description


The Metro Purple Line 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 follows 7th 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 as both bus routes, which run frequently, operate from Downtown Los Angeles along the entire Wilshire corridor (unlike the Purple Line) 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.[3]

First and last train times are as follows:

To/From Wilshire/Western

  • 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.[4] 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 10-20 minutes. Due to being paired with the Red Line, the headways between Union Station and Wilshire/Vermont are cut in half, so the Red/Purple Line trunk has trains running five to ten minutes throughout service times.


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.[5]


The "Purple Line" was originally one of two main branches of the Red Line, which was completed in 1996 and opened as the second segment of the Red Line. It was part of a much longer Red Line plan to Westside, until that plan was scrapped due to political opposition and geotechnical difficulties. Therefore only one mile of this branch was ever built: a short stub connecting Wilshire/Vermont and Wilshire/Western. In 2006, the route operating between LA Union Station and Wilshire/Western Station was renamed the "Purple Line" to help distinguish it from the North Hollywood branch, which retained the name Red Line.

Future 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.[6]

Station listing

Metro Purple Line train at Union Station.Both the Metro Red & Purples' end at Union Station which is the eastern terminus of both lines.
Pershing Square Station is served both by the Metro Red & Purple Lines.
Metro Red & Purple Lines platform at 7th Street/Metro Center Station. At this transfer station passengers can connect to the Metro Silver Line at the street level, or the Metro Blue & Expo Lines above this platform.
Westlake/Mac Arthur Park Metro Red & Purple Lines station platform.

The following table lists the stations of the Purple Line, from east to west:

Station Connections Date Opened Station Parking City/ Neighborhood
Union Station
Metro Red Line  
Metro Gold Line  
Metro Silver Line  
Metro Local: 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
January 30, 1993 Nearby Paid Parking (Independent) Downtown
Los Angeles
Civic Center/Grand Park     Metro Red Line  
Metro Silver Line  
Metro Local: 2, 4, 10, 14, 30, 37, 40, 45, 48, 68, 70, 71, 76, 78, 79, 81, 83, 84, 90, 91, 92, 94, 96, 330, 378
Metro Express: 442, 487, 489
Metro Rapid: 728, 733, 745, 770, 794
Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
January 30, 1993 Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)
Pershing Square     Metro Red Line  
Metro Silver Line   (Northbound Only)
Metro Local:2, 4, 10, 14, 16, 18, 28, 30, 33, 37, 38, 40, 45, 48, 53, 55, 62, 68, 70, 71, 76, 78, 79, 81, 83, 84, 90, 91, 92, 94, 96, 316, 330, 378
Metro Express: 460, 487, 489
Metro Rapid: 720, 728, 745, 770, 794
Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
Angels Flight
January 30, 1993 Nearby Paid Parking (Independent)
7th Street/Metro Center
Metro Red Line  
Metro Blue Line  
Metro Expo Line  
Metro Silver Line  
Metro Local:14, 16, 18, 20, 37, 51, 52, 60, 62, 66, 76, 78, 79, 81, 316, 352, 378
Metro Express: 450X, 460, 487, 489
Metro Rapid: 720, 760
Foothill Transit: Silver Streak
Big Blue Bus: Rapid 10
January 30, 1993 None
Westlake/MacArthur Park      Metro Red Line  
Metro Local:18, 20, 51, 52, 200, 352, 603
Metro Express: 487, 489
Metro Rapid: 720
January 30, 1993 None Westlake
Wilshire/Vermont     Metro Red Line  
Metro Local:18, 20, 51, 52, 201, 204, 352
Metro Rapid: 720, 754
July 13, 1996 Nearby Paid Parking (Independent) Mid-Wilshire
Wilshire/Normandie   Metro Local: 18, 20, 206
Metro Rapid: 720
July 13, 1996 None
Wilshire/Western   Metro Local:18, 20, 66, 207, 209
Metro Rapid: 710, 720, 757
Big Blue Bus: Rapid 7
July 13, 1996 None



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.

Rolling stock

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 #530 and up is similar to that of cars used by the Washington Metro because they both use General Electric traction motors.[7][8] The cars are maintained in a yard on Santa Fe Drive near 4th Street alongside the Los Angeles River in downtown Los Angeles.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Ridership Statistics - Rail Ridership Estimates".  
  2. ^ Simon, Richard; Rabin, Jeffrey L. (October 22, 1997). "Beleaguered MTA on Verge of Tunnel Triumph".  
  3. ^ "Red & Purple lines timetable" (pdf).  
  4. ^ "Metro Bus & Rail System Map" (pdf).  
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Purple Line Extension - Final EIR/EIS".  
  7. ^ Red line train
  8. ^ Washington Metro train

External links

  • Purple Line homepage
  • Purple Line schedule
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