Subway tunnel washing makes a difference: check out these pics of grime-free tunnel walls

The clean portion of the wall is on the right; the waiting-to-be-cleaned section on the left.

Crews continue to make progress in the long term tunnel power washing project in the Red and Purple Line tunnels. The above photos show what the walls look like after being cleaned — they're now dust and grime free!

Work began at Union Station and is moving at a pace of roughly 200 feet a night. The cleaning is being done on Sunday through Thursday nights after 9 p.m.; the washing is the reason that Red Line trains are running 20 minutes after p.m. and Purple Line trains are only running between Wilshire/Vermont and Wilshire/Western.

All liquids from the cleaning process are being recaptured and properly disposed of by Metro.

Customers are reminded to find all planned service advisories at

A better look at those sparkling clean tunnel walls.


Categories: Projects, Service Alerts

16 replies

  1. Maintenance and upkeep are key to a successful Transport system!! There should be ads or some mosaic art on the walls. I love how the walls at the station are being washed but how about cleaning the subway cars on the Red Line and the Expo Line? They’re in need of a makeover as it has been 20 years since LA’s underground RAPID Metro system opened. I agree with Ken we should learn from JAPAN’s trains and their Metro systems as they’re very CLEAN, run ON-TIME(on the second!), Fast, comfortable and efficient. I have been to JAPAN and was amazed by how CLEAN, and fast the trains were running especially the Shinkansen High Speed bullet trains. I will build the Future of LA’s HIGH-TECH RAPID TRANSPORT SYTEM!!

  2. They do ad placements in stations in Japan too.

    All the stations there have a station manager’s office and the staffs there are in charge of the everyday operations of each station. They are there to make announcements, hand out flyers if the train is running late, they schedule maintenance and janitorial services to keep the place clean everyday, they fix machinery problems on the ticket vending machines or any other station equipment, they look for fare jumpers, and they collect rent from the businesses that operate within their stations. They also act as representatives of the transit company to the local community in which the station are in.

    The local community is able to create a rapport with each station and their staff by putting up ads of the services and places near the station that visitors can go to. For example, a restaurant close to the station might put up an ad in the station with walking directions to their restaurant. This accomplishes many things. It helps bring additional revenue to the stations to help pay for their maintenance and upkeep, while at the same time, helps local business attract new customers and grow.

    Metro should look into these ideas. Staff the stations, help them become part of the community that they serve, earn additional revenue all the while and working together with local businesses and helping them grow. Look at La Cienega/Jefferson Station on the Expo Line for example. There’s a See’s Candy factory store right nearby and nary an ad that says that exists. Or look at Culver City Station. So many restaurants and small businesses, not a single ad nor store working with Metro to help their businesses.

    And guess what? When I ask why they don’t, they all say the same thing: “we don’t know who to ask or call for permission.”

    See, that’s exactly Metro’s public relations problem. Metro says the excuse “oh it costs us money to staff the stations.” And that’s the end of their story with without thinking beyond that. They don’t realize that by not staffing their stations, they aren’t making a good relationship with the community they are serving. And by doing so, they miss out on so many revenue making opportunities that helps them and the local businesses that they serve.

    Metro can learn so much from how Japan operates their systems.

    I have to ask: Has anyone in Metro visited Japan and done an in depth report and analysis on how they are able to run their trains?

    Running a mass transit system is not just about building and keeping their trains running. A lot has to go into daily operations, upkeep of their stations, and making relationships with their communities that they serve. Metro can learn a lot from how Japan on this regard. They way Metro operates today is nothing more like a cold government bureaucracy. And their stations and attitudes reflect that: cold. Look at the state of our stations. Look at how Metro handles Blue Line delays. Look at how Metro has so many complaints in customer service. All of these are problems that Metro can learn so much just by visiting Japan.

  3. The more money Metro can make on their own instead of coming back to taxpayers, the better. Ad space, retail space, all of these make money which helps pay for things. Art just sits there and does nothing.

  4. As if we don’t have enough ads in Los Angeles. I’m fine with being left with my own imagination and headphones while starring at the tracks or grey way. The last thing I need/want on my commute is to see another UEI or Calvin Klein ad. Let’s not be foolish, they won’t just simply put small ads, Los Angeles can be a marketing pool on steroids. Spare me a seven foot tall McRib and simply COMMISSION ART in these spaces if anything!

    • Hi Collin;

      My understanding is that this is the first time there has been a comprehensive washing of the walls along the entire subway route.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. @ Ryan K. Although I would agree with you if this were a public park or open space, a subway tunnel, no matter how nice, is never really going to be relaxing or beautiful (except maybe in Moscow, with their marble columns, frescoes, and chandeliers in their Metro stations). Therefore, I personally don’t have a problem with ads at all.

  6. @Ray

    They used to have some of those ads here too. In the long tunnel between Hollywood/Highland and Universal City. It was pretty cool… though the effect wasn’t always quite as clear as it should have been.

  7. @C Philman:
    the reason for no ads in the Metro tunnels is that no company can believe there are Metro riders in LA, city of the car. thus, they are afraid to waste their $.

  8. they use that space for ads in pretty much every major city but Los Angeles. In Boston, sometimes, you get a subway wall that is illuminated when on the train, and the ad plays like a flipbook.

  9. @ C Philman, I think there is something to be said for having public transit being as much of a refuge from advertising as possible. I personally don’t think the return of revenue is worth the decreasing quality of life experienced by a passenger barraged by ads.

  10. When I was in London the a month ago, they actually made good use of these dead empty space for ad space.

    I think Metro could stand to make better use of these empty spaces like the London Underground. People face these walls as they wait for the train; it’s the perfect place to put up ads. By doing so, Metro can generate more revenue that Metro can use to help pay for more frequent clean ups instead of coming out of a fixed annual budget.

  11. After 20 years it was time for a Good Cleaning Looking forwards to seeing Hollywood & Vine Sparkling Clean My Favorite Red Line Station

  12. While the wall cleaning of subway stations is needed and make the stations look nicer, can this work be done when the trains do not run (say after 2AM), or when less people ride (say after 10PM).