And so it begins: ground is broken for 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The groundbreaking of the Crenshaw/LAX Line was held Tuesday morning adjacent to the Expo Line’s Crenshaw station. Video is coming later today and we posted to our Twitter and Instagram feeds during the event; see this post for social media coverage of the event.

Here is Metro’s news release:

Construction began Tuesday morning on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, an 8.5-mile, $2.058-billion light-rail line that will run between the Metro Expo and Green lines and is expected to open in 2019. The project will also bring Metro Rail closer to Los Angeles International Airport.

The groundbreaking bought together top officials from federal, state and local government, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and California Senator Barbara Boxer.

One of the old Yellow Cars at Crenshaw & 54th in 1954. Photo by Alan Weeks via Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

One of the old Yellow Cars at Crenshaw & 54th in 1954. Photo by Alan Weeks via Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

The event was held at the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards, where the first of the project’s three underground stations will be built. Demolition of some existing structures will be among the first work done, with heavy construction expected to begin this spring.

“Thousands of hard-working families and seniors living in Crenshaw depend on public transportation every day to get to work, to school, and to obtain medical care,” said Secretary Foxx.  “Bringing light rail to this community will create jobs, spur local economic development and make it easier than ever for residents to access downtown Los Angeles and beyond.”

The new Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project will be the first rail line to serve Crenshaw Boulevard and the city of Inglewood since the streetcars of the Los Angeles Rail Line (known as the “Yellow Cars”) stopped running in 1955. In some places, the new light rail line will use the old alignment for the streetcars.

“The Crenshaw Line is a top priority for me because it will provide a crucial transportation link, create over 18,000 jobs, help connect communities, reduce air pollution, and provide economic development and economic opportunities,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The new light-rail line will serve the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and the area around Los Angeles International Airport with eight stations, a maintenance facility and park-and-ride lots.

Crenshaw map

“Los Angeles Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project is about making a long-term investment in South Los Angeles’ infrastructure that will benefit Angelinos for generations to come,” said Congresswoman Karen Bass. “This project is about generating over 18,000 jobs over the next six years for the Southern California economy as we work to climb out of the Great Recession. This project is about providing real work now to people who need it, with over half of the current jobs being filled by economically disadvantaged workers, and many of these jobs are currently being filled by African American workers. And this project is about time. For years we have promised a real change that will ease congestion on L.A.’s streets and put real dollars into South Los Angeles that allow people who live, work and play here a real choice to get around our great city, and the Crenshaw/LAX Project puts shovels where our rhetoric had been.”

“A world class Los Angeles needs a world class transit system that reduces traffic and connects our neighborhoods,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Vice Chair Eric Garcetti.  “The Crenshaw/LAX Corridor light rail will be a vital link in our regional transportation network and will serve thousands of residents in Crenshaw, Inglewood and Westchester and people traveling to and from LAX.”

“Today we celebrate the beginning of construction of a new 8.5-mile light rail project along the Crenshaw corridor that connects the Expo Line with the Metro Green Line completing a vital north/south piece of the LA County Metro Rail system,” said Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois. “Not only will this project improve mobility but it will deliver economic opportunity to communities that have been passed by progress enjoyed elsewhere.

In a separate project, planners at both Metro and Los Angeles World Airports officials are working together on the Airport Metro Connector that will link the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the LAX terminals via light rail, a people mover or a combination of the two.

“This day has been a long time coming,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project not only will provide much needed transportation to our airport, but it will create thousands of jobs over the course of construction and link the Crenshaw District to the rest Los Angeles.  That’s something to celebrate.”

The eight new stations will be located at Expo/Crenshaw (underground), Crenshaw/Martin Luther King (underground), Crenshaw/Vernon in Leimert Park (underground), Crenshaw/Slauson, Florence/West, Florence/La Brea (downtown Inglewood), Florence/Hindry and Aviation/Century (LAX).

The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project is one of 12 major transit projects funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The project is also receiving other state and local funds.

The federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which provides credit assistance for infrastructure projects and is overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation, provided a $545.9-million loan toward the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The project also is expected to receive approximately $130 million in other funds from the USDOT and the Federal Transit Administration.

The new light-rail line will be built by Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors, a joint venture between Walsh Construction and J.F. Shea Company (WSCC). WSCC expects to first begin construction of the Crenshaw/Exposition underground station, where the Tunnel Boring Machines will be lowered into the ground and then begin working south to 48th street, where the tracks will rise to street level.

About 55 percent of the Crenshaw/LAX Line will be separated from roadways with the tracks either in a tunnel, in a trench or an aerial structure. That’s far more than tracks serving the existing Blue Line, Expo Line and Gold Line. The great majority of those rail lines run at street level.

For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project visit or by email to, by phone at (213) 922.2736 or follow the project at or

18 replies

  1. Lance Linden;
    Those of you who live in the SFV had your chance to include a Light Rail Line from the Valley to LAX when the never ending 405 widening projects were proposed. That project is about over and other communities now must be served.

    Both the 105 Freeway and the Green Line were supposed to go into LAX but somehow the designers got a little lost on the way. Instead we have a freeway ending just south of the airport and a Light Rail Line meandering past closed defense plants.

  2. The need to run the line north go a potential interchange with the Purple Line is not a valid excuse for not having the ability to run trains from the Crenshaw tracks to the Exposition tracks. A Grand Junction could have been built. The Crenshaw Line will use the same LRT cars as the Green Line and the Expo line, not Heavy Rail cars like the Subway does.

  3. Also, think about Passengers and Customers with large luggage aboard the train design trains with luggage racks, we need a Picadilly Line service just like the London underground in Los Angeles!! We need a Fast, Convenient, Comfortable, CLEAN, Reliable, and On-Time Train service to LAX, the Green Line “LAX Aviation station” stops 2 miles short of terminals which doesn’t really make it a direct connection to LAX Airport Please take this into consideration!

  4. We had trains in LA in 1954?? And we’re just starting to build trains 60 years later in 2014!! Looking at the map it doesn’t seem like the train will be connecting DIRECTLY INTO LAX INTERNATIONAL TERMINALS 1-7!! We need a direct Metro MTA link or an Automated People Mover Shuttle System stopping at Terminals 1,2,3, Tom Bradley International, 4,5,6, and 7 alongside the Metro station Why are all of the stations named after intersections rather than the neighborhood or area they represent i.e. Hollywood Park Station, Inglewood Station instead of the Florence/La Brea station! Its not that complicated to build a Metro System to LAX Airport Terminals 1-7 LAWA and Metro should team together and plan a Metro System accordingly!!
    Sincerely, a World traveler sick of the traffic and mess at LAX

  5. This Crenshaw LAX Line is a great idea but who would take a train from LAX Airport to Crenshaw after a 10 hour flight from London Heathrow LHR or Tokyo/ Narita NRT or a 5 hour flight from New York JFK? The line should end in Hollywood! We need a North-South RAPID Train just like the BART System in San Francisco alongside the 405 freeway from the Valley to LAX and Long Beach with stops at Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, Getty Center Museum, UCLA, Wilshire, Palms, Venice, Culver, Fox Hills Mall, Manchester and LAX Terminals 1-7, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Palos Verdes, Carson and Long Beach Terminal. I would call the new train the LAXpress Express train!! I honestly think that Metro’s planning department should look into further options I wouldn’t want to go the opposite direction from Culver City Station in order to get to LAX International Airport Terminals 1-7

  6. If the Crenshaw Line is not physically connected to the Expo Line or the Green Line the MTA will be in the same situation it faces today with the Blue / Expo Lines isolated from the Gold Line. The Downtown Connector is the only reason it is being built in order to connect the two systems. In reality the Downtown Connector is a redundant system with the Red Line.

  7. Since 55% of the line will be underground, in a trench, or aerial structure, what is the project average speed? How many minutes is it estimated to take from end-to-end? I’m hoping it’ll be much faster than the Gold and Expo Lines and almost comparable to the fully grade-separated heavy rail Purple and Red Lines.

  8. Is there any information on whether the rails are physically connected at the Expo/Crenshaw station? Perhaps there’d be the possibility of a Santa Monica – Torrance or Downtown – Torrance line in the future.

    • Hi there;

      No, the Crenshaw rails and Expo rails will not be connected. Crenshaw is underground and Expo is at street level. One reason for not connecting: one of the unfunded projects in Metro long-range plan is to continue Crenshaw/LAX Line, including possibly to the north to a possible connection with the Purple Line subway.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  9. The fastest way to get LAWA to move on allowing rail into LAX would be for Metro to extend rail either to Ontario or Burbank airport. That’ll get LAWA’s attention

  10. “The project will also bring Metro Rail closer to Los Angeles International Airport.”
    Another missed opportunity to bring rail into LAX.