Groundbreaking held for advance utility work on East San Fernando Valley light rail project

From left to right: Stephanie Wiggins, Metro CEO; Paul Krekorian, L.A. City Council President; Eric Garcetti, L.A. City Mayor; Ara J. Najarian, Glendale City Council Member and Metro Board Chair; Monica Rodriguez, L.A. City Council Member; Jesse Gabriel, State Assembly Member; Charlene Lee Lorenzo, Director of FTA Region 9; Tony Wilkinson, Panorama City Neighborhood Council Board Member.

Metro and local officials today celebrated the groundbreaking for advanced utility work on the first segment of the estimated $1.6 to $2 billion East San Fernando Valley light rail project, the first rail line to be built in the Valley since the original Metro Red Line subway was extended to North Hollywood in 2000. Here’s a video of this morning’s event.

The new 6.7-mile light rail line will connect the communities of Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta and Pacoima along Van Nuys Boulevard, one of the Valley’s busiest corridors. Another 2.5-mile segment is also planned to further extend the rail line from Pacoima to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. Design options for that project segment are now under study and will be built in a second construction phase.

Metro has issued a $9-million contract to W.A. Rasic Construction Company, Inc. of Long Beach to begin relocating existing Los Angeles Department of Water & Power vaults and associated conduit infrastructure along Van Nuys Boulevard in advance of major construction. Metro anticipates awarding its main construction contract early next year. The first rail segment between Van Nuys and Pacoima is scheduled to open between 2028 and 2030.

The start of advanced utility work marks a significant new milestone in Metro’s goal to bring street-running, local stop rail service back to the San Fernando Valley after 70 years. The last Pacific Electric Red Cars discontinued service along Van Nuys Boulevard in 1952.

Metro’s new rail line is planned to connect with both the Van Nuys Metrolink/Amtrak Station as well as the Metrolink station at Sylmar/San Fernando to provide Metro transit customers with greater interregional connectivity.

The rail line’s first construction phase will travel along the median of Van Nuys Boulevard and include 11 new stations that will connect the cities of Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta and Pacoima. Destinations available along the new line will include the Van Nuys Civic Center, Panorama Mall, Van Nuys multi-residential housing complexes and Arleta High School, among others. The rail line will also provide key linkages with Metro bus lines, including the G Line (Orange) in Van Nuys and municipally operated bus lines.

The second planned phase of the rail line will turn northwest on the Metro-owned right-of-way along San Fernando Road and connect to the City of San Fernando, adding three new stops there.

With the construction of this line, Metro aims to improve transit equity for Valley commuters. The population of the project corridor itself is lower income and highly transit dependent. Metro’s new rail line is expected to bring cost-effective mobility options and greater access to opportunity to its residents.

The East San Fernando Valley Light Rail Transit Project is just one of the transit improvements Metro has planned to improve mobility in the San Fernando Valley over the next 10 years. Other projects include the North San Fernando Transit Corridor Project, the G Line Improvements Project and the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project. Projects are partially funded through Metro’s local Measure M voter-approved sales tax measure, which funds transportation improvements throughout Los Angeles County.

For additional information about the East San Fernando Valley Light Rail Transit Project, please visit


“Metro has promised better transit options for the San Fernando Valley, and today we are taking a huge step forward in fulfilling that promise,” said Glendale City Council Member Ara J. Najarian, who also chairs both the Metro and Metrolink Boards of Directors. “We are now laying the groundwork for building a local rail line that will make important new connections with Metrolink’s broader, regionwide commuter rail system as well as Amtrak. This will give our Valley transit riders even more car-free travel options to Antelope Valley, Ventura County and beyond in the future.”

“Generations from now, Angelenos will look back on today as the moment when we reversed decades of disinvestment in public transit in the San Fernando Valley,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Bringing light rail to this part of the city will do more than just help clean our air and give people a new way to get around without traffic — it will connect two halves of our city and serve as a major step toward redefining the car culture that has long shaped Los Angeles.”

“This new rail line will bring a whole new opportunity to thousands of hardworking families in the East Valley by giving them convenient, affordable access to work, school and shopping,” said L.A. City Council President and Metro Board Member Paul Krekorian. “As promised in Measure M, this project will change how the San Fernando Valley connects to our larger regional transit system. The addition of 11 new transit stations will create commercial opportunities along the entire route, generating employment and improving the quality of life for the entire community.”

“We are excited to begin delivering on our promise to bring light rail back to the Valley,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “The East San Fernando Valley line will serve a critical transportation need for residents and will be an important link in a network of improvements we’re building all over the San Fernando Valley.”


Street level view of the line at Van Nuys and Victory boulevards.

Aerial rendering of the rail line on Van Nuys Boulevard at Victory Boulevard.

The station that will be the transfer point to the Van Nuys Metrolink Station.

Roscoe Station.

Woodman Station.

Arleta Station.

Van Nuys and Laurel Canyon.

The rail yard for the project.

7 replies

  1. I have to say, this is beginning to look like it’s not the best mode of transit here given the expected speed and cost. At first it seemed like the added capacity of LRT over bus made it ok, but if the line is going to be even slower than BRT would be as some are saying. Then maybe BRT would have been better here. There no actual reason why LRT should be slower, but LADOTs lack of commitment to proper signal priority and other operational quirks with LRT speed and signaling often seen on other lines really make me wonder if the money wouldn’t just be better spent on the orange line upgrade instead and a BRT here. ouy vey.

    At least the orange line is in a ROW, so street – running won’t be an issue when that becomes rail. Now, were this line to become part of a longer line that could continue down to Ventura and then turn east as a subway with stops at key intersections, to then connect, say, to the evential K line north after connecting with universal city, that would change things. Or at least if this line could connect to the orange line future LRT tracks and through-run trains, then it would be more practical and might even be able to share a maintenence yard, and trains from north hollywood could run both to San fernando and Chatsworth without a transfer.

  2. hi steve hymon. extension of this line to the 6 flags magic mountain park there its no buses and trains to from 6 flags magic mountain.

  3. Going to be a very , very slow ride(unless you truly add signal preemption) How did the line jump ahead of the. West Santa Ana Branch Line? Or the actual completion of the either Gold Line to Claremont (That route is shovel ready), or extension of the Green Line to Torrance or to Norwalk on the other end? Or money to convert the Orange Line to light rail or more grade separations ? Can’t believe they deleted the subway segment around/north of the Van Nuys Train Station in such a busy area. This rail line is isolated from any other Light Rail. At best this line needs to be extended on the north end to Roxford or up to the 405/5 area for a park n’ ride. Needs to be extended on the south to Ventura Blvd with a stop at Magnolia. Also need to consider a direct link to the Orange Line if and when the Orange is converted to rail so you could have trains coming down Van Nuys Blvd and turn onto the Orange ROW towards No Ho. Having said all that , the time line to build this is ridiculously long considering no subway tunnels or large bridges.

    • If we were to go based on renditions, not even a connection to the Orange Line will happen. The Orange Line would be Grade Separated, meaning that somehow, more land would be required or closing the Van Nuys station for about 2-3 years will have to occur in order to match the grade separation for that to happen. This is LA Metro we are talking about after all. They don’t think that far ahead.

      I’m surprised they are even studying a connection between Red/Purple with the Vermont Subway Extension.

      That’s why I tell people not to applaud Metro and their representatives. This is literally a “look I made this half baked rail line that’s slower than a bus happened, re-elect me to keep approving overpriced, half-baked projects like this.”

      Stops are less than a mile apart? This isn’t a Light Rail Line, just a heavily overpriced trolley line.

  4. It’s unfortunate because the valley badly needs a real rail line, but this isn’t going to cut it; the majority of time spent riding this line will be sitting at red lights. It won’t be faster than comparable bus routes.

    If this is how they’re going to do it (down the middle of a major blvd and interacting with traffic for almost its entirety, with no ability to speed it up) then Metro should really reconsider, because nobody’s going to have a reason to ride it.

    • “It’s unfortunate because the valley badly needs a real rail line”

      The Valley might NEED it, but they DEFINITELY don’t WANT it. Look at what what happened to the North Valley BRT. It’s dead and the only thing raising from its ashes are peak hour bus lanes on Roscoe Ave for a local line that isn’t going to be any faster.

      The Valley, after decades of all the racist/classist backed anti-rail rallies, got what it deserved. Look at how long it took for the robbins bill took to get repealed. There was literally a law set in place to prevent rail in a ROW in the valley. They deserved the Orange Line and they deserve this for decades of anti-rail rallies when the 60s to the 80s was probably the best time to built rail out there when the land for it was still there.