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MetroLink (St. Louis)

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Title: MetroLink (St. Louis)  
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Subject: Forest Park–DeBaliviere (St. Louis MetroLink), MetroBus (St. Louis), Union Station (St. Louis), Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center, Siemens SD-400
Collection: 1993 Establishments in Illinois, 1993 Establishments in Missouri, Bi-State Development Agency, Companies Operating Former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Lines, Companies Operating Former Louisville and Nashville Railroad Lines, Companies Operating Former Wabash Railroad Lines, Light Rail in Illinois, Light Rail in Missouri, Proposed Railway Lines in Missouri, Proposed Railway Lines in the United States, Public Transportation in Greater St. Louis, Public Transportation in St. Clair County, Illinois, Public Transportation in St. Louis County, Missouri, Public Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri, Rail in St. Louis, Missouri, Railway Lines Opened in 1993, St. Clair County Transit District, St. Louis Metrolink, Standard Gauge Railways in the United States
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MetroLink (St. Louis)

A MetroLink train leaving Union Station.
Locale St. Louis Metropolitan Area
Transit type Light rail
Number of lines 2
Number of stations 37[1]
Daily ridership 53,123 (FY 2013)[2]
Headquarters St. Louis, Missouri
Began operation July 31, 1993 (1993-07-31)[3]
Operator(s) Bi-State Development Agency
dba Metro Transit
Reporting marks BSDA
Number of vehicles 87
Train length 2 articulated vehicles
Headway 5 Minutes
System length 46 mi (74 km)[1]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Electrification Overhead lines, 750 V DC
Average speed 24.7 mph (40 km/h)
Top speed 65 mph (105 km/h)
St. Louis MetroLink System Map
Blue Line
Red Line
Lambert Terminal 1
Lambert Terminal 2
Brentwood I-64
North Hanley
Richmond Heights
UMSL North
UMSL South
Rock Road
University City–Big Bend
Delmar Loop
Forest Park–DeBaliviere
Central West End
Union Station
Civic Center
8th & Pine
Convention Center
Laclede's Landing
Mississippi River
East Riverfront
5th & Missouri
Emerson Park
Joyner-Kersee Center
Washington Park
Fairview Heights
Memorial Hospital

MetroLink (reporting mark BSDA) is the light rail transit system in the Greater St. Louis area of Missouri and the Metro East area of Illinois. The system consists of two lines (Red Line and Blue Line) connecting Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and Shrewsbury, MO with Scott Air Force Base near Shiloh, Illinois through downtown St. Louis. The system features 37 stations[1] and carries an average of 53,123 people each weekday.[2] As of the first quarter of 2015, it is second only to Minneapolis Metro Transit's Blue and Green lines in the Midwestern United States in terms of ridership, and is the 11th-largest light rail system in the country.[4]

MetroLink is operated by the Bi-State Development Agency, operating as Metro since 2003,[5] in a shared fare system with the MetroBus lines.


  • History 1
    • Chronology 1.1
  • Rail lines 2
    • Red Line 2.1
    • Blue Line 2.2
    • Shared alignment 2.3
  • Rolling stock 3
    • Roster information 3.1
  • Fares 4
  • List of stations 5
  • Potential plans and extensions 6
    • Daniel Boone Corridor 6.1
    • MetroNorth Corridor 6.2
    • MetroSouth Corridor 6.3
    • NorthWest Connector 6.4
    • NorthSide Corridor 6.5
    • SouthSide Corridor 6.6
    • St. Clair Extension 6.7
    • Madison County Corridors 6.8
    • St. Charles Corridor 6.9
    • SouthWest Corridor 6.10
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


A view of the MetroLink system passing through Belleville, Illinois.

Construction on the initial MetroLink alignment from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to the 5th & Missouri station in East St. Louis began in 1990. The portion between North Hanley and 5th & Missouri stations opened in July 31, 1993 (1993-07-31),[3] and the line was extended westward to Lambert Airport Main station in 1994.[6] At that time another station, East Riverfront, was opened in East St. Louis.[7] Four years later, in 1998, the Lambert Airport East station was added.[8] The capital cost to build the initial phase of MetroLink was $465 million. Of that amount, $348 million was supplied by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).[9]

MetroLink exceeded pre-opening ridership estimates, but the system has expanded slowly. Construction on proposed extensions has been delayed by the increasing scarcity of FTA funds. As time has passed, an ever-greater share of the costs has been borne by state and local governments. The most recent work has been entirely funded by local dollars.

Construction on the St. Clair County MetroLink extension from the 5th & Missouri station to the College station in Belleville began in 1998 and opened in May 2001. The extension added eight new stations and seven park-ride lots. The total project cost was $339.2 million, with the FTA and St. Clair County Transit District sharing the burden at 72% ($243.9 million) and 28% ($95.2 million), respectively. Local funding was provided by the St. Clair County Transit District as a result of a 1/2 cent sales tax passed in November 1993.[9]

In May 2003, a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) extension from Southwestern Illinois College to Shiloh-Scott station opened. This $75 million project was funded by a $60 million grant from the Illinois FIRST (Fund for Infrastructure, Roads, Schools, and Transit) Program and $15 million from the St. Clair County Transit District.[9]

A westbound MetroLink train arrives at the Grand Station platform in midtown St. Louis.

The Cross County Extension from Forest Park-DeBaliviere station to Shrewsbury-Lansdowne-I-44 station opened to the public on August 26, 2006 (2006-08-26). This 8-mile (13 km), 9-station extension connected Washington University, Clayton, the popular Saint Louis Galleria shopping center, and Shrewsbury to the system.[10] The entire project was funded by a $430 million Metro bond issue. Metro cited repeated delays and cost overruns as its reasons for firing its general contractor in Summer 2004. Metro sued the Collaborative for $81 million for fraud and mismanagement. The Collaborative counter-sued for $17 million for work that Metrolink hadn't yet paid for. On December 1, 2007, a jury voted in favor of the Cross County Collaborative, awarding them $2.56 million for work as yet unpaid for.

On October 27, 2008 (2008-10-27), Metro renamed the two MetroLink lines using color designations: the Lambert Airport branch was renamed to the Red Line; the Shrewsbury branch, the Blue Line. Service was also extended on the Blue Line from its former terminus at Emerson Park to Fairview Heights. All trains have a red or blue sign on the front that identify the train as a Red Line or Blue Line train, and all operators make station announcements identifying the Red Line or Blue Line.[11]

On September 9, 2014 (2014-09-09), the United States Department of Transportation announced $10.3 million in funding for a new Metrolink station between the Central West End and Grand stations in the CORTEX research district. The station, to be located just east of Boyle Avenue, is anticipated to open in early 2017.


Below is a chronological list of dates on which specific portions of the MetroLink system opened for service.

Date Event Stations Length
July 31, 1993 (1993-07-31) Line opens between North Hanley and 5th & Missouri 16 13.9 miles (22 km)
May 14, 1994 (1994-05-14) East Riverfront opens between existing stations 1
June 25, 1994 (1994-06-25) Extension to Lambert Airport Main opens 1 3.15 miles (5.1 km)
December 23, 1998 (1998-12-23) Lambert Airport East opens between existing stations 1
May 5, 2001 (2001-05-05) Extension to College opens 8 17.4 miles (28 km)
June 23, 2003 (2003-06-23) Extension to Shiloh-Scott opens 1 3.5 miles (6 km)
August 26, 2006 (2006-08-26) Extension to Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44 opens 9 8 miles (13 km)
Total 37 46 miles (74 km)

Rail lines

MetroLink map showing Red Line, Blue Line, and Purple (shared alignments).

Red Line

The main Metrolink alignment begins at Lambert St. Louis International Airport, making stops at the main and east terminals. It then proceeds through Berkeley before making a stop at North Hanley north of Bel-Ridge. It then makes two stops (UMSL North & South stations) at the University of Missouri St. Louis campus located in Normandy. Following that, it makes stops in Pagedale at St. Charles Rock Road and in Wellston, before crossing the county line at Skinker Boulevard; and making a stop at Delmar, serving the popular Delmar Loop area that straddles the St. Louis/University City border. It meets up with the Blue Line at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere station. From this station on until the Fairview Heights station, it shares tracks with the Blue Line. The line is a total of 38 miles with 28 stations. For the rest of the Red Line, see "Shared alignment".

Blue Line

University City-Big Bend Station along the Blue Line, near Washington University.

The Blue Line starts in Shrewsbury just to the west of River des Peres. It crosses Interstate 44 and then continues northeast till the next 2 stations located in Maplewood, one at the Sunnen Industrial Complex, the other at Manchester Road. From there, it continues north to the Brentwood I-64 station located in Brentwood just south of Interstate 64. It then proceeds underneath Interstate 64, continuing to the Richmond Heights station in Richmond Heights. This station serves the popular St. Louis Galleria shopping center. Following that it proceeds to Clayton Central station in Clayton, serving the Central Business District of St. Louis County. From here, it continues in a tunnel right under Forest Park Parkway, making stops at Forsyth Boulevard and Big Bend Boulevard in University City, serving Washington University. It then makes a stop at Skinker Boulevard in St. Louis City, before meeting the Red Line at Forest Park DeBaliviere station. It is 24 miles long, with 24 stations. For the rest of the Blue Line, see "Shared alignment".

Shared alignment

The 1874-built Eads Bridge carries both MetroLink tracks across the Mississippi River between Missouri and Illinois on its lower rail deck, under the road.

Both MetroLink lines meet at the Forest Park-DeBaliviere station and continue for 14 more stations east on shared tracks until the Blue Line terminates at Fairview Heights.

From the Forest Park station, the trains continue to the Central West End station, serving the Barnes-Jewish Hospital complex and the popular Euclid Avenue shopping district. From there, it proceeds to the Grand station under the Grand Boulevard viaduct, which services the St. Louis University complex and hospital. The trains pass under the Jefferson Avenue viaduct before they enter the next station near Union Station, located underneath 18th Street just near the popular Union Station shopping mall. A short distance later, the trains stop at the Civic Center Station, with transfer to the Gateway Transportation Center and the Scottrade Center. The trains then continue to run parallel under the 14th Street and Tucker Boulevard viaducts to the elevated section of Interstate 64 till the Busch Stadium station, originally serving the old, and now the new Busch Stadium. The trains continue underground through a series of formerly-abandoned, but repurposed, railway tunnels, with stations at 8th & Pine streets, and the Convention Center under Washington Avenue and 6th Street, serving the Edward Jones Dome and Convention Center. It then makes stops on both sides of the Eads Bridge at Arch-Laclede's Landing station and at the East Riverfront station in East St. Louis, which serves the Casino Queen Gambling Casino & Hotel. From there, it runs at-grade from the 5th & Missouri station till the Fairview Heights station in Fairview Heights, IL. Here, the Blue line trains terminate, and the Red line trains continue till the line terminus at Shiloh-Scott AFB station at the gate to the base in Shiloh, Illinois.

Rolling stock

Interior of a MetroLink light-rail vehicle.

MetroLink operates a fleet of 87 light-rail vehicles composed of 31 SD-400 and 56 SD-460 vehicles. Each 90-foot (27 m), single articulated vehicle has 4 high platform doors per side and has a capacity of 72 seated and 106 standing passengers.[12][13] The cars are powered by an electric motor which gets its electricity from a catenary wire with a 750 volt supply.

Each car has an enclosed operator cab at each end. This allows the most flexible system for managing operations, but prevents travel between cars except at stations. Each car also has separate doors for station level and track level access. In normal operations the track level doors (equipped with stairs) are unused.

The system also has two different railroad yards along the line for the storage and maintenance of light-rail vehicles: Ewing Yard is located between the Grand and Union Station stops just west of downtown St. Louis; 29th Street Yard is located between the JJK and Washington Park stops in Illinois. On October 27, 2009, Metro had recently opened a paint booth facility on the Illinois railyard in East St. Louis, IL.

Brand-new Siemens SD-400 unit on the then-newly opened MetroLink system in 1993.

Roster information

Unit Type Year Built Quantity Numbers[14]
Siemens SD400 LRV 1991–1993 31 1001–1031
Siemens SD460 LRV 1999 10 2001–2010
Siemens SD460 LRV 2000 24 3001-3024
Siemens SD460 LRV 2004–2005 22 4001-4022


MetroLink uses a proof-of-payment system. Tickets can be purchased at ticket vending machines at the entrance to all stations and must be validated before boarding the train. Effective July 1, 2014 (2014-07-01), the fares are as follows:

  • 1 Ride Ticket-$2.50 (reduced fare-$1.25) (rail only)
  • 2 Hour Pass-$3 (reduced fare-$1.50) (unlimited use on Metrobus and Rail for 2 hours only)
  • 2 Hour Pass from Lambert Airport $4 (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)
  • One-Day Pass-$7.50 (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)
  • Weekly Pass-$27 (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)
  • Monthly Pass-$78 (reduced fare-$39) (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)
  • Semester Pass-$175 (unlimited use on MetroBus and Rail)

Reduced fares can be purchased by seniors ages 65+, people with disabilities, and children ages 5–12. Children under 5 ride free. Proof of age may be requested of all people riding with reduced fares. Other types of passes, such as a Semester Pass for full-time students are also available in addition to the fares listed above.[15]

The fare increase went into effect on 1 July 2014, the beginning of the new fiscal year. One-rides are $2.50. Weekly passes are $27. Monthly passes are $78. Semester passes are $175.[16]

List of stations

Potential plans and extensions

The idea of MetroLink has been around for more than 20 years in the region. There have been plans and priorities that have been laid out for the region since 1989. These priorities are determined by a System Analysis for a region which is required by the federal government. The East-West Gateway Council of Governments conducted a System Analysis in 1989 in the St. Louis region and determined that there were three tiers of priorities for MetroLink expansion for the region.

  • Tier I - Cross County, St. Charles and St. Clair County, IL
  • Tier II - North County, South County and West County
  • Tier III - Southwest County and Madison County, IL

These extensions may increase the MetroLink light rail system with as much as 80 miles (130 km) of trackage.

Daniel Boone Corridor

Daniel Boone Corridor - Clayton to Westport
A study performed in 2000 recommended a new MetroLink line from Clayton, Missouri to Westport Plaza in Maryland Heights, Missouri. The 8–10-mile (13–16 km) line would run north from the Clayton station along the old Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis "Central Belt" right-of-way paralleling I-170, then turn west to follow existing Union Pacific Railroad trackage operated by Central Midland Railway to Page where the line would then follow Page Avenue to Westport Plaza.[17][18] This future alignment will add up to six stations between Clayton and Maryland Heights in the I-170-Page Corridor. Metro officials have suggested that this line could be the next MetroLink extension to be built.[19][20]
Phase II - Westport to Chesterfield
This 12-mile (19 km) extension is part of Phase II of the Daniel Boone Line to connect Westport Plaza to Chesterfield, Missouri in West County.

MetroNorth Corridor

MetroNorth Corridor - Clayton to Florissant
This 12-mile (19 km) extension project would extend the current Blue Line from Clayton to North County into Florissant. Like the Daniel Boone line, some of it will follow along the old Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis "Central Belt" right-of-way paralleling I-170.

MetroSouth Corridor

MetroSouth Corridor - Shrewsbury to Butler Hill
This 12-mile (19 km) extension project would extend the current Blue Line from its terminus in Shrewsbury further into South County beyond I-270/I-255 to Butler Hill Road. An environmental impact study was completed in 2004; however, selection of a locally preferred alternative was deferred due to the lack of local funding sources as well as many other factors.[21]

NorthWest Connector

NorthWest Connector- Northside to Daniel Boone and North County
This future 6-mile (9.7 km) connector cuts off from the Northside Line in North St. Louis, passing over the Red Line to the future Daniel Boone and North County Line extensions.

NorthSide Corridor

NorthSide Corridor- Downtown to Goodfellow & I-70 to St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley

The 12-mile (19 km) extension starts north from Downtown St Louis further northwest to the Florissant Valley Community College. A study for this extension was completed in 2008 and a Locally Preferred Alternative selected.

SouthSide Corridor

SouthSide Corridor - Downtown to Bayless to Butler Hill
[23] The 9-or-17-mile (14 or 27 km) extension starts from Downtown to the south of St. Louis County to Bayless I-55. A study for this extension was completed in 2008 and a Locally Preferred Alternative selected. The Locally Preferred Alternative begins at the Multi-Modal Transit Center at 14th & Spruce Sts., continues south on 14th St. to Chouteau Ave., travelling west on Chouteau to Jefferson Ave., then travelling south on Jefferson to Meramec St., where it then follows a right-of-way on Interstate Highway 55 to a terminus at Bayless Ave.

St. Clair Extension

St. Clair Extension Phase 3 - Shiloh-Scott to MidAmerica Airport
This 5.3-mile (8.5 km) extension to MidAmerica Airport was originally part of the St. Clair County Extension Phase 2 project that extended MetroLink to Shiloh-Scott, but was separated into its own project by the Federal Transit Administration due to low ridership projections. Design work for this extension has been completed, but funding for construction has yet to be secured.[24] As of 2010 the plans for the MidAmerica extension have been removed from the Moving Transit Forward's 30-year plan, as they are no longer planning on completing the line since MidAmerica serves only one passenger airline, Allegiant Air.

Madison County Corridors

Madison County Corridors - East St. Louis to Alton or Edwardsville
A feasibility study was performed in 2005 to investigate the potential costs, ridership, and impacts of extending MetroLink into Madison County, Illinois. The recommended alignment options would extend MetroLink from the 5th & Missouri station in East St. Louis north to Madison, Illinois and potentially to Alton or Edwardsville 21–23 miles (34–37 km) away, though as of 2010, the Metro 30-year plan is suggesting commuter rail to Alton and the MetroLink extension would be to Edwardsville. No further studies have been performed nor any sources of funding identified.[25] In 1997, voters in Madison County rejected a half-cent sales tax proposal to fund a MetroLink extension.[20]

St. Charles Corridor

St. Charles Corridor - Lambert Airport to St. Charles
Possible plans to extend service 16–20 miles (26–32 km) northwestward into St. Charles County were abandoned after St. Charles County voters twice rejected a sales tax in 1996 to fund an extension. This was mainly because of part of the plan involving a direct connection with East St. Louis, Illinois. Many St. Charles County residents feared that the proposed line would cause a spike in crime by enabling criminals from East St. Louis and other crime-ridden areas to commute easily to St. Charles County.[26]

Five years later, as part of major service cuts, Metro eliminated its express line connecting Mid-Rivers Mall to the North Hanley MetroLink station, citing low ridership. This service was restored, with additional St. Charles County stops, as St. Charles Area Transit (SCAT). Public opinion polls have continued to show that St. Charles County's citizens would reject taxes for public transit. To this day, St. Charles County lacks any public transit system, except for the SCAT line.[27]

SouthWest Corridor

SouthWest Corridor - South St. Louis to Fenton
This 16–20-mile (26–32 km) extension to Fenton, Missouri in Southwest County is considered for study by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Procurement Information". Bi-State Development Agency (Metro). 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  2. ^ a b Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (FY 2013/FY2012)"" (PDF). Bi-State Development Agency. November 22, 2013. p. 149. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "History - The 1990s - MetroLink". Bi-State Development Agency (Metro). 2010. Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  4. ^ APTA Q1 2015 Light Rail Transit Ridership Report
  5. ^ "Bi-State Development Agency Adopts "Metro" As New Name" (PDF) (Press release).  
  6. ^ Tipton, Virgil (1994-06-22). "Takeoff: MetroLink Opens Lambert Stop Saturday".  
  7. ^ Goodrich, Robert (1994-04-27). "East St. Louis Starring in MetroLink".  
  8. ^ "2nd MetroLink station opens at Lambert". St. Louis Business Journal. 1998-12-23. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  9. ^ "Metro Announces August 26 Grand Opening Date for Cross County MetroLink Extension" (PDF) (Press release).  
  10. ^ "Service Changes Effective October 27, 2008" (PDF) (Press release). Metro. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  11. ^ "Siemens AG - Projects - Rolling Stock".  
  12. ^ "SD460 High-Floor Light Rail Vehicle - St. Louis, Missouri" (PDF).  
  13. ^ Modern Urban Rail Systems Bi-State Transit Info & Roster
  14. ^ "Fare Chart".  
  15. ^ "Metro Transit Fare Increase to be Implemented on July 1".  
  16. ^ "MetroLink Planning - Daniel Boone". East-West Gateway. Retrieved 2007-06-01. 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Hilligand, Terry; Bryant, Tim (2008-07-29). "Commuters in St. Charles, Madison counties still waiting for the train". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  19. ^ a b Leiser, Ken (2008-10-30). "St. Louis County MetroLink expansion: West Port Ho!". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  20. ^ "East-West Gateway Board Defers Selection of MetroLink Alternative for Metro South Study Area" (PDF). East-West Gateway. 3 November 2004. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  21. ^ "MetroLink Planning - Northside". East-West Gateway. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  22. ^ "MetroLink Planning - Southside". East-West Gateway. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  23. ^ Wolinsky, Julian (July 2002). "For St. Louis, a long-term strategy - St. Louis, MO's rail transit plan". Railway Age. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  24. ^ "MetroLink Planning - Madison County". East-West Gateway. Retrieved 2008-10-30. 
  25. ^ Garrison, Chad. "Out-of-control shoplifting at the St. Louis Galleria. Violent attacks in the Delmar Loop. Is MetroLink a vehicle for crime?" Riverfront Times. August 20, 2008. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
  26. ^ Leiser, Ken. "St. Charles County loves its cars despite gas prices." St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 9, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012.


  • Tuzik, Robert (August 1990). "What's different about St. Louis light rail - its low cost per track mile".  
  • "MetroLink: the long ride from concept to reality". West End Word. 2006-08-30. Archived from the original on 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  • Garrison, Chad (2008-08-20). "Out-of-control shoplifting at the St. Louis Galleria. Violent attacks in the Delmar Loop. Is MetroLink a vehicle for crime?".  

External links

External images
Rapid Transit Systems – St. Louis Photographs of the MetroLink system.
Railroad Picture Archives: MetroLink – MetroLink photographs at Railroad Picture Archives.
Skips Railroad Depot MetroLink Photo Page
  • Official website
  • Official blog website
  • East West Gateway – St. Louis MPO: MetroLink planning page
  • Cross County Extension – Official project website
  • Metro South Study – Official study website
  • Citizens for Modern Transit – St. Louis transit advocacy group
  • Moving Transit Forward
  • St. Louis Transit Alliance Website
  • MetroLink Expansion Options

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