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St. Louis

LRT in
St. Louis

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The transit system in the St. Louis Missouri and East St. Louis Illinois is operated by the Bi-State Development Agency (doing business as Metro since 2003). The LRT system is known as Metrolink and the bus operation is known as MetroBus.

The LRT system currently consists of two lines. The first line, the Lambert Branch, runs from Lambert-St. Louis Airport, northwest of downtown, through downtown and east into Illinois to Scott Air Force Base in the east. The second line, the Shrewsbury Branch, runs from Shrewsbury southwest of downtown north to the Lambert Branch where it joins it at Forest Park-DeBaliviere station where it continues east through downtown and into Illinois as far as Fairview Heights station.


Toronto Comparison

The Metrolink system predates low floor technology, so it uses high floor vehicles with high platform loading to accommodate accessibility. While new implementations in Toronto will be low floor for accessibility, Metrolink does provide a good example of the ways that the right of way can be implemented:

System Highlights and Route Details

Item Notes
Number of lines 2
Total length 74 km
Total stations 34
Loading Low level platform, cars have steps
Platform 20 cm above track
Fleet 31 Siemens-Duewag SD-400 (DC traction)
56 Siemens-Duewag SD-460 (AC traction)
Common details Seats 72 passengers, plus room for 106 standing
4 bi-fold doors per side,
  plus low-level emergency exit at each end
90 km/h top operating speed (MetroLink specs)
105 km/h top speed (Siemens specs)
27.4 m (90') long articulated, 6-axle
High floor for 100% of seating space and doors
Fare collection Self service, barrier free, proof of payment
Fare integration Other than single-ride fares, all other fares allow full connections between LRT and bus routes.
Airport service Two stations serving Lambert-St. Louis Airport

route map

Red Line (Lambert Branch)
Length 60.9 km
Stations 28, 12 stations shared with Shrewsbury Branch
Right of way Fenced at-grade right of way for much of route
Elevated right of way at Lambert Airport
Former and current railway right of way
Downtown tunnel (Stadium to Arch-Laclede's Landing)
Service frequency 10 minutes during rush hours (6-9 am, 3-7:30 pm)
15 minutes mid-day
20 minutes early evenings (until 10:30 pm)
30 minutes late evenings (until 1 am)
15-29 minutes early mornings (from 4:30 am)

July 31, 1993
  25 km from North Hanley to 5th & Missouri (22.4 km)
May 14, 1994
  East Riverfront station added
June 25, 1994
  5.1 km west to Lambert Airport Main (Terminal 1)
December 23, 1998
  Lambert Airport East (Terminal 2) station added
May 5, 2001
  28.0 km west extension to College
June 23, 2003
  5.6 km west extension to Shiloh-Scott


Blue Line (Shrewsbury Branch)
Length 12.1 km (new branch)
Stations 9, plus 12 stations shared with Lambert Branch
Right of way Fenced at-grade right of way
Tunnel (University-Big Bend to Forsyth)
Elevated right of way
Service frequency 10 minutes during rush hours (6-9 am, 3-7:30 pm)
15 minutes mid-day
20 minutes early evenings (until 10 pm)
30 minutes late evenings (until 1 am)
15-40 minutes early mornings (from 4am)

August 26, 2006
  Original opening with Emerson Park eastern terminus
October 27, 2008
  Line extended to Fairview Heights


Ride Descriptions

Due to interlining, providing a description of a trip on each line would repeat the portion from Forest Park-DeBaliviere to Emerson Park. The descriptions will be broken up into corridors:

Corridor Notes Opened
Red Line Full trip from St. Louis Lambert Airport to Shiloh-Scott July 31, 1993
North Hanley to 5th & Missouri
Blue Line Trip from Shrewsbury to Forest Park-DeBaliviere August 26, 2006


Red Line

The trip on the Red Line from St. Louis Lambert Airport to Shiloh-Scott takes approximately 74 minutes.

Photo by Yury Maller
Lambert Airport Main station.

Lambert Airport Terminal 1 station is a island platform stub station built on top of the main airport terminal. Lambert Airport Terminal 2 station is another island platform station built above the east airport terminal. A two-hour fare purchased at these stations cost US$4.00 Note in the photo to the left that ALL destination signs on the LRT show its destination, which has been changed in the photo to reflect its return trip to Shiloh-Scott.

Photo by Transit Rider
North Hanley station.

The line is elevated between these stations and continues to be elevated as it swings out parallel to I-70 and soars over the I-70/I-170 interchange before lowering to grade level a little before the North Hanley station. North Hanley is an island platform station with a pedestrian grade crossing entrance at its west end. From North Hanley to UM-St. Louis North, the right of way travels over a viaduct and through a short tunnel due to terrain.

Photo by Transit Rider
Wellston station.

The north University station has an island platform and the south station has side platforms. Between the north and south University stations, the right of way uses another viaduct to cope with terrain before curving southward onto a former Nofolk Southern (former Wabash) railway right of way. It follows this former railway right of way for the next three stations.

Photo by Yury Maller
Near Wellston station on former Norfolk Southern right of way, the LRT not fully fenced in and all road crossings are at grade with gates.

The Rock Road station has side platforms and the Wellston station has staggered side platforms, with each platform on opposite sides of a road that crosses the line. Wellston is the only staggered platform station in the system.

Photo by Transit Rider
Delmar Station is just west of the
original Wabash Delmar station.

Delmar station has side platforms and is located just west of and below the original Wabash Delmar station.

The next station is Forest Park-DeBaliviere station. The junction with the Shrewsbury branch is just west of this station. This station originally had side platforms, but was changed to have an island platform during the construction of the Shrewsbury branch as it permitted more flexibility for passengers needing to change trains.

Photo by Transit Rider
March 2001:
Looking east at Forest Park station.
Photo by Yury Maller
2005 during construction of the Shrewsbury branch:
Operation at this station used only a single track.
Photo by Yury Maller
Summer 2005: Looking west from Forest Park station, the portal for Shrewsbury branch can be seen.
Photo by Transit Rider
The only grade crossing with a freight railway is near Grand Station.

Central West End and Grand stations both have island platforms and are situated along a former Missouri Pacific/Burlington Northern railway corridor. Central West End is located in an industrial area and Grand is located at the west end of a large rail yard. It is near the Grand station that the only rail/LRT grade crossing exists on the system. There is a storage yard and maintenance facility between Grand and Union station.

Union Station is an island platform station situated under the parking lot at the south end of St. Louis Union Station. The railway station has a huge canopy over the area where the stub-end tracks and platforms were located. There are still four tracks for static railway displays, while the rest of the space serves as parking for the shopping centre that is now in the renovated station building.

Heading east, the line makes a sharp turn to the south before entering Civic Center station with an island platform. This station serves the Savvis Center stadium. The line makes another turn to the east after this station to run parallel to I-64/US40 for about 1 km.

The line then turns north and enters Stadium station. This side-platform station is below street level just north of the portal to the downtown tunnel. The station serves Busch Stadium.

Photo by Yury Maller
Westbound train arriving at
Convention Center station.

Entering the downtown tunnel under 8th Street, the LRT is heading north to the two subway stations. The first is 8th & Pine and the second is Convention Center. Both of these stations have side platforms and the arched brickwork of the former railway tunnel can be seen at the end of each station. The tunnel curves to an east-west alignment just west of Convention Center station.

Photo by Yury Maller
Westbound train at Arch-Laclede's Landing station.

Heading east through the tunnel, it exits into the arches of the approach to the Eads bridge where the Arch-Laclede's Landing station is located. Laclede's Landing is the neighbourhood around the station that is known for a large number of restaurants in cobblestone streets. The St. Louis Arch (officially known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) is a short walk south of the station.

Photo by Yury Maller
LRT crosses the Mississippi River on
the lower level of the Eads bridge.

The line crosses the Mississippi River over the Eads bridge, a double deck bridge built in the 1870s. The upper deck originally had road traffic on it but no longer does.

At the east end of the Eads bridge, the East Riverfront station is located on a new elevated structure just beyond the bridge. This station opened almost a year after the line was in operation.

Photo by Yury Maller
Level crossing at Missouri Avenue in East St. Louis, near 5th & Missouri station.

A short distance from East Riverfront station is 5th & Missouri station. This island platform station was the original east end fo the line when it first opened in 1993.

The extension beyond here to College that opened in 2001 mostly follows a former CSX railway right of way. The tracks here are laid on concrete ties. The next three stations, Emerson Park, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center, and Washington Park are all island platform stations and have a similar spacing between them as other stations on the line. There is a storage yard and maintenance facility between Emerson Park and Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center.

Photo by Mike Harrington
Near College station.

After Washington Park, the distance between stations is further - almost double the spacing compared to the western end of the line. The stations here, Fairview Heights, Memorial Hospital, Swansea, Belleville, College, and Shiloh-Scott are all island platform stations with a similar looking design. As the line moves away from the Mississippi River, the terrain becomes very rural.


Blue Line

The trip from Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44 to Forest Park-DeBaliviere takes approximately 17 minutes, while the full trip to Fairview Heights takes approximately 52 minutes.

Photo by Anderson Anderson
Train approaching Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44 station.
Photo by Mike Harrington
Platform level at
Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44 station.
Photo by Anderson Anderson
End of the line at
Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44 station.

The author of this site last visited St. Louis about a week before the Shrewsbury branch opened. If anyone has additional photos or a description of the trip on this line, please send them here.

Stations and their layouts are as follows:

Shrewsbury-Lansdowne I-44: Elevated with island platform.

Sunnen: Side platforms; Station is adjacent to the only road grade crossing on this line.

Photo by Anderson Anderson
View of Clayton station from on board.
Photo by Mike Harrington
Richmond Heights station.

Maplewood-Manchester: Side platforms

Brentwood I-64: Side platforms.

Richmondn Heights: Island platform.

Clayton: Island platform.

Forsyth: Below grade open air station.

University City-Big Bend: Below grade station.

Skinker: Below grade station.

Fares and Fare Collection

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Single ride ticket from 2004.

Fares are purchased from vending machines on Metrolink platforms. Adult cash base fare is US$2.25 and are good travel away from the location of issue, with no transfer privileges. Single fares are valid for two hours from time of purchase.

A 2-hour pass is available for US$3.00 and a day pass is US$7.50, both good for unlimited travel on LRT and buses during their validity period. A 2-hour pass from Lambert Airport is $4.00

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Day pass from 2006.

A book of 10 2-hour passes sells for US$20 (passes must be cancelled at a ticket vending machine before use).

Weekly passes sell for US$25 and the monthly pass is US$72.

Random fare inspections take place on the LRT. Fare inspectors will confiscate an expired ticket and require the passenger to leave the train at the next stop to purchase a new fare for completion of the trip. Fare inspectors may issue a citation and fine for having an invalid fare.



All stations have high-level platforms for level boarding of trains. Stations are equipped with ramps or elevators for access to platforms.

Other Notes

Photo by Yury Maller
SD-400 interior - SD-460 has a similar look.








Current and Planned Expansion


A comprehensive, thirty-year plan for transit improvements titled Moving Transit Forward has been produced with three goals in mind:


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