METRORail Purple Line

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Purple Line
CAF LRV at Main St.JPG
TypeLight rail/Streetcar[2]
LocaleHouston, Texas
TerminiTheater District Station (north)
Palm Center Transit Center (south)
OpenedMay 23, 2015[3]
CharacterStreet running downtown, exclusive right-of-way elsewhere
Line length6.6 mi (10.6 km)[4]
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
ElectrificationOverhead catenary
Highest elevationAt-grade with city streets
Route map
Theater District
Central Station
Convention District
Leeland/Third Ward
Elgin/Third Ward
TSU/UH Athletics District
UH South/University Oaks
MacGregor Park/
Martin Luther King Jr.
Palm Center Transit Center

The Purple Line is a 6.6-mile (10.6 km)[4] METRORail light rail/streetcar[2] route operated by METRO in Houston, Texas, serving Southeast Houston. The line opened on May 23, 2015.[3][5]


The Purple Line begins at its northern terminus at Smith Street with split tracks on Capitol and Rusk Streets.[6] The northbound track will run along Capitol Street in downtown, while its southbound counterpart will run down Rusk Street. Both of these downtown sections involve street running in mixed traffic like a traditional streetcar line.[2] Four of the line's stations will be in downtown with stops at Smith, Main, Fannin, and Crawford. Transfers to the Red Line will occur at the Fannin Station. Before crossing I-69/US 59 the 2 tracks converge to run together on Texas into the East End where it and the Green Line diverge after EaDo/Stadium Station, which has access to the BBVA Compass Stadium, the home venue of the Texas Southern Tigers football, Houston Dynamo & Houston Dash.

From here, the line continues southward towards the next stop at Leeland. Traveling south on Scott Street leads to the next stop, which will be at the intersection of Elgin Street—providing access and transfers to the University/Blue Line. The next stop at Cleburne will provide access to the University of Houston and Texas Southern University. The route then takes a southeastern turn onto Wheeler to the UH South/University Oaks Station, which also provides access to the University of Houston. Turning onto Martin Luther King Drive, the route will head to the MacGregor Park Station. Another southeastern turn onto Griggs leads to the line's southern terminus, the Palm Center Transit Center. From here the tracks continue a short distance further into a storage facility for the METRORail trains.


Construction began July 2009.[7] On December 8, 2011, the FTA announced the award of a $450 million grant from the New Starts transit program to fund construction of the Purple Line.[8] Phase I construction was due to be completed by Spring 2011, with Phase II construction finishing by Fall 2013,[9] and a planned opening for 2013 or 2014. By fall 2010, it became clear that a late 2013 opening was impossible, and the line would not open until late 2014.[10]

The construction was temporarily halted in the summer of 2012, when the University of Houston opposed the line's initial route around the campus, though the dispute was soon settled.[11][12]

Problems with non-MetroRAIL construction projects downtown, as well as with the axle-counters used to regulate light rail traffic, subsequently pushed back the opening of the line to April 2015,[13][14] and subsequently to May 23, 2015.[3]

New plans are in the works for the connection from palm center and the Hobby airport.


The following is a list of stations for the Purple Line, listed in order from north to south.[1]

METRORail line key
     Red Line
     Green Line

Station Opening
Theater District 2015      20, 30, 44, 85, 151, 160/161/162, Park & Ride routes
Central Station (Capitol/Rusk) 2015           6, 11, 51/52, 137
Convention District 2015     
EaDo/Stadium 2015     
Leeland/Third Ward 2015 29, 40/41
Elgin/Third Ward 2015 29, 54
TSU/UH Athletics District 2015 4, 25, 54
UH South/University Oaks 2015 25, 80
MacGregor Park/Martin Luther King, Jr. 2015 28, 80
Palm Center Transit Center 2015 5, 87


A possible expansion for the Purple Line would allow it to head east onto Griggs Road and into the Gulfbank area. From there it would head south to William P. Hobby Airport.[15]

Impact on students[edit]

The light rail route was intended to benefit students of the University of Houston and Texas Southern University, by giving students (especially those without transportation) access to Houston's attractions and Downtown restaurants and nightlife. METRO acknowledges college students to be the biggest rider demographic for the Purple Line.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Southeast Line [map]" (PDF). METRORail. March 27, 2012. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  2. ^ a b c "Station Guide Downtown" (pdf). METRORail. March 7, 2014. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 2014-07-24.
  3. ^ a b c Bennett, Adam (April 20, 2015). "Metro shows off new light rail lines". KHOU. Retrieved 2015-05-02.
  4. ^ a b "METRORail". Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas. Retrieved 2015-08-11.
  5. ^ "RAILFEST: Free Concert & Fireworks". Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County. May 21, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-11.
  6. ^ "Southeast Line". METRORail. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  7. ^ Retrieved 2009-01-16. Archived November 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "900m awarded to extend Houston's light rail system". December 8, 2011. Archived from the original on June 6, 2012. Retrieved 2011-12-08.
  9. ^ "Construction Schedule". METRORail. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  10. ^ "Rail Lines Will Not Meet Oct. 2013 Deadline". KRIV (FOX 26 Houston). September 9, 2010. Archived from the original on January 18, 2015. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  11. ^ Bell, Nick (August 27, 2012). "Metro rail blurs line between city and campus". The Cougar. University of Houston. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  12. ^ Mellon, Ericka (July 31, 2012). "UH, Metro come to terms on rail line route". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers, LLC. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  13. ^ Begley, Dug (September 17, 2014). "More trouble for rail lines as opening pushed to next year". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers, LLC. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
  14. ^ "Construction Issues Prompt New April 2015 Rail Opening Date" (Press release). Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (Metro). September 25, 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-15.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Rhor, Monica (June 30, 2012). "UH, TSU envision a boost from new light rail lines". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Newspapers, LLC. Retrieved 2015-01-15.

External links[edit]