25 Years Ago Today: Los Angeles’ Red Line Subway Breaks Ground

Today marks an auspicious anniversary: 25 years ago today, leaders across the region came together to celebrate the groundbreaking for Los Angeles’ modern Metro Rail subway system.

After years of planning, ground was broken on September 29, 1986 at the site of the future Civic Center station at First and Hill Streets.

The video above contains numerous testimonials from local leaders and other dignitaries of the time.

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley is featured, along with Nick Patsaouras, Los Angeles County Transportation Commission Deane Dana, CTC Chairman Joe Levy, Caltrans Director Loe Trombatore, State Senators Diane Watson and Alan Robbins, Los Angeles County Supervisors Kenneth Hahn and Ed Edelman, Los Angeles City Council President Pat Russell, Los Angeles City Councilmen Gilbert Lindsay and Mike Woo, and many representatives of other state and federal agencies.

On that day, Bradley declared, “I will never feel prouder than I do today.”

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and other leaders at Metro Rail groundbreaking (Click to enlarge)

Southern California Rapid Transit District President Jan Hall noted at the groundbreaking that “we’ve broken ground ofr a new era in Los Angeles public transportion. America’s second largest city will ride the rails of rapid transit into the 21st century.”

More than a thousand people attended the festivities which included not just the groundbreaking, but the unveiling of the new Metro Rail car (complete with SCRTD logo, but on loan from Bay Area Rapid Transit).

A monument from the groundbreaking ceremony inscribed with the signatures of those present was to be installed in the Civic Center Station, but it resides at Metro’s Division 20 location instead.

Additional information about and fantastic photos from the festivities can be found in our online Flickr photo collection for the Metro Red Line as well as the November, 1986 issue of Headway, the SCRTD employee news magazine.

One year earlier, SCRTD’s Community Relations Department produced this “Future Is Now!” public information film in advance of the groundbreaking the following year: