The first passenger train rolled into Santa Monica in over 60 years on Friday as the Metro Expo Line extension opened. The first, original segment of the line, which ended in Culver City, began service back in 2012. But today's opening added seven stations west of Culver City, creating the first rail link to the beach.
We boarded the Expo Line at 12:24pm from the 7th St/Metro Center station in Downtown LA. The first half of the trip was pretty standard for anyone who's already been on the first half of the line: the train gets stuck at lights while leaving Downtown and doesn't pick up speed until it nears Culver City. The newer half, we're happy to report, zipped along more smoothly, with the exception of a few delays near Santa Monica that we'll chalk up to opening day traffic. There's a landscaped bike path along much of the extension, and you'll catch great views of the Century City skyline and the Palos Verdes peninsula.
At 1:12pm—about 48 minutes after leaving Downtown—we pulled into the Santa Monica terminus. We decided to take a detour through Tongva Park before walking onto the Santa Monica Pier—and even with that extra walk through the park, it took us just about an hour from leaving our Downtown office to dipping our toes into the Pacific Ocean.
Metro is offering free rides on the Expo Line through the end of service on Saturday, with bike valets, food trucks and live music at most of the new stops. Be prepared to wait in line at the Downtown Santa Monica station when you're heading east—we Angelenos just love free things to do—but you should absolutely take advantage of the gratis rides and check out these 12 places along the way.
In the meantime, take a first-person tour of the Expo Line with this timelapse video of our trip from our Downtown office to the ocean.