New Trimet Rail Map

Trimet Rail Map 8-24-2014
Trimet Rail Map 8-24-2014

I was out walking downtown this weekend when I noticed that Trimet has updated the rail system map to include the pending Orange Line route. I snapped a photo with my camera and while the news is nothing worth getting excited over, it does provide some changes to the existing map that make different regions a bit more clear.

Included on the map is also the closed loop of the Portland Streetcar Central Loop. Both routes are shown as “future service” and while the CL line future service is not in doubt, the new map answers no questions about future Orange & Yellow line service. Where will the Orange Line end on the north end of the route? Will the Yellow Line extend further south as some of the new platforms indicate?

The new maps provide no answers to these questions. I’m left wondering why Trimet went to the trouble of producing new maps that will be obsolete a year from now.

Orange Line Testing (image credit: Curt Ailes)
Orange Line Testing (image credit: Curt Ailes)

The appearance of the new map coincides with this morning’s first test of the Orange Line though which, when taken together, represent some visible forward momentum in the downtown area where the Orange Line is concerned.

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39 responses to “New Trimet Rail Map”

  1. The new maps provide no answers to these questions and frankly, I wonder why Trimet even went to the trouble of producing new maps that will be obsolete a year from now.


  2. The new maps have been up for at least a few weeks now. I like the new layout, as the city center is larger and easier to read, and the streetcar lines are now color-coded.

    I look at this as advertising for the new line. Yes, the maps will need to be replaced in a year, but it’s good PR to put them up now, to get people more aware of the future service.

  3. The new map is an improvement. It removes a funny bend in the River, puts the MAX lines on clear E/W and N/S alignments, and differentiates the two Streetcar lines.
    I guess the Orange ends at PSU for now, but maybe in the final map it will extend to Union Station, and its curious that the future service, both Streetcar and MAX, are shown with dash lines, but so is the 10 year old tram. Maybe confusing for some.

    • Lennie,

      Yeah. I noticed that about the tram, too. Maybe they’re trying to signify “this isn’t ours; you can’t transfer for free”, but they did it in a confusing way.

    • You’re correct about where the orange line will end up… it was just too confusing to show it on the mall at this point (along with yellow and green). The point of this iteration of the map is just to let you know that more service will be added and what the stations are, not the final routing.

      And you have a point on the aerial tram. It is dashed to line up with how we show it on all other new maps (system and buses). It’s just unfortunate that it is similar to future service on this map. At any rate this problem will be moot come september 2015.

  4. TriMet monthly passes and Streetcar annual passes are good on the Tram, so that’s not it.
    Maybe a simple oversight.

  5. I’m still of the opinion that Yellow should extend from Milwaukie to the Expo Center and then call the short runs to Union Station Orange. Changing to Yellow or Orange in the middle of the run will be confusing.

    As long as new maps and schedules will need to be drawn up why not go ahead and change the Red line to run from Hillsboro to the airport and Blue from Beaverton to Gresham. This idea has been proposed by TriMet people so why not do it to coincide with the opening of MLR.

    • One concern with the Red/Blue switch: frequency on the Red Line is limited by the single-track segments between Gateway and the Airport. I wouldn’t want to limit service frequency on the west side as development around those stations is still in progress. I suppose this could be mitigated by having some Red Line trains reverse at Gateway or Rose Quarter. But it seems easier to me to have high-frequency Blue trains run the entire line from Hillsboro to Gresham, and to extend Red to Willow Creek (or further) as the westside station communities continue to grow.

      • The Red and Blue line base frequency is the same: every 15 minutes except late at night. I believe there would be much more interest by folks on the Westside to ride through to the airport than to Gresham, so it makes sense to have the base route be Hillsboro-Airport.

        Right now the base period Red Line trains become Blue Line to Elmonica, Merlo or Willow Creek at Gateway. There’s nothing to say that during peaks Blue Line trains couldn’t become “Red Line” if the lines switched.

        And eventually as the West Side TOD adds base ridership the Beaverton TC turnbacks — whichever line they are — could be extended during the midday to Willow Creek or Orenco.

        • It seems like there is sufficient ridership to extend the red line west during peak hours. I notice that there is a turnback track at the Hillsboro Airport station, so they could start by extending it there. Although, at that point, they might as well just run a few more stops to Hillsboro.

          • Chris,

            You’re right on both counts. There is certainly sufficient ridership through the weekday hours. I understand that there is insufficient funding to add it, though.

            And if it were added the busophiles would yell about being ignored.

  6. I have to admit it, you’re right. The first I heard of this Red/Blue change idea was when Neil McFarlane mentioned it on his Portland Transport interview. Maybe he needs to look closer at the schedules. I’ve got to think on this because I do think the idea is logical. Single tracks do cause a problem.

  7. From 6:04 to 8:02 on weekday mornings the Blue line trains leave the Hatfield Station in Hillsboro from 6 to 9 minutes apart. Two apparently turn in to Red line trains in Beaverton. This apparently the only time that the sections of single track might be a problem. I’ve got a hunch that the problem could be solved with careful scheduling.

    • Another thought that may have been answered before: why do the southbound redline trains have to crawl at what seems like 15mph from the I-84 overpass all the way to Gateway? The northbound trains pick up speed immediately after they make the turn. Improving speed in this section would increase the single-track section capacity.

  8. The red/blue thing seems goofy to me. Although the chattering class talks of wanting a single seat ride to the airport, that is not an every day trip. I think the blue line as it currently is makes a lot more sense as far as actual ridership goes.

  9. My druthers would be to have the Yellow Line run from Expo to Park Avenue, with a clear policy statement from Metro, et. al., that it remains truncated at both ends. It should run from Vancouver, WA to Oregon City, and will someday. Its like having the Blue only run from Rockwood to 185th! Stupid. Forget Orange!
    The SW Corridor should get the Green Line to where ever…Tualatin, Tigard, Kruse Woods?
    Some day the Red Line should go south to at least Wash Sq. and Tigard. Frequencies should be based on demand along the Red/Blue.

  10. TriMet revised the rail map for several reasons. Designer Jonathan Hendryx did a marvelous job, IMO, creating a more aesthetic and useful map. August 31 was the beginning of the fall service change and as is standard, virtually every piece of customer information has been updated, including the rail map. Those of us who are transit geeks have been aware of the Orange Line project and its routing for several years but the general public may not have been paying attention beyond noticing the new bridge.

  11. JH, you are right…once the new MAX and Streetcar service begins next year the Tram will be unique again with the dashed line!
    I have yet to see this map in the flesh, but it looks great! Very clean and clear. Excellent job.

  12. Curious, but at the MAX schematic shows Orange to Union Station, while the Rail System map (including WES and Streetcar) have it only to PSU. I guess things are still up in the air!

    • The Orange line will start at Union Station… it was just too much information to cram onto 5th for this map. It worked on other maps, though, which is why there is a discrepancy. Good catch!

      • I realize that most Orange Lines will become Yellows somewhere in the south of downtown and vice versa. But at the peaks will the “extra” Orange Lines run through as Green Lines? It would be very good to provide access to South Waterfront to the east end spine along I-84.

  13. JH, design considerations notwithstanding, shouldn’t the map next year actually show the new service to Union Station? ie. Yellow, Green and Orange on the Mall?

    • Yep! Yellow and Green will be on 6th, and Orange and Green will be on 5th. The Yellow will sneak down to Lincoln, though.

            • Yellow from Milwaukie to expo center is what I’ve been saying all the time (see my previous post). When heavy ridership from Milwaukie makes a run only to Union Station, call that run Orange. Changing colors in the middle of a run will be very confusing to many riders. Regular riders will not be confused but you do not to make occasional riders mad, you want them back.

            • So… if ALL southbound Yellows become Oranges and continue to Milwaukie, and ALL northbound Yellows originate in Milwaukie as Oranges, why are they two different colors? It’s a single (very logical) north-south route. The only Orange trains should be the ones turning around at Union Station. Even regular riders and the transit-savvy are going to be scratching their heads on this one, not just the occasional rider and the tourists.

      • But if Orange trains are using 6th to get to Union Station, shouldn’t you also show Orange on 6th on your map? Otherwise, how are riders gonna know that the train doesn’t continue over the Steel bridge?

        • And how exactly does the Yellow “sneak down to Lincoln” if you’re not showing it southbound on 5th? I like the look of the new map, but I don’t understand why you would need to limit the colors shown on 5th and 6th.

          And speaking of confusion….. how many people are going to look at the Lincoln Station (shown in Curt Ailes’ picture above) and ask why the Yellow only goes one direction? My guess is everybody.

  14. “I wonder why Trimet even went to the trouble of producing new maps that will be obsolete a year from now.”

    Because there’s no shortage of money to provide maps and information for MAX riders, while TriMet actively REMOVES such maps and schedule information from bus stops. This is all part of communicating the “myth” of rail permanence while trying to convince would-be transit advocates how unreliable and how changing the bus system is. When the reality is bus routes rarely change, but TriMet spends millions to dig up those “permanent” MAX lines and rebuild them, even when TriMet knows it’ll have to do that work anyways.

  15. Now that Tualatin has passed its ballot measure requiring public approval for lightrail will Portland be able to bleed it residence & those in Clackamas county for enough money to continue to support it?

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