Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Metropolitan Area Express (Portland, Oregon)
In the central city, as well as in central Hillsboro, MAX trains run in reserved lanes on surface streets, unlike the Portland Streetcar, which runs in mixed traffic. Outside the central city MAX runs primarily its own right-of-way fully separated from traffic. Older track segments are controlled by traffic signals at intersections. Newer segments are fully grade-separated or have controlled crossings to give trains the right-of-way. One three mile (4.8 km) section operates as a subway below Washington Park. This section has only one station, which is 260 feet (79 m) below ground-level – the deepest transit station in North America.
The trains operate in one- or two-car configurations. MAX trains are limited to two cars due to the 200-foot (61 m) length of Portland's downtown blocks. The MAX cars are about 90 feet (27.5 m) long, so a stopped train consisting of more than two cars would block intersections. Red Line trains are typically one car long, except during peak airport travel times, while Blue Line trains are typically two cars long. Trains on the recently-opened Yellow Line often run in both configurations.
There are currently four MAX lines, with a fifth line proposed. In the following table, the Blue Line is broken into two rows due to its construction history.
Portland MAX Light Rail Lines Name Nickname Outlying terminus Opened Length Stops Blue
September 5, 1986 15 mi
Westside Hatfield Government Center
September 12, 1998 18 mi
Airport Airport September 10, 2001 5.5 mi
(8.9 km) ¤
Interstate Expo Center May 1, 2004 5.8 mi
(9.3 km) ¤
10 Current totals 44.3 mi
Clackamas Clackamas Town Center September 2009
(10.5 km) ¤
Portland Mall Portland State University September 2009
(2.9 km) ¤
Milwaukie Lake Road
(9.3 km) ¤
11 Projected totals 58.4 mi
¤ Length shown does not include a shared segment with Eastside MAX, though the Red Line does share a segment with the Westside MAX as far west as Beaverton
The central station is Pioneer Courthouse Square, which also is centrally located in Fareless Square, a roughly square section of downtown Portland in which all MAX, TriMet Bus, and Portland Streetcar transit rides are free.
Blue Line trains run every 10 minutes (15 minutes late nights and Sundays). Red Line and Yellow Line trains run every 15 minutes. Actual schedules vary by location and time of day. At most stations a live readerboard shows the destination and time-to-arrival of the next several trains.
Types of train cars
There are currently two models of MAX cars.
With the opening of Westside MAX in 1998, new Type 2 cars made by Siemens were introduced. These cars have a low-floor design, digital readerboards, and open floor plan. The floor is level with streetside platforms, greatly simplyfing access and eliminating the need for wheelchair lifts .
Portland MAX Light Rail Cars Designation Manufacturer First used Capacity # in fleet Type 1 Bombardier 1986 256 26 Type 2 Siemens 1998 261 52 Type 3 Siemens 2004 261 27
- System map and schedules
- Station to Station, a series of articles about the MAX from 2004, originally published in the Portland Tribune
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