(VIDEO) Eight-day MAX Blue Line disruption coming in mid-November as TriMet continues construction of ‘A Better Red’


The Blue Line will be disrupted from Nov. 12-19 for construction near Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport MAX Station

On the heels of a weekend disruption and construction along the MAX Red Line in Northeast Portland, TriMet is planning for another MAX shutdown less than three weeks from now, as part of our continuing A Better Red project. The upcoming disruption will come at the other end of the improvement project—in Hillsboro.  

The MAX Blue Line, from Orenco/NW 231st Ave Station to the end of the line in Hillsboro, will be disrupted from Saturday, Nov. 12, through Saturday, Nov. 19. This will allow crews to work in the track at the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport Station. The eight days of work are part of TriMet’s ongoing construction of A Better Red, our MAX Red Line extension and reliability project.

Under construction since September 2021, A Better Red will improve reliability and help trains move better throughout the system. With work scheduled to complete in 2024, the project will extend the Red Line 10 stations west, from Beaverton Transit Center to Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport, adding capacity on board in a growing job center of Washington County. It’s also adding a second track to sections near Portland International Airport and the Gateway Transit Center to alleviate train traffic choke points.

Navigating the disruption: Nov. 12-19

Riders in Hillsboro will want to plan for at least an extra 30 minutes for their MAX Blue Line trips during the disruption. TriMet will run shuttle buses to serve stations between Orenco/NW 231st Ave Station and Hatfield Government Center. Blue Line trains elsewhere in the system will be running normally on their regular schedules, and no other MAX lines will be affected.

Shuttle buses will depart about every 15 minutes and will serve some extra stops—a total of 11—along the way to ensure riders get to where they’re going. Signs will be posted and additional TriMet staff will be on hand at select stations to help riders make  connections. To plan ahead, go to trimet.org and use our trip-planning tools and sign up for alerts.

Riders can reach TriMet’s Customer Service team by calling or texting 503-238-RIDE (7433) daily between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., or send us a direct message or follow us on Twitter and send a direct message to @trimethelp.

Improving the MAX system

During the disruption, crews will replace parts of the track turn-outs—the areas where trains can cross from one track to another—and also replace timber ties near the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport Station, the future terminus for the MAX Red Line. They will also install new powered switch machines and signals equipment as well as build an operator walkway and crossing.

Operator break room under construction at Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport.

The purpose of the work is to prepare the track and nearby station for future MAX Red Line service. While MAX Blue and Red line trains both currently serve a large swath of the same trackway between Gateway Transit Center and Beaverton Transit Center, upgrades need to be made to some sections that will serve Red Line trains in the future to accommodate the increased MAX traffic. Additionally, a new 680-square-foot break facility is under construction at Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport Station. It will give Red Line operators a space to relax at the new end of the line after A Better Red completes construction in 2024.

A Better Red

When the MAX Red Line opened in 2001, it was the first train-to-plane connection on the West Coast and quickly became an eminent travel option for riders across the region. Not only did it become a cost-effective and convenient solution for reaching PDX, it added more capacity for trips between Beaverton and Gateway Transit Center.

When it’s completed, A Better Red will add to the benefits that riders have appreciated for the past 21 years. The MAX Red Line will serve additional stations west into Hillsboro, giving more people a one-seat ride to PDX. It will also bring important track improvements between the Gateway Transit Center and Portland International Airport that will improve reliability on the Red Line while keeping trains running on time throughout the entire light rail system. 

Crews work on a light rail bridge north of the Gateway Transit Center.

While most of the construction has been able to take place without the need to disrupt service, there have been, and will continue to be, times when disruptions are necessary to safely do the work. Since breaking ground on A Better Red a year ago, TriMet has made significant progress and reached milestones along the way, including:

We are very appreciative of our riders and thank them for their patience and understanding as we work to make A Better Red. For more on the project, visit trimet/org/bettered.