The Metro Blue Line is a light-rail line in the Los Angeles County Metro Rail System. It follows a north-south route, connecting Downtown Los Angeles to Downtown Long Beach. The line is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The Blue Line is the oldest rail line in the Metro Rail system. On its journey, Blue Line trains cut through much of the densely populated area south of Downtown LA, through South Los Angeles, Watts, Willowbrook, Compton, and Long Beach. The Blue Line also passes near the cities of Vernon, Huntington Park, Lynwood, and Carson. The famous Watts Towers can also be seen from the train near 103rd Street Station. On Metro Rail Operations’ internal timetables, the Blue Line is called line 801.
The line runs in the median of city streets in Downtown Los Angeles and in much of Long Beach proper, but for the most part uses the former Pacific Electric Railways four track right-of-way, with some elevated structures just south of downtown Los Angeles.
Due to the wide right-of-way, express service was considered, but no express tracks were constructed. The line also runs through a brief subway in Downtown Los Angeles, between Pico and 7th Street/Metro Center.
The “Blue Line” was also an announced routing given to plans for a light rail line to Pasadena. Work began on this line as early as 1994 but was suspended following the 1994 county ballot initiative, which banned use of taxpayer money on subway construction.
Congressman Adam Schiff authored a bill that created a separate authority to continue work on the line. When construction began again in 2000, it became the Gold Line, since it began at Union Station and thus had no direct connection to the Blue Line.
Route and Stations
During peak hours, every other train serves only the stations between Willow and 7th Street/Metro Center to increase the headway on that portion of the route. Willow Station was chosen because of its proximity to the Blue Line storage yard and because it is the last Outbound station with a Park and Ride lot. In the afternoon/evening rush, riders will see some trains destined to “Willow” and others to “Long Beach.” Consequently, those riders destined to Long Beach must exit at Willow Station and wait for the next train which terminates at Long Beach Transit Mall.
In 2006, the Metro Blue Line began using automated stop announcements. (The Metro Green and Gold Lines had automated stop announcements since 2004). The announcements do not have the same voice as the Siemens trains operated on the Metro Green and Gold Lines but is the same voice as the one that can be heard on the AnsaldoBreda trains of the Metro Red/Purple Lines and Gold Line.
List of stations
The following is the complete list of stations, from north to south.
|7th St/Metro Center||Red Line Purple Line Silver Line Harbor Transitway Metro Rapid: 714, 720, 753, 760, 770 Foothill Transit: Silver Streak||February 1991||Los Angeles|
|Pico-Chick Hearn||Silver Line Harbor Transitway Metro Rapid: 728, 730||July 14, 1990|
|Grand||Metro Rapid: 714||July 14, 1990|
|San Pedro||July 14, 1990|
|Washington||July 14, 1990|
|Vernon||Metro Rapid: 705||July 14, 1990|
|Slauson||July 14, 1990|
|Florence||Metro Rapid: 711||July 14, 1990||Florence|
|Firestone||Metro Rapid: 715||July 14, 1990|
|103rd Street-Kenneth Hahn||July 14, 1990||Los Angeles|
|Imperial/Wilmington||Green Line Metro Rapid: 753||July 14, 1990||Willowbrook|
|Compton||July 14, 1990||Compton|
|Artesia||Metro Rapid: 760, 762||July 14, 1990|
|Del Amo||July 14, 1990||Carson|
|Wardlow||July 14, 1990||Long Beach|
|Willow||July 14, 1990|
|Pacific Coast Highway||July 14, 1990|
|Anaheim Street||July 14, 1990|
|5th Street (southbound only)||September 1990|
|1st Street (southbound only)||September 1990|
|Transit Mall (southbound only)||September 1990|
|Pacific (northbound only)||September 1990|
The Blue line uses cars from the Nippon-Sharyo company. Although three-car lengths are the norm due to high ridership, some two-car pairs are used late nights and weekend mornings. When the Metro Blue Line opened, the line originally had 54 cars (P865; 100-153).
In 2000, the Blue Line added 14 cars (P2020; 154-168) from the Metro Green Line after the Green Line began using Siemens cars. The Blue Line currently has 68 train cars in their fleet. Past livery was sky/light/dark blue and red lines on white.
On June 14, 2000, Metro Blue Line train cars 109 and 148 were painted Red to celebrate an anniversary of the Pacific Electric Railway. These red painted cars were repainted to the sleek silver livery, similar to the 700-750 series cars, but in 2008, Cars 109 and 148 were repainted to match most of the fleet.
The line was originally designed for two-car trains, but the line proved more popular than expected.
To accommodate the growing demand, in 2000-2001, LACMTA spent $US 11 million lengthening 19 platforms to accommodate three-car trains. The three-car trains launched service on November 27, 2001.
In Popular culture
In Heat (1995 film), the opening sequence shows one of the main characters alighting at Firestone Station. A Blue Line train is also featured on the movie poster. In The Italian Job (2003 film), the main characters drive their BMW MINI Coopers into the 7th/Metro station and nearly get hit by a Blue Line train, then Lyle manages to cut all power to the Blue Line to stop the same train in the station.
Concept Design Report: Executive Summary (September, 1983)
Concept Design Report: Volume 1 (September, 1983)
Draft Environmental Impact Report: Summary (May, 1984)
Draft Environmental Impact Report (May, 1984)
Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (December, 1984)
Final Environmental Impact Report, Design Appendix Draft (March, 1985)
Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (1985)
Cost Report (August, 1989)