An eight-month, $350 million renovation of the Metro Blue Line is nearing completion, with the transit agency announcing Thursday that its oldest and historically busiest rail line will fully reopen Nov. 2 — with a new name.
Renovation work on the line began in late January, fully closing the southern portion of the railway between Compton and Long Beach for four months. The construction switched to the northern portion of the line — between Compton and downtown Los Angeles — at the end of May.
The renovation project includes new switches, an upgraded control system, new overhead power system, new digital information screens and other technology at stations designed to make the rail system easier to navigate. It also includes new signs, paint, landscaping and artwork.
When it reopens Nov. 2, Metro will offer free rides on the line for three days to reintroduce people to the route, and a series of community celebrations will be held on Nov. 2.
But riders will have to adjust to a major change. The route will no longer be named the Blue Line. Instead, it will become the “A” Line, beginning a planned renaming of Metro rail and busway routes to letters instead of colors.
According to Metro, other rail and busway lines will retain their existing names until next year, when the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens.
The switch to letters is being implemented to accommodate the growing rail system — in light of the relatively limited selection of colors that can be used to clearly designate the lines.
The soon-to-be A Line opened in 1990 and stretches 22 miles between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach.
“The A Line is a lifeline for the many diverse communities between Los Angeles and Long Beach who rely on reliable rail service to help them reach jobs, school, family and other vital destinations in our region,” Inglewood Mayor and Metro board chairman James Butts said in a statement.
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