Light rail service between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach will be fully restored Saturday as an eight-month, $350 million renovation project comes to an end — but the route won’t be called the Blue Line anymore.
The previously known “Blue Line” is now the “A Line,” as Metro slowly begins the process of switching from colors to letters to designate its rail and express bus lines.
Renovation work on the line — Metro’s oldest and historically busiest rail route — 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 included 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.
To celebrate the reopening, Metro will offer free rides on the line for three days to reintroduce people to the route, and a series of community celebrations and news conference will be held Saturday — one in downtown Los Angeles, one in Watts and one in Long Beach.
Rapper Snoop Dogg will headline the events, beginning at 11 a.m. in downtown Los Angeles, 11:30 a.m. in Watts and 11:45 a.m. in Long Beach.
The renaming of the route from Blue Line to A Line is the start of a planned systemwide switch.
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 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.