The so-called workhorse of the light rail system in Los Angeles is finally getting a re-do. Extending from downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach, the Metro Blue Line will undergo $1.2 billion in much- needed repairs. As the county’s oldest light rail line and one of the busiest light rail lines in the United States, the overhaul will include replacing power stations, overhead power lines, tracks, rail cars and improvements to station platforms over six years.
Nearly $739 million is earmarked to purchase 78 new light rail vehicles plus $130 million to repair and upgrade 52 light rail cars now in service. Some of the work already has begun while other upgrades and improvements will begin at a later date. To improve reliability and performance, $82 million is being invested to replace all 20 traction power substations with 19 already completed. Overhead power lines (Overhead Catenary System) in downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach are being upgraded at a cost of nearly $13 million. Another $13 million is being spent to replace rail track in Long Beach that was degraded by moist sea air with completion expected in 2019.
Over the last seven years, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has invested $260 million to improve grade crossings, replace street lights and upgrade vehicle lights to improve safety, and the agency is in the midst of painting and replacing worn parts and fixtures at Blue Line stations, according to Metro Chief Executive Art Leahy.
“Next, patrons will see brand new trains and some refurbished rail cars,” Leahy said.
The Blue line, which runs parallel to the 110 Freeway, is the main light rail artery crossing north and south through the central part of Los Angeles County. The current investment solidifies the future of the rail line as more and more mass transit projects continue to be built and upgraded. The Blue Line, for example, stops at the Rosa Parks Station in Watts/Willowbrook and the Artesia Station in Compton, both of which are poised for much needed, upcoming improvements.
“This is the first investment of more than a billion dollars to the Blue Line. But much more work is needed,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Metro board, who noted that safety improvements on the Blue Line are a priority. “The Metro Blue Line proved to Southern California that public transit is clean, economical and convenient for everyone. Our transit system, exemplified by the Blue Line, connects people to job centers, businesses, restaurants, arts and culture. All of that brings growth…growth brought about by opportunity…opportunity made possible by connections.”
For more information on the Blue Line investments click here: thesource.metro.net