1990: The Los Angeles Metro Rail Goes Into Service

July 14, 1990

In California, the Blue Line of Los Angeles County’s transit system began making regular runs. This line (renamed the A Line in 2019) was the first of the six lines that now comprise the Los Angeles Metro Rail.  

“After nearly three decades, commuter rail returns to Los Angeles today with the opening of the region’s first modern rail line — a 22-mile [35.4-kilometer], $877 million route to Long Beach,” reported a Knights-Ridder News Service in its article about that transit network’s formal debut. “L.A.’s New Road of Steel,” proclaimed a headline in the Wisconsin-based Journal Times a couple of days later.

This network’s electrified train service would become “the freeways of the future,” predicted Neil Peterson, executive director of the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. This commission initially owned and operated the Los Angeles Metro Rail. The commission was merged with the Southern California Rapid Transit District in 1993 to form the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which continues to oversee the Los Angeles Metro Rail.

In reporting on the inauguration of the Los Angeles Metro Rail, Knight-Ridder News Service also emphasized the extent to which this system had been used even before its actual opening. “One Los Angeles neighborhood has already taken notice of the Blue Line – Hollywood,” recounted that article. “CBS-TV’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ already has already staged one scene in the downtown Metro Rail tunnel; Janet Jackson featured a test train in a new music video.”  

The Los Angele Metro Rail now encompasses 97.6 miles (157.1 kilometers) altogether and a total of 93 stations. This system is an indirect descendant of two transit networks that had served the region from the start of the 20th century to the early 1960s: the Pacific Electric Red Car and Los Angeles Railway Yellow Car lines.

Photo Credit: METRO96 (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

Additional information on the A Line (formerly Blue Line) of the Los Angeles Metro Rail is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Line_(Los_Angeles_Metro)

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