Don't call it `Blue'; Metro unveils renovated `A Line'

Light rail service between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach is now fully restored as an eight-month, $350 million
renovation project comes to an end.

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 through Monday.

Hip-hop star Snoop Dogg, a Long Beach native, emceed one of the opening day events.

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.