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Rail News: Passenger Rail

LA Metro to modernize Blue Line, poll public on Union Station project report

The 22-mile Blue Line runs between downtown LA and downtown Long Beach.
Photo – Metro


The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) tomorrow plans to officially launch of the "New Blue Modernization Project."

The $350 million project is designed to improve reliability, upgrade safety and enhance the customer experience on the Blue Line, which opened in 1990 and is the authority's oldest rail line, Metro officials said in an announcement. The 22-mile line runs between downtown LA and downtown Long Beach, California.

"This vital work will modernize the Blue Line and bring it up to the specifications of [our] newer rail lines," Metro officials said.

To begin Jan. 26, the project will require rail service on the line's southern half to be replaced by bus service through late May, Metro officials said. Northern closures will occur from late May until September.

The work also will require an eight-month closure of the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, which will be rebuilt to improve safety and ambiance, expand capacity and improve connections to local transit and the surrounding community, Metro officials said.

Meanwhile, the authority also announced the release of the draft environmental impact report for the Link Union Station project. Metro is accepting public comments on the report through March 4.
The project will change how the regional rail system with Metrolink and Amtrak operates in LA Union Station by converting stub-end tracks into run-through tracks to increase train capacity and provide one-seat rides from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, Metro officials said.

The project also will accommodate a new high-speed rail system, including a new above-tracks passenger concourse with retail and passenger amenities, and a new expanded passageway.

"All these elements should improve the passenger experience, accommodate future growth and transportation demands in the region, and transform Los Angeles Union Station into a world-class multimodal transit station," Metro officials said.