Metro Rail Blue Line opening day, July 14, 1990. Courtesy Metro Library and Archive.
On Monday, July 13, Los Angeles' Metro marked 25 years of modern Metro Rail – and an astonishing 87 miles of rail built — by re-creating the opening of the Metro Blue Line at the same spot where it occurred 25 years earlier.
A Metro Blue Line train appeared from the 7th St/Metro Center Station tunnel through a veil of smoke to break through a banner as it did in 1990.
“We’re here today to thank the voters of L.A. County,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. "... through your generosity and farsightedness, we’re creating a modern rail system that is regional in scope, rational in its appeal to riders and equitable in the benefits it is providing for the people of L.A. County. We would not be here today, were it not for you.”
From zero miles of rail in 1990 to 87 miles today and with five major rail lines under construction, including two more set to open next year that will add 17.6 more miles, modern Metro Rail is an amazing accomplishment, according to an agency statement.
Since 1990, the expanding Metro Rail system has carried 1.5 billion rides, which has led to a reduction of particulate matter in the air by 4,800 pounds per car for each year that the car is left at home.
Additionally, the rail system has contributed to the positive reversal of surrounding neighborhoods such as Hollywood, Long Beach, Pasadena and Little Tokyo. Better lighting, commercial development and the in-and-out of travelers have all made the surrounding neighborhoods more prosperous and attractive to business and community.
“But Metro Rail does not fly solo,’ said Metro CEO Phil Washington. “It’s the centerpiece of a transit network that includes 2,200 Metro buses covering 170 bus routes and nearly 16,000 bus stops. Together with Metrolink, the municipal carriers like the Big Blue Bus, the local-return operators like the Glendale Bee and highway improvements like the ExpressLanes project for highway mobility, we’re building a balanced transportation network to address the issues of the entire region.”
In celebration of the Metro Rail event, 5,000 25th Anniversary commemorative TAP cards are being loaded into ticket vending machines in Union Station and 7th/Metro, Pico and Willowbrook stations.
A Metro website has been established at Metro25
with details on upcoming 25th anniversary events, including concerts and art and architecture tours of the rail stations, scheduled for the next year, as well as a chance to share stories through an interactive literary program that is open to the public.