Metro Says Goodbye to Old Blue Line Rail Cars After 27 Years of Service
After 27 years of service on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) Blue Line, the original Nippon Sharyo P865 rail cars are being replaced with new Kinkisharyo P3010 cars in a major effort to enhance service for existing passengers as well as attract new ones.
This morning, a “Hello/Goodbye” ceremony was held at the Metro Blue Line Main Yard to commemorate the transition to the new rail cars. In attendance were Metro employees, some who have worked there since the P865s were put to use in 1990, when the Blue Line first opened between downtown Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles.
Also present were Metro Board Chair and City of Duarte Mayor Pro Tem John Fasana, Long Beach Mayor and Metro Board Member Robert Garcia, LA County Supervisor and Metro Board member Janice Hahn and Eight District Councilmember Al Austin.
A look inside one of the new rail cars.
“The service provided by the Blue Line to the communities along the 22 miles of rail has been priceless,” Fasana said in a statement. “After more than a quarter of a century of service, the upgrades that we are witnessing today are necessary to keep our old customers and attract new ones.”
The 67 old rail cars, each named after a city or community located near the Blue Line, will be retired four cars per month beginning in August. In July, two old cars will be retired from service. Most will be dismantled for parts, some will be used for displays and sent to educational institutions for training, while the rest will be scrapped.
Car 105, named “Bell” after the city of Bell, was the first to be dismantled for parts, while Car 100, named after Long Beach will be retired, but saved as a piece of Long Beach and transportation history.
Car 100, named after Long Beach.
The new Kinkisharyo trains made their debut last year on the Gold and Expo lines. In May, the first car of the new fleet was introduced to the Blue Line. The P3010 cars are manufactured in Japan and then assembled at a Kinkisharyo facility in Palmdale under a contract approved by the Metro Board of Directors in 2012, according to Metro. The new trains include wider seats and better, digital displays.
Hahn spoke about her father, Kenny Hahn, who helped pass Prop A in 1980 and brought rail service back to Los Angeles County. The Blue Line was the first rail transit line added to the region since the demise of streetcars in the LA area in 1963, according to Metro.
“It was clear that the Blue Line represented a new kind of optimism about our future,” Hahn said. “The Blue Line was the dawn of the new era when we finally decided to pull our heads out of the sand and build good alternatives to sitting in traffic. As eco directors we should remember that every day and continue to build more alternatives to sitting in traffic.”
Metro employees working on a rail car truck.
The new rail cars are a part of Metro’s six-year $1.2 billion overhaul of the Blue Line, which the company announced in 2014. The multi-year program replaces electrical equipment, overhead wires, tracks and rail cars, as well as refurbishes stations on the busiest of Metro’s four light rail lines. The Blue Line averaged approximately 70,000 weekday boardings in 2017.
“Today’s really an exciting day, of course for the entire county, but also for Long Beach in particular,” Garcia said. “We are finally going to be rolling out these incredibly beautiful and forward-thinking trains on the Blue Line,” Garcia said. “These trains are state-of-the-art, they’re going to enhance the ridership experience for all riders up and down the Blue Line.”