Before the Blue Line

The trip between Los Angeles and Long Beach has deep roots stretching way back before Metro Rail launched the Blue Line in 1990. This timeline covers some of the key events in the history of travel between the two largest cities in Los Angeles County, beginning in the earliest days of the 20th century.

Aerial photography of Metro Rail alignment between Los Angeles and Long Beach

The Metro Blue Line tracks are shows in the foreground snaking their way between Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles in the distance. Pacific Electric’s rail line from the early 20th century laid the foundation for the 22 miles of tracks.

Los Angeles to Long Beach in the 1940s

As the two cities grew, the streetcars competed with vehicular traffic in moving people between the two biggest population centers in Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles County Transportation Commission prepares the public for light rail

The LACTC promoted the convenience and ease of light rail to Los Angeles County residents, and educated them on construction, access, safety, fares and other basic principles of public transit.

Mayor Tom Bradley and Supervisor Ed Edelman

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley speaks to dignitaries and the public at the dedication of Metro Rail’s first project: The Metro Blue Line. He is joined at the podium by Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman. The Metro logo on the podium is for LACTC’s Metro Rail and predates the foundation of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority by three years. The LACMTA later adopts a modified “M” logo in use to this day.

Dignitaries preside over dedication ceremonies

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn and LACTC Chair Nick Patsaouras at dedication ceremony.

The moment has arrived!

Five years after groundbreaking, the Metro Blue Line project comes to fruition as the first train rolls out just south of downtown Los Angeles and bursts through a celebratory banner.

Ed Edelman goes for a ride

One of the first riders of the Metro Blue Line is Los Angeles County Supervisor Ed Edelman who was integral to Metro Rail’s development and launch.

Out with the old, in with the new!

A mock-up Pacific Electric “Red Car” streetcar makes way for sleek, modern light rail service in Los Angeles. The Southland returns to its proud transportation roots as new streetcars once again move people by rail.

Metro Rail staff prepare the cars

A lot of work goes into launching new rail service. Maintenance workers ensure that everything looks and feels perfect on Metro Rail’s big day – the return of rail service to Los Angeles after more than 30 years.

Los Angeles and Long Beach are linked via rail

Long Beach locals gather in summer attire to celebrate the first day of Pacific Electric “Red Car” service between their city and Los Angeles. Long Beach’s population grew from just over 2,000 in 1900 to nearly 18,000 in 1910.

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