New light rail car designs in the works

Detail of the new, bright yellow and white reflective markings and paint scheme rail car styling designed by Metro Creative Services.  A test “mock up” was applied to an older car model by Lee Hetherington (right) in Blue Line Fleet Services and his capable team.

Detail of the new, bright yellow and white reflective markings and paint scheme rail car styling designed by Metro Creative Services. A test “mock up” was applied to an older car model by Lee Hetherington (right) in Blue Line Fleet Services and his capable team.

As previously reported, the Metro Board of Directors recently approved purchasing new light rail vehicles from Kinkisharyo International. Metro’s Creative Services group has since been hard at work creating distinctive styling and graphics for the new rail cars as well as the entire rail fleet.

“The forward looking design is intended to capture the vibrant spirit of Los Angeles,” said Jorge Pardo, Director of Art & Design for Creative Services. “We are seeking to transform Metro’s trains into gleaming, contemporary vehicles that express L.A. as a world class urban center. We’re creating a safer train and doing it with a sense of style that the world now expects of L.A.”

The the workhorse Nippon Sharyo P2020 car were the first in Metro’s fleet to receive the bold reflective yellow markings and white super-graphics overlaid onto painted cool grays of the vehicle chassis (these cars are used on the Blue and Expo Lines). A “mocked up” vehicle with the new trimmings will roll out next week and be under close performance assessment. Slight variations and tweaks may occur until the styling is perfected and agreed to by Metro department stakeholders — they want to make sure the cars work both aesthetically and can be maintained.

Full side view with new paint and decal styling, including “Metro” supergraphics and yellow dot patterns conveying motion and Southern California sunlight. Nighttime and daytime train visibility has been greatly enhanced.

Full side view with new paint and decal styling, including “Metro” supergraphics and yellow dot patterns conveying motion and Southern California sunlight. Nighttime and daytime train visibility has been greatly enhanced.

Existing train designs, featured on the Blue and Expo Lines.

Existing train, featured on the Blue and Expo Lines.

Incorporating enhanced safety was a critical objective of the design. Improvements include bright, large scale, reflective white and yellow decaling that make trains more highly visible – particularly at night – and therefore create safer conditions for customers approaching trains and at intersections.

“The increased reflectiveness of the train surfaces is impressive,” said Lee Hetherington, a 16-year veteran Metro Rail Body/Paint Leader in Fleet Services. “These trains are sure to stimulate new ridership. Other transit agencies across the nation will be envious of our bold, fresh looking trains.”

With its new styling, Metro trains will present a cohesive and more visible rolling billboard for the agency county-wide, encouraging discretionary riders and creating a safer and more attractive ride for our customers.

Designs are still being finalized. Stayed tuned for updates in the coming months.

See Fleet Graphics Concept presentation for background:

Metro Rail Vehicle P3010

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Metro Art Moves_DTLA: August 1 art tour

august_tour_post_smMetro continues its new series of free summer art tours, Metro Art Moves_DTLA, on Thursday, August 1. The tours pair local artists with docent guides, who share stories about the artworks and lead activities to heighten tour-goer engagement, demystifying the Metro system along the way.

Meet promptly at 5:30 p.m. at the entrance to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station, at the northeast corner of Figueroa and 7th Street, on the street level. Tour has limited capacity. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The tours will lead to Grand Park’s Out of Office event, including live music and food trucks.

Want to grab a snack before Metro Art Moves_DTLA, or feeling a little hungry afterward? Show your TAP card and take advantage of special Metro Destination Discounts at locations near the tour route including Qdoba Mexican Grill, Tossed and Boba 7. Those who stick to ending their tour at Grand Park can use their TAP cards, provided on the tour, to score a free pair of sunglasses at the event information booth.

General Information

Tour takes place on the first Thursday of August and September from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Tours begin at 7th Street/Metro Center Station and end at Civic Center/Grand Park Station.

Tours have limited capacity. Reservations are highly recommended. To RSVP, email

The tours are approximately 90% walking; there are elevators and escalators in all of the stations.

Public restrooms are available at Union Station and at Grand Park.

Metro Art Moves Tours

Metro Art Moves tours are designed to attract new riders through arts-based transit experiences. The tours highlight Metro’s diverse collection of artworks, heighten the passenger experience in fun and engaging ways to boost public perceptions about transit, promote rider etiquette and offer opportunities for discovery.

Metro Art Program

Metro Art implements the agency’s percent for art program, manages the care and maintenance of the system’s existing artworks and directs a volunteer docent council. From rail and bus stations to construction fences and poetry cards, art creates a sense of place and engages transit riders.

Since 1989, Metro has commissioned artists to incorporate artworks into a wide array of transportation projects throughout Los Angeles County. The agency has received numerous design and artistic excellence awards, and is renowned for its approaches to integrating art into the transit experience, and for engaging artists at all levels of their careers.

Docent-guided tours are offered the first Saturday and Sunday of each month. Tours for groups of 15 or more are also available by special arrangement. For more information visit and click on Art Tours or call (213) 922-4ART.

How do they do that? Unlatch the gates automatically for wheelchair patrons

How do they do that? is a series for The Source that explores the technology that helps keep Metro running and passengers and other commuters moving. Some of it applies directly to the trains, buses and freeways and some of it runs in the background — invisible to nearly everyone but essential to mobility in our region.

Hands-free intercom for wheelchair patrons.

Hands-free intercom for wheelchair patrons.

The subway gates are being latched one station at a time and given that we are an advanced civilization, Los Angeles seems to have survived. (The Red and Purple lines are on schedule for latching completion Aug. 5.) For most of us the gate latching has turned out to be no big deal. We pull out our TAP cards — either plastic TAP or TAP-enabled paper tickets — and we march on through.

But what if we were commuting in a wheelchair?

A new hands-free intercom system developed by Metro for ADA patrons opens the gates automatically upon verbal request by a wheelchair patron or silently, if the patron cannot speak.

How do the subway gates unlatch for customers in wheelchairs?

Attendants on duty 24/7 monitor the wheelchair-accessible gates on closed circuit TV. As passengers in wheelchairs approach the special hands-free intercom (a silver box with a blue wheelchair sign next to it) a round camera above the hands-free intercom transmits the image to attendants standing by to help. Or, if they are able, patrons can press a red button to call for help with the gate. The attendants also are alerted to the presence of a wheelchair by a small sensor posted below on the same column.

The attendant verbally greets the wheelchair patron and, if possible, the patron confirms verbally that assistance is required. If the patron cannot speak, the attendant can see that and respond by triggering the ADA gate to unlatch. When it does, the patron can proceed through the opened gate.

The technology required for this innovation is not unusual or particularly high tech — camera, telephone, speaker, lights and an electrical connection to the gate that facilitates the opening of it remotely. Yet used in partnership in this particular combination, it is a simple but innovative way to make travel a little easier for patrons in wheelchairs.

Metro Gold Line celebrates 10 years of progress

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On Friday, July 26, 2013, the Metro Gold Line will celebrate 10 years of progress. Only 13.7 miles long at its inception, the Gold Line opened to the public on July 26, 2003, carrying riders from Los Angeles Union Station to Pasadena. The line was initially known as the Pasadena Blue Line. It wasn’t until November 2001, a little more than a year after construction began on the line, that the Metro Board changed the name to the Gold Line.

The Gold Line had more than 4 million boardings in its first year and by 2009 there were more than 7 million annual boardings. With the addition of the six-mile Gold Line Eastside Extension, the light rail line currently carries approximately 13 million boardings annually.

Over its 10-year existence, the Gold Line has carried nearly 81 million riders – about equal to the population of Germany! – and exceeded all expectations. Taking that many people out of cars is equivalent to removing 11,335 cars from the road, or eliminating 112,263 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Not too shabby for 10 years of work.

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Metro will speak at your next meeting

The Metro Speakers’ Bureau will provide free presentations throughout Los Angeles County on a variety of transportation topics:

  • New ridesharing options such as carpools and vanpools
  • Metro’s On the Move Riders Club for seniors learning to navigate the system
  • Rail and bus service
  • How to go “green” with Metro
  • The latest advances in transit technology
  • The changing face of Los Angeles due to new transit-oriented developments
  • Street and highway improvements
  • Transportation and the local economy
  • Careers at Metro

Learn about the role Metro plays as the lead transportation planning and programming agency for L.A. County. Metro allocates billions of dollars for street and highway improvements as well as public transit programs.

To request a speaker for your organization email

Distinguished artist Walter Hood to create integrated sculptural work for Downtown Santa Monica Station

Photo by Jim Chapman 02-14-06,C.S. Walter Hood Landscape Architect.

Walter Hood, image courtesy of Hood Design Studio

Walter Hood, a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and a winner selected to represent the United States at the 2010 Venice Biennale, has been selected to create an integrated sculptural work for the Expo Line Downtown Santa Monica Station.

Hood is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was chair of the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department from 1998 to 2002. He is also the Goldman Sachs Design Fellow for the Smithsonian Institute (Washington, D.C.), where he is assisting with the reconceptualization of the museum’s public spaces.

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One hundred years ago this week: What prompted Los Angeles’ streetcars to change forever?

Incident site near Vineyard Crossing

A little known incident occurred in Los Angeles’ Mid-City area on the evening of July 13, 1913.

When all was said and done, Pacific Electric’s rail network replaced all of its wooden streetcars and implemented automatic train control (a topic still in the news today).

If you had any doubt how extensive our inter-urban transit system was a century ago, consider the fact that Pacific Electric’s “Red Cars” logged than 78 million passenger boardings that year alone. That figure does not include Los Angeles Railway’s extensive “Yellow Car” system.

So what took place that night? The answer lies in the Metro Transportation Library, Archives and Records Management Center’s Primary Resources blog.