Rail Photo of the Month: July 2017

Nippon Sharyo P865 141

Nippon Sharyo P865 141

Location: Expo Park/USC Station, Los Angeles, CA
Operator of Vehicle: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA)
Date of Photo: July 15, 2014

Los Angeles is often thought of as lacking a public transit network.  While it may be fair to say that the city is underserved relative to its size and population, it does have a transit network that is quite large in some regards and expanding.  It is also a network that is old enough that its oldest cars, such as the Nippon-Sharyo P858 pictured here, will be retired by the end of 2018.  Delivered in 1990 for the opening of the first light rail line in the Los Angeles area, these cars will be retired after about 30 years in service.  As a result, these cars will not operate through the Regional Connector, a tunnel being built to link the Blue Line and Expo Line to the Gold Line.

For more photos of Los Angeles Metro Light Rail vehicles, please click here.

Bus Photo of the Month: September 2016

NABI 40-LFW 7051

NABI 40-LFW 7051

Location: 1st Street at Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Operator of Vehicle: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA)
Date of Photo: July 14, 2014

Los Angeles has far more public transit than one might expect for a city with such a car-centric reputation.  In fact, it has the second largest bus fleet in the entire United States, with almost 2,500 buses!  Los Angeles is also the inspiration for at least one other city’s current paint scheme.  Since June 24, 000, LACMTA has been operating the “Metro Rapid” brand.  Metro Rapid service is limited bus service that runs in the same corridors as standard “Metro Local” routes, with some of the components found on full fledged bus rapid transit (BRT) lines.  One of the BRT features incorporated in to Metro Rapid is a special paint scheme for the limited stop buses.  In the photo above, the Metro Rapid bus is painted maroon, while the Metro Local bus is in the “standard” orange LACMTA livery.  I’m pretty sure that WMATA’s relatively new “MetroLocal” and “MetroExtra” schemes are inspired by Los Angeles’s schemes.  This theory is bolstered by the fact that the general manager of WMATA at the time those schemes were adopted was John Catoe, who spent much of his career at LACMTA.

Personally, I’m not a fan of branded buses unless the operating agency can ensure that the proper bus is almost always assigned to the proper line.  Otherwise, the branding is diluted.  However, from what I could tell during my stay there, Metro Rapid buses seem to stick to the Metro Rapid routes and the same goes for the various other paint schemes that LACMTA has employed.  What do you think of branded buses like those featured in the photo of the month this month?  Leave a comment with your opinion!

For more photos of LACMTA’s buses and their various paint schemes, please click here.

Rail Photo of the Month: May 2016

Nippon Sharyo P2020 156

Nippon Sharyo P2020 156

Location: Expo/Western Station, Los Angeles, CA
Operator of Vehicle: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA)
Date of Photo: July 14, 2014

Despite having a reputation for having a less than stellar public transit system, the Los Angeles Metro has been expanding quite a bit recently.  In March, the Gold Line was extended from Pasadena to Azsua, and later this month, on May 20th, the Expo Line will be extended from Culver City to Santa Monica, terminating just short of the famed Santa Monica Pier.  There are aspirations to extend the Gold Line even further to Montclair in San Bernardino County in the future.  In the nearer term, projects such as the Regional Connector will allow through routing of Blue, Expo, and Gold Line trains, which is not possible at this time.  Once that project is complete, an Expo Line train like the one featured here, could operate from Azusa and Pasadena across downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica, currently a three seat ride.

For more photos of the Expo, Blue, and Gold lines in Los Angeles, please click here.