It may or may not be obvious that The Militant has an obsession with signage, but he was quite excited this past week upon doing his Militant Surveying missions that the under-construction Metro Expo Line has recently been sporting its 12-foot tall station pylon signs at several of its stops.
In addition to running test trains on the tracks, the installation of signage is one tell-tale sign that construction is nearing its end and the open-open-opening of the new 8.5 light rail line is imminent.
However, The Militant noticed something peculiar.
You see, nearly all Metro Rail stations sport these signs, comprised of a rectangular aluminum tower with the (M) logo and a colored wedge bearing the station name, with the color representing the rail line. Of course, this is not an exact science, as all of the (M) Purple Line stations still bear a red wedge, and transfer stations like Union Station and 7th Street/Metro Center lack them altogether (it seems that Metro doesn't know how to fit more than one color on the wedge for some reason...).
But even more peculiar is the wedge color of the new supposedly "Expo" Line: They're blue.
Now The Militant doesn't have a problem with the color blue, lifelong Dodger fan he is, but...as you can see from the picture above, they're the exact same shade of blue as the existing station signage as the (M) Blue Line (Okay they might look slightly different in the photos since they were taken at different times of the day, but trust The Militant on this one).
Now we all know that "Expo" has nothing to do with color (unless you're referring to these things), but many iterations of Expo Line imagery have used the color teal or aqua. The official website of the line even sports this color in some of the graphics.
But this shade of blue is clearly not teal/aqua. There is no green mixed in. The Expo Line photo on the left shows the station pylon (plastic wrap still intact, gotta love it) for the Crenshaw station. The Blue Line photo on the right shows the Compton station pylon. They look like the same line, riiiiight?
Of course, the new line will share some trackage and two stations with the Blue Line.
So perhaps, there really is no Expo Line. This is a Blue Line extension. It certainly was one when it was originally planned in the early 1990s:
There were stations planned at 23rd Street, Jefferson Blvd and Vermont Avenue, with an optional station by the USC campus. Because of the 110 freeway offramp and possible interference by the Los Angeles Marathon route that used to go through the area, an underground section was planned between the Jefferson and USC stations. Sound familiar?
That line was originally planned to open in 1996, with an extension into the Westside a possibility that would require further study blahblahblah.
Eventually, as you know, that became the line that is being finished today, which may or may not open this November.
So there you go, friends. The Expo Line. Except, there really is no "Expo Line." It's really an extension of The Blue Line. The signs tell all.