Now-retired Metro rail car may soon serve as cafe or museum in Long Beach

A now-retired rail car that served the former Metro Blue Line from Long Beach to Downtown Los Angeles appears to be finally coming back to its city of origin for good.

Long Beach in 2018 entered into an agreement with the transit agency to salvage and display the P865 rail car #100 in the Downtown area.

The City Council on Tuesday is expected to formally accept the donated rail car and arrange to have it transported to a storage facility at the Water Department at a cost not to exceed $40,000.

The city’s Public Works Department would then work to repurpose the rail car in a future project that “will both historically preserve and repurpose the car for intended civic use and benefit to the residents of Long Beach and Los Angeles County,” according to a memo from Eric Lopez, director of Public Works, to the council.

Repurposing uses could include a cafe, museum, informational hub and/or education venue, according to the report.

The city plans to display the car on First Street between Elm Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard.

The car will be part of a larger street improvement project along First Street that is funded by Metro and other special tax funds.

“Staff are also working with Los Angeles County on additional funding support that is needed to fully fund the project and allow construction to commence,” city officials said in the memo.

The tab to transport the car to Long Beach will be paid by the public works budget.

The P865 light rail cars were in service starting in 1990, when the Blue Line first began service between Long Beach and Los Angeles. Since 2017 the rail cars have been slowly decommissioned in favor of the new P3010 cars.

Most of the former rail cars have been dismantled for parts and recycled, however two were donated to the Orange Empire Railway Museum and one was promised to Long Beach.

The Blue Line rail car #100 traveled an estimated 1.5 million miles during its 27 years of service, public works officials said.

Metro has restored the rail car to its original condition and created a historic icon and tribute to the history of both public transit and urban life, officials said.

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