Metro continues Expo Line tests but can’t say when it will open


An Expo Line clearance testing site in West L.A. The new line will hopefully announce an opening date sometime in the next few months.

After several months of testing, there’s still no word on when L.A. Metro’s Expo Line from Downtown to Culver City will finally make its debut.

Test trains have been running on the Expo Line about every twelve minutes between 11 am and well past midnight. Metro wants to expand that, and start testing trains at 5 a.m.

"When you do months of testing, people get impatient," acknowledged Metro spokesman Marc Littman. "But they have to recognize: It’s a $930 million system."

One big challenge is coordinating the Expo trains — and their signals — with trains from the Blue Line. The lines will share tracks and two stations in downtown L.A.

"During rush hour, we've got Blue Line and Expo Line trains [that] will go through that [same] junction every three minutes or less," explained Littman. "A lot of trains. So we have to make sure that the train control system works flawlessly."

On Saturday, six people were hurt when their car collided with an Expo test train in downtown L.A. Witnesses said the car ran a red light at the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Flower Street.

"All the more reason we have to remind the public, during this testing period and especially when we open: you gotta pay attention," said Littman, responding to the incident. "If it’s a red light, stop."

Littman says the state Public Utilities Commission will have to approve the new train control system before the Expo Line is opened to passengers.

If all goes well, he says, an announcement could come sometime next month.

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