Los Angeles County Metro is trying to find out what caused its newly opened Expo Line to lose power between the Crenshaw and the La Cienega/Jefferson stations on Monday. It reportedly took crews hours to get the light-rail line up and running again.
Metro workers diverted some westbound passengers who were stuck on the trains. A bus carried them to the still-unopened Farmdale station near Exposition Boulevard.
Authorities say a support pole for overhead wires that provide power to the system apparently began to smoke near that same Farmdale drop off, causing some kind of surge. Electricity was wiped out and trains shut down on a couple of tracks, says Metro spokesman Rick Jager.
“They’ll continue their investigation as we always do to try and to determine what caused these little glitches," says Jager, referring to the Transit Authority. "Hopefully [the glitches] don’t happen again.”
The Expo Line has carried passengers for just over a week, and Jager maintains that system operators expect kinks early on and that crews are prepared to deal quickly with any problems.
But that’s not fast enough for some critics.
“I am determined for us to ask the CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority what in the world is going on," says L.A. County supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who sits on the Metro Board.
He wants better communication from transit authorities.
“They have to immediately report out to the board itself," he insists. "You can’t hide the ball and claim to be accountable."
“All three of those crashes involved drivers that ran red lights, which is a violation of the law," says spokesman Jager. "So people have to stop, look and listen and they also have to obey traffic laws.”
Jager says the line’s safety record is on par with other L.A. County Metro rail routes.