More tracks at LA's Union Station for train travel

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Transportation officials celebrated the opening of three new rail tracks and a platform Wednesday at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.

Tracks 13, 14 and 15 on the east end of the train station were taken out of service 35 years ago, but construction crews spent the last 18 months refurbishing them.

Metrolink managed the construction project, which cost nearly $25 million. Most of the funding, about $22 million, came from the State of California's Proposition 1B. The remaining funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Orange County Transportation Authority Measure M.

Scott Johnson with Metrolink said the project had been in the works for two decades.

"When you consider where Metrolink started 20 years ago, we had about 2,300 daily ridership," said Johnson. "Now we are more than 43,000 and we expect to expand beyond that ­Amtrak, as well. This platform and these additional tracks will provide for additional flexibility for the operation of both services."

Tracks 13 and 14 run along a new 1,100-foot boarding Platform 7 that can accommodate up to four six-car train sets. Construction crews matched the concrete and paint colors of the rest of the tracks and platforms at Union Station.

Additional improvements included in the project include: North and south stairways and accessible ramps;
920 foot platform canopy equipped with new lighting; electronic message displays and public address speakers; 3,950 feet of new track; a new standby electrical generator; additional train yard fire hydrants; and new fiber optic communications equipment.

With contributions from Ed Joyce

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