Our first ride on the Expo Line

Carter and I had a nice morning: we were recipients of our first ride on the Expo Line, traveling from the 23rd Street station in downtown Los Angeles to the La Cienega station and back. We’ll post some more pics later as well as video. (Update: Here’s the link to the videos)

As for the obvious question: we don’t yet have an official opening date for the Expo Line.

Why? There’s still parts of the project not yet finished, namely there’s work to be done on the switch on the junction of the Expo Line and Blue Line tracks, the ventilation system in the tunnel under Figueroa near USC and the Culver City station.

Bottom line: Metro officials are adamant about not rushing to open the line until it is completed.

As for the ride, it was smoother and quicker than we thought it would be. A few impressions:

•Even though the train was in test mode and stopping at places it normally would not, it took about 21 minutes to travel from La Cienega to the 23rd Street station. We were both surprised how quick the train was in the sections it could run 55 mph, west of Western Avenue.

•In the street running sections of the line where there are no crossing gates, the train must obey traffic signals but will have traffic signal priority and should get a lot of green lights.

•The train runs very slow — 10 mph — on both sides of the Farmdale Station adjacent to Dorsey High School as part of the deal negotiated between the Expo Line Construction Authority and the LAUSD. It’s a bigger issue going eastbound, because the La Brea and Farmdale stations are very, very close to one another. The train barely leaves La Brea and it’s slowing for Farmdale. Get used to it.

•The mountains views from the aerial stations at La Brea and, in particular, La Cienega, are outstanding. Patrons will be able to take in a wide swath of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Baldwin Hills and the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains. The only minor complaint: some ill-placed high-tension wires between the La Cienega station and the mountains in the distance will foil some photographers.

•The rain shields now installed at the stations look pretty good and should provide plenty of shelter during inclement weather.

We’re working on uploading the video and will post some later today.

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14 replies

  1. I’m glad to hear that it will be a bit faster than previously thought, and I guess the farmdale station area will have to be thought of like marmion way on the pasadena gold line, but shorter of course (I assume as soon as the train clears the crossing it can speed up right?) I still think with farmdale being such a problem, this section should have just been an extension of the la brea EL structure. And while I am disappointed that there won’t be street signal preemption, having signal priority is a small step in the right direction. Lets just hope that that the priority actually, oh I don’t know, prioritizes the train, and does not end up like the gold line east side extension where there does not appear to be any priority. Also, I hope that it’s not like the orange line bus where only 1 in every 3 vehicles or something actually gets signal priority.
    However, it’s good to know that the train will take less than 21 minutes from said points due to less stopping as mentioned.

    One question though that I am unclear about regarding the signals: How is crenshaw going to work? It’s not technically street running there so will it have preemption? And are there plans to add crossing gates since the crenshaw line will be below grade there?

  2. Can’t wait for it to open. Hopefully very soon!!!! Maybe some day this deal at Farmdale can be abandoned and we can really get people moving in this city!!!

  3. Hopefully after a couple of years of operations Metro and LAUSD could agree to lift the 10 mph speed limit at Farmdale. The Station itself has more than enough safety features (Quad gates, near side station platforms, pedestrian and swing gates) that having the additional speed limit is simply overkill.

  4. Steve Hymon (or Carter Rubin):

    I still would like to know:

    At the crossover junction of the Blue Line and Expo Line, who is supposed to be
    activating the track switching? Will the train’s motorman do that? Or will it be activated by remote control? Or, will it be fully automatic?

    How will it work?

    • Hi Warren;

      I don’t know the answer but I do know that the switch is tied into the positive train control system that functions to keep trains at safe distances from one another. As we get closer to an opening, we’ll try to answer the basics about how the Expo and Blue lines will interact.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. I went to Dorsey High School from 1947 to 1950. This sure looks like a big time improvement to the old Pacific Electric Air Line!!

  6. @ Mospeada

    I completely agree with you. That 10 mph speed limit is ridiculous especially with it extending beyond the intersection to being before the near side platforms. There really is no logic to it. Its a fenced ROW right up until the intersection. And once the front of the train clears the intersection (since that’s really the only potential hazard), it should be able to speed up to 55 mph immediately.

  7. I do hope that motor vehicles operating on Farmdale and Exposition are also required to slow to 10 mph. We cannot be too careful and we mustn’t let the wealthy (car owners) have privileges not granted to the users of Public Transportation.

    Won’t somebody please think of the children!

  8. Please set an OFFICIAL OPENING DATE for the Expo Line to Culver City ASAP!!!! I cant wait to ride the line and not have to sit in traffic on the I-10FWY anymore!!!! I am surprised that the train only runs 10MPH next to the Farmdale station thanks to LAUSD and Dorsey High School… Safety first… Also as far as expanding our Metro Rail system here in LA I would consider building a light rail line along the 405FWY from the SF Valley or Getty Center to LAX, Also extend the Purple line subway under Wilshire blvd from Western all the way to Santa Monica!!! thanks hope to ride the expo line in 2012!!!! :0

  9. Other countries’ answer: Let’s just teach the children to stay off the tracks. Show them gruesome pictures of train accidents and it’ll be etched in their heads to stay away from them if you don’t want to end up like that.

    Other countries’ result: no stupid regulations of running 10 mph near schools, kids stay away from the tracks, trains run on time all the time.

    LA’s answer: oh no, that’ll ruin our poor children’s brains forever with psychological shock. Let’s just place restrictions on the trains themselves, that’s a much easier answer than corrupting our children with gruesome pictures!

    LA’s result: stupid over-regulation that makes trains go a measly 10 mph near schools despite being fenced off with millions of safety precautions, with children not being taught how dangerous trains are, and trains runs as inefficiently as ever.

  10. How will the trains share the terminus at 7th & Metro? If the Expo train and the Blue Line train use the same track for inbound & outbound the timing will differ for each line. If the two tracks are designated, one for Expo and one for Blue, the boarding and de-boarding will take place on different sides of the rights-of-way.