Service Alert: Gold Line delays today due to overhead power issue

UPDATE 7 P.M.: The technicians repairing the downed wire on the Metro Gold Line have confirmed that their work will extend through this evening. Consequently, trains will continue to run every 15-20 minutes with temporary holding as trains approach the Pasadena/Highland Park area.

Metro will provide updates on the status of Gold Line repairs and service levels as they become available, and thanks all Gold Line customers for their patience today.

UPDATE 5 P.M. Unfortunately, delays continue on the Metro Gold Line due to damage to the overhead power supply system that occurred this morning between South Pasadena and Highland Park Station. Trains are currently arriving every 15 minutes, but may hold temporarily along the line in order to avoid congestion caused as trains share one track through the problem area.

Please be advised, all trains, in both directions, board on the Pasadena-bound track at Highland Park Station. Additionally, nearly all Gold Line trains running at this time are three-car trains, which means customers can use the entire platform when boarding.

At this time there is no firm estimated time of repair, meaning delays may last through this evening’s rush hour. Metro would again like to apologize for the inconvenience to Gold Line customers, as we work to make repairs as fast as possible.

UPDATE, 2 P.M.: Gold Line continues to run limited service between South Pasadena and Highland Park. Trains are running every 20 minutes in each direction in the area. Metro will start using three-car trains to accommodate afternoon/evening commuters. Bus shuttles have been cancelled.

UPDATE, Noon: The Gold Line has resumed limited service between South Pasadena and Highland Park. Expect significant delays as trains must share the northbound track between South Pasadena and Southwest Museum station, with trains running every 20 to 25 minutes in each direction in the area. Bus shuttles used earlier this morning are now on standby.

Please be advised that trains are not completely following the regular timetable today as repairs are underway. Expect delays, especially between Union Station and Pasadena. As we get closer to the afternoon rush hour, I’ll update this post again. 

Gold Line service was disrupted this morning between South Pasadena Station and Highland Park Station due to a sagging power line above the tracks, as seen in the above photos. About 1,000 feet of wire was damaged in the area around the Pasadena Avenue and Monterey Road rail crossing. Repairs are underway and are expected to take several hours to complete — crews are trying to complete the work before the evening rush hour.

The Monterey/Pasadena crossing is closed due to low wires. Police are on scene to help guide vehicle traffic.

The issue began about 8:20 a.m. One train was stranded between South Pasadena and Highland Park stations and about 300 passengers were evacuated and placed on another southbound train at approximately 9:30 a.m.

For frequent updates, please follow us on Twitter or check the home page of metro.net.

33 replies

  1. Before Metro raises rates on commuters they need to solve the routine problems presented by power outages or dropped lines. I was on the Gold Line this morning and was amazed at the absolute lack of any sort of contingency planning in place to solve this service outage. The train was simply ‘abandoning’ passengers at South Pasadena on the north end and the conductor provided no solution to the passengers. What a colossal and ineffiicient mess! All passengers should be able to back charge Metro for the loss of productivity created by this issue.

  2. Stranded, I rode the Gold Line this morning too. At every stop, the conductor informed the passengers the train ride would end at S. Pasadena and that a bus shuttle would take them to the Highland Park Station.

  3. Stranded

    The overhead wire was damaged perhaps by a vehicle passing under it. A bus bridge was provided. The MTA does not have buses dedicated to bus bridges but instead pulls out buses from the nearest’s divisions if available. If none are available buses are pulled from line service. It may not be a instant solution but within minutes of the situation being identified buses and supervisors are rolling to the incident locations. The train operators can only direct passengers to alight the trains and wait for assistance. Because you did not observe any response to the wires down does not mean nothing was being done.

  4. I applaud MTA on being open with what went wrong. It’s easier for me to understand and feel less frustrated if I know why there are these delays. Pictures and details provided are much appreciated.

    I don’t think the comment made by “Stranded” is informed. That person is probably angry but at the end of the day, they would get no where without public transport. If they happen to have a car, then they’d just be complaining about traffic all the time. Never satisfied and always complaining.

  5. I was on the stranded train this morning and overall was very satisfied with the way Metro officials handled the situation. After we were moved to what was referred to as a “rescue” train, the deputy sheriff on board announced “Everyone please have your TAP cards out!” His big grin and the roar of laughter that came from our car was a welcome release after a very harrowing morning.

  6. I am just worried that Metro may not have enough extra usable buses at the bus yards to handle the bus bridges during peak hours. Can Metro keep more older buses and hire more supervisors for emergencies? I don’t think people would mind to ride old buses as long as riders can get to the nearest station in a timely manner.

  7. So is it safe to say that those of us that use the Gold Line around the 5:00 hour should consider other methods of transportation this evening?

    • Hi Mia, trains are arriving at stations about every 15 minutes, but there is up to 20 minutes added travel time after boarding due to trains having to share one track btwn South Pasadena Station and South West Museum Station. It’s looking like these delays will continue through 5 p.m. Hope that helps.

      Lily Allen
      Writer, The Source

  8. All these repairs have a cost to them too. I hope Metro realizes how much it’s going to cost them in repairs in the long term by building rail at grade. It may seem like a cost efficient way to get rail built, but the long term costs like these just keep adding up.

  9. Is the average person supposed to be familiar with this term “bus bridge”? My co-worker reported that she had to wait an hour at the South Pasadena station this morning before a bus arrived to take riders to the Highland Park station. That’s not exactly “springing into action within minutes,” OK? Please do not try to portray Metro’s handling of this mess as being efficient.

  10. There is the alternate bus route page – http://www.metro.net/riding/maps/suggested-alt-lines/ – but it is incomplete. For example, passengers could have taken the 485 from Lake Station in Pasadena to Union Station but it’s not on the page, and many people don’t know about the 485 (so much so that it keeps getting put on the cancellation block). The added express fare surcharge doesn’t help, but at least it would keep people moving. Other options include the 260/762 on Fair Oaks to connect with one of the westbound buses, but there are people who would rather wait to get on a crowded train than take a bus.

  11. I boarded the train at Atlantic station at 2:30pm. We were notified of the “substantial delay” by the conductor every 10 minutes or so. However, In addition to Atlantic station, we also waited for 10+ minutes at Union station, Heritage Square station, and Southwest Museum station. I got to my destination, Highland Park Station, at a little after 4pm. Normally, Atlantic –Highland park would take 36 minutes. This afternoon it took nearly 3 times that. So even thought the trains are running every 20-25 minutes, they really mean, SUBSTANTIAL delay.
    If someone had informed us about the additional “stand-by” times after Union station, I would get off the train and took the bus. I could also very well took off at Chinatown station or Southwest Museum station and get on a bus.
    I also rode the train this morning from Highland Park station. I had planned to be on the 10:04 train, the train I boarded left at 10:12, and almost no long delays once we took off.

  12. I was on the Gold Line this morning and was amazed at the lack of any contingency plan for such delays. All passengers were kicked out of the train and left on their own. Most had to catch another bus in route to continue their trips. The Gold line needs Management reorganization and change as it is currently inefficient and mismanaged. I encourage all passengers to charge Metro for the loss of productivity created by this issue.

  13. Dave Scott, why so negative? Were you even on the train??? If no, then you shouldn’t express an opinion about something that you have no clue about. I was actually on the stranded train, and considering the severity of what happened, an hour’s delay was not extreme. I’ve sat in traffic for longer than that because someone got a flat tire during rush hour. Metro’s response was quick and efficient. Their first priority (rightly so) was the safety of the passengers on the stranded train, and they were there within minutes and handled the entire situation very well…

  14. I was on the stranded train this morning. I agree with Mike ; MTA and sheriffs were as helpful as they could be in the situation. MTA kept us informed, but apparently werent doing the same for some people still trying to board after problem occurred. Before they said a rescue train was coming, they said a bus bridge was coming. They were clearly scrambling trying to figure out what to do. Eventually they got a system going.
    1 Big concern is there have been many electrical problems in that same area, betw SoPas and HiPk in just 1.5 yrs that ive been taking Gold Line.
    Another big concern is when i finally got to work and checked service alerts at about 11am, THERE WAS NONE FOR GOLD LINE.
    More attention is needed after todays issue is “fixed”.

  15. I felt metro responded to the situation well but I feel that metro should have had a bus bridge set up all day to move people along faster. Took me forever to get from union station to fillmore waiting for our trains turn to single track between highland park and south pasadena

  16. I noticed a few 3-car trains this afternoon around 5:00-6:00PM or so while I was driving on the 210 freeway.

    I don’t ever really recall seeing 3-car trains on the Gold Line before… is it normal to have them during rush hour or were they used due to the delays?

    • Hi Alex,

      The Gold Line normally runs 2-car trains unless there is a major event that requires extra cars, or to help during service delays such as we’re currently experiencing. Thanks.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  17. Metro said delays were 20 minutes. This is not true. It took me 90 minutes to complete a 30 minute train trip yesterday. Everytime there is a problem, Metro LIES about the extent of the delay. If I had known that a usual 30 minute train ride would have taken 90 minutes, I would have taken the bus. Instead, I was subjected to periodic LIES from Metro online announcements and the train conductors themselves who said every ten minutes that we would be holding for ten minutes. Why not just tell the truth? The overall delay was 90 minutes due to 20 minute holding times at two or three stops along the route. Next time there is any kind of delay I will walk away from the station and catch the bus to anywhere, instead of being subjected to Metro LIES about these delays, as well as being subjected to the intolerable CROWDING on the trains.

    • Hi Lisa,

      Our apologies for the delay. The 20-minute delay announcements were estimates based on previous incidents. Unfortunately, the delays turned out to be longer than anticipated. If possible, please send your feedback to CustomerRelations@metro.net so they can log this issue. In the meantime, we’ll work on getting better alerts/announcements out in a timely manner.

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  18. And under the new proposed fare hike rules where it’s going to cost $2.25 to complete a transfer within 90 minutes rule, Lisa would’ve had to pay and additional $2.25 at her transfer point because a trip that she normally takes 30 minutes on the train took her 90 minutes, probably more because one also now has to factor in the wait time for the train to arrive at the station, which is completely independent of the tap in time that’s recorded at the turnstiles/validators.

    So for the sake of problems caused by Metro, Lisa would’ve had to pay a total of $4.50 if she wanted to transfer, through no fault of her own, because of delays.

  19. Oh good grief. It is not enough that I complain on this METRO website, now I have to send an email? No thanks. Like I said, next time I will not get on the train when there is a delay because Metro LIES about the extent of the delay. This has happened before, not just with the problem of yesterday, so you would think METRO would know what to do by now. At the very least, METRO should have been able to provide a more accurate estimate of the delay by the end of the day yesterday.

  20. Lisa,

    Have you thought about a moped? It’s actually cheaper than Metro. And you won’t have to worry about delays like this over and over again. You can go whenever you want.

  21. Metro should know by now that when a delay like this happens, the trains are going to get ultra-crowded because everyone is going to be waiting at each station.

    Considering things like this keep happening over and over again, can’t you guys figure out a seating pattern that maximizes standing room space, like foldable seats or something?

    That way, when you know that trains are going to be very crowded, you can just fold the seats up and everyone can stand. You can fit more passengers on a train with passengers standing than sitting.

    • Dear Tired of nothing getting done: Some of us ride the Gold Line all the way to Sierra Madre Villa and with the delays that would me we would be standing for over an hour. And some of us have health issues that make it very difficult for us to stand for that long of a period of time while at the same time trying to stabilize and not fall on other people during the ride. So thank you for your genius suggestion of “folding chairs” but I think that you should really consider how that would ever would work.

  22. Sock puppet
    You can’t use a third rail where pedestrians walk across the rails at locations such as stations or crossings.

    Tired of nothing getting done
    Train operators could fold the seats up only to have them folded down when people want to sit unless they are locked into place. Think of the further delay this would cause. The Gold Line appears to me to have many extra railcars. Adding cars to trains seems like a far easier solution.

    Someone suggested keeping older buses in reserve for bus bridges. One problem with that is the available bus operators to drive them.

  23. In Japan, the JR Yamanote Line and the Keihin-Tohoku Line actually does exactly what Tired mentioned during peak commuting hours: they fold up the seats and make the trains standing room only.

    The seats automatically fold up and down through controls by the train operator. Press a button, all the seats fold up. Press a button, the seats fold down.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a2/Jr_t204standing.jpg

    The technology is there. Of course, I’m sure the usual suspects will cry “LA is not Japan!”

  24. Mia,

    I stand for over an hour everyday so quit complaining like you’re the only one who wants to sit.

    You only get a seat if you can find an empty seat to begin with. And when all the seats are taken, you have to stand anyway. And when there’s an empty seat, it’s a chaotic mess of playing musical chairs to grab that empty seat.

    I’d trade up seats for more breathing space anyday. Seats should be kept to a minimum solely for the elderly and the disabled. Everyone else is healthy or young enough to stand.

  25. The trains were overcrowded with three rail car sets during the fiasco.

    It’s a telling sign that as more people turn to transit, Metro will not be able to keep up with the growing demand unless there’s a change to the seating pattern.

    The platforms aren’t long enough to handle more than three cars so you can’t add a fourth or fifth car to it.

    You have to plan these things out ahead. If Metro built the platforms longer, then more railcars could be added. But since that can’t be done, they have to look at ways to cram more people into the trains and the only way to do that is to get rid of seats.