Two Measure R-funded rail projects — the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension — are wrapping up construction in 2015. After construction is completed, the respective Construction Agencies building the projects will hand them over to Metro for systems testing and pre-revenue service.
The basic purpose of these tests: to make sure everything works well and that Metro staff are properly trained on a wide array of skills ranging from basic train operations to fire and life safety.
Although no opening date for either project has yet been set, Metro is expecting both to open in the first half of 2016. The above staff report explains many of the issues involved and what has to happen before the lines are opened.
The report also looks at an ongoing issue that I’m sure some of you have heard about: Metro is in the process of acquiring the new light rail vehicles needed to fully operate both projects; not all the cars needed will be delivered before Metro wants to open the projects. The staff report explains how Metro plans to deal with this both during testing and once the lines are up and running.
The gist of it: once revenue service begins, Metro is looking at running trains at 12-minute intervals on the new sections of track during peak hours and then running them less frequently during mid-day and evening hours. Trains would then begin running more often during peak hours as more light rail cars are delivered to Metro by Kinkisharyo, the firm making the new vehicles.