Heading east

Members of RAC and elected and Metro officials

Members of RAC and elected and Metro officials

This morning the media got its first crack at the about-to-launch Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension, with a ride from Union Station to Soto Station and  — for a few who wanted to continue — all the way to the end of the line at Atlantic and Pomona boulevards.

The skies were blue, the wind was gentle for a change and members of the local community who fought so hard and long to make the project happen were all smiles, as well they should have been. It was really more their train than anybody’s.

There were two cars, the first carrying Mayor Villaraigosa and 99 percent of the media. It was crammed. The second quieter car, also ferrying a good collection of powerful elected officials — local, state and federal — was the viewing spot of choice for members of the RAC (Review Advisory Committee). The RAC is made up of the Eastside movers and shakers, maybe not so well known outside their area, who were at the heart of the project.

They attended meetings throughout the 15 years of planning and construction, helping to fashion the plan; helping to make sure the plan turned real. They remained stubbornly supportive over the street closures, the construction diversions, the planning changes and the disruptions that go hand-in-hand with subway and light-rail construction.

They were incredibly generous hosts. Can you imagine having construction going on at your house for the five years it took to build the Eastside Extension?

They applauded as the train left Union Station, as it sped through Mariachi Plaza Station and again as it pulled into Soto for a tour of the station’s pretty art. It was clear they were proud. It was their train. They made it happen. They, themselves, deserve applause.

Here’s a press release on the event.