After four years of construction, the Gold Line Foothill Extension project will reach a key milestone this morning: for the first time ever, a light rail vehicle will make its way down the tracks as part of clearance testing.
What’s a clearance test? As the name implies, Metro will be towing the light rail vehicle along the new Foothill Extension tracks to ensure that there’s adequate space between the rail car and structures along the tracks — poles that support the wires, bridges, passenger platforms and anything else. It’s a required test for all new rail lines.
“It’s exciting and we’re one step closer to opening the project for the public,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “There’s a lot more work to be done but we’re getting closer.”
Leahy said that pre-revenue testing is expected to begin in 10 months and that the project will likely open in spring 2016. “People will look up and see the train and be excited today,” he said, adding “trains are great to watch but people always need to be careful around the tracks because trains are big, heavy and they take time to come to a stop.”
He also thanked the public for voting for Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase that is paying for the Gold Line Foothill Extension project, as well as many other transit and highway projects across Los Angeles County — including four other rail lines currently under construction.
The Gold Line Foothill project is extending the Gold Line for 11.5 miles from the current terminus at Sierra Madre Villa Station in eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border with six new stations along the way — downtown Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, downtown Azusa and a final station that will serve Citrus College, Azusa Pacific University, the Rosedale residential development and surrounding neighborhoods. A maintenance yard for Gold Line trains is also being constructed in Monrovia.
The project is being built by the independent Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. Once construction is done, the project will be handed over to Metro for testing and operator training.
As the clearance testing makes its way east later today, I’ll add more photos.
Video of the test train in San Gabriel Valley:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt7sjdJ-N6Q]