To maintain the Metro Rail System, the agency has numerous buildings that its riders never enter but are crucial to moving them across the county. One of these structures is rising approximately one mile south of Metro headquarters in downtown Los Angeles and will serve the Red/Purple Line subway.
Metro’s Location 64 Maintenance of Way (MOW) Building is being constructed at 590 South Santa Fe Avenue, adjacent to the new city of Los Angeles’ new 6th Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River.
The MOW will repair and maintain track vehicles (also known as non-revenue vehicles) that, in turn, maintain the Red and Purple Line tracks, signals, subway train control, communication, fire protection and security systems. The new facility will also house the Rail Operations–Maintenance of Way Group and a section of Metro’s Rails Parts Storage Group.
On Wednesday, Jan. 24, construction of the three-story building reached a milestone as a “topping off” ceremony marked the structure reaching its ultimate height. This “topping off” tradition has ancient roots, perhaps as far back as pre-Dark Age Scandinavian cultures. Builders would place a tree on the top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of ancestors it had displaced. Today, the tree in the topping off ceremony represents no loss of life or injury.
Deliveries of the steel for the 86,000 square-foot building began in late December and will continue through February. Although the MOW Building has reached its final height, it is far from complete.
Gruen Associates designed the building, which features a first-floor dedicated warehouse for non-revenue vehicle parts, multiple bays for non-revenue vehicle repair, vehicle wash rooms and a small lobby.
The second floor houses offices, training rooms and conference rooms for rail operations staff. The third floor is dedicated to parking non-revenue maintenance vehicles and storing tools.
Throughout the design process, the Design Advisory Working Group (DAG) — composed of Arts District leaders and artists — were engaged in reviewing and commenting on the building’s exterior design. The building’s west façade will feature an integrated artwork by the artists Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues of Ball-Nogues Studio.
The MOW Building is currently being constructed by Clark Construction. The building is expected to be completed by spring 2019 and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
While the MOW Building is an independent Metro facility and not considered part of Metro’s Division 20 Portal Widening and Turnback Facility project, the new MOW building will increase maintenance capacity for servicing the subways and their increasing number of rail cars.