Maintenance Diaries: Inside Metro’s Central Maintenance Facility

Learn about work performed throughout the Metro system to keep it in a state of good repair with the Maintenance Diaries.

We recently toured Metro’s sprawling Central Maintenance Facility (CMF), where work on the bus and rail system is performed. I had heard of CMF throughout my four years at the agency, but never grasped how important it is to the entire Metro system.

The building in downtown Los Angeles is home to 260 employees and 16 different shops that work on painting and refurbishing buses, repairing and building engines and transmissions and fabricating parts for bus and trains — to name a few functions.

In the video above, you’ll see a dynamometer — i.e. “The Dyno” — comparable to a simulator that tests our transmissions and engines once they’ve been restored.

Metro buses operate between 300,000 to 400,000 miles before they are transported to CMF’s midlife shop for a complete engine and transmission overhaul, fresh paint and new interiors. Midlife shop mechanics typically work on a bus for two to three months before returning it to service.

Robots travel around the building delivering parts to the different shop mechanics — a fun and high-tech addition to the facility that allows mechanics to continue their work without leaving their work stations.

We couldn’t capture every single area of CMF, but we did meet some pretty impressive people who were happy to show us around and teach us a thing or two!

What’s coming up next for the Maintenance Diaries? Below is just a sampling of the topics we’re planning to cover. And if there are any topics you’re particularly interested in, let us know in the comments!

  • Maintenance Diaries: How Metro trains are powered
  • Maintenance Diaries: How bus service is restored after a breakdown
  • Maintenance Diaries: What makes a train run smoothly
  • Maintenance Diaries: Crenshaw/LAX Line/Green Line Tie-in
  • Maintenance Diaries: The New Blue

3 replies

  1. It looks like Metro has a machine shop. I think I saw a CNC lathe. What other machine tools do they have. What sort of parts might have to be fabricated? Any old manual machine tools?

    What will the new subway interiors look like?

    Any plans on modifying subway and older light rail vehicles to create space for bicycle near the door? I hate having to squeeze my way past the crowded isle to get the the middle section.

    I was a bit annoyed by a post on this blog a while back in which the writer use a tone along the lines of “get a clue cyclists..” when pointing out the correct location for bicycle storage in the new Kiniko Sharyo trainsets. Most light rail vehicles used by metro don’t have a convenient place for bicycles and until there is some consistency there will always be people holding bicycle in the wrong part of any particular train.
    No one wants to squeeze a bicycle past standing passengers to get the the middle section of older trains. It seems like a dickish thing to do and probably pisses off passengers. This may be one reason why so many cyclists stand with their bicycles next to the driver’s cab of older trains, despite the existence of an official space elsewhere. Why did metro choose not the use hooks for hanging bicycles as used my so many other transit agencies in LRV?

  2. Thanks Lexi for this informative article & video feature. Taking care of Metro buses & trains is our #1 priority! #GoMetro #tapandgo one bus at a time, one train at a time!

    Helen @ CMF Asst Admin Analyst