The Blue Line is in the midst of the New Blue Improvements Project, a comprehensive $350-million modernization to improve reliability, enhance safety and provide a better customer experience. 7th St/Metro Center and Pico Station are currently closed to both the Blue and Expo Line in order for crews to complete track and power system work.
Part of that work includes installing overhead conductor rail (OCR) in the tunnel at 7th St/Metro Center. Overhead conductor rail is a form of overhead catenary system (OCS), or in layman’s terms, a way of distributing electrical power to light rail trains.
The existing catenary system is comprised of a messenger and contact wire supported on the tunnel ceiling. The contact wires are strung under thousands of pounds of tension, so maintaining them can be quite challenging. The OCS wires require regular inspection and maintenance to properly power our trains.
The new OCR system includes a rigid rail to keep the contact wire clipped-in at the bottom with no tension. This allows Metro to utilize more efficient maintenance practices, and the contact wire can also withstand more wear, prolonging its useful life.
This is the first time that OCR has been installed in California. The OCR being installed will match the Regional Connector’s OCR. Metro is heading in a direction to have OCR in all light rail tunnels.
The Expo Line will resume service to Pico and 7th St/Metro Center in late August. The Blue Line will resume service between DTLA and Compton Station in late September. For more info on the project visit metro.net/newblue.