Per the Expo Line's Facebook page, and now The Source too, the light rail's construction authority has handed the line over to Metro to begin pre-revenue operations, the last stage before you can ride the darn thing. This last step simulates regular service, but without picking up passengers. Posters on the Transit Coalition boards believe Sunday will be the first official day of pre-revenue, which would mean the line could open around mid-January as the last step takes about a month to complete. However, The Source stresses that no official dates have been set for either pre-revenue testing or a grand opening.
An interesting note on The Source's post indicates that it's not yet clear whether the line will initially open to La Cienega or go all the way to Culver City--the latter station is not yet finished, as it's waiting on a commuter parking lot and bike amenities.
As for the potential speed of a trip from Culver City to Seventh/Metro in Downtown, it's estimated to be about 25 minutes--The Source bloggers took the train for a test ride last week and Steve Hymon wrote that there were some amazingly fast portions, especially between Western and Crenshaw, and a sloooow section near Farmdale, where locals fought for a tunnel but got an at-grade station with several safety precautions.
· Expo Line [Facebook]
· Expo Line handed over to Metro by Construction Authority [The Source]
· Expo Line Archives [Curbed LA]