Nope, the city didn't get the Expo Line (Hexpo Line?) for Christmas, nor will it receive it as a New Year's gift, reports the Los Angeles Times. The oft-delayed 8.6 mile light rail from Downtown to Culver City is still months from opening, even though the construction authority handed it over to Metro (which will operate it) in November. Apparently there are electrical signal problems at the Downtown junction where trains will split from the Blue Line tracks and head west. Construction authority CEO Rick Thorpe told the Times on Thursday, "I think optimistically we're a few days away in solving it." The article also features a frustrating or amusing interaction (depends how you look at it) between Thorpe and Metro CEO Art Leahy. The two squabble over whether the train tunnel near USC is a subway or simply a trench--a subway has specific ventilation requirements that a trench doesn't. Thorpe reluctantly agreed to add ventilation to the 0.6 mile tunnel; an addition, like the Farmdale station that was only built after a neighborhood tempest, that complicated the opening and boosted Expo's budget to about $930 million.
So, when will Expo open? It's not clear. The signaling problems need to be fixed and then Metro has to run pre-revenue service must begin--that's the duplication of actual rail service from the Seventh/Metro subway station to La Cienega (don't even think the Culver City station will open this spring). Pre-revenue could last as long as three months.
With the latest delay, we though we'd look back at a sampling of Expo Line opening dates that we've seen over the last couple years:
- Sometime in 2010 (to Crenshaw)
- April 2011
- July 2011 (58 week delay reported on Apr. 30, 2010)
- January 2012
· Technical problems delay Expo Line's debut [LA Times]
· Expo Line, Phase 1 Archives [Curbed LA]