The busy junction where Expo Line and Blue Line trains share track in Downtown is still not up to snuff, according to the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees train travel in the state. The Los Angeles Times reported in May that the CPUC felt that a contractor's design mistake on the track increases the risk of Blue Line trains derailing when they make a sharp southeast turn as they head toward South LA and Long Beach. Metro says they've been monitoring the issue, performing modifications, and having trains cross the junction at Washington and Flower at 10 miles an hour--there is no imminent danger, the transit agency says. On Friday, the Expo Construction Authority--which oversaw the contractor who screwed up--welded a piece of metal to the junction's track, which took care of most of the problem. But we're not yet out of the woods.
In a joint release today, Metro CEO Art Leahy and Expo Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe says the CPUC wants them "to finish the implementation of the automatic train protection," which stops trains when they are too close to each other (it's not finished?). "Our two agencies will work closely to develop and implement a plan that satisfies the concerns of the CPUC. Our first step is to correct a defect in a small portion of the track commonly called the 'frog' as it relates to the junction where the new Expo Line meets the Metro Blue Line at Washington and Flower near downtown Los Angeles. This was completed last Friday. Separately, we will focus on ensuring the automatic train protection system is operating consistent with the requirements of the CPUC ... Daily inspections will continue while we resolve this issue with the CPUC."
The agencies insist safety was never compromised on the more than 100,000 trips taken through the junction since it was built. Meanwhile, train service to Culver City and Long Beach remains unaffected (by this issue at least; the Blue Line had a power failure this morning and has been screwed up all day).
· See Downtown's Expo Line/Blue Line Junction in Action [Curbed LA]
· Expo Junction Built With Flaw But Metro Says It's Under Control [Curbed LA]