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Expo Line Outage Causes Delays

An hourlong loss of power in the overhead cables of Metro's newly opened line to the Westside forces delays for riders.

The power was out for about an hour Monday evening in the overhead lines of the , the latest problem to plague the new rail, which is the first into the Westside in 50 years.

Until power was restored shortly after 8 p.m., no trains were running between the Crenshaw and La Cienega/Jefferson stations, and delays of up to 30 minutes elsewhere on the line were projected, Rick Jager of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority told City News Service.

Under construction since 2006 and in the planning stages for much longer, the new Metro Expo Line opened to paying passengers April 30 after ,  and escalating costs. Before the much-anticipated opening, train cars on test runs were involved in that in each incident left motorists injured.

Now Expo trains are criticized for not getting riders to their destinations as speedily as promised.

The Expo Line service currently extends 7.6 miles from downtown Los Angeles on Flower Street south to Exposition Boulevard at USC, then hooks west, running roughly parallel to Adams and Exposition boulevards before coming to a temporary end at La Cienega Boulevard.

Two stations have yet to open: the Phase One terminus at Venice and
Robertson boulevards in Culver City and a station near Dorsey High School at Farmdale Avenue. The Farmdale stop was approved late because of concerns pedestrian safety near the school. Both stations are projected to open sometime this summer.

When the $2.2 billion line is finished in 2015, it will extend into Santa Monica, just a few blocks from the beach.

Reason.com reported Monday that, according to its own projections, if the train carries 64,000 full-fare passengers beginning right now—which it's not—it would take nearly 35 years for the train to collect enough revenue to pay for the cost of its construction.

The Metro Expo Line links the Westside with downtown Los Angeles via a joint station serving the Metro Red, Purple and Blue lines at the 7th Street Metro Center Station. Together, these lines crisscross the region, making connections with the Eastside, Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Norwalk, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley.

Supporters don't agree with the way Reason's reporters determined Expo's current ridership, and note that "nobody expects the line to pay for its construction costs, just like nobody expects roads to pay for themselves."

They've argued that the Expo line is creating jobs and expanding access to recreational and cultural offerings from Santa Monica Beach to Exposition Park to Staples Center to downtown.

Metro officials have said that technical issues with signal systems at the junction of the Blue Line and Expo Line tracks at Washington and Flower seem to be resolved. The problem involved the signals delaying trains from going through the junction, making it difficult to create an accurate train schedule.

— City News Service contributed to this report.

Gary Kavanagh May 08, 2012 at 04:42 AM
The Reason Foundation analysis is so flawed it is laughable. A rebuttal on Streetsblog is located here: http://streetsblog.net/2012/05/07/the-reason-foundations-comically-flawed-research-on-la-rail/ Reason is financially backed by big oil, the auto industrial complex and airlines, with a serious bent against any and all publicly financed public transit projects, and rarely acknowledges the extent of subsidies that go into automobile infrastructure in a balanced fashion against their critique of rail projects. Nearly all highway building projects never pay for themselves in direct return on driving fees, and in fact many become long term financial burdens that require escalating subsidies to maintain over their life. While rail projects boost value return on development near stations, freeways suck the financial life out of anywhere near their roaring noise and pollution.
glen May 08, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Sorry to hear train having problems, but sure that train will prove worthwhile later.
Jenna Chandler (Editor) May 08, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Good points, Gary. I've updated the story with a link to and a quote from the Streets Blog post.
lahope May 08, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Once the Santa Monica stations are complete, watch it take off!

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