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LA light rail opens to Santa Monica

KinkiSharyo 1023 leads a two-car VIP train at the three-track Santa Monica terminus on 9 May — Vic Simons

Extended Expo line expected to carry 64 000 passengers/day by 2030.

Midday on 20 May saw the opening of the 10.6km (6.6-mile) Expo line extension from Culver City to 4th St/Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, 27 years after the first studies for the link to the beach were commissioned.

The line has four at-grade and three elevated stops, and offers a 48-minute ride to downtown Los Angeles using former Pacific Electric interurban right-of-way, unused for passenger service for 63 years. This was purchased by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission in 1991. Service runs every 12 minutes and there are three park-and-ride sites along the extension; 12 000 passengers rode the extension on the first working day, 23 May. Metro allows surfboards to be carried on LRVs.

The USD1.5bn project was started in 2012, under a design-build contract awarded to a Skanska-Rados joint venture. Funding came largely from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved in 2008;
A week later, on 27 May a ceremony was held to mark the start of construction on a new USD172m stabling and maintenance facility for the under-construction Crenshaw line extension that will connect the system to Los Angeles International Airport by 2020.

The 10 736m2 (115 650ft2)Southwest Yard will have capacity for 70 LRVs, consisting of a main shop, washing facility, storage building and a wheel truing shop. It is expected to employ around 200 staff and is due to open in 2019. The site has room to expand as the LRV fleet grows with further extensions to the Crenshaw/LAX and Green lines.

More than 20% of materials used in construction will consist of recycled content and to counter California’s persistent drought challenges, the Southwest Yard will feature a water recycling system to capture and re-use water for vehicle washing, with the aim of reducing water consumption by 40%.