Expo Phase I Moves Forward, Phase II Back to Court (Updated, 11:30))

Some Expo supporters thought ##http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov/search/case/scheduledActions.cfm?dist=2&doc_id=1977893&doc_no=B232655##this webpage##meant the legal challenges to Phase II were over. It doesn't.

(Update: Bart Reed of the Transit Coalition reports from the Metro Board Committee hearings that “pre-revenue testing” has not started yet, but other tests continue. Metro staff also confirmed the long-standing rumor that the Expo Line Phase I will open in early 2012.)

The past 24 hours brought mixed news for backers of the Expo Line. On the Transit Coalition message boards, Gökhan Esirgen reports that “prerevenue operations” for Phase I of the Expo Line has begun Testing for Phase I of the Expo Line continues. But while Phase I moves forward, Phase II remains mired in legal challenges, despite this week’s ground breaking.

Last December,  Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas McKnew issued a preliminary ruling to dismiss the lawsuit brought by a coalition of Westside homeowner and community groups challenging the environmental documents issues for the Expo Line Phase II.  One month later, McKnew issued a final ruling affirming his initial view.

The plaintiffs, Neighbors for Smart Rail (NFSR), vowed they would appeal and have confirmed to me that their appeal would be filed later today.  Yesterday, rumors swirled that the lawsuit had been dismissed based on the above screen capture from the California Apellate Courts page, but the line saying the case would be dismissed later today only states what would happen if NFSR didn’t get their filing in.

As for Phase I pre-revenue operations, such a program usually lasts for two months and then the revenue operation begins. The prerevenue operation simulates the revenue operation and allows the operator (Metro) to optimize the performance and generate the timetable.  Because of some of the special challenges Expo Phase I has encountered, including the difficulties at Farmdale Station and Culver City, the prerevenue operations could last into early 2012.

To see a video of two Siemens trains running prerevenue routes, click here.  For more information on the fate of the NFSR appeal, check back here regularly.

  • Gokhan

    NFSR’s appeal has no basis whatsoever. I was at the trial and they clearly lost it as none of their arguments were nearly sustainable. They tried many arguments, as if throwing mud on a wall and hoping that it would stick.

    In the next few weeks, Phase 1 prerevenue operation will have faster trains and more simultaneous trains, eventually reaching full speed and regular headways. For some reason they have been saying that they don’t want to open the line before the end of the USC football season (UCLA game on Saturday, November 26), which doesn’t make sense. What does a Saturday football game have to do with it? Wouldn’t it be a better way to advertise the line if it was operating during the last football games?

  • Gokhan

    Apart from giving it a certain name, such as prerevenue operation, this new testing is
    completely different than what they have been doing before. Until last
    week, the trains would stop at every crossing and be directed by flagsmen.

    The only difference between the testing now and full prerevenue testing
    is that the trains will eventually reach the full speed and regular
    headways. So, for me, this is already good enough to see the train
    running almost in full action.

    Due to all the complications and delays, the testing of the Expo Line is
    being done differently than the other lines in the past, with Metro being
    involved in contractor’s testing since a while ago. So, the lines
    between various test phases are blurred.

    At the last board meeting, Expo CEO Rick Thorpe and CPO Eric were repeatedly telling
    that so far only the static and dynamic tests have been going on and
    what they called operational testing, simulation, or prerevenue would
    start in two weeks (from then). This was partly in response to Clint
    Simmons complaining about the noise, who was told that actual train
    running hasn’t even started yet and he should wait for another couple of
    weeks. What is happening now is clearly different than what was
    happening two weeks ago.

    You can listen to the last board meeting here:

    http://physics.usc.edu/Undergraduate/temporary/Expo_board_meeting_2011_09_01.mp3

    I don’t think anyone knows when the line will open but it wouldn’t
    surprise me if it was delayed as late as February or March and opened
    all the way to Culver City.

  • Condor

    Perhaps they’re worried about a large amount of football fans, many of whom have been drinking.  Could be a security nightmare for a system that isn’t fully staffed.

  • Sam

    It is great to share enthusiasm that the new train project come forth into revenue service as soon as possible.

    However, in a professional world where railroad safety is the
    guideline,  rail fan demand is something that will be completely
    ignored. It will be great if all the System Integration Steps build
    successfully to culminate into Pre-Revenue Service testing. But, again,
    it is going to take time. Train operators must learn exacting steps to
    not only operate Expo, but to keep the Blue Line running without error,
    as any flaws on Expo will mean delays to the Blue Line.

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