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.

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