Eyes on the Street: New Blue Construction – Wye Tracks and Wires

Washington Blue Line Station  shuttered during New Blue rehabilitation. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Washington Blue Line Station shuttered during New Blue rehabilitation. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro is nearing the final stretches of its ‘New Blue’ Blue Line rehabilitation project. For the New Blue work, the agency has currently closed the northern half of the Blue Line, which includes closing two shared downtown L.A. Expo Line stations. During the closure there are various shuttle buses and a great new Flower Street bus-only lane.

Streetsblog was in the area and shot a few photos. Below is the under construction wye connection at Flower Street and Washington Boulevard.

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New wye tracks at Washington and Flower

One thing that Metro has been upgrading up and down the line are the overhead catenary wires that power the trains. Much of the downtown section appears to have shiny new overhead wires.

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New overhead OCR wires at 7th Street Station

The tunnel stretch near 7th Street, according to The Source, has new overhead conductor rail (OCR), which is a special new version of overhead wires that are not under tension. From The Source:

The new OCR system includes a rigid rail to keep the contact wire clipped in at the bottom with no tension. This allows Metro to utilize more efficient maintenance practices, and the contact wire can also withstand more wear, prolonging its useful life.

This is the first time that OCR has been installed in California. The OCR being installed will match the Regional Connector’s OCR.

Catenary wires are also secured under the 10 Freeway, though the overhead clearance varies a bit there. The New Blue project is intalling new arms that secure the wires there.

Under the 10 Freeway new arm structure (top) holds the overhead wire. Older arms can be seen further in the distance.
Under the 10 Freeway new arm structure (top) holds the overhead wire. Older arms can be seen further in the distance.

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