|Metro Expo Line|
Expo Line train at Culver City Station platform
|Transit type||Light rail|
|Number of stations||Phase 1: 10 (in service)
Phase 2: 9 (under construction)
|Daily ridership||Phase 1: 27,155 (January 2014; ave. weekday)
Phase 2: 64,000 (estimated 2030)
|Began operation||Phase 1: April 28, 2012|
|Operation will start||Phase 2: 2015 (approx.)|
|Character||Mostly at-grade in private right-of-way, with some street-running, elevated, and trench sections.|
|Number of vehicles||Phase 1: Siemens P2000,
Nippon Sharyo P865 and P2020
Phase 2: Kinkisharyo P3010
|Train length||2–3 cars|
|System length||8.6 mi (13.8 km) (Phase I only)
15.2 mi (24.5 km) (Phases I & II)
|No. of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
|Electrification||750 V DC overhead catenary|
|Top speed||55 mph (89 km/h)|
The Expo Line is a light-rail line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City, with service to Santa Monica (Phase 2) planned to begin in 2015. The line is named "Expo" as it follows Exposition Boulevard for most of its route. The first portion of Phase 1 of the Expo Line opened in April 2012; the remaining two stations of Phase I opened on June 20, 2012.
The line is being built in two phases; the first phase comprises the 8.6 miles (13.8 km) section between Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City. Construction began in early 2006 and most stations opened to the public on April 28, 2012. The Culver City and Farmdale stations opened on June 20, 2012.
The Expo Line operates from approximately 5 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on weekdays and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Maximum speed on the route is 55 mph (89 km/h).
The line was built in 1875 as the steam-powered Los Angeles and Independence Railroad to bring mining ore to ships in Santa Monica harbor and as a passenger excursion train to the beach—first independently and later after purchase by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1877. When the Santa Monica harbor closed to shipping traffic in 1909 the line was leased to Pacific Electric who converted it to electric traction.
By 1920 the line was known as the Santa Monica Air Line providing electric-powered freight and passenger service between Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Service was discontinued in 1953 but the tracks continued to be used sporadically for diesel-powered freight deliveries to warehouses along the route until about 1989.
From 1989, Southern Pacific maintained ownership of the right-of-way, but no longer used or continued maintenance on the rails. Portions of the right-of-way were leased for use as storage facilities, parking lots, impound lots, and various businesses, but no permanent structures were built.
The abandonment of the line spurred concerns within the community to prevent the line from being sold off piecemeal, destroying one of the few remaining intact rail corridors within Los Angeles County. Advocacy groups including Friends 4 Expo Transit supported the successful passage of Proposition C in 1990, which allowed the purchase of the entire right-of-way from Southern Pacific by Metro (LACTC).
Metro successfully lobbied the federal government to use the remainder of Red Line funding for a different project to the Mid-City district of Los Angeles in 1998. That same year Los Angeles County voters approved Proposition A, another sales tax increase for transit, allowing Metro access to additional funds for transit projects. Metro then released a Major Investment Study in 2000 which compared bus rapid transit and light rail transit options along what was now known as the "Mid-City/Exposition Corridor".
Expo vehicles are currently maintained at the Blue Line's maintenance facility (Division 11 Yard) in Long Beach, California. However, a new yard is slated to open in the vicinity of the Olympic/26th Street Station in Santa Monica, with the completion of Phase 2 construction.
Compatible with the rest of Metro's light-rail network, the Expo Line shares standard Metro light rail vehicles (Nippon Sharyo P865 and P2020, and Siemens P2000) with the Blue Line. Metro estimates that it has 47 light rail cars to provide service on the Expo Line under the peak-hour assumption of 3-car trains running at 6-minute headways.
Upon completion of Phase 2, it is expected that new P3010 light rail vehicles (LRVs) from Kinki Sharyo, that were ordered by the L.A. Metro board of directors in 2012, will begin operation, replacing the current LRVs in operation on the Expo Line. (See: Los Angeles Metro Rail rolling stock article.)
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