The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has unveiled the first of 78 light rail cars for use on the expanding Metro Rail system.
The first pilot car was delivered on time by Kinkisharyo International, which will assemble all light rail vehicles for the Metro order in Palmdale.
“This pilot car is the vanguard of our expanding rail fleet. It will undergo extensive testing over a period of months and the results will be passed on to Kinkisharyo for analysis before moving forward with Metro’s initial order of 78 production vehicles,” said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The base order of 78 rail cars was augmented after Metro exercised an option to purchase an additional 97 vehicles for a total cost of $739 million. Metro has two more options pending for an additional 60 rail vehicles.
All cars in the base order of 78 are destined for the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa and the Metro Expo Line Phase II extension to Santa Monica that are currently under construction with expected completion by summer 2016. The option cars will be used on the Metro Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line and the Metro Blue Line.
“All 78 vehicles in the base order are scheduled to be in service by January of 2017,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy.
The El Segundo-based Kinkisharyo International, the U.S. arm of Kinki Sharyo Co. LTD or Osaka, Japan, was awarded a contract by Metro in August 2012. The rail cars are partially constructed in Japan and shipped to Kinkisharyo’s facility in Palmdale for final assembly in compliance with Buy America contract provisions. An estimated workforce of 250 persons will be hired in the Antelope Valley to meet Metro’s order.
Purchase of the rail cars and expansion of the Gold and Expo lines are largely funded by Los Angeles County Measure R, a half-cent sales tax passed by 2 million voters in 2008, with additional funding from state and federal sources.
Currently, Metro Rail has 88 miles of track with 80 stations and has an average of 360,000 weekday boardings. In addition to the extension of the Gold and Expo Lines, Metro is currently in construction on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line and the Downtown Light Rail Regional Connector with the Purple Line Extension to Westwood set to begin construction soon. Also, Metro is currently in the midst of a multi-year overhaul of the Blue Line that connects Long Beach and Los Angeles.
The highly advanced stainless steel vehicle is specifically designed to support Metro’s complex system expansion requirements. It is a 6-axle articulated design that seats 68 persons and is capable of operating on all Metro’s existing light rail lines.
Metro is a multimodal transportation agency: a major operator that transports about 1.5 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,000 clean air buses and six rail lines; a construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects; and the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County.
Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.
For more information visit Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles, twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.