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Southern California Round-Up

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW has begun on the proposed 12.6-mile extension of the Los Angeles Gold Line light rapid transit from Azusa to Montclair. Stations are pro- posed for Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair. Finish- ing work on this project will extend well in- to the future, but it is a good sign that the desire for increased rail transit service in the L.A. area is alive and well despite the great recession. Early in 2011 there was discussion be-

tween the California High Speed Rail Au- thority and the Los Angeles County Metro- politan Transportation Authority about buying the historic Los Angeles Union Pas- senger Terminal. The $75 million purchase price may be primarily funded by the MTA, but the contribution by the High Speed Rail Authority would guarantee its access to Union Station. Recall that this station is the hub for Metrolink commuter rail ser- vice, Gold Line rapid transit, and Red Line heavy rapid transit, along with extensive bus service. It is a beautiful building and one that I first enjoyed in 1955. It is often used in movies and television programs sit- ed in the L.A. area. Completed in 1939, it served Santa Fe, Union Pacific, and South- ern Pacific trains. Good news from San Diego — the San



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banner. 58 DECEMBER 2011 • RAILFAN.COM

Diego Vintage Trolley, in conjunction with San Diego Metropolitan Transit (the San Diego Trolley) has almost completed restoration of the first PCC car that will operate on a loop in the downtown area. Car No. 529 has to be certified by the Fed- eral Railroad Administration and the Cal- ifornia Public Utilities Commission. Ac- cording to Douglas I. Duncan, the restoration has been expensive, bearing a price tag of $750,000. The car is now equipped with a pantograph as well as a trolley pole, along with lifts to aid people using wheelchairs or who find steps diffi- cult. In time it is hoped to restore six PCC cars for downtown loop service. Mr. Duncan also reports that Los Angeles Metrolink will operate several express trains in it commuter service. Rush hour ex- presses will operate on the San Bernardino and the Lancaster lines. The San Bernardi- no express will make two stops and take an hour on the morning and afternoon runs. The Lancaster route will stop at Burbank and Santa Clarita and take a bit under 90 minutes for the trip. Thanks to Douglas I. Duncan and John

Allen Lee for the information. The San Diego Electric Railway Association can be reached at P.O. Box 89068, San Diego, CA 92138; 619/474-4400.

Shutdowns for Rail Line Repairs Should the line be shut down completely while repair work is done or should the work be carried out in stages? In New Or- leans, the venerable St. Charles Line is in serious need of upgrade and replacement of basic items such as rail and crossties.

New Orleans’s original plan was to shut down the outer half of the line and do the track work while buses substituted for the streetcars. Then the rail line’s inner half would be shut down for rebuilding. Mayor Morial and others were not happy with this and so the transit authority revised its plans and decided to close small parts of the line at any one time and do the job a bit at a time. Single-track operations on sec- tions of the line would prevail during the refurbishment. Back in September, 2010, the New York

City Transit Authority decided to go for broke and work on 17 of its 19 subway lines all at one time on one day. The No. 1 line that reaches from the South Bronx to the Battery was closed completely and the dreaded shuttle bus service was provided. All told, with the scope of the shutdowns and repairs, over 600 buses were employed to provide alternatives for the weekend service interruption. Here in the Hoosier Holyland, the South

Shore Line service east of Dune Park was suspended on selected weekends so that the catenary system could be replaced. In this single-track territory, replacing wire while service continues is awkward at best, but the upgrades and repairs have to be made for safe and speedy operation. Thanks to Harry Ross, Steve Scalzo, and Doug Barron for the information and inspiration.

Salt Lake City Expands Rail Mileage Light rail transit in Salt Lake City got a jump start as a result of the city hosting the Winter Olympics in 2002. At that time the light rail line from downtown south to Sandy went into revenue service. In early August 2011, two light rail extensions were opened on the same day a year early and 20 per cent under budget. Dubbed TRAX, the rail system has headed west from the origi- nal main stem. Now known officially as the Green Line,

the 5.1-mile, $370 million West Valley ex- tension operates between the stations in West Valley and downtown. The Green Line will eventually continue west from Central Station to the city’s international airport. The new 10.6-mile, $535 million Mid-Jordan extension uses a key part of the original line to Sandy and adds nine stations to the rail service. The new line starts south and west of downtown at Daybreak Parkway, winds

PLEASE SEND light rail, tran- sit and commuter rail news items and correspondence di- rectly to Prof. George M. Smerk, Emeritus Suite, Kelley School of Business, 1309 East Tenth Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-1701.

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