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De Train, Boss! De Train! Metro to Start Testing Expo Line With Actual Train Car

The initial testing will take place between 23rd & USC (Map via Metro)
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You may be so bowled over by the sight that you spazz out and get into some sort of traffic accident, so Metro this morning is cautioning folks that they are, indeed, going into the testing phase for the Expo light rail line, and a train car will be moving along a portion of the line between Downtown and Culver City. Metro explains that this initial testing will have an empty Metro Rail train car being pulled by a high rail vehicle from 23rd Street Station near the University of Southern California starting today. Onlookers can expect to see the car moving at slow speeds followed by Metro safety ambassadors and flaggers, who will be there to alert the public and answer questions.

Later this month Metro will power up the system and kick in for a few months of full train testing. Don't get too excited, though--they still haven't finished building the whole line, and have not yet announced a precise opening date for passenger service, though they do say "a target date has been set for Nov. 15, 2011 for most of the 8.6 mile alignment," with the finished line getting to Culver City "early next year." The second phase to Santa Monica is expected to have its groundbreaking soon, and should be done by 2015.

Cool tidbit about the Expo alignment, thanks to Metro: It "was first used for railroad service in 1875 but the last Pacific Electric Railway passenger trains ended service in 1953. Limited freight service operated along Exposition Boulevard until about 1989." Just don't call it "Aqua," okay?