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Metro Expo Line track repairs ordered by CA after derailment concerns

The Expo Line at Washington Boulevard and Flower Street in Downtown LA is seen in this file photo from July 2012. The state has ordered a section of track at the intersection to be repaired following derailments concerns.

July 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The state is ordering Metro to fix a flawed piece of track along the Expo Line in Downtown L.A. Regulators fear the problem could trigger a derailment.

The section in question is located at Washington Boulevard and Flower Street. Track there makes an approximately 90 degree turn. The fear is that portion of the track isn't strong enough to support the Blue Line's wheels as it rounds the corner, even at less than 10 mph. If the tracks fail, it could cause a derailment.

Last fall, officials noticed wheels were experiencing excessive wear and tear at the junction, so crews added a separate piece of metal to try to fix the problem. But at least two breaks in the fix were discovered, which has prompted the state's order to replace that stretch of rail line.

The California Public Utilities Commission has also ordered Metro to install an automatic train protection system near the intersection, which notifies operators of potential problems. The current system has not been working, which violates the conditions set in March for opening the $930 million Expo Line.

Metro's CEO and CEO of Metro's Construction Authority released a statement acknowledging the issue and safety concerns:

"We want to assure the public that Metro and the Expo Construction Authority have been monitoring these issues for some time, and at no time was safety ever compromised."

Officials say they have been complying with orders to do visual and ultrasonic inspections of the track and will continue to do so until the issue with the CPUC is resolved.

In the meantime, trains will continue to run as regularly scheduled.

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