Metro Gold Line extension opens on Sunday

LOS ANGELES The extension includes six new stations that link East L.A. to Downtown, and then to Pasadena.

With the snip of a ceremonial ribbon a dream from decades ago finally became a reality.

The Metro Gold Line, with dozens of dignitaries on board, left Union Station heading to East Los Angeles on Saturday.

The train arrived with plenty of fanfare and fireworks to mark the return of rail service to East L.A. for the first time in 46 years.

"You'll be able to board the Gold Line at Atlantic Blvd., stop for breakfast on Soto St., go party in Pasadena, lunch in Long Beach and see a play in North Hollywood and return home all by rail," MTA Chairman Ara Najarian said.

The six mile Eastside extension is named in honor of the late congressman Ed Roybal. Supervisor Gloria Molina says he fought tirelessly to bring light rail to a community dependent on mass transit.

"I'll tell you he never gave up," Molina said. "He kept up his fight and so today we now enjoy la línea de oro so I'm very proud."

The nearly 900 million dollar extension took less than five years to build and residents who have watched the construction can't wait to climb aboard.

"Now that we can get all the way to Downtown that's good," East L.A. resident Hugo Lopez said. "We really needed this for the community."

There are eight new stations around the Eastside extension and two of them are underground.

"The population has been growing over the past few years," Boyle Heights resident Ruben Lopez said. "With the cost of gas and the economy going, I think the community is going to really look forward to it."

The trip from Downtown to East Los Angeles takes 17 minutes, through Little Tokyo and Boyle Heights.

Riders can take the Gold Line for free on Sunday.

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