Testing begins on Foothill Gold Line Pasadena to Azusa section

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor
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Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

The first light-rail vehicle traveled on the Foothill Gold Line December 9, kicking off the testing phase of the line, which will connect Pasadena and Azusa, Calif.


The test train, which has been equipped with specialized gear for testing and protective purposes, was pulled just over five miles by a hi-rail vehicle from the Sierra Madre Villa station in East Pasadena through the cities of Arcadia and Monrovia; periodically stopping for crews to take measurements.

“Reaching the beginning of the testing period for this project is an important achievement for our team,” commented Habib Balian, chief executive officer of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. “It allows us to test critical elements of the project within specific areas and identify any issues needing to be resolved.”

Over the next two weeks, the test train will be used to continue testing clearances at stations and with the Overhead Catenary System (OCS), wheel/rail interface, rail switches and more. This phase of testing will also include live wire testing of the OCS system within the segment of the line where power is now energized.

“This is just the beginning of several months of testing ahead that will ultimately test every aspect of the light-rail line and its safety and communications systems,” added Balian. “We will continue testing from now until substantial completion next September, when we will be turning the line over to Metro for pre-revenue service.”

The test train is a light-rail vehicle from Metro’s current fleet. The $4-million AnsaldoBreda P2250 weighs more than 100,000 pounds and was escorted along the rail corridor by a specialized crew. Because most of the grade-crossing safety equipment is not yet installed on the project, the train was flagged across intersections by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The Foothill Gold Line is a 24-mile extension of the Metro Gold Line light-rail system, being built in two segments (Pasadena to Azusa and Azusa to Montclair). The first segment, under construction now, is Pasadena to Azusa, which includes six new stations. The Pasadena to Azusa segment is on time and on budget, and will be turned over to Metro in September 2015.