A few months ago, Expo construction officials told the Daily Press that trains would be on the tracks for testing in March, but they’re now saying testing will start next month.

The Expo light-rail line is still scheduled to open to the public next year, according to a recent report from Metro, but numerous politicians and regional officials have alluded to the fact that construction may be ahead of schedule.

“The Expo Line Systems Integration Testing is planned to begin in April 2015 and will likely continue through March 2016,” Metro said in its report last week.

A pre-revenue light-rail testing is expected to last three to five months.

“The purpose of pre-revenue testing is to familiarize Metro staff and emergency responders with simulated service and the physical characteristics and equipment of each line,” Metro officials said. “Staff has planned for a temporary shortage of light-rail vehicles during pre-revenue service. To overcome this challenge, staff plans to separate pre-revenue and revenue operations on both the Expo and Gold Lines.”

The Gold Line is extending into the foothills in Los Angeles.

As more trains become available, Metro officials said, they’ll send revenue trains that have just dropped off their passengers at the Culver City stop — which has been open for nearly three years — on to Santa Monica along the rail.

When Expo opens to the public, Metro officials said, they’ll run trains between Metro Center Station in Downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica terminus station every 12 minutes during rush hour and every 10 to 20 minutes in the midday and evenings. As more trains become available, they’ll run every six minutes during rush hour.

“On weekends and holidays, day service will likely be every 12 minutes on the Expo Line,” Metro officials said.

And you know you’re getting close to the finish line when bureaucracies start planning celebrations.

“Staff plans to host a VIP Grand Opening celebration the Friday before and the Monday after revenue service begins on both rail extensions,” Metro officials said. “The celebration will be followed by one day of public/community free preview rides combined with the community celebrations along each alignment.

“During the public/community free ride celebration day, the community and public along with the media will have the opportunity to ride the service free for one day and explore sites and destinations located near the new rail stations.”

dave@smdp.com

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