LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The city’s newest light rail line faced increased scrutiny on Monday after officials discovered a critical design flaw that could raise the risk of train derailments.
KNX 1070′s John Brooks reports state safety regulators want the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to reinspect a key stretch of the Expo Line that runs through downtown Los Angeles and connects with the Blue Line, which takes riders from South L.A. to Long Beach.
Riders have reported an audible scraping noise that can be heard as the train makes a 190-degree turn onto Washington Boulevard from Flower Street.
Officials with the rail safety division of the California Public Utilities Commission have echoed Metro’s concerns that the rail may not be properly aligned and could cause car wheels to slide more than normal.
Any repairs could cost upwards of $1 million and could temporarily disrupt service on the Blue Line, according the The Los Angeles Times.
Damien Goodmon with the community organization Fix Expo told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO said the public should be as concerned about the rail line’s safety as much as Metro officials are.
“There are a bunch of internal MTA memos that suggest that the design is flawed, that it could lead to a high likelihood of derailment and excessive wear-and-tear on the train lines,” said Goodmon.
But MTA spokesman Marc Littman rejected any assertions that the Expo Line is unsafe and that Metro has already worked to address any design concerns.
“We actually noticed a problem two years ago where there’s a sharp curve where the Blue Line and the Expo trains meet,” said Littman. “Since then, we’ve done three modifications there and it’s frequently tested.”
The Expo Line made its debut in late April and marked the first time since the Eisenhower administration that the city operated rail lines stretching from downtown to the west side.