The Foothill Gold Line Light Rail Project from Pasadena to Azusa hit a major milestone this week as it began testing a train on its recently completed tracks. The test car, equipped with specialized safety and monitoring gear, is being pulled over the entire 11.5-mile length of the project by a hi-rail vehicle, with periodic stops for crews to take measurements.

When complete and opened to the public next September, the $741 million project will run eastbound from Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena through the Los Angeles County cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa.  

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

The test train is a light rail vehicle from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) current fleet. The $4 million AnsaldoBreda P2250 weighs more than 100,000 lbs 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, with help from Metro Ambassador.

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. This segment includes six new stations and is fully funded by Los Angeles County’s Measure R. The project is overseen by the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1998 by the California State Legislature.

The Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa broke ground June 26, 2010 and will be completed in September 2015, when it will be turned over to Metro for testing and pre-revenue service. Three design-build teams were hired to design and construct the 11.5-mile project.

The first contract was awarded in June 2010 to Skanska USA to design and build the Gold Line Bridge, which was completed on December 2012. In July 2011, the second contract was awarded to Foothill Transit Constructors - a Kiewit Parsons Joint Venture to design and build the Pasadena to Azusa "alignment," which includes stations, track, crossings, bridges, etc.

The last contract was awarded in February 2013 to Webcor Builders for the intermodal parking facilities and enhancements design-build project.