Work is advancing on the rail proposal for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LACMTA) Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project. Also, Metra is installing new grade crossing monitoring across its commuter rail system in Chicago; and Arizona’s Valley Metro is teaming with a professional soccer franchise to boost light rail ridership.
Sepulveda Transit Corridor Partners (STCP) on Feb. 22 reported selecting RATP Dev to develop the operations and maintenance component of its rail proposal to ease congestion on the I-405 (Sepulveda) corridor between Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley and Westside.
LACMTA is working with two private-sector teams, LA SkyRail Express (including John Laing, BYD, Skanska, ACI, HDR, Gensler and Innova) and STCP (including Bechtel Development Company, Meridiam Sepulveda and American Triple I (ATI), Bechtel Infrastructure, Mott Macdonald, T.Y. Lin, and Systra) under a “first-of-its-kind” pre-development agreement (PDA) to plan alternatives for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project.
In March 2021, STCP was awarded a $69.9 million PDA contract to further develop its proposed heavy rail concept; SkyRail Express was awarded a $63.6 million PDA contract to further develop its proposed monorail concept.
STCP said its two rail options (see PDF below) are both within the same travel corridor. One, called Alternative 4, would run on an elevated trackway between the Van Nuys/Metrolink station and a station at Sepulveda and Ventura. The other, Alternative 5, would run entirely below ground except for the northern end of the line at the existing above-ground Van Nuys/Metrolink Station. Both alternatives would be integrated with LACMTA’s current and future transit system, with direct connections to the D, E, G Lines (also known as the Purple, Expo and Orange Lines), Metrolink, Amtrak, multiple bus lines, and bike lanes.
During project design development, RATP Dev is slated to provide Early Operator-Maintainer consultancy services, including design review and operations and maintenance systems development, STCP said. If a STCP rail option, as refined through the PDA process, is selected by the LACMTA Board as the locally preferred alternative, RATP Dev would help STCP manage operations and maintenance on the built rail line.
“We are excited to work with RATP Dev, one of the most innovative and experienced transit operators in the world,” said Derya Thompson, Co-Director of STCP. “From planning to construction, and now for operations and maintenance of the completed line, we have assembled an infrastructure ‘Dream Team’ to propose a fast, safe, green and connected transit solution for people living and working in the Valley, on the West side and across Southern California.”
Metra provides service over 11 routes totaling nearly 500 route miles and approximately 1,200 miles of track. It operates 646 weekday trains, and is responsible for 24 rail yards, 565 grade crossings, 12 fuel facilities, 847 bridges, and 242 stations.
According to ClearBlade, its grade crossing remote monitoring system will deploy in real-time notifications and warnings for grade crossing anomalies and events, so critical devices can be monitored and repaired quickly. The company will provide, per Metra requirements, “a flexible and modular edge and back-office platform for monitoring all wayside assets,” including grade crossings, positive train control (PTC) wayside systems, snow melter systems, track circuits, switch machines, and power systems.
ClearBlade’s “platform and edge software’s flexibility and ease of use will allow us to monitor critical rail infrastructure and improve efficiency,” said Alan Bakotic, Senior Director PTC and Engineering at Metra.
In related developments, the Metra Board of Directors earlier this month approved a 2023-27 strategic plan, “My Metra, Our Future,” which the railroad said focuses on “addressing the operational and financial challenges of a post-COVID world.”
Phoenix Rising FC fans can now use their tickets as Valley Metro light rail fare when traveling on matchdays to the 38th Street/Washington Station, which is located a few hundred feet from the stadium, Valley Metro reported Feb. 22. Match tickets will be valid on the day of the event four hours prior to the start of the event, through the end of the transit day.
The partnership also includes branding initiatives, including dedicated signage.
“One of the biggest advantages of the club being in central Phoenix is the access our fans now have to the Valley Metro Station at 38th St/Washington,” Rising President Bobby Dulle said. “Both downtown Phoenix and Mill Avenue are just five stops away from the stadium. Partnering with Valley Metro to provide safe transportation to and from our matches is a win for us and the neighborhood.”