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Blue Line delays caused by equipment problem at rail yard

February 23, 2012 | 10:18 am

Metro Blue Line
Major delays on the Blue Line early Thursday were caused by an equipment problem that trapped most of the light-rail cars in the rail yard, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

There was a problem with a fiberglass insulator that provides electricity to the overhead wires that power the trains at the Blue Line rail yard in northern Long Beach, said MTA spokeswoman Helen Ortiz Gilstrap.

"The problem occurred next to the main station where all the trains are housed," Ortiz Gilstrap said. "The location [of the power outage] was central to the disruption."

Crews were able to get a limited number of trains running on the Blue Line by mid-morning, but trains were running only every 20 minutes for the full length of the line between downtown L.A. and Long Beach, instead of every six or seven minutes as is normal during rush hour.

Delays were expected for the rest of the day. Between downtown L.A. and Imperial Station in Willowbrook, just south of Watts, trains were running every 10 to 12 minutes.

A commuter, who declined to be identified, said he encountered a 20-minute delay trying to get from Long Beach to Los Angeles. Shortly before 9 a.m. he saw "probably two-thirds of the fleet" at the rail yard north of the Wardlow station in Long Beach. "They can't get out," he said.

The Metro Blue Line is one of the most heavily traveled commuter lines in the country and carries about 79,000 commuters daily.

The MTA is urging people to avoid the light rail system if they can, and carpool with colleagues if possible. Alternate routes also include the Silver Line express bus system, and Metro has brought in buses to make up for the diminished number of trains on the Blue Line.


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Photo: Commuters board Blue Line trains at the Pico station after a delay Thursday morning due to an electrical outage. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times