Discover LA by Metro:
Strike Up the Band: First Expo Line Train to Santa Monica!
May 20, 2016, 12:00 PM
Hundreds of people were on the platform at Culver City Station waiting for the first Expo Line train to Santa Monica. We were there, too — we had to be!
The train was almost full when it arrived — many people got on the train along the way from 7th/Metro Station. Most of the passengers were regular Metro patrons, although there were also some media people and VIPs. There was also a phalanx of Sheriff’s deputies at the doors, anticipating the crowd waiting at Culver City.
As the train pulled in, there was a rush of excitement. But when the doors opened, the deputies had to restrain the crowd because there was so little space on the train. We had expected this, so we were there early and staked out a spot on the platform where the front doors of the first car opened. We were able to squeeze in along with only a half-dozen other riders.
We had visions of the infamous subway and train crowds at rush hour in Japan, where white-gloved employees pack riders into the cars so efficiently and forcefully that there is literally no personal space left. Fortunately, Metro doesn’t employ pushers.
Those who were unable to get on were visibly disappointed, but the train operator announced that another train would be coming in a few minutes. No one tried to push past the deputies and the train departed with cheers from the lucky passengers on board.
Because we were at the front of the first car, we were very close to the door into the operator’s cabin. A Metro media staff member was standing next to us, and he asked the supervisor in the cabin to slide down the window in the cabin door, allowing us to photograph the view through the front windows of the train.
Healthy crowds awaited this first train at every one of the new stations: Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, 26th St./Bergamot, 17th St./SMC, and Downtown Santa Monica.
Just as at the Culver City Station, the anxious potential riders were disappointed to find that there was no room for them. The exception to this repeated scene was at the Expo/Bundy Station, where one of the riders announced that this was her stop and she wanted to get off the train. Once she squeezed her way out, one lucky person was able to squeeze in.
The crowds on the platforms at Culver City Station and the following six stations were nothing compared to the huge, boisterous group waiting at the Santa Monica Downtown Station. Arriving riders were asked to leave the train, exit the platform, and go to the back of the long lines of people waiting to get on board. Fortunately, the weather was sunny, with a cool sea breeze helping to keep the wait comfortable.
This was an auspicious beginning to the new Metro service, which will take about 46 minutes to traverse the distance between 7th/Metro Station in Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica Downtown Station. After six decades, you can once again ride the rails between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Santa Monica following much of the route of the old Red Cars.
The Metro Duo is very excited to have been on the first passenger-carrying train on the completed Expo Line. Thanks are due to Kamisha Myvett, who smoothly operated this very heavily loaded train and graciously informed disappointed riders that there would be room on the next trains. Thanks are also owed to Paul Gonzales, Metro’s media staffer in the first car, for enabling our photography through the front windows of the train.
The New Expo Line Map
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