Getting on Track

Engineers with Parsons-Dillingham, project managers for the city's new subway system, have been busy checking out the rails for the Metro Rail Red Line.

The new Red Line cars aren't quite ready, so the engineers had to borrow some trains from the subway system in Miami.

First they pulled the two-car trains around the subway yard with a truck--built by Mercedes-Benz, no less--to make sure all the clearances are adequate and the switches are working properly. Then they turned on the electrified third rail and drove the cars around under their own power, to make sure the electrical contacts are working properly.

Because the trains use up to 15 million watts of electricity, there's a lot of fencing around the yard to make sure that no one wanders in and is electrocuted.

So far, the tests have been confined to the above-ground tracks in Taylor Yard near the Los Angeles River. Today or Friday, if all goes as planned, the truck will haul the first cars the entire length of the 4.4 miles of tunnel now completed.

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