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Here’s why Metro trains were delayed across L.A. County on Wednesday night

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 01, 2016 - Passengers fill the platform of the Metro Red and Purple Line
Metro’s transit grid saw problems with its communications system, causing delays Wednesday. Above, passengers fill the platform of the Red Line at Union Station in 2016.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Riders on Los Angeles County’s Metro rail system were experiencing delays Wednesday evening after the transit grid saw problems with its communications system, officials said.

Delays of up to 20 minutes were expected on the Expo and Blue lines, said Kim Upton, a spokeswoman for the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Riders, however, reported longer delays.

There was no timetable for when normal operations would resume, but officials were hoping the problem would be resolved by the Thursday morning commute.

Earlier in the evening, the Red and Gold lines saw delays, but the problems were resolved by 11:15 p.m., Upton said.

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The scope of the failure — described as a breakdown in the communications and signal system — was not immediately clear.

Late Wednesday, Upton said officials had traced the disruption to a clipped wire, and crews were walking along the line to locate where the cut occurred. The wire may have been cut during a construction project, she said.

Earlier in the evening, Upton said a fiber optics expert was inspecting the equipment to help determine what happened.

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As a precaution, Metro officials imposed the protocol for “safety mode,” which calls for trains to run at slower speeds.

“The trains are running, but the communication is limited,” Upton said.

On the Blue Line, only trains north of the Florence stop were affected. The Expo Line trains between downtown L.A. and Culver City were also running slower than usual, Upton said.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

matt.hamilton@latimes.com

Twitter: @MattHjourno

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UPDATES:

11:35 p.m.: This article was updated with new details on the Red and Gold lines.

11:05 p.m.: This article was updated with additional details on the cause of the delays.

This article was originally published at 8:25 p.m.


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