The following article appeared in the Monrovia Weekly on January 22, 2015.
Gold Line Maintenance & Operations Yard Nears Completion in Monrovia – Monrovia Weekly
By Susan Motander
January 22, 2015
For months workers have been swarming over the construction site along Evergreen Avenue between California and Shamrock. Huge buildings have risen and nearly six miles of rail track have been laid on the 26 acres site. Slowly the Gold Line’s $265 million Construction and Maintenance Yard is coming to life.
The site will provide storage space for as many as 84 light rail vehicles when they are not in use. In addition, the facility will also contain the cleaning and repair facilities for the cars. There is even a gigantic “car wash;” it is like Fasching’s on steroids with the ability to wash an entire train at once.
Mark Mickelson, the segment manager coordinating the construction of the site, dubbed the largest building “The Mall of Shops,” noting that it housed separate bays for the different types of work being done to keep the vehicles in good running order. There is even a $3 million lathe used to true the wheels on the vehicles (oval wheels lead to a bumpy ride).
In this building the cars can be run in on tracks at ground level, but the tracks are on trestle-like bridges over some of the work areas so the maintenance staff can work on the undercarriage including the wheels without removing the body or chassis. It is amazing.
The 130,000 square foot building also houses the offices and the locker rooms for both the operations staff (those who run the trains) and the maintenance staff (those who keep the trains running). More than 175 people will work out of this facility (the EIR allowed for 191) with more than half working to maintain the cars. They will work three shifts a day every day.
At the very top of this large building is the Yard Control Room. From this room, one person will control the movement of all the light rail vehicles at the facility. And the view is spectacular. Set more than three stories above the ground it has windows overlooking the entire yard and beyond, over the freeway and to the foothills. One wonders how the operators will be able to stay focused on the yard with such a vista.
The Gold Line tracks in this area run along the north side of Duarte Road. The trains will enter the facility near the end of Shamrock and exit the same way. The interiors will be cleaned out at what looks like a station in the center of the yard and then will move through the car wash barn. They will then be directed back to operation, to the storage area in the tracks along the north side of the yard, or to the shops in the “Mall” if repairs are necessary.
One nice detail for train watchers–there will even be viewing area. There is a small park planned for the northwest corner of facility at California and Evergreen, from which the public can view the yard operations. According to Lisa Levy Buch of the Gold Line Construction Authority, the park will be planted with drought tolerant plants, oak trees and other ornamental shade trees. There will even be benches and a decorative fence with a California poppy motif (the accent color in the yard is “poppy.” Of course). Even the walkways will have a light sprinkling of orange speckles. Boulders removed from the site during construction will be used in landscaping this area.
There will even be landscaping all around the facility. The construction authority and the city of Monrovia are in the process of identifying the plants to be used and how they will be maintained.
One last note: one cannot help but notice the large, 600,000 gallon, tank in the middle of the yard. Relax, the vehicles are electric; the tank will contain only water to be used in the event of a fire emergency if the city water supply is not available. And of course, the tank is “poppy” colored.