USA: The 18·3 km Foothill Extension of Los Angeles Metro’s Gold Line light rail route from East Pasadena to Azusa was officially opened on March 5, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Duarte/City of Hope station attended by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas, CEO Phillip Washington and Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority Chairman Doug Tessitor. Almost 30 000 people were able to sample the new line on the first day of operation.

Adding six stations to serve the San Gabriel Valley, the $1·1bn extension was the first to be funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The Construction Authority is already working on plans for a further extension to Claremont and Montclair, although this has yet to be funded.

Services operate every 12 min, offering a 20 min trip from APU/Citrus College to the former terminus at Sierra Madre Villa, serving Azusa, Irwindale, Duarte/City of Hope, Monrovia, and Arcadia. Journey time from APU/Citrus College to Los Angeles Union Station is 49 min. Daily ridership on the extension is projected to average 13 600 trips.

To operate the line, LACMTA has put into revenue service the first of 235 P3010 LRVs being supplied by Kinkisharyo International under a framework contract awarded in 2012. To meet Buy America requirements, these vehicles are being assembled at a new plant in Palmdale, California, using components supplied from US and Japanese factories.

The LRVs are intended to operate on all of the city’s light rail lines. So far Kinkisharyo has delivered 21 cars for use on the Gold Line Extension and for integration testing on the other routes. Further vehicles are expected to arrive in time for the opening of the final phase of the Expo Line from Culver City to Santa Monica, which is currently scheduled for May 20.