Foothill Gold Line logoToday, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority (Construction Authority) held a track completion ceremony to celebrate the completion of major work for the new light rail track system for the 9.1-mile, four-station Foothill Gold Line light rail project from Glendora to Pomona. The celebration took place at the D Street railroad crossing in La Verne, Calif., just steps away from the University of La Verne campus and one of the four new light rail stations that will serve future riders. The event culminated in the installation of the 230,630th rail clip (rail clips permanently attach the steel rail to the concrete railroad ties), officially completing major construction for the new light rail tracks, and permanently connecting the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona via this new light rail line. An engraved, commemorative boulder embedded in the sidewalk was also unveiled during the ceremony, recognizing the importance of the day to these corridor cities.

“It is an historic and symbolic day for the Foothill Gold Line project and our corridor cities,” stated Foothill Gold Line Board Chairman and Claremont Mayor Ed Reece. “The completion of the light rail tracks doesn’t just mark a physical connection between Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona; it also marks the imminent arrival of a better and brighter transportation future for these foothill communities, the San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles.”

Today’s historic event was attended by hundreds of community members, elected officials at all levels of government, the Foothill Gold Line Board of Directors, members of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors, transportation officials – including Foothill Gold Line CEO Habib F. Balian and Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins – and San Gabriel Valley stakeholders. The notable list of speakers included U.S. Representatives Grace Napolitano and Judy Chu; California State Senator Susan Rubio; California State Assembly Members Chris Holden, Freddie Rodriguez and Blanca Rubio; Metro Board Members and Los Angeles County Supervisors Hilda Solis and Kathryn Barger; Metro Board Member, Foothill Gold Line Board Member and Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval; Foothill Gold Line Board Chair and Claremont Mayor Ed Reece; Foothill Gold Line Board Vice Chair and Glendora Mayor Pro Tem Mendell Thompson; and Foothill Gold Line Board Member and La Verne Mayor Tim Hepburn. Past and present Foothill Gold Line board members, as well as mayors and council members from throughout the Foothill corridor, also attended. 790 KABC radio host Frank Mottek served as the master of ceremonies.

“Building the new light rail track system was a significant undertaking, especially since we started with an active freight track in the middle of the now-shared corridor,” stated Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian. “It took the hard work of the team at the Construction Authority and design-builder Kiewit-Parsons, but also the cooperation of our project partners at Metro, Metrolink and the corridor cities. Everyone worked together for a common cause, and today we take a moment to celebrate that achievement and being one major step closer to completing this important infrastructure project for our region.”

Since major construction on the project began in July 2020, work has been underway or completed on the new light rail system; 19 new or renovated bridges, including four bridges spanning major streets and intersections; 21 at-grade railroad crossings; four new stations, including public artwork for the stations; freight track relocation; project walls; and more. Nearly all major construction activities will be completed this year, with testing of the new light rail system expected to begin by the end of the year. The project is now 72% complete overall and remains on schedule to be completed in early January 2025, when it will be turned over to Metro for training and pre-revenue service. Metro determines when passenger service starts.

“Congratulations to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority on reaching this important milestone,” said Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of Metro. “The Foothill Extension will be the first light rail project funded by Measure M to be delivered to L.A. County residents, and once completed it will provide needed transit services to the 2 million residents of the San Gabriel Valley. This project is our number one priority for funding for the next round of state Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) funding and we look forward to working with all parties to secure the resources needed to extend this project beyond Pomona to Claremont and Montclair.”

The Foothill Gold Line was Metro’s first Measure M-funded light rail project to break ground.

“Metro thanks the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority for helping our agency build out the largest transit expansion program in the United States,” said Ara J. Najarian, Glendale City Council Member and Metro Board Chair. “With our recent opening of the Regional Connector Project that combined the A Line and the L Line, we now have the nation’s longest rail line, which will continue to expand another nine miles to better serve our rail customers in the San Gabriel Valley and beyond.”

Unique Challenge Building the Light Rail Track System for the Foothill Gold Line

Construction of the light rail track system was a unique and complicated undertaking, due to the existing, active freight track that initially sat in the middle of the now-shared rail corridor. Specialized track crews had to first relocate the freight track to the northern or southern half of the corridor – while still allowing limited freight service – in order to make room for the new light rail system. Following the completion of the freight track relocation in mid-2022, work began on constructing two new light rail tracks – one each for future westbound and eastbound trains. While the new light rail tracks and relocated freight track now share the corridor, the light rail trains and freight trains will not share tracks.

About the Foothill Gold Line Project

When completed, the light rail project will add new stations to the Metro A Line (renamed the A Line after last week’s opening of the Regional Connector) system in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona – and increase ridership on the Metro system by an estimated 11,600 daily weekday boardings when the extension opens for passenger service. It will provide connections to important regional destinations like the LA County Fairplex, colleges and universities, historic downtowns, museums, regional parks and open space areas, and much more. In addition, the extension will provide a direct link between the Metro and Metrolink systems in Pomona, allowing riders from each system to easily transfer – creating endless possibilities for connections throughout the region. The Construction Authority is currently seeking additional funding to complete the project to Claremont and Montclair, which would add an additional nearly 8,000 daily weekday boardings to the Metro system when completed.