The first light-rail train ran on the University City stretch of the LYNX Blue Line Extension last week, as contractors and Charlotte Area Transit System personnel begin lengthy tests on the light-rail line’s complex electrical system. You can see the action via a Facebook Live video, already viewed 1,900 times on the Blue Line Extension Construction Updates Facebook Page.
“Soooooo why aren’t the crossing gates coming down guys?” one astute viewer posted, as the video shows the train crossing the Orr Road intersection on North Tryon Street with bells ringing and a dozen workers in hard hats and yellow vests keeping vehicles from getting in the way.
A CATS spokesperson responded, “Right now we’re testing the wires you see above the train (the overhead catenary system) to test power, connections to the OCS wires, and track power. We’re still working on all the signals, so we have traffic control right now monitoring intersections as we go through. Remember to stay safe and be aware of your surroundings: Look, Listen and Live!”
That prompted another person to ask why the Blue Line Extension won’t begin running until 2018.
The response from CATS: “We’re working every day to open by or before March 2018! We still have a lot of testing to do to make sure the entire system is safe and reliable, because safety is our top priority.
“In the coming months, we’ll be testing communications equipment, doing Operations Control Center work and final safety integration testing. We’ll also be installing signals, crossing arms, additional signage, and road paving and markings.”
Tips for safety around LYNX line
- With trains running here for the first time, transit officials urge drivers and pedestrians to follow these safety guidelines:
- Any time is train time, testing can occur any time, seven days a week.
- Never drive around lowered crossing gates.
- It is illegal and dangerous.
- Obey all traffic signals and signs.
- Cross only at designated crosswalks.
- Keep away from all overhead wires that power trains.