After years of planning and construction, San Diego’s Mid-Coast Trolley finally hit the tracks on Tuesday as part of its first test run as the ambitious project inches closer to completion.
A celebration to mark the first test run of the tracks and trolley was held by the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS), local leaders and transportation advocates. Applause welcomed the first-ever trolley of the extension of the Blue Line as a large key was presented as a symbolic way of SANDAG handing over the keys to the MTS to begin its testing phase.
“It reminds me of that day when you were a kid and you get the keys to your new car,” said Nathan Fletcher, Chair of the San Diego Board of Supervisors. “But today as an agency, we’re literally getting the keys to the Blue Line extension and the trolley.”
A series of tests will be conducted on the new trolleys and tracks to ensure they are safe for public use.
“There’s months of testing, so there will be trolleys up there running and then we’ll be doing something that’s really simulating service,” said John Haggerty, SANDAG’s Director of Engineering. “That’s the important thing, is you want it to be safe, you want it to operate correctly and mesh in with the rest of the trolley system.”
The Mid-Coast Trolley Project is nearing completion more each and every day and now, it’s time to begin testing the tracks.
The project will extend the Blue Line trolley service from the Santa De Depot in Downtown to the UC San Diego area. Upon the extension’s completion, passengers will be able to take the trolley from the U.S.-Mexico border all the up to the university area.
Construction for the $2.1 billion project began in 2016 and is considered one of San Diego’s most significant infrastructure projects in its history.
If all goes according to plan, the extended line will be up and running by the end of the year.