By Passenger Train Journal Staff
SAN DIEGO — Testing has begun on the Mid-Coast Extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line Trolley in anticipation of a November opening. This week, transportation leaders and transit advocates gathered to witness the first-ever trolley on the extension.
The testing phase also means that the San Diego Association of Governments is officially transferring responsibility to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System for operations.
“This is an important day,” said Nathan Fletcher, MTS Board Chair and Chair, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “We get the keys to Mid-Coast and it’s all-systems-go for testing our trolleys on the tracks. The public will see more and more of San Diego’s famous red trolleys testing on these tracks over the next several months. MTS will be working hard to train staff to get ready for the November launch.”
The project will expand the current trolley network to provide a one-seat ride from the U.S./Mexico Border all the way north to the University community. The extension will connect the two largest employment centers in San Diego – the University area and Downtown San Diego, serve UC San Diego which supports 75,000 students, faculty and staff, and provide healthcare access to the VA San Diego Healthcare System’s 84,500 Veterans. Major construction for the 11-mile trolley extension began in 2016, and the project remains on budget and on schedule to begin service in November 2021.
“The Mid-Coast Extension of the UC San Diego Blue Line trolley is the largest infrastructure project in our region’s history, and a testament to what we can achieve when local agencies like SANDAG and MTS work together,” said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “This project will give people real transportation choices. As we approach the completion of this project, we also move one step closer to realizing SANDAG’s vision for a faster, fairer, and cleaner transportation system for generations to come.”