Test runs along the 9.3 mile extension of the Lynx Blue Line between uptown and UNC Charlotte are going well, according to Charlotte Area Transit System officials.
The rail line opens on March 16 to passengers. Right now, the trains are going up and down the entire line, stopping at all stations to simulate actual scheduled runs. No passengers are on board beyond Seventh Street. On Charlotte Talks Monday, CATS CEO John Lewis said the federally required tests are complicated, but so far, so good.
“Thousands of signals, thousands of connections, hundreds of crossing points and every one of them has to operate perfectly, and not just once but perfectly each and every time,” Lewis said. “So we have to go through about 30 days of perfect testing and if something goes wrong, we have to fix it and then the clock starts again.”
So far Lewis said, “Everything has been great.”
The rail was expected to open last August to coincide with UNC Charlotte’s opening of classes, but the date was pushed back due to construction challenges. Lewis says they are on schedule for the March opening. He says trains will run every seven minutes between stations versus the current 10-minute time frame. Future plans for the light rail system include expansions to Matthews, Lake Norman and the airport at a cost of about $6 billion.