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Metro Agreement With BNSF Clears Way for Gold Line Foothill Extension

The agreement ensures that BNSF freight trains will no longer run along the route from Irwindale to Arcadia, securing the route specifically for Gold Line.

A critical agreement between the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the BNSF Railway was reached Thursday, allowing Metro right-of-way access to a corridor along the extension route.

The agreement ensures that BNSF freight trains will no longer run along the route from Irwindale to Arcadia, securing the route specifically for Gold Line. However, the freight trains would continue to share the route with the Metro as it extends from Arcadia to Montclair, with a planned station in Glendora.

The route is part of the future Metro Gold Line Extension project from Pasadena to Azusa. A second phase of the project will take the Gold Line from the Azusa-Glendora border through to Montclair.

The agreement was reached one year following the approval of full funding for the project in March 2010.

“This agreement, which has been in the works for many years, will allow a significant portion of the Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Azusa to be built as a stand-alone corridor – reducing cost for the project’s construction and future impacts to the community,” said Doug Tessitor, Glendora Mayor and Board Chairman for the Construction Authority.

Before the agreement, a shared-use agreement was executed in the early 1990s, when the then-Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (now Metro) purchased the right-of-way between Pasadena and Claremont from Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) in a multi-billion dollar agreement. BNSF then inherited the agreement.

“This has taken a significant effort,” said Construction Authority CEO, Habib F. Balian in a press statement. “Metro staff made this agreement a priority for the agency and committed themselves to seeing it completed in time for the Construction Authority to award a design-build contract this summer for the approximately $450 million Pasadena to Azusa Alignment work.”

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