A train heading to Santa Monica from LA on the extended Expo Line.

In la, the usa’s maximum congested city, commuters spend a hellish 164 hours a 12 months stuck in avisitors jam. point out rush hour at the 405 or the one hundred and one and drivers will roll their eyes and groan. With a reputation for gridlocked highways, smog and an unwieldy public shipping system, the automobile capital of the us is a daunting town to navigate.

The I-10 from Downtown to Santa Monica is notoriously gradual at weekends, while it can absorb to 2 hours to force the 17½ miles. however from this weekend, many Angelenos will subsequently be able to make amuch less worrying ride to the coveted beachside metropolis. In what mayor Eric Garcetti describes as a “game changer”, the metropolis has spent $1.5bn on the new Expo Line extension to the coast. Sevenadditional stations and 6.6 miles of latest track suggest that, as of 20 can also, solar seekers can hop on a train, surfboard beneath one arm, in Downtown la, and hit the seashore 46 minutes later.

Expo Line trying out in la
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manner to head … ‘passengers have the arrogant satisfaction of overtaking desk bound visitors’. image: Steve Hymon/Metro
On an surprisingly grey morning the week earlier than the launch, i’m in a carriage complete of press departing a concrete platform above Culver city, nine miles from Downtown, wherein the Expo Line used to finish. Undulating canopies and palm bushes make it experience unique from other metropolis metrolines. Gliding at street stage, passengers have the conceited delight of overtaking desk bound visitors.the motive force sounds his horn at pedestrians unused to dodging trains and, proper on cue, the solarappears because the educate arrives at the beach. on the open-air platform every person inhales, sniffing the Pacific air.

“It’s an emotional moment,” says Garcetti. “For the first time in 60 years, you could move from the skyline to the coastline by using train. you could devour your manner across this line, you can see art across this line, and you can move to highschool across this line.”

Santa Monica seashore, los angeles, California, u.s.
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West coasting … Angelenos can now take the Expo Line to Downtown Santa Monica station. photo: Alexander Spatari/Getty pix/second Open
With trains running till 3am at weekends, traffic will also be capable of drink their way throughout the line. beginning with a sundowner on the Bungalow, one among Santa Monica’s raucous hangouts, I decideto position this idea to the check, operating my manner east back to los angeles. Culver town itself is an arty neighbourhood at the rise, with a standout gastropub, Father’s workplace, a short stroll from the station. once I’ve sampled a few of the mind-boggling choice of craft beers on tap (subdivided into malty, hoppy, highly spiced and herbaceous), the barman shows I take a portion of crispy pork rinds with mole sauce as a subway snack. They’re nonetheless popping as I hop off at Crenshaw, a particularly intimidating mid-metropolis station wherein jazz fanatics and locals rub shoulders at dwelling Room, a dive bar of blackleather and mirrors.

back on the Expo, with the high-rises glittering nearer, I attain seventh street and Clifton’s, an iconic Downtown hangout wherein swing dancers are kicking their heels to a stay band beneath the branches of agiant redwood. With a nightcap in hand and sand still among my feet, I experience that, tonight as a minimum, l. a.’s sprawl is a touch less sprawling.