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Expo Light Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility Breaks the Mold from Typical Rail Maintenance Facilities


In years past, architecture for many transportation facilities has been simply lost in the shuffle. Busy travelers are in a hurry to get where they are going and at many times don’t appreciate and enjoy their stops in between destinations. The same goes for facilities where maintenance workers must work in all types of conditions and weather. That doesn’t mean they should simply be functional, bland designs, however.


The new Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Division 14 Expo Light Rail Operations & Maintenance Facility, located in Santa Monica, CA is designed to support the Expo Line Transit Corridor. Maintenance Design Group was selected to manage and lead a comprehensive team to design a light rail vehicle (LRV) operations and maintenance facility (OMF) for the Expo Metro Line. RNL Design provided architecture, interior, lighting, and sustainable design on the OMF project.


The new Metro Expo Line to Santa Monica extends west from the Culver City Station to Santa Monica, Calif. For the first time in over 60 years, the 6.6-mile connects Santa Monica by rail to Downtown L.A., Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, South Bay, Long Beach, and a number of points in between. The design of the Maintenance Facility addresses community concerns related to noise, traffic, safety, light, aesthetics, and environmental sustainability. The facility was specifically designed to optimize efficiency and functionality of both the rail operations and vehicle fleet maintenance while maximizing sustainable design elements and aesthetics. Set on a narrow, 9.7-acre site, the $116-million facility was designed to attain LEED Gold status while optimizing efficiency and functionality of rail maintenance and operations. The 70,000 square foot complex contains administration offices, six storage tracks, and a maintenance and repair shop. It also features a train-wash building, car-cleaning platform, and a traction power substation. The buildings were designed to incorporate light and more comfort for workers. W&W Glass was chosen to supply the transparent, structural glass systems to installer Corona Aluminum of Riverside, CA because of their outstanding track record and experience with similar walls like this at transit facilities. They also have a registered LARR number for their systems, which is often critical in the Los Angeles region for many projects.


W&W Glass supplied Pilkington Intrafix Optiwhite low-iron insulating exterior face glass and spandrel glass units with Pilkington Suncool™ 70/40 Pro T low-e on the #2 surface mounted with Pilkington Intrafix 905 series fittings to heat soaked, tempered laminated glass fins for the vertical walls. Intrafix fittings feature a concealed bolt that is fabricated inside the insulating glass unit to eliminate any exposed bolts to the exterior. The Intrafix spandrel glass had a 100% coverage Subdued Grey frit on the #3 surface to conceal structure at the head of the wall. The glass fins supporting the face glass were laminated with SentryGlas® to provide additional structural integrity and remain in place in the event of breakage. Laminated fins are not typical of most Pilkington Planar™ projects, unless the fin itself must remain in place when broken, the depth of the fin is being reduced from added thickness, or additional strength is required for a tall span. It was a requirement by the design team on this particular project.


For the interior glass elevator wall, the project used Pilkington Optiwhite™ low-iron PVB laminated glass with 100% coverage simulated “Acid Etch” frit on the #3 surface. The elevator glass was anchored back with countersunk 905 fittings to steel gussets that were welded to structural steel posts. In addition, there were exterior windscreen walls that had the same make-up, but without the frit.


The design also showcases the facility’s industrial nature by exposing the structural steel system to the public. The design team created a “buffer park” with one large sound wall in conjunction with 12-ft, 6-in. precast concrete site walls on either side of the main building. The position of the control room allows 180-degree view of the entire LRV storage yard, the wash building, cleaning platform, and both yard leads. The material handling warehouse includes the most modern storage system available, including multiple high-density pallet stacking systems and vertical retrieval units. The Division 14 Rail Operations and Maintenance site includes six LRV storage tracks for 15 three-car trains (45 total LRVs), a thru track, and a run-around track that allows efficient access to the entire LRV storage yard.



The main building includes six service and inspection positions with lower level work areas and upper level roof access work platforms. The main building also includes two component change-out positions, a truck/wheel and tire shop, an electronics shop, motor shop, machine shop, welding shop, and facilities maintenance shop. The second level of the main building includes administrative office and training areas for both rail transportation (operations) and rail fleet maintenance. The second level also includes the operator support areas, dispatch areas, and the control room.


For more information on all the projects completed and underway by the W&W Glass professionals, check out our portfolio section.

W&W Glass LLC is a family owned business with a 70-year history in the metal and glass industry, one of the largest metal and glass companies in the New York metropolitan area and the largest supplier of structural glass systems in the country. We have over two decades of experience in the design and installation of various building enclosure systems, including stick-built curtain walls, pre-glazed unitized curtain walls, Pilkington Planar structural glass facades, and custom metal and glass enclosure systems. We install all of our work with our own dedicated union labor force. W&W is consistently the largest employer of glaziers in the NY metropolitan area.

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