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North County Transit District delays SPRINTER opening

The North County Transit District (NCTD) needs a little more time to put the finishing touches on its SPRINTER light-rail line. The agency, which had planned to open the 22-mile Oceanside-to-Escondido, Calif. line this month, now plans to launch service on March 9.

NCTD officials underestimated the time it would take to complete all regulatory safety inspections and compliance approvals, the agency said. For example, diesel multiple unit trains — which NCTD will use for the SPRINTER service — have never been operated in California before, so state and federal regulatory agencies have increased scrutiny during inspections, NCTD said.

After the line opens, the agency still will have additional work to do on the line, such as adjusting the eastbound platform at the Escondido Avenue station to more accurately line up with vehicle doors. The project currently is under way and scheduled to be complete in late spring. After SPRINTER opens, passengers will be transported to that station via bus until the platform is complete.

The revised start date also will give the operations contractor more time to test the schedule, NCTD said.

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More News from 1/28/2008