Houston chronicle 7/22/14 By Dug Begley

Houston’s two new light rail lines will open in late December, not in the fall as previously projected, Metro officials said Monday.
“It is scheduled as of now to open Christmas week,” said Metro chairman Gilbert Garcia.
Struggles with some of the finishing details during construction, the replacement of defective devices and delivery of rail cars led to a delay.
Two of the three lines Metro started in 2011 remain unfinished. The Green Line runs from downtown along Harrisburg to Altic Avenue, serving the East End. The Purple Line connects downtown to the southeast neighborhoods south of the University of Houston, ending at the Palm Center Transit Center.
Delayed by device
Officials opened a 5.3-mile extension of the Red Line last year, also shortly before Christmas.
Construction of the Green and Purple lines is expected to finish by Sept. 30, Metro operations director Andy Skabowski told board members Friday. After that, Metro will take 60 days to double-check and certify the work is completed and certify light rail drivers.
Workers also will need to install devices that count trains as they pass along the rail line. Siemens, the company that built Metro’s axle counters, found the devices had flaws and is replacing them.
The training, oversight and certification requirements are common with any transit project.
More rail cars needed
The counters aren’t the only issue adding to the delay. CAF USA, the company building the additional rail cars, is behind its previous schedule but on pace to have enough cars to open by mid-October. Vehicles must log 1,000 miles before they can go into service.
By November, Skabowski said Metro will be fully staffed and ready to go over the last few weeks of readying the opening.
The two lines will debut the same day, officials said.
Combined, the Green and Purple lines represent about $1.3 billion in new transit spending in Houston. Costs have increased slightly, notably with the additional expense of an overpass planned along the Green Line.
The line will eventually run to the Magnolia Park Transit Center, but plans for an overpass near Hughes Avenue to cross the freight railroad tracks are far behind schedule. Construction of the overpass is expected to take until 2017.

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