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December 30, 2008

Wikipedia: Metrolink (Southern California)

Filed under: — admin @ 7:01 am
(Southern California Regional Rail Authority)
Locale Greater Los Angeles Area
Transit type Regional rail
Number of lines 7
Number of stations 55
Daily ridership 42,363 boardings as of December 2006
Began operation October 26, 1992
Operator(s) Veolia Transportation
(under contract to the SCRRA)
Reporting marks SCAX
System length 512 mi (824 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8½ in (1435 mm) (standard gauge)

Metrolink (AAR reporting marks SCAX) is a regional rail system that serves Southern California.

It was established in 1991 as the “Southern California Regional Rail Authority” (SCRRA) and service began the following year. From 1990 to 1993, the SCRRA member agencies acquired track and other property in fee title, easement, or through operating rights from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (now BNSF Railway), Southern Pacific Railroad (now Union Pacific Railroad) and Union Pacific Railroad. SCRRA member agencies acquired about 200 route miles from Santa Fe for $236 million, over 200 route miles from Southern Pacific for $257 million, and 59 route miles from Union Pacific for $17 million. In 2006, it had an operating budget of $134.8 million. Since July 2005, Metrolink has been operated under contract by Veolia Transport. The contract is for five years and includes the provision of locomotive engineers and conductors. Prior to July 2005, Metrolink was operated under contract by Amtrak.



Metrolink trains approaching and leaving Union Station at evening rush hour.

Metrolink includes lines to Ventura County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Orange County, and San Diego County. It connects with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Metro Rail lines at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles, and with the San Diego Coaster and Sprinter at Oceanside. It also connects with Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, and Sunset Limited trains. As of early 2007, it served a total of 54 stations on 388 route miles (excluding shared miles) throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area.

The average weekday ridership for the period from October 2007 through June 2008 was 46,056 boardings.[1] Ridership has grown at 3-4% per year since opening; Orange County ridership grew 30% from 2002 to 2005.

Rail lines

Map of the Metrolink system.

Metrolink runs seven lines through Southern California.

  • 91 Line (61.6 mile route between Union Station and Riverside-Downtown)
  • Antelope Valley Line (76.6 mile route between Union Station and Lancaster)
  • Inland Empire-Orange County (IEOC) Line (100.1 mile route between San Bernardino and Oceanside)
  • Orange County Line (87.2 mile route between Union Station and Oceanside)
  • Riverside Line (59.1 mile route between Union Station and Riverside-Downtown)
  • San Bernardino Line (56.5 mile route between Union Station and San Bernardino/Riverside-Downtown)
  • Ventura County Line (70.9 mile route between Union Station and Montalvo, Ventura)

Metrolink owns other track on which it does not run passenger service; some is planned for future passenger service, some is used for freight.

Central Maintenance Facility

A picture taken on the upper level of a Metrolink passenger car.

Metrolink’s Central Maintenance Facility (CMF) is on the east bank of the Los Angeles River near the intersection of the 5 and 110 Freeways, just south of the former location of Southern Pacific’s Taylor Yard. The facility was constructed in 1992 on 25 acres (100,000 m2) at a cost of $38 million. It provides a 75,000-square-foot (7,000 m2) shop area and 14,000 square feet (1,300 m2) of administrative offices and employee facilities and is operated by Metrolink’s equipment maintenance contractor, Bombardier Transportation. The CMF has four functional areas:

  • Service & Inspection: Trains receive daily cleaning, inspection for minor repairs, and fueling on these tracks at the north end of the facility.
  • Storage Tracks: Holding area for trains already serviced.
  • Shops: Heavy repairs to locomotives and passenger cars and required Federal inspections performed in this area.
  • Progressive Maintenance: Scheduled light repairs, extensive cleaning, and servicing to maintain optimum performance levels

Camp Pendleton Maintenance Facility

Metrolink’s Camp Pendleton Facility is located between San Clemente Pier Station and Oceanside Station at near the southwest end of Camp Pendleton. This yard is shared by the NCTD’s COASTER. This facility only serves the Inland Empire-Orange County (IEOC) Line and some of the Orange County Line trains.

Fares and service

Metrolink’s Burbank station.

The fare structure on Metrolink is based on driving distance between stations plus a flat fee for boarding the train. Fares are calculated in 25 cent increments between stations. Prior to July 2004, Metrolink fares were based on fare zones radiating outward from Union Station, but a controversial fare restructuring converted fares into the current system.[2] Fare increases are generally done on an annual basis in July to coincide with increased fuel and labor expenses (essentially a fuel surcharge). Fare increases have generally averaged between 3.5% and 5% per year, with some pairs increasing by up to 10% due to the driving distance restructuring. The oil price increases since 2003 are partly to blame for this because Metrolink trains are powered by diesel fuel.

Metrolink’s fares are high compared to its peers and to competing bus service. For instance, a round-trip ticket between Montclair and Downtown Los Angeles is $14.50, compared with $5.00 for competing Foothill Transit – Silver Streak express bus service (via carpool lanes and the El Monte Busway) between the two destinations. Similarly, monthly passes are higher than competing bus systems. Metrolink commuters often cite the train’s comfort (eating allowed and restrooms in each car), reliability, speed, and not being subject to poor traffic conditions that even express busses must endure as the reasons they are willing to pay the higher Metrolink fares. A monthly pass for the bus between the Palmdale Transportation Center and Los Angeles Union Station costs $210, compared to $277.75 on Metrolink. (The high fares give Metrolink one of the highest farebox recovery rates of any commuter rail service.) The Antelope Valley Transit Authority justified this competition by noting that, while Metrolink trains are more consistent in their schedule and have more midday and evening service than commuter buses, commuter buses are cheaper to riders, drop riders off at their destination without transfers, can be faster if transfer time is considered, and are more frequent than train service. [3]

Metrolink riders can ride most buses in Los Angeles and Orange County, as well as the Metro Rail, free with their valid ticket or pass, and monthly pass holders in Orange and Ventura Counties can use Amtrak Pacific Surfliner and Thruway Coach services through the Rail 2 Rail program.

Like many US commuter rail systems, Metrolink lacks substantial off-peak service—a characteristic which may also hurt ridership numbers. Between approximately 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. there are few trains on most lines, even those (such as the San Bernardino line) that have very high peak-hour ridership. However, Metrolink has added more trains on some lines, especially in Orange County, when Orange County decided to subsidize more service into the county.

Some of these attributes can be ascribed to the structure of Metrolink’s governance board, a Joint Powers Authority of the five transportation commissions of the counties in its service area: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Orange County Transportation Authority, Riverside County Transportation Commission, Ventura County Transportation Commission and San Bernardino Associated Governments (with representatives of the San Diego Association of Governments, the Southern California Association of Governments and the California Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing Agency as non-voting ex-officio members of the board). Each of the five member agencies funds the portion of service that operates in their county, mostly with local sales tax money, although there are exceptions. Metrolink also occasionally gets some direct funding from the state and federal governments, although this often calls for a delicate act of political balancing as local agencies are concerned that money for Metrolink could instead be used to funds roads and buses in their counties. The inherent conflict of interest of the Board partially explains the high fares.

Future expansion

The Metrolink has grown in popularity in parallel with a rise in gas prices, making it more expensive to drive cars. In addition to higher ridership, station parking capacity has also been strained.[4]

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has announced plans to increase frequencies to 76 trains daily on the Orange County and IEOC Lines [5], and funding for increased Metrolink service was included in the renewal of the Measure M sales tax for transportation approved by the voters in November 2006 [6].

Future plans also call for line expansions extending the service area. The proposed 91 Line Extension, known officially as the Perris Valley Line, will link Riverside and Perris by 2010 [7], with eventual plans for a Phase II extension further east to Hemet and San Jacinto.[8]

In the coming decade, a 9-mile (14 km) eastward extension is planned to link San Bernardino with Redlands/Mentone.[9] The San Bernardino Associated Governments is constucting a multiple-unit service on this route.

A proposed station in Yorba Linda was canceled in 2005 due to local opposition.

In addition, Los Angeles County-area transit advocates have proposed adding Metrolink service along the Harbor Subdivision corridor, so as to provide Metrolink service to Inglewood, Los Angeles International Airport, and the South Bay. Proponents argue that this could provide direct service between the South Bay, LAX, and Union Station, and possibly continue into the San Fernando Valley, though they also envision that a Metro Rail line could run in the corridor as well. Opponents argue that frequently running fast moving trains along busy Slauson Avenue, through a residential area, is potentially dangerous.

In early 2008, lobbyists pushed for a rail line to Lake Elsinore. It is unknown whether this has been considered.

Major accidents

Placentia, April 2002

On April 23, 2002, a BNSF Railway freight train collided head-on with a Metrolink train in Placentia, near the Atwood Junction, at the intersection of Orangethorpe Avenue and Van Buren Street. Both trains were on the same east-west track moving toward one another. The Metrolink had the right-of-way; it was supposed to switch to a southbound track. The BNSF train was supposed to slow and stop just before the switch while the Metrolink passed, but the crew missed a signal one and a half miles back warning them to slow down. By the time the crew saw the red “stop” signal at the switch and the Metrolink train, they were going too fast to avoid a collision. Although there was speculation that the signals alerting the BNSF to slow and stop had malfunctioned, an investigation later concluded that it was human error by the crew that caused the accident. Two people died in the crash and twenty-two were seriously injured.[10]

Glendale, January 2005

Main article: 2005 Glendale train crash

On January 26, 2005, a Metrolink passenger train collided with a vehicle parked on the tracks, and as a result derailed and jackknifed, striking a stationary freight locomotive and a Metrolink train moving in the opposite direction in what was then the deadliest train accident in Metrolink’s history. Eleven people were killed (including an off-duty sheriff’s deputy and a train conductor) and over 100 people were injured, about 40 seriously. The man who parked the vehicle on the tracks, Juan Manuel Alvarez, was apprehended and charged with 11 counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances, including murder by train wrecking. On June 26, 2008, Alvarez was convicted on the 11 murder counts and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Chatsworth (Los Angeles), September 2008

Main article: 2008 Chatsworth train collision

A Metrolink commuter train in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles carrying 222 persons[11] collided head on with a Union Pacific freight train, toppling one of the passenger cars and the locomotive onto its side. At least 26 [12] people were killed, and 135 people were injured, with 81 transported to hospitals in serious or critical condition. The speed of the trains was fast enough that the Metrolink locomotive telescoped halfway into the first passenger car.

A preliminary investigation found “it was a Metrolink engineer that failed to stop at a red signal and that was the probable cause of the accident,” Metrolink spokeswoman Denise Tyrrell said. Tyrrell said the engineer, Robert Sanchez, worked for a subcontractor, Veolia, used by Metrolink since 1998. Investigators believe that Sanchez, who died in the accident, may have been text messaging just before the collision occurred. Engineer Sanchez was texting teenage railfans and was distracted so he didn’t see the red signal ahead of him.[1]

Authorities announced 26 confirmed deaths in the collision.[13]

Rolling stock

Metrolink fleet consists of 42 locomotives and 158 Bombardier BiLevel Coaches.[14][15] As of November 2007, the cab car portion of the fleet consists of 33 Metrolink owned cab cars, 4 leased from Sound Transit, 2 leased from Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) and 1 leased from COASTER. The trailer portion of the fleet includes 106 Metrolink owned trailers, 8 leased from Sound Transit, 3 leased from ACE, and 2 leased from COASTER.

Metrolink owned units are painted in the Metrolink livery, white with periwinkle blue streaks. The leased units can be recognized by their retention of their owner’s livery, with Metrolink logos pasted on top of the owner’s logos, instead of the standard Metrolink colors.

Model Manufactured Road Numbers Number In Fleet Notes
EMD F59PH 1992-1993 851-873 23 [2]
EMD F59PHI 1994 874-881 8
EMD F59PHI 1995 882, 883 2 [3]
EMD F59PHI 2001 884-887 4 [4]
EMD F40PH 1981 800 1 [5] [6]
MPI MPXpress MP36PH-3C 2008 888-891 (892-902) 4 (11) [7]
Passenger Cars
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 1 1992-1993 101-163 62
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2 1997 164-182 18 [8]
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 3 2002 183-210 26 [9]
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 3 2000-2003 2210, 2213, 2231, 2232, 2237-2240 8 [10] [11] [12]
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2 1996 ACEX 3202, 3203 2 [13]
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2  ? SDNR 2402, 2405 2 [14]
Cab Cars
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 1 1992-1993 601-631 30 [15]
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2 1997 632-637 6 [16]
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 3 2000-2003 6104, 6106-6108 4 [17] [18] [19]
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2 1996 ACEX 3303, 3304 2 [20]
Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2  ? SDNR 2302 1 [21]

Metrolink 800 is the only F40PH Metrolink owns. Fleet notes

  • ^  Part of the canceled Marlboro train project.
  • ^  Part of a canceled VIA Rail Canada order.
  • ^  Used as a spare, for special events, switching, and for work trains.
  • ^  4 units purchased from Amtrak, 3 later sold.
  • ^  Leased from Sounder. Cars scheduled to be returned in late 2008.
  • ^  Ordered by Metrolink in early 2006, with the first one (888) being delivered in April 2008. 4 have been delivered so far, the rest will arrive in the coming months.
  • ^  Leased from ACE.
  • ^  #184 was wrecked en route from the factory, number was retired; #197 was involved in the Glendale accident.
  • ^  #634 was involved in a head-on collision in Orange County and has been retired.
  • ^  Generation 1 cab cars have only one window on the front of the car.
  • ^  Generation 3 cars have smooth sides without rivets.
  • ^  Leased from COASTER in late 2007 after adding service to Antelope Valley Line due to the closure of Interstate 5 at the Newhall Pass.
  • ^  Cars were renumbered. Example: SNDX 210 became SCAX 2210.
  • ^  #855 was involved in the Chatsworth wreck and has been removed from service.

See also

  • Amtrak
  • San Diego Public Transportation


  1. ^ “Fact Sheet” (PDF). Metrolink. June 2008. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ AVTA Long Range Plan 2005, page 36
  4. ^ Reyes, David (July 5, 2008). “Metrolink growth strains station parking capacity”, The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 7 July 2008. 
  5. ^ News: Metrolink daily O.C. service to nearly double –
  6. ^
  7. ^ Perris Valley Line
  8. ^ Perris Valley Line
  9. ^
  10. ^ “Railroad Accident Report- Collision of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Freight Train With Metrolink Passenger Train- Placentia, California- April 23, 2002” (PDF). National Transportation Safety Board. 2003-10-07. Retrieved on 2005-11-22. 
  11. ^ “Commuters killed in head-on train crash”. KABC-TV. 2008-09-12. Retrieved on 2008-09-12. 
  12. ^ “Death toll from L.A. train collision reaches 26”. AP. 2008-09-13. Retrieved on 2008-09-13. 
  13. ^ Hymon, Steve; Oldham, Jennifer; Simmons, Ann M. (2008-09-16). “L.A. train crash death toll at 26”, Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on 16 September 2008. 
  14. ^ Metrolink. “Equipment”. Retrieved on June 16. 
  15. ^ Rapid Transit Press. “Metrolink Roster”. Retrieved on November 25. 

External links

  • Official Website
  • Official Metrolink Twitter (Twitter)
  • Metrolink map
  • Photos of Metrolink trains and stations
  • Veolia Transportation
  • sanbag plans on the redlands line

This text comes from Wikipedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikipedia.

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