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Metrolink (California)

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Metrolink
Metrolink new logo 2017.jpg
Hyundai Rotem Cab Car.jpg
Metrolink Hyundai Rotem cab car, Virginia Colony, Moorpark, California
Metrolink San Clemente.jpg
A Metrolink train near San Clemente Pier
Overview
Owner Southern California Regional Rail Authority
Area served Southern California
Transit type Commuter rail
Number of lines 7[1]
Number of stations 59[1]
Daily ridership 39,613 (avg. Q4 2015-16)[1]
Chief executive Art Leahy
Headquarters MTA Building, Los Angeles
Website Welcome to Metrolink
Operation
Began operation October 26, 1992 (1992-10-26)[2]
Operator(s) Amtrak
(under contract to the SCRRA)
Reporting marks SCAX
Host railroads SCAX
BNSF
SDNX
UP
Character shared with freight lines
Number of vehicles 52 locomotives, 260 rail cars[1]
Technical
System length 534 mi (859 km)[1]
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Top speed 90 mph (140 km/h)
System map

Metrolink system diagram.svg

Metrolink (reporting mark SCAX) is a commuter rail system serving Southern California; it consists of seven lines and 59 stations operating on 534 miles (859 km) of rail network.[1] It travels up to 79 miles per hour (127 km/h) and up to 90 mph on sections of the Orange County line.

The system operates in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties, as well as to Oceanside in San Diego County.[3][4] It connects with the Los Angeles County Metro Rail system, the San Diego Coaster commuter rail and Sprinter light rail services, and with Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, and Sunset Limited intercity rail services.[5]

The system, founded in 1991 as the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) and quickly adopting "Metrolink" as the marketing moniker,[citation needed] started operation in 1992. Average weekday ridership rose to 42,265 in 2012,[6] but had fallen slightly to 41,951 in the fourth quarter of 2014.[7][needs update]

Routes

In addition to suburban communities and cities, Metrolink also serves several points of interest such as Downtown Los Angeles, Burbank Bob Hope Airport, California State University of Los Angeles, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, and the San Clemente Pier.[8] Special service has also been extended to the Pomona Fairplex,[9] the Ventura County Fairgrounds,[10] and the Auto Club Speedway[11] for certain events.

The rail system experiences its peak ridership during weekday mornings and afternoons.[12] More trains operate during the morning between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m.[13] However, the agency's recent success providing trains to concerts at the Honda Center has rekindled interest in providing more service to other venues near stations, and inspired AEG, in its effort to build Farmers Field, a once proposed NFL football stadium, to cite the possibility of selling Metrolink fare media at the time of purchasing tickets for events at the stadium to meet environmental concerns regarding increased vehicular traffic had the stadium been built.[14][15]

Line[3] Series Termini Operation Routing[3][4]
     91/Perris Valley Line 700[16] Los Angeles
Perris
Daily Southeast from Union Station, east along the Riverside (California Route 91) Freeway to Riverside, turns south along Interstate 215.
     Antelope Valley Line 200[17] Los Angeles
Lancaster
Daily Northwest from Union Station, roughly following Interstate 5. Turns east, then north, to parallel State Route 14.
     Inland Empire–Orange County Line 800[18] San Bernardino
Oceanside
Daily Southwest from the Santa Fe Depot to follow the Riverside Freeway west. Turns south to parallel Interstate 5.
     Orange County Line 600[19] Los Angeles
Oceanside
Daily Northwest from the Oceanside Transportation Center along Interstate 5. Deviates slightly from the interstate in north Orange and southeast Los Angeles counties.
     Riverside Line 400[20] Los Angeles
Riverside
Weekdays Northwest from the Downtown Riverside Metrolink / Amtrak station, eventually paralleling State Route 60.
     San Bernardino Line 300[21] Los Angeles
San Bernardino
Daily West from the Santa Fe Depot between Interstate 10 and I-210. Runs in the Interstate 10 median starting near El Monte.
     Ventura County Line 100[22]
900[23]
Los Angeles
East Ventura
Weekdays East from the East Ventura Metrolink station roughly following State Route 118. Turns south at Bob Hope Airport towards Union Station. Trains with 900-series numbers run between Union Station and Bob Hope Airport.

Fares

Metrolink ticket vending machines. Machines also sell tickets for Amtrak trains and the FlyAway Bus to LAX.

Metrolink's fare structure is based on a flat fee for boarding the train and an additional cost for distance with fares being calculated in 25-cent increments between stations.

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 for the remainder of the day, and monthly pass holders in Orange, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties can use Amtrak Pacific Surfliner and Thruway Coach services through the Rail 2 Rail program.[24][clarification needed]

Fare increases normally occur annually in July, to coincide with increased fuel and labor expenses, and have generally averaged between 3.5% and 5% per year (although the restructuring caused a larger jump in rates).[25] The oil price increases since 2003 are partly to blame for consistently increasing fares, as Metrolink trains are powered by diesel fuel.[26]

In July 2011, Metrolink introduced a new Weekend Pass allowing for passengers to travel all weekend trains for only $10. This was the first pass of its kind on Metrolink giving passengers unlimited rides all weekend long going anywhere in the system. However, with a fare increase on July 1, 2013, the Weekend Pass was renamed the Weekend Day Pass and is valid for one weekend day rather than the entire weekend. The Weekend Day Pass still functions as an EZPass and TAP media for travel on LACMTA and other L.A. County transit services.

On January 1, 2016, Metrolink lowered short-distance fares to as low as $3 for adults/youth/students and $1.50 for disabled riders for One-Way tickets. These fares are offered to encourage local travel on Metrolink and are good for travel from one station to the next on any line. For example, riding from Cal State L.A. to Los Angeles Union Station is only $3 for One-Way and $6 Round-Trip for adults/youth/students. El Monte Station to Los Angeles Union Station is $6 for an adult One-Way ticket and $12 for a Round-Trip ticket. For travel more than two stations, distance-based pricing is more affordable.[27]

History

Metrolink trains approaching and leaving Union Station during the evening rush hour

The member agencies of the SCRRA purchased 175 miles (282 km) of track, maintenance yards, and stations and other property from Southern Pacific for $450 million in 1990. The rights to use Los Angeles Union Station were purchased from Union Pacific, the station's owner at the time, for $17 million in the same year (Union Station has since been purchased by and is owned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority).[28][29] The Authority was formally founded in 1991.[30] It began operation of the Ventura, Santa Clarita, and San Bernardino Lines on October 26, 1992 (the Santa Clarita Line later became the Antelope Valley Line)[2][31] which were operated by Amtrak.

In 1993 service was expanded to include the Riverside and Orange County Lines in 1994. The Inland Empire-Orange County Line opened in 1995, becoming the first suburb to suburb commuter rail line in the country. In 1995 more trains on the Orange County service were funded.[32] The system gained its current form in 2002 with the addition of the 91 Line.[33]

From July 2004, Metrolink fares were changed from zone based to one based on distance. In 2005 a five-year operational contract was awarded to Connex Railroad/Veolia Transport. In 2005, the Orange County Transportation Authority approved a plan to increase frequencies to 76 trains daily on the Orange County and Inland Empire-Orange County Lines by 2009,[34] and funding for increased Metrolink service was included in the renewal of the Measure M sales tax for transportation approved by voters in November 2006.[35] A proposed station in Yorba Linda was canceled in 2005 due to local opposition.[36]

In July 2008 it was announced that ridership had risen 16% over the previous year.[37][38] Following the 2008 Chatsworth train collision in which 25 people died and 135 were injured a number of safety measures were taken; in the fall of 2009, inward-facing video cameras were installed in locomotives in order to ensure that staff were complying with regulations, in particular a ban on use of mobile phones,[39] $200 million of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was provided to implement the positive train control crash avoidance system,[40] and in 2010, the first of 117 energy absorbing passenger carriages (which lessen the toll on passengers in the case of an accident) were received by the operator.[41] Amtrak regained the contract to operate Metrolink beginning in July 2010.[42] Average weekday ridership for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 38,400.[37]

In 2010, to save money in the face of funding cuts, the Metrolink board voted to reduce mid-day service on the Inland Empire–Orange County Line, as well as weekend service on both the Orange County and Inland Empire–Orange County lines.[43]

Average weekday ridership was 41,000 during May 2011. A survey found that 90% of users during a typical weekday in 2009 would have previously driven alone or carpooled and that the system replaced an estimated 25,000 vehicle trips.[6] During a weekend closure of Interstate 405 in July 2011 the system recorded its highest-ever weekend ridership of 20,000 boardings which was 50% higher than the same weekend in 2010 and 10% higher than the previous weekend ridership record which occurred during U2 360° Tour in June 2011.[44] Ridership continued to rise in 2012 (up 2%),[6] when average weekday ridership reached 42,265.[6] Although 2013 annual boardings were almost 12.07 million, ridership dropped to 11.74 million by fall 2014 which was contrary to projections. Blaming the decrease on the worst recession since World War II, Metrolink said it found itself caught between cutting service and boosting fares, both of which would probably further decrease ridership.[45]

In early 2016, Metrolink began testing mobile ticketing.[46][47] Later in 2016, the mobile ticketing system was fully rolled out.[citation needed]

The Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) extended the 91 Line southeast 24 miles (39 km) to Perris, using the existing San Jacinto Branch Line, which it purchased in 1993.[48] Initial plans were for construction/renovation of the line to begin in 2012, but these were delayed by a lawsuit filed by homeowners in the affected area, who challenged the RCTC's environmental report. The lawsuit was settled in late July 2013.[49] Construction on the $248.3 million extension began in October 2013;[50] service was originally planned to begin in December 2015,[51] and then in February 2016.[52][53] In mid-February 2016, the extension's opening was planned in March of that year.[54] The extension opened in June 2016.[55]

Notable incidents

Placentia, April 2002

Two people died and 22 were seriously injured on April 23, 2002, when a BNSF freight train collided head-on with a Metrolink train in Placentia, near the Atwood Junction, at the intersection of Orangethorpe Avenue and Richfield Road. 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.[56]

Glendale, January 2005

2005 Glendale crash aftermath

Eleven people were killed (including an off-duty sheriff's deputy and a train conductor) and over 100 people were injured, about 40 seriously on January 26, 2005, when a Metrolink passenger train collided with a vehicle parked on the tracks, which then jackknifed and struck a stationary freight locomotive and a Metrolink train moving in the opposite direction. 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.[57][58] On June 26, 2008, Alvarez was convicted on the 11 murder counts and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.[59]

Chatsworth (Los Angeles), September 2008

Twenty-six people were killed and 135 injured when a Metrolink commuter train carrying 222 persons[60] collided head on with a Union Pacific freight train, toppling one of the passenger cars and the locomotive onto its side in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles.[61] Along with the 135 people who were injured, 81 were transported to local hospitals in serious or critical condition.[62] The velocity of the trains caused the Metrolink locomotive to telescope into the first passenger car.[62] Some 218 people have been killed by Metrolink train accidents from 1993 to 2008, a figure which includes pedestrians.[63]

Oxnard, February 2015

BNSF 5696 in Metrolink service following the Oxnard derailment

Thirty people were injured when southbound Metrolink Ventura County Line train 102 (East Ventura to LA Union Station) crashed into a truck that was stopped on the tracks at the Rice Avenue crossing near Oxnard at about 5:40 am on February 24, 2015. One person, the train's engineer, later died of his injuries.[64] The driver, who had left the truck before the crash, was located by the police and taken into custody. The train consisted of a Hyundai-Rotem "guardian fleet" cab car in the lead, a Bombardier Bi-level "bike car" coach, two Hyundai-Rotem "guardian fleet" coach cars and an EMD F59PH locomotive. After this accident, Metrolink leased 40 diesel freight locomotives from BNSF, to be placed as temporary cab cars as they investigate problems with their Hyundai-Rotem cars. On July 8, 2016, the Metrolink board approved a $1.5 million plan to repair the plows on the Hyundai Rotem cab cars. Once the repairs are completed, the cars will return to service and the leased BNSF locomotives will be returned.[65]

Future

Metrolink has grown in popularity and there are a number of planned extensions of the system and new stations. Station parking capacity has also been strained.[66]

A new Metrolink station in Placentia, which will serve the 91 Line's north Orange County passengers, has completed its final design phase, save for issues related to the parking needed to accompany the station.[67] Construction on the $24 million Placentia station is currently projected to begin in 2017, and scheduled to open in 2019.[68][69]

The San Bernardino-Redlands Passenger Rail Corridor, a 9-mile (14 km) eastward rail extension from San Bernardino to Redlands and Mentone, is planned by the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG). The association was considering whether to extend commuter rail along the corridor or to install either bus rapid transit or light rail lines,[70] but as of December 2015, SANBAG plans to extend Metrolink service only to the San Bernardino Transit Center and use diesel multiple units operated by Omnitrans in lieu of Metrolink locomotive-hauled coaches on the rest of the route.[71][72][73] However, Metrolink may provide service to Redlands as part of the extension.[74] The project, budgeted at $242 million, is expected to begin final design in September 2015. Construction is projected to begin in late 2017, with service starting in late 2019.[71]

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has proposed adding commuter rail service along the Harbor Subdivision corridor offering services to Inglewood, Los Angeles International Airport, the South Bay, the Port of Los Angeles, and/or the Port of Long Beach. A decision whether to employ commuter rail, light rail, or bus rapid transit in this corridor has not yet been reached due to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority haven't environmental study of Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor .[75]

In 2008, lobbyists pushed for a rail line to Temecula in southwestern Riverside County via the 91 Line's La Sierra station.[76] While this proposed line could follow the route of an abandoned freight line, it would require significant money, as freight service ceased almost 30 years ago. Despite this, the Riverside County Transportation Commission's 2008 Commuter Rail Feasibility Study still lists this route as one possibility being considered.[77]

The cities of the Coachella Valley (Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, and Indio) have requested commuter rail service from Los Angeles and Orange County, but the Union Pacific Railroad opposes further passenger service on its tracks.[78] Nonetheless, in 1999, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments was investigating the possibility of two daily round trips via the 91 Line from Los Angeles's Union Station through Fullerton and Riverside to stations in Palm Springs and Indio (with a possible stop near Palm Desert),[79] possibly through a partnership with Amtrak. This extension would likewise require significant money for infrastructure improvements: at least $500 million, according to the California State Rail Plan of 2005.[78] Nonetheless, in 2013 Caltrans conducted a feasibility study of a Coachella Valley service[80] and RCTC has resolved to pursue establishing one.[81]

High speed rail interface

During the initial years of operation of the California High-Speed Rail between Merced and Burbank, projected to commence in 2022, passengers would use Metrolink for travel between Burbank and downtown Los Angeles. An alternative plan would have track-sharing to Union Station but this would require electrification for that portion of the line. This alternate plan would provide a "one-seat ride" at the start of service between the Central Valley and downtown, or even Orange County.[82]

Governance

The MTA Building, where Metrolink is headquartered

The SCRRA is a joint powers authority governed by five county-level agencies: the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Orange County Transportation Authority, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, the San Bernardino Associated Governments, and the Ventura County Transportation Commission.[30] Ex officio members include the Southern California Association of Governments, the San Diego Association of Governments, and the state of California.[1] It is headquartered at the MTA Building at Union Station in Los Angeles where Metro (LACMTA) is headquartered.[83] In 2014, a report suggested changes in the railroad's governing structure as the conflicting demands of the various agencies are difficult to meet. The report proposed turning the operation over to a local transit agency.[84]

The Metrolink system is operated under five-year contracts.[citation needed] For fiscal year 2013 it was allotted an operating budget of $211.17 million.[7][needs update]

Facilities

Metrolink operates several maintenance facilities across its service area. Its Central Maintenance Facility (CMF) is located on the east bank of the Los Angeles River near the intersection of the 5 and 110 Freeways, just south of the location of the former Southern Pacific Taylor Yard.[85] The facility is operated by Metrolink's equipment maintenance contractor: Bombardier Transportation.[86] The nearby Eastern Maintenance Facility is located in San Bernardino. Metrolink trains are also serviced at Coaster's Stuart Mesa Facility, which is located between San Clemente Pier and Oceanside at the southwest end of Camp Pendleton. This yard is owned by the North County Transit District.[86]

Metrolink's operations center is located in Pomona, near the Pomona (North) station.[87]

Rolling stock

The Metrolink fleet consists of 55 locomotives,[1] 137 active Bombardier Bi-level Coaches (Sentinel Fleet) and 137 Hyundai Rotem Bi-level cars (Guardian Fleet).[88] An order for 20 more Rotem coaches was placed after Metrolink obtained a loan from the LACMTA in 2013, Metrolink's long-term plans for their Bombardier cars are uncertain as Metrolink's original goal was to replace all of their Bombardier coaches with the Rotem coaches, but this is not possible until 40 more Guardian Fleet orders are placed. Generation 1 Sentinel Fleet passenger coaches require major rehabilitation as they are close to the end of their service life.

With a sufficient amount of Guardian Fleet cars on hand, then CEO John Fenton introduced new on-board services. Weekday trains now include at least one Quiet Car (designated as the second car back from the locomotive). 35 older Sentinel Fleet coaches were converted to Bicycle Cars by having their seats removed from the lower level.[89][90] If demand for bike cars rise, more cars would be retrofitted Sentinel Cars due to the Guardian Fleet seats serving as an integral part of the cars’ safety features and therefore the seats cannot be removed. In Summer 2017, Metrolink fitted their Bicycle cars with surf board carriers. Each Bicycle car can now carry up to 5 surfboards for easy and cheap transportation to beaches in between San Clemente and Oceanside. Both new services have had positive reaction from the public.

The extra equipment also allowed Metrolink to add express service, which reduces travel times up to 45 minutes on the Antelope Valley and San Bernardino Lines as pilot programs. If successful, Metrolink will make the expresses permanent and test express service on other routes.

Fleet Numbers Qty Year(s) Built Make & Model Notes
Locomotives
800 01 1981 EMD F40PH
  • Former AMTK (Amtrak) 396.
  • Used as a spare (for special events, switching and work trains).
  • 4 units were originally purchased from Amtrak, 3 later sold for scrap.
851–873 23 1992–1993 EMD F59PH
  • 5 F59PHs were rebuilt by MPI with an E-bell, upgraded cooling system, and an upgraded 12-710G3Eco Tier 2 engine and designated F59PHR.
  • 855 was involved in the 2008 Chatsworth train wreck and was retired and scrapped.
  • 865 caught fire twice in 2014 and in 2016 and was withdrawn for a year before returning to service in March 2017 as an F59PHR.
874–881 08 1994 EMD F59PHI
882–883 02 1995 EMD F59PHI
  • Part of the canceled Marlboro train project.
884–887 04 2001 EMD F59PHI
888–902 15 2008–2009 MPI MPXpress MP36PH-3C
903-942 40 2016–2017 EMD F125
  • Order for ten locomotives announced in December 2012, with multiple additional options since then.[91]
  • 905 was delivered to Metrolink on June 18, 2016.
  • 903, 904 and 905 are expected to enter service in early 2017.
  • All 40 F125s will replace the F59s in the Metrolink fleet. A few F59s will be kept as yard switchers in maintenance facilities.
18520 / 18522 / 18533 03 1988 EMD F59PH
  • Ex-GO Transit units on short-term lease to Metrolink while the locomotive fleet receives PTC equipment upgrades.
Passenger cars
101–163 60 1992–1993 Bombardier BiLevel Generation 1
  • 35 cars converted into bike/surfboard cars.
164–182 18 1997 Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2
183–210 26 2002 Bombardier BiLevel Generation 3
  • Generation 3 cars are designed without rivets and contain power ports in most seats.
  • 184 was wrecked while being transportated by Amtrak's Texas Eagle in July, 2001
211–290 80 2010–2013 Hyundai Rotem bilevel cars
Cab cars
601–631 28 1992–1993 Bombardier BiLevel Generation 1
  • Generation 1 cab cars have only one front facing window.
  • Some retired and replaced by newer Rotem units, others converted into regular passenger cars.
632–637 05 1997 Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2
  • Generation 2 cab cars with 2 front windows and a K2 Horn.
  • 634 was involved in a head-on collision in Orange County and has been retired.
  • All retired and replaced by newer Rotem units.
638–695 57 2010–2013 Hyundai Rotem bilevel cars
  • Cab car 666 renumbered to 695 in late 2014 due to suspicion from employees.

References:[93][94]

Livery

Most Metrolink-owned units are painted in a white livery with blue stripes. The agency is currently in the process of switching to a new blue and green "ribbons" design. Locomotives are being given the updated design during routine maintenance, and the Guardian Fleet arrive from the factory in the new colors.[42][95]

See also

References

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  4. ^ "Los Angeles". Amtrak California. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
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  7. ^ "Metrolink to Again Offer Service to Ventura County Fair". Metrolink. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Take Metrolink to the Auto Club Speedway for NASCAR Action!". Metrolink. Retrieved April 3, 2010. 
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External links

Route map: Google

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