|Owner||Southern California Regional Rail Authority|
|Transit type||Commuter rail|
|Number of lines||7|
|Number of stations||59|
|Daily ridership||39,613 (avg. Q4 2015-16)|
|Chief executive||Art Leahy|
|Headquarters||MTA Building, Los Angeles|
|Website||Welcome to Metrolink|
|Began operation||October 26, 1992|
(under contract to the SCRRA)
|Number of vehicles||52 locomotives, 260 rail cars|
|System length||534 mi (859 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Top speed||90 mph (140 km/h)|
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. 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. 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.
The system, founded in 1991 as the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) and quickly adopting "Metrolink" as the marketing and user friendly moniker, started operation in 1992. Average weekday ridership rose to 42,265 in 2012, but had fallen slightly to 41,951 in the fourth quarter of 2014.[needs update]
In addition to several suburban communities and cities, Metrolink also serves several points of interest such as Downtown Los Angeles; Bob Hope Airport; California State University, Los Angeles; Angel Stadium; and the San Clemente Pier. Special service has also been extended to the Pomona Fairplex, the Ventura County Fairgrounds, and the Auto Club Speedway for certain events.
The rail system experiences its peak ridership during weekday mornings and afternoons. More trains operate during the morning between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. However, the agency's recent[when?] 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 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 should the stadium be built.
|91/Perris Valley Line||700||Los Angeles
|Daily||Southeast from Union Station, east along the Riverside (California Route 91) Freeway to Riverside, turns south along Interstate 215.|
|Antelope Valley Line||200||Los Angeles
|Daily||Northwest from Union Station, roughly following Interstate 5. Turns east, then north, to parallel State Route 14.|
|Inland Empire–Orange County Line||800||San Bernardino
|Daily||Southwest from the Santa Fe Depot to follow the Riverside Freeway west. Turns south to parallel Interstate 5.|
|Orange County Line||600||Los Angeles
|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||Los Angeles
|Weekdays||Northwest from the Downtown Riverside Metrolink / Amtrak station, eventually paralleling State Route 60.|
|San Bernardino Line||300||Los Angeles
|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
|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.|
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, 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.[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). The oil price increases since 2003 are partly to blame for consistently increasing fares, as Metrolink trains are powered by diesel fuel.
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 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.
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). The Authority was formally founded in 1991. 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) 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. The system gained its current form in 2002 with the addition of the 91 Line.
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, 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. A proposed station in Yorba Linda was canceled in 2005 due to local opposition.
In July 2008 it was announced that ridership had risen 16% over the previous year. 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, $200 million of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was provided to implement the positive train control crash avoidance system, 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. Amtrak regained the contract to operate Metrolink beginning in July 2010. Average weekday ridership for the fourth quarter of 2009 was 38,400.
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.
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 the system replaced an estimated that 25,000 vehicle trips. 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. Ridership continued to rise in 2012 (up 2%), when average weekday ridership reached 42,265. 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.
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. 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. Construction on the $248.3 million extension began in October 2013; service was originally planned to begin in December 2015, and then in February 2016. In mid-February 2016, the extension's opening was planned in March of that year. The extension opened in June 2016.
Placentia, April 2002Edit
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.
Glendale, January 2005Edit
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. On June 26, 2008, Alvarez was convicted on the 11 murder counts and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Chatsworth (Los Angeles), September 2008Edit
Twenty-six people were killed and 135 injured when a Metrolink commuter train carrying 222 persons 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. Along with the 135 people who were injured, 81 were transported to local hospitals in serious or critical condition. The velocity of the trains caused the Metrolink locomotive to telescope into the first passenger car. Some 218 people have been killed by Metrolink train accidents from 1993 to 2008, a figure which includes pedestrians.
Oxnard, February 2015Edit
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. 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.
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.
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. Construction on the $24 million Placentia station is currently projected to begin in 2017, and scheduled to open in 2019.
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, but as of December 2015[update], 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. 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.
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.
In 2008, lobbyists pushed for a rail line to Temecula in southwestern Riverside County via the 91 Line's La Sierra station. 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.
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. Nonetheless, as recently as 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), 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. Nonetheless, in 2013 Caltrans conducted a feasibility study of a Coachella Valley service and RCTC has resolved to pursue establishing one.
High speed rail interfaceEdit
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.
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. Ex officio members include the Southern California Association of Governments, the San Diego Association of Governments, and the state of California. It is headquartered at the MTA Building at Union Station in Los Angeles where Metro (LACMTA) is headquartered. 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.
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. The facility is operated by Metrolink's equipment maintenance contractor, Bombardier Transportation. The Eastern Maintenance Facility is located in San Bernardino. Metrolink's first crash-resistant cars were displayed at the facility at an event in May 2010. Metrolink trains are also serviced at Coaster's Stuart Mesa Facility, located between San Clemente Pier and Oceanside at the southwest end of Camp Pendleton. This yard is owned by the North County Transit District.
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The Metrolink fleet consists of 52 locomotives, 137 active Bombardier BiLevel Coaches (Sentinel Fleet), plus 137 Hyundai Rotem bilevel cars (Guardian Fleet). An order for an additional 20 Rotem cars was placed after Metrolink obtained a loan from the LACMTA, although this still leaves Metrolink 34 cars short of its goal to completely replace the entire Bombardier fleet. With continuing deliveries of the new Rotem cars, the agency has returned all leased equipment to their owners. (Around 2009, Metrolink leased 10 cars from the Utah Transit Authority, operator of the FrontRunner.)
With sufficient new Guardian Fleet cars on hand, former CEO John Fenton introduced new on-board services. All weekday trains now include at least one Quiet Car (designated as the second car back from the locomotive). 35 Sentinel Fleet coaches have been converted to Bicycle Cars by having all seats removed from the lower level. Future Bicycle cars will be retrofitted Sentinel units because the Guardian Fleet seats are an integral part of the cars’ safety features and cannot be removed. Both new services have had positive reaction from the public.
The extra equipment has allowed Metrolink to add express service (currently reducing travel times upwards of 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.
Several surplus Sentinel cars are stored just outside Union Station on tracks beside the Los Angeles River. Metrolink's long-term plans for these cars is uncertain as the original goal was to replace all of the Sentinel Fleet with the Guardian Fleet, but this will not be possible until additional orders have been placed. The decision of which Sentinel Fleet cars to keep or dispose of is complicated. Older Sentinel cars carry less (or no) debt, but would require major rehabilitation as they are close to the end of their service life. Regardless of age or financing status, Sentinel cars would need to be upgraded with some Guardian Fleet safety features such as enhanced seating and break-away tables, but not reinforcement of the aluminum alloy skin/body structure. (Sentinel Fleet cars lack impact-absorbing horizontal steel side beams and crumple zones on the cab cars.)
On September 3, 2015, Metrolink announced the addition of a second locomotive (leased from BNSF Railway) to each train set to replace the Rotem cab car while they undergo a review of safety features following the 2015 Oxnard train derailment. The cab cars remained in service as passenger coaches. The investigation examined the plow-like attachment under the front of the cab cars that failed to prevent the derailment by allowing wreckage to get under the wheels. On November 1, 2016 the leased locomotives were returned, as repairs to the Rotem cab cars were complete.
|Fleet Numbers||Qty||Year(s) Built||Make & Model||Notes|
|888–902||15||2008–2009||MPI MPXpress MP36PH-3C|
|18520 / 18522 / 18533||3||1988||EMD F59PH||
|101–163||60||1992–1993||Bombardier BiLevel Generation 1|
|164–182||18||1997||Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2|
|183–210||26||2002||Bombardier BiLevel Generation 3||
|211–290||80||2010–2013||Hyundai Rotem bilevel cars|
|601–631||28||1992–1993||Bombardier BiLevel Generation 1||
|632–637||5||1997||Bombardier BiLevel Generation 2||
|638–695||57||2010–2013||Hyundai Rotem bilevel cars||
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.
Train passing through Lake Forest, California in the late afternoon
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