Yearly Archives

1999

Commentary

It Is Heard, 1999-04-11

(This is a correction to a prior post made on Nov 09, 1998.)

I don’t know if I was aware of it at that time, but I have been aware for a few months now that the Amtrak Sunset Limited would not be able to stop at the current San Bernardino station if it was re-routed to go through Fullerton. My understanding is that what is under consideration is to change the inland empire stop to be at the current Riverside Metrolink Station. Because of track configurations, changing of the Sunset Limited to take the same route as the Southwest Chief as far as Riverside would preclude it from being able to get to the San Bernardino station.

A change of route for the Amtrak Sunset Limited to stop in Fullerton and Riverside instead of Pomona and Ontario is a reasonable consideration is because of a number of reasons. Fullerton is a fully staffed Amtrak station handling both the Southwest Cheif and 20 San Diegan trains each day! The station features checked baggage and is a logical point for northbound passengers from the San Diegans to switch to the eastbound Sunset Limited, just as they do now for the northeast bound Southwest Chief. The present route of the Sunset Limited stops at Pomona and Ontario which are both unmanned Amtrak stations, without checked baggage, and both are in areas of questionable safety. Unlike Fullerton, very few passengers get on or off the train at these two stations. The most activity seen in Ontario is when a westbound Sunset Limited is running late and the passengers are transferred to buses to catch up to the northbound Coast Starlight!

Changing from San Bernardino to Riverside for the Amtrak Southwest Chief and also adding Riverside as a stop on the Sunset Limited is a logical move since Riverside has become the hub of activity for the Inland Empire. The Riverside station is more centrally located to the downtown population area, parking and bus services. The Riverside station has also seen a significant amount of improvements including expansions to multiple platforms off the mainline and a pedestrian crossover bridge.

Although Ontario has created an adequate station platform and Pomona is in the process of rehabilitation of their station, the best utilization for these stations would probably be for a future Metrolink commuter line. TrainWeb strongly endorses any effort to reroute the Amtrak Sunset Limited through Fullerton and to move the Inland Empire stop for both the Sunset Limited and Southwest Chief from San Bernardino to Riverside. We would also like to see further reconsideration of routing the future Los Angeles to Las Vegas train along this same route and have that train also stop in Fullerton and Riverside.

Rail Photos

1999: Future of Rail Service in Southern California

Meeting at

The Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurant
110 East Santa Fe Avenue, Fullerton, California 92832
(Next to the Fullerton Amtrak Station)

The following are links to photos that were taken at the January 23, 1999 RailPAC Meeting in Fullerton, California:

[autonav display=/1999/fullerton]

The Photo Set includes pictures of Calvary Chapel High School students boarding Bill Hattric’s “Overland Trail” Private Car at the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot and heading to their Winter Formal in San Diego. The “Overland Trail” used to be a Barber Shop Lounge Car that is now available for private charter. The car was placed at the end of a southbound Amtrak San Diegan consist. Thanks goes to Joseph Henchman and Steve Donaldson (co-author of Rails Through the Orange Groves : A Centennial Look at the Railroads of Orange County, California with William A. Myers) for identifying the event and the private rail car for us.

Also shown are photos from the interior of the TrainWeb office upstairs in the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot, including our new Westec Alarm System Panel.

Below is information contained in the announcement of the event.

  • 11:30 AM – Registration, Gossip, Coffee & Greetings
  • 12:15 PM – Lunch and Introductions & Announcements
  • 12:45 PM – High Speed Rail in California’s Transit Future
    Speaker: Dan Levitt, Deputy Director, California High-Speed Rail Authority
  • 01:45 PM – Future of Light Rail in Orange County
    Speaker: Dinah Minteer, Planner, Orange County Transit Authority

[note: TrainWeb has since moved.] TrainWeb is located directly above the Amtrak Ticket Office in the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot right next door to The Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurant. We will open our doors by 10:00 AM on the day of the meeting and welcome you to visit our facilities between 10 AM and 11 AM right before the meeting. You are also welcome to visit our office after the close of the meeting.

From the TrainWeb office you will be able to see the TrainWeb WebCams in operation as well as enjoy a unique view of the platform, rails and trains. There are also a number of railroad graphics, artifacts and Amtrak souveniers on display. The Fullerton Railway Plaza Association shares space with us and you will be able to observe their plans for the building of a railroad museum right next to the station in Fullerton. By the time of this meeting, you should be able to examine the progress of the installation of the initial two sidings for the Fullerton Railway Plaza!

Rail service to Fullerton

San Diegan #774 from San Diego arrives at 11:35 AM
San Diegan #590 for San Diego leaves at 4:37 PM

San Diegan #774 from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles arrives at 10:51 AM
San Diegan #781 for San Diego leaves at 4:59 PM

Reports

Southern California Rail Passenger Report for 1998

We thought it would be a good idea to give you an update on what’s been happening in the last year, what RailPAC has been doing.

  1. SAN JOAQUIN RAIL SERVICE: In March the State rail staff told the San Joaquin Rail Committee the promised 5th San Joaquin train, with direct rail service to Sacramento, wouild not be added. RailPAC began a letter and lobbing campaign to get the State to keep its original commitment and start service. We contacted local officials, newspapers, elected officials and rail supporters who joined us in our effort. As a result, the long promised 5th (and possibly 6th) train will be added and, for the first time in almost 30 years, there will be rail service to Sacramento from the San Joaquin Valley. Also, the state is now moving forward on the idea of extending service over the Tehachapis to Los Angeles.
  2. COAST RAIL SERVICE: There has been discussions about increasing rail service along the Coast Corridor. RailPAC is on record supporting the establishment of a new train between San Francisco and Los Angeles (with a connection to Oakland and Sacramento at San Jose). RailPAC is also urging that the California Zephyr be extended to Los Angeles as a night train over the Coast route. RailPAC endorsed the option that would create a new train in addition to the service that already exists. The Coast Rail Coordinating Council voted to accept our choice. Thanks to all of you who wrote the Council.
  3. COASTER: While ridership has continued to grow, Friday night service was recently canceled due to poor ridership. This is the only real setback for passenger rail service in California. Future plans call for increased midday frequency so as to provide better connections to Metrolink service, and down the line, extension of service north to Irvine.
  4. METROLINK: Service and frequency have been increased on all lines and ridership is up sharply. There is now hourly service to Burbank airport and service between Riverside and LA via Fullerton.
  5. SAN DIEGO TROLLEY: Service was extended to Mission Valley last January. Construction continues on the Mission Valley line east. Service on the Tijuana line now runs 24 hours a day.
  6. SAN DIEGAN SERVICE: An additional round trip was added in October. Stations opened in Goleta, Guadalupe and soon in Surf. There is the possibility of additional service north of Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and maybe even San Luis Obispo.
  7. LOS ANGELES METRO SERVICE: Work is continuing on the Red line extension to North Hollywood with opening of service to Hollywood in the Spring. Ridership on all three lines have seen sharp increases during the last year. Financial problems may cause problems to future projects.
  8. ORANGE COUNTY LIGHT RAIL: Plans are moving forward on the establishment of Light Rail service between Fullerton and Irvine Amtrak station via Anaheim Stadium, Disneyland and John Wayne Airport. Service is at least 12 years away.
  9. LOS ANGELES-LAS VEGAS SERVICE: Original plans called for startup in February ’99. Unfortunately UP will not allow service to be added until track improvements are made. Service startup is delayed at least one year.

see also the photos from the 1999 Fullerton meeting.