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.

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