It Is Heard, 1999-04-11 April 11th, 1999
(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.