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L.A.-Union Station
 Coast Starlight   Burbank Airport, CA next stop to theup 
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Home<Amtrak<Los Angeles, CA
Home<California<Metrolink<L.A.-Union Station

Los Angeles Union Station is shared by both Metrolink (tracks 3-10) and Amtrak (9-12) with a total of 9 stub-end tracks which use five pink canopied platforms with Los Angeles written on simple white signs (not Union Station). The platforms are long enough that except for the 3 Amtrak long distance trains they are often doubled up with two trains (one in use one being stored for later use) on the same track. All trains depart the station to the north before curving over to the Los Angeles River and branching off to the north, south and east where the trains yards also are. This means that the only thru trains stopping at the station, Surfliner Trains running from San Diego and Santa Brabara/San Luis Obispo change their direction of travel at the station. The Gold Line uses tracks 1 and 2 at their own platform. Two ramps lead down from each platform to the single underground concourse which runs from the Gateway Transit Center at one end to the historic depot and waiting area at the other.

History of train service has rebounded in the last 40 years after dwindling to just four daily trains (in each direction) in May 1971 with the creation of Amtrak: Two San Diegan trips south to San Diego plus the Coast Starlight/Daylight (that was extended all the way to San Diego in the very early years, ending by 1978), the Super Chief (renamed the Southwest Limited and now Southwest Chief) as well as the Triweekly Sunset Limited. Amtrak service has gradually increased with the State of California subsidizing the first additional San Diegan train in 1976 and there were seven total daily round-trips to San Diego by 1980. 1984 saw the experimental San Diegan Metroliner daily round-trip. This become a conventional trip in 1985 along with custom class (now called Pacific Business Class) being added.1988 saw a round-trip to Santa Barbara and these trips gradually increased to four trips per day by 1995 with one extended trip all the way up to San Luis Obispo. In 2000 the San Diegan was renamed the Pacific Surfliner and ran with the same 11 round-trips to San Diego that run today, along with five north to Santa Barbara and two all the way to San Luis Obispo. The station today also provides thruway bus service to all six daily San Joaquin Trains (and many passengers switch back to Pacific Surfliners to reach destinations in Orange and San Diego Counties) from bus bays outside the baggage claim.

Long Distance service is the same as over 40 years ago, with the daily Southwest Chief and Coast Starlight plus the triweekly Sunset Limited (carrying through cars to the Texas Eagle) all originating and terminating in the station. The only other long-distance Amtrak train to serve the station over the years was the Desert Wind that existed from 1979 to 1997 running to Salt Lake City (with thru cars on the California Zephyr to Chicago) via Las Vegas. The only other experiment with train service to Las Vegas was the Las Vegas Limited which made Friday departures and Sunday returns in the summer of 1976. A Talgo trainset was built to provide service starting in 1999 but it never began and the trainset is now used by Amtrak Cascades.

In the modern-era, Commuter Rail service to Los Angles and Union Station only began (except for the short lived CalTrain service to Oxnard between October 1982 and February 1983) in 1990 when OCTA began subsidizing Amtrak to run one daily round-trip to San Juan Capistrano called the Orange County Commuter. Metrolink began operations to Moorpark, Santa Clarita, and Pomona on October 26, 1992, the San Burnadino Line reached its now namesake destination on May 17, 1993 and took over the Orange County Commuter in December 1993. Service was greatly expanded after the Northridge Earthquake on January 17, 1994 with the Ventura County and Antelope Valley Lines reaching there current terminuses on fast-track building measures. The Riverside Line opened on June 14, 1995. The final Metrolink line to L.A. Union Station, the 91 Line began formal operations as a branch in May 2002 but trains were running along the route previously since the Inland Empire-Orange County Line opened in 1995 (the one suburbs only Metrolink line that doesn't serve Los Angeles). Today Metrolink is primarily a Monday to Friday commuter hours operation with 71 trains arriving and 72 trains departing every weekday in total on 6 lines serving 54 stations in 5 counties on 512 route miles. Weekend service is only on the San Bernardino (10 Saturday and 7 Sunday round-trips), Antelope Valley (6 and 3), and Orange County (2 both days) Lines.

Local rail service in the form of L.A. Metro's Red Line Subway opened beneath the station on January 30, 1993. The Gold Line Light Rail opened (stopping alongside the main line on tracks 1 and 2) on July 26, 2003. Not including subway and Light Rail runs, today there are about 90 daily train departures per weekday (I have counted the northbound Pacific Surfliners twice since they have to back into the station) from Union Station, these serve destinations as close as Burbank Airport or as far away as New Orleans or Chicago. In terms of number of weekday train departures (including Metrolink) as well as total ridership, today Los Angeles-Union Station is the busiest station west of Chicago, a far cry from the just 6 trains on the busiest day in the early 1970s with the creation of Amtrak, and has the 5th highest ridership of any train station nationally.

Page 1|Page 2|Page 3
1939 Station|Trains and Platforms|Gold Line|Red Line
union_station_trains1
Looking across at Metrolink F59PHI #877 and a Superliner Coach Beyond
14 April, 2006
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Metrolink F59PHI #876 in the older livery
14 April, 2006
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Metrolink F59PHI #844 is completely boxed in by trains
14 April, 2006
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Disembarking off the just arrived Coast Starlight and walking down the platform, passing an idling Surfliner
17 March, 2010
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Looking across to the various pink canopied platforms and trains beyond
18 March, 2010
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A little Los Angeles sign
18 March, 2010
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Metrolink F59PH #861 viewed from the Gold Line platform
19 March, 2010
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Two of the entrances from the platforms to the concourses below
24 March, 2011
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F59PHI #458 has just arrived on a Sufliner and the Coast Starlight is beyond waiting to board
19 February, 2012
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F59PHI #458 and a Superliner Dining Car
19 February, 2012
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Waiting for a San Bernardino Metrolink Train to arrive
20 June, 2013
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Guardian Cab Car #667 leads a train that will enter service for San Bernardino
20 June, 2013
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Guardian Cab Car #667 keeps entering
20 June, 2013
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The side of a branded bike car, all the windows wrapped
23 June, 2013
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Going down to the tunnel past Metrolink
23 June, 2013
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Stepping off just arrived #3, the Southwest Chief
26 June, 2013
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The baggage car is across from a gate and a Surfliner train
26 June, 2013
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The two locomotives P42 #116 led its by Amtrak long-distance standards fast trip from Chicago
26 June, 2013
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The other locomotive is P42 #131 a cart is beside it
26 June, 2013
1939 Station|Trains and Platforms|Gold Line|Red Line
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Last Updated: 19 July, 2013
All photos are by Jeremiah Cox
All histrocial dates unless otherwise noted come from: Edward J. Simburg, Railroad-Freeway, Agoura, CA: Yerba Seca Publications, 1998
This website is not allifiated with Metrolink (the SCRRA), there official website is here, or any other transit provider
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