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Pomona - Downtown
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Pomona (Downtown) Southern Pacific Station, has been the suburban Los Angeles station on Amtrak's Sunset Limited (currently with through cars onto the Texas Eagle) since Amtrak's founding in 1971. The stop was supposed to be replaced by the Ontario Station, 6 miles east of this station, when this new station platform opened in 1991. The Amtrak timetables for the Sunset Limited in 1990 and under a previous unrealized proposal for a station near Ontario Airport between 1978 and 1983, all have notes that say "Service will be provided at Ontario, CA at a date to be announced. At that time service will be discontinued at Pomona, CA." In the end, Amtrak opened an Ontario station 6 miles away and Pomona kept its station. This is by far the shortest distance between stations on the Sunset Limited that averages 95 miles between stops. The next stop eastbound on Metrolink at East Ontario, is farther at 10 miles away. The Sunset Limited Line runs on the ex-Southern Pacific Sunset Line from here west into Union Station, following a different more northerly route, than the Riverside Line that includes passing through, on a non-platforming adjacent track, the El Monte Station on the San Bernardino Line.

Metrolink service came late on the Riverside Line to Pomona(-Downtown) and didn't open until February 5, 2001 as an infill station. For the first 8 years of the Riverside Line's operations trains skipped Pomona, and also passed 400 feet south of the Ontario Amtrak station (both stops on the long distance Sunset Limited) without stopping, which gave Riverside Line trains an 18 mile long gap between stations, all through an urban area. The main reason building a station on the Riverside Line in Pomona wasn't prioritized is the fact the Pomona(-North, now the station's name on Metrolink's timetables) station opened near the former Santa Fe Station (served by Amtrak from 1971 to 1994) on the San Bernadino Line on Metrolink's opening day in 1992, and is just 2.5 miles north of this station. The station's location in downtown Pomona also means that the city of Pomona charges commuters $2 per day (or $40 per month) to park in 700 spaces in downtown parking lots that surround the station, while parking at Pomona-North is free. The San Bernardino Line has significantly more all day and weekend service, and not just weekday peak hour, peak direction service on the Riverside Line.

The historic Pomona Station was built in 1940 in the Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Styles with stucco walls and a Spanish tiled roof. The station is still in transit use and is part of the Pomona Transit Center with Foothill Transit operating a store and keeping the historic wooden benches with an ornate wooden ceiling open to rail and bus passengers. North of the depot is a bus loop with a central bus platform and 12 bus stops.

The platform area consists of 3 tracks, the northern track 1 is used by the Sunset Limited, the center track is unused but some Riverside Line trains used it from 2001 until 2006, when reverse-peak service was reduced, the south, track 3 is where all Metrolink trains currently board. Each track has it's own platform and they are all offset from each other. Track 1 for the Sunset Limited consists of a short platform that begins at the grade-crossing of Main Street and runs east, it's designed to be gated off but the gates were open when I visited (the Sunset Limited had recently stopped) and ends near the pedestrian bridge. Track 3 has a side platform that begins east of the Main Street grade-crossing and runs east along 1st street, including over the underpass (that crosses beneath the railroad line) of Gary Avenue. Track 2 has a platform along it's southern side that begins near where the platform for track 1 ends, running the farthest east also crossing over Gary Avenue. This platform (which had no canopies for waiting passengers) was fenced in from Track 3, and is now fully gated off with its only entrance via a pedestrian grade-crossing over Track 3.

A pedestrian bridge with decorative elevator towers painted in the same stucco color as the station, including circulator green roofs connects the Track 3 platform with a landing just beyond track 1 east of the historic depot. This pedestrian bridge is fully enclosed with mesh walls. The pedestrian bridge is stratigically placed on the west side of Gary Avenue with the elevators continuing down to the west sidewalks of Gary Avenue, each having three landings, staircases also lead down to Gary Avenue in these appoximate areas, just beyond the bridge. When I visited in 2004 (during regular Metrolink Service hours) the pedestrian was completely closed and abandoned, all entrances were fenced off, the elevators clearly hadn't been used or maintained for a few years.

Platform amenities in Pomona are unique and minimal, the Track 3 platform has the station's only canopies with 4 and are stucco colored with ornate columns and curved roofs. Two even have lettering for Downtown Pomona. Platform signs on all 3 platforms are both in the simple Metrolink style and say Pomona, with Amtrak adding a number of modern 2009 signs that read Pomona, CA. Amtrak has also installed a brown wheelchair lift enclosure not on the platform for track 3 that the Sunset Limited uses (but doesn't need since Superliners use on-board wheelchair ramps) but on track 1, the platform used by Metrolink. The Amtrak platform has a Thank you for Riding Amtrak information panel with the Sunset Limited's schedule.
Photos 1-34 taken on February 26, 2012

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Last Updated: 20 April, 2020
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
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