On Feb. 15, Amtrak will be trying something new: a morning express train from San Diego to Los Angeles Union Station that will make the journey in two hours and 28 minutes — about 12 to 17 minutes faster than regular travel times that typically take two hours, 40 minutes. Downtown L.A. and San Diego are 120 miles apart.
Here’s the announcement, via Amtrak’s website:
With less stopping and more going, Amtrak California’s new Pacific Surfliner San Diego to Los Angeles Express (SD to LA) service will help make your commute a little easier to take.
The new SD to LA Express Train (563) begins pulling out of the station on Tuesday, February 15, 2011, and will operate Monday through Friday.
Express Train 563 replaces weekday Train 565 with fewer stops along the corridor. The Express Train departs San Diego’s Santa Fe Depot at 7:05 a.m. with stops in Solana Beach, Oceanside, Irvine, and Anaheim, before arriving at Los Angeles Union Station at 9:33 a.m.
Please note: Unlike Train 565, the new Express Train will no longer stop in San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Niguel-Mission Viejo, Santa Ana, Orange and Fullerton. Train 565 will continue to operate on Saturdays and Sundays (only) with no change in service.
In addition, Metrolink Orange County Line Train 687 will depart Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo at 8:33 a.m. instead of 8:20 a.m., arriving at Los Angeles Union Station at 9:55 a.m.
As the website notes, the express train is a pilot program being overseen by Amtrak, Caltrans (which funds Amtrak in California) and the transportation agencies along the route.
It will be very interesting to see how riders respond. The L.A.-San Diego corridor is one of Amtrak’s busiest in the country, but Amtrak trains have to share the corridor with freight trains and commuter rail and there are long stretches of single track.