Metrolink’s 2011 year in review

A Metrolink train in Fullerton in 2009. Photo by SP8254, via Flickr creative commons.

The commuter rail agency partially funded by Metro issued the news release today, looking back at accomplishments in the past year. Among those: a six percent increase in ridership.

The release:

Metrolink’s 2011 Accomplishments Position Agency for Success in 2012

Agency will celebrate 20 years of operation in 2012

Los Angeles – 2011 was a year of growth, innovation and safety leadership for Metrolink, Southern California’s commuter rail agency and the only transportation provider that serves all five counties in the region. In 2012, as Metrolink moves into its 20th year of operation, the agency is ready to build on its accomplishments to operate the safest rail system in the US and provide more transportation options to commuters in one of the most congested regions in the nation.

2011 was a year when Metrolink solidified its role as a leader in railroad safety through leadership and inclusion. Working with stakeholders, Metrolink strengthened relationships with our customers, federal and state safety regulators, rail unions, contractors and trade associations.

“I’m proud of this agency’s improvements in safety and customer service over the past year,” said Metrolink Board Chairman Richard Katz. “Moving into 2012, Metrolink is prepared to play a more prominent role in meeting Southern California’s mobility needs by providing affordable transportation options that are safe, reliable and convenient.”

January — Metrolink started the year with new passenger rail cars (our Guardian Fleet) equipped with technology that diverts energy away from passengers in the event of an incident. The seatbacks are higher to provide enhanced safety for riders. Metrolink also partnered with San Manuel Indian Casino to offer Southern Californians free shuttles, with a Metrolink ticket, from the San Bernardino Metrolink Station to the casino. This became one of Metrolink’s most popular promotions to date.

February – Metrolink trains began traveling more quietly at crossings in Orange County, thanks to an $85 million investment by the Orange County Transportation Authority to upgrade warning devices at rail crossings. In quiet zones, no train horns are required where there are additional enhanced safety measures at the crossings.

March – Metrolink offered promotional train service to Los Angeles Dodgers’ and Anaheim Angels’ weekday home games. Metrolink also announced a safety partnership with USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering to develop a first in the nation safety-training curriculum teach the agency’s approach to safety leadership.

April – Metrolink worked with school districts to coordinate safe, affordable and reliable transportation on regularly scheduled trains to proms at Los Angeles Union Station for over 1,500 high school students on their prom night.

May – Metrolink added 16 new trains, including pilot late night service and express trains on the Antelope Valley and San Bernardino lines. The express trains could save a daily commuter an hour a day or five hours a week, giving them more time to spend with their family, friends or doing the things they love. Due to the success of the Express Train pilot program, the Board approved continuing these trains as part of Metrolink’s regular service.

June – State trial court ruled in favor of Metrolink’s pioneering inward-facing camera program, supporting the initiative to enhance safety by installing cameras facing inward in locomotives.

Over 5,803 people took advantage of Metrolink’s value priced train promotional service to the U2 concert in Anaheim.

The Board of Directors approved and adopted Metrolink’s budget, which included 14% more train service and safety additions, without increasing fares for our customers.

July –  Metrolink hosted a national rail safety summit in partnership with the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering. Class 1 rail carriers, rail unions, the National Safety Transportation Board, Federal Railroad Administration, California Public Utilities Commission, American Public Transportation Association, Association of American Railroads and other commuter operators, including LA Metro, Amtrak and North County Transit District participated in the two-day workshop which focused on how to “lead people safely” in the railroad industry.

In addition, Metrolink launched its new $10 Weekend Pass, added a 10% student discount, and experienced record ridership over the weekend of the I-405 closure.

Metrolink also started to relocate its customer engagement representatives onto the trains from train stations and platforms as part of its Customer On-board Assistance Team (COAT) program.

For the first time in its history, Metrolink traveled south of Oceanside into San Diego County with its summer promotional service to the horse races in Del Mar.

August – Metrolink, in partnership with the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, conducted the first-ever “Leading People Safely” two-day formal safety course. Designed specifically for Metrolink, over 50 employees and contractors participated in the course, which took place on the USC campus.

Metrolink’s plans to implement Positive Train Control (PTC) ahead of the federal mandate received a boost when the agency received $46.3 million dollars in funds to support the installation of the new rail safety technology. Metrolink will be the first commuter rail agency in the country with this life-saving technology.

September – Passengers who prefer a peaceful commute were delighted when Metrolink launched the new Quiet Cars on weekday trains across the system.

October – Metrolink introduced 10 Bike Cars into service in time for CicLAvia. Bike cars accommodate over 20 bicycles instead of two, like other rail cars. This helps public transportation users travel to the train station and from the train station to their destination, and back.

November – Metrolink wrapped the exterior of two of its new Bike Cars with shiny vinyl designs to let commuters know that there is more space for bicycles, helping solve the first-and-last-mile obstacle of public transportation.  Metrolink re-launched its annual promotional Holiday Toy Express. This year, by partnering with cities to fund the initiative, Metrolink was able to increase the number of stops from last year, hosting a record number of attendees in the station communities.

December – Caltrans and Metrolink teamed up to display train travel times on electronic messaging signs on Orange County freeways, highlighting the time savings a driver can achieve by taking a train, instead of driving during peak hours.

As a result of the agency’s efforts, Metrolink ridership has grown by approximately 6% in 2011. Employee injuries have also been reduced due to the agency’s laser focus on safety.

“It has been an honor to lead such a talented staff. Our focus on people, safety, growth, quality and efficiency has led to agency-wide improvement,” said Metrolink CEO John Fenton. “We’ve built a solid foundation and will continue to grow as an agency in 2012.”

For more information on Metrolink service and schedules, please visit


Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 19th year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the seventh largest based on annual ridership.

7 replies

  1. @Ciacci: #2 it’s unlikely that all routes will be electrified, especially by 2015, but the ones with the highest chance would be a straighten and fully double or triple tracked Antelope Valley Line, the San Bernardino Line, and the Orange County Line.
    #3 the OC Line already has hourly service 7 days a week 365 days a year, it’s called Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, the Metrolink OC Line only augments its service (to every 30 minutes) during peak commuter hours

    @Mitch Bart: BNSF and UP own nearly all of the tracks Metrolink and Amtrak share, some kind of deal would have to be cut with the freight railroad owners (similar to when the government makes a deal to double or triple track a segment for Metrolink)

    @James Fujita: Of all the lines I think the most heavily used would benefit most from electrification because of lower energy cost. In terms of freight interruption the OC Line is the furthest along with the most double, triple, and even quadruple track segments. The San Bernardino County Line right of way is too narrow to accommodate full extent double track, as it is its basically a single track with about 8 long double track sidings, to fix that would require some emminent domain land take and widening the 10 freeway segment.

  2. While I am all for electrification, someone had brought up the point to me that double tracking is of more importance which i agree. Parts of the SB Line are STILL one track which is outrageous. OC Line has one track parts that create for less service. All Lines (Minus RV Line, that one is not of importance for tracking) should be double tracked, then SB line can be electrified as that line most resembles Caltrain Plus if i recall a good portion of the line belongs to Metrolink.

  3. It would be expensive to electrify Metrolink, but there is no reason why Metrolink can’t be electrified.

    Some of the routes have more freight interference than others, and I would not attempt to electrify all of Metrolink at once. Start with the ones with the least amount of freight.

    But certainly Amtrak runs electrics in the Northeast Corridor. You can even run diesel locomotives under the electric wires if necessary.

  4. There is not a snowflake’s chance in hell that Metrolink will be electrified by 2015. Maybe 2025 at the earliest.

  5. It’s unlikely MetroLink will ever be in a position to electrify, unlike Caltrain in the San Francisco Bay Area (which is a primed for electrification) MetroLink shares most of its tracks with Amtrak and freight service which will is also diesel locomotive and will never be electrified.

  6. 1) When will Metrolink have some time to wash the windows on the carriages, they are always so filthy with dried water marks and dust every time I board, what does it take to get a clean window? Water softener and some elbow grease?

    2) Also I would like to see before 2015 when Metrolink can implement electrification on all routes.

    3) When can Metrolink implement hourly service 7 days a week on the Orange County line and 1/2 hour service on the Burbank Airport line, make a flat rate to Burbank Airport $7 and reduce face to Downtown Burbank $2.00 one way.