Metro projects helping improve commuter rail service in San Fernando Valley

There has been a nice variety of commuter rail projects in the San Fernando Valley on Metro Board agendas in recent months, including one that was approved today to add a new pedestrian bridge for the Metrolink station at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

To help provide a bigger view of projects that Metro is helping plan, fund and coordinate, here is a quick list:

•A pedestrian bridge between Bob Hope Airport and the existing Metrolink station along Empire Avenue. The bridge will also connect to the airport’s new Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, that will include bus stops and a rental car facility. Metro staff report

•A new station to serve Bob Hope Airport along Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line. This will allow both Metrolink lines in the San Fernando Valley — the Antelope Valley Line and the Ventura County Line — to provide service to and from Bob Hope Airport. Earlier Source post

•A second track  for 6.5 miles approximately from Woodley to DeSoto streets along the Ventura County Line. This will help eliminate a long-standing bottleneck in the Valley and increase capacity of trains along the Ventura County Line. Staff report

•A new center platform between the two tracks at Van Nuys station and a pedestrian under-crossing to help passengers reach the new platform. This will provide service to both existing mainline tracks rather than the existing single track service. Staff report

There is another project in the works that will benefit all Metrolink riders: Metro is planning to eliminate a long-standing bottleneck at Union Station that requires all trains to enter and exit the station via tracks on the north side of the facility. It currently takes trains about 15 minutes of turn-around time because of the current track configuration.

Metro’s Southern California Regional Interconnector Project (known as SCRIP) would allow trains to enter and exit the station via its south side by running four tracks over the 101 freeway and connecting to the existing tracks along the Los Angeles River. In other words, trains would be able to enter and exit the station in either direction.

There are several benefits. The turnaround time of trains would be greatly reduced, increasing capacity by 40 percent to percent and allowing trains to get into and out of the station more efficiently. Also, the reduction of idling times for locomotives will decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

The SCRIP tracks would also improve train capacity at Union Station by 40 to 50 percent and, equally important, allow trains to get into and out of the station more quickly. That should benefit all Metrolink and Amtrak riders in the future.

Metro’s Regional Rail team is looking at other projects in the SFV that will better serve Metrolink customers increase safety and mobility. More projects are planned for the area such as additional double tracking and grade crossing enhancements.



5 replies

  1. Steve, can you provide an update on the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor?

    They said that they were going to have public updates in Spring 2014 and then about a month ago they sent out an email saying that public meeting won’t happen until 2015.

    Whats going on and why the delays to update the public. A coincidence or not, Metro also changed the plan from the last public meeting by adding an option for a low floor Tram to the mix of options that they are studying. All of these changes for a project that was supposed to be aiming for 2018.

  2. Meanwhile Metro continues to take the valley on a perpetual ride by not expanding rail service along van nuys blvd. The formentioned updates are all a cleverly crafted illusion to conceal Metro’s lack of leadership and progress on the issue facing valley residents.

  3. You forgot to mention that the SCRIP project will also allow Metrolink lines to be combined so that you have continuous service through downtown. For example, the Orange County Line could be combined with the Antelope Valley Line, or the San Bernardino Line with the Ventura Line, allowing one-seat rides (no transfers) between Oceanside and Lancaster, San Bernardino and Ventura, etc.

  4. Metro should be proud of Jay Furhmann and Don Sepulveda. Specially with Don Sepulveda. Ever since he come on board. Don has really revitalize the Rail program at Metro. Between Don and Jay. They really have done out standing work for Metro’s Rail problem.

  5. Meanwhile, Metro underfunds Metrolink’s rehabilitation budget, resulting in delayed or deferred maintenance on track, locomotives, and passenger cars, and reduces future reliability and on-time performance. So one hand giveth with new projects, the other hand taketh away. (page 8)

    “At its meeting on June 16, 2014, Metro Finance, Budget and Audit Committee approved
    the budgeted operating subsidy as transmitted by SCRRA and reduced the rehabilitation
    budget from the $16.375 million to $8.0 million. Because this budget reduction will impact
    all other member agencies and third party projects, the total rehabilitation projects
    removed from the FY15 Budget will be $17.0 million. The list of projects that will not start
    in FY15 as a result of this action are listed in the proposed budget document, starting on
    page 88. This may also have an adverse impact on FY15 Operating Budget since more
    staff time will be charged to operations instead of rehabilitation projects.”