Caltrans Division of Rail, Amtrak, Southern California Regional Rail Authority and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority celebrated the opening of three new Los Angeles Union Station tracks and a platform to serve Amtrak and Metrolink passengers.
“Amtrak appreciates the efforts of this project’s partners, Caltrans and the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, along with the various private sector contractors and vendors,” said Mike Chandler, Amtrak General Superintendent Southwest Division. “The new tracks and platform are welcome improvements as they will enhance train operations at the station and benefit ever-growing numbers of passengers seeking to travel by rail.”
Passenger rail service has increased from six daily trains to 22 daily trains, since Caltrans began managing the Pacific Surfliner corridor.
“Train travel in California and nationwide has increased creating the need to restore three Los Angeles Union Station tracks and a platform meeting the demand for business and leisure travel, said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. Since Caltrans began financial support of the 351-mile Pacific Surfliner corridor between San Diego and San Luis Obispo in 1979, nearly $1 billion in state capital improvements have been realized.”
The three new tracks and platform, which were removed more than 35 years ago, were reestablished to serve the increasing train travel demand, which today surpasses that of World War II. Ridership on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, the second busiest corridor in the nation, has increased significantly in the last 10 years.
Los Angeles Union Station is the nation’s fifth busiest train station serving more than two million Amtrak and Metrolink passengers annually. New station tracks 13 and 14 and platform 7 will augment the existing tracks 3-12 which currently serve Amtrak national trains, Amtrak California’s the Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink service. Track 15 will be used as storage.
The project’s design maintained the stations historic architectural style and includes north and south stairways and accessible ramps that connect to the main passenger tunnel. Other enhancements include a new electronic passenger information system and energy efficient lighting renovations to the existing platform canopy.
The new track construction, which was managed by Metrolink, began in May 2011 and was complete in September 2012. The $23.5 million project was funded with $20.5 million in Proposition 1B, $2,656,000 in federal funds and $344,000 in local funds.