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AMTRAK’S PACIFIC SURFLINER ROUTE Five Years Old
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Report and photos, cxcept where noted, by Carl@TrainWeb.com, June 1, 2005.
(Double-click selected pictures for a double-sized view, click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

AMTRAK’S PACIFIC SURFLINER ROUTE

“CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF EASY GOING”

Ridership Will Hit 10 Million Passengers In June, 2005


OAKLAND, Calif. – On June 1, 2005, California and Amtrak celebrated “five years of easy going” aboard the terrifically popular Pacific Surfliner.  Scenic views, great destinations, frequent service, modern equipment, and stress-free travel are the five top reasons why the soon-to-be-five Pacific Surfliner is the most popular train in the West.
 
“In addition to the top five reasons, the success of the Pacific Surfliner can also be attributed to the strong partnership among the State of California, Metrolink, Coaster, local convention and visitors’ bureaus, public agencies and communities along the route,” said Barbara Richardson, vice president of Amtrak marketing and sales.  “Because of their support, the Pacific Surfliner’s ridership continues to soar.”

“Caltrans, Amtrak and Metrolink have enjoyed five strong years of operation,” said Will Kempton, Director, California Department of Transportation.  “Thanks to our partnership, we have been able to provide more rail travel opportunities on the busy Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo corridor and that has helped to relieve congestion on Highway 101.”

Formerly known as the San Diegan, the Pacific Surfliner has served nearly 9.8 million passengers since the new service was launched in June of 2000 and is expected to reach 10 million passengers next month.  Ridership on the route has increased 52% since FY99, when Amtrak and the State of California invested in new train sets equipment.

Equipment/On Board Experience

    The Pacific Surfliner equipment enables passengers to travel to their destinations in a comfortable and scenic environment.  Passengers can relax in wide comfortable seats, look out the large panoramic windows and take advantage of on-board bicycle and surfboard storage racks.  Business and leisure travelers can use outlets for laptop computers at every seat pair in Pacific Business Class.  All trains are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Frequencies

    With 11 daily round trips (12 on weekends) between Los Angeles and San Diego, five extending to Santa Barbara and two extending to San Luis Obispo there are many options for train travelers.  An additional round trip between Los Angeles and Goleta was added on May 25, 2002.  The latest round trip was added on November 17, 2004 to San Luis Obispo.

Destinations

There are many great destinations to visit along the Pacific Surfliner route including:

* Los Angeles – Union Station is located across the street from Olvera Street, an historic Mexican marketplace.

* Anaheim – The station is located across the parking lot from Angel Stadium, and two miles from Disneyland Resort, Disney California Adventure theme parks and Downtown Disney.
 
* San Luis Obispo – A popular destination with plenty to see such as Hearst Castle, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Edna Valley and Paso Robles wine regions, and Thursday night Farmer's Market. 

* Santa Barbara – A perfect weekend getaway with sites within walking distance from the train station including the State Street shopping district, Stearns Wharf and the beach. 

* San Diego – Fun for the whole family with attractions like Balboa Park, Sea World“, Seaport Village, the Midway Carrier Museum and the World Famous San Diego Zoo“.

Scenery

    There is no shortage of scenic views on the Pacific Surfliner route.  The Pacific Surfliner hugs the Pacific coastline allowing passengers to view beaches, surfers, dolphins and amazing sunsets from the panoramic windows aboard the train.

Rail 2 Rail

Due to the popularity of the service, Amtrak and Metrolink launched the Rail 2 Rail program in September 2002 allowing Metrolink monthly pass holders (Orange County or Ventura County Lines) to ride any Pacific Surfliner train or Amtrak bus within the trip limits of their pass for no additional charge.  In April 2004, Amtrak announced the inclusion of the North San Diego County Transit District (NCTD) and its Coaster trains to the Rail 2 Rail program. 

About Amtrak

Amtrak provides intercity passenger rail services to more than 500 destinations in 46 states on a 22,000-mile route system.  For schedules, fares and information, passengers may call 800-USA-RAIL or visit www.amtrak.com.

About California Department of Transportation

The California Department of Transportation partners with Amtrak to provide service on three intercity rail corridors in California.  Through a $75-million-per-year annual state operating assistance program and the largest capital assistance program in the nation, the State's Division of Rail supports service between the Bay Area and Sacramento on the Capitol Corridor, between San Francisco/Oakland and Bakersfield on the San Joaquins and, in Southern California, between San Diego and San Luis Obispo via Los Angeles and Santa Barbara on the Pacific Surfliner.  The California Corridors, operated under the partnership banner Amtrak California, are the busiest in the nation behind the Washington - Boston Northeast Corridor.

About Metrolink

Metrolink is Southern California's regional commuter rail service and is in its 13th year of operations.  The Southern California Regional Rail Authority, 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 continues to be one of the nation's fastest growing commuter rail services, operating over seven routes through a six-county network with 512 total route miles.

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner corridor extends 347 miles, through 32 cities and six counties from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.  There are 11 daily round-trips between San Diego-Los Angeles (12 on weekends), with five daily round-trips continuing north to Santa Barbara, with two roundtrips extending to San Luis Obispo.

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Center-of-car seating (above left), Business Class seating (above right).

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Business class seating (above left), Lower-Level seating (above right).
   
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Coach Seating (above).


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Northbound Surfliner on the bluffs just south of Del Mar

--Seven Photos above text provided by Sarah Swain, Amtrak

WHAT:       Event to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Pacific Surfliner service    
         
WHEN:       Wednesday - June 1, 2005 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE:    Anaheim Amtrak Station, 2150 E. Katella Avenue, Anaheim

WHO:       Amtrak, California Department of Transportation & the City of Anaheim


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Invited speakers:

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*Chris Norby, County Supervisor & OCTA Board Member




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* Gil Mallery, Vice President, Strategic Planning & Contract Admin. - Amtrak

Gil gave special thanks to the employees of the Pacific Surfliner, who have made the Surfliner the success that it is.  This corridor is the 2nd largest in the US in passengers.  He also mentioned that 5 years ago the name of these trains was changed from San Diegans to Surfliners and accommodations were made on each car for surfboards and bicycles.  He said there has been a 52% increase in ridership, and in June the 10 millionth rider will board the train.
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* Richard Chavez, Mayor Pro Tem – City of Anaheim

Mr. Chavez mentioned that there will be 10,000 residential units added near the Anaheim Amtrak Station.
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* Art Brown, Chair - LOSSAN & Metrolink Board of Directors

Mr. Brown mentioned that the Rail to Rail program provides passengers with more choices, such as the ability to return to their home station during the day, before the Metrolinks start evening service.  He mentioned that OCTA will provide $20 million for improvement of grade crossings.  A pedestrian bridge is to be added at Santa Ana.
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* Charles Ahlers, President – Anaheim Convention & Visitors Bureau

Mr. Ahlers stressed that the Pacific Surfliners are not only convenient for trips to Los Angeles and San Diego, but for Angels baseball fans to get to the games at the Anaheim stadium just across the parking lot from the station where today's ceremonies are being held.
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* Frank Murphy, Transport Director of Business Development - ALSTOM

ALSTOM built the original Surfliner trainsets.  They also build the TCB trains used in Europe and Asia.  He worked with Gil Mallery to develop the Surfliner trainsetss.  The designers dubbed the combination cab car and baggage car the "Cabbage Car."  Early designers suggested a second-level restroom, something that was sorely needed on earlier double-level Amtrak coaches, which are still being used on the Coast Starlight.  Gil later mentioned that it takes 24 to 36 months to build the Surfliner cars.
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* Claire Bilby, Senior Vice President - Disneyland Resorts.

"Our guests take the train to Disneyland, which is 50 years old this year."  Claire also mentioned that when Walt Disney first drew the cartoon character, Mickey Mouse, he was on a train.  

Mickey Mouse brought a proclamation from Toontown to be read by Ms. Bilby.
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* Will Kempton, Director - California Department of Transportation

He stressed that this Amtrak corridor is the 2nd busiest in the U.S.    The next half decade passengers per year should increase to 3.5 million.  A Platinum Trianle  is being developed in the Anaheim Area.
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* Tom Mulligan works with the dispatchers in from Omaha, NB.
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Presentations were made in honor of the Pacific Surfliner's 5th Anniversary by:



*  Bill Ray representing Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
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* Shawn Norris representing Congressman Ed Royce
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* George Jordan representing State Assemblyman Juan Vargas
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* Richard Phelps, General Superintendent and Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Employees

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Conductor George Raney spoke in behalf of the
original Surfliner employees.
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Gil Mallery gave each presenter a large copy of the Surfliner's 5th anniversary celebration logo:



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Visitors from the south boarded the next
Pacific Surfliner to retun home.

The report and photographs from the earlier celebration of the 5 millionth rider on the Pacific Surfliner can be seen at:

http://trainweb.org/Carl/




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