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Metrolink's New Bicycle Cars 8/13/2011

by Chris Guenzler

Metrolink started running bicycle cars on the Weekend Beach Trains. On Saturday, August 13th, 2011, I decided to try and catch one on them with my plan being to ride Metrolink 653 from Santa Ana to Orange and wait for Metrolink 857 with a bicycle car if I was lucky.

Here is some information about these new cars on Metrolink's website.

Metrolink adds bike storage to rail cars 2011-08-12

As part of a pilot program, Metrolink will introduce its first two bicycle cars, passenger rail cars outfitted with space for at least 18 bicycles rather than two bicycles like Metrolink's other rail cars. The agency hopes this will encourage more bicyclists to take the train to their destination. To accommodate the additional bicycles, Metrolink crews removed 29 passenger seats from the bottom level of one of its rail cars, which traditionally seats up to 149 people. Metrolink used in-house resources to design and retrofit existing cars with additional storage for bicycles. The agency worked with bicycle advocates on the design, which was ultimately approved by the Federal Railroad Administration. Initially, Metrolink's bicycle cars will debut on the Inland-Empire line weekend beach trains, where the demand is highest for additional bicycle space. Bicycle cars can be identified by yellow decals on the outside of the rail car. Metrolink is prepared to add up to 10 additional bicycle cars to its fleet, depending on the success of the pilot program.

I drove down to the beautiful Santa Ana station and after helping several passengers get Metrolink weekend passes, I crossed the pedestrian bridge and waited for Metrolink 653.

A late-running Pacific Surfliner 564 arrived first this morning.

Metrolink 653 came in and I boarded for the four minute trip to Orange, where I detrained.

I went down through the tunnel and up to the west side where I waited for Metrolink 857 to arrive with the old Santa Fe Orange station in view.

Metrolink 857 arrived and I boarded the bicycle car.

The Bicycle Car has this emblem on it so cyclists know where the car is on the train and I started taking pictures.

You can tell how they created the bicycle area. It says 18 bicycles but I think maybe 24 or more could be store there. I then walked back to the rear door to detrain at Santa Ana.

Metrolink 857 at Santa Ana on its way to Oceanside. I returned to my house to write this story as I listened to this morning's Let's Talk Trains.