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Metrolink's New Bike Cars 8/13/2011

by Chris Guenzler

Metrolink has started running bicycle cars on the Weekend Beach Trains. I decided on Saturday August 13, 2011 to try and catch one on them. My plan was to take Metrolink 653 from Santa Ana to Orange and wait for Metrolink 857 with a bike car if I get lucky. Here is some information about these new cars on Metrolink's Web Site.

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 I helped several passengers get Metrolink weekend passes. I crossed the pedestrian bridge and waited for Metrolink 653.

Surfliner 564 running late came into Santa Ana first this morning.

Metrolink 653 came into Santa Ana and I boarded for the four minute trip to Orange where I got off.

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

Metrolink 857 came into Orange and I boarded the Bike Car.

The Bike Car has this emblem on it so the Bikers know where the car is on the train. I started taking my pictures.

You can tell how they created the bike area. It says 18 bikes put I think maybe 24 or more could be put into it. Once I was done with my pictures, I walked back to the rear door to detrain at Santa Ana.

Metrolink 857 at Santa Ana before it heads to Oceanside. I returned to my house to write this story as I listened to this morning's Let's Talk Trains.