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Train Riders of California Metrolink Shop Tour 10/16/2005

by Chris Guenzler

The Train Riders of California held their conference at the Hilton Hotel near the Burbank Airport. On Saturday October 15, I rode with Carl Morrison of Trainweb to Burbank on Surfliner 763 on my way to Santa Barbara. Carl would cover all the meetings while I enjoyed a beautiful October day. On the way back on Surfliner 784, I met Carl at Burbank and he had set me up to take the Sunday Metrolink Shop Tour that the conference had offered. We returned Carl to Fullerton where Steve Grande of Trainweb was waiting with a new digital camera for me to use tomorrow on the tour.

Surfliner 763 10/16/2005

I drove down to the Santa Ana Amtrak Station and after I checked on my train status, I decided to share of few views of the construction taking place here. The new northbound platform is under way.

This view shows where the west tower of the future pedestrian bridge will connect with the existing building.

A few minutes later Surfliner 763 pulled into Santa Ana. It was a quick trip to LAUPT where we switched train crews. We stopped at Glendale and I had an idea for another picture.

The blue traps cover four of the wrecked Metrolink cars from a couple of major accidents. A few minutes later I detrained at the Burbank Airport Station now known as the Bob Hope Airport. My ride was not there and since the phone at the station did not work I decided to walk over to the Hilton hoping the tour group would still be there. In the lobby I found the group and I found Allen Miller who offered me a ride to the Metrolink Shops.

Metrolink Shop Tour 10/16/2005

We stopped at the Guard Shack to sign a list to enter Metrolink Shop Grounds. Once inside the grounds we drove over to the east side of the shop building. Here we met the rest of our small tour group and we went up to the second floor break room for a safety briefing prior to our visit.

Loren Gros of Metrolink, Michael McGinley Metrolink Director, Engineering and Construction and Craig Everly General Manager of Bombardier gave our tour group a safety briefing before answering questions. Metrolink uses 33 train sets for 144 trains on weekdays. Ridership is up over 3000 passengers from last year and is carrying over 41,000 per weekdays. The shops that we are about to tour have two shifts five day a week and a skeleton crew on Saturday. They have a staff of 150 people with a few at the overnight layover facilities. Almost all Metrolink trains pass through the maintenance yard here where they are watered, holding tanks dumped, cleaned and washed. Engines are refueled and sanded. A few trains like the San Bernardino to Oceanside train makes a single daily round trip so they get into the yard every second day. 90 Day brake overhauls and other light maintenance is also handled at the shops. The ongoing project is the replacement of seat cushions and carpeting on the original Metrolink cars. The shops have a wheel truing machine, drop pits and overhead cranes. The shops can handle most repairs but anything like wreck repair must be contracted out. This includes some of the wrecked cars from the accidents of the last few years. Nine cars have been lost from the roster due to accidents. The SD-60s that Metrolink bought used at a good price are used in work train service. Metrolink has two train sets and one engine leased from the Sounder of Seattle. Metrolink has now just leased four cars from the Altamont Commuter Express to help out with ridership increases. Future expansion will be from San Bernardino to the Omni Transit in that city. In the future that service would be expanded to Redlands using DMUs into San Bernardino with cross platform transfers to other Metrolink lines. Riverside County is working on new service to Perris on the old Santa Fe San Jacinto Branch. Service would start at Romoland and run into Los Angeles as 700 service. In Orange County, new service would be run between Laguna Niguel and Fullerton as shuttle trains every half hour. Once the questions were answered, we then started our tour of the Metrolink Shops.

Seating materials for the replacement of the original seats that came with the first batch of Metrolink Cars.

Replacement carpeting for those same cars. From here we walked into the Metrolink Shop.

Metrolink Coach 173.

The trucks of Metrolink Coach 173.

Metrolink Cab Car 622.

The spare Sounder Car for Seattle in the shop for some minor work. These cars must be run in consists by themselves.

Another Metrolink Coach rested in the Car Shop.

After we had toured the Car Shop, our group outside of the Diesel Shop.

Metrolink Engines outside of the Diesel Shop.

The Metrolink 800, lone operating F-40PH on the roster.

Inside of the Diesel Shop.

Our tour group.

Traction motors as our group looks on.

The raised inspection track.

The inside of a Metrolink engine. This concludes our Metrolink Shop Tour. After we all said thank you to our hosts, we car pooled over to Los Angeles Union Station. I would head home on Surfliner 774 and the rest would head to Riverside on a Sunday Metrolink Train.

Surfliner 774 10/16/2005

The Surfliner left LAUPT right on time and other than a red signal at Norwalk we headed home to Santa Ana arriving on time.

I walked around the train for a look from the north end of the future northbound platform.

A fond farewell to Conductor CJ right before Surfliner 774 headed south to San Diego. This ended yet another great day of train riding and a fantastic tour of the Metrolink Shops.