Who would have thought that in absolutely car crazed Southern California a commuter railroad could thrive. And thrive it does: Southern California's Metrolink has been around for 20 years now. It has defied NIMBYS and naysayers, surprising even it's most ardent supporters with it's success.
Metrolink (SCRRA) was started in 1992 when some far sighted individuals began to realize that Southern California highways were hopelessly snarled and that any relief from the traffic congestion would not be in the immediate future.
Metrolink started out with just 175 miles of track, serving 11 stations. Average daily ridership totalled about 2300. Today the service covers over 500 miles and sees an average daily passenger load of 41000. The railroad has seen a yearly rise of passenger numbers of about 16%. The increase in ridership has led to a chronic shortage of passenger cars. Thus Metrolink has had to lease coaches from other transit authorities. To alliviate this problem Metrolink ordered new cars from Hyundai Rotem. Starting in 2010 the new cars have been coming on line.
Metrolink service is popular and an increasing number of cities and municipalities have been clamoring to establish train service to their respective areas. Temecula and Palm Springs being only two of them.
Given the ever increasing road congestion in SoCal the future looks bright for several extensions of the Metrolink service. I wish them well!
All photos from Wikipedia Commons files.