By Noel T. Braymer
The new June 6th Metrolink Timetable has been online for a few weeks. The latest timetable is primarily for the changes from the start up of new service from Perris in Riverside County on the now 91/Perris Valley Line. What was missing on this and all other Metrolink Timetables is information about connections between Metrolink trains to other destinations on the Metrolink network. This has been a failing of Metrolink from the start. Failure to promote and create connections limits the number of markets and people able to use Metrolink. Connections between services is just like getting free money. The airlines have known this for years. No commercial airliner flies without multiple connections to other planes at every airport a plane takes off or lands.
After some research on the June 6th Metrolink Timetable, I found some connections for passengers by making connections with other Metrolink trains at Los Angeles Union Station, Riverside and Fullerton to or from Riverside Co as far as Perris. These connections, like so many on Metrolink often seem to occur more by chance than design. Still they can be used and improved to make Metrolink more useful for travel in Southern California.
At Los Angeles Union Station for passengers from Riverside County can transfer to the Antelope Valley Line from the 91/Perris Valley Line (91/PV) weekdays from train 703 arriving in Los Angeles at 7:05 AM to Antelope Valley Line train 203 at 7:30 AM as far as Via Princessa Station. From the 91/PV Train 705 arriving in Los Angeles at 8:10 AM there are connections to train 205 at 8:25 AM to Lancaster. From the Antelope Valley to Riverside County the 218 from Via Princessa arrives at Los Angeles at 2:50 PM which connects with 91/PV train 702 leaving Los Angeles at 3:35 PM. Train 220 arrives in Los Angeles at 3:50 PM which connects to 91/PV train 704 leaving Los Angeles at 4:20 PM. Oddly train 222 arrives also at 4:20 PM. Train 224 arrives at 6:10 P:M which connects with 91/PV train 708 departing Los Angeles at 6:50 PM terminating at downtown Riverside.
For transfers from the 91/PV line to the Ventura Country Line weekdays, train 701 arrives in Los Angeles at 7:05 AM which connects to Ventura County line train 103 departing at 7:14 AM for Chatsworth. Train 701 also connects with Amtrak train 761 to San Luis Obispo leaving at 7;35 AM. For travel between Los Angeles and Oxnard train 761 accepts Metrolink tickets and makes all Metrolink stops. Train 703 arriving at 7:32 AM in theory could also connects with train 761. Train 705 arriving Los Angeles at 8:10 AM connects with train 905 departing at 8:30 AM to Bob Hope Airport. From Ventura County to Riverside County: train 116 arrives in Los Angeles at 3:33 PM and connect to train 702 departing at 3:35 PM. It is doubtful this is a planned connection. Train 904 from Bob Hope Airport arrives at 4:00 PM in Los Angeles which connects to 91/PV train 704 departing at 4:20 PM. Train 150 arrives at 5:30 PM while train 706 departs Los Angeles at the same time. Train 118 arrives in Los Angeles which does connect with train 708 departing Los Angeles at 6:50 PM.
At downtown Riverside there are some connections between the 91/PV line to the Inland Empire-Orange County Line (IE-OC). Train 701 from Perris arrives in downtown Riverside at 5:27 AM connecting with IE-OC train 805 departing Riverside at 5: 39 AM. This gives connections to Orange County from the Perris Valley. Train 805 misses a connections with train 701 which leaves Riverside 2 minutes before the 805. Train 807 arrives downtown Riverside at 6:16 AM which connects to train 705 departing Riverside at 6:32 AM. For connections from IE-OC trains to IE-PV: train 806 arrives Riverside at 4:57 PM connecting with train 702 departing Riverside at 5:03 PM.Train 808 arrives in downtown Riverside at 5:17 PM connecting with train 704 to Perris at 5:45 PM. Lastly train 812 arrives in Riverside at 6:37 PM for a 6:55 PM connection to train 706.
Connections with south Orange County to Riverside County are weak at Fullerton. From Riverside County train 705 arrives at 7:21 AM at Fullerton to make a connections with Orange County Line southbound train 682 at 7:25 AM for Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo. For travel from south Orange County to Riverside County its a little better. Train 609 from Oceanside arrives in Fullerton at 4:46 PM for a connection to 91/PV train 702 to Perris at 5:03 PM. Northbound train 689 from Irvine arrives in Fullerton at 5:46 PM connecting with train 706 at 6:04 PM.
I am not underestimating the difficulties of creating timetable schedules for passenger trains. In time many of these problems will if slowly be solved with increased double tracking, run through tracks at Los Angeles Union Station, increased safety at grade crossing or with grade separations and improved equipment maintenance for more reliable rail passenger service. But simple train connections not just within Metrolink, but also with Amtrak and Coaster Trains have been given lip service for years with little to show for it. We are long overdue for starting a system similar to what they have in Switzerland. In Switzerland it took years, but they have just one scheduled timetable for one hour that they use for every hour of service every day of the week. Called a memory schedule, passengers know the trains will come at the same time every day, every hour. No need to look at a timetable to know when a train is coming. As part of this, every train in Switzerland connects not just with other trains, but also with airports, buses, cog railroads, ferries and more, not just for travel within Switzerland, but to travel around the world. For now it looks like taking the train from Perris to the San Bernardino Line in San Bernadino County requires a detour to Los Angeles Union Station.