Friday, March 15, 2013

Amtrak and Capitol Corridor ridership drop in February

February's information is now available from LOSSAN.

The Capitol Corridor has now had its ridership decline result in a revenue decline as well, but Amtrak posted a healthy 6% increase in revenue for February. An update is also provided on the Coast Daylight service which I will simply quote here.

There are many challenges with starting this new service including the estimated $68 million capital cost. Amtrak has offered to provide equipment once operational details have been developed. The biggest challenge is reaching agreement with Union Pacific (UP). If there is not agreement in the near future, SLOCOG plans to approach the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in conjunction with Amtrak for assistance.
I don't think I can really add enough emphasis to those last lines, that's a big line to cross in order to provide extra rail service, though there is precedent for it in previous actions (California and Amtrak apparently having had to sue Southern Pacific in order to extend the San Diegans north to Santa Barbara).

Another worthy item, this time from the draft LOSSAN Corridorwide Facilities, Equipment, & Operations Inventory.

BNSF has stipulated in their agreement that, upon completion of the triple-track project between Fullerton Junction and Redondo Junction, Amtrak is allowed 34 intercity train slots daily over the BNSF territory. Two of these slots however are reserved for Amtrak's Southwest Chief between Los Angeles and Chicago (one train consuming two slots).

With 11 round trips between San Diego and Los Angeles today, I don't believe that there's much call to add additional service beyond simply extending 761/1761 to start from San Diego rather than Los Angeles on its way to San Luis Obispo. A 5:00am departure, arriving in Los Angeles around 7:40-7:45am, should be able to pick up a fair amount of traffic, though it has the potential to run into COASTER and Metrolink traffic. For the most part, I think that the use of these slots should be handed over to Metrolink for increased service, especially evening and late night service, as well as extending some of the Laguna Niguel-Fullerton trains to Los Angeles.


Pacific Surfliner +4.8%
Coast Starlight +9.6%
Capital Corridor -8.2%
San Joaquin +2.2%
Amtrak -0.6%
Metrolink -3.3%
Coaster -3.6%


Pacific Surfliner +11.7%
Coast Starlight +8.6%
Capital Corridor -3.8%
San Joaquin +5.4%
Amtrak +6.0%

On time performance

LOSSAN-North 89.6%
LOSSAN-South 90.7%
LOSSAN Overall 91.0%
Metrolink OC 95.7%
Metrolink VC 98.3%
Coaster 98.6%


  1. Why does the South West Chief use two slots per train?

    1. One inbound, one outbound, or at least so I presume.

  2. There is no way Amtrak is going to "hand over" those extra 10 slots to Metrolink. It might *lend* them to Metrolink, but the residual value is too high to "hand them over". Metrolink is guaranteed a number of slots as part of the three-tracking project *too*.

    Part of the plan has always been to relocate the Sunset Limited to BNSF from Colton Crossing westward to get it off the busiest part of the UP tracks -- as well as to make it daily -- so this would only leave 8 extra slots, or 4 round-trips. The Pacific Surfliner expansion plans will, sooner or later, need those extra round trips and use most of those slots.

    Perhaps when CAHSR Phase II is built, 30 years from now, some slots will become excess and can be sold to Metrolink.

    1. ...note that the extension you yourself suggested already eats up one of those four round trips. Only 3 round trips left....


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