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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » LA Union Station Crowds

   
Author Topic: LA Union Station Crowds
ScottC4746
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When I was at Union Station around lunch today they were packed, not a seat left. I am hoping it is a sign of more people taking to the rails, but I also think it might have something to do with holiday travel too.
Posts: 89 | From: Redondo Beach, CA | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
smitty195
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Not really unusual. It's crowded there every weekday. Ever try walking through the tunnels when a Metrolink train comes in around 6PM?
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amtraxmaniac
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Not to mention the Red and Gold Lines. Union Station is LA's transpotation hub. I think its fair to say Scott that Amtrak California is healthy and an example of how the trend seems to be leaning towards corridor trains and regional rail. California, The Midwest, and The Northeast Corridor are healthy. I'm not sure that's the case for the rest of the U.S. Keep in mind that all except 3 of Union Station's trains (The Chief, The Starlight, and The Sunset) are either state or locally run.

BTW-does anyone remember how amtrak ran a number of San Diegans (now Surfliners) on short runs to Orange County prior to Metrolink back in the late 80's? On that nostalgic sidenote, I miss the old amfleet cars and F40's.

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Gilbert B Norman
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To consider where Southern California rail passenger service has come since A-Day, on May 1, 1971 LA-SD was "two and a third a day", service to Santa Barbara was "one a day", and the San Joaquin bus connections, along with any train, simply "weren't'. That comprised two San Diegans plus the Tri Weekly Starlight which was Daily LA-Oakland. The Incorporators built two "anomalies' into the Basic System; one was Seattle-San Diego through Coach, Sleeper and Diner service, and the other was NY-Kansas City comprising same. Neither had a particularly great life span.

One of these days, I just might have to "come on out' (likely by air) and see for myself what the strongest Local passenger rail initiative has wrought. When I was last out during May 1991, LAUPT was home to maybe "ten a day' - same line up of LD's as today with the rest being San Diegans. Metrolink simply "wasn't'. In short the metamorphosis of LAUPT as I knew it to LAUS and a functional mass transportation hub can only be viewed as positive and recognition of what passenger rail transport is all about in the 21st century. Hat's off to California as likely the only local jurisdiction initiating 'from scratch" a meaningful level of service.

Today, my encounters with LAUS are pretty much confined to viewing the various TV productions filmed in the apparently now off limits Ticket Office/Waiting Room. Most recent was an episode of the CBS Crime-Drama "Cold Case' (Sun 9PM ET) in which the facility became "20th St Station" (yup, 20th not 30th), in Phila.

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Railroad Bob
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quote:
Originally posted by amtraxmaniac:
On that nostalgic sidenote, I miss the old amfleet cars and F40's.

+++1 for me too on this one. I have never been able to sleep or get very comfortable in the "pre-formed seat pans" of the dark blue Surfliner cars, compared to the 'Fleets that a-maniac just mentioned. Yes, the windows were smaller, etc. but I have always felt the Amfleets had more of a "train-like" feel to them in the way they ran over the rails, when you walked between the cars, etc. Going back even farther, how about the 60s era San Diegans that ran the warbonnet Alco "PAs" with 3 or 4 fluted stainless steel cars? Riding in one of those, growling down the Surf Line on the bluffs below Del Mar in a setting summer sun was pretty fine for a young teen guy that liked trains! And about LAUS, it's wonderful to see the place reliving its old glories in 2009! Whod'a thunk it? [Wink]
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sbalax
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In addition to the Metrolink and Amtrak LD and Surliner service don't forget the Metro Gold, Red and Purple Lines. They generate quite a bit of traffic through the building.

Mr. Norman--

Yes, the ticketing area is pretty much off limits although not blocked off so much that you can't get a good look and a few pictures.

What I would really like to see is someone with a good idea for using the "Restaurant" area which I'm assuming was run by the Fred Harvey folks. I've been told it's used on occasion for catered events but most of the time it's empty and rather forlorn looking.

Every time I pass through LAUPT or have the chance to just look around I spot something different and new. Has anyone else noticed the small (maybe 5"x7") metal boxes on the sidewalls? They do have a fold down panel and I've been told that a crank can be used to adjust the venetian blinds high up on the side wall windows.

Frank in cool but clear SBA

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ScottC4746
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When we arrived at 6 am for our train to San Diego, I think there were more homeless and less passangers. The public bathrooms as you can imagine were horrible. Cold all over the station. I think part of that is the tunnel leading to the tracks is all open, they had several doors open and when the Red/Purple (combined at Union Station) pulls in, there is a door leading to the subway near the waiting area, pushes cold air from the subway in.
BTW $14 all day parking with a sign that says no overnight parking. For day trips, FUL would be better, but no overnight parking (2a - 5a is no parking).

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Railroad Bob
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Since we're "waxing nostalgic" about LAUS/LAUPT in this thread, I dug out an old LAUPT Rule Book issued by the Southern Pacific Trans. Company, dated 4/1/84 from my pile of RR memorablia, and found the following two interesting rules in there:

LAUPT Rule (D): Steam generators must not be "blown down" by operating employees within limits of Terminal.

LAUPT Rule (F-2): Conductor will immediately push train starter button, after which he will signal the Engineer to proceed.

I know Chicago Union Stat'n. still uses the "train starter button" system, but I'll bet few knew LA had these also in the past...and as to blowing down the steam gen's, if you've ever seen it done, it was a beautiful sight, esp. on a cold day! A veritable "geyser of white" blasting into the heavens!

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RRRICH
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My best memory of the "old" LAUPT was the neat little railroad shop they had there back in the 70's and 80's -- I believe it was located near where the current "Coast Starlight departure lounge" is -- the old RR shop had all kinds of RR memorabilia in it, plus a huge selection of those old "Vanishing Vista" postcard-sized prints with pictures of classic trains, which I used to collect. Several of those old pictures are now framed and hanging throughout our house.
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RR4me
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Unfortunately, I have no old memories of LAUS, as I never visited until 2004. But when there now, I like to sit in those big chairs and people watch, and the bustle can bring a wistful daydream of how it might have used to be. Although I don't see people dressed for travel the way Nick and Nora did!
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amtraxmaniac
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A lot of homeless folks? Wow!! Every time I've been at Union Station at odd hours, the security were gustapo. I got barked at for sitting against a wall rather than a seat. From about sundown to sun up, they thoroughly comb the station for ANYONE without a ticket and they aren not afraid to call LA County Sheriff out to do the dirty work. I take the 1am San Joaquin bus quite often and have seen first hand how they mean business. They must have been short staffed that morning or between shifts (more likely the case).

One facsinating event I witnessed from a distance in that old ticketing area is a wedding reception. It was quite a spectacle. My girlfriend and I checked into how much it would cost just for sh#ts and giggles. I'm thinking it was in the ball park of 10K to 20K for a Saturday evening reception.

Lets also remember Patasauras Transit Center on the East End of the tunnel. City Busses, Red Line, Gold Line, Metroling, and Amtrak all meet here. Not to mention LAX FlyAway Busses. Its a beautifly planned transportation hub and GBN, I hope you can sometime soon come up with a reason to see it for yourself.

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Gilbert B Norman
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When I first visited LAUPT during June 1962, the departure count from all three roads was likely about 'twenty a day'. Save the five a day San Diegans, all were LD's. The place was busy, you bought your tickets in the 'soundstage", "reception hall" whatever else it is nowadays, and could sit down in a leather easy chair to wait for your train. Incidentially the ticket office was not a joint facility; each road had their own (can't be sure; but I'll bet that traces back to 1940 with selection of assignments labor issues; the roads decided "it wasn't worth it' to combine rosters, establish provisions for leaves of absence while holding an LAUPT position, etc etc...that only someone like myself with my railroad Labor Relations background could appreciate).

I had reason to visit LAUPT again during '63, '68, and '69. The passenger and train count was starting to diminish, but the facility remained in good repair. My first Amtrak era visit was '73. Although still in good repair and a lone Amtrak Ticket Clerk in the waiting Room, the place was a "ghost town'. For my final '91 visit to depart on #4, there was plenty of activity as affairs were being held at both the "Waiting Room' and the separate hall. The Catellus PD was out in force.

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HopefulRailUser
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I concur with amtraxmaniac. As I recently noted here the security guard told my spouse and me that we could not wait for our friend's Coast Starlight arrival in the building. We were to be banished to the outside patio.

Heaven only knows who else was lurking out there. We headed up the tunnel to stand and wait. The homeless had no chance of an inside resting place.

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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ScottC4746
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I must have caught them at shift change then.
I am thinking of going to San Diego Old Town in a couple of weeks and will leave from Fullerton instead. Plus free parking and the restrooms are much cleaner.

Posts: 89 | From: Redondo Beach, CA | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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