Metrolink, Los Angeles
Our metro system is not quite up to par with other systems like in Paris or Athens. And, it's much more expensive. For those who come to visit Los Angeles and do not want to drive, I understand that you may not have a choice. Our bus system is pretty good but, OMG, the bus stops at every single block at times and it will take you a while to get to your destination. I think the train is much quicker.
See link on Metro system map for LA
How to ride guide:
Created as the 1991 as the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA) in 1991 after acquiring over 200 miles of track from the BNSF and the Union Pacific Railroad Road at the cost of millions of dollars. It has been serving so many communities along the way and helped creat a safe environment to travel to and from work.
We decided to venture out on a weekend to Union Station and bought a Family Four Pack, which is $29 for a family of four to travel to and from your destination you choose. We boarded at the Lancaster Station and secured our car in the provided parking lot. I was dismayed at the condition of the station, it was very dirty. Other stations we stopped on the way were not dirty. I have complained, so we will see. I will say the train was clean and we felt very safe. We just relaxed and enjoyed our trip. One thing about the trains running into Los Angeles are very old tracks, so the view is not always the most pleasant since it runs through the most industrial part of the cities or the very old parts. So just keep an opened mind.
I will tell you, some lady at the train station tried to hustle us for a ticket, but since we had an extra ticket we gave it anyway to her son and she kept wanting more, but we left it at that. So beware of that. Please check the web site for any more information since schedules may change.
Make sure to get yourself a schedule once you arrive to know what times of departure and what platform you need to be at especially at Union Station. Union Station does have eletronic signs of platform destinations, but get a schedule so you know the times.
44812 N. Sierra Highway
Lancaster, CA 93534
From 14 Fwy. Southbound, exit Ave. I. Go East to Sierra Hwy. Go South on Sierra Hwy. From 14 Fwy. North, exit 20th St. West. Go North on 20th St. to Ave. J. Go East on J to Sierra Hwy. Go North on Sierra.
Lancaster Station Vicinity Map
Approximately 140 parking spaces
If using Santa Clarita Transit 795, please wait at bus stop on Sierra Hwy in front of the station
Santa Clarita Transit
Antelope Valley Transit Authority*
Amtrak ThruWay Bus
Eastern Sierra Transit Authority
Union Station is the main hub for all trains leading into and out of Los Angeles. The Goldline Metrolink also runs through here. It was built in 1939 and has retained it's beautiful design. Something we noticed today that I didn't know was possible was a party or reception was being held a wing of the train station and was guarded off from visitors. For train schedules visit the Amtrak website. For Metrolink schedules, visit the Metrolink website.
Union Station is located at 800 N. Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Telephone # 800.872.7245
The Metrolink train system is still relatively young, but has become a vital part of Los Angeles' transportation system. Multiple lines connect Downtown's Union Station to such far flung hamlets as San Bernadino and San Juan Capistrano. Tickets are available at automated kiosks or through the occasional teller. The kiosks are confusing and fares vary according to peak or off-peak travel, so don't be afraid to ask a local. The commuter rail is fast, efficient, clean and comfortable. Fares are moderate(one way from LA to Burbank Station, a mere three stops, is app. $5 - not a crazy bargain), and conductors check tickets en route. The one black mark has been the high number of train/auto collisions in the past few years. Some have been devastating. The bizarre habits of LA drivers extends onto the rails - depressed individuals park on the tracks to commit suicide(happened twice in two weeks in 2003), while others are simply too impatient to wait and try to skittle under gates and outrun the trains. It's been shocking, and there have been many casualties. Then again, you're about a gazillion times safer riding the train than chancing the freeways. Perspective.
If you're flying in and out of Burbank Airport, the Antelope Valley Line stops at short term parking and shuttles you into Union Station in a mere twenty minutes.
To get to the nether-regions of Los Angeles, try the Metrolink trains. They are safe, clean, and altogether pleasant to ride. Fares are on a sliding scale depending how far you're going. I think they top out at about $10 one-way.
Metrolink goes as far south as Oceanside, as far east as San Bernardino & Riverside, as far north as Oxnard. A great alternative to driving (esp. as many of those places are a hot, smoggy, ugly drive but a pretty train ride).
Don't confuse Metrolink with the Metro (subway & light rail system that serves metropolitian LA). Also, if you are going father afield, Amtrak is very reasonable. They offer service to San Diego & Santa Barbara, as well as San Bernardino (but sometimes you have to catch a bus for some weird reason then catch your train 2 hours away). Of course there are longer hauls, too, to Seattle & across the country eastward.
All Metrolink trains depart from Union Station in Downtown. You have to buy your ticket BEFORE boarding. There are ticket windows where people can answer your questions, and self-serve ticketing machines.
Visiting Union Station is a treat in itself. It's an art deco beauty!