Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Coaster commuter rail in Carlsbad, CA

A southbound Coaster train passes through Carlsbad early in the morning of Sunday, November 11th.  The third car in consist is decorated as a tribute to America's military veterans - many of whom are stationed at the various Navy and Marine facilities in San Diego county.


punkrawker4783 said...

This is the commuter rail where it all started for me. Used to run weekdays, then they ran one train back and forth on Saturdays for 10 hours, then added a mid-day train, and summer late night Friday trains. Now it runs 7 days a week, with even more service on Saturdays. Its only been 15 years.

Al M said...

Sunday service on commuter rail?
WOW, never heard of that before!

Jason McHuff said...

Question: Would veterans really be stationed at military bases?

Erik H. said...

Jason - MANY Veterans choose to live near military bases; AND MANY Veterans continue to either work on base (in civilian positions), for other government agencies (that work in conjunction with military bases), or use services on military bases such as healthcare, shopping and other needs. When you've served the country around the world, once you're done you pretty much get to pick where you want to live - and San Diego is a very attractive place to live.

And many VA facilities are located on, or close to, military bases.

Erik H. said...

This is the commuter rail where it all started for me.

It really exposes the differences between California's major cities (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco) and Portland - despite all of the freeways down south, often six lanes wide in each direction and parallelling each other, the commuter rail is a good way to use railroad track that is overbuilt and in some cases not used at all. Many former industrial areas are gone, many industries switched to non-rail uses. The Los Angeles-San Diego "Surf Line" is almost all passenger service; just a couple of daily BNSF freights a day now.

In Portland, freeways are much fewer, much smaller - and even then commuter rail is not even on the radar - despite Portland-Salem being a logical market; despite Portland-Vancouver-Washougal being a market; despite even Portland-Vancouver-Kelso. Granted, those routes aren't going to see more than a couple trains each morning, in the rush hour direction only...Portland-Salem might support bi-directional service and even maybe Saturday service (and very limited, at that). However, Portland's freeways rarely see the level of congestion seen down here in California. Even the 5 north to Vancouver or the 84, when it's "bad", isn't that bad.

I've been in a traffic jam that was 45 miles long (Carlsbad to El Toro). Fortunately - not on this trip.

punkrawker4783 said...

Last I read up, they are adding sidings to accommodate MORE trains, since it is used by both Amtrak and Coaster. The goal is to double track most of the rail, except along the cliff in Del Mar where its very challenging to do.

It also helps NCTD, operator of Coaster, owns the rail. SCRRA, operator of Metrolink owns the rail from San Clemente to Fullerton. A ride from San Diego to LA is all on commuter owned rail, except Fullerton to the LA River, where its BN. And you can tell the difference in ride smoothness.

One final note, between Solana Beach and Santa Ana, there are major portions of track that have a top speed limit of 90mph, and these trains take advantage of that. Amtrak blows thru downtown Carlsbad at 90mph!

They just need some Rapid Transit rail (NOT Light Rail, but more like BART maybe) along the Inland I-15 corridor.