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Los Angeles to Riverside

Operation Lifesaver "Officer-on-a-train"

Los Angeles to Downtown Riverside, California

May 24, 2004

Story and photographs by Richard Elgenson

I arrived at Metrolink Central Maintenance Facility in time to catch the Operation Lifesaver Special Train to Riverside for the Officer-On-A-Train exercise.  The route followed the Los Angeles River west bank past Los Angeles Union Station, the Amtrak 8th Street Yard and Redondo Roundhouse to the flyover of the Alameda Corridor and LA River.


The flyover separates passenger trains from freight trains in the area which BNSF and UP meet at the Alameda Corridor.  The special train  headed easterly on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe transcontinental line.


The train quickly traversed the cities of Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs, La Mirada and Fullerton where we met Amtrak Surfliner 763 heading towards LA. 


Next was Fullerton Junction where the Surfline branches towards San Diego.  A trespasser walked undisturbed by the special train.


Further along in Placentia, the Melrose undercrossing is rapidly nearing completion.  The railroad tracks are in their new alignment.

In Anaheim Hills, we see Milepost 38 and milepost 37.  The mileage is paralleled by Esperanza Avenue continuing towards Santa Ana Canyon.


The railroad becomes more curved as we enter the canyon.  Until the mid to late 1990's the Santa Fe Railway had a single track railroad throught the Santa Ana Canyon.  They developed and executed a plan to triple track the canyon which involved lots of earthwork.


From the right vantage point in the canyon, whether on the 91 Freeway or on the bulff above CP Esperanza, trains are frequent.  At times the BNSF stores railcars on the most northerly track.  Today there was a COFC train parked without power on one track.



BNSF sends their freight trains as well as hosting Amtrak's Southwest Chief, and Metrolink commuter trains.  Further up the canyon, the railroad runs next to the Santa Ana River and the Green River Golf Course on the opposite river bank.  The railroad crosses under the 91 Freeway twice after the two track stretch resumes.


We quickly proceeded past Prado Dam, which is in the process of being raised for flood protection, past Corona, under Interstate 15, through several Metrolink stations and into Downtown Riverside  The Operation Lifesaver train made it to downtown Riverside at approximately 09:25.

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