Metrolink (Los Angeles) outage in December 2023

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"Metrolink trains will be out of service for four days starting on Tuesday, December 26 through Friday, December 29."
This will affect ALL trains at LA Union Station, including Amtrak. Metrolink dispatches/maintains the tracks at LA Union Station so this will affect ALL trains at LA Union Station, including Amtrak.
Amtrak trains (Coast Starlight, SW Chief, Sunset Limited) show "sold out" during that week. I see Pacific Surfliner trains available so perhaps they will operate a modified route.
Here is the Metrolink annoucement:
https://metrolinktrains.com/no-service
 
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These seem like some very busy days for rail transport to be offline. Much of my past Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, and Sunset Limited travel revolved around holiday periods. Imagine trying to find reasonable xmas flights and car rentals in November. Hope the upgrade goes smoothly and finishes on time.
 
These seem like some very busy days for rail transport to be offline. Much of my past Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, and Sunset Limited travel revolved around holiday periods. Imagine trying to find reasonable xmas flights and car rentals in November. Hope the upgrade goes smoothly and finishes on time.
Indeed, that is the holiday travel period but, keep in mind Metrolink is a commuter rail service. The period between the holidays is pretty light ridership for commuters (I've witnessed that) so, it is probably the best time FOR THEM to do this (and the heck with everyone else).
 
I was wondering why the Chief was suddenly showing sold out for 4 straight days when there was availability during the same timeframe yesterday! It seems it will still let you book to Fullerton on the Chief - wonder if bustitution is being arranged… I was looking for possibly going to San Diego, so I could change at Fullerton.
 
So if I understand correctly, they're replacing and testing the whole signalling system that goes from/to LAX. Not sure what they don't emphasize much more on that...

But I kind of get a hint from reading the FAQ though, they're operating a passenger rail system like they would be operating a not-essential-at-all service:
- does Metrolink offer alternative transportation? > nope, just use the regular buses (that probably don't exist because why would a bus run along a train line?)
- my favorite: "What measures are being taken to minimize the impact of the shutdown on passengers? > Metrolink is communicating closure details well in advance of the shutdown to help ensure passengers have ample time to adjust their travel plans accordingly"
Basically, if you rely on the train for commuting... well screw you, you should just drive like everyone else (and those who can't drive? screw them twice). But hey, you've been notified 8 weeks ahead ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
I find it a bit odd they don't pair up AV an SB and run that as a service. They would need to run across the river which means in the throat of UP yard but that should still allow a few round trips a day.
As for Surfliner why not setup a temporary platform at Keller yard
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We are booked into Union station CS on the 28th —I booked to stay in a hotel that night since the metro link connection we need is too tight and just take it home from Union station the following day. So….sounds like my ticket is about to be cancelled or end at a different station?? I have not had any communication from Amtrak about our travel. We can easily push our return back a day/s —But won’t be happy if the original fare is jacked up as a result. We can also disembark in Van Nuys and have our daughter pick us up from there IF the train is still going that far. But agree — during the holidays is a very problematic window for Amtrak to not be running thru Union station.
 
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If you mean CS from LAX, the 29th departure is showing "sold out" as well.
We are scheduled to return home on the CS from Emeryville to LA Union Station on the 28th — the 30th is the first day of return to service — so if the station is completely closed to trains from the 26th-29th, obviously the ticket I have already booked prior to the dates being blocked off, is not going to happen. At least, not to Union Station. So we either have to push our return a few days (which bumps us into NYE and higher hotel prices) OR disembark in Van Nuys, or the station prior to that and have one of our DDs pick us up IF the CS is going to still run to those stations during the time frame in question.

We had planned on spending some time downtown before taking the Metro home which is why we booked all the way to Union station and booked hotel. So I have to figure out what works with the DD we are visiting up north, and the DD who would potentially pick us up. Our personal travel days are flexible, it’s more how it impacts the kids, and frankly, costs for us.
 
I don't really know the territory, nor whether the signal work precludes it, but would it be possible for Amtrak to deadhead their scheduled trains (at least the long-hauls) from their yard out to the first station on each schedule, and begin and terminate the trains there? If necessary temporarily move LAX station forces out to work those stations, even if normally unstaffed? Or link them to LAX with a fleet of Thruway and additional chartered buses? Where there is a will, there is a way...
 
That would be the sensible thing to do... if the signal works allow it: Metrolink could have done the same thing (albeit with a reduced service probably), yet they decided to go for zero service (even on Arrow), was that just because it was the easiest thing to do, or because they had no other choice?
 
I don't really know the territory, nor whether the signal work precludes it, but would it be possible for Amtrak to deadhead their scheduled trains (at least the long-hauls) from their yard out to the first station on each schedule, and begin and terminate the trains there? If necessary temporarily move LAX station forces out to work those stations, even if normally unstaffed? Or link them to LAX with a fleet of Thruway and additional chartered buses? Where there is a will, there is a way...
If the River Subdivision (which includes LAUPT) is out of service, Amtrak won't be able to access their 8th Street Yards (south of LAUPT) which is where servicing and "turning" of trains takes place. The River Sub includes both the East and West Bank lines from CP Taylor to Soto.

From Metrolink's advisory:
"What lines are impacted?
All lines – the entire Metrolink system, including Arrow."

"Why will the entire system be shut down?
From December 26 to December 29, we're temporarily halting Metrolink service to conduct essential maintenance, cleaning, and upgrades. This short break allows us to implement a new signal system for improved operational efficiency and reliability, especially at Union Station."

That affects a lot of trains including UP and BNSF!
From what I've seen, Amtrak has yet to say anthing.
 
We booked a room for the 30th while the rate there is still decent. We can cancel up to 48 hours in advance pending what we find out from Amtrak. I’m hoping the 30th is being blocked off so they have seats to offer affected passengers. We really would enjoy a downtown excursion to finish up our trip 🙂
 
This seems like quite a radical approach to updating the signal system. It sees Metrolink could have done this over a longer period, allowing Amtrak to run some LD and Surfliner trains. This seems like something the UK would do over Christmas, but the whole British rail system shuts down on Christmas and Boxing Day, something I'm surprised they still do.

No matter, it is a blunderheaded move by Metrolink.
 
Not really, they can't replace the whole signal system "piece by piece" or "track by track".
Yeah, signaling in this area is one of those things you have to do in one go or it doesn't work.

Editing: I misread the calendar due to a lack of caffeine. The 26th is a Tuesday, so the bulk of the holiday travel is probably over by then. The 29th is a Friday, so they're doing what I originally proposed (close Tuesday-Friday). It makes sense how Metrolink scheduled it now; let's hope that they get it done by Thursday.
 
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I’m just really glad I found this forum, otherwise we could have really been broadsided depending on when Amtrak decides to actually inform booked passengers, but also very glad we have incredibly flexible schedules.

I would think the 26th —the day after Christmas—is a crazy busy day for holiday travel on Amtrak — that’s why we booked the 28th, to be between the Christmas and NYE rush days. The closure starting that day is going to mess a lot of Amtrak travelers up. It will be less issue for Metrolink passengers, except the workers whose companies don‘t shut down for the week.
 
It looks like Amtrak is selling tickets to/from LAX on all the impacted days again. Wonder what’s going on..
I haven’t heard anything from them about our ticket. We have the hotel booked for both dates, kids on alert, and will just wait and see how it plays out. I’m normally super ocd about my travel plans but this trip is surprisingly chill for us, thank heavens
 
From the Pacific Surfliner website:
"Los Angeles Union Station will temporarily close for track and signal upgrades from Dec. 26 through Dec. 29, 2023. During this time, for the first time ever, the Pacific Surfliner will bypass Union Station to journey along the east bank of the Los Angeles River and through part of the Alameda Corridor. This will be a historic week for the service, providing passengers with a one-of-a-kind travel experience along a never-before traveled route."

https://www.pacificsurfliner.com/plan-your-trip/alerts/travel-advisories/
 
From the Pacific Surfliner website:
"Los Angeles Union Station will temporarily close for track and signal upgrades from Dec. 26 through Dec. 29, 2023. During this time, for the first time ever, the Pacific Surfliner will bypass Union Station to journey along the east bank of the Los Angeles River and through part of the Alameda Corridor. This will be a historic week for the service, providing passengers with a one-of-a-kind travel experience along a never-before traveled route."

https://www.pacificsurfliner.com/plan-your-trip/alerts/travel-advisories/
Really interested to see this reroute on an official map because I'm not 100% sure how they plan to do this
 
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