LOS ANGELES –The United States Department of Transportation yesterday awarded Metrolink $30 million to fund a portion of the Fullerton Junction Interlocking Project (FJIP), which will improve rail safety and reduce delays by adding capacity to one of the busiest rail corridors in Southern California.
The grant comes from the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant Program, which is designed to improve safety, efficiency and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems. The FJIP provides for an improved system of tracks and signal controls that facilitates train movement, reduces congestion and improves on-time performance.
“Metrolink expresses its gratitude to California’s Congressional delegation for supporting the grant application and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao along with Federal Rail Administration Administrator Ronald L. Batory for making the award,” said Metrolink Board Chair Brian Humphrey.
The $30 million award funds a third mainline on a 4.8 mile stretch of BNSF Railway track in the cities of Placentia and Yorba Linda to ease congestion for Metrolink and Amtrak trains between Los Angeles Union Station and Fullerton. The third track also facilitates freight and passenger train movement from Los Angeles through Fullerton to Riverside, San Bernardino and points east.
The key benefit of the FJIP is adding capacity, which facilitates the separation of freight and passenger trains, improving the safety of train movement with fewer delays.
“As we make rail travel faster and more convenient, drivers can choose to give up their long, stressful freeway commutes, resulting in less traffic congestion and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Metrolink Board Member and Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do. “Today’s award represents a big step forward toward cleaner air in Southern California.”
The FJIP also supports the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego by improving the system reliability of BNSF Railway’s mainline freight service that connects Southern California with national markets. The rail improvements help producers, shippers and workers who participate in the region’s goods movement economy.
“These vital federal funds will add speed and capacity to our regional rail system, saving rail commuters time and money by making the service more rapid and reliable. The new Metrolink leadership team is working hard to expand service, speed up travel times and improve reliability for the people in my district, these funds go a long way in making overdue investments to our transportation system,” said U.S. Representative Gil Cisneros, whose district includes the project area.
The grant application was submitted by Metrolink with partner support from BNSF Railway and the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor. The track expansion is a key element of the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program that will improve rail infrastructure to facilitate more frequent service by the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Metrolink is Southern California's regional commuter rail service in its 26th year of operation. Metrolink is governed by The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metrolink operates seven routes through a six-county, 538 route-mile network. Metrolink’s passengers travel approximately 441 million miles each year, making Metrolink the second busiest public transportation provider in Southern California. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.