A Guide to Southern California Public Transportation


Jim Gracey

The golden age of passenger trains on the American scene has long past. The advent of Interstate highways and jet aircraft have rendered most regional and all national passenger rail service non competitive. Local governments have replaced trains and trolleys with bus systems. Most of these bus systems are very good despite their undeserved reputations. OTHER COUNTRIES, notably FRANCE , JAPAN, and most recently, CHINA operate high speed "bullet" trains but California High Speed trains are little more than a dream. However, AMTRAK does operate a "high speed" train for the Northeast Corridor.

For those who don't remember that Southern California once had a thriving network of electirc trolly cars, visit the Electric Railway Historical Association page.

But for those who mourn the loss of regular scheduled passenger rail service, there are a few bright spots. If you are like me and love the sound of the clanging bells at a railroad crossing or the sound of a lonesome train whistle far off in the distance, you will enjoy this page.

Here is a useful link to track the status of any AMTRAK train in the United States.
Here is another clever way of checking status for a particular AMTRAK station.
Here is graphical way of checking status for all AMTRAK trains displayed on a U.S.Map.
An alternate tracking method using your phone: call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245) and follow the prompts.


Los Angeles Area

Of course AMTRAK has provided excellent service along the Pacific coast between San Luis Obispo and San Deigo on their Surf Liner trains. But the newer METROLINK comuter train system now provides passenger service to UNION STATION from various cities originating from Riverside (1993), San Bernardino (1992), Lancaster (1992), Oxnard / Ventura County (1992), and Oceanside (1994). A route between San Bernardino and Oceanside was initated in 1995. The most recent line from Perris Valley via Riverside also connects to Union Station.

Oh yes, Los Angeles does have a subway system! The RED LINE (1993) is completly under ground beginning at the downtown Union Staion. There are also above ground light rail lines. The BLUE LINE provides service between downtown Los Angeles and Long Beach(1990). The GREEN LINE, provides service between Norwalk and Redondo Beach (1995). Most of the GREEN LINE route travels the center median of Interstate 105. The GOLD LINE provides service between Union Station and Sierra Madre via Pasadena opened July 26, 2003. A good portion of the Gold line travels the center median of Interstate 210. The Newest light rail EXPO line provides service between the 7th street metro center and Santa Monica which opened April 28, 2012. The MTA also operates one of the more extensive Bus Systems in Southern California.

Overview of Los Angeles rail systems

Maps & Timetables for Los Angeles Metro system

Detailed schedules and station maps:
Blue Line
Gold Line
Green Line
Red/Purple Lines
Expo Line

Also of interest is the ELECTRIC TROLLEY tour of the San Pedro Harbor.

San Diego Area
North County Transit District

New light rail from Oceanside to Escondido

Orange County

FAST TRAK (HWY 91 toll road)
Orange County Transportation Authority

Other Transportation

Live map of aircraft locations

Live map of cargo/cruise ships locations

Kelly Blue Book

London's UNDERGROUND Subway