Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by tomj
I know LA has its Metro service and there are a few light rail systems, but why not a heavy rail system like BART? When the commission that ultimately led to BART was created in the 1950's, the Bay Area's population was just over 1 million. The commission concluded that traffic would get so bad in the coming decades that traffic would be at a stand still. The population then was growing by about 1 million per decade. LA has terrible traffic by comparison, so what gives, it would seem that LA should have gotten its own system after BART was built.
  by electricron
There are 2 heavy rail system in LA, the Red and Purple line compared to 5 BART lines. There are 8 Metrolink lines in LA compared to just one CalTrain line by the Bay. And SF has 7 Muni light rail lines compared to 4 in LA.
So it isn't true that SF just has one BART system. You might be surprised how many rail miles and train stations LA has compared to SF.

LA miles, stations, and ridership by train type:
Light Rail = 70 miles, 69 stations, 357,000 total
Heavy Rail = 23 miles, 22 stations, (")
Commuter Rail = 388 miles, 55 stations, 42,000
Total = 481 miles, 146 stations, 399,000

SF miles, stations, and ridership by train type:
Light Rail = 34 miles, 33 stations, 87 additional stops, 150,000
Heavy Rail = 104 miles, 44 stations, 374,000
Commuter Rail = 77 miles, 32 stations, 47,000
Total = 215 miles, 109 stations, 571,000

Believe it or not, Southern California has more rail miles and train stations than Northern California. Maybe that's the result of not building as much more expensive Heavy Rail. But Northern California has more weekday riders today - it'll be interesting to see how LA ridership grows as they expand all their rail systems.

As for why they didn't copy BART as much; they don't have SF Bay to run tracks under.
  by gprimr1
Would you consider the amount of freight rail lines available for joint use in LA as another reason?
  by lpetrich
There was a vogue for building heavy-rail systems in the 1960's and 1970's: BART, the Washington Metro, Atlanta's MARTA, and the Baltimore and Miami systems all date from then. So Los Angeles's politicians may have turned down money that Atlanta, Baltimore, and Miami eventually got.

That's what happened in Seattle at about that time: Transit Milestones 1970s, Forward Thrust - Wikipedia. From the first of those pages, "Voters reject all four new Forward Thrust bonds, including rail plan, on May 19. A billion dollars of federal transit aid reserved for a Seattle transit system goes to Atlanta instead."

BART: 1964 - 1972
Washington Metro: 1969 - 1976
Atlanta MARTA: 1975 - 1979
Baltimore Metro Subway: ? - 1983
Miami Metrorail: 1980 - 1984
Los Angeles Metrorail: ? - 1993