The Antelope Valley Line (AVL) Capacity and Service Improvements Program aims to improve service frequency and reliability along the 76.6-mile long AVL commuter rail corridor between Lancaster and downtown Los Angeles to meet the mobility needs of residents, employees, and visitors throughout the region, including the Antelope and San Fernando Valleys. The AVL rail corridor is anticipated to experience strong population and employment growth over the next 20 years and solutions to realize the full potential of the AVL will be crucial to support this growth. Currently, around 66% of the AVL corridor is single track, meaning that only one track is provided to operate trains in both directions. This limits the ability to run more frequent services and a regularized schedule, especially during the off peak and weekends. There are limited maintenance and storage facilities at the Lancaster Station Terminal and therefore the operational capacity and flexibility for commuter rail services on the AVL corridor are constrained.
Objectives of this proposed Project include:
- Provide regular and more frequent commuter rail services to improve regional connectivity, and accessibility by enabling a 30-minute bi-directional passenger rail service to Santa Clarita Valley, and 60-minute bi-directional service to Lancaster Station along the AVL corridor.
- Improve passenger service reliability and efficiency on the AVL rail corridor.
- Provide necessary supporting infrastructure improvements to increase capacity and enhance operational flexibility and reliability along the AVL corridor.
- Support the vision and goals for rail service in the region consistent with the California State Rail Plan (CSRP) .
To accommodate this anticipated growth, the Antelope Valley Line Capacity and Service Improvements Program proposes expansion of commuter rail service along the entire AVL corridor as well as three capital improvements required to facilitate the proposed service increase.
Highlights of Proposed Improvements include (subject to change):
Lancaster Terminal Improvements
- Expansion of the existing rail yard with two new 1000-foot long train storage tracks.
- Add a new center platform at the Lancaster Station to provide more operational flexibility.
- Double tracking between W. Avenue J and Jackman Street
Option: Rather than constructing a second station platform, the existing side platform at Lancaster would be retained to allow flexibility for future integration with regional rail plans
Canyon Siding Extension
- Adding approximately 8,400 feet of new double track between Soledad Canyon Road to Golden Oak Road
- Addition of a second platform at Santa Clarita Station.
- Option: Installation of a crossover track to be constructed south of Santa Clarita Station to facilitate turnback of Metrolink trains and improve operational reliability
Balboa Double Track (City of LA)
- Adding approximately 6,300 feet of new double track north from Balboa Boulevard to Sierra Highway between Sylmar/San Fernando and Newhall Stations.
This program is funded by Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant funds and Measure M North County subregional funds, which provide $220.85 million dollars in funding. The environmental study process is anticipated to be completed as early as Spring 2021.
Metro has environmentally cleared, under CEQA, an additional improvement site between Burbank Airport-North Station and Sun Valley Station, known as the Brighton-to-McGinley Double Track. This proposed site will add an additional 2.9 miles of double track, in addition to secondary station platforms at Burbank Airport-North and Sun Valley Stations. The Brighton-to-McGinley Double Track was environmentally cleared as part of the Brighton-to-Roxford Double Track Project .
In October 2019, full funding was identified for Brighton to McGinley Double Track improvement site through Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant funds. Additional funding will need to be identified for the remaining portions of the Brighton to Roxford Double Track Project.
For more information about the Brighton-to-Roxford Double Track Project, please visit metro.net/regionalrail.
The railroad capacity increases afforded by these proposed improvements and the separate Brighton to Roxford Double Track project would enable additional passenger rail services (for example, Metrolink services) to be run at a more regular timetable compared to the current timetable. As a result, an increase from 15 weekday round trips to 30 weekday round trips at regular 30-minute headways between Los Angeles Union Station and Santa Clarita Valley will be possible by the year 2030. For the Antelope Valley, an increase from 9 weekday round trips to 20 weekday round trips at regular 60-minute headways between Los Angeles Union Station and Lancaster will be possible.