One of the most historic names in railroading, Union Pacific celebrated the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike in 2019 (May 10). In 1996 Union Pacific merged with Southern Pacific Railroad, which in 1876 connected a sleepy agricultural town named Los Angeles with America’s midwest and east coast markets. Today’s Union Pacific serves 23 states. The railroad also operates a fleet of heritage locomotives, headlined by never-retired 4-8-4 no. 844 and “Big Boy” 4-8-8-4 no. 4014 (a former resident of the Rail Giants museum in Pomona).
Successor to the iconic Santa Fe Railway, BNSF was born through the merger of Santa Fe and Burlington Northern railroads. Santa Fe became a gateway to Southern California in 1885; its Super Chief and El Capitan streamliners became legendary with their first-class service, combined with Fred Harvey hotels and red and silver “warbonnet” locomotives. BNSF was formed at the end of 1995 and today serves 28 states with a network of 32,500 rail miles. BNSF is a supporter of LARHF's Scouting Merit Badge classes.
Amtrak has more than 40 years of rich American history. Since beginning operations in 1971, Amtrak ridership has grown to exceed 30 million passengers (as of fiscal year 2017). The Federal passenger carrier operates long-distance and regional trains out of LA Union Station, including the Southwest Chief, Coast Starlight, Sunset Limited and Pacific Surfliner trains. Read more (and book a train trip!) at Amtrak's website.
Metro Los Angeles
Metro is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies, serving as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder and operator for one of America’s largest, most populated counties. More than 9.6 million people – nearly one-third of California’s residents – live within its 1,433-square-mile service area. Metro’s light rail routes include the Blue, Gold, Red, and Purple lines. Read more at Metro's website.
With 512 route miles, Metrolink has been providing rail commuter service to Southern California for more than 25 years. What began with three lines, 11 stations and 2,300 daily passengers, has now grown to seven lines, 59 stations, and passengers who travel approximately 441 million passenger miles per year.
Pacific Harbor Line
Pacific Harbor Line provides rail transportation, maintenance and dispatching services to the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which together form the largest container port in the United States. In addition to switching over 40,000 units of carload freight annually, PHL provides switching services for nine on-dock intermodal terminals and dispatching services for about 140 intermodal or unit trains per day.