SOUTHLAND : Commuter Train Service Is OKd

From Times Wire Services

Southern California's first commuter train service was approved today, giving Orange County residents who work in Los Angeles an alternative to driving the perpetually clogged northbound freeways.

The proposed commuter-friendly service, similar to those found on the East Coast, could begin as early as April 2 under the agreement unanimously approved by the Orange County Transportation Commission, which met in Santa Ana.

The plan calls for a morning rush-hour train to leave San Juan Capistrano at 6 a.m., delivering commuters to Los Angeles' Union Station by 7:25 a.m. after stopping for passengers in Santa Ana, Anaheim and Fullerton.

Ticket prices would be 20% cheaper than current Amtrak fares.

Amtrak now provides two trains from Orange County to Los Angeles, but the earliest morning train arrives at 8 a.m., a time considered too late for many workers who must take buses or cabs from the downtown Union Station.

Before the service can become operable, the proposal must be approved by Santa Fe Railway, which owns the tracks.

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