Santa Clarita / Antelope Valley : Santa Clarita Train Line to Get 5th Station : Transit: Metrolink site on Via Princessa will open Monday. It is the latest addition in two weeks since emergency service was extended northward.


Metrolink is preparing to open its fifth train station in two weeks on the Santa Clarita line, which has seen ridership swell dramatically since the Jan. 17 Northridge quake crippled many Southland freeways.

The Santa Clarita/Princessa station, at 19201 Via Princessa, will open Monday. It is the latest emergency station to open since Metrolink extended service north to the Antelope Valley--opening stations in Lancaster and Palmdale on Jan. 24.

A Sylmar/San Fernando station and one at Vincent Grade in Acton also have opened on the Santa Clarita line.


Metrolink spokesman Peter Hidalgo said the newest station is expected to relieve crowding at the existing Santa Clarita station.

Metrolink’s Santa Clarita line has seen its daily ridership jump from 1,000 before the quake to as much as 21,952, a peak hit on Jan. 25. The number of riders on the line each weekday has declined since, with Thursday’s ridership at 9,819, according to Metrolink records.

Metrolink Executive Director Richard Stanger said the extension of the Santa Clarita line to the Antelope Valley will continue for at least one year. If ridership warrants, the commuter train service may be made permanent.

For now, Hidalgo said, the only other change being considered is the addition of a third round-trip train to serve Lancaster and the other three platforms north of the permanent station in Santa Clarita.

Just two trains depart from Lancaster each morning, stopping in Palmdale, Acton and, beginning Monday, at Via Princessa before continuing on the regular Santa Clarita route to downtown Los Angeles. Two trains return from downtown to the new northern Los Angeles County stations each evening.

Many riders have requested a third train, Hidalgo said, particularly one that would leave Lancaster and Palmdale later in the morning than the pre-dawn departing trains.

A decision about an additional train or changes in the train schedule, Hidalgo said, is not expected to be made before late next week.

Trains will depart from the Via Princessa station each morning at 5:30 and 6:11, with the ride downtown expected to take a little more than an hour. Trains will return to the newest station at 5:07 p.m. and 6:36 p.m.

The newest station, like the other emergency platforms, offers few amenities. There is a paved parking lot with 400 spaces and a 1,000-foot platform. Metrolink personnel will be at the station, as they are at others, to assist riders.