Work Starts on Train Station for Camarillo : Metrolink: The temporary facility is expected to start offering service to downtown L.A. in just nine days.


Less than one day after receiving approval, workers on Saturday began building a temporary Metrolink station in Camarillo.

Government officials on the site of the planned station at Lewis Road and Ventura Boulevard called the cooperation between government and private industry remarkable.

“The ability to react in an emergency has been nothing short of amazing,” said Joe Castro, manager of construction operations for Metrolink. “This kind of project would have normally taken months to complete.”


Instead, Castro said trains should begin running from the station to downtown Los Angeles in just nine days, on Feb. 14.

Next week officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Metrolink, the Ventura County Transportation Commission, Southern California Edison, GTE and chief contractor C.A. Rasmussen Inc. will all converge on the small plot of land to get the station up and running.

“It’s wonderful seeing government and private industry working together and working quickly,” said Paul Biere, the project manager for Rasmussen, the Simi Valley company that received the contract at 3:30 p.m. Friday.

“It’s a shame it took an earthquake to get things running so smoothly,” he said.

Biere said the station would include only the absolute necessities--a platform, parking lot, telephone, ticket booth and tracks.

The Ventura County Transportation Commission will decide in about 1 1/2 years whether to make the station permanent, Castro said.

Only the weather could delay construction at this point, Biere said.

“If we have rain, that would make this whole area a mud pit, and we would have to wait for it to dry out,” he said.


Forecasters said there is a 70% to 80% chance of rain late today and Monday.

Castro said commuters from Camarillo will find the train an appealing alternative because of increased traffic on the Ventura Freeway following the partial closure of the Simi Valley Freeway.

“People don’t want to deal with the frustration of the freeways since the earthquake,” Castro said. “This is a quick and easy way to get into the Valley and downtown.”

Metrolink plans to run two trains from Camarillo each morning, stopping in Moorpark, Simi Valley, Chatsworth, Northridge, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale and Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The planned schedule would have trains leave Camarillo at 5:45 and 6:35 a.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at 7:03 and 7:54 a.m., Castro said.

Trains, which can accommodate about 750 people each, would leave Los Angeles at 5:01 and 5:40 p.m. and arrive in Camarillo at 6:24 and 7:03 p.m., he said.

The fare will be $12 round-trip between Camarillo and downtown L.A., said Ginger Gherardi, executive director of the Ventura County Transportation Commission.

Since the Jan. 17 earthquake, daily ridership on Metrolink trains in the Los Angeles area has surged from 8,100 to 19,000.


The cost of the construction that began Saturday is estimated at $250,000, Biere said. Building and running the station are expected to cost about $1.9 million over the next year, county officials said.

On Friday, Gherardi announced that the commission would pay the entire cost of the station if expected federal and state subsidies fall through.

An Army Corps of Engineers official at the construction site Saturday said his crew had been asked to assist in the operation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. County officials said FEMA is expected to pay for about $1.3 million of the project, while $500,000 would come from the California Office of Emergency Services. The rest is expected to come from the Ventura County Transportation Commission.