New Metrolink Train Station to Open in Camarillo


After weeks of wrangling over cost and a last-minute flurry of construction, the first Metrolink train station west of the Conejo Grade is scheduled to open Monday in Camarillo.

Envisioned as an emergency post-quake measure to help ease congestion on commuter-clogged freeways, the station will operate two round-trip trains to Los Angeles daily for one year.

Camarillo Councilwoman Charlotte Craven said she is optimistic that the station will lure commuters off the freeways.


“I’m sorry it took an earthquake to make this happen,” Craven said. “But I think people are really excited about taking the train.”

The Camarillo stop will add 11 miles to the 47-mile Ventura County Line, which will go through Moorpark and Simi Valley before heading into Los Angeles County.

County and city officials are expected to mark the opening of the newly constructed station with a brief celebration before the first train departs at 5:44 a.m. The bare-bones station will consist of a 240-space paved parking lot, 700-foot platform and wheelchair access ramp.

U. S. Transportation Secretary Federico Pena dropped in at the construction site Friday to survey the station and praise local officials for making it happen.

“You are all doing a great job,” he told officials. “This station is going to make it easier for people to get around.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid for construction of the $195,000 station, which was built by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and C. A. Rasmussen contractors.


Ventura County transit officials have applied for additional FEMA funds to cover 75% of the anticipated $1.9-million cost of operating the station for one year.

If the application is approved, the state’s Office of Emergency Services will pick up 18.75% of the cost and the county 6.25%. Government officials have assured the county that the funding application is well on its way to being approved.

The city of Camarillo is expected to pay about $10,000 to maintain the station during its yearlong emergency operation. The costs for the station were determined after two weeks of negotiations between the Ventura County Transportation Commission and Metrolink.

The commission has agreed to pick up the bill for the entire cost of running the station if federal and state subsidies fall through.

Ventura County’s funding request to FEMA is part of a larger application being submitted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to pay for emergency transit services.

Since the Jan. 17 quake, average daily Metrolink ridership has surged from 8,100 to 19,000 throughout its four-county region. Ridership on the Ventura County Line has jumped from an average of 1,000 to 3,000 passengers a day.


To meet the demand, Metrolink has added three emergency stations in the Antelope Valley and one at the Sylmar-San Fernando city line, bringing the total number of stations to 27. Another station is scheduled to open Monday in Northridge.

Hoping to encourage commuters to continue riding the train, Metrolink is accepting February passes through the end of March. Camarillo commuters have until Tuesday to buy a February pass, which costs $176.

To further entice riders, Metrolink Executive Director Richard Stanger said he is planning to ask Amtrak to stop at the Camarillo station.

Amtrak’s San Diegan line, which runs from Santa Barbara to San Diego, stops in Ventura, Oxnard, Simi Valley and Moorpark.

“It would be an added convenience for everyone,” Stanger said.

Amtrak spokesman Bob Kollmar said the national rail line had not received a formal request to stop in Camarillo.

“If we are asked to stop in Camarillo, we will consider it seriously,” he said. “We consider all possible stops seriously.”


Meanwhile, County Supervisor John K. Flynn on Friday received preliminary approval from federal officials to include Oxnard in the earthquake disaster zone, making it eligible for FEMA funding that would allow Metrolink service to Oxnard.

Running Metrolink to Oxnard may cost less than the Camarillo extension because the commuter trains would stop at the existing transit terminal at 200 E. 4th St., Flynn said.

The Ventura County Transportation Commission will hold a meeting this week to decide whether to apply for funding for the project, Flynn said.

Camarillo Metrolink Service

Metrolink trains are scheduled to depart from the Camarillo station beginning Monday.

Where: 30 Lewis Road at Ventura Boulevard, just south of the Ventura Freeway. Exit freeway at either Carmen Drive or Dawson Drive.

When: Monday through Friday

Times: Trains depart at 5:44 a.m. and 6:34 p.m. and return at 6:30 p.m. and 7:03 p.m. Parking: 240-space paved parking lot at the Metrolink station

Access: Trains are wheelchair accessible.

Cost: A round-trip ticket to Los Angeles costs $12. A monthly pass is $176. Information: 1-800-438-1112 or 1-800-371 LINK.