Riding the Rails to Dinner

Times Staff Writer

For the first time, Southern California residents can avoid the crowded highways and instead travel to Thanksgiving dinner on Metrolink trains.

"There's a lot of traffic out there," said Sharon Gavin, spokeswoman for Metrolink, a regional commuter rail service that runs seven routes in a six-county network.

"If we can help people stay out of traffic, be a little less stressed on the holiday, and spend more time relaxing with family ... that's [why] we're offering the service," Gavin said.

About 2.3 million Southern Californians will travel by car over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California

As an alternative, Metrolink will run six trains between Riverside and Orange counties. The first southbound train will leave downtown Riverside at 10:15 a.m.

The last northbound train will leave Irvine at 8:30 p.m.

Four trains will run between San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, with the first westbound train leaving San Bernardino at 10 a.m. and the last eastbound train departing Los Angeles at 8:30 p.m.

Adult tickets will be discounted 25%, and each adult can take three children for free. Also, round-trip tickets purchased on Thanksgiving Day will be honored for a return trip Friday.

For more information about station locations, ticket purchases and train schedules, call 1-800-371-LINK or go to www.metrolinktrains.com.

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