• Photographing Trains In Metro Los Angeles

  • Pertaining to all railroad subjects, past and present, in the American West, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and The Dakotas. For specific railroad topics, please see the Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.
Pertaining to all railroad subjects, past and present, in the American West, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and The Dakotas. For specific railroad topics, please see the Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

Moderator: Komachi

  by TacSupport1
I was wondering if anyone had some advice for where the best places to photograph commuter rail in California would be? I'll be traveling there in January, and would like to add some LA Public transit trains to my collection of train photos.

Also, is there an LA Trains forum, such as this, but with a specific emphasis on Los Angeles?

  by pennsy

Just roam around LAUS, Los Angeles Transit Center. You have Amtrak, Metrolink, The Red Line (Subway), and the Gold Line (LRV's), all at your disposal. And you have one gorgeous classis RR terminal in downtown Los Angeles.

  by Antonio Luna
LAUS is a great choice. After that hop on the south board Pacific Surfliner and head down to Fullerton.

You get photograph Metrolink's there as well as Amtrak & BNSF freights.

  by TacSupport1
Thanks guys..

Where exactly is LAUS?

And wheres a good/easy place to park?

Also, will the security or PD give a hard time to railfans? I've (knock on wood) never had an issue here in NYC area, but just want to do things properly.

  by pennsy

LAUS is Los Angeles Union Station. It was built in 1939 and is one of the last of the greatest RR stations around. Really high ceilings, huge chandeliers etc. etc. It has had several names over the years, including its latest LATC, Los Angeles Transit Center. After the Gold Line completes its expansion, LAUS will no longer be a terminal, since it will be a through station for the Gold Line.

Put it on your "must visit" list. Best way to get there is by TRAIN. However lots of parking all around, for a fee.

  by Antonio Luna

If you have the time check out Philippe's Original @ 1001 N. Alameda St for some great roast beef sandwiches. They even have a small model railroad display in the back.


  by TB Diamond
Will risk getting off the tread to say that my parents and I used to eat at Philippe's in the mid to late 1940s. Roast beef sandwiches were the best and I recall some dynamite lemon pie. Sawdust on the floors. Very unique even after sixty + years. We usually went there either before or after a visit to LAUPT.

  by pennsy
Hi All,

Okay, just to check my memory, Phillipes is at the very beginning of Chinatown, with the place bordering on Broadway, right ?

Speaking of Chinatown, don't miss the Dim Sum at the Golden Dragon, just on Broadway, and one block from the classic Chinese Pagodas of the Chinatown station of the Gold Line. That is right, the LRV station in Chinatown has a Chinese Motif and is all decked out in Pagodas.

  by njtmnrrbuff
Being that I have family there and have ridden all of Metrolink and Pacific Surfliner, I can give you tips. LA Union sta is a great place for photography. However, I wouldn't venture onto the platforms without permission. Metrolink officials are cool about peops photographing their trains, but there are these other security guards called rent a cops that will give you crap. I have been asked by them to stop my photography at Riverside-downtown(recently) and Van Nuys(this past summer). However, I hid from them and still got descent shots from the plaform but in other parts.
Consider going to Fullerton. That town is on the BNSF San Bernardino sub, and is serviced by Amtrak's pacific surfliner trains and Metrolink commuter trains. The southwest chief stops there. The platforms offer wide angles for photography. You will see a lot of freights, but some times are denser than others.
If you like scenery, why not ride Metrolink's Antelope Valley Line to lancaster. You go over and under a lot of mountains and there are great views of civilization especially when you hit Palmdale. That line doesn't run on Sun.

  by pennsy
Yo Antonio et al,

Made it into Los Angeles today, and I located Phillipes. Well sirs, haven't been there before. Reminded me of Katz's Deli, Houston St. NYC, the Big Apple.

Saw dust on the floor, one big counter, you give them your order, they get it for you and give you the bill. You find a table, all tables and chairs now, no more model RR. You have your meal and clear the table yourself, and head for the cashier to settle up. No Credit Cards, No Checks..... CASH only. Hmmmmmmmm.

Got friendly with the Metrolink Stationmaster at LAUS. He told me he has been going to Phillipes for 50 years, and here is his assessment; Then it was great, now it is overpriced, they are riding on their reputation. Then, the sandwiches were large, now half of that. Depressing. A nice glass of wine will run you the best part of ten bucks. Nice wine list. The place has a museum of memorabilia of photos, artifacts etc. etc. on the walls. Spent some time checking out the museum.

You can get a better meal at La Golondrina, Olvera St. with waiter service, and not have to bus your own dishes for the same price and you can have a Guadalupe, Loopie, to serve you and tell you all about Olvera St. You can also go across the street from Angels Flight to Grand Central Market and get the same service as Phillipes, for half the price. Also saw dust on the floors where the tables are etc. And you can choose the food you like from many many little concessions. Many of them take Credit cards too. Cash is optional. Hmmmmm.

The Station master also told me that Metrolink is now using all its tracks for TWO trains, as in track 7A and track 7B. They have twice as many trains per day than any other RR at LAUS. Also they are in the process of building as a minimum two more tracks and most probably four. LAUS is growing bigger.

  by njtmnrrbuff
In general, Metrolink trains tend to depart from anywhere between 3 and 7. Metrolink does line up two trainsets on one track. I have seen that with a metrolink in front of or behind an Amtk surfliner set. Amtrak trains use the remaining ones, but not the MTA Gold Line's. I didn't even know that more tracks are going to be added at LA Union sta. What I did hear is they would like to make the station a run-through. I wouldn't get any hopes of that soon. The idea of adding new tracks is good as more and more people seem to use the trains in and out of LA Union sta.

  by pennsy

According to the Information Desk people at LAUS, the station is now busier than it EVER was.

  by TB Diamond
pennsy: Even busier than during WW II? If so, great. Can recall being at the station during the war and it was totally bedlam. Thank you for your reports.