Additional passengers railcars have been added to each of the five daily roundtrip trains between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, adding 270 seats on each train for commuters grappling with the second week of a full closure of U.S. 101 because of devastating mudslides at Montecito.
On Saturday, another three additional locomotives and eight passenger cars were brought down from Northern California to accommodate a crush of travelers, according to LOSSAN, the intergovernmental agency that runs the rail corridor.
The rail service has struggled with late trains and standing-room crowds since it became the only ground transportation between Santa Barbara and points east, when rail tracks were repaired last Thursday.
The 101 Freeway was closed Monday and will remain closed indefinitely for human remains recovery, and then extensive repairs, Caltrans officials said. The body of a 20th flood victim was recovered Sunday, and other bodies are believed to have washed out of homes in Montecito, to collect in a swale that once was a U.S. 101 underpass at Montecito.
Prior to Thursday, rides on whale-watching boats between the harbors at Ventura and Santa Barbara were to only direct way around the complete closure of all roads on the eastern edge of Santa Barbara, including the 101 Freeway, normally used by 100,000 vehicles per day. The alternate was a 275- mile detour over the Grapevine and a narrow country highway west of Bakersfield, that quickly ocerloaded.
Five Amtrak California Surfliners depart Los Angeles Union Station daily, bound for Santa Barbara and Goleta, near the UC Santa Barbara campus. Two of those continue on to San Luis Obispo, before reversing.
An additional Amtrak train, the Coast Daylight, also travels nonstop between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, with its northern terminus in Seattle.
All of the Surfliners stop in Oxnard, Ventura and Carpinteria, then pass through the closure area. They will all stop in Santa Barbara and Goleta.
Some of those trains also stop at Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Chatsworth, Van Nuys and Burbank. The schedule is posted online at www.pacificsurfliner.com and information is at (800) 872-7245).
Amtrak and Caltrans have contracted with the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency to manage the 351 miles of rail service between San Luis Obispo and San Diego.
–City News Service
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