The city is, perhaps, best known for a fatal 2008 collision between a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight that started the modern mandate for positive train control. However, that incident should not color potential visitors’ perceptions of train-watching in the area.
over 10-15 minutes before heading back south. Amtrak serves up 10 Pacific Surfliners daily, as well as its long-distance Coast Starlight.
Union Pacific contributes several freight trains during the day, mostly locals between Los Angeles, Guadalupe, and Simi Valley. Northbound road freights usually operate in the daytime, but southbound trains are usually night owls.
The line is not a major route for through freight, although unit crude-oil trains, detours from other main lines, and auto rack repositioning trains do show up. The best time to catch them is on the weekend, when commuter trains are not operating.
The northbound Guadalupe local typically operates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and is usually seen in Chatsworth between 3 and 5 p.m. The southbound leg is in the evening. The Simi Valley local operates as needed, and can come through at any time, usually in the morning. The locals regularly operate with modern genset locomotives.
The downtown Metrolink and Amtrak station is a great location to take in all the action in an urban setting. Just to the north, check out Stoney Point, a popular trackside location for film shooting going back 80 years. The area is north of the station along Topanga Canyon Boulevard. To the west, a number of parks offer more relaxed locations to watch.