The main transportation center for North Orange County is in the city of Fullerton at its historic train station. The Fullerton Train Station has been in operation since 1923 when the station was built by the Santa Fe Railroad although the original station was wood framed. The wood framed building was demolished and replaced by the current Spanish Colonial Revival you see today in 1930.
Fullerton Train Station is a stop on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner which offers approximately hourly service between Los Angeles Union Station to the north and San Diego to the south.
The station also offers Metrolink commuter train service Orange County line to Los Angeles Union Station to the north with some trains going south to Oceanside which is in north San Diego county but a long way from Downtown San Diego.
Metrolink also offers service from Fullerton Train Station to Riverside and Perris on its 91/Perris Valley service.
Amtrak’s big cross country train the Southwest Chief also stops at Fullerton one a day in each direction for its service between Los Angeles and Chicago.
Parking at the nearby parking structure is free for up to 72 hours at this time but that could change in the future so check current signs.
The station does have bike racks/lockers, restrooms and public phones. There is also a very good convenience store at the station which also serves pretty good hot food such as burgers and burritos as well as having a patio on the platform where you can watch the trains; It is also open early so a good place to have your coffee and, maybe a breakfast burrito.
The station like many American stations doesn’t have multiple platforms in this case one for Northbound traffic going to Los Angeles and across a foot bridge one for Southbound traffic going to San Diego. While the majority of the time this is true, occasionally you do have to switch platforms so keep you ear out for station announcements.
Amtrak Or Metrolink?
If you are taking a train to Los Angeles Union Station you often have the option of taking either Amtrak or Metrolink which is the commuter train so which should you take?
If you are not carrying luggage to be checked and have the option of both I would take the Metrolink train it is much less expensive than the Amtrak train. The Metrolink trains even though they are commuter trains run In the evenings and weekends.
The Metrolink trains will stop at more stations than the Amtrak trains although stops generally on either train are brief. The Amtrak trains do have a snack bar on it which the Metrolink trains do not but Metrolink does offer $10 a day unlimited weekend day passes on all the trains it runs on the weekends.
While Metrolink is a good option for Los Angeles bound passengers or within Orange County its less of an option for San Diego passengers as it stops at Oceanside. You could take the San Diego commuter train the rest of the way but because of its limited service I would take Amtrak all the way.
OC Bus Bus Services:
Across the parking lot from Fullerton Train Station is the bus terminal a L shaped area with different bays to pick up various buses. As mentioned in the previous discussion about parking OC Bus passengers can also use the nearby parking structure the same as Metrolink and Amtrak passengers.
The bus terminal has OC Bus service on local routes 26, 43, 47, and the express limited stop 543 service. The other routes served are community bus route 143 and OC Express Bus 213.
There are no restrooms at the bus station although there is some across the parking lot at the Fullerton Train Station. There are also no ticket machines so fares must be purchased onboard currently $2 a trip or $5 a day.
At the moment during the current pandemic you must have a ticket to get onboard but as the drivers are blocked off for there safety there is no way to pay for you fare. When you get on show the driver your pass or by holding up your two dollars and then sit down. At some point down the line when things improve they will take fares again but as long as you have it just in case you will be fine.
120 E Santa Fe Avenue, Fullerton CA 92832