So, who knew you’d find the Artic in the Southern California sunshine?
Well, to be fair, it’s ARTIC, not Arctic – but there are some chilly breezes surrounding this story.
The ARTIC in question is the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center.
For everyone else, it would be the Anaheim train station and bus interchange – but this is Orange County, ladies and gentlemen, so it needs a bit more grandeur!
It is, as you can see, a glass and steel and plastic creation – a sort of clam shell that is bright and airy during the day – and then a spectacular lightbox at night. It’s made from materials most famously used in the Beijing Birds Nest Olympic stadium, and there’s no doubting it is an imposing sight.
Not everyone likes it, of course – it’s been derided as everything from an overblown roller-disco to a sand-crab, a giant worm, and simply ‘an abomination’.
Which is a bit rich, considering its only two miles from Orange County’s Crystal Cathedral .. now THERE’s an example of overblown hubris 🙂
Anyway, the ARTIC centre is (as the intermodal part of its name would suggest) designed to act as more than just an interchange.
It currently services the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner from San Diego to LA’s Union Station, and Metrolink’s Orange County Line (LA – Oceanside), plus Orange County’s OCTA bus service, Greyhound, Megabus, and Tres Estrellas de Oro (which runs low-cost busses from Tijuana to Colorado, and a whole swag of places in between!).
Oh – and the ART – a bus service that covers just Disneyland and its surrounding resorts.
It will also serve the proposed light rail service that’s long been promised for Orange County – but seems no closer than it ever has – and the proposed California high-speed rail service which might or might not ever get rolling.
The usage numbers are low – it was projected to cater for 10,000 passengers a day, but latest figures are just 2500. And that includes bus and train passengers in both directions .. so when Shirley and I arrived on a OCTA bus, caught the Surfliner to LA, returned on the Surfliner 12 hours later and then caught the ART bus back to our resort, we weren’t “two riders” .. we were eight!
But I don’t care – I have to say the structure is amazing, and has enormous potential.
And if you find yourself in Anaheim, it’s worth taking a look.