Driving Metrolink trains is a family affair for these four Inland residents
By Imran Ghori
If you’re on a Metrolink train in the Inland area, there’s a good chance that Veronica Brown — or a member of her family — might be at the controls in the front cab.
Brown, an engineer for the commuter rail service, has been with the agency since its creation 25 years ago. She drives on the 91/Perris Valley line, taking commuters five days a week on the first, early morning, train from Perris to Los Angeles and then back home in the afternoon.
The 48-year-old Riverside resident is one of four Metrolink engineers in the family, along with her daughter, nephew and son-in-law. Her husband and brother-in-law, now retired, also were engineers.
From left, Metrolink engineers Akili Wells, 34; Danyell Jones, 30, of Moreno Valley; Dennis Brown, 62; Richard Brown, 34; Frank Brown, 61; and Veronica Brown, 48; all of Riverside, are all members of the same family, Photo by Terry Pierson, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG
Brown and the family’s other engineers say it was more by happenstance than design that so many of them ended up in the same line of work.
“I guess it’s like police,” her husband Frank Brown, 61, said. “Once it’s in the family …”
He and his brother, Dennis Brown, a 62-year-old Riverside resident, both began working for the Santa Fe Railroad in the late 1970s. Their grandfather had been a train engineer as well in Toledo, Ohio, but neither of them planned to get into the railroad business.
When they began — Frank as a brakeman, Dennis as a switchman — they thought it would be temporary, Frank Brown said.
Veronica Brown began working for Amtrak — which provides engineers to Metrolink under a contract — as part of a summer job.
“It was just something to do and, 29 years later, we’re still doing it,” she said.