The San Bernardino-Highland Line with its branch to Patton was a lightly patronized line in modern times. But in the 1890's, this line hauled hundreds in steam cars to Harlem Springs, at that time the only amusement park in the entire area.
We quote the Harlem "Messenger" for 11 March 1910:
"In the old days, long since gone by, Harlem was a favorite meeting place for the entire people, and on both Sundays and holidays, as well as many week days, a high old time went on at the Springs."
When SBVT took hold of Urbita Springs and developed it, Harlem went into eclipse and fell far behind its more modern rival. The old steam line, operated by the Kohl Brothers, passed into SBVT control, and in 1903, SBVT began the work of rebuilding and extending it to Highland and Patton.
Route: From San Bernardino(PE Station), east on Third St. to "A" Street, north on "A" to 6th Street, east on private way through Antil, Shay Ranch, Pepper Curve, north through Harlem Springs, Cleghorn Curve, east to Williams (3rd St.), north and east to Patton Junction; Highland line continued east to Highland, ending at Palm Avenue, and Patton branch continued north to Patton.
History: Built 1888 from San Bernardino to Harlem Springs. Extended 1903 to Highland and Patton. Rebuilt in 1915 by PE, with new ties, new ballast, heavier rails---cost $105,000. In 1917 PE inaugurated its first bus line, running between San Bernardino and Highland-Patton, but cars continued. In March 1919 a Birney was assigned to the line, but traffic continued to fall. The Patton branch was abandoned on 1 June 1924 and at the same time, night service to Highland was stopped. On 20 July 1936, the Highland line passenger service was abandoned.
Operation: As of 15 September 1921, eleven round trips daily were operated between San Bernardino and Highland, covering the 6.56 miles in an average time of 25 minutes. Four of these trips went into Patton going and returning, adding six minutes each way to the schedule. One car was sufficient to meet these runs, and it was usually a 200.
By 1927, a single Birney was sufficient and it made a total of six round trips to Highland daily. 1926 revenue amounted to $3,281 but operating expenses amounted to $4,300 plus $170 in taxes; thus PE lost $1,280 annually from passenger service on this line.
In 1913 the Highland-Patton Line carried 220,612 passengers; in 1918 the total dropped to 98,548--and in 1926 30,129. That year the PE bus to Highland-Patton carried 91,250 passengers.
Highland cars originally entered San Bernardino via 7th St. The 7th St. line was built in 1902 and was removed in 1915. It was 0.460 miles long, single track, and all in public streets. It connected with the Highland Line at Cemetery Junction, where in early days an old horsecar body was used as a waiting room. According to Bill Garner, the old body still had its bell and brake handle, and afforded lots of fun to kids playing "motorman & conductor."
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