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The Crestmore Line(Riverside-Rialto) was unique in that it was not owned by PE---Union Pacific owned it in modern times---but nevertheless it was a vital link in PE's rail empire. Its 9.33 miles cut off the corner for trains to and from Los Angeles, saving Riversiders about 5.5 miles of extra travel had they been forced to journey on PE's own rails via Colton and San Bernardino. Local service was provided on the Crestmore Line for many years, chiefly to serve the large Riverside Portland Cement Company's plant near Crestmore. Interurbans provided nearly all the through service, doing local work en route. Under the agreement made by PE and UP, all passenger service on this line was provided by PE, while freight trains were operated by both railroads---PE using electric locomotives, UP using steam.
Route: From Rialto PE Station, south on Riverside Ave. and private way; crossed AT&SF's main line at MP 0.50, and SP's main line at MP 3.40; then came Bloomington (MP 8.89), and Riverside PE Station (MP 9.58). Entire route was single track.
History: In 1907 the Riverside Portland Cement Company built a large cement plant near Crestmore and to provide transportation for employees built a standard gauge railroad to Riverside. On 28 February 1908, this line(known as "The Crescent City Railway Company") entered into an agreement with the R&A by which the line was electrified and R&A provided express and passenger service over it. The first electric car ran over the line on 1 May 1908. On 20 May 1911, the line was opened to Bloomington, and the final extension to Rialto opened on 24 March 1914. PE began through service to LA over this line on 15 March 1915. All service was abandoned on 9 June 1940(franchise car to 18 November.).
Operation: Service opened between Rialto and Riverside with 90 minute. headway. By 1921 we find 12 round trips daily plus three trippers each way between Riverside and the Cement Plant. In 1924, 1926, 1928, 1929 and 1930 the dozen round trips daily prevailed as shown in the PE employees' timetables, but the Cement Plant trippers dropped to two in March 1930 and to one in November 1930. The 9 October 1932 timetable shows but nine through trips and no trippers; this was increased to ten through trips on 15 April 1934, but was cut back to nine the following 1 April. This continued until 11 April 1938 when service suffered a cut to but five round trips; this was cut to four on 8 May 1939, and to one on 9 June 1940. This data covers both interurban cars and local cars.
The following data covers only local cars: The best year for this line was 1914, when 360,694 passengers were carried, requiring 101,863 car miles with revenue of $16,098. In 1920 these figures became 123,728---37,927---$14,434 respectively. In 1926 they dropped to 39,560---15,330---$3,666 respectively. The average number of local passengers carried daily in 1926 was 108. For 1926, cost of operation was estimated to be $3,066 and taxes were $175, leaving a net income of but $425.
In 1926, local cars made one round trip daily between Riverside and Rialto and three round trips between Riverside and Cement Plant. The former was a franchise trip, and the latter cared for workers meeting shift changes. One 400 Class car was required.
Miscellany: Trolley voltage on this line was 600, supplied by substation No. 27 at Riverside; substation No. 47 at Rialto put out 1200 volts only for the main line. As a result, weak power was a serious problem. From Rialto to Riverside was downgrade and power shortage was not a factor; in the reverse direction, the drop in voltage due to the operation of the heavy 1200 Class cars affected both the speed of the cars and illumination inside them to a marked degree. This condition was made even worse when PE freight trains were on the line. The solution was to change to 1200 volts, but this would have required rebuilding of overhead, installing a 1200-volt motor generator set at Riverside, and elimination of local cars from the line---and due to the crowded condition of the Riverside substation, a new building would have been required. This would have totaled $100,000---so it was not done.
Most glamorous trains on this line were "Orange Empire", Citrus Belt Limited" and "Angel City Limited". As of 1921, all were run daily, with the first two operating outbound from LA and "ACL" operating inbound. "OE" left Rialto at 10:38 AM arriving Riverside 11:00; "CBL" left Rialto 6:11 PM, arrived Riverside 6:30 PM; "ACL" departed from Riverside at 7:30 AM and coupled onto the LA train at Rialto at 7:54 AM.
Rialto Junction. was a busy place down through the years; there, in front of the ramshackle shed housed the substation, Riverside cars were coupled and uncoupled from San Bernardino-Redlands cars. The usual train from from LA was two cars; the second was cut off to run to Riverside. Returning, the Riverside cars coupled to the San Bernardino car for the run into LA. The motorman making the tie-ons and cut offs was responsible for registering and checking the train register; he also took train orders when issued. All trains were first class; inbound(Riverside-Rialto) were superior by direction to outbound trains of same class.
To properly celebrate the opening of this line, a great fete was held at White Park, Riverside, on 24 March 1914. A band concert, a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels, speeches, a parade, and an organ recital at the Mission Inn made it a day worth remembering.
Speed restrictions as of 1924 were: 20 mph within Riverside, 25 mph on the Santa Ana River bridge, 12 mph through yard limits Cement Plant, 15 mph over Colton Avenue, Bloomington, and 20 mph within Rialto. The Crescent City Railway Company was organized by a group of officials of the Riverside Portland Cement Company in order to provide adequate transportation for their employees. Mr. M.A. Hinshaw, CCR president, denied more than once that he was a PE figurehead. The eventual sale of the company to the UP was one of the few times PE-SP every played second fiddle. The Fontana Development offered CCR free right of way if it would build there instead of to Rialto from Bloomington, The map shows all too clearly the advantage of the Fontana route.
From the Colton "Courier" for 4 October 1912; "The right of way between Bloomington and Rialto is all secured. Riverside contributed $4,000 as to the fund which means that Riverside expects to get the trade of the Rialto district, which is growing like a weed. Right of way between San Berdoo and Rialto will cost $5,000. It is worth a hundred times more to that city, and San Berdoo seems to be having a real sick spell over raising the money."
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