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WPacific Electric logoPacific Electric
San Bernardino Line


WThe San Bernardino Line was Pacific Electric's longest line and the line on which the system's highest average speeds were consistently maintained. It was further unique in that it was the company's only 1200-volt line, and also because it operated for several miles over an SP line under protection of staff machines. The San Bernardino Line, with its several branches, did more than any other line to give PE the distinction of being classified as an interurban operator.


WFrom 6th & Main Station, this line followed the route of other Northern District interurban lines as far as Valley Junction., MP 3.37. Here the line continued on double track through El Monte (MP 13.36), Baldwin Park (MP 17.74) and Vineland (MP 18.08), to Covina (MP 22.03). At Monte Vista (MP 22.61) the line went single track, continuing east to Lone Hill (MP 25.59) where it switched onto the track of the SP Covina Branch, running thereon to La Verne (MP 29.03); at La Verne the Pomona cars switched off to the south via Ganesha Junction. (29.95), Pomona Junction. (30.60), to Pomona (31.90). Main line trains by-passed Pomona via the Lordsburg Cutoff; the towns in order were Claremont (32.59), Upland (35.95), Alta Loma (39.65), Etiwanda (43.98) and Fontana (49.44) to Rialto (53.13) where Riverside cars cut off running south via Bloomington (56.43) to San Bernardino (57.78). Some trains continued southeast to Redlands (66.94).


W1906 saw the start of construction of the line which ultimately connected PE's Northern District with lines of its Eastern District (San Bernardino, Redlands, Riverside). The old San Gabriel Valley Rapid Transit right-of-way was used from Anderson & Aliso Streets., LA, to a point near Raymond Ave.; there the new PE line continued east to Covina via El Monte and Baldwin Park. The first cars to Covina to ran in 1907, and in 1910 the line was extended to San Dimas. Next came the construction of the Pomona-Claremont-Upland segment (built by the Ontario & San Antonio Heights Railway which PE absorbed in 1912); this line opened for service on December 1, 1910. The Great Merger (November, 1910) opened the way for utilization of secondary SP tracks by PE interurbans, and the SP Covina branch between Line HIll (near San Dimas) and Ganesha Junction where the Pomona city tracks were joined was electrified in 1912---the first through car from LA arriving in Pomona on August 31, 1912.

The Railroad Comes to Ioamosa

WWith SP in control, work was taken up in closing the 20-mile gap between Upland and San Bernardino. On February 1, 1913, the sum of $1,424,000 was appropriated to build the extension. Work actually began on June 7, 1913, when the contractors (Grant Bros.) started grading east and west from there. Rails began reaching east from Upland and by December had reached Etiwanda; two electric cars (170 Class) began passenger service on January 25, 1914, and the line was formally opened for service on July 11, 1914, with a great parade in San Bernardino which brought out the sizable thong of 20,000 persons. (The San Bernardino area had a population of but 17,000, Riverside area had 20,000 and Redlands area had 15,000---at this time.) In reaching San Bernardino, PE interurbans had immediate access to points reached by the affiliated San Bernardino Valley Traction Company---including Highland, Colton, Patton and Redlands. Riverside was reached via a connecting line built from Rialto to Riverside by the Crescent City Railway Company. This line opened for service on March 24, 1914. The Union Pacific purchased this line and PE obtained trackage rights over it, enabling its LA cars to reach Riverside by a more direct route then was afforded via San Bernardino. (PE opened its San Bernardino-Riverside Line on December 13, 1913). The last major construction on the San Bernardino Line was the Lords bug Cutoff, opened on November 4, 1914. By eliminating the detour through Pomona, this cutoff cut 20 minutes off the LA-SB running time and shortened the route by seven miles; it was 1.5 miles long and cost $60,000. The cutoff ran from Lordsburg (now La Verne) to North Pomona.
WThe first abandonment of rail passenger service occurred on July 20, 1936, when San Bernardino-Redlands service was discontinued; rail was removed from Redlands from Redlands to Sunkist, 2.07 miles, with that portion from San Bernardino to Sunkist (7.09 miles) kept to serve packing houses. Regular service was abandoned on June 9, 1940, between Riverside and Rialto. Trackage between Rialto and Crestmore (5.65 miles) was removed, with the remainder being kept by UP for freight purposes. On the same day (June 9, 1940) passenger service on the LA-SB Line was cut to four round trips daily, the service being provided by rehabilitated cars 1216-1221. An augmented bus service ties in with the rail schedules. The end was in sight, and was not long in coming.
WOn November 1, 1941, rail passenger service beyond Baldwin Park was discontinued, except for rush hour service through to Covina. The last car left San Bernardino for LA at 6:45 PM, the last car from LA pulled into the San Bernardino at 9:30 PM. On September 1, 1946, PE purchased the SP-Covina branch (running from Bassett to Ganesha Junction.) for $400,000. This new line was electrified from Baldwin Park to Lone Hill and passenger trains began operating over it as far as Covina (old SP station) on November 4, 1946. The former PE main line from Baldwin Park to Lone Hill was thereupon abandoned.
WOn March 28, 1947, passenger service to Covina was abandoned and all trains tied up at Baldwin Park.
WOn October 15, 1950, all rail passenger service between LA and Baldwin Park was abandoned; the last outbound train left LA at 12:15 AM.
WSpecial trains rolled through to San Bernardino at various times up to 1950. During World War II numerous troop trains made the complete trip, while the post-war sessions of the LA County Fair at Pomona were served by PE passenger trains; four-car trains were run as needed, with as many as eight such trains running on Saturdays and Sundays.


Track used by the SB Line trains is here listed by weight of rail and year constructed.
Valley JunctionBaldwin Park901927 & 1945*
Baldwin ParkHeyler701910
HeylerLone Hill701910
Lone HillGanesha JunctionSP--
La VerneNorth Pomona751914
North PomonaUpland701910
UplandRialto Avenue, SB751914
Rialto ave, SBF St., SB128G1914
San BernardinoRedlands701920*
Ganesha JunctionPomona701912
WThe SB Line was energized with 1200 volts except for areas wherein city cars operated; here changeover switches were located and SB cars operated on 600 volts. Changeover switches were located at Valley Junction., Ganesha Junction., North Pomona Junction., Rialto (for Riverside cars), and just east of Mt. Vernon Avenue, SB. After abandonment of city lines, all these lines were made 1200 volts with only the Valley Junction. changeover switch remaining. Substations were located at Valley Junction. (3500 kw.), Ramona (2400 kw.), Vineland (1500 kw.), North Pomona (1000 kw.), Etiwanda (1000 kw.), San Bernardino (1800 kw.), Rialto (400 kw.), Riverside (1200 kw.), Redlands (600 kw.).
WPower was purchased from Southern California Edison Company at 16,500 volts AC. Trolley wire was generally grooved copper 4/0 and 3/0.

1915823,450 (SB)1,027,106
1938 (combined)1,035,747
* Best Year

OPERATION: As of 1927, the following service was performed:
WThe Los Angeles-San Bernardino-Riverside Line and the Los Angeles-Covina-Pomona Line were separate, although Pomona was served by both. The LA-SB-R Line was the weaker of the two insofar as passenger patronage was concerned, while the LA-C-P Line, being within commuting time of LA, was in a much more favorable position. The best year for SB-R Line was 1923, when total passenger were: 907,271. LA-C-P's best year: 1928: 1,354,065.
The line was on private right-of-way from Mission Rd. & Aliso St., LA, to San Bernardino with the exception of a short distance in Covina and a short distance in San Bernardino where tracks were in paved city streets.
WThe line was operated by means of 1200-v trolley between Valley Junction. and San Bernardino. In LA and in SB operation was at 600 volts---also between Rialto an Riverside and between San Bernardino and Redlands. Prior to the abandonment of city service in Pomona (1924) operation between Ganesha Junction. and Pomona was also 600 volts.
WAs of 1927, a typical year, trains from LA to SB-R operated on a two-hour headway with modifications to meet requirements of travel. Practically all trains consisted of two cars, one of which cut off at Rialto and operated to Riverside while the other continued on to SB. Ten trips daily went on from SB to Redlands. Certain trains carried a Pomona car which was detached at La Verne and operated direct to Pomona with similar service returning, but connection was provided to and from Pomona for all trains not having a through car.
WThe Covina-Pomona Line operated generally on an hourly basis to Covina, with a Pomona train every two hours, the latter alternating with the SB trains. During rush hours, additional service was provided to care for the commutation business which was heaviest between El Monte and LA. The operation of Covina and SB trains was so arranged that limited service on the SB trains was given from Covina to Valley Junction, such trains making only the passenger stop at El Monte and the safety stop at Baldwin Park.

Distance and running time between important stations were as follows:
Los Angeles
Enchandia Junction2.6412121212
Valley Junction0.7302020202
El Monte9.9924242524
La Verne6.6615152015
North Pomona1.5704040404
San Bernardino4.6011121111
*Pomona-La Verne time was not added into the total as it is an off-line point.
Rialto-Riverside: 9.58 miles, 22 minutes
SB-Redlands: 9.16 miles, 26 minutes

WTwo of the San Bernardino trains, were operated as strictly limited trains. These were No. 34, "The Angel City Limited", inbound to Los Angeles (left SB at 7:45 AM), and No. 77, "The Citrus Belt Limited", outbound which left LA at 4:35 PM. These made the LA-SB run in 1 hour 45 minutes by eliminating all except principal stops between La Verne and SB. Other limiteds made the through run in 1 hour and 55 minutes.

There were 22 regular runs with 11 trailer runs operating the following number of trains:
LA-San Bernardino101020
LA-El Monte010405
23 and 77 normally had two SB cars, 1 Riverside car.
No. 34 did not pick up a Pomona car, but No. 77 carried a Pomona car, making it normally a four-car train.
Nos. 34 and 77 were inaugurated on November 1, 1920.

34 cars of 1200 and 1000 Classes were used to fulfill the schedule during weekday peaks. Cars were stored over night at LA, El Monte, Covina, Pomona, Riverside and San Bernardino. Substantially the same service was given on Sundays and holidays except that certain commuter trains were eliminated.
The bottleneck of the entire line was between Covina and La Verne, 6.64 miles of single-track, operated by antiquated electric staff signals. Normally approximately 50 PE trains (including freight and extra) and two SP freight trains operated over this track. The staff machines were located at Barranca St. (Covina), Lone Hill, San Dimas, La Verne and North Pomona. Every train passing through this section was required to make a positive stop at each station to permit the conductor to go to the staff machine and procure the staff before entering the block section, provided no other train was in that section. At the end of the section the conductor had to replace the staff in the machine before getting another staff for the next track section. The average loss of time per stop per train for this procedure was 59 seconds for each machine; this was a constant source of irritation to passengers.

All other portions of the San Bernardino Line were without signal protection of any kind (Valley Junction. to SB) until May 6, 1929, when absolute-permissive block signals were placed in service between Valley Junction. and Camp bell Ave. (MP 4.54). Meets were established by timetable and by telephoned train orders from the dispatcher in LA.

Storage yards for cars wee provided at El Monte, Covina, Pomona, San Bernardino and Riverside; these were adequate to care for 66 cars. A shop was located in the SB car house for performing mechanical and electrical repairs to equipment at that end of the Northern District, and minor repairs were performed to cars at Pomona and Riverside.

ORANGE EMPIRE TRIP: WOn November 28, 1914, PE offered a $50 prize for a name and a suitable symbol for a new all-day trolley tip from LA to Redlands. Thus was born the famous "Orange Empire Trolley", destined to become PE's outstanding excursion, service beginning 1/3/15. The Orange Empire train left 6th & Main at 9:00 AM, arrived at Rialto at 10:36 AM and at Riverside at 11:00 AM. The block-square Mission Inn was visited and luncheon served, following which the OE left for San Bernardino at 1:30 PM; passing through the Gateway City, the excursion train continued to Redlands and Smiley Heights. At 3:15 PM the special left for LA, arriving there at 5:36 PM after 150 miles ($4.00) of wonderful sightseeing.
WCars 1028 and 1029, 1038 and 1039 were the usual pool from which the necessary equipment was taken. Although 1200 Class cars were used after 1928 from time to time. At first the OE was a daily trip, but as the automobile cut into the passenger potential it became clear that a two-per-week schedule would be sufficient. Accordingly, the Orange Empire cars left LA only on Wednesdays and Sundays after the mid-1920s, and finally this service was abandoned. The last OE excursion ran September. 1, 1929, ---and with its passing went much of the individuality and color which was PE.

WPE began hauling freight on the San Bernardino Line almost immediately after its opening and this business down through the years became one of PE's most lucrative sources of income. Indeed the San Bernardino was one of PE's "big three" freight lines: L.A. Harbor, San Bernardino, El Segundo in that order.
WThe principal freight hauled on the SB Line was citrus, followed by cement, oil, gravel, and manufactured products.
WAs of 1928, a freight train left State St. Yard daily at 1:45 PM, picked up citrus cars en route and delivered them to the SP-UP at Colton--then returned to State ST. with cement cars from the SP at Colton, the UP at Poole, and the AT&SF at San Bernardino. All perishable freight originating east of San Dimas went to San Bernardino, while perishable freight originating west of San Dimas went to LA. Inasmuch as the SB Line was directly competing with the Santa Fe for most of its freight business, especially citrus products, it is of interest to point out a unique handicap it suffered: existing packing houses were already Santa Fe patrons, and to reach them, PE had to lay its rails so as not to interfere with AT&SF spurs. In some instances this resulted in PE spur tracks at far ends of packing houses or i other undesirable locations--Santa Fe continued to get most of the business. To combat this, PE brought about the construction of new packing houses at more advantageous locations: Alta Loma, Upland and elsewhere.

WSome of PE's fastest freight movements, combined its two heaviest lines, the Harbor and the San Bernardino Lines. When citrus crops were threatened by freezing weather, oil-fired orchard heaters were brought into play, burning night and day as long as they were needed. A constant supply of fuel oil was essential and PE gave heater oil trains priority over all other freight, speeding them from the Harbor to Redlands area in but five hours. In the great freeze of 1937, PE ran 135 special oil trains from refineries at El Segundo, LA Harbor and Watson to LA, with 65 specials out of LA.--which were given rights over all else. It took 2,000 carloads of oil to make one filling of heaters.

As of 1938, the following freight trains were regularly operated on the SB Line:
WSB Freight: Left SB at 7:00 PM, made trip to SP's yards at Colton,then worked SB Line west to State St Yard, arriving 3:30 AM. On the return trip the crew left State St. at 10:30 PM, worked the SB Line beyond La Verne, took perishables to Colton and returned to SB, signing-off at 6:30 AM. The San Dimas-La Verne Local left State St. Yard at 2:00 PM, did switching along the line, handled the rock traffic, advanced San Dimas perishables to La Verne. Working as an extra but running almost daily was the SB Local Freight, which left SB and worked the Arrowhead, Highland, Sunkist and Corona Lines. Extra freights were dispatched as traffic required. During World War II, so heavy did freight movements become that several steam locomotives were leased from SP; these were always double-headed with the electric motors, so trolley-actuated signals could operate. PE records do not record an instance of a steam locomotive on the property ever having been equipped with a trolley pole.
WOne of the heaviest sources of freight was the Reliance Rock Spur, serving a rock crusher in the San Gabriel River wash about two miles northeast of Vineland. This was installed in 1926, with about 4500' of the SP Covina branch being electrified and large storage yards at both ends of the spur being built--the yard at the north and (Crushton) holding 125 cars.
WMore rock traffic was gained from the San Dimas Spur. (Built in 1911, the San Dimas Line was operated for a brief time as the terminus of LA-Covina-San Dimas trains; after the electrification of the SP between Lone Hill and Ganesha Junction. in 1912, PE's San Dimas station was by-passed and the line sank to secondary status.) Quarry Canyon, behind San Dimas, furnished most of the ballast for the SB Line and other PE lines, and in 1917 PE built a mile further back into the mountains to the mouth of San Dimas Canyon.

PE interchanged freight with steam roads at the following locations:
SP: Colton, Lone Hill, Riverside, SB.
UP: Colton, Rialto, Riverside, SB (thru SF).
SF: San Bernardino.
Freight operations over the Rialto-Riverside line were restricted by Rialto to the hours between 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM and by Riverside to the hours between 6:30 PM and 6:30 AM.

WMention has already been made of the SP's leasing to PE of its trackage between Lone Hill and Ganesha Junction. PE also leased other SP track, as follows: Market St., Riverside, between 1st and 11th Streets.; station and yard tracks at San Bernardino; Vineland to Crushton (jointly used); over Santa Ana River between Colton and Riverside; between Colton and San Bernardino the two companies had in effect an agreement whereby each secured the right to use the other's track---the tracks constituted a double-track line.
WThe l G. Barnes Circus for many years had its winter quarters just east of El Monte. A record freight movement occurred on March 28, 1929, when two electric motors hauled a 29-car circus train into LA. Most of the cars were seventy footers.
WAt San Bernardino PE constructed a freight yard adjacent to its car house and shops on a 7.5 acre tract south of 1st St. and Rialto Ave. The capacity of the yard originally was 57 cars, but in 1927 it was enlarged to hold 115 and later was increased to 233 cars. Working out of this yard was a pool of six electric locomotives for the LA run, as well as five smaller juice engines needed to handle local freight. Line cars 00157 and/or 00162 were also familiar fixtures.
WBox motor service was provided from the earliest days of the line. The 1450-1456 Class was built for this line and in later years was augmented by steel box motors of the 1445 Class.

As of 1938, box motor runs were as follows:
From LA to:LA PlaceTimeType*Remarks
SB-RiversideSurface11:05Pab2 cars
San Dim-SBFt. House11:20Abc
San Dim-Riverside-CorFt. House11:30PbcNo Riverside ft.
Covina-San Dimas-PomFt. House5:20AabcNo Pom ft.
Covina-PomPE Depot12:05Pb
To LA from:LA PlaceTimeTypeRemarks
Riverside-SBPE Depot8:19Aab2 cars
SB-San DimasFt. House5:40Pbc
Pom-San Dimas-Covina"9:55Abc
Pom-CovinaPE Depot4:57Pb
*a: Mail, b: Express, c: Less-than-carload (LCL)

WPomona was one of two cities (Pasadena the other) which had no PE freight service, SP reserving them for itself. Box motors did the LCL business for these cities, but it was for the account of the SP.
WThe nation's last interurban RPO (Railroad Post Office) service was operated by PE on its SB Line. This RPO service was inaugurated comparatively late, being started on September 2, 1947. It left LA at 12:45PM and SB at 4:40 PM, taking three hours for the trip. It did not operate on Sundays or holidays. This last RPO was pulled off May 6, 1950.

WThe SB Line was the first of PE's major lines to be given over to the diesel-electric locomotive 100%. On October 1, 1951, all operations between LA and SB were dieselized and the trolley wire was removed shortly thereafter.
WA light diesel locomotive inspection and repair shop was installed at the SB Car House---and the SB freight station, auto dock and warehouse on the block at the rear of the SB passenger station were relocated to allow the development of a large parking lot. The passenger station remains in service for busses.
WTo permit abandonment of rail along Huntington Drive, a freight connection was built from the Crushton spur's north end to a connection with the Glendora Line just west of Azusa. This 2.82 mile extension, costing $436,000, went into service on September 15, 1951, and thereafter all freight to and from points on the former Monrovia-Glendora Line moved via Vineland and the SB Line.
WA major job was converting crossing signals from trolley activated-DC to low voltage track circuit operation. It took six weeks after dieselization before this conversion was completed, and in the interim diesels either were equipped with trolley poles or dragged a dead electric locomotive---enough current being maintained in the trolley wire to activate the signals. On November 30, 1951, all substations and electrical energizing facilities on the SB Line were taken out of service. Shortly thereafter the double track from State St. Yard, LA, to Baldwin Park was converted to single track and the SB Line had completed its transition from a high-speed interurban operation to a low-speed diesel freight drag.

WThere were several large bridges on the SB Line. At Lexington Wash, just west of El Monte, a single track steel girder structure carried the trains over the Rio Hondo. Midway between El Monte and Baldwin Park a single track wood pile bridge crossed the San Gabriel River. Just west of the SB Line crossed the Santa Fe-UP. main line on a single track steel 225-foot structure. Between SB and Redlands, trains crossed the Santa Ana River on a large steel girder bridge.

WStations between LA and San Dimas were of the usual wooden type typical of PE standards of the pre-1911 era. Between Upland and SB, a more substantial type of building was used. Etiwanda, Alta Loma and Rialto had concrete stations costing about $7,000 each. Fontana had a huge concrete structure built in co-operation with a real estate company. At SB the PE took over the former SP Station on 3RD between E and F Streets., adding a second story to accommodate PE offices. In Riverside, the SP Station at 7th & Market was utilized, and in Redlands trains terminated at Orange St. & Citrus Ave. A station in Pomona at 3rd & Garey was built in 1912 with a small yard in connection. By all odds, the SB Station, with its train yard in the rear and local cars passing by on 3rd St., was the most impressive electric railway center on the PE east of Pasadena.
WEast of Upland, right-of-way was secured of ample width for a double-track line, and culverts, bridges, cuts, etc., were built to accommodate another track if needed.

WAll passenger trains were first class unless otherwise specifically designated. Inbound trains were superior by direction to outbound trains of the same class, except out bound second class trains were superior to inbound second-class trains between North Pomona and Claremont. Trains of the Claremont-Pomona Line were second-class trains.
WLight circuits were located between between Ganesha Junction. and Pomona Junction., and between Pomona Junction. and North Pomona.
WTrain registers were located at Lone Hill, North Pomona, Claremont, Rialto, Bloomington, Cement Plant and Hancock on the Riverside branch; between SB and SB on the main line and at Rialto, Bloomington, Cement Plant, and Hancock on the Riverside branch; between SB and Redlands registers were at those cities. Telephones were located at all stations and crossovers. The motorman making the tie-on and the cut-off at Rialto had to register and check the train register--also took train orders when issued.
WSmall car houses were located at Riverside and Redlands. Operation over SP track between Baldwin Park and Ganesha Junction. was governed by SP rules. Interlocking plants were located at El Monte (SP), near Claremont (AT&SF), and at two locations in SB: Mt. Vernon Ave. and I St. There was also an interlocker at Bloomington on the Riverside-Rialto Line. Dispatching for all Northern District lines was performed from the PE building in LA. As of 1946, the 1st District Dispatcher (North Board) controlled the SB Line, Glendora Line, Sierra Madre Line; the 2nd District Dispatcher (North Local Board) controlled the PSL, POK, SV Lines. Orders were issued by telephone.

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