Chino to Ontario

The Chino Branch

Picture Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Showing of

This shows the end of western portion, at the end of active tracks. The view faces west along Chino Avenue at 11th St in "downtown" Chino. Photo by Mike Palmer, December 2003.

The Chino branch was basically a large loop, in the shape of an inverted shed. It connected to the SP's Sunset route main line at both ends. The UP's Los Angeles & Salt Lake was built parallel to (and south of) the SP Sunset route in the area, so each end of SP's Chino branch crossed the UP.

The branch served industrial and agricultural customers in western San Bernardino County.

Most of the eastern portion of the branch was abandoned in 1940 per the ICC notice, but a short segment was still in service when the pictures were taken. The abandoned segment has been replaced by residences and businesses; no traces were located. The still-active western end has actually expanded, with several long industrial sidings added over the years.

Thanks to Mike Palmer for contributing information about this route.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

Docket Number: 12740 Date: 1/12/1940 Section: 1
Application of Southern Pacific Railroad Company and Southern Pacific Company, its lessee, for authority to abandon a portion of so-called Chino Branch (at or near Chino and Ontario) a distance of 4.8 miles in San Bernardino County, California.
Length: 4.8 miles Citation: 239 ICC 763  

I recall hearing (and possibly reading) about a predecessor to this line that was built with 42" gauge track. Supposedly, the 42" gauge locomotive was acquired by a local farmer and stored in his barn until World War II came along, when it fell victim to a scrap drive. The "what might have been" element is that if it had survived into the 1960s, and been restored to operating condition, it would have had a place to run at Orange Empire (or Poway Midland)

Bob Davis
San Gabriel, CA


The n.g. component mentioned by Bob Davis here was built between Ontario and Chino in late 1880s before S.P. branch undertaken. S.P. would originally(1891) run south from Ontario depot via Ontario Ave. until bending along diagonal route shown on map above to enter town, in time to deliver sugar making machinery to Chino factory(from Germany via. New Orleans). whereas n.g. ran down Euclid Ave. from Ontario depot to Chino Ave. where it took right turn to enter town. S.P. acquired n.g. in late 1890s(same era as S.P. added Pomona leg to 'loop'), S.P. acquired n.g., widened it to standard along Euclid and substituted it for old east end of branch(modern Sunkist/Grove Lumber Spur) from Ontario to where both lines crossed. extension of n.g. beyond sugar factory to cattle lot was retained as such by sugar company until at least 1910.

Steve Donaldson
formerly O.C., nowSan Carlos, CA


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Do you have any pictures or information about The Chino Branch? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.