San Bernardino, California

The Redlands Loop

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

A picture of the Redlands passenger depot. Picture submitted by John Acosta.

This loop was originally constructed in the late 1800s, and served the orange growers and other farmers in the area, along with a few industries. While rail traffic was steady through the 1950s, the orange groves were replaced with residences over time, and the need for trains decreased. The segment between Highland Junction and Del Rosa was abandoned in the 1950s, with a further cut back to Patton in the 1970s. After a long pile trestle over the Santa Ana River (between Mentone and Patton) was damaged by floodwaters, the line was cut from Patton back to Mentone. Until the 1980s, Mentone had a separate industrial spur northeast of town, but the industries later closed and only small sections of track remain.

Only the Redlands to San Bernardino via Nevada segment is still active in early 2004. Redlands station still stands but is not used by BNSF. As of January 2004 the track ends near Wabash Avenue on the Redlands city limit, but there are no customers on the last two miles of track. The right-of-way through Del Rosa is used for CA Route 30, and other parts of it are still open in West Highland and Patton, as the neighborhoods were built while track was still in place. In East Highland the ROW has been obliterated by recent housing developments.

Heading clockwise, the single track line left the Santa Fe main at Highland Jct. in San Bernardino. It then passed through Arrowhead (PE crossing), Del Rosa, West Highland, Patton, Highland, East Highland, Aplin, Mentone, Craf[ton], Redlands, and Nevada, and rejoined the Santa Fe mainline just east of the San Bernardino depot.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

Docket Number: 19173 Date: 12/12/1955 Section: 1(18)
App. of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Company for permission to abandon and remove a portion of its line of railroad known as the Redland Loop, in San Bernardino County, California, 3.9 miles, between its connection with the applicant's main line at Highland Junction and the Station of Del Rosa.
Length: 3.9 miles Citation: 295 ICC 814  
Docket Number: 24317 Date: 9/12/1966 Section: 1(18)
App. and ret. to quest. for auth. to aband. a portion of its Redlands Dist, branch line of rr. known as the Redlands District, in San Bernardino County, Calif., approx. 1.61 mi. from the station at Patton to the end of the track at the Station of Del Rosa.
Length: 1.61 miles Citation:  

I enjoyed your post. I live in East Highland and vivadly recall the complete loop. In the early 70's my older brothers used to frequent the Gold Buckle Packing House (now stands the new Stater Bros store at Greenspot and Church St.)There were several derailled passenger train cars there for years. I still have several original Gold Buckle Orange Crate labels from the Burned Down GB Packing house. I would dearly love to see a post with any historic photos of this area!!

Norm Lavoie
Highland, CA


like your pictures,like doing these things to,i took pictures of railtown,ca from my trip this last you have maps from the old trolly lines?also the bridge off of mt view,what about it? thanks barb

san bernardino, CA


I was born and raised in Highland. We lived on Palm ave. for years and years. My grandfather had a citrus ranch called Cliff side ranch near the present day East Highlands Ranch developement in 1881. My dad grew oranges all his life in Highland and East Highlands.Anyway I remember the Highland depot very well and played around it quite abit, waiting for the train to come by and blow its whistle. I also remember the pacific-electric rail car come to Highland on Pacfic ave.

thanks for the memories

doug frank
Powderhorn, CO


Does anyone know of a Menton Inn or Menton Spa that this rail line served?

Paris Nattboy
Mentone, CA


I will try to email you a corrected version of your map, which is correct up to where the 259 segment curves southward from I210 to intersect with I215. This segment was originally opened in 1967 as State Route 30 and only went as far as the E St. exit. The Redlands loop ROW was used for this segment. The Loop diverged from the ATSF main right where 259 does currently, and occupied the exact route of 259 to where it intersects I210. I have early childhood memories of the nightly local passing at the end of the cul-de-sac where I lived. I also remember the last passenger operation, a railfan special, around the summer of 1956. This may have been the very last through train on the intact loop.

Gary Hunter
San Bernardino (born there), CA


Great photos John and Mike!

Kevin M. Smith
Cicero, NY


For those interested, check out this link for history of Highland and the Kite Shaped Track. If you have a chance, pick-up the pictoral book Bill Calvert put together, great photos of old Highland. Also, there is info on a booklet that Mark Landis put together on the Kite Shape Track. He did excellent research on the eastern loop of the kite track. Mark also held a walking tour of the Eastern portion of the loop several years ago that was well done. Visited several sites of existing and former depots along the way. Norm, I remember the abandonned passenger cars you speak of. The kids from Highland referred to them as "The Trains" and were known as a party spot and because it was considered out in the boonies you generally didnt get hassled by the police too much. Doug, the Pacific Electric cars stopped right across the street from the Highland Depot at Pacific and Palm. The rails are still there, buried under the asphalt street. Thanks for posting everybody!

Highland, CA


I live on Opal Ave. just across the street from the old right of way. My next door neighbor's house was delivered from Sears and Roebuck on that track.

In the 1970s grain cars were sometimes parked on the track to be picked up later. Some pranksters released the brakes on a couple of cars and they began to coast downhill towards Highland. By the time they reached Church St. they had picked up so much speed they derailed. There were parts of the undercarriage hurled far from the wreckage that lay buried as much as five or six feet in the earth. Tons of millet spewed from the wrecked cars and many orange trees were destroyed. Due to the low population density, and good luck, no one was hurt.

Judy Tanner
Mentone, CA


I moved to Redlands in the late 90's and came across the valley to East Highland last year. I grew up in Claremont and used to play in the groves and canyons north of town. There are so many parallels with this area and I am curious about the Loop and the history surrounding it. Can anyone tell me about the old foundations I came across in the Santa Ana River Wash south of Greenspot Rd (north of the Wash proper)? There are the remains of the railroad bridges, but also foundations of what appeared to be a residence or perhaps a station? It was pretty formal and had pines and cedars planted on the road leading to it (still there) and appears to have been at a crossroads of several routes in the wash. There are still formal brick posts or risers (?) that appear to have had heavy chains or cables running between them to delineate a formal yard or division with the street as you approached from the northwest. Great site, and thanks for any information.

Curt Toovey
Highland, CA


I've got quite a few photos from around 2000 showing the then-condition of the old RR crossings of both the ATSF and UP lines going through Redlands: Ive emailed the link of the webmaster in hopes that I can share with the site here all the images I took.



Curt, Those cemet pads are the remains of old housing for orange pickers I believe.

Steve Orosco
Redlands, CA


since i was on this last i have done a painting of san berarndino,rr and the history i even show it off at the 3 nd depot,doing rr days this last apirl 20'12

barb sleigh
san bernardino, CA


Does anyone know if BNSF still owns the remnants of the branch/loop? Thanks for any info!

leo giron
oxnard, CA


My dad wrote his Master's Thesis on the defunct railways of the Inland Empire about 1960. There should be a copy at the University of Redlands Library. His name is Robert Thomas Howell. I don't remember the exact title of the thesis.

Gary Howell
Ssn Jose, CA


i still go out a visit places around the valley, the PE railroad brigde is gone now over by mt view and san bernardino ave over the santa ana river i am glad i have pic from 2010 &11 the bridge was date 1916 , at this time i am maping all the rail lines that was or is in the valley'. also they are planing to re open the bottom or what is left of the loop, from san berndino to redlamds.

barb sleigh
sam bernardino, CA


in 1965, the first Y-TOUR USA, the student historical tour around the USA, sponsored by the Redlands YMCA, organized by Jane Hilsen (owner of Hilsen Holiday Tours in Redlands), Directed by Doug Hairgrove and Warren Wood, left Redlands on one of the last passenger trains to secure passengers from the Redlands Depot. I was on that tour and later became a Jr. Counselor on future summer tours.

Perhaps someone could contact Doug and Warren (woody) out in Palm Springs, Ca. and they could share some pictures of the group of 80 students boarding the train? The students traveled from Redlands to the Grand Canyon, when they met up with the two greyhound busses that would carry them the rest of the historical tour around the USA for 6 weeks. Wonderful experience.

Jim Covington
born and raised in Redlands, CA


I have a website that covers both Redlands ( and East Highlands ( I will eventually add Highland.

Jim Lancaster
Tustin, CA


Jim, I enjoyed your site and photo's very much. Do you have any maps for the area in East Highland where the Gold Buckle and East Highland Citrus Association were located??I'm trying to locate the exact spot of the East Highlands Sante Fe Depot. I have info that says it was located west of Church Street, but every photo I've seen puts it east of Church, right near the East Highlands Citrus Assoc. packing house. Thanks.




I was once trying to create a websie exactly like yours, with all the pictures I had taken along the loop back around 2001. Alas, I never got it put up: Might you be interested in having my collection and what I had collected so far?

Ray Collazo
Crestline, CA


Earlier this year, the San Bernardino [County] Association of Governments received the go-ahead to upgrade the former ATSF line between San Bernardino and Redlands. It would bring back passenger rail service to Downtown Redlands and the University of Redlands (the end point of the track). Reconstruction of the line would be in 2016-2018, with service resuming in 2018 at the earliest.

Mike Palmer
Torrance, CA


I lived in Redlands for four years, 1968-1972, and our neighborhood was located immediately south of the joint Southern Pacific / AT&SF right-of-way between N. Lincoln and N. Dearborn Streets, the point where the two lines crossed over the Zanja on parallel timber bridges with concrete abutments. The Espee branch was pulled out some time prior to my revisiting the area in 1997, and a cutover connection was installed for a short warehouse spur at the end of the SP line at Wabash and Colton Avenues. Heavy winter rains in about 1970 washed out a section of the Southern Pacific branch for about a hundred yards just west of Wabash Avenue, which at that time had orange groves on both sides of the alignment. The Santa Fe ran a local out to Mentone from San Bernardino about six evenings a week (I don't think it ran on Sunday) which came east along through our neighborhood about 7 or 8 p.m., returning an hour or so later. The kids in the neighborhood would gather to watch it go through as it invariably came in that post-dinner hour twilight play time. It was considered a great thrill / bravery to sit under the little trestle next to the trickle of the "Zankey" (as Redlanders pronounce it) and watch the train go overhead about two feet beneath the moving freight. The Southern Pacific only rarely ran out their line to Wabash from the San Timoteo Canyon. I can only recall seeing moves on that line one or two times in my years in Redlands. I have no notes or photos of those evening moves so I cannot say what the motive power was, but I suspect it was GP38s and such.

I also believe that the trestle north of Mentone did not last as long as you indicate, and was destroyed in the major flooding of the Santa Ana River that occurred in March 1938, which did much damage throughout Southern California. It certainly had ceased to exist by 1968, and I could find little or no evidence of pilings from it in "the Wash" north of the end-of-track at Mentone by 1970 or '71.

Mark Sublette
Clemson, SC


A few observations to fill out some details concerning the latter days of the ATSF/BNSF Redlands Loop. I grew up close by Patton station, and recall into the early 1970s that lumber cars were spotted at the Patton rail end. Their contents were off-loaded and trucked to hardware stores and lumber yards nearby. From 1970 and into 1971 I was a summer/seasonal employee at East Highlands Citrus Association, and loaded boxed citrus into diesel-refrigerated boxcars for shipment. ATSF had no apparent trouble moving these cars and their locomotives over the Santa Ana River during that time period. It is good to hear that plans are in the works to refit what is left of the Loop as a commuter rail resource. It turns out that abandoning and over-building the ROW was a short-sighted course of conduct--ib its original alignment, it would be a near-perfect comprehensive commuter rail system for the East Valley.

Allen Paine
Redlands, CA


Thanks for the info i live here in redlands and never knew whry they closed it down for the last 10 years i have livesd in this city. I called the city and they didn't have answers.

Miguel Perez


I grew up on 28th St. in San Bernardino near Arden Ave. and moved away to Yucaipa in 1985. Our house backed up to the AT&SF right of way seen in one of the pictures above. I can also confirm lumber cars spotted just west of the Patton station and east of Victoria Ave. during the mid-1970's, and I have read of repeated accounts of the low bridge over the Santa Ana River being washed out in the 1938 flood. I have never read an account or seen any photographs of that bridge, either prior to wash-out or later. Note above the ICC docket requests for abandonments and consider the dates and locations of the abandonment requests. This is a bit puzzling to me as the cost of rebuilding that bridge must have been significant. Naturally, post-1938 flood certainly the concerns of economics were considerable, yet that area of San Bernardino County was still a serious player in the citrus industry, so replacing the bridge could be argued.

There was also a packing house where the line crossed Arden Ave. We used to play in the ruins of it.

It would seem logical that the bridge would need to be rebuilt, especially when considering the requirements of WWII wartime economics. Yet the line was still connected from Highland Jct. until 1955, so this line, though severed by bridge washout, could effectively been served via Highland Jct. and via the A Yard entry near the Division Offices (San Bernardino depot) which would defeat the argument for a replacement bridge. The same AT&SF Roadswitcher could work it in either direction on alternating days without time penalty, account the bulletined advertisement would not specify direction of traffic.

To this day, I am unclear how the lumber cars got there without the bridge being rebuilt. To this point, I would love to see some picture of that bridge. Either one!

When I worked the Redlands Loop job fifteen years ago, it was protected under the Yard Schedule and we would occasionally go to beans in Redlands, but not often. Once, my sister-in-law came out and gave my crew a tray of tamales! The other place crews would tie down for beans was near the Marie Calender's but go to the burger place around the block.

There were only a few times a week we went all they to Redlands. There was a runaround track there that we occasionally used, and one of the crossbucks had a bell. Only other place I have seen that was on the SanJac branch.

It was better to dash the work and tie up and go home. We handled the grainery in Redlands that supplied chicken feed to the ranches in Yucaipa. The grade crossing there had a box where the Trainman could activate the gates. This was likely due to the close proximity and blindness of the car spots to the street and the switching we did. That box had an Adlake switch lock that was stamped SPT CO. - AT&SF as both railroads used that crossing. This has all been abandoned by now. I have that lock!

In my time, none of the citrus plants were on line. The farthest east shipper was the chicken feed place. There was an industry that took plastic pellets, Suverkrup Lumber and another lumber yard, and a railcar wheel works, but those were really in San Bernardino.

The grade crossings were activated by older equipment, the kind that used just relays and insulated joints. They were set-up for a 20 MPH timetable speed years earlier, but in my time the branch was maximum speed of 10 MPH, so the gates were always down way early and took us too long for most motorists.

I have several contemporary pictures of many locations along this route, and a couple of old Auto Club maps showing the route intact prior to the severance at Highland Jct. but none of these pictures are any more remarkable than what is seen here. Just one is noteworthy: a Pacific Electric 'Birney' car at the AT&SF - PERy diamond.

My dad, Norman K. Johnson, took pictures of those passenger cars other people mentioned. Those appear to be Southern Pacific 'Overland' chair cars and a few others. These were taken on Kodachrome. None of the pictures I have are digitized yet.

Steven D. Johnson
Kingsburg, CA


Will the Webmaster please contact me via email?

Steven D. Johnson
Kingsburg, CA


I'm a caregiver to a parent that lives in the mobile home Park behind the field. Often I stare at the citrus packing buildings. And the once platform to the train station. Does anyone have pics of the previous station prior to the 50s?

Rumour has it that a round a bout is planned for that corner in the near future. Completely sad that all that history couldn't be preserved.

Highland, CA


Hi Ray Callazo, My name is Paul Prado. I write articles for the Highland Community News, and I am a member of the Highland Area Historical Society. I would be very interested in seeing your collection of photos of the train depots and such. You can reach me a I just found this post, so I know you posted a couple of years back.

paul prado
redlands, CA


Hi Steven D. Johnson.

I am a contributing writer and photographer for the Highland Community News paper. I'm also a member of the Highland Area Historical Society. I would like to hear more about the history of the trains, train depots, and related topics, as they pertain to the history of this area. I've been writing a column for the paper about Highland's history. You can contact me at Thank you.

Paul Prado
Redlands, California, CA


I just explored this branch again last weekend. Metrolink has double tracked a mile of the line, to a new, not-yet-opened San Bernardino station. (The historic San Bernardino station will become a run-through at some point). beyond the station there are no signs of construction/rebuilding.

The active track has been cut back further, to Tippecanoe St. near San Bernardino.

Remnants of the track are still in place between that crossing and Redlands, but it has deteriorated further and several crossings are now paved over. Old wooden crossing gates are still in place at Orange St. and Church St. in Redlands.

The farthest out remnant of track I found was parts of a freight spur near Opal Ave. in Mentone. I did not explore the former 'northern half' of the loop.

The trestle over Sylvan Creek/zanja has been partially dismantled; a rail trail has been added in the area.

Mike Palmer
Torrance, CA


Shortened Link:

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