On January 12, 1891, the Santa Ana and Newport Railroad began service on 11 miles of tracks running down what is now Newport Boulevard, running through present-day Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, CA. The railroad was owned by a local entrepreneurial family, the McFaddens; its operation was based on ferrying farm goods, wood and other products between the pier at Newport Beach and an interchange with the Santa Fe railroad in Santa Ana Valley. The line was also responsible for bringing thousands of passengers to Newport Beach, most of whom were from Los Angeles.
In 1899, while the SA&N was struggling with an anti-competitive rate war conducted by the Southern Pacific, it was purchased by J. Ross Clark, a U.S. Senator and millionaire thanks to his other investments in the sugar beets industry. Upon completion of the sale, Clark immediately sold the SA&N to the Southern Pacific, who abandoned the line in 1933.
The line did have at least two spurs that are known, both of which were established before Clark purchased the SA&N. The first is the Harper spur, which was located on what is now the west side of Newport Boulevard opposite E. 18th Street. The second is the Thurin spur, which was located between present-day 22nd and 23rd Streets.