San Bernardino County Transportation Officials Readying Redlands Passenger Rail Line For Use

The Redlands Passenger Rail Project, an extension of the Metrolink passenger train line that already reaches from Los Angeles to San Bernardino, will begin operations in 2022.
That extension is nine miles long, running from Downtown San Bernardino to Downtown Redlands. The stops on the line will include the San Bernardino Transit Centre, Waterman Avenue, New York Street, and Downtown Redlands.
Testing on the track at various points along the line is being carried out now. Those tests relate to safety elements as well as determining how obtrusive the train will be in terms of sound, rumbling, vibration and line of sight limitations at various junctures and intersections and crossings involving the local road system.
The engines to be tested will be those currently used to pull the Metrolink trains from Union Station in Los Angeles to San Bernardino.
Ultimately, it is the intention of the San Bernardino County Transportation Agency, the prime mover in the project, to utilize diesel multiple units vehicles to provide primary service along the line between Redlands and San Bernardino.  Diesel multiple units are to be powered by tier-4 emissions technology with clean diesel engines, which are quieter, more efficient, and less expensive to operate than Metrolink standard locomotives.
The initial diesel multiple units that will be dedicated to what is called the “Arrow Service,” running between the University of Redlands and Downtown San Bernardino, are expected to be delivered from their German manufacturer shortly after the new year.
Initially, and for some time thereafter, Metrolink diesel engines will power the trains running on the Redlands line.
There is disappointment among some that the newly-created Redlands Rail Project is not being coordinated with the so-called Gold Line, also known as the L-Line.
The Gold Line runs on separate tracks dedicated to passenger transport alone from Downtown Los Angeles to Azusa, and uses lighter cars and more fuel-efficient engines, with staggered departures and arrivals of as little as every eight minutes. The Gold Line is thus heavily used, with its cars nearing capacity on virtually every run. In contrast, Metrolink, which runs far less frequently, consistently travels between Los Angeles and San Bernardino with nearly three-quarters of its seats empty.
The Los Angeles County-based Gold Line Construction Authority is now engaged in extending the Gold Line from Azusa to northern Pomona, and thereafter to Claremont near the San Bernardino County line. The previous intention was to continue with the Gold Line construction across the Los Angeles/San Bernardino County Line by 2024 and then on to Montclair and Ontario Airport by 2028, in time for the Los Angeles Olympics. Ultimately, the Gold Line was to extend to Yucaipa by the late 2040s.
San Bernardino County transportation officials, deterred by the cost of the Gold Line, in 2019 abandoned the extension of the system beyond Claremont, giving up a $41 million State of California Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program grant to help fund the extension of the line from Claremont to Montclair.
-Mark Gutglueck

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