Redlands celebrates completion of Arrow passenger rail line – San Bernardino Sun

Train aficionados, transportation officials and elected leaders gathered Friday, Oct. 21, to celebrate the return of passenger rail service to Redlands.

“Anyone who knows Redlands, knows history is everything in this town,” said Evan Sanford, executive director of the Redlands Chamber of Commerce, after recapping the city’s early ties to the Santa Fe Railway.

Passenger service on that original rail line ended in the late 1930s, more than a lifetime ago for nearly all those gathered Friday outside the historic Santa Fe train depot, which has stood for generations as a reminder of the city’s connection to rail.

On Monday, that connection returns when Arrow service begins, carrying passengers along a 9-mile track between San Bernardino and Redlands.

“I’m very, very proud that Redlands has the rail and I can’t wait to ride it,” said Mayor Paul Barich, one of a handful of officials who spoke to the crowd of several hundred people at Friday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Barich and others — Rep. Pete Aguilar, Highland Mayor Larry McCallon, San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia and Chad Edison, California’s chief deputy secretary of transit and rail — thanked leaders past and present for their decade-long commitment to returning rail to Redlands.

In a recorded message played for the crowd, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg also applauded those who made Arrow possible.

“This project is going to make a real difference in people’s lives,” Buttigieg said, noting Arrow will connect riders to employment centers and institutions of higher learning while reducing commuters’ reliance on motor vehicles, lessening traffic and pollution.

“I was a skeptic at first,” Barich said as festivities Friday came to a close. “But it’s my pleasure to eat crow,” he continued with a chuckle, noting the route will feature the state’s first zero-emission trains in 2024. “Who would have thought it would happen in the IE?”

Here’s what passengers need to know about the new service:

Revamped rail

Construction on the $360 million project started in July 2019, after local elected and transportation officials secured funding for a new passenger rail service connecting Redlands and San Bernardino.

Arrow runs on new tracks wholly within a previously existing rail corridor, a 9-mile stretch that begins at the San Bernardino Transit Center at Rialto Avenue and E Street in downtown San Bernardino and ends at the University of Redlands off North University Street and East Park Avenue.

The new service, a joint effort by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority and Metrolink, runs on the former Santa Fe Railway right-of-way, which brought rail to Redlands in 1888 and offered passenger service until 1938.

Smaller trains

Arrow passengers will ride on low-emission diesel trains, also known as diesel multiple units, that transportation officials say are smaller, quieter, more efficient and cheaper to run than locomotives such as those used elsewhere by Metrolink, the passenger rail system that connects the Inland Empire to greater Los Angeles.

Eventually, transportation officials expect to run battery-powered, zero-emission trains on the Arrow line.

“This will change the way we do transit in California,” Edison said Friday. The zero-emission train is expected to arrive in 2023 for testing and be in use by 2024, he said, paving the way for other projects across the state. “You are in the lead in a very exciting way.”

Until then, each DMU on the Arrow line will have seating for 120 passengers, as well as space for up to eight wheelchairs, a dozen bike storage hooks, USB chargers at most seats and level boarding at the station platforms.

All aboard

Arrow trains will run 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekends. Passengers can disembark at the San Bernardino Transit Center and connect to Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line with service to L.A. Union Station. There’s also a limited-stop Metrolink Express train to Union Station that will depart downtown Redlands at 5:58 a.m. and return at 7:03 p.m. weekdays.

Riders can catch an Arrow train at one of five stations — two in San Bernardino and three in Redlands:

  • Downtown San Bernardino: 599 W. Rialto Ave. in downtown San Bernardino, parking available.
  • Tippecanoe Station: Between Victoria Avenue and Hardt Street in San Bernardino, no parking available.
  • Esri Station: North of the intersection at Redlands Boulevard and New York Street, no parking available.
  • Downtown Station: North of the historic Santa Fe Depot, between Eureka and Orange streets in downtown Redlands, parking available.
  • University Station: At the south end of the University of Redlands campus near North University Street, parking available.

Ticket cost varies depending on a passenger’s final destination but Metrolink’s $10 Weekend Day Pass will be accepted on Arrow. Passengers must buy tickets before boarding, at one of the train stations or on the Metrolink app.

Quiet zones

Responding to community concerns about the intermittent horn blasts that have accompanied train testing over the past month, SBCTA and Metrolink announced that early-morning and late-night Arrow trains will not be in service beginning Monday. Those trains will not operate until the Federal Railroad Administration grants an application for quiet zones along the entire 9-mile route.

Once quiet zones are granted, Arrow trains will be exempt from routinely sounding horns when approaching a crossing, except in emergency situations. With quiet zones in place, the early train will leave downtown San Bernardino at 4:30 a.m. and the late train will leave University of Redlands at 10:21 p.m., according to Metrolink’s published schedule.

For more information on Arrow service and train schedules, visit and

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