Keeping Rail Services on Track

San Bernardino County has a long history of train travel. Once a stop on the famed Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad line, the 1918 depot — the oldest in the state and once the largest train station depot west of the Mississippi River — is now frequented by Metrolink and Amtrak trains. Today’s San Bernardino County rail and transit projects aim to provide new transportation choices and cost-effective travel.

The Redlands Passenger Rail Project (RPRP) is a nine mile-long rail extension currently under development by the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG). Construction began in 2019 on the infrastructure project that includes:

  • New track
  • Replacement and retrofit of existing bridges
  • Use of existing train layover and maintenance facility
  • Safety improvements at 22 at-grade crossings and five public at-grade crossings closures
  • Four new ADA-compliant stations at San Bernardino Transit Centre, Waterman Avenue, New York Street, and Downtown Redlands 

Service is expected to begin in mid-2022 on the first zero-emission hydrogen train in the United States. The route will connect residents and visitors to a variety of education, healthcare and leisure destinations as well as other transit: Metrolink, Amtrak, and Omnitrans.

Other infrastructure upgrades such as Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line Double Track Project enhance rail operations on its busiest commuter rail line by increasing average train speed, reducing travel times, and overall capacity. Omnitrans, assisted by a grant from Caltrans, takes steps to comply with the requirements of the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP) by adding new zero-emission battery-electric buses. Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority will use grant funds to improve bus stops by including ADA compliant access, and providing weather protection and seating accommodations for disabled and senior riders.

Southern California is notorious for traffic and residents will tell you that the problems are not limited to Los Angeles. San Bernardino County rail and transit projects address the challenges commuters face on major roadways within the County. 

Interstate 15 (I-15) is an economic lifeline that connects San Bernardino County with the rest of the United States. Yet this corridor is one that can quickly clog with traffic that averages about 223,000 vehicles a day. With a rapidly growing population, traffic is expected to significantly increase in the years to come. The I-15 Corridor Project will add one to two Express Lanes in each direction between Cantu-Galleano Ranch Road and Duncan Canyon Road. Scheduled to begin in 2023, it will address the most congested portion of the I-15 corridor, spanning approximately 6 miles from the San Bernardino/Riverside County Line to Foothill Boulevard.

Currently in progress is a $26 million road improvement project on I-15 in Fontanawhere more than 132,000 vehicles, including nearly 9,200 heavy five-axle freight trucks, travel through the corridor daily. A portion of the funding $2.5 million  comes from SB 1 for repaving on- and off-ramps, two outside lanes in each direction, and slab replacement.

The Base Line and State Route 210 Interchange Project will widen the 210 to six lanes and Base Line to eight lanes. There will also be a number of other improvements to the interchange. “For many, these improvements will mean getting home to our families sooner, less frustration getting to and from work,” San Bernardino County Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe said during the groundbreaking in February 2020.

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