Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by Jeff Smith
Highland News
Redlands Passenger Rail Project Gains Momentum

The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) is pleased to announce that the Redlands Passenger Rail Project is now in Final Design. As we near the end of this phase of the Project, our engineers are putting the final touches on the rail footprint, as well as the design for each of the five station locations that include the San Bernardino Transit Center, Waterman Avenue, New York Street (ESRI), Downtown Redlands and the University of Redlands.
As part of its community outreach and education efforts, SANBAG recently launched a website dedicated to the Project – RedlandsRailProject.org. The site serves to deliver up-to-date information about the Project. In addition to providing answers to many of the common questions received by SANBAG, visitors are able to download the most current project information sheet and see a map of the planned route (see below). The website and project information sheet are available in English and Spanish.
The passenger rail service will allow people to connect with other modes of transportation including Omnitrans, sbX, Metrolink, and other regional transportation alternatives. With the launch of the new service, residents who want to travel to Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego will be able to connect to Metrolink service at the new San Bernardino Transit Center.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
  by bdawe
Doesn't look like a bad place to extend a train to - there's a compact old downtown that's not too mangled, educational institutions, and a reasonably direct right of way
  by electricron
They are going to call this commuter rail train service Arrow.
They will be running Stadler FLIRTs using just two cars with a power unit in the middle like the FLIRTs at TexRail which uses four car trains. The Arrow bought three trains as DMUs, and with additional money from California a fourth train will be converted replacing the diesels with Li-ion batteries in the power unit, which makes it an EMU. They are planing adding a short overhead catenary in the corridor to recharge the batteries, although I am not sure exactly where.
http://www.redlandsrailproject.org/newsletter/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Though still experimental, if the technology is successful, it would be the first battery-operated passenger train in North America and having zero emissions.

Another operational detail I thought was interesting was the rather slow operational speed of this train service, at 45 mph. FLIRTs can go much faster, but I guess Arrow doesn’t need to go that fast. Most commuter rail operators in America desire at least 60 mph operating speeds. 45 mph is more akin to light rail train operating speeds.
  by njtmnrrbuff
Yes, it would be good if Arrow could do at least 60 mph.

When completed, people who live in Redlands and want to go to Downtown Los Angeles wouldn't need to drive into San Bernardino to get Metrolink. I have family friends who live in Redlands about a mile and a half from where the Downtown Redlands station will be. Once this service starts, their driving time to get me would take a fraction of what it takes them to drive to any of the San Bernardino Stations.

Why will Arrow be doing 45 mph?
  by Jeff Smith
ProgressiveRailroading.com: California agency kicks off construction on Redlands passenger-rail project
The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) has begun construction on the $355 million Redlands Passenger Rail Project, an effort to construct a 9-mile regional route that will operate between San Bernardino and Redlands, California.
Construction is slated to be completed in 2020, with rail service expected to begin in late 2021, according to the project website.
  by Jeff Smith
https://www.gosbcta.com/project/redland ... ect-arrow/
The Redlands Passenger Rail Project is an advanced regional transportation project designed to connect residents, businesses and visitors to a variety of leisure, education, healthcare and other destinations. This nine-mile rail project provides new transportation choices through the implementation of a new rail service that integrates conveniently with other modes such as auto, bus and bicycle.
https://www.gosbcta.com/wp-content/uplo ... -Bleed.pdf
The Redlands Passenger Rail Project is an innovative nine-mile regional rail project that provides additional transportation choices through the
introduction of a new rail service, known as the Arrow, which integrates conveniently with other modes of transportation such as auto, bus and

The Arrow will connect San Bernardino and Redlands and will offer residents, businesses and visitors a new commuting option to travel to a
variety of leisure, education, healthcare and other destinations. Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) have been identified as the preferred vehicle
to provide primary service for the project. The DMUs are powered by an on-board low-emission, Clean Diesel engine which are smaller, quieter,
more efficient, and cheaper to operate than standard locomotive haul coaches, similar to Metrolink. DMUs work interoperably on the same track
as Metrolink and freight train services which allows for all three train services to use the same track in the existing corridor.

In addition to local commuter service, a Metrolink locomotive hauled coach train will also provide round trip express service from Redlands-to-Los
Angeles each morning with return trip from Los Angeles-to-Redlands each evening.
https://www.gosbcta.com/project/diesel- ... nit-pilot/
In conjunction with public transit expansion as demonstrated by construction of the Redlands Passenger Rail/Arrow Project, SBCTA is seeking to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on its transit systems by initially deploying a zero or low emission train and ultimately converting the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) vehicles on the Arrow. In 2018, SBCTA was awarded a Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) grant for the development and purchase of an additional rail vehicle that will demonstrate the ability to provide zero emission service using multiple unit train sets. The project will also explore the conversion of at least one DMU vehicle used on the Arrow service, so that regular revenue operations are provided by a zero emission fleet, dramatically changing the corridor-level emissions of the new rail service.
  by njtmnrrbuff
I am very excited about this project. It will be great for Redlands to be connected to the Metrolink system, even if they will have to transfer at Downtown San Bernardino Station during most hours of the day and on weekends. That one Metrolink train that is supposed to be extended from Downtown San Bernardino to Downtown Redlands will be great for those people who are heading to Downtown LA or another station like Claremont. I have family friends who live in Redlands about a mile and a half from where the Downtown Redlands station will be located. All of the years that I visited them, I have taken Metrolink to the San Bernardino Santa Fe Depot and the last time was in April of 2017. Rather than having to be dropped off or picked up in San Bernardino when visiting them, I can just take the train to Downtown Redlands.
  by lpetrich
I got the idea to check this out after noting a Metrolink map that Google Maps retrieved, one that showed construction east of San Bernardino. Then I found this thread and this article: Arrow (commuter rail) - Wikipedia

Project Google Map - click for live closures and detours. -- it was last updated August 9, 2021

The most recent construction alert: Redlands Passenger Rail Project - Construction Alert Week of August 9

"Crews are installing light poles, security cameras, and signage at the stations; installing underground utilities; and preparing for train testing"

So construction still has some way to go.
  by njtmnrrbuff
That's great to hear about the construction progress for Arrow. I certainly hope that it will be ready for operation by early Spring of 2022. I may be visiting family in Southern California and I have family friends in Redlands. I would love to ride and railfan Arrow.
  by lpetrich
From the most recent construction notices: "On August 2, Tippecanoe Avenue closed for approximately ten (10) weeks. The closure is at the rail crossing only. Crews will be performing drainage work Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m" Checking a map, I find that it's a 4-lane street and that there is a streambed just south of the rail line.

The farthest that the construction goes is Cook St. a little beyond the end of Park Ave. University Station will be there. A block further east, at N Grove St., the Orange Blossom Trail starts, evidently a continuation of the right-of-way. It continues to E Colton Ave and Wabash Ave, and a rail-line scar continues further northeastward to Nice Ave. and Opal Ave.

Checking on Abandoned Rails I looked in California and I found The Redlands Loop - Abandoned Rails The line is now built over in places, but one can follow its scar just west of Opal Ave.

That street ends at the Santa Ana Trail near the Santa Ana River, and the rail scar continues to Aurantia Park at Greenspot Road in Highland CA. From there to San Bernardino, the line is almost entirely built over, with bits of rail scar surviving here and there.
  by lpetrich
Two streets will be cut rather than get grade crossings: 9th St. in Redlands and D St. in San Bernardino. But all of the other crossing streets will be getting grade crossings, as far as I can tell -- no grade separations anywhere.

The construction pictures show double tracks in several places -- how much of the line will be double tracked?
  by electricron
lpetrich wrote: Wed Aug 11, 2021 9:12 am The construction pictures show double tracks in several places -- how much of the line will be double tracked?
Answers for questions like yours usually can be found in the FEIS report.
https://www.gosbcta.com/wp-content/uplo ... xB-All.pdf
"SANBAG proposes the construction of a single track and maintenance road with a one mile long passing siding located near the midpoint of the alignment."
And "The entire Redlands Corridor is an approximately ten mile rail segment that extends east from BNSF’s Cajon Subdivision near the Santa Fe Depot in the City of San Bernardino."

Therefore, one mile of a ten mile long line will be double tracked for the sole passing siding, approximately 10%.

That should allow up to 2 trains per hour, or 30 minute headways with two active trains running at a time averaging 30 mph speeds. Any additional train sets will have to be parked off the mainline in a maintenance facility or in the pocket track extension from the two terminal stations.
  by lpetrich
Metrolink Arrow train begins Redlands-to-San Bernardino service – Redlands Daily Facts
Jessica Keating on Twitter: "Good morning from Redlands! First Arrow train arrives at ⁦@UofRedlands⁩ ⁦@goSBCTA⁩ ⁦@Metrolink⁩ ⁦@RedlandsNews⁩ (vid link)" / Twitter

Mr. Trains are Awesome rode California’s Newest Train: Arrow - YouTube

He noticed that the rolling stock was Stadler FLIRT DMU's, and that this kind of train was almost absurdly common in Europe. Stadler FLIRT - Wikipedia -- Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train; German: Flinker Leichter Intercity- und Regional-Triebzug.

He went through the railcar that he rode, and he pointed out some cabinets in the middle of it. These cabinets are where the diesel engines are. From the outside, that part of the train has filled-in windows.

The trains have platforms that are a little higher than the other Metrolink platforms.

He noted that Metrolink plans to buy some hydrogen-powered FLIRT's in the near future. Amtrak California also plans to buy some FLIRT's, including some hydrogen-powered ones.

Ballard to supply Stadler with fuel cell systems to power first hydrogen train in US - Green Car Congress
Stadler Rail AG, a leading manufacturer of rolling stock, has ordered six 100 kW FCmove-HD+ fuel cell engines from Ballard Power Systems to power the first hydrogen train in the United States. The contract to provide the hydrogen-powered FLIRT H2 train was awarded to Stadler by San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), with the option of additional trains in the future.

The train is expected to be in service in 2024 and will seat more than 100 passengers.
Fuel cells won't be as loud as diesel engines, I'm sure.
  by lpetrich
Fuel cells aren't internal combustion engines, so they don't make mini-explosions inside of themselves. Instead, they work electrochemically, like a battery. They may need cooling systems, but those should not be very noisy.