DMU at University of Redlands station

USA: San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s Arrow passenger service has launched, providing an hourly link between San Bernardino-Downtown station on the Los Angeles region’s Metrolink commuter network and the University of Redlands.

Revenue services on the 14·5 km line began on October 24 following a ribbon cutting on October 21. Celebrations on October 29 will include balloons, face painting, a taco truck and giveaways.

SBCTA Arrow launch

‘It’s an exciting day for Metrolink and our partners at SBCTA as we take another step toward greater regional train travel throughout southern California’, said Ara Najarian, Chair of LA Metrolink which operates the new service. ‘Metrolink continues to be a pioneer in environmentally responsible, safe and efficient travel.’

The line has five stations, at San Bernardino-Downtown, San Bernardino-Tippecanoe, Redlands-ESRI, Redlands-Downtown and the terminus at the University of Redlands.

‘By extending passenger rail service to Redlands with new, modern and eco-friendly trains, the agencies are fulfilling commitments to not only provide southern California residents with greater regional rail connectivity, but also meet California’s aggressive climate-improvement goals’, said Metrolink Board Vice-Chair and SBCTA board member Larry McCallon.


Conductor scanning tickets

There will initially be 42 weekday trains running every 30 min during peak hours and every 60 min off peak between 05.30 and 21.00, plus services at weekends.

There are connections to Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line and Inland Empire-Orange County Line at San Bernardino-Downtown, and one Metrolink Express round trip each weekday between Redlands-Downtown and LA Union station, operated using loco hauled stock.

The line can also accommodate freight trains.


Arrow DMU at Redlands Downtown

Developed by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority to support population and employment growth in the area 100 km east of central Los Angeles, the Arrow service uses a former AT&SF freight line owned by San Bernardino Associated Governments.

The $359·7m cost of the project was funded with $86m from the federal government, $164·6m from the state of California and $109·1m from local sources.

In 2011 HDR was award an 18-month contract to provide preliminary engineering services. Utility relocation began in 2018, and the following year Flatiron Construction Corp was awarded the $154m main works contract which covered an extensive rebuild of the freight line including five bridges and 24 level crossings.

The line is largely single-track with a 3 km double-track dynamic passing loop in the middle of the route.

Rolling stock

Arrow DMU at University of Redlands

In September 2017 Stadler was awarded a $31·4m contract to supply three Flirt diesel multiple-units, with an option for three more.

Built at the company’s Salt Lake City factory, the DMUs meet EPA Tier 4 emissions standards. They are fitted with PTC and meet the Federal Railroad Administration’s Alternative Vehicle Technology regulations, allowing mixed operation with freight trains.

Onboard on 1st day of service

The 48·5 m long trains have two passenger cars and a central power module, with 116 seats and standing room for 118 passengers. Arrow services operate at up to 70 km/h, although the design is capable of 160 km/h.

Zero emission ambition


San Bernardino County Redlands Passenger Rail Project Stadler Flirt H2 at InnoTrans

SBCTA is ultimately aiming for zero-emission traction, and having concluded that a battery variant of the Flirt would not have the range needed for continuous operation, it ordered the first hydrogen Flirt in November 2019, with an option for a further four.

The Flirt H2 was unveiled in September at the InnoTrans trade show in Berlin. It is shares a common layout with the DMUs, but the power module contains a fuel cells and tanks instead of diesel engines. Entry into service is planned by 2024.