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1980 -1999 Historic Dates in San Bernardino and The Railroad:


September 15, 1981 - "John Bull" Runs Again

1981 photograph by William Duvall

 *  In 1831, "John Bull" first operated on the Camden & Amboy Railroad (the first railroad in New Jersey).

*  In 1833, "John Bull" pulled its first regular passenger train.

*  In 1866, "John Bull" was removed from active service and placed in storage.

*  In 1871, "John Bull" was acquired by the Pennsylvania Railroad, refurbished and operated a few times for public displays.

*  In 1884, "John Bull" was purchased by the Smithsonian Institution as the museum's first major industrial display.

*  In 1981, "John Bull" celebrated its 150th anniversary by making its last run, on the old Georgetown Branch rails beside the C&O Canal in Washington, DC, thus becoming the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world.

 *  "John Bull" is now back on display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.


November 8, 1981 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Statue

     Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*  On November 8, 1981, a crowd of about 700 gathered at City Hall to dedicate an 11-foot statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*  A separate granite marker bearing a plaque with text entitled "The Dreamer" is installed nearby.

*  The memorial to Dr. King was initiated by Rev. Gertrude Wetzel about 10 years earlier when she formed the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Scholarship Fund to raise money for the statue.

*  The man who sculpted the statue was Mexican artist Julian Martinez Soto, who made world-class statues of Mexican movie stars, as well as President John F. Kennedy and Mexican revolutionist Emiliano Zapata.

*  It was said that the photographs Mr. Soto worked off of did not represent all of the proper angles so he rendered what he envisioned Dr. King's spirit to be.

*  Instead of a shirt cuff on Dr. King's right wrist, there is the remains of a slave shackle.

*  On King's left hand there is a wound to symbolize the sacrifice for the civil rights movement.


June 3, 1985 - Evyln Wilcox





On June 3, 1985, Evyln Wilcox

 took office as the

First Female Mayor of San Bernardino.







March 31, 1986 - Santa Fe Museum Train


(Photo courtesy of Craig Walker)


*  The above photograph shows ATSF 2394, one of Santa Fe's Alco RS-1, switching in San Bernardino's B Yard on January 26, 1974.  ATSF 2394 was the last Alco RS1 in service and was retired in San Bernardino.  In 1986, the engine became part of the Santa Fe Museum Train.

*  This engine was one of nine diesel engines and three steam locomotives (0-4-0 #5 'Little Buttercup', 4-8-4 #2925 and 2-10-4 #5021) that Santa Fe had stored in Albuquerque with the intention of building a railroad museum.

*  The museum never materialized and instead the engines were donated to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.

*  On March 31, 1986, the Santa Fe Museum Train with twelve historic engines departed New Mexico for California.

*  As of December 2014, San Bernardino's switcher, #2394, was in the California State Railroad Museum's Shop undergoing restoration.


April 30, 1986 - ATSF 3751 is Moved Out of S. B.

(Courtesy of Craig Walker)

ATSF 3751 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in May 1927, as the first 4-8-4 built for Santa Fe. The engine was retired in August 1953, and was donated to the City of San Bernardino in 1958.

After sitting on display for 28 years, ATSF 3751 was moved out of Viaduct Park on April 30, 1986.

No. 3751 was then transferred to the former Kaiser Steel Mill in Fontana.  There, the restoration was completed by the dedicated volunteers of the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society at a cost of more than $700,000.

The locomotive began her second life as a steam excursion locomotive, traveling to Bakersfield in 1991. Since then destinations have included Chicago, Sacramento, San Diego and the Grand Canyon. Since 2004, ATSF 3751 has been in San Bernardino several times.

Today, 3751 is stored in Los Angeles at Redondo Junction.

Click here to learn more about 3751 and the San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society.


January 1, 1988 - San Bernardino's Last Float

*  For eleven years in a row the City of San Bernardino had an entry in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

*  1988 was the last year the City had a float in the Parade; it was titled, "Sharing the Joy of the Holidays".



September 22, 1990 - Route 66 Rendezvous

Click here to view 25 years of posters from San Bernardino's Route 66 Rendezvous.


October 26, 1992 - Metrolink Begins

Shown above is a Metrolink Hyundai-Rotem Train Car             Metrolink Begins Operation

On Tuesday, October 26, 1992 the first Metrolink trains began simultaneous operation serving the counties of Ventura, Los Angeles & San Bernardino:

*   Ventura Line: Moorpark to L. A. Union Station

*  Santa Clarita Line: Santa Clarita to L. A. Union Station

*  San Bernardino Line: Pomona to L. A. Union Station

* Regular service from San Bernardino to Los Angeles would begin in the spring of 1993.


January 27, 1993 - First Metrolink in San Bernardino

(Photo courtesy of Craig Walker)
On January 27, 1993, Metrolink 865 (F59PH) arrived in San Bernardino with a test train to determine run times from Los Angeles to this Inland Empire City.  This was the first time that a Metrolink train was in San Bernardino.

Back on Tuesday, October 26, 1992, the first Metrolink trains began simultaneous operation on three lines:  Ventura, Santa Clarita and San Bernardino.  In reality, on that date the San Bernardino line only extended from Los Angeles Union Station to Pomona.

Regular service from San Bernardino to Los Angeles would not begin until May 17, 1993. The schedule included three morning trains, leaving at 5:25, 5:55 and 6:38 for Los Angeles and three trains leaving L. A. for San Bernardino at 4:35, 5:20 and 5:45.

On May 17, 1993, over 5,000 people rode the trains, maybe because the trips were free. However, by August of that year, the Metrolink system was handling 8,000 passengers a day, with San Bernardino ridership averaging over 3,000 a day, by far the busiest of the four Metro lines.

September 22, 1995 - BNSF Merger

On September 22, 1995, the BNSF Railway was created by the merger of Burlington Northern & the Santa Fe.

BNSF has 35,000 miles of track in 28 Western states & Canada; 41,000 employees and over 8,000 locomotives. In 2017, it shipped over 10 million carloads and had a capital investment of $3.3 billion.

BNSF is the product of 390 predecessor railroads that were merged or acquired over a period of 160 years.

The first BNSF predecessor, the 12-mile Aurora Branch Line in Illinois, was founded in 1849.

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway was founded in 1859.

The Burlington Northern Railroad was created in 1970 with the merger of the Chicago Burlington & Quincy; the Great Northern; the Northern Pacific; the Spokane, Portland and Seattle; and the Pacific Coast Railroad.

In 2005, the company took a new name, BNSF Railway, and a new logo.

On February 12,  2010, BNSF became part of Berkshire Hathaway, when Warren Buffett purchased the railroad.

The BNSF logo, at top left, was introduced in 2005. The logo at top right is obsolete. The others represent some of the railroads that became part of BNSF.


January 1, 1997 - Restored 1890 Hose Wagon

San Bernardino Fire Department's 1890 Hose Wagon is waiting to begin its participation in one of the Tournament of Roses Parade (SBH&PS)

*  The 1890 horse-drawn hose wagon was built by Allen Iron Works, located at 368 Third Street.

*  It was used by the San Bernardino Fire Department until the 1920s when it was replaced by a motorized vehicle and the wagon was sold by the City. 

*  In 1982 the hose wagon was discovered to be at the County Museum and was in very poor shape.  A restoration project was begun but faltered and the parts were put into storage.

*  In 1996, the wagon was moved to the Pioneer Fire Museum in San Bernardino where the restoration was completed.  Vic Fisher, a skilled craftsman, spearheaded the restoration project.

*  On January 1, 1997, the restored 1890 Hose Wagon made its first appearance in the Tournament of Roses Parade.  Since then it has appeared in seven more Rose Parades.

*  The 1890 Hose Wagon is owned by the San Bernardino Historical and Pioneer Society (SBH&PS) and is on display in the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum.

Click here for a pictorial history of San Bernardino's participation in the Tournament of Roses Parades.


March 2, 1998 - Judith Valles




On March 2, 1998Judith Valles

 became the

First Latina Mayor of San Bernardino.