From Los Angeles Union Station, the line passes Terminal Tower, turns east past Mission Tower, then heads south along the west bank of the Los Angeles River. This stretch of line is described elsewhere.
The route is divided into the following subdivisions:
· Santa Fe San Bernardino Subdivision from Los Angeles to San Bernardino via Fullerton
Mileposts between Los Angeles and Fullerton are from Barstow via the Pasadena line; mileposts between Fullerton and San Bernardino are from San Bernardino. This entire stretch of two and three track line runs through the urban fabric of Greater Los Angeles, with the line bordered by many old-line industries that were once rail-served, even if they are no longer. The Santa Fe line to San Bernardino via Fullerton passes Redondo Junction (MP 143.2), where the Santa Fe line to the LA/LB Harbor diverges to the south and an ex-SP line to the harbor crosses the route from Union Station, which has a 15 mph speed limit on the tight curve from its southerly heading to a roughly easterly heading. The San Bernardino subdivision crosses Soto Street on a bridge, and the line now angles east-southeast, Two Main Tracks, CTC, with maximum speed 30 mph.
Crossing over Downey Road on a bridge, the line passes UP’s Hobart Tower (MP 144.5) at the crossing of the UP line to LA/LB Harbor. (There is a connecting track between the Santa Fe and UP lines at this location. This is the principal connection to the very busy Los Angeles Junction Railway, the joint SF-UP terminal railroad serving the Vernon-Commerce area.) Immediately east of this location, as the speed limit increases to 79 mph for passenger trains and 55 mph for freights, Santa Fe’s Hobart Yard occupies the north side of the line, while 26th Street in Vernon runs along the south side of the line. Much of Hobart yard’s activity is devoted to loading and unloading containers and trailers from intermodal cars, but there is also a locomotive facility. There are staging areas for containers and trailers on the south side of 26th Street, with constant activity shuttling them back and forth between yard and staging areas.
On the main tracks alongside the yard there are crossovers between/among the tracks, at Hobart (MP 146.0), where the two main tracks expand to three. Near the east end of the yard, I-710 crosses over the tracks and the yard on a long bridge. East of the end of the yard, the line crosses over Atlantic Boulevard on a bridge, then over Eastern Avenue on another bridge. East of the latter, is the Amtrak Commerce station with a platform only on the south side of the main tracks. There are more signals (on signal bridges) and crossovers in this vicinity, including those permitting passenger trains from the more northerly main tracks to use the single platform at the Commerce station, at Eastern Avenue (MP 147.3) and the connection to the Los Angeles Junction Railway at Lever Bros. (MP 148.5), where tehre is a 40 mph speed restriction.
The line then crosses over I-5, Telegraph Road and Garfield Avenue on closely spaced bridges. There are more signals (on signal bridges) east of Garfield Avenue, the line crosses Greenwood Avenue, Montebello, on a bridge, and there are yet more signals and crossovers at Bandini (MP 149.8) where the three main tracks reduce to two. The line crosses over the Rio Hondo on a girder bridge, and then over Paramount Boulevard on a bridge. Pico Rivera Yard, on the north side of the tracks, handles general merchandise. There is a tower at the east end of the yard (MP 150.9) where the line crosses Rosemead Boulevard on a bridge.
The first grade crossing on the line east from downtown Los Angeles is at Serapis Avenue, followed by another at Passons Boulevard. Another signal bridge precedes the bridge over the San Gabriel River, whose east end is under the bridge taking Slauson Avenue from one side of the tracks to the other (as well as crossing the river itself). Immediately east of the river is DT Junction (MP 152.1), where there is a 50 mph speed restriction (extending through Los Nietos), the SP Puente branch south from Bartolo crosses the SF at grade (with a diamond), followed by crossovers between the two main tracks, with signals at the east end. I-605 passes overhead on a bridge and Pioneer Boulevard crosses at grade.
The line turns southeast and crosses another ex-SP branch (La Habra) at the Los Nietos diamond (MP 153.0), with associated signals. Grade crossings with Norwalk Boulevard and Los Nietos Road follow immediately after the diamond. There are spurs and extra track on the northeast side, including a 4,250 ft. siding at Santa Fe Springs (MP 154.1). The line crosses Santa Fe Springs Road on a bridge (where the road is depressed to run underneath, as it is on so many of these underbridges), then turns south past a spur into industry to the east, and the signals and 7,530 ft. siding at Stephens (MP 155.5), and crosses Telegraph Road, Florence Avenue, Lakeland Road and Imperial Highway on similar bridges. The line speeds all along this route are 79 mph for passenger trains and 50 mph for freights.
The line turns southeast again, through an area of somewhat older lineside industry (now in Santa Fe Springs rather than Norwalk). There is a bridge over Carmenita Avenue, signals (on a signal bridge) and a 2,900 ft. siding at Wilshire (MP 156.8) and crossovers at La Mirada (MP 157.7), and adjacent road crossings of Rosecrans and Valley View Avenues. Now in Orange County, the track descends into a trench with Stage Road running alongside to the northeast, passes Intermediate Signals at Valley View and the signals and crossovers at Buena Park (MP 160.3), and under Alondra Boulevard. Emerging from the trench, there is a section with a small 'yard' of four extra tracks on the south side, with the usual fan-out and fan-in. The line turns east passing over Beach Boulevard, Dale Street and Gilbert Avenue on bridges, with yet more (continuous) third track on the south side, extending through the area with the small yard. At Milepost 161.5 on the south side, west of Gilbert Avenue, is the Fullerton Airport, one of the few remaining general aviation fields in Southern California. East of the turn are Intermediate Signals at MP 162.1, past the Basta crossovers (MP 163.0), where the speed limit drops to 50 mph, after which the line crosses over Commonwealth Avenue on a skew bridge (made of concrete), and then over Euclid Street (where the third track has its own newly-built bridge). There are Intermediate Signals at MP 164.1, and two extra tracks on the north side of the line east of the Basta crossovers.
There are signals at Fullerton, as the line crosses Highland Avenue on another bridge. After crossing Harbor Boulevard on a bridge, the line enters the Fullerton Amtrak station (MP 165.0). The parking lot is on the north side of the station, where the former Santa Fe depot is still in operational use by Amtrak. At Fullerton Junction (MP 165.5/45.5—the milepost concordance is at the junction’s west edge), immediately east of the station, after the line has crossed Lemon Avenue on a bridge the line to San Bernardino proceeds straight ahead, while that to San Diego turns sharply southward. There are several sets of signals at the junction. The two main tracks San Bernardino line now enter Placentia.
The line crosses Raymond Avenue, Acacia Avenue, State College Boulevard and Placentia Avenue at grade, and then passes under Route 57. There are signals at Placentia (MP 43.0), and the line crosses Melrose Avenue at grade, as the maximum speed reverts to 79-55. There are grade crossings at Bradford Avenue, Kraemer Boulevard, Orangethorpe Avenue (at an acute angle, after which Orangethorpe parallels the tracks on the north side), Tustin Avenue and Jefferson Street. East of the latter is Atwood, MP 40.6, junction with the single track Olive subdivision coming north from Orange, after which Van Buren Street and Richfield Road are crossed at grade. There are grade crossings at Lakeview Drive and Kellogg Drive, signals at Lambert (MP 39.3), where the line reduces to single track, CTC, and a grade crossing at Imperial Highway. Orangethorpe Avenue has now become Esperanza Boulevard, Yorba Linda, and the overhead bridges at Fairmont and Yorba Linda boulevards pass over it, also, with Intermediate Signals at MP 38.3.
There is a 6,359 ft. siding at Esperanza (MP 36.4), and a bridge over Bryant Avenue, before the line enters the Green River Golf Course in the famed Santa Ana Canyon. There are Intermediate Signals at MP 33.5 a detector at MP 32.0, an occupation crossing within the golf course, the line crosses the Santa Ana River, passes under the Prado Road bridge, past the signals and the 4,735 ft. siding at Prado Dam (MP 29.2), under route 91 and past Prado Dam itself, to the north of the tracks.
The line passes under route 91 again and enters Corona. Crossing Auto Center drive at grade, there is a 5,812 ft. siding at West Coronoa (MP 26.8), before reaching the Smith Avenue grade crossing. Passing through an area of light industry, including a spur with both east-facing and west-facing entry points on the south side of the line as it turns from east-northeast to southeast, the line crosses Railroad Street at grade, Lincoln Avenue crosses overhead on a bridge, there are signals and a lineside spur at the Cota Street grade crossing, the line passes Sheridan Street grade crossing and turns east-southeast, there is an 8,370 ft. siding at Corona (MP 24.1), where there is a 45 mph speed restriction extending to Porphyry, and the old Santa Fe Corona depot is on the south side of the line.
East of the station, the line crosses Joy Street at grade, passes under Route 91 again, and passes the remaining yard tracks at Corona. The line and yard tracks pass under I-15 and turn just north of east, then cross Radio Road at grade at the east end of the yard. There is a spur to lineside industry (that uses covered hoppers) on the south side of the tracks, an 8,059 ft. siding at Porphyry (MP 22.8), Promenade Avenue passes overhead, a 4,692 ft. siding at May (MP 19.5), and the line crosses McKinley Street at grade. Curving now to the north-northeast, the line crosses Magnolia Avenue, Buchanan Street and Pierce Avenue at grade. There are signals east of Pierce Avenue, the line passes under La Sierra Avenue, and a 3,440 ft. siding at La Sierra (MP 18.5)
The line crosses Tyler Street and Harrison Street at grade, there are Intermediate Signals (MP 16.2) east of Harrison Street and the line turns to the northeast. The line passes over Van Buren Street on a bridge, there is lineside industry just east of that bridge, the line curves north-northeast and there are grade crossings at Gibson Street and Jackson Street. At Arlington, MP 16.4, there is a 3,095 ft. siding, the speed limit drops to 55-50, and the line turns east. The line passes over Monroe Street on a bridge, crosses Auto Center drive at grade, turns north-northeast and then crosses Jefferson Street at grade. There is a 4,905 ft. north side siding at Casa Blanca (MP 14.0).
The line crosses Madison Street at grade, passes signals at Pachappa (MP 12.4), crosses Washington Avenue, May Street and Jane Street at grade, turns northwest and crosses over Arlington Avenue on a bridge. Central Avenue is crossed with another bridge, Ivy Street crosses over the tracks on a bridge, the line turns north-northeast and reaches West Riverside Junction (MP 10.6). Here the UP Los Angeles subdivision joins from the west, the speed limit returns to 79-55, and the number of main tracks expands to two. There is a grade crossing at Cridge Street.
The line crosses 14th Street on a bridge, and University Avenue on a bridge, and then passes the Santa Fe Riverside (MP 9.8) depot on the west side of the tracks before reaching the Mission Inn Street grade crossing and the original junction with the UP at Riverside Junction (MP 9.2), where the maximum speed is 55-50. Third Street is crossed at grade, followed by the adjacent Kansas Street and Spruce Street grade crossings. The line passes under I-215 (also Route 60 on the same piece of freeway); there are signals on a signal bridge and then the line crosses Chicago Street, Columbia Street, Palmyrita Street, Iowa Street and Center Street, Highgrove at grade. The branch from Perris and San Jacinto (the original California Southern main line to San Diego via Temecula Canyon) trails in on the east side of the line at Highgrove, MP 6.7, where the maximum speed is 50-40 and the line now heads due north.
The line crosses Main Street at grade, passes detectors on both tracks at MP 6.0, where the speed limit is back to 79-55, crosses over I-215 on a bridge and under the Barton Road bridge, crosses Vivienda Street on a bridge and the Santa Ana River on a multi-span girder bridge (to the east is the UP, former SP, Santa Ana River bridge for their Riverside Branch; it has sections of concrete/steel that have replaced timber sections that burned in the early 1990s). The SF line passes the West Colton crossovers and 4,490 ft. siding (MP 4.2), crosses over Fogg Street, La Cadena Avenue, and N Street, Colton, and reaches the Colton Crossing (MP 2.9), with a 30 mph speed limit, where the UP (former SP) Sunset Route crosses east-west and there is a west-to-north connector, with appropriate signals. This crossing has some old west gunslinger history: the ATSF hired Wyatt Earp to assert their rights to cross the original SP line; although the matter was settled in the courts it reminds us of the rough history of the pioneer days.
The line passes under I-10, with the north-side signals for the crossing under the freeway bridge, crosses Valley Boulevard and H Street at grade, passes the original ATSF Colton depot (now used as an office for the tank car unloading facility), crosses E Street at grade, passes over C Street on a bridge, passes through the crossovers at Rana (MP 1.6), where the speed limit is 20 mph and three main tracks start, crosses Hanna Street, Olive Street and Laurel Street at grade, then passes under the Mill Street Viaduct that crosses over the south end of the B Yard as well as the main tracks and the “short way” which diverges here on the east side of the line. The “short way” crosses “old” Mill Street and Rialto Avenue at grade before reaching the San Bernardino station at a big curve to the east under the Mount Vernon Avenue bridge, whereas the main tracks pass on the west side of the B yard, under the Rialto Avenue overbridge at the north end of the B Yard, around a big curve to the east adjacent to the San Bernardino locomotive facilities, and east into San Bernardino (MP 0.0) with the Santa Fe shops to the north of the tracks. The latter city is at an altitude of 1,077 ft., 800 ft. higher than downtown Los Angeles.