Monument To A Bygone Era
The first Santa Fe depot in San Bernardino was a wood structure, built in 1886. A fire leveled the depot on the night of November 1, 1916. The depot was rebuilt of wood and masonry in the Mission Revival style and opened on July 15, 1918. The heyday of the depot was from the 1920′s to the 1950′s; a Santa Fe timetable published in June of 1938 listed 13 eastbound and 13 westbound passenger trains departing from the terminal every day. In 1972 Santa Fe’s passenger service was turned over to Amtrak, and in 1992 the Santa Fe Railroad moved almost their entire freight operations to Barstow, California and Topeka, Kansas.
In 1992 the San Bernardino Association of Governments acquired title to the depot and began a restoration. That same year Metrolink commuter rail operations began arriving and departing from the tracks adjacent to the depot. Today Metrolink continues to operate at the depot and one Amtrak train departs eastbound and one Amtrak train departs westbound per day, this is the Southwest Chief that operates between Chicago and Los Angeles.
The San Bernardino Railroad & History Museum occupies most of the center section in the image above on the first floor. There is no rolling stock in the museum’s collection except for some small maintenance apparatus, but there are quite a few railroad artifacts on display, and some early fire apparatus.