How the Foothill Gold Line will Steer San Dimas back to its Railroad Roots

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Rail delivery workers prepare for Gold Line construction in San Dimas. Photo Courtesy: Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

By Joey Patton

With the commencement of major construction in mid-July, it seems that after years of anticipation and no shortage of hurdles, the Foothill Gold Line is at last making its way to San Dimas.

The new San Dimas Gold Line Station will be located east of San Dimas Avenue between the rail corridor and Arrow Highway (just south of the CVS) and will serve as one of six stops in a new 12.3 mile extension spanning from Glendora to Montclair. The 9.1 mile stretch that runs through Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona is fully funded and is expected to be completed by 2025. The remaining 3.2 mile stretch from Pomona to Montclair, however, has not received sufficient funding and will need to do so by October 2021 in order to meet its 2028 expected finish.

The idea of a train station coming to San Dimas is hardly a new one, as the city has a proud railroad history dating back to the 19th century. In 1887, when San Dimas was still a small, unincorporated community known as La Cienega Mud Springs, the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley Railroad extended its tracks into the little orange-growing town and put the town on the map. 

To this day, San Dimas commemorates its early railroad ties by hosting the Pacific Railroad Society–a museum that serves as a reminder of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s prevalence across the region. Without a doubt, the new Gold Line will certainly stir up some nostalgia among those aware of San Dimas’ experience on the train tracks.

“One of the comments we get a lot as we’re building this project is that we’re building a train where there used to be a train,” said Albert Ho, Media Relations Representative of the Foothill Gold Line. “People reminisce about the Pacific Red Car, the old rail line that spanned across the greater LA area. I think it’s great that we’re bringing rail back at a time when we’re going to need it.” 

Ho is not alone in his claim that the city is in need of reliable public transit. 

“Personally, I think the Gold Line coming to San Dimas is going to be a game-changer for our city,” said San Dimas native Brian Saver. “As someone who takes the Gold Line to Union Station at least a couple times a week, I can’t tell you how much of a difference it will make not having to drive to Azusa just to catch the train.” 

The Azusa Pacific/Citrus College train station currently stands as the easternmost stop on the Foothill Gold Line and is therefore the closest option for San Dimas residents hoping to catch a train toward Los Angeles.

“To think that I could feasibly walk to a station seated in the heart of the city is just really exciting to be honest—not to mention the money I’ll be saving on gas,” Saver laughed.

Not all San Dimas residents are excited about the Gold Line arriving in town. Monica Vallejo, who moved to San Dimas in September 2020, said she was trying to get away from the crowds and crime that the Gold Line brought to her previous neighborhood in Covina. Vallejo was dismayed to learn the Gold Line Station is coming to San Dimas. 

 “It will honestly make me rethink living in San Dimas because that’s what I was trying to get away from,” she said.

With the bulk of the planning now in the rearview and construction well underway, it’s only a matter of time until the San Dimas Gold Line Station is completed and the city is back on the rails.

6 Comments

  1. I also am excited and dismayed that the gold line will be coming right through our little sleepy town. It will be great for travel but with it will come the homeless, more crime and Sex traffickers . We need a team of law enforcement that will “ride” the rails
    All day and keep the undesirables out of our city.

  2. What an opportunity to embrace our railroad history but it has been totally lost. The real crime is the horrific bridge that will now be the gateway to downtown San Dimas. Lame Caltrans style cheap standard design with “historic” plaques pasted on the walls to try to draw your eye away from the concrete panel construction. Zero public notification during design process. Very sad.

  3. Great article! Having a train stop in San Dimas will be amazing for business and pleasure alike! Driving to LA can take forever with all the traffic and accidents.

    • , ,Your facts are Wrong, the Rail Road that put San Dimas on the Map was the old Santa Fe, the Southern Pacific passed to the South of San Dimas . I suggest you visit the RR Museum there in San Dimas ( Located in the Ex Santa Fe Depot ) for the facts

      Regards,
      Tom Hirsch

  4. “Monica Vallejo, who moved to San Dimas in September 2020, said she was trying to get away from the crowds and crime that the Gold Line brought to her previous neighborhood in Covina.” STRANGE. The Gold Line doesn’t go to Covina. Never did. Never will.

    • Hi Jeff, I interviewed Monica for this story, and she was referring to the station in Azusa, which borders Covina. I hope that clears things up!

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