Ontario and San Antonio Heights Railroad Company

Ontario and San Antonio Heights Railroad Company is a former railway company which operated in Ontario, California. The company's service is noted for using a unique Gravity Mule Car from 1887 to 1895.

Ontario and San Antonio Heights Railroad Co. mule car in service

The mule-car served Ontario until 1895, when the line was electrified by new owners, Ontario Electric Company.[1][2] It was occasionally used afterwards, when the electric generator in the powerhouse was flooded.[3] The Ontario Electric Company was merged into the Pacific Light & Power Corporation in 1908, and the extension to Pomona commenced work in 1909, which opened New Year's Day 1911.[4] The railroad would go on to be acquired by the Pacific Electric on April 13, 1912.[2][5]

Mule carEdit

Operated from 1887 to 1895, a car with a pull-out trailer was utilized for passenger service, allowing the mules to ride on the car body on the downhill segment.[5] Mules provided the propulsion for the uphill segment to Euclid Avenue, taking about 90 minutes. The downhill gravity-powered ride lasted only 30 minutes.[1]

The obituary for the mule Sanky on the front page of the Ontario Daily Report of 6 February 1914 was under the headline, “Mule, Figure in Early History of Ontario, is Dead.” It mentioned that in 1895, Sanky and his partner Moody were sold to farmer C.B. Adams in San Antonio Heights after the inauguration of the electric tram had made them obsolete. Ranch work was apparently far below their dignity and when hitched to a harrow, they persistently refused to budge, and coaxing and force were equally without effect. The farmer had to motivate them by attaching a bell from the old rail car to his harrow. With the familiar signal, the mules started valiantly up the orchard, but at the head of the orchard, Moody and Sanky persisted in attempting to climb onto the harrow for the downward journey, said the obituary. It took weeks before the pair could be trained to plow in both directions.[6]


The railroad operated along Euclid Avenue, connecting the Ontario Southern Pacific station in the south to the Upland Santa Fe station, Euclid Avenue stop of the Pacific Electric Upland–San Bernardino Line, and continuing north to San Antonio Heights.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "History of Ontario". Ontario Heritage. Archived from the original on 22 March 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Ontario & San Antonio Heights Line". Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Ren's did you know?, Gravity Mule Car". 23 August 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Pomona Upland Line Pomona Claremont Line". Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  5. ^ a b Hilton, George W.; Due, John F. (2000) [1960]. The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. p. 410. ISBN 0-8047-4014-3.
  6. ^ Joe Blackstock (27 January 2014). "Back when Ontario put the cart before the mule". Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Retrieved 20 December 2017.