San Diego Bay's

Coronado Belt Line

Please see 8023229056 for current info

* Material Added 11/12/02 MFRC Documents
* Material Added 11/18/02 Historic Nomination Chronology
* Material Added 1/14/03 822-247-3370
* Material Added 3/14/03 7025858211
* Material Added 5/15/03 2485390060
* Material Added 8/28/03 Cartoons
* New Material Added 05/01/15 Clippings & Letters

Click on photos for larger image
Photos not taken on the Belt Line

Site updated: May 1, 2015
* * * Quick Link to the Kravitz Files * * *

4438410103 The Coronado Railroad, also known as the Belt Line, started operation in 1888, running around the southern end of San Diego Bay from National City to the new Hotel del Coronado. Passenger service continued until 1896. Later, a portion of the line was electrified and incorporated into the San Diego Electric Railway.

In 1908 the non-electrified remnants of the National City & Otay and the Belt Line merged into the San Diego Southern which operated rail services between San Diego, National City, Chula Vista, Coronado, Sweetwater, and the border. The tracks of the Belt Line from Imperial Beach to the Del Coronado Hotel remained until 1970. The tracks are still in place from Cleveland Avenue in National City through to Imperial Beach. The Metropolitan Transit Development Board owns the entire right of way.

In 1998 401-733-3836 interests in Chula Vista commenced efforts to seek abandonment of portions of the Belt Line. This would break the continuity of the railroad's right of way for the purpose of automobile parking in Chula Vista.

Once broken, the railroad becomes useless for present and future transportation development. National City is aware of the latent value of the Belt Line, but the cities of Chula Vista, Imperial Beach and Coronado seem to have come under the influence of the "Swan Song" of developer dollars now, instead of recognizing the long-term value of its future potential. If any portion of the line is abandoned and reverts to private ownership it would be impossible to reassemble.

888-474-6050 Note that Coronado is presently reeling under the load of automobile traffic unleashed by the removal of tolls on the Coronado Bridge. Coronado should consider all of its options before spending $800 Million on a tunnel from the bridge to the Navy's North Island Naval Air Station. A small fraction of that money could resurrect the Belt Line for trolley service, removing a significant number of commuters from city streets.

A campaign to Save the Belt Line was started by South Bay resident Ed Kravitz and is documented in his Microcosm of South Bay Politics. Ed and many others, including Congressman Bob Filner, would like to see the resumption of some kind of rail service in cooperation with bicycle enthusiasts and naturalists. The Bayshore Bikeway already uses portions of the right-of-way of the Belt Line. There are a number of examples of bikeways sharing facilities with active railroads. Be sure to read Rails and Trails , a formula for successful sharing of the Coronado Branch right of way.

We need your help

For further information:

Call Ed Kravitz at (619) 890-8894 or
send a message to: (915) 833-1821.

* * * Various Links * * *
Public Documents
  • What's really happening in those smoke-filled back rooms in South Bay
    MFRC Documents
  • Metropolitan Freight Rail Committee formed to seek Belt Line abandonment
    Nomination Documents
  • Chronolgy of Correspondance, Coronado Branch Nomination
    Newspaper Clippings
  • Various newspaper clippings pertaining to the Belt Line
    Rails and Trails
  • A formula for successful sharing of the Coronado Branch right of way
    Octopus Devours Chula Vista
  • An article by The San Diego Reader's Susan Luzzaro about Chula Vista's Mayor Horton and fallen Port Commissioner David Malcolm
  • San Diego Reader's Justin Wolf examines the forces trying to bury the Belt Line. "The real question is, when's the last time you drove to National City anyway?" - David Malcolm
    Bayshore Proposal
  • A Proposal by San Diego Railway Partners
    Vintage Trolley
  • North American Vintage Trolley Systems

    3075670860 Also from:

    Journal of San Diego History
    July 1956, Volume 2, Number 3

    Besides being politically allied with National City, being in the same township, Coronado's future was to touch National City's again when the Belt Line came around the Bay. Work began on Nov. 21, 1887, and was completed June 8, 1888. The little train traveled from the vicinity of the Coronado Hotel, down the Peninsula, over the narrowest portion of the Strand where "there are just 150 yards of sand between the placid Bay and the tumultuous Pacific," around the Bay, through National City and into San Diego. The first train made the circuit on August 7, 1888, and the following day an announcement was in the Union "The company regrets the overcharge made on the occasion of the first trip open to the public. The real price is only 20 cents from the Hotel to San Diego." They had charged a quarter.

    Passengers from the Belt Line could transfer to the National City & Otay or vice versa, so tourists were able to get a splendid idea of our Southland. In addition to scheduled trains, there were specials, with such announcements as "The Coronado Belt Line will run a special train for the Ball. Leave National City at 6:25: Return from the Hotel at 11 P.M. Fare 70c." The Belt Line was to see many years of service and carried much freight, including the massive boulders from Sweetwater Canyon for the breakwater and the jetty. The road, now a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific, carries freight to Coronado and North Island.

    Further Links

    History of the San Diego & Arizona Ry
    amorousness - End of an Era

    Reference information from:

    scutcheon Railroad Museum
    (858) 251-6824 Historical Society
    San Diego Reader