Alhambra to Pasadena

Picture Point of Interest

GOOGLE MAPS no longer available: With apologies, I am unable to continue showing Google Maps. Google has forced my hand by increasing their map usage fee from nothing/free to OVER $300 A MONTH for the Abandoned Rails website! This is an expense that I simply cannot afford. Rest assured I am looking at available open source alternatives, so maps should be back online soon!

Greg Harrison

Showing of

This station had been a stop for Amtrak's Sunset Limited until the main line was lowered into a trench in the 1970s. This was how the abandoned SP Alhambra station appeared in April 1984. The interior had been set on fire in the recent past; note the smoke damage around the windows and doors. The station was torn down soon after. A remnant of the branch to Pasadena is visible in the photo. It climbed out of the trench on the 'track side' of the station, then used a switchback to proceed past the 'street side' of the station. It crossed Mission Road at the crossbuck (far left in photo). Photo by Mike Palmer, April 1984.

This branch was built north from the SP "Sunset" main line in Alhambra, crossed two different Pacific Electric lines, and had sidings at Raymond and Pasadena. It passed through South Pasadena but evidently did not have a siding or station there. The area is fully developed (and has been for many decades).

The branch headed north parallel to Raymond Avenue (see photo). It crossed the PE Temple City Line at Main Street in Alhambra, then continued parallel to Raymond Avenue as far as the South Pasadena city line. This Alhambra segment remained in place to the 1980s; the track north of there was taken up earlier, and is right-of-way is now used by a power company for a pole line.

The second PE crossing was at Huntington Drive in South Pasadena, where the PE line to Arcadia, Monrovia and Glendora ran in the median (see photo lower right). The SP branch right-of-way is easily located, but much of it is fenced off as private property. It can be walked where it forms the western boundary of Garfield Park in South Pasadena.

James Stimson adds: The final segment where the SP entered the city of Pasadena is difficult to locate. It ran in a gully parallel to Marengo Boulevard (where Blair High School, built in the 1960s, now stands) and entered Arroyo Parkway (CA Route 110) at the intersection with Glenarm Street. The line continued north in the median of Arroyo Parkway, then shifted to the east side of Arroyo Parkway near the Colorado Boulevard intersection, where a lumber yard was at the "end of the line" up until the 1950s. As of 2004 the Arroyo Parkway is still paved in large cement sections, with some cut-outs that appear to be where the rail lines were removed and paved over.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

Docket Number: 23026 Date: 3/13/1964 Section: 1(18)
Applic for auth. to aband. that portion of the Pasadena Branch, Los Angeles Division, betw. Alhambra and Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California, a distance of approx, 4.412 mi., together with all sidings, spur tracks and appurtenances.
Length: 4.412 miles Citation:  

The grade separation trench actually dates to the mid- to late-'70s, after the Pasadena Branch was abandoned. The ramp up to street level would have been for the spurs to the Edison facility on Marengo and the ex-Pacific Electric spur down the middle of Palm.

Alhambra, CA


Its nice to see a picture of the Alhambra depot. Brings back childhood memories. but what is never shown are pictures of the rail workers housing, where in the 50s I and other families of Mexican Descent were raised. Located to the east-side of this depot picture. Where those clump of trees are viewed, were the section homes. We as kids had a joyous life. The tracks, the depot, and the box cars were our playgrounds.

North Cal, CA


The SP had passenger service on this line in the 20s. I don't know when that was discontinued but as late as 1970 the SP passenger timetable mentioned "on-call taxi service available from Alhambra to Pasadena." Evidently a substitute for the abandoned passenger service.

Yorkman Lowe
Emeryville, CA


I knew it! I ran across this on Huntington Drive and thought that it might have been an old ROW even though someone who lives at that location told me that it had always been just a power line corridor.

Andrew Laverdiere
Glendale, CA


In 70 or 71, from Huntington Dr, I noticed this line was a power-line corridor, no indication that it was a RR right-of-way.

Yorkman Lowe
Emeryville, CA


The track was in service to Pasadena into the early 1960s, and there was a spur crossing the entrance to the Freeway going into the Pasadena Light & Power plant. I worked nights at plant which was later taken over by Blair High in 1961. Regarding passenger service between Pasadena and Alhambra: that was taken over by Pacific Electric in 1912, with an electrified track going into the back of the SP depot on the SE corner of Colorado and Arroyo Pky. with a connection to the PE track on Fair Oaks. It was a roundabout route, and PE replaced it with bus service in 1924, but a segment on Palm Ave. in Alhambra remained in service until the early 1980s.

Bob Davis
San Gabriel, CA


This Alhambra depot was my playground as a child in the early 50s. My home was the clump of trees in the back ground of this image. SP supplied housing for American workers of Mexican decent and their families. Known as SP section housing. Each family maintained beautiful gardens and celebrated our cultural heritage together. We were raised to be proud Americans.

George Novoa
Santa Maria, CA


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