Glendale, California

The Abandoned Taylor Yard

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

All that remains of Taylor Yard: rails, spikes, tie plates, etc. View is looking west. Photo by Andrew Laverdiere, June 2009.

In 1923, Southern Pacific opened up a new maintenance and service yard near Glendale, CA. Named for a local entrepreneur, Taylor Yard was one of the larger service yards in the Los Angeles area. It was a full-service railroad hump yard, and was responsible for maintenance of both locomotives and railroad rolling stock and for freight switching and classification. The closure of SP's nearby Midway Yard also helped Taylor Yard to grow to the massive complex it once was. As other railroad facilities were opened around Los Angeles after World War II, Taylor Yard began to lose some of its traffic, and by the late 1970s, its usefulness had diminished. What remained of this once-great railroad yard had all been abandoned by 1985.

Today, only a small sliver of the original railroad yard remains, in use by Union Pacific as a locomotive repair shop. A majority of the site is now owned by the City of Los Angeles, on which they operate the Rio de Los Angeles Park.

I'm originally from Oxnard Ca and made many trips to LA, including Taylor or what was left of it in the mid 80's, although nothing like the 60's pics linked here there was actually alot of activity there in the mid to late 80's, I really miss pacing the SP along San Fernando Rd. which seemed mere inches away from the tracks, I also remember all the old derelict locomotives and cars that were stockpiled here back then, this brings back alot of great memories, only wish I'd taken more pictures, especially of the structures that were still there

Walnut, IL


I worked Taylor and the Shops etc from 1963 thru 1983. I was a Switchman and CRO (Car retarder operator) at the Hump which switched cars from the intake A yard to the classification B yard. There were three towers A B and C. The A was the hardest to master because it handled every car (empties and loads mixed) and at 3 to 4 cars a minute it was a trick to run. Of course all this is done now in the big yard at Colton with computers. More efficient less fun. I believe the tower in the above picture was called Dayton tower and when you called the operator he would pick up the phone or radio and say "Dayton Interlockers. Dennis

Dennis Alberson
LA and Portland OR, CA


My friend Linda Niemann did a great job with her autobiographical account of her early year or so in LA as well as most of the SP system but didn't stay long in the LA yard because of the lack of seniority. I on the other hand Switched there from 1963 to 1984. What would anyone like to know? Railroading in those days was straight out of a Steinbeck novel and many of us hated to lay off for fear of missing something. I'll never forget some of the characters. There was Cadillac Collins, The Rug Peddler, Rubbernose Thompson, Bird dog (when he wanted to sit on an occupied bench he would say "shove the lead" meaning make some room). I'll never forget some Joker making out a 2611 accident form for fun which read among other things in the space for Direction "up'" and for Speed "oy vey". I miss those days and all the stories more than I ever thought I would.

Dennis Alberson
LA and Portland, OR, CA


Those were the days, my friend, too bad they had to end. I'll never forget someone throwing a switch right in front of Dayton tower and the super shut EVERYTHING down and ordered everyone into the tower for "THE investigation!" EVERYONE was going to be fired on the spot! Turns out, it was a broken switch and no one got fired, but it sure tied up the main for a couple of hours while an official exerted his usual bluster! I also remember coming into Taylor at night, trying to find the herder, who was supposed to have the GREEN lantern, and no one ever had one except ONE guy. He was the best on second trick. Was that you??

Lancaster, CA


thanks UP for destroying another SP landmark



Union Pacific didn't destroy Taylor Yard, they simply finished what Southern Pacific started in the 1970's with the construction of West Colton Yard. That coupled with the massive decrease in carload freight (switched to either intermodal or trucks) sealed the fate of Taylor Yard. In fact, except for the diesel facility, everything at Taylor Yard was removed by SP long before the merger was even announced.

Fontana, CA


Lived with my Grandparents nearly up until I went into the service. My dad/grandfather worked at the Taylor yard for Pacific Fruit Express as a brakeman from the 40's up until his retirement in 62', lived up on the hill there in Glassell Park near Division and San Fernando, I grew up there as a kid, and was given rides up in the cabs when they still had steam engines there.

Los Angeles, CA


Man wish i couldve been around back then

Crazy Cooter
Tuscaloosa , AL


The majority of the historic Taylor Yard is now owned by California State Parks, not the City of Los Angeles.

Alexander D. Bevil
San Diego, CA


Actually, this entry fails to mention that the southern end of Taylor Yard is still a working railroad yard -- used by Metrolink, Southern California's commuter rail agency, as its main yard, shops and layover area.

Elson Trinidad
Los Angeles, CA


I have several comments above but don't see a way to reply.

I worked LA for 20 yrs as Switchman, CRO, Herder, Yard Forman and Main Line Tower operator. I don't remember a green herders light. In the day we did use green flags. Also I forgot to mention Linda Niemans' books by name. The 1st was BOOMER and latest RR NOIR, much later. Both great

by a woman who holds a Ph.D

Literature from Berkeley. And also

one of the 1st in LA but later had to roam the whole system for lack of senority. Dennis Alberson, LA, SD, Portland OR

Dennis Alberson


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Do you have any pictures or information about The Abandoned Taylor Yard? Please . You will get credit for anything you contribute.