Stanton to Huntington Beach

The Huntington Beach Branch

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This shows the bridge over Ellis Avenue, in the same general area at the end of the section abandoned in the 1980s. The bridge itself looks to be of relatively recent construction (1970s or later); it is not known what type of bridge it replaced, or if there existed an at-grade crossing at this location previously. Photo by Mike Palmer, April 2006.

The UP (former SP) still reaches the northern section of Huntington Beach, where a lumber yard near Talbert Avenue still gets rail shipments. This lumber yard is at the southern end of a branch that headed due south from Los Alamitos Junction. Originally the branch continued almost to the shore line, where a Pacific Electric line also ran.

The southernmost three miles likely disappeared in the 1960s, with another mile cut back in the 1980s. The southernmost section was still partly open land into at least the 1970s, although at some point later residential development took over the right-of-way.

Thanks to Mike Palmer for contributing information about this route.

Just a few notes to supplement text above:

Line originally built by S.P. predecessor Santa Ana & Newport Railway Smeltzer Branch (from Newport to Smeltzer[Edinger Ave.)in 1897. Acquired and incorporated into S.P. in 1899. S.P. extended Smeltzer Branch to Stanton in 1907. Section s/o Wintersburg(Warner Ave.) abandoned by S.P. in 1933 (whole Newport Branch abd. from S.A. to Wintersburg, Wintersburg then becoming end of track from Stanton, named Smeltzer Branch with a southern terminus as distinct from original Smeltzer Branch which had northern terminus. The last abandoned mile (Wintersburg-Wiebling[future crossing of Ellis Avenue] was not removed and was subsequently acquired by Pacific Electric with remainder of active Smeltzer Branch and rehabilitated (1948) to restore continuous track between Stanton and Huntington Beach, which P.E. used to maintain non-electrified freight service to its Orange County oceanfront trackage when that coastal mileage was severed from its traditional connection with the rest of the P.E. system at Seal Beach about 1950. This trackage then became for the first time officially (P.E.'s )Huntington Beach Branch. This all became S.P. property again in the mid 1960s when S.P. formally acquired P.E. and rolled it back into its own branch system. In 1876, S.P. once again abandoned its trackage through incorporated Huntington Beach, including the recently constructed bridge across Ellis Avenue(built by the City to permit extension of Ellis through gully filled by SA&N back when Smeltzer Branch originally built(there was never a grade crossing or other grade seperated crossing there). The former P.E. piece between Huntington and Newport Beaches having been abandoned in 1962. With the 1976 abandonment, Wintersburg again became the last named station on the Stanton Branch, but that station included two miles as far as former La Bolsa station(Main Street) for car storage and occasional teamtrack deliveries. The last mile between Ellis and Main Street came out in 1993 for residential development.

Steve Donaldson
Formerly O.C., now SF Bay Area, CA
11/25/2008

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