Los Angeles to Altadena

The Pasadena Branch

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This view is on Humboldt Street facing northeast. San Fernando Road crosses at the traffic light. These tracks are out of service, and end at the beige building in the distance (Avenue 26), where they used to make a jog to the left (still in Humboldt Street). Photo by Mike Palmer, July 2003.

This branch was connected to another UP branch, from Los Angeles to Glendale, and had a lot of street trackage, much of it in long-established business districts and neighborhoods that have not been redeveloped.

The branch curved east from the junction on the east bank of the Los Angeles River, and almost immediately entered Humboldt St. for several blocks of street running. The Humboldt St. section was the last part abandoned (1970s) but the track remained intact until at least 1982. There are several sidings still in place in the street, but all of the industrial buildings appear to be abandoned. East of Humboldt St. the track paralleled the The Second District of the AT&SF for the first of three bridges over the Arroyo Seco Parkway (LA's first freeway, opened around 1940). Once across the bridge the tracks ran parallel to the Santa Fe a few blocks to the east, then crossed the Santa Fe at grade near Highland Park. Further east the track entered York Blvd. for the second Arroyo Seco Pkwy crossing, then entered South Pasadena. The track paralleled Arroyo Drive then turned east and ran down the center of Grevelia St. for a few blocks. The track then turned northeast and paralleled the Santa Fe for the third crossing of the Arroyo Seco Pkwy. The track continued on next to the Santa Fe for a few more blocks, passed the site of "Raymond", then turned north and west to Pasadena and ultimately Linda Vista.

Very little of the right of way an be found within Pasadena city limits, as that area has been updated with new buildings. Much of the end section near Linda Vista is now used by freeways. Except for the street trackage in the top left photo, most of this line was abandoned by the 1960s.

The UP tell-tale is still there just to the west of the Gold Line, as of mid-2009.

KG6YGS
Monrovia, CA
5/29/2009

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I always enjoy railroad pictures from Los Angeles from day gone by. However your section labeled Los Angeles to Glendale is misleading since the narrative and pictures refer to the Pasadena Branch. What I was looking for were some pictures from the actual Glendale Branch that departed from the S.P mainline just south of where the Glendale Freeway crosses over the S.P. (Metrolink) at the top of the old ?A? yard. The branch immediately crossed San Fernando Road, then proceeded along Delay Ave until skirting the Forest Lawn wall, then on to Glendale Avenue. The branch then went up the center of Glendale Avenue until reaching a small yard near Glendale Avenue and Lexington Ave. Most of this branch was originally part of the Glendale and Montrose Railway.

Dick Miller
Palmdale (born in Glendale), CA
9/7/2009

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Your map is of the Pasadena branch, but it fails to include the segment in Pasadena and to Altadena. This is a partial map of the Pasadena branch from Pasadena Jct., but is not the Glendale Branch, which went to Glendale, via Cypress Avenue and up Glendale Blvd, originally to Montrose (the UP owned Glendale and Montrose Railway)

BOB2
Pasadena
11/18/2010

[Unfortunately, I cannot trace the routing north through Pasadena and Altadena. If you know of the routing, please let me know!  —Greg Harrison]

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It's not entirely accurate, or to scale, but part of the route through Pasadena is shown here:

http://japantownatlas.com/share/Pasadena_Japantown.pdf

David
Australia
3/7/2012

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The oldest photos of the area on HistoricAerials.com show the route quite clearly up to roughly the intersection of Windsor Avenue and Mountain View Street; the trackage beyond that (which ran a bit farther north before turning east and terminating at a depot on Lake Avenue) had been abandoned and built over some time before.

Keep up the great work Greg!

Tom
Alhambra, CA
4/26/2012

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Please refer to The Los Angeles Terminal Railway for more comments on this line. UP used to have a caboose labeled for "Pasadena/Glendale Branch"; usual motive power was an NW-2.

Bob Davis
San Gabriel, CA
1/16/2013

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There are tracks still surviving on the Humbolt St over the Pasadena Freeway

Benjamin Gonzalez
Buena Park, CA
1/4/2014

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