— ICC Abandonment Filings —
|Southern Pacific Railroad|
|Docket: 24086||3/31/1966||Section: 1(18)|
|Applic. for auth. to aband. a port. of its Stanton Br., betw. M.P. 23.50, at or near Seal Beach, and M.P. 32.54, at or near Huntington Beach; a distance of 9.24 mi., (including 0.20 mile equation), together with a contiguous portion betw. M.P. 35.48 and M.P. 35.29, a distance of .19 mi., making a total distance of 9.43 mi., in Orange County, Calif., together with all sidings, spur tracks and appurtenances.|
|Length: 9.430 miles||Citation:|
— User Comments —
This line ran due south from a wye junction with the Los Alamitos Line slightly west of Stanton. A switch just south of Hazard Ave created the branch that serviced the munitions trains traveling to the Naval Weapons Station at Seal Beach. Continuing due south, the Stanton Branch passed through Wintersburg and on to Huntington Beach.
I believe the abandonment filing shown above is for that portion of the line south of the Navy station branch since I recall seeing active trains entering the Naval facility as late as the early nineties; I have only very recently seen that the tracks to the Navy station have now been removed (sometime between 2008 and 2012).
The document dated 3/31/1966 refers to the branch starting in Seal Beach at the San Gabriel River and running along the Electric Ave right-of-way. The branch continued south through Sunset Beach. Both the Seal Beach and Sunset Beach right-of-ways are now greenbelts or vehicle parking areas. The branch continued along the present Bolsa Chica State Beach finally crossing Pacific Coast Hwy at 1st St where it continued north paralleling Gothard St in Huntington Beach and Hoover St in Westminster. I measured the beginning and ending distance from Seal Beach to Huntington Beach, described above, as 9.3 miles using the Google Earth ruler utility.
Although this branch crossed the Seal Beach NWS rail line a short distance from its terminus at the Anaheim Bay loading dock, I don't think the Seal Beach to Huntington Beach line ever had access to the NWS line due to the Navy's security restrictions.
I was 14 years old in 1965 and recall one day hearing the sound of a locomotive engine coming from the Electric Ave right-of-way 7/10ths of a mile from my home. That must have been one of the last times a train ran on those tracks.
The link goes to a photo of the Seal Beach Historical Society train museum on Electric Ave.
Although I could be wrong, and I have since lost the original reference I used to describe the Stanton line, I have now found this LA Times article that discusses old railroad rights-of-way and it describes the Stanton line as beginning "...near Huntington Beach Civic Center and parallels Beach Boulevard through Westminster and Stanton, where it links up with Southern Pacific's Los Alamitos branch line."
I have no doubt that the Stanton branch ran and still runs from Stanton south to Huntington Beach. My contention is that the cited abandonment filing refers to the portion of that branch that ran from Seal Beach down the coast to Huntington Beach before turning inland.
The link below to the Thomas Bros. map from 1956 shows the P. E. Ry (Pacific Electric Railway) entering Seal Beach from the Naples community of Long Beach and continuing southeast. Note that there is a bridge allowing the P. E. Ry to pass over the Navy tracks. The two tracks never connected. You can zoom-in on the map.
Ah, yes. Now, after seeing maps showing the north-south line to Stanton as an extension from Seal Beach rather than from Newport Beach (based on the curve of the tracks where it turns inland), I agree with you on what 9+ miles the abandonment notice refers to. Also, I am reading several references where the inland section of track has had several names over the years, including on this website where much of it is called the Huntington Beach branch.
The actual connection to the Naval Weapons Station was along the inland section and ran east-west from Westminster. In the 1961 map referenced below, the track to the NWS favors from the south, but the lastest alignment was actually curving from the north, which makes sense with the routing change that this abandonment probably caused.
Reference maps: http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/US/157305/Orange+County+++Page+102/Orange+County+1961/California/