How's this for a non-aviation topic?
In addition to planes, I've also always had a liking for trains. Granted I wasn't as passionate about trains as I was planes, but still, I enjoy watching them.
One particular railroad I've always been fond of was the Santa Fe line that ran between San Bernardino and Los Angeles via Pasadena.
This line ran through the following cities:
San Bernardino, Rialto, Fontana, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, Montclair, Claremont, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, Glendora, Azusa, Irwindale, Duarte, Arcadia, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Chinatown, and finally Los Angeles.
As a kid growing up in San Dimas just a few blocks from this line, I would always ride my bike down to the tracks to watch the trains go by. My cousin and friends would often hang out down there.
Piggyback, freight, and Amtrak trains would fly through here going either to or from LA
/S.Berdo. I still remember the time when I was 11 or 12 and I got cited by the Santa Fe for "trespassing".
In 1988, I moved to West Covina. With that, I pretty much stopped watching the trains here. But I always naturally assumed they would always be there.
It wasn't until sometime in 1994 that I happened to be driving on Santa Anita Ave in Arcadia that I had a rude surprise and looked as I was crossing the tracks that I saw that the rails had been cut and thus service presumably stopped.
I later learned that this line was sold to Los Angeles MTA for use as a future "light rail" line. In doing my research (I love the Internet), I discovered that the tracks were abandoned and cut in January, 1994 following the Northridge earthquake. Apparently two bridges on this line were damaged an no longer suitable for trains: the Arroyo-Seco bridge in South Pasadena, which spans the 110 Freeway and the Arcadia 210 freeway flyover bridge.
The section between LA
and Pasadena sat unused for several years. The original plan was to build it as an extension of the Long Beach Blue Line.
But those plans later collapsed and the project was revised and later emerged as the Metro Gold Line. After a couple of years of construction, it opened last summer.
As it's no longer a through line, there is no reason to expect to see long freight trains or even Amtrak anymore: there's nowhere for them to go. It's a dead-end line.
Here is, as far as I can tell, the current status of the line:
Rebuilt as Metro Gold line. But it just stops in the middle of the freeway at Rosemead Blvd.
Pasadena (Rosemead Blvd-Arcadia, site of old bridge). The right of way still exists. But the track has been torn out. There is, however a railroad signal still standing right at Baldwin Ave. It looks odd there, what with no tracks and no trains. The flyover bridge was torn out, although you can see where it used to be.
There is a small, about one mile section of the original track still in existance, but as the pictures below show, they have not been used in over a decade.
The rails are cut just east of Santa Anita Ave. The track is still active east of here, although I'm not sure why. There are no freight sidings that I'm aware of.
The Miller Brewery is the only thing still keeping this line alive. They receive a shipment of a few cars each day. A slow moving train carrying maybe 5 or 6 cars is a far cry from the 100 car freights and Amtraks that used to fly along at about 70.
This line serves as a Metrolink line and is very, very busy with the commuter trains. There is a junction in Pomona, where the rest of the Metrolink line runs further south along a now defunct Southern Pacific line the rest of the way to LA
Now some questions I have:
Why was the line between Pomona, Pasadena, and LA
not set up for Metrolink service? Apart from rebuilding the two damaged bridges, it would've been a hell of a whole lot cheaper to use an existing system than start from scratch, which was done. Connectivity to other points in SoCal would've been a lot better with Metrolinks much more extensive network. Metro light rail (basically a bus on rails with none of the excitement that REAL trains have) has very limited service and appeal.
anyway, here are some pictures that I recently took:
In San Dimas, looking west from between Monte Vista and Cataract Avenues. This is my childhood spot and looks much the same as it did back then. The line is still active here. Note the signal, which is on and illuminated green.
The daily "beer train" heading west, approaching Monte Vista Ave in San Dimas. It's about 4 engines and 4 cars, crawling along at about 20MPH. A far cry from 8 engines and a hundred cars moving at 70 MPH. But at least it's still a train.
The same train heading away.
Heading around the curve towards Glendora. The crossing in the foreground is Bonita/Cataract Ave and the crossing in the distance is Eucla Ave. Note the signal has now turned red.
The "end of the line" in Arcadia, looking northwest. Santa Anita is the crossing beyond the "bumper". Note the rail just laying on the ballast like nobody cares what happens to it.
What's left of the crossing gates on Santa Anita Ave. They haven't been maintained in over a decade and it shows. This is the only remaining crossing of the "abandoned" section still in service. East of here, the track is still active. West of here, there are no crossings until downtown Pasadena. And those are all shiny and new inasmuch as it's the new Gold Line trolley system.
I wonder if gas trucks and buses have to stop before going over this crossing?
The "abandoned" section in Arcadia, between Santa Anita and the 210 freeway, facing northwest. The only non-active stretch of the original line still in existance.
The same stretch of track, about a quarter mile west of Santa Anita Ave, looking east.
The true "end of the line". If you were to follow the tracks just behind the curve, you would fall onto the very heavy traffic of the 210 freeway.
So any of you train fans have a once favorite line that's no longer used?
[Edited 2004-12-11 03:16:09]