"Trying to Remap" the Route of
The San Gabriel Valley Rapid Transit Railroad
Southern Pacific's "Duarte Branch"
railroad was built from Los Angeles to Monrovia in 1888,
and was an independent company until 1893, running as
many as four trains a day. It had financial problems
almost from the get-go, and was taken over in 1893 by
Southern Pacific, who extended it to Duarte. Southern
Pacific operated it until about 1946, at which time it
was abandoned and the right-of-way sold to owners of
adjacent properties. For details of its history, check
Press your "F-11" Key For Full-Screen Viewing
First, I've included an over-all topographic map of the area, then two wide-angle satellite views of the route, from today's I-10 near Fremont, northeast thru Alhambra, then continuing to the vicinity of Santa Anita Race Track.
After that, as quickly as I can, I'll be adding close-up views, working generally from west to east
Please email me with additions, corrections or memories about the line.
Some of these images are rather large files, so give them time to download, especially if you're using a dial-up connection.
PHOTO-MAP MAP OF APPROXIMATE ROUTE
SATELLITE OVERVIEW OF ROUTE
West to East...from present I-10 thru Alhambra...
East of Alhambra, thru San Marino to Arcadia...
DETAIL MAP 1
The San Gabriel Valley Rapid Transit Railroad's right-of way followed present-day I-10 from the vicinity of LA County General Hospital as far as the sweeping curve east of Fremont Avenue. The railroad continued straight northeasterly, however. Just east of Campbell Avenue, it began a curve toward the north, which ended somewhere near Glendon Way, east of Marengo Avenue.
The line continued northerly, entirely on private way, across Valley Blvd toward SP's Sunset Route.
The original Right-of-Way of the San Gabriel Valley Rapid Transit RR was abandoned south of Mission Road to the PE San Bernardino Line after purchase by SP for their Duarte Branch. Several industrial spurs ran north off the SP Sunset route in this area as well.
Right-of-Way continued north, between and parallel to Marengo and Electric Avenues. Just north of Acacia Street, on property later sold by SP for an addition to All Souls' Catholic School, the line began a curve to the right. Other lines in the immediate area were the SP Pasadena Branch, and PE's Alhambra line and PE's line down to the SP Shorb Station.
As it curved toward the northeast past the All Souls' School and Church, the SGVRT / SP Duarte Branch crossed Alhambra's Main Street just east of Bushnell Avenue, and angled toward what now is approximately the intersection of Vine Street and Marguerita AvenuePAfter 1903, Main Street was also the crossing of PE's Alhambra-San Gabriel-Temple City Line. It was 1.24 miles east of Sierra Vista Junction. (SP's Pasadena Line crossed the PE 1/4 mile to the west, on private way along the east side of Raymond Avenue. Immediately west of there was PE's West Alhambra Station and the line down to Shorb on the Sunset Route.
At about Marguerita Street, the line joined what has become Woodward Avenue. To this day, property lines, lots and buildings from the north side of Main Street to that intersection are still somewhat jumbled and irregular, making the precise route a bit difficult to discern. The line then followed Woodward past Atlantic and Garfield. I have not been able to determine whether this was in private way or city street. Can anyone help?
Continuing out Woodward Avenue, across Story Park and over the Alhambra Wash on a trestle - see http://harrymarnell.com/SGVRTwoodward.htm - then curving into the rear alley north of Lindaraxa Park North.
The railroad curved left behind what would become the property lines of Lindaraxa Park North, crossing Grand Avenue, Granada Avenue and finally leaving the City of Alhambra as it crossed Alhambra Road.
Alhambra Road, east of Granada, marked the north City Limits of Alhambra. As the right-of-way continued northeasterly, it was both the property-line divider and the city limits boundary between San Marino to the north (from Darby Road up), and San Gabriel to the east and south (Mt Vernon Rd, N Vega Street). According to local resident Roger Bryant, when the right-of-way was sold off in the late 1940s, "homeowners whose property backed up to it were given the option of purchasing some or all of it. As a consequence, some owners to the north now have deeper lots and also some to the south have deeper lots, and some split the difference."
The right-of-way continued northeasterly and began running directly parallel to Lorain Road along the south property lines of parcels on the south side of the street. Red circle indicates former crossing of St. Albans Road at Coolidge..
On the west side of St. Albans at Coolidge, can still (January 2007) be seen where rails were removed to correct the excessive "crown" in the street
|Looking southwesterly from curb...||Parcel map|
Just east of Lorain Road's intersection with Virginia Road (to the north), the tracks' spiral ended, and again began running esentially straight, and just a few degrees north of due east. The right-of-way separated the residential lots on the south side of Lorain Road in San Marino from those on the north side of Domingo Road in San Gabriel.
The rail line continued arrow-straight across Mission Drive / West Drive (the street changed names as it changed cities at the tracks) and marked the northern boundary of the San Gabriel Cemetery after passing the dead end, so to speak, of N. De Sales Street.
Check Back Soon...more maps & info to follow
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