Northern District

1216 at Alhambra Station

Posted on: December 16, 2009 by PERyHS 7 Comments
Jack Finn Collection

Jack Finn Collection

Pacific Electric interurban no. 1216 with a Redondo Beach destination sign awaits passengers at Alhambra Station, possibly in 1940-41.

Date changed per comment

Jack Finn Collection

7 Responses

  1. Bob Davis

    June 8, 2010

    This photo would be from either 1940 (when the “Butterfly Twelves” received their distinctive paint jobs) or 1941 (when the Alhambra Line was abandoned). There may have been electric freight service on the Palm Ave. line after Alhambra passenger service quit, but the Eclipse fenders disappeared during World War II, and fan trips would have been unlikely while the war was on. I suspect the “Redondo Beach” headsign display is a bit of railfan humor. Note that the Palm Ave. spur outlasted most PE lines, being in service with SP diesel power until about 1980 with the same rickety ex-PE rail. From 1912 to 1924, this track was used for a connecting service between Alhambra and Pasadena; this operation was an early casualty of “bustitution”.

  2. Bob Davis

    April 13, 2011

    This was probably a segment of Railroad Boosters (now Pacific Railroad Society) excursion #28, on May 26, 1940. According to “50 Years of Railroading in Southern California” it was to celebrate the refurbished 1200 class cars 1216-1221, and also visited Glendora, Sierra Madre and Pasadena. It would have gone by my home in Monrovia, but since I was only about 7 weeks old at the time, its passage went unnoticed.

  3. Bruce Lent

    May 8, 2011

    I do not think this picture is of the Alhambra station. I grew-up a few blocks from the SP station and remember a distinct structure and not the SP pre-fab shown in the picture. I couldn’t find any information on the SP station in the event that the station in the picture was built after 1940. I was only a few months old in 1940.

    Could this be San Gabriel? Maybe at the end of the Mission branch of the Alhambra line? I remember an old SP prefab station there.

  4. Bob Davis

    May 9, 2011

    I’m reasonably sure this is the Alhambra station (for a while it was known as “Shorb”) that was replaced by the modern building that most of us remember. The newer station was demolished around 1980 when the SP main line was relocated into the present-day “ditch”. Back in April 1971, I went there to buy three round-trip tickets from LA to Bakersfield that my daughters and I used for one last trip through the Tehachapis on the Saturday before Amtrak. Other clues about this scene: Hills in the background are probably the Repetto Hills between downtown LA and Alhambra. I don’t think the PE line that passed the San Gabriel Mission was this close to the SP main line, and it probably wouldn’t have had boxcars spotted on it.

  5. George Todd

    May 9, 2011

    I’ll side wth Bob on this one, this is the orginal SP depot at Alhambra. The brown stucco depot was built later.
    The platform lights on steel poles visible behind the depot survived the wooden structure, and lasted until the “ditch.” As a 1966 switchman for the SP, I spotted many cars on Palm Avenue, and at Standard Felt which had a spur off of Palm Avenue at Commonwealth Ave.
    The mission branch didn’t end at the mission, it looped back to Las Tunas via San Marino Ave.

  6. Bob Davis

    May 12, 2011

    Standard Felt (maker of CozyToes slippers) had the distinction of being the last “operating property” owned by the Huntington Estate. Some years ago, when I was looking for traces of the Oak Knoll Line along Mission Rd in San Marino., I got into conversation with a man who had been a manager for the Estate. To backtrack a bit, one of the big “sell-offs” was when Henry Huntington was still alive, and he sold Pacific Light and Power to Southern Calif. Edison. He kept LARy and some smaller businesses. After he died, the estate kept LARy until 1945, when the streetcar operation was sold off to LA Transit Lines. Standard Felt was the last to go, being sold around 1954. The retired manager told me that they had adopted a policy of getting out of operating entities and focusing on “gilt-edged securities”. Putting it more plainly, he advised, “If it eats or has to be painted, you don’t want your money in it.”

  7. Paul Kakazu

    January 29, 2013

    The scheduled electric cars that connected the SP depots at Pasadena and Shorb from 1912 to 1924 must’ve provided passengers a meandering trip, having to go west to Sierra Vista and clearing the switches there before changing ends and heading east. BTW I fully agree with Mr. Davis that the location pictured here at Mission & Palm was originally called Shorb. Now the “original” SP Alhambra station was east of Garfield Avenue and took the name of Stoneman when Shorb was renamed Alhambra in 1927. Then in 1941 the wooden Shorb/Alhambra depot we see here was leveled and replaced by the “mini-LAUPT” that we all remember. See “The Southern Pacific in Los Angeles” by Mullaly and Petty, page 49.


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