Los Angeles Railway 287: End of the Line – Almost

By Ralph Cantos

Los Angeles Railway Huntington Standard no. 287 heads a long line of retired Standards at the Vernon Yard’s “scrap track.”

These unfortunate cars probably operated their last mile under their own power, as this track still has overhead. Notice that the 287 still sports a B Line slat in the roof sign box. This photo must have been taken in mid-1946.

The new Los Angeles Transit Lines is in the midst of a big “house cleaning,” sending to scrap hundreds of older, unneeded cars as hundreds of new GM Diesel buses arrive in preparation for the big 1947 rail abandonments.

Los Angeles Railway after being saved and moved to the Antelope Valley

By some miracle, the body of the 287 made it out of the Vernon Yard scrap track, in one piece, more or less. Some unknown private party purchased the “truck-less” body of 287 and had it delivered to a hill top on the outskirts of Palmdale, over looking Highway 14 and the Southern Pacific main line to Palmdale and Lancaster.

Perhaps, some unknown railfan had plans of of making the 287 into a train watchers paradise. But for reasons lost to history, what purpose the 287 was to have served, those plans never came to to be.

So for decades, the forlorn 287 would sit on that hill top, alone and abandoned, enduring endless acts of vandalization. I myself saw the 287 from Highway 14 and from occasional rail fan trips that operated along this stretch of Southern Pacific main.

As the years passed, each time I saw the 287, she looked worse than the time before, until one day, she was gone. The 287 must have been a key piece of a “dream that failed.”

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Pacific Electric no. 969 on the Inglewood Line