1322 on the Azusa Branch
By Charles Wherry
On September 30, 1951 Pacific Electric ran their last interurban train to Glendora, CA. The following month PE began to remove their famous right of way, beginning at Oneonta Park, Huntington Dr. and Fair Oaks in So. Pasadena) to Myrtle Ave. in Monrovia, west of Glendora. In order for PE to reach their remaining freight customers between Arcadia and Glendora including the non-electrified Day & Night spur which PE had taken over from SP in 1942, it was necessary to build a new piece of railroad, 2.82 miles in length, costing $436,000. The new freight line, called the Azusa Branch, was built from the Crushton spur’s north end to a connection with the Glendora line at Rivas Jct. just west of Azusa, crossing the Santa Fe at Kincaid en route. The first train over the new line ran on September 17, 1951.
The following Sunday, September 23, we find engine 1322 and caboose moving eastward after crossing the ATSF, (see the distant signal leading to the Automatic Interlocking behind the caboose) and dipping under Foothill Blvd. overpass en route to Rivas Jct. Notice the two trainmen ‘decorating’ the rear steps of 1322?
No, they’re not mad at the motorman. You see, they have made room in the cab for some visitors. This day my brother and I are occupying the left-side seat box on one of the first trips over the branch courtesy some of my dad’s working buddies. Tomorrow would be my 7th birthday and there would be plenty of time for cake and ice cream, but today is reserved for some railroading, PE style.
Who would have dreamed that 11 years and a week later I would be making my fireman seniority ‘date’ aboard one of 1322’s brothers, (1401) at the lower end of the ‘C’ Yard in SP’s Taylor yard at Los Angeles?
William Wherry Photo, Charles Wherry Collection