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

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Showing 4 comments
  • Jack Ross

    Born in 1981, I grew up in Azusa from 1991 to 2008. Riding my bike after hearing the horn from the “Baldwin Park Local”, I would watch them switch the end of line at 9th Street in Azusa. Since then I have been fascinated with the history of the line. If you have any more pictures of the line, I would love to see them! Thanks for the great story.

  • Steve

    Hi Charles,

    Great story on a rather obscure piece of the PE.
    Do you recall ever seeing a semaphore on this line. I have a very dim memory of seeing a semaphore from the Foothill Bl overpass on this line, perhaps around the time of 1965 or 1966. Any thoughts?

    Steve Crise

    • Charles Wherry

      Hello Steve:

      The only semaphore signal on this branch is visible just behind the caboose in the photo. That’s probably the one you recall.
      I presume a similar semaphore distant signal governing
      eastward trains approach to the Kincaid automatic interlocking might have been on the other side of the diamond, not visible to us. On a re-scan of this slide at higher resolution I can make out the RED aspect of the Kincaid home signal which was a target type

      Charlie Wherry

      • Charles Wherry

        Doing a little more research I find that
        the actual name of the spur that served as the starting point for the Azusa Branch was
        the Reliance Rock Spur and the Azusa Branch was placed in service at 3:30 AM, Saturday September 15, 1951. This from the PE
        employee’s timetable in effect at that time.

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Unknown Photographer, Steve Crise CollectionWilliam Wherry Photograph, Charles Wherry Collection