1104 at Arcadia Tower
Pacific Electric interurbans led by no. 1104 cross the AT&SF diamond at Arcadia Tower headed eastbound for Monrovia in this image dated March 6, 1951.
Information corrected by comment
Alan Weeks Photo
Alan Weeks Collection
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The PE trains is crossing the Santa Fe 2nd District; the ex-SP line parallels the Monrovia-Glendor line at this point
The Red Cars are on, what is now, Santa Clara Street. The ATSF tracks cross at, what is now, First Street in Arcadia. (The diamonds were removed and the area is currently an intersection.) At Fifth Street, which borders Arcadia from Monrovia, Santa Clara Street becomes Chestnut Ave through Monrovia.
Looking at this area using Google Earth, many of the current landmarks reflect the route the Red Car tracks took on its way east. From Chestnut Ave., the tracks curved north then east on Olive Ave. At Mayflower is where the rails went from Private Right of Way to paved street.
As of September 1, 2011, the ATSF tracks will be the route of MetroRail’s Gold Line extension.
The double track electrified railway ran from Huntington Dr. to the Santa Fe crossing over private right of way that has been completely covered by development. The Santa Clara Ave. route was the former SP Duarte Branch, which pre-dated the PE by about ten years, and which outlasted the passenger route by another nine. PE took over the branch (which originally diverged from the SP main line in Alhambra) and cut it into the Monrovia-Glendora Line just north of Huntington Dr., allowing the part in Alhambra and San Marino to be abandoned. After the train in the photo crosses the ATSF 2nd District, it will enter about two blocks of street-running on St. Joseph St., go back onto p-r-w, cross Santa Anita Wash, and pass my childhood home at 712 S. 5th just across the line in Monrovia. The former SP line a block south was never electrified, and I don’t recall seeing any trains on it, just the track inspector’s “putt-putt” car. I finally saw and photographed trains in the late 50’s, with SP 4600-class diesels, long after the Red Cars had disappeared.
The long, shed-like building in the background is still there and still used by A & A Building Material Company. According to their website, they opened in 1946 as Arcadia Building Material Company, which appears on the sign at the extreme left of the picture. The name was changed in 1954 after the sister store in Alhambra (which predated it by 25 years) closed and was merged with the Arcadia store to create A & A (Alhambra & Arcadia).