1451 and 0635 Rail Removal at California Boulevard
Pacific Electric box motor no. 1451 and a hand-lettered flatcar bearing the marks “PE 0635” work rail removal on the Sierra Madre Line at California Boulevard in this image dated February 8, 1951.
Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection
Sixty two years these pictures have sat in the same envelope that they came from the developers in. I had not seen these pictures since they were taken years ago. The reason that they are here now is because a friend, Roger Hill, asked me if I ever took pictures of the Sierra Madre Line. Seems as a child his father took him to see the these cars but he never got to ride the line. I promised him I would dig out what I had taken. I spent quite a bit of time with these negative scans in Photoshop. These were some of my earliest pictures and not my best effort but at least we have some thing to remember the line with.
In seeing these pictures now, I am struck with how rural this line was. This area did not get built up for a decade after these were taken. One regret was that I took so many of them dismantling the line and not more of the cars in service. But it is what it is.
Up until some time in 1938 there were five trains into Los Angeles in the morning and five trains from L. A. thru to Sierra Madre. The rest of the trips on the line were shuttle trips with one car from San Marino to Sierra Madre. After 1938 the thru trips were accomplished by coupling the Sierra Madre car on the rear of a Monrovia-Glendora train at San Marino. And the reverse in the PM.
The last car to operate on this line Was on Oct 7, 1950. The Motorman on this last car was a friend of mine and also a railfan. He had just become a Minister before the last trip. We left Sierra Madre in the early evening and came down on all nine points. The 1100s were not fast but going down hill they really rolled.
The first stop we made was at the Lamanda Park Tower where we had a Red Block Signal. Red was always the default aspect. Then we proceed to San Marino where the car was tied down for the last time. Bob Slocum soon left Los Angeles and I never saw him again.
August 21, 2013
Box motor 1451 is long gone, but Tower Car 00157 from the same group is preserved in running order at Orange Empire.
PE 1451 was a very powerful engine and was capable of hauling heavy freight much like the PE 1600-class steeple cabs were.
Box motors like 1451 could haul freight cars, but their motors were only rated at 110 hp, while the 1619-class had motors rated at 205 hp. Also 1451 had a different gear ratio for faster maximum speed. Both the box motors and steeple cabs had 14EL brake systems, but the 1619s had two air compressors, while the 1451s had one smaller compressor. In revenue service, the 1451s were sometimes used to spot horse-express cars at Santa Anita Race Track.