A Metropolitan Coach Lines blimp is oOutbound to Bellflower approaching Lakewood Blvd. Taken Friday, May 23, 1958, the last weekday for the Bellflower line to operate. The several tank cars on the freight siding suggest that this now-long-gone refinery was an important freight customer.
Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection
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Are you sure that the refinery in the background of your photographs is gone?
Good question from Richard! I would agree that my refinery comment associated with the picture is in error. I no longer live in the area and to my surprise, it appears that the refinery still exists, as strange as that may be 60 years later, especially given its now semi-residential location and apparent “well used” condition in 1958. I likely took the photo from what is now Somerset Blvd. just west of Lakewood Blvd.
One reason the refinery has survived is that it still has rail service with a short section of track running NW on the former PE right of way which now connects with a north/south UP RR freight track that once crossed the PE line. Not only are there several tracks into the refinery property, there are four storage tracks now occupying the old right of way beside the refinery—right where the blimp is in my picture. The tracks come to an end at Somerset Blvd. and are now semi-shielded by a wall and some nice landscaping. Given the number of tank cars in the refinery and on the storage tracks (as shown in the current Google Earth photo), the refinery may be even more active than it was in 1958! This unusual bit of continuing rail activity has outlasted by six decades the original PE line to Bellflower and Santa Ana!
That is the Paramount Petroleum refinery. It was one of the bigger freight customers on the Santa Ana line and is now the sole remaining customer on what is left of the line. Until the UP/SP merger in 1998, SP serviced Paramount Petroleum from Anaheim via Stanton Junction. Were it not for the refinery the Santa Ana line would not have lasted as long as it did. Following the UP merger, the UP accessed the refinery via its San Pedro line, thereby negating the need to access Paramount via Stanton. The connection required UP to re-lay track over a section of formerly abandoned PE, Santa Ana line roadbed, as the line north and west of Paramount had been abandoned and at least partially removed during construction of the Century Freeway during in the early 1980s.
This refinery is no longer in operation.