498 Welcome to Fullerton

The famous Fullerton Arch serves as a terrific frame for this image of Pacific Electric no. 498 Express interurban, taken during a Railroad Boosters railfan trip (note the crowd to the left and the young man posing in the open freight door).

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Showing 13 comments
  • Dave Lessig

    This is the Southern Division.

  • Bob N

    Does anyone know where in Fullerton and what Hwy ( Harbor?) this is?

  • Mike Marincovich

    This photo was taken at Harbor Blvd and Berkeley Ave in Fullerton. The bridge was demolished in 1964. I think the view is looking south. The old right of way to the east of where the bridge was is now the Juanita Cooke Greenbelt Tail.

  • Steve Crise

    The date of this photo is October 17, 1948. This trip is listed in the PRS publication “50 Years of Railroading in Southern California”, page 183. It was trip PRS Trip # 64, PE Southern District.

  • Clifford Prather

    Berkeley Ave was built on the former PE right-of-way. Harbor Blvd was known as Spadra Road at the time the photo was taken and was once the route of US 101.

  • Scott Pitzer

    How much longer was the line to Fullerton electrified? (I’m surprised by the 1948 photo.)

  • Chuck Haynes

    I walked this line many times. We moved to North Fullerton (Sunny Hills)in 1956. To the right of the picture the line curves North and a little ways up the line is the grade separation that had P.E. on top and U.P. down below. The “Welcome to Fullerton Bridge” was demolished in 1964 and Fullerton has never been the same.

  • Bob Davis

    I couldn’t find a date for the de-electrification of the Fullerton Line. I think there was a fan trip out on the Whittier line with a 5050 around 1951 or 52. Although passenger service was long gone (1938) there was apparently enough freight business to make keeping the wires hot for box motors and juice jacks advisable.

    Regarding the Fullerton bridge–I suspect if it was still there, it would be a “gotcha” for careless truck drivers with tall trailers.

  • Al Donnelly

    Bob would appear to be barking up the correct line pole here. Swett et al indicated (Special 16 and Supplement 6) that the Fullerton Branch along with the La Habra-Yorba Linda/Stern line were never intended as true passenger services, but more as an invasion of Santa Fe freight territory. Built by New PE in 1917, Fullerton was laid with 75 lb rail on treated ties and dirt/gravel ballasted. Built earlier in two phases, the La Habra was lighter with 60 lb on redwood and dirt. (1927-on: Fullerton passengers rode a 220 class city car to Laon Jct., transferring to an 800 to Santa Fe Springs, and thence a Whittier 800 on to downtown LA.) Since Swett never noted a de-electrification, one might expect that as long as freight was profitable the wires would likely remain hot. Power was supplemented by Substation 11 at Brea as an addition to the subs along the Whittier main. Fullerton cars were stored overnight at the 1918 concrete station. Citrus was the main freight with Fullerton and Yorba Linda revenues about similar, but less than La Habra (1938 figures).

    • Walter Clark

      Excellent Al Donnelly.
      You said “Since Swett never noted a de-electrification, one might expect that as long as freight was profitable the wires would likely remain hot.”
      Do you think they remained hot up until the above photo was taken? Was fruit being hauled all that time too?

  • Al Donnelly

    Walter-I believe there is a site that was documenting packing house histories (at least for the Inland Empire areas, but maybe more) and answers might be somewhere in there. Even with a post-war recession, a growing trucking industry, and problems with winter freezes the fruit industry remained pretty strong until housing tracts fell from the sky. I don’t see why fruit would not be carried this late, even if they expected to let the groves die off in order to sell the land (usually a several year horizon). Exactly when automated fruit harvesting machines came in to replace hand pickers would need to be researched as that would probably finish off marginal packing sheds through consolidation of services at fewer processing plants. And if those were off-line or with highway access, it would have cut into PE’s car-haulings. I doubt that the experiments with air freight (like Santa Fe Airways) had much of an impact on the rail distribution system for perishable goods, and mechanical refrigeration solved many problems for handling over those old networks. Major changes in marketing fruits were still a few years out.

  • Al Donnelly

    Link to site covering packing houses for Southern & Northern California:

  • jim

    i remember the early 1960s in fullerton when SP serviced
    the PE depot off of santa fe ave.

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