Pacific Electric 578: Post Cards and the PE

By Ralph Cantos

This nice post card dating from about 1923-25 shows Pacific Electric car no. 578 westbound on the East Broadway Line in Glendale.

The HOTEL GLENDALE dominates the intersection of Glendale Avenue and East Broadway. This was a very important intersection in the City of Glendale. It was here that the PE interchanged with the struggling Glendale & Montrose Railway. The G&M operated along the center of Verdugo Road from downtown Montrose on the north to an interchange with the Union Pacific Railroad in south Glendale. A short branch to connect with the Los Angeles Railway E Line diverged off the Verdugo Main line via Wilson Avenue-Broadway-and-Colorado Streets where the LARY connection was made in Eagle Rock. (The 5 Line)

PE’s 500s were the backbone of the railway’s suburban operations until the coming of the Hollywood cars in 1922-23. Even though the Hollywood cars were designed and built specifically for service on the Hollywood Boulevard line, the PE brass soon realized that they had a winner in the Hollywood cars, and the 600s began to replace the 500s en masse.

Today, except for the G&M car house in Montrose, most all traces of the little railway are gone. The building at East Broadway and Glendale Avenue that was once the HOTEL GLENDALE still stands today, although repurposed as another enterprise.

The PE equipped the East Broadway Line with its beautiful Pullman PCCs in 1941. A dubious distinction befell the PE PCCs when in 1946, the East Broadway line was abandoned. It was the first PCC-operated car line in the USA to be abandoned. But as history would soon prove, abandonments of PCC-operated streetcar lines in the 1950s would become all too commonplace. After the East Broadway Line, all of the San Diego Electric Railway’s PCCs were replaced by buses in 1949. The annihilation of the PCC had begun, but thankfully, complete annihilation was never achieved . To this day, fifty-plus-year-old PCCs still ply the streets and right-of-ways of several cities across the USA, the buses that replaced many of these same PCCs having been scrapped decades ago.

Ralph Cantos Collection

Editor’s Note: here is what appears to be the old Glendale & Montrose Railway carhouse in the back area of the current Anawalt Lumber location. It resembles the peaked roof design of the old Pacific Electric Watts and Ocean Park car houses.

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Showing 12 comments
  • Bob Davis
    Reply

    Not sure if they’re still in place, but for many years, the hotel was home to radio station KIEV, with the transmitting antenna towers on top.

  • Dennis Supanich
    Reply

    Great post. Note however that the Hotel Glendale building is on East Broadway at Glendale Avenue, not Verdugo Road. Google maps street view shows no antenna towers on the building.

  • Ralph Cantos
    Reply

    You are correct Dennis. At East Brosdway, the G&M tracks were in the center of Glendale Ave. Glendale Ave runs into Verdugo Rd just north of Glenoaks Blvd. and along with it,the G&M rails. The G&M interchanged freight, what there was, with the PE at Glendale Ave and with the Union Pacific at about San Fernando Rd.

    • Al Donnelly
      Reply

      Ralph, didn’t the old Salt Lake tracks reach all the way up to at least Colorado. I seem to remember remnants that were still exposed in the ’70’s. Seems the interchange with the G&M would have been up around where the old Eagle Rock streetcar line would have run before tracks were removed. I may be wrong!

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    BTW–a marked Pacific Electric bus bench used to sit at about Chevy Chase and Verdugo well into the RTD era. They eventually took it away.

    • Ralph Cantos
      Reply

      Al,I remember seeing the UP tracks crossing San Fernando Rd. about 30 years ago where they would have interchanged with the G&M. Its been so many years now, that all traces of that track are now gone.

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    Thanks Ralph, just saw ERHA has more info. on G&M than I realized (still using Swett’s old Specials–need to catch up). The tracks were located east of Brand and west of Glendale and stuck out from under what were then private properties (a chiropractic center was built near there and may have upset the remnants). I’m guessing this may have been the original Salt Lake right of way as it was to far from PE tracks. None of this way in streets except where it met Colorado and may have run under. BTW–I have a PE file photo of a brand new La Crescenta Birney-like car (marked LACE logo?) outside shops before? delivery. May get to it if its important…came out of a group of backstamped file photos including early busses (those ones are long gone).

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    End of the line for G&M traction: Ref. “The Streamliner” V.12 N.4 Fall 1998 (UPHSoc.) Page 5–Philips C. Kauke of Modesto provides a photo of then UP E-100 with a work train of UP hoppers carrying ballast on the Glendale trackage from 28 March 1941. Engine is assigned to LA & SL. He reported it found in the dead line at East Los Angeles on 02 April ’41.

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    Just came across this on-line map of Los Angeles (eastern & n. valley areas) from c.1900 including L.A. Terminal R.R. routes into Glendale and Pasadena and early other lines (old PERy, SPRR, ATSF): https://legacy.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/los_angeles_e_1900.jpg

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    Excerpted from Glendale Area History by Perry & Parcher 1974…….pg. 132……”An electric streetcar line from Brand Boulevard and Broadway east to Glendale Avenue and north to Montrose and La Crescenta, was operated by the Glendale & Montrose Railway Company and it made an agreement with the Union Pacific to use their trackage from Verdugo Park to the intersection of Verdugo and San Fernando Roads in order that connections could be made with the street cars of the Los Angeles Railway Company. The cost of converting the line to electricity was partly made up by public donations totaling $25,000.”
    [The next paragraph should be considered in light of the photogaphic evidence at Forest Lawn entrance gate in the 1920’s posted on this site!!!] To wit, “After Pacific Electric completed its track to Glendale, the Salt Lake line made no more attempts at passenger service but confined its Los Angeles-Glendale operations to freight. There was a good deal of freight business, and a healthy portion of it was provided by the Glendale Avenue lumberyards, the Glendale Valley orange orchards and the lemon production of the Sparr Company, near Montrose. Citrus packing plants on Glendale Avenue at Maple and above Lexington also contributed largely to the freight business.”
    **All considered, the closing out of the older Eagle Rock trolley extensions (rails pulled and moved to G&M) made a connection with LA Ry possible only via the Salt Lake (electrified) section where the lines converged closely not far from S.P.’s Taylor Yard area. (The PCC’s would never cross Verdugo Road as they were many years too late.)

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    The original narrow gauge “dinky” service between Glendale & Eagle Rock lasted from Spring of 1909 to the end of 1930. (The company was Glendale-based from the first incorporation with storage facilities listed at Glendale.)

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    More maps (1928) to cover the lines, but careful…the pop question will be “Where in here will George Bailey build sweet little homes for those garlic eaters?”:
    https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~24251~880080:Verso–Los-Angeles,-California-

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Ralph Cantos CollectionJerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection