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Sierra Madre Line

WThe Sierra Madre Line ran some seventeen miles from 6th Main Station, Los Angeles, to its Wilson Trail Terminal just above the city of Sierra Madre. It used the trackage of the Monrovia-Glendora Line as far as San Marino, then operated through residential districts, the business and light manufacturing sections of East Pasadena(an agricultural area), and finally the community of Sierra Madre.
WIn the early days, community development was prone to follow the line of the electric railway, but in more recent times the new development has taken place along the main highways. As a result, PE rail lines, declined in importance, carrying fewer passengers in postwar years even through the communities they served showed remarkable population increases.
WSuch happened to the Sierra Madre Line. Although never a heavy line it did haul about 300,000 revenue passengers annually prior to World War II. In 1944 the line reached its peak with 625,311 revenue passengers but then came a continued decline. In an effort to find a solution to the problem, PE instituted an off-peak bus shuttle service in 1948 but the end was at hand. On the afternoon of December 28, 1950, the franchise car made its last run. This line gave easy access to the hiking trail up Mt. Wilson. Special trains were run for school kids bound for the mountains on nature study expeditions.

WThe Sierra Madre Line followed the Monrovia-Glendora Line as far as San Marino where it branched off northward on double track, following Sierra Madre Boulevard. on private way to Lamanda Park where it met the E. Colorado Street rail local line of the Pasadena PE system. At this point the Sierra Madre Line became single track, operating on private way to Sierra Madre; at Michillinda Ave. were the station was located. It then continued via Baldwin Ave. and private way to the end of the line at Mountain Trail Ave. where a small yard was provided for car storage.

Mr. Huntington's private spur.

WIn 1904 PE built a double track line commencing at a connection with the Monrovia Line at Huntington Drive in San Marino(MP 11.23) northerly on private way to to a point near Colorado Street, Pasadena(MP 12.92). The line opened for service on March 19, 1904.
In 1906 a single track line from this point to Mountain Trail Avenue, Sierra Madre, was opened; it was constructed by the PE affiliated company, LA Interurban Railway.
At Michillinda Ave.(MP 15.66) the line entered W. Central Avenue, proceeded easterly thereon to Baldwin Avenue, thence northerly to private way and easterly to Mountain Trail Ave. (MP 16.87). Total length of line from San Marino: 5.74 miles. Rail operation continued until October 6, 1950, when the line was abandoned in favor of motor coaches. The last car was 1128, leaving Sierra Madre at 5:43 PM.

WThe Sierra Madre Line operated until 1928 as an independent line, with all trains operating through to LA. On April 1, 1928, rail shuttle service between Sierra Madre and San Marino began nights only; Monrovia-Glendora trains took passengers on to LA. In 1933 the shuttle service was extended to cover all but weekday rush hour service. On September 27, 1942, trains were rerouted in LA via San Pedro Street inbound and Main Street outbound. On February 21, 1943, Sierra Madre cars were attached to Monrovia-Glendora trains, running as the west car both ways; at San Marino they went their respective ways. On June 11, 1948, busses took over the off-peak shuttle service between San Marino and Sierra Madre.
WAfter the institution of rail shuttle service, such shuttle cars were operated by one-man crews. On single track, these cars were required to operate at a speed which would permit a stop with a service application of brakes within half the distance the track was seen to be clear. PE forbade the operation of one-man cars on the Monrovia-Glendora Line at San Marino; if a switch move was necessary there, two men were required to make it. Since one car was sufficient to meet the schedule set up for the shuttle service, the operator was not required to register or to check the register at Lamanda Park Junction.(Colorado Street).
WDuring rush hours, some meets were inevitable on the single track portion. These were scheduled at either Lamanda Park Junction. or El Rincon. Inbound trains were superior to trains of the same class in the opposite direction, and all trains were fist-class unless otherwise indicated. Train registers were located at Wilson Trail and Lamanda Park Junction. One-man shuttle cars, inbound, were second-class trains.
WAs of 1948, there were 11 trains from LA to Sierra Madre and 9 trains from Sierra Madre to LA. There was one rail shuttle from San Marino to Sierra Madre and three shuttles from Sierra Madre to San Marino. There were 13 bus shuttle trips daily between Sierra Madre and San Marino. The above refers to daily except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays schedules. Scheduled running time between LA and Sierra Madre was 63 minutes morning and 64 minutes at night. Eight cars of the 1100 Class were required to meet these scheduled trips. Average miles per hour were: 16.2 and 15.9.

WThe Sierra Madre Line opened with cars of the 300 Class(800 Class after 1911). In 1912 the 470 Class took over the run, to be succeeded in 1920 by the 800 Class; the 1100 Class was assigned to this run in 1931. The one-man shuttle cars used were an 800 from 1928 to 1934, a 600 until 1939, and the little 107 until 1942 when it was replaced by two-man 1100s.

WAT Lamanda Park, the Sierra Madre Line crossed at grade the man line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. Prior to 1917, PE cars were flagged across, but in that year an interlocking plant and tower were installed; three PE tower control men on eight hour shifts were required, with the cost divided between PE and the Santa Fe on a fifty-fifty basis. WThere were no substations on the line, and as a result the power supply was without doubt the poorest of any PE interurban line. As a result of public pressure, PE in recent years constructed a tie-line, from its Arcadia substation to Sierra Madre and this helped somewhat.
WCar storage was provided at San Marino and at Wilson Trail. At San Marino storage facilities consisted of a siding and spur, while at Wilson Trail a small yard was constructed, capable of holding about 11 cars.

WFreight was handled over the entire length of the Sierra Madre Line. This consisted of citrus traffic from packing houses in Lamanda Park area and general freight to and from Sierra Madre. The crew signed on at Glendora at 11:00 PM, collected cars on Glendora, Sierra Madre and Alhambra Lines and hauled them to State Street Yard; then the train reversed the procedure, handling outbound loads for these same lines.
A daily box motor run was scheduled, leaving 6th & Main at 8:55 AM and Sierra Madre at 10:51 AM; this handled mail and express.

WTrackage used exclusively by the Sierra Madre Line is here listed by section, weight of rail and year built:

San Marino-Colorado Street60lb1904
Colorado St-Central Ave.60lb1906
Central Ave.-S.M. Station72lb1933
S.M. Station-Wilson Trail60lb1906

WHence we see that except for the small portion of 1933-rehabilitated trackage in the city of Sierra Madre, rails used until abandonment were the original rails In 1949 PE estimated ledger value of facilities of the line was but $397,994!

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