The G&M was first incorporated in 1909 as the Glendale and Eagle Rock Railway operating a two-mile narrow-gauge line. The route ran from Colorado and Eagle Rock Boulevards in what was then the City of Eagle Rock (now, of course, a part of the City of Los Angeles) west on Colorado and Wilson Avenue into the City of Glendale, at Glendale Avenue. This operation later became known as the "Eagle Rock dinky," and continued until the final abandonment of the system as a branch line. During the 1920s, the company's single truck Birneys were its standard equipment.
An extension was made in 1910, comprising the first portion of what was to become the G&M main line, north from Glendale to Verdugo Park. The rails ran north on Glendale Avenue, Verdugo Road, and then onto Cañada Boulevard.
In 1913 the system fell into the control of the Great Western Improvement Company, which had purchased it from E.D. Goode, the system's original promoter. The new management constructed the new main line at the company’s narrow gauge of 3’-6½", but offset upon standard gauge ties. In 1914 one rail was moved over to standard-gauge the line from Broadway all the way northward on Cañada Boulevard through the Verdugo Woodlands district of Glendale. From Wilson and Glendale to the Eagle Rock terminus remained narrow gauge at this time. A turnout existed at Capistrano and Cañada. The single track then crossed a dry river bed on a trestle of its own, rejoined Verdugo Road and continued up the hill on a center of the street private right-of-way to the town of Montrose. The route then went west on Montrose Avenue to La Crescenta Avenue, where the line ended for a number of years.
It soon became apparent that in order to prosper, the G&M must enter more closely the central business district of Glendale. In this period of the G&M’s history its operations temporarily became allied to those of Pacific Electric. On June 29, 1914, PE and the G&M jointly obtained permission to build a new double track line on East Broadway from Brand Boulevard to Glendale Avenue. Under the terms of the agreement, each company owned one of the tracks and shared it with the other company to produce a shared double track line.
Operation commenced August 1, 1916. In addition to the Eagle Rock and Montrose-La Crescenta routes of the G&M, the new rails also felt the weight of PE East Broadway trains, although it was not until 1924 that the PE East Broadway line was extended east to its eventual terminal at Chevy Chase Drive.
On or shortly after August 1, 1916, an even closer relationship between PE and G&M was inaugurated, with the establish-ment of rush hour through service from Main Street Station in Los Angeles to La Crescenta. Three round trips per day on weekdays necessitated no change of cars for patrons, but this high level of service was not destined long to endure. The Crescenta Valley was at that time too sparsely populated to support such a luxury. On September 1, 1917, the through service was withdrawn and with it vanished the only instance of joint operation involving PE passenger service and another outside company.
In 1918 the G&M ordered three single-truck Birney cars from the American Car Company. These were 27'-9½" in length and were painted red on the sides and roof, with ends and window sashes of white. The cars were all double ended. A fourth Birney was ordered in 1921, identical to the others except for a length of 28'-0½" and a view window just ahead of the door.
Meanwhile, in 1920 the G&M announced its plans for a southward extension of the main line into Los Angeles, to connect with the ‘E’ line of the Los Angeles Railway at Verdugo Junction. In 1922 an agreement was made with the Union Pacific Railroad, which at that time operated a steam freight service between Verdugo Junction and upper Glendale Avenue, whereby the G&M would lease and electrify the UP rails between those points and incorporate this considerable single-track stretch into the G&M’s own main line. This idea met with the instant approval of the City of Glendale, for it would mean the elimination of smoky steam locomotives from one of its main urban arteries. After approval from the California Railroad Commission was secured in 1923, the stringing of trolley wire began. The City paid $25,000 of the total cost of $125,000 for the project. Through service between La Crescenta, Montrose Glendale, and Los Angeles via this new line was opened on February 3, 1924, and Los Angeles Railway helpfully rerouted a portion of its ‘O’ cars to aid the ‘E’ line in carrying G&M patrons from Verdugo Junction into downtown Los Angeles. (The ‘O’ line ceased this function in June 1924, but from May 1925 until 4, July 1926 the ‘L’ line performed a similar task.)
The G&M’s new route ran northwest from San Fernando and Verdugo Roads (Verdugo Junction) via a right-of-way placed in an off-center location in San Fernando Road: four lanes of automobile traffic ran west of the single track, two lanes ran east. After some distance the tracks bent north on a completely private right-of-way, emerging onto Glendale Avenue at the entrance to the famous Forest Lawn Cemetery, the name of which was carried on metal dash signs of the G&M cars. Up the middle of Glendale Avenue the line continued through a stretch of tedious street running, until it met the G&M’s own rails north of Broadway leading to Montrose and beyond.
Simultaneously with the completion of this fully developed main line, the G&M placed in service three light weight double truck Birneys which it had ordered from the American Car Company in 1923. These four-motor cars were 43'-3" in length, seated 46 passengers, and weighed 18 light tons; they were operated by one man. These cars (numbered 10-12) and the four single-truck Birneys comprised the primary passenger equipment roster during the line’s twilight years.
To handle its additional freight business, caused by the replacement of UP’s steam service, a second electric locomotive was purchased, numbered 22. This locomotive was built new by Baldwin-Westinghouse for the company, weighing 50 tons, and was powered by four #562 D5 100 h.p. motors and cost $30,000. The G&M’s first locomotive, number 21, had been purchased from PE in 1916. It was a wooden box type motor power car, which had been built by old PE (pre-1911 merger) in 1903 as old PE 38, and then renumbered PE 1537 in 1911.
The final extension of track on the G&M system occurred later during 1924 when rails were laid west on Montrose Avenue from La Crescenta Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue. The system now penetrated the heart of La Crescenta. These new rails represented a partial fruition of a plan of World War I vintage to extend the line to Tujunga and Sunland&emdash;a scheme which never was realized, and the lack of which aided bus competition in the Twenties.
Almost immediately after the last extension of route, the company began encountering hard times. A loss of $5,000 occurred in 1925. It was apparent that the semi-rural Crescenta Valley could not then support the luxury of electric railway service during a period of trying economic conditions. A further and more direct factor was the presence of much motor coach competition. The Verdugo Hills Transportation Company had established a bus line from Los Angeles to Sunland which paralleled much of the G&M main line. Then Motor Transit Company, the vast bus system which in 1930 was acquired by PE, superseded Verdugo Hills Transportation Company’s operations around 1924.
Nevertheless, through the late Twenties the G&M system continued to operate. Its red and white cars are still remembered by old-time residents of Glendale and the Valley. The bridge across the wash below Montrose was rebuilt (surveyed, incidentally, by the grand-nephew of the founder of the Denver Tramways Corp., which grandnephew was at one time engaged to the mother of Ira Swett.) Fare was ten cents between Glendale and Montrose, fifteen cents to La Crescenta, and twenty-five cents for a Glendale-La Crescenta round trip. To Crescenta Valley students attending high school in Glendale, the G&M was then the only means of daily transportation. Single-truck Birneys must at times have been used on the main line, for a high school student of that era recalls how the boys would all stand in the cars rear until it threatened to tip up from uneven distribution of weight, causing irate protests by the motormen.
Depression hit the G&M Railway hard. After continuing losses, the management was forced to decide upon abandonment as the only solution. The last car ran on December 31, 1930. Motor Transit busses began serving on an extended route the following day, giving PE a monopoly on all public transportation in the Glendale area and between Glendale and Los Angeles. Track was ripped up all over the system, with the exception of the rails leased from the UP, which reverted to the railroad. Thus 8.15 miles of the 12.2 miles of track disappeared immediately. The UP purchased the G&M freight motor 22, renum-bered it E-l00, and provided freight service under trolley wire up and down Glendale Avenue from Verdugo Junction. G&M passenger cars were stored by PE at its massive Torrance Shops complex. In 1937 locomotive 21 was scrapped, but in 1938 two of the double truck passenger cars were sold to the San Diego Electric Railway Company, where they became 351-352 and operated on the isolated Coronado line 20 until that line’s abandonment on June 1, 1947 caused the two G&M alum’s to be scrapped too. Other G&M cars, including of course the Birneys, were scrapped at Torrance in 1940.
In 1938 trolley wire was pulled down from the UP freight line on Glendale Avenue, a mere fifteen years after it had gone up; the cause, dieselization. Locomotive E-l00 (formerly G&M 22) was sold to the Yakima valley Transportation Co. in the state of Washington, where it served as Yakima 527 before retiring to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, California.
Into the 1980s early morning risers in Glendale could still behold a rumbling diesel locomotive heading its string of box cars between the California Street yard next to the Litchfield Lumber Company and the San Fernando Road yards of the SP in Los Angeles’ Cypress Park.
In 1940 a new track was also constructed directly from Forest Lawn Cemetery down to the Southern Pacific yards, eliminating the off-center San Fernando Road right-of-way to Verdugo (Glendale) Junction.
The abandonment of the Glendale and Montrose Railway is still a sad memory for a few sentimental Glendalites, but it had a much more tragic effect upon the motorman of the Eagle Rock "dinky." When deprived of his life’s work, this man (whom we are also told was very stout) felt so utterly lost that he fell sick, wasted away, went to a hospital and there died from sheer lack of a will to live.
Today few traces of the old G&M remain. Center of the street rights-of-way between Monterey Road and Glenoaks Boulevard on Glendale Avenue and between La Crescenta Avenue and Verdugo Road and Sunview Drive and Verdugo Road have been landscaped with lawn and deodar trees, the height of which reveals how long the G&M has been absent from the scene. The carhouse lives on as part of the Anawalt Lumber Company’s Montrose operation, although much remodeled. The tiny Montrose substation survives as a house. But on lower Glendale Avenue one no longer sees the naked rails of the UP nor are they any longer complemented by the trolley wire which once whispered to the approach of the "La Crescenta local"
|-Laurence R. Veysey Timepoints March 1953|
|Freight Equipment||type||configuration||Manufacturer||Year||Owner(s)||Color Scheme|
|#11||Motor flat w/one-man cab (PE Nos.1, 1904-#28, 1907-#42, 1910-#35, 1911-#1540)||two truck, 4 ’-8½" gauge, wooden flat||Pacific Electric Ry||1902||Pacific Electric||Red|
|1915||Leased to G&M|
|#20||Tower car||Motor w/one-man cab & tower single truck, wooden tower car||G&ER?||1909?||Glendale & Montrose||?|
|#21||Motor flat w/one-man cab (see #11)||two truck, 4’-8½" gauge, wooden||Pacific Electric Ry||1903||Pacific Electric||Red|
|Wooden box motor||rebuilt by G &M||1915||Glendale & Montrose||Red|
|(UP No. E-101)||1930||Union Pacific||Black|
|#22||Steel steeple cab locomotive||400 h .p., m.u . equipped||Baldwin-Westinghouse||1923||Glendale & Montrose||Red|
|(UP No. E-100)||1930||Union Pacific||Black|
|(YVT No. E-297)||1938||Yakima Valley Transportation Company||UP Yellow w/red & silver|
|1970||Orange Empire Railway Museum||" "|
|Misc. Freight cars||Various Box cars and flats||--||--||--||--|
|Passenger Equipment||type||configuration||Manufacturer||Year||Owner(s)||Color Scheme|
|#1||California type, longitudinal benches w/open ends||two truck, 3 ’-6" gauge, woodenbody, (LACE Nos.100-109)||Stockton Combine Harvester & Agricultural Works||1892||Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway Company|
|added glass above dashes||(LARy No.193)||1895||Los Angeles Railway||Yellow & Brown|
|cross seating and screening||1904||Los Angeles Railway||" "|
|1909||Glendale & Eagle Rock Railway||Grey w/pin stripes|
|1914||Glendale & Montrose||Green?|
|#2||" "||" " (LARy No.194)||" "||1910||Glendale & Eagle Rock Railway||Grey w/ pin stripes|
|1914||Glendale & Montrose||Green?|
|LARy No. 98||1916||Los Angeles Railway||Yellow & Brown|
|LARy No. 9020||1917||" "||U.S. Mail|
|LARy No. 9401||1924||" "||Wrecker|
|#101||California type, cross seating w/open ends||two truck, 3 ’-6" gauge, wooden body, (LARy No. 223)||J. Hammond & Company (San Francisco)||1900||Los Angeles Railway||Yellow & Brown|
|4’-8½" standard gauged (R&A No. 5)||1907||Riverside & Arlington||Blue|
|(PE No. 105)||1911||Pacific Electric||Red|
|1914||Glendale & Montrose Dk. Green (later Red)|
|#102, 103||" "||(LARy 229, 225) (R&A 6, 7) (PE 106, 107)||" "||" "||" "||" "|
|#104, 105||" " (May not have been renumbered from PE service)||(LARy 228, 227) (R&A 8, 9) (PE 108, 109)||" "||1924||" "||Red|
|#1 II, 2 II, 3||Birney Safety Car||single truck 4’-8½" gauge, 27’-9½" lo n g||American Car Company||1918||Glendale & Montrose||Red (w/white ends c.1924)|
|#4||Birney Safety Car||single truck 4’-8½" gauge, 28’-0½" long||American Car Company||1921||Glendale & Montrose||Red (w/white ends c.1924)|
|#10, 11 II, 12||Birney Safety Car||double truck, 4’-8½" gauge, 43’-7" long||American Car Company||1923||Glendale & Montrose||Red (w/white ends c.1924)|
|G&M 10, 12 become SDERy 351, 352||1937||San Diego Electric Railway||Green /Orange & Creme|
|#30||Steel center entrance||double truck, 62-E’s w/30" & 19" wheels||J.G. Brill Company||1915||Santa Barbara & Suburban||Maroon & Creme|
|(SB&S No.25 then their No.30)||1923||Glendale & Montrose||Red w/white|
|MAIN LINE SCHEDULE, JULY 1, 1917||WWWW||ADDISON H. LAFLIN, JR., COLLECTION|
(6th & Main)
(Brand & Broadway)
|Verdugo Park Spur||Glendale Heights||Montrose||La Cresenta|
|5.35am||6.20am||6.33am||6.35am||6.40am||6.45am||Train No 1-am|
|6.15||6.50||7.03||7.05||7.10||7.15||Train No 3*am|
|6.46||7.20||7.30||7.33||7.40||7.45||Train No 5+am|
|7.16||7.50||8.00||8.03||8.10||8.15||Train No 7*am
||8.01||8.35||8.45||8.48||8.55||9.00||Train No 9-am||9.00||9.30||9.40||9.43||9.50||9.55||Train No 11-am|
|La Cresenta||Montrose||Glendale Heights||Verdugo Park Spur||Glendale Station||Los Angeles|
(6 th & Main)
|6.20am||6.24am||6.30am||6.33am||6.43am||7.19am||Train No 2*am|
|6.50||6.55||7.00||7.03||7.14||7.54||Train No 4-am|
|7.20||7.25||7.33||7.35||7.42||8.24||Train No 6*am|
|7.50||7.55||8.03||8.05||8.14||8.54||Train No 8+am|
|8.20||8.25||8.33||8.35||8.44||9.22||Train No 10*am|
|9.00||9.05||9.13||9.15||9.25||9.57||Train No 12-am|
MAIN LINE SCHEDULE, ABOUT 1929, FROM PACIFIC ELECTRIC FILES IN LOS ANGELES, *-DXSun’y
|Lv||Lv||Ar||Lv||Ar||Ar||Train No 1|
|La Crescenta||Glendale Sta,||Glendale Jct.||Glendale Jct.||Glendale Sta.||La Crescenta|