WConstruction began in August of 1942 and the work was pressed forward with all haste. At the peak of construction, about 300 men were on this job. The line required three new junctions (Flint Junction and Pioneer Junction to get USMC tains from the San Pedro via Dominguez Line onto the Long Beach-San Pedro Line, and Island Junction---a double track wye---to get them from the Long Beach-San Pedro Line onto the Terminal Island Railway), a new substation (electrical equiptment for which came from dismantled IER facilities in San Francisco), a new tower (at Island Junction) with CTC (which could control at peak hours as many as nine different trains on six different railroads), a unique roadbed (laid for a mile on top of pavement on Henry Ford Avenue) and a special trolley wire lowering device on the drawbridge (which prevented the wire from being cut as the huge counterweights descended whenever the bridge was opened). Opening day was set for March 15, 1943, but delay in arrival of track crossings from Seattle postponed the opening until March 19th.
WAll during the war the operator at the Island Junction Tower heard the familiar signal over his loudspeaker from trains desiring to be switched onto the Terminal Island trackage (one long whistle, one short). The trains rolled down from Los Angeles in five car cuts, and came over from Long Beach in three-car units--their steel helmeted passengers benefitting from reliable, low cost transportation so necessary to conserve rubber tires.
WWith V-E and V-J Days came the end for the Terminal Island Railway. The last car ran onto the Island on September 16, 1945, and work began shortly thereafter on removing all vestiges of this railway. Today all that is left to remind one of busy days of only yesterday is the shell of the prosaic substation building, standing by itself amid a forest of busily pumping oil wells.
WThis line was double track throughout except for a stretch of single track crossing the drawbridge onto the island. Track was entirely on private way.
WThe four-lane Henry Ford Avenue, main vehicular entrance onto the island, lost two lanes for the duration. Heavy wood beams created a curb down the middle of the highway, behind which ballast and ties were installed, the ties being installed by grouting bolts to the pavement.
WThe Flint Junction-Pioneer Junction trackage is still in service for freight only, the last surviving rail memento of the Terminal Island Railway.
WAt almost the same spot that once served as the terminal yard on the island, were red and yellow cars which served Los Angeles well and now have long ago been scrapped or sold to other countries. Several hundred PE and LATL cars have been dismantled on Terminal Island including: PE 950s, 1000s, 1600s, 5050 Classs cars as well as some 300s and 400s---plus LARy Standards, H-4s and other types.
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