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Glendale-Burbank Line


WThe Glendale-Burbank Line was for many years PE's finest example of suburban rail service. It presented multiple unit PCC cars, considerable private way and the subway entry into downtown Los Angeles.

WFrom the Subway Terminal, LA, this line entered Glendale Boulevard. at Beverly Boulevard. AT Glendale Boulevard. & Park Ave. (MP 2.01) Hollywood and San Fernando Valley cars diverged,. AT Sunset Boulevard. this line entered three-track private way, continuing on same to Effie Street where double track street operation was resumed. At Glendale Boulevard. & Allesandro Street the double tracks entered a spectacular private way cut from the sides of the Ivanhoe Hills, following this to Monte Sano where a long bridge carried the line over the Los Angeles River. Once across the river, the line rejoined Glendale Boulevard. with tracks on private way between twin vehicular roadways. At Richardson (MP 5.64) the line crossed at grade the Southern Pacific's main line to the north. Continuing north, this line reached the heart of Glendale at Broadway(MP 8.39), where a branch line branched to the east to Chevy Chase Boulevard.(MP 8.41). The main line continued north to Arden Junction.(MP 8.39) where it branched; the old main line continued north to a terminus at North Glendale(Mountain Ave., MP 8.92), while the Burbank Line diverged westerly as a single track line on private way between roadways of Glenoaks Boulevard. to the Burbank terminus at Cypress Ave., MP 12.30. From 1925 to 1940, the Burbank Line continued on Glenoaks Boulevard. to Ben Mar Hills(Eton Drive, 1.7 miles) as single track on private way.

Detailed list of stops as of October 1903.

WThe Glendale Line was pioneered by L.C. Brand and associates starting in October, 1902, through their corporation, "The Los Angeles & Glendale Electric Railway". On June 29, 1903, Brand received a franchise from the Los Angeles City Council for an electric railway line starting at the Southern Pacific's Arcade Station at Fifth, Central & Ceres Street in Los Angeles via Ceres, Sixth, Olive, Seventh, Figueroa, Second, Lake Shore Ave.(Glendale Boulevard.) to Sunset Boulevard., thence northerly to the city limits. In Glendale, the line was to enter via a new thoroughfare, Brand Boulevard., thus creating a new business artery to the west of the then central business section on Glendale Ave. where the steam trains of the Los Angeles Terminal Railroad(U.P.) offered the only transportation via rail to the city.

WBrand's company commenced grading on above route in September, 1903 and continued into the spring of 1904. On March 11, 1904, however, Brand sold out to the Los Angeles Interurban Railway Company, a Huntington-PE affiliate. The LAIU pushed the road through to completion and the first electric car entered Glendale on April 6, 1904, but a formal celebration was not held until July 2 when great crowds gathered for a Mexican barbecue. A Station was erected in Glendale on the corner of Brand Boulevard. & Broadway.

WThe Glendale Line was soon extended east on Broadway to Glendale Ave. where all cars terminated for a short time. LAIU acquired the historic old Verdugo ranch house, more than a hundred years old, in 1904; this was located in North Glendale at the foot of the mountains and LAIU restored the ruins, making Casa Verdugo into one of Los Angeles' most popular restaurants. To serve this new tourist attraction, the Glendale Line was extended up Brand Boulevard. to Mountain Ave. in 1904 with very frequent service offered from Sixth & Main Station, Los Angeles. Residents of Old Glendale thereafter transferred to a shuttle car at Broadway & Brand to complete their journey. This shuttle car, nicknamed "Maude", was an old single truck closed car and did little to ease the pain of Old Glendale residents at being relegated to a side-track classification. Their wrath resulted in a virtual boycott and in June, 1907, PE ripped up the shuttle line on a dark night, effectively ending Old Maude's career; PE demanded a subsidy to relay the track; this was not forthcoming. For seven years there was no PE rail line on Broadway; residents used cars of another electric railway company, the Glendale & Eagle Rock Railway company(which became the Glendale & Montrose) to reach Eagle Rock where the yellow cars of the Los Angeles Ry took them into Los Angeles.

WTo complete the story of the Broadway line: in 1914 PE and Glendale & Montrose entered into an agreement whereby each owned a single track line between Brand Boulevard. and Glendale Ave. and leased its track to the other, thus forming a double track railway jointly operated. This lease agreement was effective on May 1, 1914 and continued until the abandonment of the G&M on December 29, 1929, whereupon PE secured ownership of both tracks. In the same year, PE extended this line to Broadway and Verdugo Road as part of a proposed loop line which would turn south on Verdugo Road to the base of the hills(near Forest Lawn Cemetery), turning then west to rejoin the main line near Tropico. World War I postponed the construction of the proposed loop, then came autos and busses, so the line was never built. PE did build a car maintenance center on property owned at Broadway & Verdugo Road; here was space for car storage and after 1922 busses of the company's Glendale local lines were housed at this location.

WReturning to the main line: PE brought such crowds to Glendale that in 1906 the incorporation of the city was effected. At that time subdividers welcomed all trains with salesmen garbed in colorful Spanish costumes, served Spanish food to the music of Mexican minstrels. Their folders boasted that "in only 23 minutes the big green cars(LAIU was green, PE red) take you from the Huntington Depot, 6th & Main Streets. , to Glendale's new $5,000 Fourth Street(Broadway) Depot." One subdivision was but 700 feet from Broadway & Brand.

WLAIU was leased by PE effective July 1, 1908. Thereafter big PE 300s (800s after 1911) ran in high speed trains to Glendale, until the Great Merger in 1911 whereupon the 800s went to the Redondo via Gardena Line, and the Glendale Line received the ex-Los Angeles & Redondo Railway's multiple unit cars(PE 446-448, 450-465).

WIn 1911 all attention was focused on the Burbank extension. After five years of work Burbank residents raised the necessary bonus and PE construction gangs started work. The new line left the main line at Arden Junction., and proceeded west in the center of Glenoaks Boulevard. on private way, single track. The new line was completed through to Cypress Ave., Burbank, in September of 1911; it opened for service on September 6, 1911 with a tremendous celebration. In mid-1925 this line was extended about a mile further---along Glenoaks to Eton Drive, also single track on private way. A small wooden station was erected in Burbank in 1911 at Orange Grove Ave. with a small storage yard in its rear; this depot was destroyed by fire in 1942 and in 1947 a small passenger shelter was constructed.

WOn December 1, 1925, the Los Angeles terminus of the Glendale-Burbank Line was moved to the new multi-million dollar Subway Terminal, with this line being the first to use the mile-long subway to avoid downtown congestion. By that time the 550s were the regular cars for this line, and their noisy and headlong charge in four-and-five-car trains through the Subway and up Glendale Boulevard. in evening rush hours wrote a new tradition into the transit history of Los Angeles.

WThe Depression of the early Thirties hit PE hard; even the company magazines was suspended in an effort to cut costs. The Big Fives were not maintained well and by 1935 the company faced with the alternative of securing better cars for the line or going over to busses. In a move which may be considered somewhat daring for its time, PE ordered fifteen Yellow coaches of the latest type, 41 passenger capacity, to take over base service on the Glendale-Burbank Line. At the same time, sufficient 800s were put through Torrance Shops, to permit hourly rail service during the day, plus regular rush hour service. by this move, PE was able to retire the 550s.

WThis partial bus substitution began operation on July 12, 1936, with the busses having a Los Angeles terminal on the bus deck adjoining the Subway Terminal Building Olive Street side. Busses proceeded south on Olive to Fifth, west to Beaudry, to 2nd, to Glendale and Burbank via the usual route except for a necessary detour around the Monte Sano Hills. To provide this area with satisfactory service, the Edendale Line was extended to Monte Sano. Busses provided all base service during the day, as well as all service after 7:00 PM weekdays and all day Sundays.

WThe public did not take kindly to the bus service and soon there began a popular outcry for the restoration of full-time rail service. The California State Railroad Commission took cognizance of this sentiment and on November 28, 1939, ordered PE to restore all-rail operation on the Glendale-Burbank Line and to suspend its bus operation on said line for two years. The Commission further ordered PE to purchase ten PCC cars immediately, these to provide all base service. PE acquiesced, its officials publicly stating that modern rail service would start as soon as the cars could be obtained. On November 24, 1940, full time rail service was resumed with PCCs performing the base service. Simultaneously, service in rush hours on Broadway was resumed, this having been suspended with the inauguration of motor coach service in 1936. Aiding the new PCCs were refurbished 600 Class cars, although the old 800s continued operating for several months pending modernization of a sufficient number of 600s to permit their retirement. Coincidental with PE's restoration of full-time rail service, the company abandoned the Cypress Ave.--Eton Drive extension and rails were subsequently removed.

WWorld War II brought tremendous passenger increases to all PE lines. Glendale-Burbank witnessed a return to the old days of wooden cars when the so-called "City of Glendale" a three-car train of venerable 950's commenced rush hour service on June 13, 1943; it left Burbank at 7:25 AM, Los Angeles at 5:13 PM, running limited in both directions. The War also relegated to limbo any idea of resuming partial bus operation upon the expiration of the Commission's two year ban. The "City of Glendale" made its last run on September 27, 1949, signaling the return to pre-war load levels. A final sidelight on World War II: On May 26, 1942, the Railroad Commission proposed an extension of the Burbank Line to the Lockheed Plant; this plan called for a double track line from Arden Junction. along Glenoaks to San Fernando Road & Empire Way, just northeast of Lockheed's main plant. Sad to say, this extension never materialized.

WDecember 24, 1946, witnessed the end of the first of the Glendale Line's three branches: the Broadway Line. Effective on that date, the red cars left Broadway forever and their storage yard at Broadway and Chevy Chase thereafter became the sole property of Glendale City Lines, the local bus company which bought out PE's Glendale bus lines in 1940. (PE inaugurated local bus lines in Glendale in 1922.)

WLate 1948 witnessed important changes both at Arden Junction. and North Glendale. In answer to popular demand for off-street storage of cars, PE built a new storage yard on Glenoaks Boulevard. between Central and Pacific Aves. eliminating the storing of cars at Brand Boulevard. and Mountain Street Brand Boulevard. north of Arden Junction. was thereupon reconstructed; a single track replaced the old double track, center poles were removed and the street was paved from curb to curb. Thus Brand Boulevard. became free of center poles from Southern Pacific crossing to Mountain Street for the first time---completing a gradual changeover which began in 1909. Glendale gained a broad paved boulevard but PE cars lost their private way and their speed was decreased progressively.

WOn December 29, 1949, the Burbank terminus was cut back a block from Cypress Ave. to Orange Grove Ave., with cars thereafter heading in to the yards instead of backing in. A little more than a week later(January 7, 1950) a major operational change occurred when one-man operation was instituted on the Glendale-Burbank Line, the first major line of PE to go one-man. For this, all thirty PCCs were used plus 17 rebuilt 600s, renumbered 5050-5066. A short time later, March 16, 1950, the Burbank Line began operating on double track from a point about 300 feet east of Providencia Street to Orange Grove Ave., about half a mile. This eliminated occasional delays and did away with rail operation on the wrong side of Glenoaks; incidentally, this final track improvement on the Glendale-Burbank Line cost PE $93,000.

WOn October 1, 1953, all PE passenger business was sold to Metropolitan Coach Lines, a new company headed by famed electric railway hater Jesse Haugh. Immediate announcement was made by Haugh that he would apply for abandonment of every remaining PE rail passenger line and such application immediately followed. On May 25, 1954, the Los Angeles Board of Public Utilities & Transportation turned down Haugh's abandonment proposal for Glendale-Burbank. He reapplied later that same year, receiving the approval of the State Public Utilities Commission on December 15, 1954 "within six months of January 3, 1955, "despite the protests of the Glendale City Council and numerous other influential public bodies. The Los Angeles Board, however, continued to withhold its approval and the stalemate continued until the Los Angeles City Council intervened in favor of busses, causing the pro-rail Board president Ned Redding to resign. With opposition thus silenced, the City Board's consent to abandonment was issued on April 26, 1955. Its announced public reason for this reversal was Metro's offer to sell to the city for one dollar its private way, 1.8 miles long and valued at $100,000, on Glendale Boulevard. and Alessandro Street.

WDespite great outcry by press and other media, the abandonment of the Glendale-Burbank Line took place in the wee hours of Sunday, June 19, 1955. The cars were stored in the Subway and rail removal began shortly thereafter. Subsequentially, the 5050 Class cars were trucked from the Subway to Terminal Island and scrapped, the PCC's were eventually sold to countries in South America.

WAs of 1938, the following held true:
Due to the comparatively low patronage of PE's three local bus lines in Glendale it was not necessary to maintain a complete staff devoting its entire time to that area; thus various employees having to do with the operation of those lines also devoted a part of their time to other portions of the system. There were no local headquarters in the Glendale-Burbank area where supervision and control of the operations were centered such as was found in Pasadena. Such activities were taken care of by men who travelled about the system and had no definite headquarters.

WThere were two Western District assistant train masters assigned to this territory, one during morning and mid-day, the other during afternoon and night. These men supervised the rail and motor coach interurban lines, plus Glendale local bus lines, the Edendale rail line and, in part, the San Fernando Valley rail and bus operations. The duties of these men included supervising the operators, investigating delays and accidents, checking equipment line-up in regular and special service, and observing traffic conditions in order to adjust the service.

WThere was one collector, located at the Subway Terminal, who devoted all of his time to the Glendale-Burbank interurban service, collecting fares and tickets.

WThere were two terminal foremen who reported to the assistant train masters and who devoted half their time to the Glendale operations. It was the duty of these men to see that all trains to be operated were properly manned, and that they left the terminal at the proper time with proper equipment. They assigned trains crews, arranged for reliefs, maintained records of their time, prepared in advance the daily work assignments, instructed trainmen, and kept the closest touch with the supervisory staff, the station masters and the mechanical department for the purpose of lining up necessary equipment.

WThe West Hollywood shop foreman devoted about a tenth of his time to the Glendale service and reported to the superintendent of equipment. Under his supervision was the general staff of repairmen and various other skilled and unskilled labor engaged in keeping the equipment in proper repair and in clean operating condition. About a tenth of the time of each of the workers at West Hollywood was devoted to the Glendale cars.

WFor the purpose of maintaining the track and roadway of the Glendale interurban line there was one foreman who devoted all his time to this work; under his supervision: one track walker and four laborers who also devoted all of their time to the Glendale Line.

WMaintenance and servicing of the trolley wire, feeder cable and bonding was performed by a crew of one line foreman and three linemen who devoted about 5% of their time to the Glendale-Burbank Line.

WThere was one ticket agent located in Glendale who devoted all of his time to selling tickets, receiving cash from trainmen, handing express, etc., and acting as an information agency.

WThe Burbank substation was automatic; one maintainer devoted 25% of his time to it. The Ivanhoe substation was manually operated and required three operators.

WAs originally laid, track on the Glendale Line was 60-lb. T-rail laid on redwood ties with gravel ballast. The Burbank Extension was the same except for 70-lb. rails. The Broadway branch, built in 1913 with the Glendale & Montrose Railway was 72-lb.T rail on redwood ties with gravel ballast, the whole in asphaltic concrete. From time to time the line was rebuilt as required. Within city of Los Angeles as required by city ordinance, renewals were 128-lb. girder rail, on treated ties with rock ballast and asphaltic concrete paving. On private way, heavier T rail was used of the 75-lb. weight (much of it being bought second-hand from SP).

WA very complicated re-ballasting and renewal of rails and ties where needed took place in 1940 to prepare the line for the operation of PCC cars which required smooth roadbed for best results.

WWithin the city of Glendale the original Brand Boulevard. line was entirely on private way but as the years went by, agitation developed which caused PE to lower to grade and pave the entire Brand Boulevard. trackage. Almost all such lowered trackage consisted of 128-lb. girder rail in asphaltic concrete.

WSome unusually large bridges were required by the Glendale Line due to the hilly terrain over which it operated.

WThe Fletcher Drive bridge was built in 1904. It was 453'6" long and had a clearance of 40'9'' from the pavement. This huge bridge was originally entirely of timber construction but in 1928, for the purpose of allowing Fletcher Drive to be opened beneath it, the center portion was rebuilt. This rebuilding consisted of installing a steel span construction 97' long supported by two steel structure box bents resting on concrete foundations, with a clearance of 61' through which Fletcher Drive passed.

WAt Monte Sano, the line left the hills and curved to the right to cross the Los Angeles River. A long pile trestle was constructed in 1904, but periodic washouts caused the company to replace it in 1928 with a chain of three bridges, built in conjunction with the city's Hyperion Viaduct, a massive structure costing more than a million dollars. The first bridge was a 227' steel four-span structure crossing the newly opened Riverside Drive; this had reinforced concrete abutments and concrete piers and foundations with concrete stairs leading to Riverside Drive; the bridge had a deck consisting of 7-inch girders with rock ballast on a concrete floor. Second was the bridge over the Los Angeles River, separated from the Riverside Drive Bridge by a short section of fill. Costing more than $135,000 in 1929, this bridge was 428' long with steel girders, concrete piers and a ballast deck, consisting of six spans which crossed the main channel; the balance of 189' was constructed with creosoted pile bents and creosoted timber and the 144' of the southerly end of the original structure was removed and replaced by a fill. The balance of the structure, 304' on the south and 148' on the north, was raised about four feet to meet the new grade. The tracks then passed over another short fill and then over Glendale Boulevard.(incorporated in the Hyperion Viaduct at this point) on a two-span steel structure with reinforced concrete abutments, reinforced concrete piers and piling pier foundation; this bridge was about 148' long. The track was laid in rock ballast on a concrete floor.

WAt Arden Junction. the line on Brand Boulevard. crossed Verdugo Wash on a single span steel bridge 102' long with reinforced concrete abutments. This bridge was built in 1927 and crossed the wash at right angles.

WCURVES: The Glendale-Burbank Line was unfortunately plagued with numerous curves, some of which were of very short radius and many without spirals or tapers. These were responsible to a great degree for the low speed operations. Sharpest of these curves was the one a Fargo Street which had a radius of 340 feet with no taper. Among other bad curves were Duane Street, Loma Vista, Fletcher Bridge, Monte Sano and San Fernando Road.

WTwo substations, located at Monte Sano and Burbank, served the Glendale Line. In addition, the Toluca Substation at the mouth of the subway also provided power. Power was received from the Southern California Edison Company and converted to 600 volts D.C. Two positive feeder circuits paralleled the line north from Ivanhoe sub No. 28(at Monte Sano) to Arden Junction., and one south to a tie-in with the feeder from Toluca sub No. 51, The Burbank part of the line was served by only one feeder circuit from Burbank sub No. 29, tying in near Arden Junction with the feeder from Ivanhoe. From both Ivanhoe and Burbank an additional feeder extended 2,000 feet in either direction. Sectionalizing circuit breakers were of the standard hardwood and fiber type and were located near the subs.

WThe overhead trolley construction was as follows as of 1939: Subway Terminal to portal, catenary suspended from roof of tunnel. Portal to Beverly Boulevard., wood poles with catenary. Beverly Boulevard. to Fargo Street, wood poles with direct suspension. Fargo to Loma Vista, wood poles with direct suspension on bracket arms. Loma Vista to North side of L.A. River, wood poles with direct suspension. River to SP crossing, wood poles with catenary on bracket arms. SP crossing to Cerritos, Steel poles with cantenary on cross spans. Cerritos to Arden Junction., steel poles with catenary on cross spans. Arden Junction. to Mountain, wood poles with direct suspension on bracket arms. Grandview to Providencia Street, wood poles with catenary on bracket arms. Providencia Street to end of line, wood poles with catenary on cross spans. E. Broadway to Chevy Chase, wood poles with catenary trolley on cross spans.

WTrolley wire was 4/0 grooved bronze from Subway Terminal to portal, 4/0 grooved cooper from portal to Sunset Boulevard., and from there to end of line was about half 3/0 and half 4/0 grooved cooper, and the change between these two sizes being made at many points.

WIvanhoe Substation No. 28 was housed in a concrete building built in 1930. The old brick building adjacent to it was the original substation built in 1904. Ivanhoe's total capacity was 1,600 kw., consisting of the following conversion equipment(15,000 volts AC to 600 volts DC); One 600-kw. Westinghouse three-phase induction Type "C" motor generator set, built 1908 and installed here in 1930; one 600-kw. General Electric three-phase induction type m-g set, built 1908, installed here 1930; one 400-kw. Westinghouse two-phase Type "D" induction m-g set built 1905 and installed here in 1930.

WBurbank Substation No. 29, located on Glenoaks Boulevard. near Spazier Street was an automatically operated 1600 kw. station. It consisted of a reinforced concrete building built by PE in 1913. It contained one 1000 kw. Westinghouse six-phase 50-cycle rotary converter, installed new in 1931. In addition, there was a 600 kw. Stanley three-phase synchronous m-g set built in 1902 and installed in Burbank sub in 1913; this was only operated when the rotary was shut down for cleaning or repairs.

WPROTECTIVE SIGNAL SYSTEM: As of 1938, the following safety devices were in use on this line:
In the subway, a block signal system was operated consisting of a series of automatically operated three-position colored light signals. Cars were equipped with a solenoid type automatic train stop device which stopped the train automatically if it entered a block in violation of the signal.

WAt Central Ave. storage tracks in North Glendale, trains leaving the storage tracks were governed by a switch indicator and searchlight type dwarf signal which normally indicated "red". On proceed indication of switch indicator and after derail and switch were lined for the spur, trains got the "proceed" signal. Main track automatic block signals in both directions then showed "red". Trains heading in to storage tracks were governed by "A" signals controlling movement of trains between Arden Junction. and Senorita.

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