The Sunset Route is Southern Pacific's southern transcontinental line, built east from Los Angeles to El Paso; opening to Spadra on 8/15/1874, to Colton on 7/16/1875, and to Indio on 5/29/1876. This line was to become the nation’s second transcontinental line, connecting with the Santa Fe at Deming, NM and east of El Paso (at Sierra Blanca) with the Texas & Pacific. Like most pioneer lines it was constructed rapidly so as to claim the territory for future traffic. The Sunset Route is largely single track, with long sidings several miles apart for trains to pass. The line in greater Los Angeles is operated by Centralized Traffic Control (CTC). All of this part of the route remains within the urban fabric of greater Los Angeles.
The Sunset route east of Los Angeles is divided into the following subdivisions:
· Basin District, West Line from LA (Yuma Jct,) to West Colton (CP Rancho)
The Sunset Route starts at Taylor Junction (MP 482.8, elevation 298 ft.), adjacent to the former SP Shops Yard in Los Angeles (on the east bank of the Los Angeles River, across the river from Mission Tower), now the Los Angeles Transportation Center, running eastward as a two track line along the north side of the yard with an extra track on the south side, alongside LATC, and lineside industry to the north side of the line. It passes under I-5 and immediately adjacent Daly Avenue, then in a grade separation trench constructed in 1978-79, the three tracks, with two of them operated as Two Main Tracks, maximum speed 20 mph, pass under Griffin Avenue and Mission Road before coming alongside and to the south of Valley Boulevard, which will broadly accompany the line all the way to Colton, on the north wside of the hill atop which is perched Los Angeles County-USC General Hospital. The extra track ends, there is a grade crossing at San Pablo Street, and the extra track on the south side begins again 100 yards further east, as the maximum speed rises to 30 mph. At Soto St. the remnants of the former Pacific Electric line to Pasadena pass over the tracks and Valley Blvd. There is a signal bridge over the two running lines. Passing under Soto Street, the line climbs steadily towards Alhambra. There is a spur from the extra track, into Roseca Manufacturing Company, across the street to the south. There are grade crossings at Vineburn and Boca Avenues. East of the latter, there are two extra tracks on the south side, and the line turns sharply northeast alongside the hill topped by California State University Los Angeles, past Intermediate Signals on a signal bridge at MP 484.5. There are signals (three searchlights on one signal post) and crossovers at Valley Boulevard X-Overs (MP 485.6), and Valley Boulevard crosses the line to its south side, at grade, with an extra track on the north side and a rail-served industry beyond that. There are four yard tracks on the north side, then eight, more signals (single searchlights) at Aurant (MP 486.9, el. 427 ft.), where the maximum speed rises to 50 mph, and the line turns east again and enters Alhambra. The line has two main tracks from Taylor Junction to Alhambra, where it reduces to single track, with a spur to an industry on the north side.
Through Alhambra, the line that has now been sunk below grade in a trench, in which it heads east northeast and passes below Fremont Avenue and Marengo Avenue, passes signals (signal bridge) at Alhambra (MP 487.7, el. 466 ft. at the surface) either side of the bridge carrying Marguerita Avenue, where the 2MT reduce to one and there is a spur off to the north (the remnants of the former SP branch to Pasadena), then passes under Atlantic Boulevard, 6th Street, 4th Street, Garfield Avenue and Chapel Avenue before returning to grade level in San Gabriel. There are signals at Stoneman (MP 489.3) a bridge over drainage. Crossing Ramona Street at grade in front of the San Gabriel Mission, the line then crosses Mission Road at grade and turns gradually from east-northeast to east-southeast. The line crosses Del Mar Avenue and San Gabriel Boulevard at grade, with a street alongside to the south, between them, then bridges over Rubio Wash. There are signals at MP 490.6, el. 416 ft., east of San Gabriel Boulevard, where the maximum speed is briefly 30 mph, before rising to 65 mph for passenger trains and 60 mph for freights, a spur trails in on the south side, and more signals east of the Walnut Grove Avenue grade crossing. There is a detector at MP 492.0. With the residential communities of Temple CIty to the north and Rosemead to the south, the line crosses over Rosemead Boulevard on a bridge, passes a rail-served lumber yard on the north side of the line, and then crosses the adjacent Encinita Avenue and Lower Azusa Road at grade.
In El Monte, the line crosses Temple City Boulevard at grade, passes yard tracks on the north side of the line, and bridges over Eaton Wash. There are signals at MP 494.6, El Monte, el. 392 ft., west end of a 7,238 ft. siding on the south side, and the line crosses Baldwin Avenue and Arden Drive at grade, then crosses the Rio Hondo and Santa Anita Avenue on bridges, and Tyler Avenue (MP 494.8) at grade. There are signals at MP 495.2, east end of the El Monte siding, where the State Street Line trails in on the south side. The line passes grade crossings at Cypress Avenue and Ramona Boulevard, then the lines cross over Peck Road, under I-10, and across Cogswell Road at grade. There are signals at MP 496, the line crosses Garvey Avenue and then Durfee Avenue on bridges, and passes a rail-served facility on the north side of the line, then crosses the San Gabriel River on a bridge.
As the line passes under I-605, there are signals at the east end of the 7,029 ft. siding on the south side at Bassett (MP 497.1, el. 294 ft.), where the Baldwin Park Branch turns away north. The ex-SP crosses Temple Avenue, Vineland Avenue and Puente Avenue at grade, with Valley Boulevard immediately adjacent to the south. There are signals at MP 498.5, the east end of the 6,529 ft. Bassett siding. The line crosses Orange Avenue at grade, passes a rail-served business on the north side of the line, and crosses Sunset Avenue, passes a rail-served lumber yard on the north side of the line, and crosses California Avenue at grade, followed by a bridge over a stream. There is the Turnbull Canyon Road grade crossing. The line crosses over Hacienda Boulevard on a bridge, then reaches the junction with the branch to Puente Junction and the west end of City of Industry yard and 14,909 ft. siding, and a crossover at Twenty-Seven X-Over (MP 501.0, el. 327 ft.), as Valley Boulevard passes overhead on a bridge, descending to run adjacent to the north side of the line. The line is now running through City of Industry, with lineside industries and warehouses lining the south side of the line all the way to Pomona.
The City of Industry yard (MP 501.5, which has latterly been concentrated on intermodal traffic, with some sidings of autoracks, lies on the south side of the main line. The mission of City of Industry Yard from the 1950s until the 1990s was to support the “South Branches” (Santa Ana, Alamitos, etc.). Trains from the east would drop off blocks of cars at City of Industry where they were sorted on a small hump yard and built into “haulers” for Buena Park, Anaheim, and Los Nietos. It was generally an efficient operation, with cars staying in the yard 12 hours or less. Cars headed for Los Angeles or Long Beach Harbors, or Dolores Yard, via the “branches” would be handled similarly in City of Industry yard. Azusa Avenue passes overhead on a bridge, there are signals at Marne crossover, east end of the long siding and west end of 5,789 ft. Marne siding (MP 502.6, el. 396 ft.), a number of bridges over culverts, spurs on the south side into industries, a grade crossing of Fullerton Road, signals at the east end of Marne, MP 503.9, a detector at MP 504.7, and a grade crossing with Nogales Street.
There are Intermediate Signals at MP 505.3, east of Sentous Avenue as the line gradually curves to the northeast, a grade crossing at Fairway Drive, signals at the west end of 6,231 ft. north side Walnut siding (MP 506.5, el. 523 ft.), a grade crossing at Lemon Avenue, signals at the east end of Walnut siding, a bridge over drainage, MP 507.8, and a grade crossing at Brea Canyon Boulevard. Grand Avenue crosses the line on an overbridge, there are Intermediate Signals (MP 508.8) adjacent to the Pomona Boulevard grade crossing, the line crosses Temple Avenue at grade, past Intermediate Signals and a detector at MP 510.2, and a spur on the south side into lineside industry, under route 57, and turns east into Pomona. The line passes Intermediate Signals at MP 511.4 and under Humane Way and Route 71, and a rail-served facility on the north side. There is a 14,135 ft siding at Pomona (MP 514.3), through the Pomona Amtrak station, wehre the UP Los Angeles sub. is alongside to the south.
The SP and UP lines jointly cross Hamilton Avenue at grade, over White Avenue on a bridge, Park Avenue and Main Street at grade, all west of the stations, over Garey Avenue by a bridge in the middle of the station platform, Palomares Street at grade at the west end of the station platform, over Towne Avenue on a grade crossing, passes a rail-served industry on the north side of the line, and crosses San Antonio Avenue on a grade crossing just before the signals at Reservoir (MP 515.3, el. 863 ft.). which has a street alongside to the south, Reservoir Street is crossed with a grade crossing, there is a bridge over drainage, a detector at MP 516.6, and a bridge over drainage, signals straddling that street at the west end (MP 516.9) of 6, 173 ft. Montclair siding on the south side, Ramona and Monte Vista Avenues (MP 517.4) are crossed at grade, and the SP line runs along the north side of the UP Montclair yard.
There are signals at the east end of Montclair siding (MP 518.2, el. 958 ft.), followed by a rail-served industry on the north side of the line. Central Avenue, Montclair, and Mountain Avenue, Ontario, cross over the lines and yard on bridges. San Antonio Avenue crosses at grade; there is a detector at MP 519.4, signals at the west end (MP 519.7) of the 5,621 ft. North Ontario siding on the south side, Vine Avenue is crossed at grade (MP 519.8), the line passes over Euclid Avenue on a bridge and reaches the Ontario Amtrak station (el. 987 ft.), a shelter located on the north side of the line (with the old SP Ontario depot on the south side, directly across from the shelter). There is a grade crossing at MP 520.4, and signals at the east end (MP 520.9) of North Ontario siding, followed by a grade crossing at Campus Street, a west-facing spur on the north side, and a grade crossing at Bon View Street with a spur from industry tracks on the south side, between them, and a bridge over Grove Street.
The line now runs along the north side of Ontario International Airport, maximum speed 70-65, with a street alongside the line to the south (north of the airport) There is a detector at MP 522.1, signals at the west end of 5,914 ft. south side Guasti siding (MP 523.5), a grade crossing at Vineyard Avenue, a bridge over Cucamonga Creek, a grade crossing at Archibald Avenue at the main airport entrance, signals at the east end of Guasti siding (MP 524.7, el. 980 ft.), a grade crossing at Haven Avenue at the east end of the airport, a spur on the south side to a lineside industry, a spur curving away into lineside industry on the south side, a grade crossing at Milliken Avenue (MP 525.4), the line passes under the five bridges of I-15 and connecting ramps, and over Dry Creek, over Wineville Street on a bridge, past Vina Vista (MP 526.0) a detector at MP 526.8, extra track on the south side, a spur on the south side into heavy industry, a bridge over drainage, a spur on the south side into industry, and a spur on the south side into Pacific Corrugated Paper, and then under Etiwanda Avenue, and reaches the four, and then seven, yard tracks at Kaiser (MP 527.5, el. 998 ft.), where the spur north into the former Kaiser Steel Mill goes off..
At this point, I-10 comes alongside to the north, with Valley Boulevard not far beyond. There are signals at the west end of South Fontana (MP 529.7, el. 1,033 ft.), where there is a 6,259 ft. siding on the south side and a wye to a spur off to the south which has lineside industry (Boral Material) within it. The maximum freight speed falls to 50 mph, Cherry Avenue passes overhead on a bridge, there is a spur on the south side into the Peterman Lumber yard, signals at the east end of South Fontana (MP 530.5), a spur trails in on the south side, Sierra Avenue crosses over on a bridge, there is a detector at MP 531.9, extra track on the south side, signals at Sierra (MP 532.5, el. 1,090 ft.) and at Nine X-over (MP 533.5), crossovers at Cedar (CP AL 534) Cedar Avenue crosses over on a bridge, and the west end of West Colton Yard is reached at Bloomington (MP 534.7). The yard itself is at MP 535.0.
At the east end of the yard (MP 537.3, el. 1,041 ft.), Pepper Avenue crosses overhead on a bridge, to the east of which is lineside industry on the south side of the line, with tank cars and its own critters on lines trailing in just further east. East Of Pepper Avenue on the north side is a balloon track for turning trains and power, immediately east of which is the wye at Rancho (MP 538.5), where the Palmdale Cutoff line heads off to the north. To the north of the wye and balloon track, the “wye-bypass” line switches off that track before it starts to curve back on itself, and passes underneath the climbing Palmdale Cutoff line. Rancho is the start of Two Main Tracks headed east and the east end of the West Line.