The Sunset Route is Union Pacific's southern transcontinental line. Until 1996, this route was owned by the Southern Pacific, which built the line 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:
· Alhambra subdivision from LA (Yuma Jct,) to West Colton (CP Rancho)
Mileposts are from San Francisco. Dispatching in Southern California is carried out from a joint UP/BNSF Dispatching Center in San Bernardino, CA..
The Sunset Route starts at CP Yuma 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 UP Los Angeles Transportation Center, which has seven classification tracks, thirteen intermodal tracks, and thirteen repair tracks. The main line runs eastward as a two track line along the north side of the yard with an extra track (the Fence Track) on the south side, alongside LATC, and lineside industry (the PMT Drill Track) to the north side of the line. It passes under I-5 and immediately adjacent Daly Avenue, passing crossovers among the three tracks, between MP 484.8 and MP 484.92 then in a grade separation trench constructed in 1978-79, the three tracks, with two of them operated as Two Main Tracks, 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 aide 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, with an industry connection for Celotex Corporation and a lead track on the west end. 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, which also leads to spurs for Gilmore Envelope Company, Rhone Poulenc, Inc., Polypure, Inc., and Superbest Oil Company. 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 (replaced by triple-lights in April/October, 2009).
There are signals (three searchlights on one signal post, replaced by triple-lights in April/October, 2009) at Valley Boulevard (MP 485.6), and Valley Boulevard crosses the line to its south side, on an overpass constructed since October 2007 and before October 2010, with an extra track on the north side and rail-served industry (D&S Ingredients) beyond that. There are four yard tracks on the north side, then eleven, in the Aurant Yard, with spurs to McMurtrie Brothers (and previously, two other industries) off the east end of the yard.There are more signals (single searchlights) at Aurant (MP 486.9, el. 427 ft.), where there is a crossover, and the line turns east again and enters Alhambra. The line has two main tracks from CP Yuma Junction to CP Alhambra, where it reduces to single track.
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 CP Alhambra (MP 488.3, 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 is 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 in Temple City, at grade, with a street alongside to the south between them, then bridges over Rubio Wash. There are signals at MP 491.2, el. 416 ft., east of San Gabriel Boulevard, 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 491.6 and another 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, crosses the adjacent Encinita Avenue and Lower Azusa Road at grade, and then passes a rail-served lumber yard (Reliable Wholesale Lumber) on the north side of the line.
In El Monte, the line crosses Temple City Boulevard at grade, passes yard tracks on the north side of the line (including a spur for Haralambos Beverage Company), and bridges over Eaton Wash. There are signals at MP 493.5, El Monte, el. 392 ft., west end of a 7000 foot siding on the north side, and the line crosses Baldwin Avenue and Arden Drive at grade, with spur for Saint-Cobain Containers on the south side and one for Gregg Industries to the north, then crosses the Rio Hondo and Santa Anita Avenue on bridges.
The Metrolink San Gabriel line comes alongside from the south and enters its El Monte station, and both lines cross Tyler Avenue (MP 494.8) at grade. There are signals at MP 495.2, east end of the El Monte siding. The line passes a closed grade crossing at Cypress Avenue and bridges over Ramona Boulevard. There is a crossover from the Metrolink line to the ex-SP line, 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 (Cascade Steel Rolling Mill) on the north side of the line. The Metrolink line rises up on a flyover and crosses to the north side of the former SP, which 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 siding on the south side at Bassett (MP 497.1, el. 294 ft.). After the lines cross Temple Avenue at grade, the Metrolink line turns away to the north. The ex-SP passes a spur to Bassett Storage #1 on the north side, crosses Vineland Avenue at grade with the spur then reaching Lima Transportation, and Puente Avenue at grade, with Valley Boulevard immediately adjacent to the south. In October, 2007, a second main-line track is under construction between the existing tracks and Valley Boulevard, all the way to the previous western end of Marne siding, but little progress has been made by January, 2008 or October, 2009. The bridge for the grade separation at California Avenue is complete in October, 2010, and in use by April 2011.
There are signals at MP 498.5, the east end of the 6,529 ft. Bassett siding, where there are spurs on the north side for GFF Inc., 211 Willow, LLC, and Weyerhauser, followed by Southwest Forest Industries, Commercial Lumber, and Arrco Investment Company. A viaduct, opened in November, 2011, crosses Orange Avenue, passes a rail-served business (Tropicana Products, Inc.) on the north side of the line on a separate track that is still at grade, and crosses Sunset Avenue on the viaduct, passes a rail-served lumber yard (with spurs for Scott Caubill Lumber Company, Industry Pacific, Inc., Georgia Pacific Corp., and Barr Lumber Company) on the north side of the line, and rises up on a viaduct to cross California Avenue on an overbridge built between October 2009 and April 2011, followed by a bridge over a stream. There are new signals turned sideways in January, 2012.
There are signals at MP 499.9, the east end of 5,103 ft. south side New Siding (when was it actually “new”, I wonder), then the Turnbull Canyon Road grade crossing. The line crosses over Hacienda Boulevard on a bridge, then reaches the wye junction on the south side with the branch to Puente Junction, and the west end of City of Industry yard and 8,397 ft. siding (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. There are spur for California Steel & Tubing, Mattel, Snak King, JP Stevers, Monarch Food, Schwinn Sales, Semco Enpreirses, Nutro Products, CF Foods, and a Furniture Showroom, off the west side of the Puente Junction line. The main 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 (six yard tracks and fourteen bowl tracks), which has latterly been concentrated on intermodal traffic (three intermodal ramp tracks), with some sidings of autoracks (eight tracks for PMT), 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 the former west end of 5,789 ft. Marne siding (MP 502.7, el. 396 ft.), now identified as Marne Crossovers, a number of bridges over culverts, spurs on the south side into Air Products & Chemical (looking disused in 2006), a grade crossing of Fullerton Road, signals at the east end of Marne, MP 503.9, a detector at MP 504.7 a bridge over Nogales Street, spurs on the south side to Patricia Ketchum and AMB-SGP-CIFCA, LLC, 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.), with the Walnut Team Track on its north side, 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, with spurs for Libby Glass Company on the south side.
Grand Avenue crosses the line on an overbridge as a spur heads off for the Union Pacific Los Angeles subdivision, which is now adjacent to the south There is a connector over to the LA sub, constructed between July 2006, and October, 2010, there are Intermediate Signals (MP 508.8) adjacent to the Pomona Boulevard grade crossing, the line crosses Temple Avenue at grade, past Intermediate Signals at MP 510.2, and a spur on the south side into lineside industry (Treasure Chest), 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 (Simpson Paper Company and Tetra Pak Materials, Inc.). There are signals at MP 512.4 and 513.1 for the west and then east ends of the 3.168 ft. Pomona siding on the south side, before the intersections with the Los Angeles subdivision are reached.
Historically, the SP and UP lines simply ran alongside each other from Pomona to Montclair (and only a little bit further apart through Ontario). Since the UP was folded into the SP, and the whole renamed UP, connections have been put in so that the maximum flexibility in crossing over between the two lines is available for at least a short stretch. In all, there are three different routings by which trains from the Los Angeles subdivision west of this location can transfer to the Alhambra subdivision east of this location, as well as a way from trains using the Alhambra subdivision west of this location to transfer to the Los Angeles subdivision east of this location, as well as a passing track that can be used from both lines. From the perspective of the Alhambra subdivision, this results in there being a junction and crossovers both ways (or west end of siding) at Hamilton, MP 513.7 and a junction (or east end of siding) at Reservoir (MP 515.3, el. 863 ft.). In January, 2012, there is extra track being built between the LA and Alhambra subs at this location.
In between these locations, the line passes through the Pomona Amtrak station (with depot on the north side of the track), which is co-located with the Pomona Metrolink station on the Los Angeles subdivision. Also along this stretch, which has a street alongside to the south, the 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 platforms, Palomares Street at grade at the west end of the station platforms, over Towne Avenue on a bridge, passes a rail-served industry (Richter Manufacturing Company) on the north side of the line, and crosses San Antonio Avenue on a bridge just before the signals at Reservoir. The general purpose of these crossover moves is to arrange for trains to operate west on the Alhambra line and east on the Riverside (old UP) line. As of 2004 the traffic on the Alhambra line appears to be about 65% westbound.
Reservoir Street is crossed on a bridge, there is a bridge over drainage, a detector at MP 516.6, an overpass under construction in October, 2009 and completed by January 2012, and a bridge over drainage, signals straddling that street at the west end (MP 516.9) of 6, 173 ft. North Montclair siding on the south side, Ramona and Monte Vista Avenues (MP 517.4) are crossed at grade, and the former SP line runs along the north side of the Montclair yard that was UP’s before the 1996 merger. There are signals at the east end of North Montclair siding (MP 518.2, el. 958 ft.), where a new switch with concrete ties is ready to install on January 30, 2008, followed by a rail-served industry (Strebin Farms-LA, Inc.) on the north side of the line. Central Avenue, Montclair, and Mountain Avenue, Ontario, cross over the lines and yard on bridges. and there are two spurs on the south side for OH Kruse Grain, with a crossover between them at MP 519.4.
San Antonio Avenue crosses at grade; there are signals (being replaced in October, 2010) 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 (Sultana Avenue) at MP 520.4, the Ontario Team Track on the north side and the east-facing Sunkist Lead on the south side, serving spurs for Sunkist, WM Barr, and Grove Lumber, and signals (being replaced in October, 2010) at the east end (MP 520.9) of North Ontario siding, followed by a grade crossing at Campus Street, and a grade crossing at Bon View Street, and a bridge over Grove Street.
The line now runs along the north side of Ontario International Airport, with a street alongside the line to the south (north of the airport). There are signals at the west end of 5,914 ft. south side Guasti siding (MP 523.5), a closed grade crossing at Vineyard Avenue, a bridge over Cucamonga Creek, a (new in ca. 2000) a bridge over Archibald Avenue at the main airport entrance, spurs on the south side for Biagi Brothers, signals (being replaced in October, 2010) at the east end of Guasti siding (MP 524.7, el. 980 ft.), a spur on the south side for SC Johnson/L&P Finacial, Fidsher Price Toys/Mattel, and Pri ncipal Life Insurance Company.
There is a bridge over Haven Avenue at the east end of the airport, elevated construction on the south side in January, 2012, the west-facing Kaiser siding on the south side, with a spur curving away into lineside industry on the south side (the Vanier Graphics Lead, serving Vanier Graphics, Dairy Fresh Products, and North American Packaging Corporation), 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 a detector at MP 526.8 (which announces itself as "Track 1" in January, 2012), the Kaiser siding still on the south side, a spur on the south side into industry (the K-Mart lead, serving Chem. Lab, Fruit Growers Supply, Prologis California LLC, Vaughn Grocery, United Refrigeration, Cindy Landon Living Trust, Transamerican Plastics and GATX Logistics), a bridge over drainage, a spur on the south side into industry (Unicorn LLC/JD Heiskel), and then under Etiwanda Avenue.
The South Industrial Lead starts, on the south side, across from the west end of the four, and then seven, yard tracks on the north side at Kaiser (MP 527.5, el. 998 ft.), where the spur north into the former Kaiser Steel Mill goes off (serving Heckett Engineering, Kaiser Venture Steel, and California Steel Industries), with spurs on the south side for Ashland Distribution Inc., Heavy Machinery Shop, Van Can, and American Western Manufacturing, spurs for Ameron Steel Fabricators, the Staples lead, serving Pallets Company, Tab Warehouse and Distribution, and Staples, and a spur on the south side into Pacific Corrugated Paper.
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 529.3, 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, and serves Western Ash Company, Koch Fuels Inc., Wedco Inc., ICO Polymers Inc., California Auto dealers, JM Manufacturing, and Brown Strauss. 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 from PHC Woodworking, Sierra Avenue crosses over on a bridge, there is extra track on the south side (Reliable Truss Company), the start of 111 Lead on the south side and end of South Fontana Siding on the north side, a spur for Peterman Lumber Company on the south side and a spur for George Verhoeven Fed Company on the south side.
There are signals and a crossover to the 111 Lead at Sierra (MP 532.5, el. 1,090 ft.), where there are new singals on the signal bridge for an additional south side track, turned sideways in January, 2012, and a return crossover at Nine X-over (MP 533.5), nine Receiving tracks on the south side, with spurs for Weyerhauser, Gene Belk Fruit Packers, and Dalton trucking on their south side, crossovers at Cedar (CP AL 534), Cedar Avenue crosses over on a bridge, and the west end of West Colton Yard is reached at MP 534.7.
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 (GATX) 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, with a new track being laid on its north side in April, 2009, 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 Alhambra subdivision.