Dispatch From The San Gabriel Valley Gold Line Rail Construction

Robert L. Davis, a longtime Angeleno from the San Gabriel Valley, emailed me an update on the construction of the Gold Line light rail extension to Azusa.  Davis sent me some recollections on San Gabriel train history that I posted last year. He remembers the original Pacific Electric streetcar lines on the right-of-way, back when the area from his boyhood was “a land of cow pastures and orange groves”:

Although I can remember my mother buying milk at an East Pasadena dairy where it came from cows we knew personally, and when I was in kindergarten in Monrovia, we little ones went on a field trip to an orange packing plant near our school (Santa Fe School, named after the railway), them days is gone forever.

His update on the Gold Line extension construction (sent in December):

This photo was taken on Nov. 23 and is already outdated. The trolley wire is now suspended from the messenger cable and is in place from here (California Ave.) to Mayflower Ave. in Monrovia. The photo is looking east, and from here the wire goes all the way past the Miller brewery in Irwindale. Except for the final “fine tuning”, the track is complete from Sierra Madre Villa to the Azusa-Glendora boundary:


And then a nice comparison of modern overhead wire installation compared to the old school:

A Mass Electric Construction crew installing the trolley wire in Duarte, near the City of Hope Medical Center. I found this process interesting, being a some-time member of the Overhead Lines dept. at Orange Empire Railway Museum (oerm.org):


This is how the Pacific Electric did it–a crew of volunteer linemen at OERM electrifying the north main line with a wooden tower car. One of my “dreams come true” is running this relic, which went by my house when I was a lad:


Many thanks to Robert for passing along these photos, updates, and recollections.


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