Southern Pacific in the San Fernando Valley in the early 1970s

The San Fernando Valley inside of and adjacent to Los Angeles has a rich history.  A number of Indian tribes lived there prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1769.  Missions dotted the landscape.  The Valley became part of United States in the late 1840s.  The Southern Pacific arrived in the 1870s.  Wheat and other commodities produced in the Valley were important sources of traffic.  Overtime, the SP spread across the Valley.

About a hundred years later, my friend B. Smith was on hand to see how things were going.

Unknown date in early 1972 (All captions by B. Smith)

Today's local.  Trains ran daily in 1972.---©photo by B. Smith

Today’s local. Trains ran daily in 1972.—©photo by B. Smith

The #2617 was the regular as you shall see…

Bakery still using rail, though no covered hoppers this day.--©photo B. Smith

Bakery still using rail, though no covered hoppers this day.–©photo B. Smith

SP's San Fernando Valley branch had many building supply firms served by sidings and team tracks.  All inbound loads, outbound empties.--©photo B. Smith

SP’s San Fernando Valley branch had many building supply firms served by sidings and team tracks. All inbound loads, outbound empties.–©photo B. Smith

The old Van Nuys freight station is now leased as as a warehouse when this photo was taken.  I believe carpeting was being stored in it for a local business. --©photo B. Smith

The old Van Nuys freight station is now leased as as a warehouse when this photo was taken. I believe carpeting was being stored in it for a local business. –©photo B. Smith

A short siding for a building supply firm with a UP box car, with roof walk, spotted for unloading. --©photo B. Smith

A short siding for a building supply firm with a UP box car, with roof walk, spotted for unloading. –©photo B. Smith

A view of the ready mix concrete business that received rail shipments.  --©photo B. Smith

A view of the ready mix concrete business that received rail shipments. –©photo B. Smith

July 1972

July 1972  -- SP's San Fernando Valley local that ran from Burbank to Chatsworth.  There were a number of lumber and building supply sidings, a bakery, a warehouse that received furniture, and team tracks. --©photo B. Smith

SP’s San Fernando Valley local that ran from Burbank to Chatsworth. There were a number of lumber and building supply sidings, a bakery, a warehouse that received furniture, and team tracks. –©photo B. Smith

Team track in Reseda. --©photo B. Smith

Team track in Reseda. –©photo B. Smith

--©photo B. Smith

Team track. –©photo B. Smith

May 1973

Team track in Van Nuys, CA. May 1973 --©photo B. Smith

Team track in Van Nuys, CA. May 1973 –©photo B. Smith

Sadly, the tracks have been removed, probably in the 80's, and the right of way is now an express rapid transit bus line. --©photo B. Smith

Sadly, the tracks have been removed, probably in the 1980’s, and the right of way is now an express rapid transit bus line. –©photo B. Smith

I can just see a Rockford Files episode being filmed here the next year when its production began in 1974.  I can almost make out Jimbo’s orange-gold Pontiac Firebird Esprit on stakeout in a couple of these photos.

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Destination — Pecos, Texas, 1970 and 80s…(or to the set of “The Last Picture Show”) (Part I)

I will finish the Delaware series soon, but I thought it is time to spend a little time out west again.

We will visit Pecos, Texas in the 1970s.  The first part will focus on the operations of the ATSF.  The ATSF ventured south of Carlsbad all the way down to Pecos in the 1970s.

The second part will feature the operations of Pecos Valley Southern (PVS) RR.  The Pecos Valley Southern is still operating 23 miles of track south of Pecos.

Thanks to some great photography from a friend, we will visit both as they operated in the 1970 and 80s.

August 1982.  ATSF station sign, Missouri Pacific RR (MP) mainline from El paso to Dallas on left, then PVS interchange track with MP. Switch stand just visible down track is to ATSF line to Carlsbad. ©B.Smith photo

August 1982. ATSF track to Carlsbad from Pecos. Track to left is other leg of wye.  ©B.Smith photo

Switch where west leg of ATSF wye joins interchange track. Carlsbad would be down track that curves to the left here. ©B.Smith photo

Switch where west leg of ATSF wye joins interchange track to MP whose main track is visible on left, with PVS interchange track to MP visible beyond MP main, where cars are spotted. String of hoppers loaded with gravel visible in the distance on right center. These hoppers were loaded at gravel quarry on PVS and await pick up by MP. More cars off PVS on left await pick up by MP. ©B.Smith photo

Looking other way down ATSF/MP interchange track, ATSF Pecos station sign just visible beyond and to left of switch stand. Signaled MP main on right. All ATSF tracks in Pecos removed in late 80’s. Photographer is standing on east leg of ATSF wye.  ©B.Smith photo

Loaded hopper string on PVS/MP interchange track, MP main track to left. ATSF tracks in Pecos are on far side of MP main track but are not visible. ©B.Smith photo

Looks like images out of the The Last Picture Show, I’d say.

The traffic to Pecos had become pretty light by 1982 when these photos were taken.

Our photographer did catch some action on the ATSF, in 1978.  The ATSF interchanged with the Pecos Valley Southern and Missouri Pacific in Pecos.

Image

June 5, 1978. The only time the photographer caught cars being interchanged between MP and ATSF in Pecos. The car on the very left mostly out of the photo was a DRGW box. The string of cars on the right are on the other side of the MP main line and are the cars PVS left for MP to pick up after the days run. ©B.Smith photo

Just like the Last Picture Show, all good things come to an end.  The ATSF line to Pecos (everything south of Pecos Jct.) was abandoned in September, 1990. The line to Rustler Springs in Texas and all trackage south of Loving, NM was abandoned in 2002.

You can still see where the ATSF wye was in this modern aerial photograph.

 

The “ghost” of the old ATSF wye in Pecos, Texas.

In a future post, also due to the fine work of B. Smith, I will highlight the Pecos Valley Southern action during the same period.