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The Train Took Us There 01.14.11

January 14, 2011

Santa Fe Locomotive No. 101 crosses the Santa Fe Viaduct in Highland Park on January 1st, 1990. Photo by Steve Crise. Used with permission.

The photo above shows the Rose Bowl Special passenger train returning over Arroyo Seco Park and the Pasadena Freeway from Pasadena on New Year’s Day in 1990 . The Santa Fe Viaduct, or “The Santa Fe Arroyo Seco Railroad Bridge” (Also known as LA HCM #339) was built in 1896. In a city where demolishing structures seems like the municipal pastime, this bridge over the Arroyo Seco in Highland Park has managed to become the oldest bridge in Los Angeles. The bridge first carried steam locomotives, then diesel ones operated by Santa Fe and Amtrak, transporting freight and passengers until 1994. In 1996, thanks to efforts by the Highland Park Heritage Trust, rather than replacing the bridge with a new concrete one, The Los Angeles County MTA spent $11.5 Million retrofitting and upgrading the bridge to carry two tracks of light rail for the future Gold Line that opened in 2003. (Making this the first portion of the Gold Line built.) Today, it is simply known as the section of the Gold Line where passengers take a moment to look up from their papers, kindles, and smart phones and look out for what is probably the best view of their day.

The Metro Gold Line's Ansaldobreda train crossing the Santa Fe Viaduct today.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Crise permalink
    January 16, 2011 5:21 pm

    Hi Walt,

    Nice site you got here, glad to see one that is focused on the rail history of Highland Park.

    Steve Crise

  2. January 19, 2011 2:47 pm


    Can’t tell you how many times I have gone under that bridge and missed a shot of the train going by.

  3. January 20, 2011 12:16 am

    Couldn’t agree with you more – that part of the train ride I always look up at the amazing view of the Arroyo.

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