Burbank Branch, Page 2

by Jack Neville.

Prior to settling on gray and crimson, SP tried out its ugly, budget saving, "Pumpkin" color scheme on nearly every class of diesel it owned. The victim here is 5272 on the NH team track lead. Jack Neville Photo

When I first started hanging out to watch the Local, the North Hollywood yard extended from Camellia Avenue on the west, to Vineland Avenue on the east, between the north and south parts of Chandler Boulevard. Chandler was a divided highway with the SP/PE right of way running between the two halves from Lankershim Boulevard on the east, past Kester Junction to Van Nuys Boulevard on the west. The station was located diagonally across from the Post Office, approximately halfway between Tujunga Avenue and Lankershim Boulevards on the south side of Chandler - at the intersection of Bakman Avenue. In PE Days there were four sets of tracks in the NH yard area, starting with the SP team track lying closest to the north side of Chandler, the SP main, the PE main and the shared SP/PE house track at the station. At one time there was also a crossover in front of the depot between the house track and the PE main. The team and house tracks joined the main to the west of Tujunga Avenue. These tracks were progressively cut back in length over the years, as the industries they served closed down or moved, and new businesses not requiring the services of the railroad were built over the section of the right-of-way where they once ran. This progressive shortening eventually resulted in the switch for the team track being relocated east of Tujunga Avenue. On the east, the house track joined the PE main across Lankershim Boulevard, alongside the Safeway market. The team track rejoined the SP main through a switch at Vineland Avenue, which I believe was removed in later years, leaving the team track as a stub end siding. Following the end of passenger service on the PE, the PE main and crossover were removed and the house track was stubbed a short distance east of the station office. Initially a bumper post made from crossed ties protected the end of the track. However, these disappeared over time, and the rails just ended in the gravel. The rails of the PE main were visible in the asphalt of Lankershim Boulevard until it was widened and repaved in the late 60's.

Map of North Hollywood showing streets where author lived, plus insert schematic diagram depicting NH yard at maximum trackage. Map by Jack Neville

Sandwiched between the east end of the station and the Greyhound bus depot was a small, square, metal lunch stand that catered to local workers, PE streetcar and bus riders, and people traveling on the Greyhound bus. The Greyhound depot was a very small, almost square, wood siding, flat roofed structure on the South side of Chandler at Lankershim. As Greyhound rider ship increased over the years, the bus depot was moved across the tracks to the north side of Chandler. This area was very much a transportation hub in its day, as one could purchase a transcontinental passenger train ticket, or a simple fare on the streetcar at the SP/PE station, or a cross-country ride on the "hound" at the bus depot. On the south side of Chandler, across from the bus station was a drugstore with a lunch counter and fountain. Behind this drugstore was Jake's shoeshine stand. A pair of black gentlemen operated this establishment, seemingly forever, - or at least until they were well up into what should have been their retirement years. East of Lankershim, a short walk on the south side of Chandler would find one at Phil's Diner.

Phil's Diner was one of the places that the Local's crew "went to beans," in North Hollywood. Bruce Petty Photo

Across Lankershim from the bus depot was the Safeway and a number of industries that paralled the SP main, but were not serviced by the railroad. One exception to this was the North Hollywood Glass Company, on the east end, near Vineland. East of Vineland were some industries that were not part of the yard itself and whose names I no longer remember. They were all on the south side of the main. There was one business immediately adjacent SP main that fronted Vineland Avenue called Weldco, Inc. There was a cartoon character of a welder over the larger roll up door that bore the signature, Wallace Rolland Stark. He was the artist/sign painter father of my friend of 40+ years, Chris Stark. The remainder of the industries serviced by the SP were adjacent to the team track. Time has dulled my memory, but on the east end some of these were the Blanchard Lumber Company; Neiman Reid Lumber Company (Later to become Terry Lumber); Pacific Stucco; The Kallin Company, and the California Division of Highways Maintenance Yard. I do not remember the nature of the Kallin Company’s business, but for a time boxcar loads of newsprint for the Van Nuys News would be spotted here. On the west end, across Tujunga, were Valley Shingle, located on the extension of the house track and Hammond Lumber Company on curve of the switch leading to the team track. Loads for Hammond would be spotted on the team or house tracks as necessary.

A very short local sits on the main, waiting for 5213 to couple on the empties and head out of town. Hammond Lumber Company is visible in the distance. Jack Neville Photo

The house track also served Southern Materials Company, and later Hendricks Builders Supply. The latter company purchased the station from the Southern Pacific. On the north side of Chandler between Tujunga and Lankershim were a number of businesses not directly served by the railroad, including a pipe and plumbing supply, auto repair shops, Johnson's Overall Cleaning Company, and the North Hollywood Ice Company - owned by the Nicoletti family, with whose sons I attended high school.

Occasionally, the Local would arrive with something other than a Baldwin on the point. GP-9, 5788 is doing the honors alongside the new Blanchard Lumber Company showroom. Jack Neville Photo

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