Books: Union Pacific in the Los Angeles Basin

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Signature Press Books: Union Pacific in the Los Angeles Basin

By Jeff S. Asay

Southern California was only one corner of the Union Pacific system, but the story of the railroad in that area is fascinating and surprisingly complex. It began in the 1880s with the predecessors of the Los Angeles Terminal Railway, extended through the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, begun under the ownership of Senator W.A. Clark and then jointly owned with Union Pacific under E.H. Harriman, continued under the name Los Angeles & Salt Lake, until eventual absorption into Union Pacific system. The story extends through the 20th century to the Southern Pacific merger of 1996, with some details, such as the Alameda Corridor, down to the present day.

Part of this fascinating story is the relationships with the other three major railroads in the Los Angeles area, Southern Pacific, Santa Fe and Pacific Electric. Those relations varied between cooperation and vigorous hostility, with each of the railroads taking turns at the opposite extreme from the others at different times.

An important part of the story is Union Pacific’s tenancy of Terminal Island, initially to serve the traffic of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and later to benefit from the vast Wilmington Oil Field, something unimagined when the Los Angeles Terminal Railway was acquiring title to the property in 1890.

The book is lavishly illustrated. About 560 photographs, most previously unpublished, enrich this book, in addition to 100 graphics of different kinds, many in color, and 60 maps. Thoroughly researched in company records, this is an authoritative, well illustrated and complete history of Union Pacific in Southern California. It presents much information and many details about the location, construction and operation of many individual track segements and facilities thoreughout the Los Angeles Basin.

The book will certainly appeal to anyone interested in the Union Pacific in any part of the 20th century, as well as to enthusiasts of railroad history in general. And those with interests in the history of Southern California will find it a valuable addition to their library.

Size: 496 pages, 8.5" x 11"; 562 photos, 100 graphics, 60 maps, bibliography, index

Contents

Acknowledgements 6
Preface 9
Dedication 9
1. The Los Angeles Terminal Railway: St. Louis Comes to the Basin 11
2. The San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad 57
3. Promoting The Pedro 123
4. Federal Control Gives Way to the Roaring Twenties 155
5. Trouble at the Harbor and Everywhere Else 211
6. The Great Depression 257
7. World War II and the Post-War Adjustments 317
8. Passenger Trains and Line Abandonments 377
9. This Brand New Railroad Industry 425
10. Forecast: Storms Everywhere 469
Bibliography 483
End Notes 484
Index 493


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