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Date: 03/08/10 20:19
SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: brassjournal

I'm trying to remember the automobile plants that were big rail customers in the Los Angeles area. I'm going way back to the 50's, so pardon my faulty memory. But I believe there was a big GM plant in Van Nuys, another one in South Gate, one more in Montebello or somewhere, the Chrysler plant in Vernon and I think there was a Ford plant in Commerce.

Corrections, additions, comments?

Thanks for joining me in my trip down memory lane.



Date: 03/08/10 21:06
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: tinytrains

After the WWII there was a Ford plant on Terminal Island.

I think there was a Ford plant in Pico Rivera too.

Yes, the GM plant in Van Nuys closed around 1991.

Scott

Scott Schifer
Torrance, CA
TinyTrains Website



Date: 03/08/10 21:29
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: needles_district

I think there was a Studebaker and Willies plant in Long Beach and a Rambler plant in El Segundo.



Date: 03/08/10 22:16
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: CimaScrambler

I work in the old Nash-Rambler plant in El Segundo. We build satellites there these days.

Kit
(Chief Engineer, Thermal Control Department, Boeing Satellite Development Center)

Kit Courter
Torrance, CA
LunarLight Photography



Date: 03/09/10 00:35
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: 72368

There were four auto assembly plants in the LA area in the 1960's -

Ford at Pico Rivera
GM at Raymer (Van Nuys)
GM at South Gate
Chrysler at C Yard on LA Junction.

All four plants received 75% or more of their parts supply by rail, and shipped out multi-level loads of autos thru
the West and even some were shipped to Florida!

I estimate the four auto plants accounted for 300 car loads of freight a day, mostly moving trans-con.

In 1974, I was the night trainmaster at Pico Rivera yard. In a yard that would hold maybe 600 cars, we worked 13
road switchers serving Vail field/City of Commerce, Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada, and the Ford plant itself.
It was not uncommon to spot 45 auto parts cars inside the Ford plant, and to spot 35 inbound loaded multi-levels
to the auto unloader every night.

It is very hard to believe that all four of the auto plants which were similar in volumes, are completely gone now.

TIOGA PASS



Date: 03/09/10 08:12
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: rehunn

Plus there was the large Firestone tire plant in South Gate, the Goodyear plant off Slauson
in East LA, the U S Rubber plant in what became Commerce, all sizable rail customers. And
the steel mills like the Bethlehem facility in Vernon, the US Steel mill in Torrance and of
course Kaiser. And the scrappers like Southwest Steel Rolling Mills, who used rail. All
presently gone, smoke stacks to museums except permit denied because of disposal
hazard.



Date: 03/09/10 11:22
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: Shafty

Goodyear was at the corner of Florence and Central in Los Angeles. The corner included a blimp hangar, but I never remember seeing a blimp there. As far as the railroads were concerned, that particular area between Florence and Slauson was known as Wingfoot. It was switched jointly by the P.E./S.P. and ATSF.

U.S. Rubber was on the south side of the U.P. main line in what is now City of Commerce. Some of the original plant wall is still standing as part of The Citadel, a shopping center alongside the Santa Ana Freeway.

Goodrich was north of the U.P. main line at the corner of Olympic and Goodrich in what is now City of Commerce. There was a really rich aroma in the neighborhood many years ago when the tire plants used natural rubber.

In 1955, Ford was on the U.P. in Long Beach. Not long later they moved to Pico Rivera on the ATSF.

Studebaker was gone by 1955, but had been on the L.A. Junction near their yard office in Vernon. Lincoln Mercury and Chrysler were farther out on the L.A. Junction across from each other at the corner of Slauson and Eastern in what is now City of Commerce. Much earlier, Willys Overland had been still farther out on the L.A. Junction on Randolph in what is now City of Commerce.

Eugene Crowner



Date: 03/09/10 12:58
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: SPGP9

We used to service the Alco switchers used at Pico Rivera at the Redondo Junction Roundhouse. Periodically, a Machinist and an Electrician would be sent out to Pico to fix a problem. I've changed brake shoes out there a couple of times. We also had switchers at La Habra and Fullerton. My former brother-in-law worked at the Pico Ford plant. As I recall, they built Lincolns there.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/10 13:00 by SPGP9.



Date: 03/09/10 13:03
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: RD10747

Ford was at the east end of Terminal Island..kept sinking..so
moved. On the 'Junkee' I remember Chrysler,Willys Overland,
Studebaker, Nash-American Motors. BOP was next to Firestone in Southgate. etc..and of course, the Simons Brick Yard was SE
of Vail Field..I lived at the end of Garfield Ave north of the UP
between ELA and Montebello..



Date: 03/09/10 13:15
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: rehunn

Other things, U S Electric Motors on Slauson had a facility large enough to require a rail siding.
In 1966 we built a winder stand for them big enough to do flat car sized motors, more all gone.
We haven't even really touched on all the air frame companies and things like the Harvey Aluminum
facility, mostly all gone, and the shipyards like Todd, really all gone.



Date: 03/09/10 14:16
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: brassjournal

I knew the scene had changed greatly over the last 60 years, but seeing so much of it in this thread is amazing.

I have seen the Goodyear blimp in the hangar off of Florence. The tail was all that was visible from the street. The location is now a large sorting facility for the U. S. Postal Service. I believe the location and the partly demolished factory was used for the climatic scene in the movie "Blue Thunder."



Date: 03/09/10 18:29
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: colehour

Shafty Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Goodyear was at the corner of Florence and Central
> in Los Angeles. The corner included a blimp
> hangar, but I never remember seeing a blimp there.

I think that the hangar was still there in 1982 when I moved to Norwalk. Of course, the blimps were using the facility at Carson by then.



Date: 03/09/10 18:33
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: colehour

rehunn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
the U S Rubber plant in what became
> Commerce,

You must be talking about the former Uniroyal plant that began its life with another name but was a tire manufacturing facility. Eventually it became an outlet mall. Wonderful, quirky, Babylonian revival architecture!



Date: 03/09/10 18:36
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: ButteStBrakeman

Shafty Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Goodyear was at the corner of Florence and Central
> in Los Angeles. The corner included a blimp
> hangar, but I never remember seeing a blimp there.
> As far as the railroads were concerned, that
> particular area between Florence and Slauson was
> known as Wingfoot. It was switched jointly by the
> P.E./S.P. and ATSF.
>
> U.S. Rubber was on the south side of the U.P. main
> line in what is now City of Commerce. Some of the
> original plant wall is still standing as part of
> The Citadel, a shopping center alongside the Santa
> Ana Freeway.
>
> Goodrich was north of the U.P. main line at the
> corner of Olympic and Goodrich in what is now City
> of Commerce. There was a really rich aroma in the
> neighborhood many years ago when the tire plants
> used natural rubber.
>
> In 1955, Ford was on the U.P. in Long Beach. Not
> long later they moved to Pico Rivera on the ATSF.
>
> Studebaker was gone by 1955, but had been on the
> L.A. Junction near their yard office in Vernon.
> Lincoln Mercury and Chrysler were farther out on
> the L.A. Junction across from each other at the
> corner of Slauson and Eastern in what is now City
> of Commerce. Much earlier, Willys Overland had
> been still farther out on the L.A. Junction on
> Randolph in what is now City of Commerce.
>
> Eugene Crowner


Eugene, are you sure that Goodyear wasn't at Central and Gage in the wingfoot district? It was when I worked the Wingfoot local out of 8th and Hooper yard in Los Angeles in the mid 60's.

V

SLOCONDR



Date: 03/09/10 19:31
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: rehunn

It was just south of Slauson and served by the ATSF Wingfoot switcher, any other road
would have been an interloper. The Santa Fe station was even marked "Wingfoot" and the
switch was just west of the station and crossed Slauson headed south. I think that one
of the cross streets was Central though. We only moved out of the Hyde Park/Crenshaw
neighborhood in 1956 so it's not like it was yesterday.



Date: 03/09/10 20:18
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: STG6199

colehour:

I believe that you are thinking of the Samson Tire Company on Telegraph Road. Used to go by there every Friday night on the way to a weekend at our cabin on Lake Elsinore from Buena Park circa 1940s. Was always impressed by the architecture of that wall.



Date: 03/09/10 20:30
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: 567Chant

The Lever Brothers plant location in Commerce is now the site of a BNSF facility.
...Lorenzo



Date: 03/09/10 20:35
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: 567Chant

I almost forgot:
I my area, the 3M plant in Camarillo was served by rail. Little traffic, though. One tank car at a time of the fluid used in the production of data tape and disks. I heard that it was too hazardous to ship by highway. Indeed, where the car was spotted, there were multiple water nozzles directed at the car. Spur gone, plant now disused.
"Dad, what's a floppy?"
...Lorenzo



Date: 03/10/10 07:24
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: ButteStBrakeman

rehunn Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It was just south of Slauson and served by the
> ATSF Wingfoot switcher, any other road
> would have been an interloper.

The Wingfoot was an alternating job between the ATSF and the PE/SP Rich. The ATSF had the job in the even numbered years, and the PE/SP in the odd numbered years. The PE/SP depot was at the corner of Central and Gage Ave's, catty corner from Goodyear's plant.

V

SLOCONDR



Date: 03/10/10 10:09
Re: SoCal Plants That Aren't There Anymore
Author: Shafty

>
>
> Eugene, are you sure that Goodyear wasn't at
> Central and Gage in the wingfoot district? It was
> when I worked the Wingfoot local out of 8th and
> Hooper yard in Los Angeles in the mid 60's.
>
> V
>
> SLOCONDR


Sorry for my imprecision. The blimp hangar and a very large open field were at the corner of Florence and Central. The plant itself was to the north of the open field, which would, as you said, put it at the corner of Gage and Central.

Eugene Crowner



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