Posted by: Brad Nixon | March 4, 2016

Preserved: Railroad Depot; Glendale, California

When we got married back in 1944,

We’d board that Silver Liner below Baltimore.

Trip to Virginia on a sunny honeymoon.

Nobody cares about the railroads any more.

Harry Nilsson

Throughout the United States, passenger railroad stations are primarily relics of the past. There are parts of the U.S. where train service is still an active part of daily life, but it’s greatly diminished in scope from its heyday, replaced by automobiles and highways.

The old depots are scattered everywhere: in small towns and hidden within large cities. Some are derelict, others serving as local museums or community meeting rooms, and some converted into restaurants.

I’ve seen a lot of them here in the American West; in Colorado: Durango, Silverton, Georgetown and Colorado Springs; in New Mexico: Santa Fe, Chama and Las Vegas:

Las Vegas NM station Brad Nixon 0792 (640x480)

The 1899 station there, now nicely restored, still serves as the Amtrak passenger station and also houses the town’s visitor center.

I recently wrote about sand dune fields in the American West, including the Kelso Sand Dunes in the Mojave Desert of California. The Kelso station, built in 1923, was derelict when The Counselor and I visited many years ago, but has been restored since then and now serves as the main Visitor Center of the Mojave National Preserve.

Kelso Dunes 006 Marcy Vincent LR (465x640)

Here in Los Angeles, the city’s making solid progress in reviving light rail service that virtually disappeared during the transition from the famous “Red Car” to freeways.

The city is making admirable progress to rebuilding a light rail infrastructure, with its hub at the impressive 1939 Art Deco/Mission Revival/Streamline Moderne Union Station in downtown.

There are other historic railroad terminals around the metropolis, and some, like today’s subject, still serve as passenger stations. North of downtown L.A. is the Glendale Transportation Center, originally named the Glendale Southern Pacific Railroad Depot

Glendale SP track Brad Nixon 2362 cr (640x480)

Glendale SP track door Brad Nixon 2363 (640x480)

Glendale is a city of about 200,000 people, surrounded by the L.A. megalopolis. Built by the Southern Pacific Railroad to serve Glendale in 1923, the structure was rebuilt in 1999 as an “intermodal” center to provide a connection point for Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner trains, buses and LA’s light rail, Metrolink.

The architectural style is described as Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival.

Glendale SP front Brad Nixon 2348 (640x480)

The interior is clean and spare, still managing to convey a sense of what it was to pass through nearly 100 years ago.

Glendale SP int Brad Nixon 2353 (640x480)

Glendale is north of downtown LA. The map shows the depot at 400 West Cerritos Ave., circled in red. Downtown LA is in the lower left and Pasadena is in the upper right corner. The blue asterisk on the right indicates the location of the South Pasadena Carnegie Library I wrote about recently, just for reference.

Glendale RR depot map

We were in that part of town on an entirely different errand, but went just a few blocks out of our way to get a look at this historical gem, living our philosophy that interesting things are everywhere, if one simply makes a moderate effort to find them.

Do you have a favorite train station, old or new, operating or obsolete? Leave me a comment.

Some of the photographs in this post and select images from Under Western Skies are available on CLICK HERE to view the Underawesternsky image portfolio.

© Brad Nixon 2016, 2017. Kelso photo © Marcy Vincent 2017, used by kind permission. Lyrics to “Nobody Cares About the Railroads Anymore” are the property of whatever publisher owns the work of Mr. Nilsson. Miss that guy.



  1. My family and I recently took the Surfliner from SLO thru LA and then down to San Diego! I love the look and feel of the station in Santa Barbara. Union Station is quite beautiful! San Diego is also gorgeous!


    • All wonderful California landmarks. I’ve done the LA-Oceanside portion of that trip. Thanks for reading, and for telling about your experience.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment. I enjoy hearing from readers.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: