As the railroad tracks along Chandler Boulevard are cleared away to
make room for a bike path, some local historians are hoping to hold
onto a small piece of the old rail line.
JDK Railroad Materials began dismantling the track in January, and
since then, Joy Forbes, the city’s principal planner of the Chandler
Bikeway Project, said she has received about 20 calls from people
interested in what would happen to the old equipment. She said the
level of interest on this project has been much higher than on a
“People have more of a historical bond with the railroad than they
might with a building,” she said.
Burbank Historical Society Founder Mary Jane Strickland contacted
JDK, seeking to get a piece of the rail for the society’s collection,
but has not received anything.
Burbank Aviation Museum Director Ron Dickson is hoping to get one
of the signal lights still standing along the tracks for the museum’s
“I think it’s a fit for the aviation museum because Lockheed used
the tracks to ship raw materials into the plant,” he said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority owns the signal lights,
according to city officials. MTA officials said they were unsure when
they will be removed and what would be done with them.
The railroad ties have already been removed, and Forbes said she
believes construction of the bike path will begin in November.
Completion of the 3-mile path is expected sometime in June.
The path, which was originally conceived about a decade ago, will
run along the old rail line from Clybourn Avenue to Mariposa Avenue,
and then continue on to the Metrolink station. The city of Burbank is
paying about $1.7 million toward the $2.7-million project, with the
rest coming from the MTA, which jointly owns the land the tracks are
The track was built in the late 1930s and regular rail traffic
there ended in the 1950s, city officials said. Because it was a
branch line, it was built with materials left over from the main
line, and Forbes said some of the materials date back as far as the
Other than the age of the line, Strickland said there was little
that tied it strongly to the history of Burbank.
“We had someone walk along the length of the track, but they
couldn’t find anything that said ‘Burbank’ on it,” she said.