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Railroad Photo Gallery: Los Angeles Rat Hole

TrainTenna LP Antenna Here's some photos for you train fans, including a collection of railroad radio related shots. The gallery is broken down into three sections.

Please take a moment to check out our line of "TrainTenna" Rail Band Radio Antennas. DPD Productions TrainTenna antennas are designed specifically for the railroad radio band.
Remnants of the SP "Rat Hole"


What is "The Rat Hole"?

On the East side of downtown Los Angles, there once was an area known to Southern Pacific RR crews as "The Rat Hole". This area was a maze of tracks that led to dozens of door to door businesses that the railroad served. To reach those businesses, many tracks twisted and turned through the streets and alleys of the area, and even right through some of the buildings themselves. I've come to know this area very well over the last 20 years, and in that time, I've watched the last remnants of this vast railroad maze slowly fade away. Earthquakes and redevelopment have done away with the majority of tracks and buildings, but small hints still remain. The attempt to document this area is probably at best, 10 years too late, but this will at least give an idea of what the area use to be like in its heyday. As you drive around and see all the little bits and pieces that are left, it starts to make you realize how truly massive the original system must have been. None of the tracks shown below have had any rail service for a number of years to my knowledge, and virtually all of them have been severed numerous times. Unfortunately, not nearly enough documentation exists of what these places originally looked like. I've referred to this area as the "Rat Hole" as a whole, but in actuality, what is now known as the Little Tokyo area, was really the proper Rat Hole area. Other areas in these photos were also served by Santa Fe Ry. and had other specific names, such as "Violet Alley" and "The Patch".

You can see some of these exact same spots in the 80's on Greg Loskorn's Photo Page.

NOTE... All of the photographs and other content are ©2016 DPD Productions, and are meant to be used as a reference only. They are NOT to be transferred to any other public server, or used in any commercial way.



2nd Street @ Alameda Street #1
Subject: 2nd Street @ Alameda Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: Most buildings in this area were once served by sidings, but virtually all are gone now... except for one warehouse on the SE corner. You can still see the siding in place that came off the street running track down Alameda St.

2nd Street @ Alameda Street #2
2nd Street @ Alameda Street #3
2nd Street @ Alameda Street #4
2nd Street @ Alameda Street #5
2nd Street @ Alameda Street #6

2nd Street @ Vignes Street #1
Subject: 2nd Street @ Vignes Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This is an alley right-of-way that ran North-South between numerous buildings, crossing 2nd and 3rd Streets near Vignes St.

2nd Street @ Vignes Street #2
2nd Street @ Vignes Street #3
2nd Street @ Vignes Street #4
2nd Street @ Vignes Street #5
2nd Street @ Vignes Street #6
2nd Street @ Vignes Street #7
2nd Street @ Vignes Street #8
2nd Street @ Vignes Street #9
   

2nd / 3rd Street @ Santa Fe Avenue #1
Subject: 2nd / 3rd Street @ Santa Fe Avenue
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This track ran behind the buildings that are on the West side of Santa Fe Ave., between 2nd St. and 3rd St.

2nd / 3rd Street @ Santa Fe Avenue #2
2nd / 3rd Street @ Santa Fe Avenue #3
2nd / 3rd Street @ Santa Fe Avenue #4
   

4th Street @ Merrick Street #1
Subject: 4th Street @ Merrick Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This track followed along the North side of the 4th Street Bridge, then continued on past this warehouse to other businesses.

4th Street @ Merrick Street #2
4th Street @ Merrick Street #3
4th Street @ Merrick Street #4
4th Street @ Merrick Street #5
 

7th Place @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #1
Subject: 7th Place @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley"
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This lead ran N-S between buildings along the East side of Santa Fe Ave., and was referred to as "Violet Alley". There were no spurs, so crews changed out all the cars for the businesses at the same time from one end to the other, then swapped out the whole string again the next time.

7th Place @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #2
7th Place @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #3
7th Place @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #4
7th Place @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #5
7th Place @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #6
7th Place @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #7
       

Alameda Street @ 3rd Street #1
Subject: Alameda Street @ 3rd Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This is one of the many buildings served off the main street running track that went down the middle of Alameda St.

Alameda Street @ 3rd Street #2
Alameda Street @ 3rd Street #3
     

Alameda Street @ 4th Street
Subject: Alameda Street @ 4th Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: Just one section of the long street running track on Alameda St. This continued on like this for many blocks. This line use to feed many other leads and track-side businesses.


Alameda Street @ Bay Street
Subject: Alameda Street @ Bay Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This is a spur that came off the Alameda St. track at Bay St., and ran into this business on the NW corner. This may have also originally been one of the entrance tracks to the huge Southern Pacific warehouse buildings.


Banning Street @ Alameda Street #1
Subject: Banning Street @ Alameda Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This series of tracks ran E-W between what use to be large factory complexes on both sides of Banning St.

Banning Street @ Alameda Street #2
Banning Street @ Alameda Street #3
Banning Street @ Alameda Street #4
   

Banning Street @ Center Street #1
Subject: Banning Street @ Center Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: The Banning St. tracks went down to a single track here, where it crossed Center St. The track then curves and appears to have connected with the main lines along the river. This may have been the entrance for the entire spur that ran up Banning St. and into downtown.

Banning Street @ Center Street #2
Banning Street @ Center Street #3
     

Banning Street @ Vignes Street #1
Subject: Banning Street @ Vignes Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This is the center section of Banning St. tracks running E-W between Alameda St. and Center St. There were a few street switches here.

Banning Street @ Vignes Street #2
Banning Street @ Vignes Street #3
Banning Street @ Vignes Street #4
Banning Street @ Vignes Street #5
Banning Street @ Vignes Street #6
Banning Street @ Vignes Street #7
       

Bay Street @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #1
Subject: Bay Street @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley"
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: Another section of the "Violet Alley" lead. Check out the covered car loading area in this building.

Bay Street @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #2
Bay Street @ Santa Fe Avenue "Violet Alley" #3
     

Industrial Street @ Mill Street #1
Subject: Industrial Street @ Mill Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This area was once dense with tracks. This photo shows a track that ran South across Industrial St., then curved West between two buildings. Other tracks crossed Mill St. and ran behind buildings along the North side of 7th St.

Industrial Street @ Mill Street #2
Industrial Street @ Mill Street #3
Industrial Street @ Mill Street #4
Industrial Street @ Mill Street #5
Industrial Street @ Mill Street #6

Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #1
Subject: Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area)
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This was a complex collection of plants at one time, including a wye where numerous leads converged. There were also numerous spurs. Both this and the above areas were referred to as "The Patch" in the old days.

Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #2
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #3
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #4
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #5
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #6
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #7
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #8
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #9
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #10
Jesse Street @ Mateo Street (Old Wye Area) #11

Mateo Street @ 4th Street #1
Subject: Mateo Street @ 4th Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This area had leads that came off the river mains and ran on both sides of the 4th St. Bridge. The large warehouse was one of many buildings served.

Mateo Street @ 4th Street #2
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #3
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #4
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #5
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #6
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #7
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #8
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #9
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #10
Mateo Street @ 4th Street #11

Mesouit Street @ Jesse Street #1
Subject: Mesouit Street @ Jesse Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: Looking North down Mesouit St., you can see where it curves to the right ahead and probably led to the mains along the river. Going South this track may have lead to the wye off Jesse Street and other leads.

Mesouit Street @ Jesse Street #2
Mesouit Street @ Jesse Street #3
Mesouit Street @ Jesse Street #4
   

Palmetto Street @ Hewitt Street #1
Subject: Palmetto Street @ Hewitt Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This is looking down Palmetto St., past the Barker Bros. Warehouse. There were a couple spurs to the buildings here.

Palmetto Street @ Hewitt Street #2
Palmetto Street @ Hewitt Street #3
Palmetto Street @ Hewitt Street #4
Palmetto Street @ Hewitt Street #5
Palmetto Street @ Hewitt Street #6
Palmetto Street @ Hewitt Street #7
       

Palmetto Street @ Mateo Street #1
Subject: Palmetto Street @ Mateo Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: The lead on Palmetto continues East behind the old Starkman Warehouse, towards the river mains.

Palmetto Street @ Mateo Street #2
Palmetto Street @ Mateo Street #3
     

Sacramento Street @ Santa Fe Avenue #1
Subject: Sacramento Street @ Santa Fe Avenue
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This is looking down Sacramento St. just West of Santa Fe Ave., which shows the street running track and a spur to a business.

Sacramento Street @ Santa Fe Avenue #2
Sacramento Street @ Santa Fe Avenue #3
Sacramento Street @ Santa Fe Avenue #4
   

Old Southern Pacific Warehouses @ 7th Street / Alameda Street #1
Subject: Old Southern Pacific Warehouses @ 7th Street / Alameda Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: These shots show the old Southern Pacific warehouses, one of which has been partially painted pink.

Old Southern Pacific Warehouses @ 7th Street / Alameda Street #2
Old Southern Pacific Warehouses @ 7th Street / Alameda Street #3
Old Southern Pacific Warehouses @ 7th Street / Alameda Street #4
Old Southern Pacific Warehouses @ 7th Street / Alameda Street #5
Old Southern Pacific Warehouses @ 7th Street / Alameda Street #6
Old Southern Pacific Warehouses @ 7th Street / Alameda Street #7
       

Traction Avenue @ Avery Street #1
Subject: Traction Avenue @ Avery Street
Location: Downtown Los Angeles, CA
Date: 6/19/2005

Notes: This little section of track ran across Avery St., just North of Traction Ave. Behind these buildings is the old Santa Fe Warehouse, and where this track connected with the lead that ran along the North side of the 4th Street Bridge.

Traction Avenue @ Avery Street #2
Traction Avenue @ Avery Street #3
Traction Avenue @ Avery Street #4
   

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