Los Angeles Railway

LARY 67

Posted on: August 17, 2017 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Joel M. Shanus Collection

Joel M. Shanus Collection

Los Angeles Railway no. 67 photographed at Central and Slauson, Los Angeles, May 20, 1947. Bottom of negative has written in green ink "KILLE-WCW" - does anyone know what this might mean? Scanned from Negative 119 2 3/4"x 4 1/2".

Joel M. Shanus Collection

LARY 4: A smashing end to a long career

Posted on: August 13, 2017 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

The Los Angeles Railway's fleet of MAGGIEs worked the hilly I line for several decades. Unlike the majority of LARY's car fleet that used air brakes, the MAGIEs used an electric magnetic brake located between the wheels on the standard LARY archbar truck, not unlike the magnetic brake on the more modern PCC truck. The I line was not very long, just a few miles running between Bonnie Brea Street on the west, where a connection was made with the D line, to First and Hill Streets on the east end.

The magnetic brake worked very well, BUT there was one fatal flaw in the design. As long as the trolley pole remained on the power wire, all went well. But on this fatal day, the trolley pole on MAGGIE no. 4 de-wired as the 4 descended First Street towards its terminal at Hill Street.

With the trolley pole de-wired and swaying in the wind, the hapless 4 now had no braking ability save for the hand crank brake. One can only assume that the motorman made a valiant attempt to stop the 4 with the hand brake, but to no avail.

The 4 came rampaging down First Street, crossing Hill Street and smashing into a small building on the east side of the street. The results are depicted in these two photos. Remarkably, no one was killed, but there were 8 injuries. South Park Shops was famous for building and re-building hundreds of LARY streetcars, but the 4 was not worth rebuilding, it was too far gone, and was scrapped on the spot. The I line was abandoned a few months after this 1939 accident. The remaining MAGGIEs were placed in storage at the sprawling Vernon Yard and were eventually scrapped during World War II.

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

Inside and out of an LARY MAGGIE.

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

MAGGIE no. 6 and one other sit on the scrap track along with retired Standards at Vernon Yard, 1943.

1949 Los Angeles Transit Lines Pass

Posted on: August 13, 2017 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Al Donnelly Photo, Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Photo, Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Photo, Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Photo, Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Photo, Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Photo, Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Photo, Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Photo, Al Donnelly Collection

From the collection of Al Donnelly comes this beautifully preserved 1949 pass for the Los Angeles Transit Lines. As Al puts it, "a weekly pass six years before James Dean made the observatory into an icon." Thanks for sharing, Al!

Al Donnelly Photos, Al Donnelly Collection

Lewis Osborne (1887 – 1972), Untitled

Posted on: April 3, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Lewis Osborne (1887 – 1972) Untitled. Oil on board circa 1930, the Los Angeles Railway “Yellow Car” pauses at Lincoln Park awaiting transfer of passengers on the “W” Line.

Lewis Osborne (1887 – 1972) Untitled. Oil on board circa 1930, the Los Angeles Railway “Yellow Car” pauses at Lincoln Park awaiting transfer of passengers on the “W” Line. Approximately 8x10 inches.

Los Angeles PCCs in Chile: The End of the Line

Posted on: March 20, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Chris Alvarez-C. Collection, Used with Permission

Chris Alvarez-C. Collection, Used with Permission

Editor's Note: Image courtesy of Chris Alvarez-C. Collection, used with permission.

By Gary Starre

I came across this picture a couple of months ago while browsing the internet. These were 2 of 22 that went to Chile and were owned by the "Ferrocarril de Tocopilla al Toco" of Maria Helena Chile, about 1510 km (1000 miles) north of Santiago. The line served the Anglo-Chilean Nitrate Company which was a 1067mm gauge railway originally constructed in 1890.

Fitted with pantographs, the cars carried workers between the various mines and residence camps in the María Elena-Pedro de Valdivia area, on top of the mountain, until about 1975. For a few years, the cars ran under their own power, but in later years, were hauled as coaches. In this photo, these two wartime P-2 types seem to be near the end of their existence on a scrap track, but it is hard to tell. Note the car in the foreground is still wearing its LATL paint, while the car in the background wears LAMTA green. For unknown reasons, they have acquired wheel skirts, such as those worn by the PE PCCs.

The cars are gone now, but the railway is presently owned by the Sociedad Químicas y Minera de Chile, a.k.a. Soquimich.

Chris Alvarez-C. Collection, used with permission

LARY 3007: Los Angeles joins the PCC “Parade of Progress”

Posted on: March 9, 2017 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

by Ralph Cantos

This 1937 Westinghouse full-page ad shows new Los Angeles Railway no. 3007 photographed on 2nd. Avenue between 48th & 54th streets. This section of track did not have any regular streetcar service, so it was an ideal location for photographing various car types as well as movie work and motorman training.

Cars 3001 to 3060 arrived in mid-1937 to great fanfare and civic pride. The LARY PCCs were the 4th order delivered. The Brooklyn & Queens Transit Corp. got the very first St. Louis Car Co.-built PCCs, followed by the Pittsburgh Railways and then the San Diego Electric Railway.

The new PCCs were a sensation for the time. They were able to outrun most family automobiles from a standing start and braking was equally impressive. The bright yellow LARY PCCs were a very impressive contrast when compared to the drab yellow and brown-painted standard rolling stock of the LARY. The first of the new cars went to work at once on the busy P line along West Pico Blvd. and East First Street. The lengthy J line soon got the new cars as well, and patronage on that line increased noticeably.

Eventually 165 PCCs of three types would grace the streets and boulevards of Los Angeles, delivering impressive mileage and dependability . In the end, only one car, the 3035, was lost to accident damage. The loss of LA's PCCs in March of 1963 was Cairo's and Chile's gain, and Los Angeles became just another "town" with an inferior all-bus transit system.

Today, two PCCs from the San Diego Electric Railway and four from Los Angeles Railway live on at the Orange Empire Railway.

Ralph Cantos Collection

LAMTA 3137 and 3143: On the Road to Oblivion

Posted on: November 19, 2016 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

By Ralph Cantos

All-electric PCCs nos. 3137 and 3143 were photographed by the late Jerry Squire; this image is courtesy the Andy Goddard collection. The two-truck caravan is pictured here on Alameda Street. Soon the cars will arrive at the LA Harbor where they and over 100 of their sister PCCs will be loaded aboard ships that will take them to faraway Cairo, Egypt and a life of horror.

LA's 40 all-electrics were the "Cadillacs" of LA's narrow gauge street railway system. Fast, smooth, and quiet were just some of the wonderful features of the cars. The postwar PCCs built by St. Louis Car Co. and Pullman Standard were the apex of city street railway transportation across this country. And yet, here we see two of LA's finest, headed to a life in a third world city. Retired after just 15 years of splendid and reliable service, there just does not seem to be any rational explanation for this act of urban vandalism.

I was a regular commuter of LA's PCCs for several years, right up to the day of abandonment. To the credit of the LAMTA, that I despised, the cars were were all maintained in excellent, impeccable condition to the very end. The abandonment made no sense to me, and I made my very vocal and caustic views on the matter known to the LA Times, Mayor Yorty, George Putnam (the "Paul Harvey" of Los Angeles, for those not from here), and anyone else that would listen, much to the irritation of LAMTA Special Agents who made repeated visits to my house.

Indeed, LAMTA officials made verbal threats to "cease and desist"....."OR ELSE." In the end, it was all for nothing. The LAMTA did not have to answer to anyone, they did as they pleased. And so LA's PCC system, with DECADES of service life remaining, was sacrificed on the altar of "progress."

I rode the "New #26 Pico Bus line" on the first week day of the "Silverliner" bus service with its "improved curb service." The level of comfort was an inferior, appalling experience, to say the least. After just one week of this "new and improved service," I said to HELL with LA's public transit and like millions of other Angelenos, started driving to school (LA Trade Tech) and later in the day, to work. In the months that followed, I watched through the windshield of my car as all traces of the PCC system that I so revered, disappeared before my eyes.

It was not until the opening of the Long Beach Blue Blue Line in July of 1990, that I returned to LA's public transit system. And speaking of that fiasco, if anyone had paid any attention to me and the 8000 Long Beach line commuters that signed my petitions back in 1960, taxpayers could have saved $700 million to reinstate something that was already there. A bunch of damn fools running this city at that time....

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

LAMTA 3148 at Watts: A fish out of water!

Posted on: November 3, 2016 by Pacific Electric 3 Comments

 

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This photo, taken by the late Jerry Squire, is from the Andy Goddard mega-collection. PCC 3148, St. Louis Car Co. class of 1948, rolls south at Watts in the early evening haze. It's February 1960 and the LAMTA is in the midst of "test runs" using PCC 3148 hijacked from the very busy P line. The 3148 is riding on borrowed San Francisco Muni standard gauge B-3 trucks taken from their car no. 1024. The tests were being run to evaluate the possibility of continuing rail operation on the historic Long Beach Line. I have to admit, that even I, who was most critical of LAMTA, was really excited about these test runs. And as the late great Paul Harvey would often say, "The view out of the rear view mirror is a lot clearer than the view through the front windshield."

He was indeed correct.

The LAMTA had everyone, myself included, "bamboozled" into believing that they really wanted to keep passenger service to Long Beach "a RAIL LINE." As for me, I was convinced from day one that the LAMTA was nothing more than Metropolitan Coach Lines with a new name. Even the MCL two-tone green paint scheme was retained. There was no way in HELL that the LAMTA was going to keep using rail equipment of any kind to Long Beach. There were no used PCCs to be had at the time. Toronto and Mexico City had snapped up just about every last available used PCC in the America, with Tampico picking up the crumbs that were left. And even if there were used PCCs available, that would have meant costly modifications to the 6th & Main Street elevated station where a reverse loop would have to be constructed.

And of course there was the twenty miles of SP-owned roadbed that would have to be completely rebuilt to accommodate the PCC's temperamental riding qualities. In reality, the LAMTA wanted out of 6th & Main, and anything and EVERYTHING else that ran on rails and was powered by electricity.

When the "BS" test runs were completed, the standard gauge trucks were returned to the MUNI and the 3148 went back to work on the P line, the busiest surface rail line in the US. About a year after the test runs were completed, hundreds of railfans, many from across the country, made the last run on the Long Beach Line, and like myself, with tears in their eyes.

The next order of business on the LAMTA agenda: wipe out and destroy the well-liked and profitable PCC operated R-S-J-V and P rail lines , and the LAMTA would stop at nothing until that dirty, dastardly deed was completed. Again quoiting Paul Harvey, "And now you know the rest of the story."

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

LAMTA 3025 at City College: Part 2

Posted on: October 19, 2016 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This photo looking east on East First Street at the LA Civic Center dramatically illustrates the speed and determination the LAMTA employed in the swift elimination of LA's perfect PCC-operated rail system. Once the P line, this nation's busiest surface streetcar line, operated along East First Street. Now, just weeks after abandonment, the excellent rails are paved over. The LARY-LATL overhead wires, renowned in the industry for their excellence, remain as a ghostly reminder of P cars past.

The LAMTA even went to to the trouble of removing the familiar white "CAR STOP" sign from the span wires as the rails were paved over. Perhaps the LAMTA thought some uninformed Angelino would wait in vain for a P car if the "CAR STOP" sign was still displayed above the rail-less street.

Most all Angelenos loved the fast, silent, smooth PCCs that took them to work and play. The shiny new replacement buses were no improvement in comfort or service on any of the former PCC-operated lines. It was a shameful downgrade in service levels, and everyone that rode the PCCs were very aware of it. But the LAMTA and LA City officials did not give a damn, they had bigger plans for the area around Pico Blvd. and Georgia St. The beautiful PCCs just happened to be in the way of a progressive Los Angeles, and the former rail commuters would pay dearly for it.

Ralph Cantos Collection

 

Jerry Squire Photos, Andy Goddard Collection

Jerry Squire Photos, Andy Goddard Collection

By Ralph Cantos

These two photos taken by the late Jerry Squire are from the Andy Goddard Collection. On the left, LAMTA no. 3025 takes spot time on the New Hampshire Avenue leg of the City College "Y." January, February and March of 1963 was a very rainy period as LA's immaculate PCC system faced imminent destruction. Even as the PCCs had only weeks of service life remaining before abandonment, repairs to the canvas center section of the air cars' roof and windshield wiper maintenance continued at a high level as the cars faced extinction.

The photo on the right taken in March of 1973 shows SCRTD GM New Look coach no. 5467 (class of 1961) on the same spot where the photo of 3025 was taken just ten years before. The remnants of the reverse "Y" are clearly visible. The 5467 was photographed while on a bus fan charter celebrating the ten year anniversary victory of rubber over rail transit in LA.

After the abandonment of LA's PCC system, the car tracks were hastily paved over to insure the PCCs would never return to the streets of LA. A large portion of the rail system was quickly paved over even before the overhead wires could be removed, an action that had never been seen before in the history of streetcar abandonments in LA.

The abandonment of LA's PCCs was not very popular with the thousands of daily commuters the rode the fast, smooth PCCs. In years past, the abandoned rails remained untouched, sometimes for several years after the last trolley passed over said rails, and where the overhead wires had once hung above the rails, long gone.

The LAMTA made sure the PCCs would never return, come HELL or high water.

Jerry Squire Photos, Andy Goddard Collection