Los Angeles Railway

LAMTA 3075, LA’s First Green PCC: A False Sense of Optimism

Posted on: September 26, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This photo taken by the late Jerry Squire in 1965 is from the Andy Goddard collection, and shows LAMTA no. 3075 at Vernon Yard being made ready for its trip to LA Harbor. From there, it's off to faraway Chile to be used as de-motorized, locomotive-hauled trailers. Twenty-two air cars were sold to the CHILE NITRATE CO. Two cars were stripped for parts at Vernon Yard, the remaining twenty cars sold whole. Cairo purchased the remaining 134 cars shortly after the Chile deal was completed.

The 3075 was the first LA PCC to be released from South Park Shops in April 1958 in the new green MTA scheme. The car had a complete rebuild and repainting much to the delight of LA rail fans. It was hoped by all who saw the 3075 for the first time that she was now ready for several more decades of service on the streets of Los Angeles. Alas, it was not to be.
Just five years after making its debut in its new two-tone green paint job, the 3075 and 163 of her sisters would be retired and placed in dead storage at Vernon Yard to await an uncertain future.

By the end of 1965, Vernon Yard was devoid of all the PCCs. They had all departed for a much less glamorous life in either Chile or Cairo. Both systems trashed the once-pristine cars. In less than 10 years, the Chile cars were reduced to employee housing at the company's nitrate mine operation. The cars that made it to Egypt were reduced to rolling wrecks in about the same amount of time.

Four cars, numbers 3001, 3072, 3100 and 3165 live on in retirement at OERM, while 3101 now resides in Colorado at a railroad museum there. The big, beautiful "all-electrics" served the commuters of Los Angeles for just 15 years, a damn shame to say the least.

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

3137 on Broadway at 7th Street

Posted on: September 8, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Photographer unknown, Steve Crise Collection

Photographer unknown, Steve Crise Collection

Los Angeles MTA PCC no. 3137 rolls southbound on Broadway at 7th Street on the P Line. The date is February 1961. MTA bus no. 69143 follows closely behind.

Photographer unknown, Steve Crise Collection

LA 1:87 Short Film

Posted on: August 12, 2016 by Pacific Electric 3 Comments

 

Here's a wonderful short film by Matthew Arnold-Ladensack entitled "LA 1:87" and featuring the fine HO scale modeling of iconic LA landmarks by 81-year-old Gerald W. Cox.

LA // 1:87 from Humanity Pictures on Vimeo.

Mystery / Political “Bus Transfer”

Posted on: August 7, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

 Charles Wherry Collection

Charles Wherry Collection

 Charles Wherry Collection

Charles Wherry Collection

By Charles Wherry

In going through some of my father's collection, I found this interesting "bus transfer" and thought it should see the light of day.

Here are two (front and back) scans of what appear to be an effort to defeat ballot proposition No. 1 on the December 12, 1940, election in Los Angeles. Although there is no specific mention of Los Angeles, or the year, the fact that the 1940 UCLA football schedule is printed on the face leads me to this conclusion.

It is in a transfer format similar to that used by the Pacific Electric and I believe other transit companies of the time.

It was printed for a group calling themselves ‘Citizens Committee against “Phoney” Legislation”. The oversize dimension of 12” X 4 1/4” was apparently meant to emphasize this group’s alarm over what they believed was an effort by bus companies, (no mention of which company(ies), to create a ..."universal" transfer system in Los Angeles. There is an allusion ..."three bright boys"... and some names, possibly corrupted, of ...."Quinsy, Kreaking, Dilly"... .

What the results of the election were, if in fact there was an election, remain a mystery to me. Hopefully there are others that that can fill in the gaps.

Charles Wherry Collection

Los Angeles Railway 1941 Passes

Posted on: August 7, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Charles Wherry Collection

Charles Wherry Collection

Charles Wherry Collection

Charles Wherry Collection

By Charles Wherry

Here are two weekly passes issued by Los Angeles Railway in 1941. The $1.25 price seems quite a bargain especially when reading the fine print which allowed two children under 12 to ride along with the bearer on Sundays and holidays which included Armistice Day, now called Veterans Day.

Charles Wherry Collection

LARY 1444 : Green luxury on the streets of LA

Posted on: July 4, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This 1930 view, taken at the old Division 2 just across the street from South Park Shops, nicely illustrates the new look for 35 of the Los Angeles Railway's newest steel passenger cars. Cars 1416 to 1450 were upgraded from H-4 to H-3 "DELUXE" status in 1929-1930. The most obvious element of the upgrade was a striking new pastel green and cream paint scheme, with silver roof, a dramatic departure form the then-standard yellow and brown paint scheme of the LARY.

Other improvements to the 35 cars consisted of enhanced interior lighting installed in a new smooth head liner, new upholstered seats, and enclosing the entire car body with brass window sashes. All these expenditures were made by the LARY so as to be granted a fare increase of about 2 CENTS by the Public Utilities Commission.

About two years after going into service one last improvement was made to the H-3s in the form of the HUNTER ROLL sign box inset into the roof above the right front window, replacing the standard roof slat number box used on all LARY cars up to that time. In time, several H-4 cars in the 1200 class (OERM's 1201 being the first H-4 to get the HUNTER ROLL sign box) and a few 1300s also got the HUNTER ROLL sign box. A nice improvement to the cars and especially for the poor LARY shop man who had to climb up the side of the cars to change the line number or letter slat on the roof box. (Something I would not look forward to doing.)

One other item of interest in this photo is that the 1444 is equipped with the standard "high eclipse fender" that was used to clear the MU coupler. When all MU operation was discontinued on the LARY, a low fender replaced the high fenders, much to the pleasure of LARY crews. The GREEN cars operating mostly on the long 5 Line lasted only about 4 or 5 years. By 1936, they were but a distant memory.

The 35 H-3s along with a handful of open H-4s lasted until late 1958, rendering thirty-five years of faithful, dependable service to the LARY, LATL and for about six months, the LAMTA. A job well done.

Ralph Cantos Collection

3004 and 3059 on the P Line

Posted on: June 9, 2016 by Pacific Electric 12 Comments

 

Steve Crise Collection

Steve Crise Collection

This fascinating image from an unknown photographer is dated June 10, 1939 - nearly 77 years ago to the day! - but we are unsure of the exact location. The banner reading "Tony Sein" also indicates it denotes a Spanish-language radio station, and our guess is this is Hill Street downtown. Can you help? Please leave your thoughts in the comments, and when we receive a consensus, we'll modify this content.

Steve Crise Collection

UPDATE: From Ralph Cantos:

Re: the photo of 3004... Paul Kakaza is correct. the photo of the 3004 is at First & Main Sts. The PE cars operated on First St for just one block between Main and Los Angeles Sts. The PE tracks on San Pedro St crossed the P line tracks at First & San Pedro, but there was no turn outs. The PE cars turned north off of First St to Aliso St and the east. The tracks on San Pedro joined the PE tracks at Aliso St. and then headed over the LA River and on to the Northern District lines.. Sorry for the bad info. One last note. just about every building in that photo along east First St as far as the eye can see, are now gone. - Ralph

Thanks to all who have commented and nailed this location instantly! You are why we do this site!

LARy 881 at 2nd and Santa Fe

Posted on: May 6, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

On the subject of the very rare 9 line dash sign, here is Los Angeles Railway no. 881 sporting the very same colorful dash sign. The 881 awaits departure time in front of the old Santa Fe Railway station on Santa Fe Ave at 2nd Street. This image is from around 1938.

Ralph Cantos Collection

Jackie Hadnot Wood Carving for El Pueblo

Posted on: April 12, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

SJC_JackieHadnot  088A

Pictured is a wood carving by artist Jackie Hadnot, who is known for his train and rail related wood-works and who was also featured on an episode with Huell Howser several years ago creating pieces he calls "Wooden Ironhorses." This unveiling took place on April 7, 2016, where is has been permanently installed in a window frame of the former Los Angeles Railway building at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, the back side of Olvera Street, at 611 Alameda Street, across from and facing Union Station. The wood purchase was made possible by a grant from Las Angelitas del Pueblo and Jackie donated his time and talents to render this project. There are three more window alcoves which, over time, could possibly have additional carvings, but, in the meantime, Jackie will be busy carving a new crucifix for Olvera Street.

Jackie Hadnot carved a piece for the Mount Lowe Preservation Society which was on display at the Pasadena Museum of History for the Pacific Electric Railway Then and Now show and we are proud supporters of Jackie's work, providing historical images and information to him to assist in his creations.

Pacific Electric Railway Then & Now Show Standee for the opening of the show on August 18th, 2012 Photo Credit: Steve Crise © Steve Crise 2012 310 963 9265 www.Scrise.com Scrise@aol.com

Pacific Electric Railway Then & Now Show Standee for the opening of the show on August 18th, 2012
Photo Credit: Steve Crise
© Steve Crise 2012
310 963 9265
www.Scrise.com
Scrise@aol.com

LARy 893 and 1436: A Smash Hit on Broadway! (UPDATED)

Posted on: March 29, 2016 by Pacific Electric 9 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

see below for update!

By Ralph Cantos

For the most part, both the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles Railway were very safe rail systems. The PE operated at much higher speeds than the LARY, and as a result, produced some very spectacular accidents. The majority of the accidents on the PE occurred at grade crossings where just about every class of PE rail car, from the Echo Park 100s, PCCs, Hollywood cars, on up to the Blimps, were constantly challenged at grade crossings with automobiles driven by, for the most part, MORONS!

More often than not, the results were catastrophic damage to the automobile (and sometimes to its driver. as well). The PE car usually made it home under its own power to Torrance Shops for some brief R&R and a quick return to service. Other collisions that involved two or more PE rail cars were usually more dramatic and necessitated longer says at Torrance Shops.

The LARY, on the other hand, was a system where speeds rarely exceeded 40 mph. As a result, accidents were not as spectacular. Nonetheless, the LARY accident record could and did produce some amazing results.

Such an "incident" occurred one rainy night at the intersection of 2nd Street and Broadway during World War II. In this case, 9 Line car no. 893 was turning from westbound 2nd Street to southbound Broadway. For what ever reason, 5 Line car no. 1436 slid into the right side of the 893 amidships as the 893 was completing its left-hand turn. It was a rainy night, and with the exception of the PCCs, no LARY cars were equipped with windshield wipers (something that LATL management rectified on all H- and K-class cars after 1946).

One can only speculate that as the 1436 headed south on Broadway, its motorman cranking away on the Johnson Fare box, and the front windows blurred with rain, he did not see the red STOP sign displayed by the ACME traffic signal and ran into the side of 893 with the results depicted in this photo. Notice that the lights in the 893 ore still on, while the 1436 is dark.

Because of World War II passenger demands, every car was needed. Both cars were quickly returned to service.

The most noteworthy item in this photo is the front dash sign on the 893: it displays the entire route of the 9 Line as operated at that time. It reads: 9 West 48th St (48th & Crenshaw) via E. Third St-Traction- E. Second-Broadway (Central Business District) Pico-Grand Ave.-Santa Barbara and Hoover. According to LA traction historian and "dash sign GURU" Craig Rasmussen, if one of these dash signs still exists, and could be found, it would be the "HOLY GRAIL" of LARY dash signs. For now, all we can do is look at this photo and hope that one of these dash signs could still turn up at a traction swap meet. Do you have one in your collection??

Ralph Cantos Collection

April 12, 2016 Update!

Terry Salmans Photo/Collection

Terry Salmans Photo/Collection

By Terry Salmans

After reading Ralph Cantos' article "LARy 893 and 1436: A Smash Hit on Broadway" I called fellow Orange Empire Railway Museum archivist Pat Ellyson to see if he had seen one of the "Holy Grail" LARy 9 Line dash signs in the OERM collection. He replied that he hadn't but he had one in his own collection!

We arranged to meet up with another OERM archivist, Craig Rasmussen, for a photo op. Pat recalled that he had bought the dash sign years ago at a swap meet but couldn't recall from whom.

According to Pat, in November 1936 these dash signs were introduced for the 9 Line. On September 24, 1939 the 9 Line was rerouted and the dash sign in the photo wasn't used after that.

I've always wondered what a holy grail looked like. Now I know.

Terry Salmans Photo/Collection