5 Line

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

Downtown Los Angeles in 1948: A Broadway Trolley Melody

Posted on: December 26, 2015 by Pacific Electric 5 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This beautiful photo taken from atop the LARY-LATL building shows so well the dominance of streetcar transport that was once so prominent in Los Angeles. Here, looking north on Broadway at Broadway Place and Olympic Boulevard is a traction fan's "Trolley Paradise."

As a very young trolley fan, I would spend hours on end at 7th and Broadway watching the never-ending parade of LATL streetcars crossing the well-worn diamond at that fantastic intersection. The friendly, beautiful sounds of trolley bells echoed off the tall buildings. Not a harsh BEEP-BEEP of a GM bus could be heard at this wonderful place. I particularly loved the sounds as 2 or more heavy H-4s crossed the diamond in opposite directions; it was "industrial music" at its best. No sooner had an H-4 crossed, than a PCC would "tip toe" across the diamond with half the sound of the preceding H-4.

I was only 12 years old in 1955 and my only knowledge of the coming and goings of LA's wonderful traction system is from what I saw with my transfixed eyes. It was therefore a traumatic shock to my young life when I went Downtown in the late days of May 1955. I could not comprehend what had happened to all the LATL streetcars that had dominated not only Broadway but Spring and Main Streets as well. I was actually short of breath as I witnessed buses in the Union Station Station Loop from the window as my #2 Trolley Coach emerged from the tunnel under the station tracks.

Even worse, the sight of buses on Main, Spring and Broadway was almost unbearable to me. As I staked out my spot at 7th & Broadway, some of my anxiety faded away as all seemed normal on 7th Street — R-S & J cars still rolled up and down the street with no buses in sight.

But Broadway was a different story.

Gone were the 5 and 9 cars. Now the 5 line was operated with GM buses. The 9 line was gone for good. It was with some relief when I saw W and P cars still rolling up and down Broadway. I did not know it at the time, but the days were numbered for the W line and soon, the P cars would be the only streetcars on Broadway.

Eight years later the wonderful sound of trolley bells echoing of the Downtown buildings would give way to the blasting sounds of hordes of Diesel buses that replaced LA's beloved streetcars. The charm of Downtown and indeed, LA itself, was gone as far as I was concerned.

If you want to see and HEAR the CHARM that streetcars bring to a city, just head to San Francisco and stake out a spot on Market Street and you will see and HEAR for yourself what LA lost so many years ago...

Ralph Cantos Collection

LATL 1439 at Colorado and Townsend

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 1439 on 5 Line service is photographed at Colorado Boulevard and Townsend Avenue. The image is undated.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

LATL 1285 at Eagle Rock and Colorado

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 1285 is captured in stunning detail by photographer Alan K. Weeks in this undated photo at the corner of Eagle Rock and Colorado Boulevards. The 1285 is on 5 Line service, bound for Hawthorne.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

LATL 1428 on Eagle Rock Boulevard

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

 Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 1428 is photographed at speed rolling down the private right-of-way that existed on Eagle Rock Boulevard. 1428 is in 5 Line service here.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

LATL 1276 on Eagle Rock Boulevard

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

 Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 1276 sits idle at the passenger loading zone on Eagle Rock Boulevard, just south of Colorado, in this undated 5 Line image.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

LATL 1431 Turning Off Colorado

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines car no. 1431 rounds the corner at Colorado and Eagle Rock Boulevards to head south on the 5 Line in this undated image.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

LATL 1420 at Eagle Rock and Colorado

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 1420 pauses at the terminus at Eagle Rock and Colorado Boulevards in this undated 5 Line photo.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

LATL 1277 at Broadway and Sunset

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 1277 on 5 Line service passes through the intersection of Broadway and Sunset in this image dated May 31, 1949. Bozzani remains a family-owned brand to this day with a VW dealership in Azusa.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

LATL 1269 at the Terminus

Posted on: June 22, 2015 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines no. 1269 on 5 Line service pauses at the terminus, located at Eagle Rock and Colorado Boulevards in Eagle Rock. The image is undated.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection