P Line

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

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

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!

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

Acme News Photo: MANY INJURED IN LOS ANGELES CAR STRIKE

Posted on: July 11, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Steve Crise Archive

Steve Crise Archive

Notes on back of print: LA285960 Many Injured in Los Angeles Car Strike. Photo shows a wire screen which have been placed on the front and rear ends of all Los Angeles, Calif. Railway Street Cars to project the trainman from stones and glass in the street car strike now going on. Many persons have been injured in disorders to date. 11/26/34 Credit Line (Acme) ACME PHOTO

Steve Crise Archive

LATL 3150 at San Pedro Street

Posted on: May 10, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Philipott and Baldridge Collection

Philipott and Baldridge Collection

Los Angeles Transit Lines PCC no. 3150 takes on passengers as part of P Line service at San Pedro Street. Note the Japanese characters on much of the local business signage.

Philipott and Baldridge Collection

PCC Eye Candy

Posted on: December 5, 2013 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

Los Angeles Transit Lines PCC no. 3010 takes a little spot time at Rowan Loop at the east end of the P line in this 1948 view.

The head sign on the 3010 reads: P FIRST & SPRING ONLY. Perhaps the 3010 was waiting for a call from an LATL Supervisor at City Hall to come Downtown for some type of Christmas photos for the LA Chamber of Commerce.

It certainly was a happier time for LA's streetcars.

Ralph Cantos Collection

LA’s PCCs at Christmas Time – Part 1

Posted on: December 5, 2013 by Pacific Electric 3 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

Los Angeles Tranist Lines PCC no. 3165 rolls along East First Street in this 1957 view at Christmas time. At 9 years of age, the 3165 is hardly broken in, with decades of service life ahead of it. The perfect rails and overhead make for city rail transit at its best.

This was the only part of town where the P line cars passed beneath Christmas-bedecked overhead. The city of Huntington Park also took advantage of the excellent LATL J line overhead to festoon Pacific Blvd. with very elaborate holiday decorations.

In Downtown LA, both 7th Street and Broadway were decorated with Christmas decorations hanging from LARY / LATL overhead until around 1948, when that tradition ended for unknown reasons.

Today, 3165 rolls along a different Broadway, that one being at OERM.

Ralph Cantos Collection

1026 and 3100 on the P Line

Posted on: November 3, 2013 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

RVM-LATL-1026-3100_P_Line_1946

Los Angeles Transit Lines car no. 1206 leads PCC no. 3100 on the P Line in 1946.

Robert T. McVay Photo