Pacific Electric

PE 748: Last Days of the Venice Short Line

Posted on: January 5, 2018 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This photo of Pacific Electric no. 748 and train was taken in the last days of the world-famous Venice Short Line. The scene is at the foot of Venice Blvd. at Pacific Avenue in Venice. Behind the 748 is a new GM 2700-class Diesel bus, most likely on a training run. And like a scene out of the jungle, the GM Diesel bus is stalking the hapless 748 and train hoping to pounce on the train for the kill.

The September 17, 1950, abandonment of the VSL WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE END for the Pacific Electric Railway as a large-scale commuter rail system. The VSL had great potential for upgrade to a fast and efficient light rail route. But the thinking of the day was to eliminate all forms of suburban and city rail transit in Southern California in favor of "more efficient" freeways.

And so, the VSL passed into history. The wide right-of-way down the center of Venice Blvd. would lay abandoned and weed-grown for more than a decade after abandonment. Finally, in 1963, the "improvement" of Venice Blvd. began. The right-of-way was removed and ONE auto traffic lane was added in each direction. The massive La Cienega / Venice Blvd. bridge was demolished and at the same time, and the long Pico / San Vicente viaduct went with it.

From the September 1950 abandonment of the VSL, to the last run on the Watts Line on November 2, 1959, the entire PE rail system was wiped out except for the Long Beach Line. Finally on April 9, 1961, the massive job of destroying a fantastic commuter rail system was complete. Modern freeways now moved the masses with far more speed then any of PE's trains.

Then in the 1980s, as auto traffic had reached intolerable conditions, transit experts came up with a brilliant idea. Why not built a light rail line between Long Beach and Downtown LA? I am sure some of these experts wondered why no one had come up with that idea before. As a result, the METRO RAIL BLUE LINE was born. And so now, decades after the PE was destroyed in the name of progress, the LACMTA is faced with rebuilding "HUMPTY-PE-DUMPTY" once again.

If I had not seen this transit fiasco with my own eyes, I would never believe that something this stupid could have ever taken place....

Ralph Cantos Collection

PE 969 and 999: Unholy Shenanigans at Pasadena

Posted on: December 17, 2017 by Pacific Electric 3 Comments

 

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection, Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This photo, taken on October 8, 1950, was in front of the Pasadena Car House on North Fair Oaks Avenue. The occasion for this embarrassing moment to 43-year-old car 969 was the "celebration" of the abandonment of the Pasadena via Oak Knoll line and the inauguration of the "NEW MOTOR COACH" service on that same Oak Knoll Line. The new General Motors 2700-class Diesels buses can be seen in the background.

The 969 was being pushed by famed car 999. The desecration of the 969 was a moot point by this date, as the 31 remaining 950s were retired a few weeks earlier with the September 17th abandonment of the world-famous Venice Short Line. For the 999 and 969, a bleak future awaited them at National Metals & Steel on Terminal Island. By the end of November 1950, all the 950s were off the PE, awaiting a fiery cremation at the scrap yard.

Ralph Cantos Collection

Only one car, 994, would escape destruction, at least for about 6 months. Rail fan and PE Historian, Ira L. Swett, had car 994 set aside for preservation. The PE had sold the 950s and 10s for an unheard of $1750.00 EACH. That was a hell of a lot of money in 1950. The trolley preservation movement was still several years away, and Travel Town was still in the planning stages. Most LA railfans were just teenagers at that time and $1750.00 dollars was just to much an obstacle to overcome.

And so, sadly, the 994 was lost. Today, the body of 993 awaits a multi-thousand dollar restoration at OERM. It had escaped scrapping by being used as an employee locker room at the scrap yard. Richard Fellows purchased it, hoping to place it on rubber tires like his 1058 and 665. He passed away before before doing any type of restoration. One other 950 never made it to Terminal Island; that car being the 983. It was purchased from the PE for use as a storage shed in Compton. If you knew where to look, the body of the 983 could be seen from the windows of Long Beach Line Blimps just a few hundred feet behind Compton Station. Richard Fellows purchased the body of 983 and it would be "repurposed" as his rubber-tired 1058. An so, the 993 remains the only intact body of the beautiful 950s. Long live this fantastic survivor.

Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection, Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

Richard Fellows built the 1058 from the body of PE 983. Terminal Island.

Ralph Cantos Collection

Here is another photo of the 1058, this photo shows the correct paint job. In the first photo of 1058, the lower body frame was painted black, which was incorrect. Richard soon painted the lower body red. In this photo, the 1058 is on its way to Downtown LA for the movie, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?

“DeLuxe Edition of Southern California Pacific Electric Grill”

Posted on: December 17, 2017 by Pacific Electric 3 Comments

 

From transit historian Al Donnelly:

13" x 10". 144 pages. All compliments of original Pacific Electric Grill. Mr. Behannesey had an office in terminal c.1906-?.

Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Collection

Al Donnelly Collection

1260 at Vermont

Posted on: November 28, 2017 by Pacific Electric 6 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

Here is another photo of Pacific Electric no. 1260 working the Santa Monica Air Line as an EXTRA. The train is west bound at Vermont Avenue.

Ralph Cantos Collection

PERHYS at 40th Annual Doo Dah Parade in Pasadena

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

 

Steve Crise (right) stands next to a 1960 Marketeer all-electric cart owned by local enthusiast and participant in the 40th Occasional Doo Dah Parade, Lee Johnson. Michael Patris stands next to the Mount Lowe Preservation Society's 1952 Autoette all-electric cart. Special thanks go out to MLPSI volunteer Scott Bowman for helping pull off this great event with carts from his own collection, the Lee Johnson collection and the Christian Boehr collection. Other participants who drove carts were Christian Boehr's parents, Ernie and Judy Boehr, Christian's friend Paige, Lee Johnson's wife Diane. as well as a few others. The electric carts were once sold in Pasadena and have a tremendous local history which we will be sharing soon.

Video: 8mm Film of Southern District

Posted on: November 20, 2017 by Pacific Electric 3 Comments

 

1959 Ride on Pacific Electric/MTA Red Car "Blimp" from Margaret Ma on Vimeo.

Margaret Ma was kind enough to share with us her father's digitized 8mm films of Southern District action, likely near the end in 1961, depicting MTA blimps in action and 6th and Main Street station shots.

Fatal Accident for Pacific Electric 654 in Hollywood

Posted on: October 31, 2017 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Steve Crise Collection

Steve Crise Collection

Historic Caption: Mrs Loyce Newton, 44, was killed here today (4/10) when here car skidded on wet streetcar tracks and crashed headon into a streetcar. She was thrown from her car and under the streetcar, dying before a wrecking crew and two ambulance teams could extricate her. Workmen are shown holding a blanket over Mrs. Newton while policeman comforts her.

Research suggests that the date of this photo is April 10th, 1948, and this accident possibly took place somewhere on the Hollywood Line along Sunset Blvd. The car number is PE 654.

Steve Crise Collection

498 at West Basin

Posted on: October 27, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

By Stephen Dudley

More from the February 16, 1958 excursion using Metropolitan Coach Lines car no. 498. Here we see the 498 stopped northbound on San Pedro line's West Basin trackage.

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

MCL 498 in the fog

Posted on: October 27, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

By Stephen Dudley

More from the February 16, 1958 excursion using Metropolitan Coach Lines car no. 498. Here we see the 498 stopped southbound near San Pedro before the fog had cleared.

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Excursion 498 on the El Segundo Line

Posted on: October 27, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

By Stephen Dudley

More from the February 16, 1958 excursion using Metropolitan Coach Lines car no. 498. In this image, 498 is stopped on the El Segundo Line just past the Watts Car House which can be seen in the distance. Trolley wire was maintained on the southbound track to allow cars to access the car house from the south. Wire on northbound track had been removed. Once trolley poles were reversed, 498 would run north on the southbound track to re-join the southbound main. Someone had appropriately inserted
in the train number display "X-498".

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection