Northern District

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?

Pacific Electric and World War II Hysteria, Part 2

Posted on: July 9, 2017 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

In this photo from March 1942, Pacific Electric cars 1373 and 1375 are seen at the Santa Anita Racetrack. The Japanese-American gentleman in the foreground seems a little bewildered as he waits to be registered. Almost every one of the evacuation trains utilized at least one combo to handle the baggage and worldly belongingss that the "evacuees" could bring with them. In most cases, these Americans lost just about everything they owned except for the clothes on their backs.

Ralph Cantos Collection

Pacific Electric and World War II Hysteria

Posted on: June 2, 2017 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This 1942 photo taken at the Santa Anita Racetrack's "horse car spur" shows Pacific Electric cars nos. 1370, 1226, and 1237. The train had just arrived from 6th and Main Street Station. Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by the Japanese, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order no. 9066 in February.

When that order was sighed, thousands of Japanese Americans were "rounded up" along the West Coast of California. Many of them were taken to PE's 6th and Main Street Station where they boarded 3-car trains for a short trip to the Santa Anita Racetrack. At the track, temporary shelter was provided until they could be registered and identified. From here, they boarded an armada of buses — the majority, PE WHITE Motors model 798s — for the long trip to the Manzanar relocation camp to sit out the remainder of World War II.

The use of PE interurbans and buses for this purpose, was not one of the finest moments in PE's 50-year history. But World War II did provide the PE with some of its finest hours in that same 50-year history. Southern California would have been up the proverbial "creek without a paddle" had it not been for the PE and LARY's vast rail and bus system.

It was public transit's finest hour, never to be repeated after the war ended.

Ralph Cantos Collection

PE/MCL 5124 at 6th and Main: Midnight at the Oasis

Posted on: October 23, 2016 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This tranquil 1956 photo at 6th & Main Street Station, once the hub of Pacific Electric's comprehensive Northern and Southern District rail operations, belies the dire conditions of the Southern District and at this point, it was getting worse by the month.

Car no. 5124 prepares to depart on one of the last late-night runs along the 7-mile route to Watts. Anti-rail, pro-bus Metropolitan Coach Lines management had managed to destroy the Western District rail operations in less than two years after purchasing PE's passenger service. The wonderful Subway Terminal tunnel was now a tomb for the worlds most beautiful PCCs , left unguarded to rot and endure horrible damage by sick vandals.

The four Southern District lines were now operating under the most deplorable conditions. The elevated terminal was now a rail island in a sea of green MCL buses. About 45 Blimps and 15 Hollywood cars were now on an RFT (run till failure) status. Except for replacement of broken windows, all cosmetic maintenance on the cars ceased the day Metro Coach Lines took over the rail operations. Only minor mechanical repairs on the cars were made under primitive , open-air conditions at Fairbanks Yard, using "arm strong" tools.

The loyal passengers of the Southern District (myself included ) endured filthy and unkempt cars. All the while, MCL management continued to request the complete abandonment of the rail system to the PUC, to no avail. That dirty deed was left to the LAMTA. The Southern District rail line did not stand a chance for survival, as the new LAMTA did not have to answer to the PUC or anyone else for that matter. The Southern District along with the 6th & Main Street Station were now doomed.

By the time the Watts line was abandoned, only one extra car was available to meet basic rush hour service requirements. Four unserviceable Hollywood cars, stripped of usable parts, sat in the weeds at Fairbanks yard. Finally in April of 1961, only about 30 or so operable Blimps, now in disgraceful condition, were still serviceable. Only one car (1543) received a new coat of paint, the first new paint since the big car left Torrance Shops back in 1947. The rest of the Blimps died with their RED PE boots on.

Ralph Cantos Collection

PE Logo: Spotted on the Northern District

Posted on: September 7, 2016 by Pacific Electric 4 Comments

 

rc-pe-van-pasadena-contemporary

Some good things never seem to go out of style or grow tired. Andy Shier spotted this van parked at the curb near his home in Pasadena and took this photo. Andy was not able to accost the owner and get any details in regards as to the nature of the business and, or if, the owner is a Pacific Electric fan.

Andy Shier Photo

Editor's Note: The company calls itself Pacific Electric Coop. According to their site, they are a IBEW union-affiliated electrical and solar contracting company based in Los Angeles. No mention of the real Pacific Electric on their site, but they've definitely appropriated the vintage logo for their branding.

1201: Rams vs. Redskins

Posted on: August 2, 2016 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Jack Finn Collection

Jack Finn Collection

Here's a great image from the Jack Finn Collection. We have Pacific Electric no. 1201 at Macy Street Yard with a "Rams vs. Redskins" banner mounted on the car side, advertising an upcoming game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 16, 1948. And on August 13, 2016, the Los Angeles Rams return to the Coliseum after more than 20 years, playing their first pre-season game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Jack Finn Collection

5063 on Fair Oaks south of Walnut

Posted on: May 30, 2016 by Pacific Electric 10 Comments

 

Jack Finn Collection

Jack Finn Collection

From the Jack Finn Collection comes this image of Pacific Electric Hollywood Car no. 5063 on Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena, south of Walnut. The image is circa 1945 but the cars may provide a more definitive date.

Jack Finn Collection

Found 8mm Pacific Electric Footage from the late 1940s

Posted on: January 24, 2016 by Pacific Electric 10 Comments

 

We're thrilled to share this found footage from none other than Amsterdam, the Netherlands, by Frank M. Wiggers, who like us, shares a passion for anything railroad and mass transit.

He recently received a private film (likely 8mm) with Pacific Electric footage, and had it digitized and reached out to us for more information. We shared it with famed transit historian Ralph Cantos, who provided the following set of appraisals. Give it a watch and let us know what you think. And thank you to Frank for sharing with us!

From Ralph:

  • Very interesting footage. It  starts at Macy Street Yard and moves east along the Baldwin Park Line.
  • In the opening scenes, the 306 looks to be in A-1 condition, just out of the paint shop. I would say that 1947- 48 would be the time line of this short segment.

Please leave your additional comments below for us so that we can better document the entire clip!

 

 

 

 

Unknown Photographer, Robert Gaddie Collection

Unknown Photographer, Robert Gaddie Collection

Pacific Electric no. 304 is assigned to the East Colorado - Lincoln Avenue Line in Pasadena. Its exact location is unknown. PE no. 304 was built by J.G. Brill Company in 1913. It was a center-entrance, low-floor car nicknamed "Dragon" on the PE.

They were were equipped with maximum traction trucks and two General Electric 201 F motors. Their fatal flaw was that they had to operate with a two-man crew. There was no way to convert them to one-man operation. As the PE reduced its local operations in the depression, these cars became surplus. All were disposed of by 1934.

Note the this photograph appears on page 39 of "Cars of the Pacific Electric Vol I Interurbans Special # 29" August 1975.

Unknown Photographer, Robert Gaddie Collection

Sierra Madre Destination Sign

Posted on: April 7, 2015 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Courtesy Craig Rasmussen collection

Courtesy Craig Rasmussen collection

Pacific Electric Railway Dash sign showing Sierra Madre as its destination.

Courtesy Craig Rasmussen collection