Southern District

February 24, 1957: 5166 and 313 at Socorro

Posted on: May 22, 2017 by Pacific Electric 4 Comments

 

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

A southbound excursion group (with a three-car train of 5050-series cars, headed up by 5166) waiting at Socorro for the northbound train to clear the single track.

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

February 24, 1957: Excursion Passengers

Posted on: May 22, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

The date is February 24, 1957. Excursion passengers wait at Bellflower station watch the arrival of the regular train from Los Angeles.

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

May 23, 1958: Three-Car Train at Lynwood Station

Posted on: May 22, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

A three-car train at Lynwood Station on the Bellflower Line, May 23, 1958, the last weekday rush hour service. The prior day to this photography, the Hancock refinery near Signal Hill caught fire and the thick, dark smoke spread north for a day or two - as reflected in this picture.

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

May 23, 1958: Last Weekday Rush Hour at Watts

Posted on: May 22, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

Three-car train at Watts switches onto the Bellflower line, May 23, 1958, the last weekday rush hour service prior to abandonment of passenger service on this line.

Stephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection

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

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

1538 on East Olympic Boulevard at Ceres Avenue

Posted on: September 8, 2016 by Pacific Electric 3 Comments

 

Photographer unknown, Steve Crise Collection

Photographer unknown, Steve Crise Collection

Los Angeles MTA blimp no. 1538 is photographed heading eastbound on East Olympic Boulevard at Ceres Avenue in February of 1961. Dash signs reads Long Beach, with connections for Wilmington San Pedro.

Photographer unknown, Steve Crise Collection

PE’s Butterfly 12s: The Magnificent Six

Posted on: August 2, 2016 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Craig Rasmussen Collection

Craig Rasmussen Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This 8x10 photograph from the Craig Rasmussen collection shows "Butterfly 12" no. 1221 rolling along towards San Pedro Station on March 5, 1948. In as much as the Butterfly 12s numbered 1216 to 1221 were rebuilt in 1939-40 for "Deluxe" service for the 58 mile long San Bernardino line, passengers aboard the #1221 must have marveled at the 1221's interior appointments and striking exterior appearance. Most post-World War II runs on the San Pedro line were usually handled by 1000s, so this run using the 1221 must have been an unexpected treat for those passengers on aboard.

I have examined this crystal clear photo with a high-powered magnifying glass, and it appears that the 1221 is in virtually PERFECT condition at 35 years of age. She could have lasted indefinitely. Say what you want about the PE, but when it came to car maintenance, most if not all of PE's rolling stock from the venerable 950s to the Blimps were kept in A-1 condition. Sadly, little more than 2 years after this photo was taken, the entire 1200-class of high speed interurbans were sold for scrap and burned at Kaiser Steel in Fontana.

Officials from Buenos Aires looked at the 12s and liked what they saw, but the 1200 were so well built, that adding second passenger loading doors to the car ends was virtually and economically impossible. The slower 11s, with their double-loading passenger doors, went to South America instead, leaving the entire 12 class to face the scraper's torch. A terrible loss to the traction preservation movement that was still several years into the future.

Pacific Electric business car no. 1299 is now preserved at OERM. It began as a Portland 12 trailer before being rebuilt and powered as Officers Car 1299.

Craig Rasmussen Collection

1498: On the way to Travel Town

Posted on: August 2, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Jack Finn Collection

Jack Finn Collection

From the Jack Finn collection comes this image of Pacific Electric no. 1498 in around 1954 at the Torrance Shops. It's being loaded onto a lowboy trailer for transport to Travel Town, as the banner says.

1498 began life at the St. Louis Car Co. in 1904 as Pacific Electric no. 338. In 1911, it was renumbered 881 and rebuilt. It went through another rebuild in 1928 and emerged as Express Motor 1498. It was rebuilt back as coach 881 in 1942 and back as express motor 1498 in 1944.

Jack Finn Collection

Video: The Last Wig-Wag Signal, Anaheim, California

Posted on: July 15, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Ed Fleming is back with an absolutely amazing video he just produced, entitled "The Last Wig-Wag Signal, Anaheim, California." This one is a MUST-WATCH-NOW! Enjoy!