Los Angeles Railway

A Drive Through Bunker Hill and Downtown Los Angeles, 1947-1948

Posted on: July 6, 2013 by Pacific Electric 9 Comments

Here's a fascinating silent film rescued and preserved by Archive.org (a great site, go check it out!) showing Los Angeles in the late 1940s. We asked Ralph Cantos, LA traction expert, to give us his thoughts on it; here's what he wrote:

I would put the year of this film as late 1947 / early 1948. The film starts looking east above the 2nd Street tunnel . At time stamp 3:36, camera car turns onto 5th St. and heads west. Notice LA Motor Coach TD-4502 and abandoned LATL 3 line car tracks, 5th St now one way west bound. Camera passes Central Library with Trolley Coach overhead visible. At time stamp 4:33, PE buses can be seen on the right, could be the Olive St Bus Deck at the Subway Terminal. At time stamp 4:44, camera car turns on to 1st Street, Overhead wire protector can be seen spanning the street, and "track crack" visible.

Thanks, Ralph!

9 Responses

  1. Ed Weiss

    July 8, 2013

    Absolutely fabulous footage-quality excellent! Boy does this bring back memories for me.

    Reply
  2. Paul Kakazu

    July 8, 2013

    We’re looking south on Flower Street when those PE buses appear at 4:33 – looming large in the background is the Richfield Building.

    Reply
  3. Duncan Still

    July 8, 2013

    This is great! Some additional observations:
    1. The opening scene is above the east portal of the 2nd street tunnel. In the distance, what appears to be a P-3 PCC (3126-3165) passes on Broadway. This means this was photographed in 1948 or later after the P-3’s were delivered.
    2. The photographer turns west on 5th street and passes the LA Central Library. You will note the streetcar rails on 5th Street but that 5th Street traffic is one-way meaning that the streetcar service has been supplanted by trolley coaches by the time this was photographed.
    3. Finally, after the photographer goes up the Flower Street hill, he turned right onto First Street. Ralph Cantos has identified the wooden trolley wire protectors which were mounted onto cables. This particular protector crossed First Street and was undoubtedly installed to protect the trolley wires of the then (1948) defunct “I” line. I looked at the pavement in this movie to see if there were any traces of the “I” line rails in the street but was unable to detect any.

    Reply
  4. Ed Weiss

    July 9, 2013

    After turning off 2nd the camera follows Grand Ave.showing what Bunker Hill was like in the good old days!

    Reply
  5. Gary Starre

    July 9, 2013

    The PCC is not a P-3, as it does not have standee windows. That would likely date the film prior to 1948, although the older PCC’s probably were used occasionally on the P line.

    Reply
  6. Ralph Cantos

    July 10, 2013

    I have to agree with Gary, the PCC heading north on Broadway is definitely an air-electric. The P-3 all electrics did not go into service until October of 1948.

    Reply
  7. Ed Weiss

    July 10, 2013

    The PE buses seen in this footage are located opposite of the Subway Terminal at a lot purchased to relieve crowding at the Olive St. bus deck. In 1950 a new terminal was built here to accommodate Western District bus lines.

    Reply
  8. Gary Boughton

    August 15, 2013

    I think this might be PE’s 4th and Flower lot???

    Reply
  9. John Bengtson

    January 31, 2015

    This post shows many Laurel and Hardy, and other silent movie locations, along the way, including a map showing the route driven in the film. https://silentlocations.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/stan-ollie-and-harold-a-drive-through-bunker-hill/

    Reply

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