Los Angeles Railway

LATL 3035 meets an Untimely End

Posted on: July 24, 2013 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment
Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

On the afternoon of April 6, 1956, disabled Los Angeles Transit Lines PCC no. 3035 was being towed from Vernon Yard to South Park Shops by a "Big Bertha" tow truck. The two vehicles had just left Vernon Yard headed west on Pacific Blvd., which at the crossing with the AT&SF Harbor branch is still on gravel PRW (private right-of-way).

The "Bertha Truck" lost traction on the gravel with the hapless 3035 in tow. All at once, like a nightmare come true when something is stuck on the crossing, along comes a southbound freight train headed up by AT&SF diesel locomotive no. 2602. The engineer of the 2602 had seen LATL PCCs crossing the AT&SF tracks numerous times and "assumed" the 3035 would clear the crossing before he hit the diamond, so he did not apply his brakes.

As the old saying goes, "NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING."

In an instant, the 2602 slammed into the center doors of the 3035, mortally wounding the car, and pushing it onto its left side. This photo shows the resulting mayhem, everyone scratching their heads wondering how the HELL something like this could have happened.

Later that day, 3035 was righted and towed back to Vernon yard where it was scrapped for parts, the only LATL PCC not to make it to that fateful day of 3-31-63...

Ralph Cantos Collection

One Response

  1. Duncan Still

    July 25, 2013

    AT&SF 2602 was a comparative rarity, a center cab Baldwin. Not too many of these creatures existed. I have seen several of these center cabs in use on the Harbor Branch in the 1950’s.

    Many, if not all LARY – steam road crossings were guarded by a watchman, the watchman had a small shanty (some were located on some Victorian design towers) and LARY cars were required to wait until the watchman signaled with a green flag indicating it was safe to cross the steam road. Crossings such as Exposition/Vermont, Slauson/Vermont, Vernon/PE Four Track, Slauson/S. Broadway were just some of the crossings guarded by these watchmen.

    I expect the crossing located at this accident would have had a watchman who must have had a fit as he saw the impending collision.

    Reply

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