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