Craig Rasmussen Collection

PE 913: Forever Part of the Formosa Cafe

Posted on: January 16, 2017 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

PE 913 outbound at Culver Junction, 1940. Harold F. Stewart Photo, Craig A. Rasmussen Collection

Editor's Note: News upon the sudden closure of the West Hollywood architectural icon Formosa Cafe, whose exterior features former Pacific Electric car no. 913, prompted transit historian and frequent PERHYS contributor Ralph Cantos to pass along this image and information.

By Ralph Cantos

There is only one PE car at the Formosa Café, and it’s the 913, part of it anyway. It was one of the last 800s still in service when this photo was taken, but the end was near. By the end of 1940, they were all gone, except for the four 800s that were made into box motors: cars 1495 to 1498. They lasted until about 1950. The trucks from the 1498 are out at OERM, and the 913 could be restored. That would be fantastic.

Harold F. Stewart Photo, Craig A. Rasmussen Collection

The Life and Times of Pacific Electric 1260

Posted on: November 19, 2016 by Pacific Electric 8 Comments

 

Here are a collection of images of Pacific Electric no. 1260, its many adventures and even a prominent mishap, all captured by photographers back in the day.

Jack Finn Print Collection. Craig Rasmussen print. From the PERyhs.org archive.  Photographer: Unknown Location: Westbound on the Santa Monica Air Line crossing Vermont Ave. Date: 1949 Railroad: Pacific Electric Line: Air Line Car#: PE 1260  PE 1227 Notes on back of print: Santa Monica Air Line: 1260 - 1227, W.B. at Vermont Ave, 1949 LATL Strike Collection of Craig A Rasmussen  Image notes: Photo appears in Interurbans Special Western District page 53. Photo credited to Magna Collection.

Jack Finn Print Collection. Craig Rasmussen print. From the PERyhs.org archive.
Photographer: Unknown
Location: Westbound on the Santa Monica Air Line crossing Vermont Ave.
Date: 1949
Railroad: Pacific Electric
Line: Air Line
Car#: PE 1260 PE 1227
Notes on back of print: Santa Monica Air Line: 1260 - 1227, W.B. at Vermont Ave, 1949 LATL Strike
Collection of Craig A Rasmussen
Image notes: Photo appears in Interurbans Special Western District page 53. Photo credited to Magna Collection.

Image from the Jack Finn collection. Photographer: Unknown Date: Unknown Location: San Pedro Street in downtown Los Angeles.  Notes on back of print: PE 1260 J 734 Image Notes: Scanned from a 3 /14 x 5 3/4 inch print

Image from the Jack Finn collection.
Photographer: Unknown
Date: Unknown
Location: San Pedro Street in downtown Los Angeles.
Notes on back of print: PE 1260 J 734
Image Notes: Scanned from a 3 /14 x 5 3/4 inch print

Steve Crise Archive - Acme Photo - Photographer unknown Photographer:  Acme Photo - Photographer unknown Location: San Pedro Street south of 6th Street, Los Angeles, California Date: November 28, 1943 Railroad: Pacific Electric Locomotive: PE 1260 Notes on back of 8x10 print: LA 23697  (Los Angeles Bureau) TWENTY-TWO ESCAPE INJURY - LOS ANGELES - Twenty-two passengers of this Pacific Electric car miraculously escaped without even a scratch when it jumped the tracks and overtuned. Faulty brakes were believed to have been the cause of the accident. Bureaus Coast CREDIT LINE (ACME) 11-28-43  From Acme Newspictures, Inc Los Angeles Bureau, 1257 So. Los Angeles Street. Please credit Acme Photo. This picture is sold to you for your publication only and must not be loaned syndicated or used for advertising purposes without written permission from Acme.  Purchased from Historic Images  6073 Mt. Moriah Ext Memphis TN 38115 historicimages.com ney01237  October 2016

Steve Crise Archive - Acme Photo - Photographer unknown
Photographer: Acme Photo - Photographer unknown
Location: San Pedro Street south of 6th Street, Los Angeles, California
Date: November 28, 1943
Railroad: Pacific Electric
Locomotive: PE 1260
Notes on back of 8x10 print: LA 23697 (Los Angeles Bureau) TWENTY-TWO ESCAPE INJURY - LOS ANGELES - Twenty-two passengers of this Pacific Electric car miraculously escaped without even a scratch when it jumped the tracks and overtuned. Faulty brakes were believed to have been the cause of the accident. Bureaus Coast CREDIT LINE (ACME) 11-28-43 From Acme Newspictures, Inc Los Angeles Bureau, 1257 So. Los Angeles Street. Please credit Acme Photo. This picture is sold to you for your publication only and must not be loaned syndicated or used for advertising purposes without written permission from Acme.
Purchased from Historic Images
6073 Mt. Moriah Ext
Memphis TN 38115
historicimages.com ney01237 October 2016

Robert X Loewing photo, Craig Rasmussen collection. Steve Crise Archive Photographer: Robert X Lowing Date: April 1949  Railroad: Pacific Electric Railray Car#: PE 1260 Location: Sentous Yard, La Cienega Blvd at Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, California. Present day location of the La Cienega Expo Line station.  Notes on back of 8 x 10 print: 1260 -1227 W.B. on Santa Monica Air Line at Sentous; 1949 (LATL Strike) Rob't X. Loewing Photo. Image notes: Photo taken during the 1949 Los Angeles Transit Lines strike. This explains the use of the 1200's on the Air Line.

Robert X Loewing photo, Craig Rasmussen collection. Steve Crise Archive
Photographer: Robert X Lowing
Date: April 1949
Railroad: Pacific Electric Railray
Car#: PE 1260
Location: Sentous Yard, La Cienega Blvd at Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, California. Present day location of the La Cienega Expo Line station.
Notes on back of 8 x 10 print: 1260 -1227 W.B. on Santa Monica Air Line at Sentous; 1949 (LATL Strike) Rob't X. Loewing Photo.
Image notes: Photo taken during the 1949 Los Angeles Transit Lines strike. This explains the use of the 1200's on the Air Line.

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

Pacific Electric 538: Always ready for her close-up

Posted on: April 18, 2016 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Craig Rasmussen Collection

Craig Rasmussen Collection

By Ralph Cantos

Pacific Electric no. 538 was one of a 20 "lite interurbans" (530-549) built for the Pacific Electric Railway in 1909 by world famed St. Louis Car Co. The "Medium Fives" as they were known served the PE well, being used systemwide in 600-volt territory. Retirement of these cars began about 1936. The PE must have been giving the 500s away at bargain prices as more 500s found new lives as mountain cabins and such than any other class of PE car. One car, the 538, was sold intact to Warner Bros. Studios in 1936, as most of cars 500 to 549 were being sold for scrap.

In this 1916 photo from the Craig Rasmussen Magna Collection, a young trolley fan (no, its not me) poses on the steps of the 538 at San Pedro. Craig identifies the young chap as George C. White. The 538 at this time was just another PE rail car. There was no indication of the car's upcoming fame, notoriety, or immortality that would be bestowed on the 538 in the decades to come...

Craig Rasmussen Collection

PE 913: Destined for Immortality

Posted on: November 29, 2015 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Harold F. Stewart Photo, Craig A. Rasmussen Collection

Harold F. Stewart Photo, Craig A. Rasmussen Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This photo from the Craig A. Rasmussen Magna Collection was taken by the late Harold F. Stewart at Culver Junction in late 1940. The 913 is westbound on the evening Santa Monica Air Line run.

By this late date, almost all the mighty 800s had entered retirement and were being burned for scrap at Torrance Shops. By 1941, all the 800s were off the PE active roster. Four car bodies were donated to the Boy Scouts Of America for use as Summer mountain cabins, and five cars were converted to Express Motors and given numbers 1495 to 1499.

All the rest of the fast heavy 800s were gone as America and the PE entered World War II. The five Express Motors were retired in 1950 with one car, the 1498, being donated to the "Children Of Los Angeles" and moved to Travel Town. There the 1498 would be displayed open to the weather for almost 4 decades until the elements finally made the car unsuitable for continued display.

What was left of the 1498 was moved to OERM, but unfortunately, was destroyed in a disastrous brush fire in OERM's "outback." Only its trucks survived.

But this was not the end for at least one 800. Car 913, originally built as a control trailer, and later motorized with GE electrical gear in 1912, would live on. Just after retirement, the body of 913 was sold to a private party and moved to West Hollywood. There, the 913 would become part of the legendary "Formosa Café" where she still remains (in part) to this very day.

Back in the early 1960s her number was still discernible under a few coats of paint, But over the decades, her number was covered over by repeated repainting until it could no longer be recognized. And so the trucks of one 800 and the partial body of another survive more than 100 years after their construction.

Harold F. Stewart Photo, Craig A. Rasmussen Collection

Image Courtesy Google Maps Street View

Image Courtesy Google Maps Street View

Here's a view of the carbody built into the Formosa Cafe, courtesy Google Maps Street View. Click here for a full-screen presentation.

Lynwood Station, Then and Now

Posted on: June 16, 2015 by Pacific Electric 6 Comments

 

Craig Rasmussen Collection and Eriks Garsvo Image

Craig Rasmussen Collection and Eriks Garsvo Image

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority Blimp No. 312 heads southbound at the Lynwood station on January 28, 1956. Today this location is under the 105 Freeway; the station would be located under the right side, westbound on ramp.

The Lynwood depot was located on the Santa Ana Line in Lynwood on the corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Fernwood Avenue. The line ran from Watts to downtown Santa Ana. The entire line from LA to Santa Ana was 33 miles. The line launched in 1903 and ended May 25, 1958.

Craig Rasmussen Collection and Eriks Garsvo Image

LAMTA 312 at Lynwood Station

Posted on: April 7, 2015 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

Craig Rasmussen Collection

Craig Rasmussen Collection

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority blimp no. 312, southbound at the Lynwood station on January 28, 1956.

Craig Rasmussen 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

 

Craig Rasmussen Collection

Craig Rasmussen Collection

By Ralph Cantos

By the mid 1930s, the Pacific Electric was operating a fleet of more than 500 rail cars. The newest of them, the 100s, had just arrived from St. Louis Car Company in 1930; all 160 Hollywood cars were in service; and the PCCs and the Blimps had yet to appear on the local scene. As of 1935, the PE still had more than 200 wood/steel interurbans on its roster in 3 classes: the 800s, the 950s and the 1000s.

It was around 1935 when the PE came under enormous pressure from various "Regulatory Agencies" to make very substantial and expensive changes to its day-to-day operations. Chief among the "changes" being demanded on the PE was to rid the streets and suburbs of Southern California of "antiquated" interurbans that was tarnishing the modern, progressive image of Los Angeles, such as it was. The PE was told to have all wood-bodied interurbans off the streets of SoCal by last days of 1939. The LARY was not overlooked either, but was doing its part by placing in service 95 PCCs with more promised as funds became available.

So as 1938 dawned, the mighty 800-class interurbans were doomed, as they were the oldest of the 3 wood-bodied cars still in service. In those days of yesteryear, the PE had a tendency to assign certain cars to certain lines. Hence, if a line was to be abandoned, the interurbans assigned to that line went down the "tubes" with it.

Such was the case of the Santa Monica via Beverly Hills / Sawtelle Line, the subject of these two photos taken in July of 1940. The mainstay of the line were the fast, heavy 800-class cars with 950s supplementing the lighter off-peak schedules. Even as late as 1938, the line still was a good performer, with well over 2.2 million passengers enjoying the fast, "breezy" interurban trips to the beach.

The PE abandoned the line on July 7, 1940. Even as the abandonment notices appeared at stops along the line, passengers briefly enjoyed the the comfort of a handful of "modernized" Hollywood cars that rolled along the line in its last days of operation. PE had saved the "best for last." Had the line lasted for just another 17 months, the demands of World War II would have most likely kept the entire line in service, at least until 1946 and perhaps longer.

In the first image (above) from the Craig Rasmussen collection, a two-car afternoon rush hour train of 800s blast over La Brea Avenue at the western end of the "PICO-SAN VICENTE Viaduct", as abandonment neared.

The second image (below) from the City of Los Angeles Public Works Department, shows the same location from the air.

After the 1940 abandonment of the through service to Santa Monica, this portion of the line remained in passenger service as the "San Vicente Shuttle" to Genesee Avenue, one block east of Olympic Blvd. Beyond Olympic Blvd, the line was single tracked and used for "back door" movements into and out of West Hollywood Car House via the "Sherman Cut-off" until early 1951 when the Venice Short Line was abandoned on 9-17-1950, leaving the historic Santa Monica Air Line as the only passenger rail service in this part of West LA. for the next 3 years.

As for the Pico-San Vicente viaduct, its service life was over after just 23 years. It would remain standing another 14 years until 1964, when it was bulldozed away, leaving no trace that it ever existed.

Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Cantos Collection

PCC Service on the Venice Short Line

Posted on: September 1, 2013 by Pacific Electric 14 Comments

 

Craig Rasmussen Collection

Craig Rasmussen Collection

By Ralph Cantos

Pacific Electric stunned the American Transit Industry when the Railway took delivery of 30 double end PCCs in November of 1940. Not only were PE's PCCs the first double enders, but were the FIRST MULTIPLE UNIT PCCs built up to that time. Many PCC fans consider the PE PCCs the most beautiful ever built in the pre-war era . Only the 25 postwar all electrics built new for Louisville Railways come close to the esthetic beauty of PE's PCCs.

So it was that Americas most revolutionary PCCs should make their debut on two of PE's most important Western District lines, the heavily patronized Venice Short Line, and the Glendale-Burbank Line. PE rebuilt the Glendale - Burbank Line from top to bottom, end to end, in preparation for the new cars. It was no secret that PCCs' "temperamental" riding characteristics required top notch rail infrastructure. The new cars did extremely well on the rebuilt Burbank Line.

HOWEVER...the VSL was an other matter. By 1940, the rail and roadbed on the VSL were nearing 45 years of age. By the time the PCCs arrived , there was enough of the "modernized" Hollywood cars on hand to almost completely eliminate the need for the wood bodied 950s that had served the line for decades.

BUT as often is said, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray." The PCCs tenure on the VSL was brief, maybe a year or so. As beautiful as the PCCs may have been, they could not deal with the rough track. With the out break of World War II, a decision was made to reassign the 13 VSL PCC's to the Burbank Line. Thirty one of the big handsome 950s, then in the midst of being scrapped, were rescued from the fire, run through Torrance Shops and returned to service in early 1942 in "better than new" condition.

The classic 950s along with six 1000s and several two-man Hollywood cars rendered fast dependable service on the VSL all during the War, carrying crush passenger loads.

Even after the War ended, patronage on the VSL continued at high levels. Three-car trains were a common sight in the post war years. I am sure that the PE management did not run three car trains for the benefit of rail-fan photographers, three car train were a necessity to carry the high passenger volumes.

The 30 PCCs now settled down to a life on the Burbank line. By 1954, the Pullman built cars that had been such a sensation in 1940/41 were nearing the end of the career in a span of just 15 years. The PCCs continued to render excellent service into 1955 when the abandonment of the Glendale - Burbank line, with DECADES of service life remaining in its rebuild infrastructure, was announced.

All PE passenger service had been sold to Metropolitan Coach Lines in Oct 1953. MCL's greedy, self-serving management did not give a DAMN about the welfare of the traveling public, air pollution, the importance of travel time, or anything else except inflating the Company coffers at the expense of EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING . And so it was that on June 19, 1955, despite vigorous opposition from the City of Burbank, the line was abandoned.

The 30 near perfect PCCs were "stuffed" into the Subway tunnel, just inside the portal opening. It did not take long before vandals reduced the first eight to ten cars into piles of rubble. Only the pitch-black darkness of the deep recesses of the tunnel kept the vandals from destroying the entire fleet of Americas most beautiful PCCs.

After four years of storage and vandalism, the PCCs were sold to Buenos Aires, where they joined 27 Hollywood cars. Unfortunately, the TEMPERAMENTAL riding characteristics of the cars caught up with them once again and the service life in Buenos Aires was a short 3 years.

Sadly, none of these revolutionary PCC's was preserved.

In this photo taken in April 1941, car no. 5010 (Craig Rasmussen collection) is stopped at Culver City Station to entrain a lone passenger for a fast, if bouncy, trip to Santa Monica. The decade of 1940 to 1950 was a financially great time for the PE and Southern California commuters.

HOWEVER, the next decade of 1950 to 1960, would see the complete destruction of "The Worlds Greatest Interurban Railway" starting right there at Culver City in September of 1950 with the abandonment of the World Famed Venice Short Line, the first of a decade long string of rail abandonment that would virtually wipe out the entire rail system.

And now, 60 years later, commuters that drive the I-5 "Golden MISTAKE Freeway" and the I-10 Santa Monica "Freeway" more like a parking lot, are paying dearly for the short sighted decision that were made by greedy business men and the Highway Department so many years ago!! .