Pacific Railroad Society Collection

 

Ralph Melching Photo, Ralph Cantos Collection

Ralph Melching Photo, Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This beautiful photo taken by Ralph Melching from the Beverly Boulevard viaduct looks down on Pacific Electric's Toluca Yard in the summer of 1941. The freshly modernized Hollywood cars are still adorned with their very attractive silver roofs as are the "new kids on the block," PE's revolutionary double end-MU PCCs. Hollywood car no. 659 will be heading for West Hollywood via busy Santa Monica Boulevard.

This was the Western District at it finest. The modernized Hollywood cars were the equal to the modern PCCs of the day. They were exceptionally smooth and quiet-riding cars. Braking was about the only performance area where a Hollywood car could not match a PCC head to head.

All was tranquil on the PE in the summer of 1941. The PE was still very much an "interurban system" despite some recent rail abandonments in 1938. Those abandonments, brought on more by demands of state and city regulatory bodies demanding the PE rid the streets and right-of-ways of all wood bodied interurbans, than a lack of patronage of the effective lines.

But in just a few months of this photo, all HELL would break loose and the PE (and the LARY as well) would be put to the test. The venerable 950s and 1000s were saved from the fire and served LA's commuters with distinction in a time of crisis.

The PCCs had only been in service little more than a year and the Hollywood cars were in top condition. The PCCs and Hollywood cars - along with virtually every rail car on the system - would be put to the test of wartime passenger traffic demands that had never been seen on the PE since its inception.

Soon the bright silver roofs on all recently modernized rail cars would give way to a more sedate gray color as a safety precaution, less a PE car be spotted by enemy aircraft that could result in catastrophic results. Fortunately, all of PE's rail cars made it through World War II in great shape, only to face the scrapper's torch in the coming decade.

The PE had proved its worth to the City Of Los Angeles in time of crisis, only to be given the shaft in time of peace.

Ralph Melching Photo, Ralph Cantos Collection

Oregon Avenue in Sawtelle, 1906

Posted on: April 7, 2014 by Pacific Electric 8 Comments

 

Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Pacific Railroad Society Collection

In this 1906 postcard from the Pacific Railroad Society Collection, we are looking east on Oregon Avenue, which was the original name of Santa Monica Boulevard in this part of Los Angeles, California. The line going off the left of the frame could be the Westgate Line that ran down the middle of Burton Way through Brentwood Park. The exact location of this photo is somewhere near present-day Santa Monica Boulevard and Purdue Avenue.

Pacific Railroad Society Collection

The Last A Car

Posted on: February 1, 2014 by Pacific Electric No Comments

 

Roy Finley Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Roy Finley Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

It's the final A Line car at 7th and Hill Streets, 4AM on June 30, 1946. And the gang is definitely all here: L. to R. Ray Younghans, Jack Ferrier, Sawdust O'Reilly (L.T. Gotchy) Wayne Melching, Ralphs Shears, Phil Goldman, Jim Spencer, Robert Slocom, Carl Blaubach, Fred Hust, Jack Hedden, Chard Walker, and motorman D.F. Hutton.

Roy Finley Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Rumbling Through Playa Del Rey

Posted on: January 8, 2014 by Pacific Electric 4 Comments

 

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

An unidentified Pacific Electric interurban rumbles through the sleepy town of Playa Del Rey as a classic PE wig-wag tolls on the same street as the Del Rey Market and Del Rey Drugs. The PE station is visible just up ahead to the right, in this view looking north toward Venice. The date is December 24, 1939 and the image is by the incomparable Ralph Melching.

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Playa Del Rey and the Pacific Electric

Posted on: January 8, 2014 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Ralph Melching's December 24, 1939, image at trackside of the small waterfront community of Playa Del Rey, with the Pacific Electric station to the left and housing development on the iconic bluff/hillside in the background.

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

1918 GMC on the Alpine Division (1941)

Posted on: July 6, 2013 by Pacific Electric 1 Comment

 

1918 GMC Model 16 on the Alpine Division, March 16, 1941. Pacific Railroad Society Image, used with permission.

1918 GMC Model 16 on the Alpine Division, March 16, 1941. Pacific Railroad Society Image, used with permission.

L.T. Gotchy shot this image of a 1918 GMC Model 16, ¾-ton wooden flare-board express bodied truck back on March 16, 1941 atop Echo Mountain. The vehicle is facing north along the Alpine Division just opposite the inspection siding, with a load of steel rail scrapped from the right-of-way. This is close to the spot where the Sam Merrill Trail comes up from the Cobb Estate at the terminus of Lake Avenue in Altadena. Note, when the Pacific Electric Railway filed to abandon this railway the overhead wires were already down and the Alpine Division cars had already burned to the ground.

Special thanks to Larry Schramm from the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) for confirming the year, make and model of this truck and locating this modern image. Chard Walker Collection / PRS Collection

The Last A Car Southbound at 7th and Hill

Posted on: May 23, 2013 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Roy Finley Photo, Chard Walker Collection, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Roy Finley Photo, Chard Walker Collection, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

This amazing Roy Finley photo captures the railfan riders of the final Los Angeles Railway A Line car (no. 90) on June 30th, 1946, at 4AM at the intersection of 7th and Hill streets in downtown Los Angeles.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Ray Younghans, Jack Ferrier, Sotdust O'Reilly (L.T. Gotchy) Wayne Melching, Ralphs Shears, Phil Goldman, Jim Spencer, Robert Slocom, Carl Blaubach, Fred Hust, Jack Hedden, Chard Walker, (and motorman D.F. Hutton). Photo by Roy Finley

This image is from the Chard Walker collection housed at the Pacific Railroad Society in San Dimas, California, and is presented here with their permission and gracious cooperation.

Roy Finley Photo, Chard Walker Collection, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Fire at Vineyard Junction

Posted on: February 28, 2013 by Pacific Electric 6 Comments

 

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

View of Vineyard Junction, Sears and Roebuck Pico store and the West Blvd Bridge. Cooper Lumber Company, the business located in the lower left hand area of the image, has just suffered a devastating fire as the rubble of destroyed buildings show. Cooper Lumber did rebuilt and survived into the late 70's, when the property was sold to a chain of home improvement stores that was known as Builders Emporium. Today the tracks are gone and have become San Vicente Blvd, and Cooper Lumber property is a mixed use transit center.

Ralph Melching Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection
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675 at Hill and First

Posted on: February 28, 2013 by Pacific Electric 6 Comments

 

Tom Gray Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Tom Gray Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

Pacific Electric car no. 675 waits at a stoplight at the intersection of Hill Street and West First Street, below a classic Foster & Kleiser billboard advertising the Admiral TV/phonograph/radio combination to watch the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game on KTTV Channel 11 (now Fox 11). The image is undated.

Tom Gray Photo, Pacific Railroad Society Collection

The View from the Fullerton Spadra Road Bridge

Posted on: January 16, 2013 by Pacific Electric 2 Comments

 

Pacific Railroad Society Collection, possibly Ralph or Wayne Melching Photo

Pacific Railroad Society Collection, possibly Ralph or Wayne Melching Photo

From the Pacific Railroad Society comes this wonderful image that we believe was taken on a Railroad Boosters trip dated May 2, 1937. It is a view of Spadra Road, now North Harbor Boulevard, taken from the Spadra Road viaduct. We all know the photo - the one where they parked a car on that nice bridge in Fullerton with the two oranges painted on each side and a sign that reads Fullerton - Come Again.

Note the US 101 sign on the lamppost on the right. Spadra Road must have been US 101 at one time.

Pacific Railroad Society Collection, possibly Ralph or Wayne Melching Photo