Alan Weeks’ Pacific Electric Railway: Substations, 1950s

By Alan K. Weeks

A book was published a few years ago about the P.E.R.y Sub stations. It sold out in months and I never got a copy. I did not take pictures of them all but did manage to get pictures of quite a few.

I am now able to compare the different stations in this content. I am surprised at the big variety of architectural differences. No two are exactly alike. They used both the power from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) and Southern California Edison, depending on location.

The two utilities supplied high-voltage electricity to each substation. Then the high voltage was converted from AC to DC 600V current. They either used a Rotary Converter or a Motor Generator sets. Today the aubstations are all alike but are now solid state and do a good job.


Image 441 – Funny I can’t remember where this Sub was located in Arcadia (Arcadia Sub no. 7).

Image 442 – Same problem. Note how wide-open the land is around the Azusa Sub no. 19.

Image 443 – Glendale-Burbank Line. Burbank Sub #no. 39 on Glenoaks Boulevard.

Image 444 – Venice Short Line. Note the three rails in the street, the Standard gauge Venice Short Line shared Venice Boulevard with LARY narrow gauge Yellow Car U Line for a few blocks. (Burlington Sub no. 36).

Image 445 – Ivy Sub no. 38 in Culver City on the Venice Short Line Junction with the
Redondo Beach Line.

Image 446 – Hawthorne Sub no. 16 on the El Segundo Line.

Image 447 – Ivanhoe Sub no. 28 on the Glendale-Burbank Line, Riverside Drive near Hyperion.

Image 448 – Whittier Line Los Nietos Sub no. 10.

Image 449 Newport-Balboa Line. Los Patos (Ducks) Sub no. 17. This substation was abandoned six years before I took the picture.

Image 450 – Newport-Balboa Line. Newport Beach Sub no. 18 This sub was also abandoned six years before I took the picture.

Image 451 – Van Nuys Line North Hollywood Sub no. 30.

Image 452 – Pasadena Short Line Pasadena Sub no. 2 Some of the building is still there. It is used by the Pasadena Power Light. On South Fair Oaks near Glenarm Street.

Image 453 – Pasadena Short Line Pasadena Sub no. 2 Some of the building is still there. It is used by the Pasadena Power Light. On South Fair Oaks near Glenarm Street.

Images 454-455 San Bernardino Line, Romona Sub no. 20.

Image 456 – San Bernardino Line. San Bernardino Sub no. 24.

Image 457 – Santa Ana Line, Santa Ana Sub no. 14.

Image 458 – Northern District Lines, Sierra Park Sub no. 52,  Huntington Drive in El Sereno.

Image 459 – Van Nuys Line, Van Nuys Sub no. 31.

Image 460 – Santa Ana Line, Stanton Sub no. 13.

Image 461 – Northern District Lines. Valley Junction Sub no. 3. Possibility this could be the second building here.

Image 462 – Van Nuys Line Vineland Sub #no. 21.

Image 463 – Venice Short Line Vineyard Sub no. 37 at Vineyard Junction.

Image 464 – Hollywood Boulevard Line, West Olive Sub no. 35 On Sunset Boulevard.  The building is still standing today.

Image 870 – MTA Expo Line, Clairington Sub (Don’t know if MTA uses numbers) in Mar Vista (First Sub on the New Extension of the Expo Line).

Image  877 – Different view of same sub.

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Showing 2 comments
  • David+Moser

    I have a question about substations. How many miles of track electric line would a certain substation cover? 5 miles? etc. Did the substation cover a track in 1 direction only, ie, North only, or both North and South? Thank you!

  • Tom A.

    The Arcadia sub was on the west side of Santa Anita Avenue between the PE Monrovia-Glendora line and the SP Duarte Branch (I think the rails and ties are visible at the bases of the trees in the right background of the photo.), almost exactly on the present day northwest corner of Santa Anita and Santa Clara. The Azusa sub appears to have been just south of the right-of-way, at the northeast corner of what’s now the Totten Tubes property.

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Alan K. Weeks photo. All Rights Reserved. Photographer: Alan K Weeks Location: Newport Beach, California Date: January 10 1948 Railroad: Pacific Electric Car#: PE 1451 Line: Newport Balboa Line Filed in Envelope 25 Image Notes: Scanned Steve Crise Photo 2014