Alan Weeks’ Pacific Electric Railway: Torrance Shops 1948

By Alan K. Weeks

After a little detour we finally got back to Torrance Shops. I was surprised that I did not take more pictures while I was there. Then I remembered my Box Camera used a roll of Kodac Film with only eight exposures. I was sixteen at the time and my income from a paper route limited how many pictures I took.

I mentioned before that I had met O. A. Smith President of the PERy. I asked him if I could go to Torrance. He said sure. Wrote out a pass so I could ride the morning Shop train. It was a two or three car train of Blimps. I was told just be careful but could go where I wanted. I brought a brown bag lunch and spent the whole day there. I heard a whistle at 3:50 PM signaling the eminent departure of the Shop Train. We left for Los Angeles at 4:00 PM This day left me with wonderful memories.

As Railroad Shops go I think Torrance was quite large. They built wooden Street Cars there in the early days. Also all the necessary repairs and modernizing of their other cars.


402 – Here are three steel Box Motors bought by the P.E. to rebuild and use. But it never happened. Beside it is 4661 that came from the Interurban Electric Railway in the Bay Area. These were 60 Ton cars and crossed the Bay from Oakland to San Francisco using the Oakland – SF Bay bridge. The State of California owned the Bridge and were unhappy that the heavy cars would shake the bridge. It all came to a sad end July 25, 1941. In January 15, 1939 the Bridge Railway opened up for service. The Southern Pacific Railroad built and ran the IER. When the New Bridge opened in 1939 it was renamed IER because the State had financial investment in the Bridge Railway and yards. Interesting that three Interurban RR used this Bridge for a short time. The IER used the 1200 v Overhead wire along with the Sacramento Northern Railroad which could use 1200 v or 1500 V. The Key System Lines used the 600 v third rail. World War 2 came five months to late to save this operation. Some surplus cars were sold to the P.E. and the United States Maritime Commission. The rebuilt 4600 and 4700’s were renumbered in the 400 series.

403 – These steel Box Motors came from the Central California Traction Co. when they de-electrified. They were never rebuilt or used on the Pacific Electric.

405 – These cars were used to dump rock ballast when rebuilding track.

406 – Wooden cars awaiting scrapping.

This winds up another year we are all glad to see go. Hopefully 2021 will be
a much better year for us all. I am aiming and on schedule to wrap up sending
out my P.E. collection by June of 2021.

Happy New Year – Alan

Alan Weeks Photos and Collection

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Showing 5 comments

    Do you remember how long the trip took? What was the routing? Was it the same coming and going? Were there any stops along the way?

  • Gregory Johnson

    This is very special to me. My great grandfather worked for the PE and was an electrician. He lived on Helberta St. and took the Red Car every day to Torrance from Redondo.. I have no idea what the route was.

  • Chris Byrne

    Where exactly was the location?

  • Robert Thompson

    When they demolish the Pacific electric office building in the Torrance yard, I purchased several artifacts out of the building before destruction. One of the items was the door to the walk-in vault on the second floor. It consisted of a 6 foot high by 2 1/2 feet wide steel door with an inside the door. I took several photos inside and outside the building. – Robert

  • Robert Thompson

    On Dominguez Street on the south side of the Pacific electric yard property.

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