A Time of Transition in Los Angeles Transit

By Ralph Cantos

When the LAMTA took over transit operations from the Los Angeles Transit Lines and Metropolitan Coach Lines in March of 1958, a period of transition began.

This very interesting photo taken by Jerry Squire is from the Andy Goddard Collection and dates to mid-summer 1958.

Car no. 3075 is being operated on a fan trip to celebrate the first LA PCC to be repainted in the new LAMTA two-tone green (a leftover from MCL). The former PE Hollywood cars being used on the Watts local line would be renumbered 1800 to 1815. The Blimps would be renumbered into the 1500 and 1700s. All former LATL cars would keep their original numbers to the bitter end of rail service.

One of the first matters on the LAMTA agenda was to retire the 35-year-old H-class cars, fixtures of the S Line. In time, loops were built at both ends of the S Line to allow the PCCs to reverse directions.

So, like the first year of Amtrak, its was a photographer’s paradise; this photo is a perfect example. I am not sure of the date, but this photo shows LAMTA green PCC no. 3075 on San Pedro Street at 8th. Just behind the 3075 is yet-to-be-renumbered no. 302, later LAMTA 1502. In the distance can be seen an S Line H-3, ready to turn west onto 7th Street.

So, any photo showing an LAMTA green PCC with an H-3 in the same photo  is very rare. The opportunity to take such a photo did not last very long. By the end of 1958, PCCs had taken over S Line.

As an interesting note to this photo, hanging from the span wires are 2 car stop signs. The one on the left proclaimed, “INTERURBAN STOP;” it was dark blue with white letters. The sign next to it, a standard CAR STOP, was white with dark blue letters. Both signs were percaline.

I was at this location just by chance when the scrappers were pulling down the overhead, at this location, the VERY LAST PE style catenary to be seen anywhere in Southern California. I asked the scrappers if I could have both signs, and they were only too happy to give them to me. They said that the 2 signs had no scrap value.. Well, as the old saying goes, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

Andy Goddard Collection, Jerry Squire Photo

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Showing 3 comments
  • Michael T Greene

    There were a lot of changes in technology in these two cars. Car 302, though built in 1929, owed much of its technology to the 1911-13 period. Car 3075, from 1938, had the PCC technology that was a quantum advance from 302, even though only 9 years seperates the construction of these two cars.

  • Nico Peterson

    LOVED the PER (and of course the LATL as well). Only thing and again I squarely blame Roz Fitzgerald of the then GM with his NCLScandal is I sort of predicted that if these rail systems were to continue as they indeed shold have, I think that most lines would have moved from the use of trolley pole to pantograph. Would made things much easier for the drivers (“motormen2). There were pantographs back then back on eastern part of the country.

  • Nico Peterson

    I need a German keyboard! (Roy Fitzgerald and “Motomen”)

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Colorized film of 1932 downtown Los Angeles screen grabPE 674 on San Vicente Boulevard