PE 972 and train at La Cienega: Going to beach was half the fun

By Ralph Cantos

This beautiful photograph from the Craig Rasmussen Collection was taken by the late Al Haij on a summer day in 1947 (July 11, to be exact). This three-car train of wonderful 950s is headed up by car no. 972. West of Vineyard Jct., the Venice Short Line provided superior transportation to Venice and Santa Monica bound passengers, regardless of the type of car used.

For about the last 15 years of Venice Short Line, the venerable 950s were the mainstay on the VSL. Hollywood cars and 10s were also used on this very busy line. The magnificent bridge over congested La Cienega Blvd. was the most impressive structure on the line. The bridge was constructed about 1925 to elevate the tracks over the intersection which had a tendency to flood during heavy rains. After all, La Cienega in Spanish means “the swamp.”

After the Sept. 1950 abandonment of the rail service,  inferior bus service was inaugurated with great civic fan fare. The new bus service was met with mixed feelings  by former rail passengers. The now abandoned bridge over La Cienega would remain standing for almost 15 years until construction of the Santa Monica Freeway reached La Cienega. It was bulldozed  away in the summer of 1964 along with thte equally impressive Pico-San Vicente viaduct. It seems like the City of Los Angeles was hell bent on erasing every last vestige of the once great Pacific Electric Railway.

Craig Rasmussen Collection

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