LATL cars in Downtown Los Angeles
Until May 22, 1955, it would be almost impossible to take a photo for your own collection, or a postcard such as this scene, anywhere in Downtown without an Los Angeles Transit Lines or Pacific Electric car present.
LATL PCCs carried a permeant front dash placard holder proclaiming “TAKE THIS CAR TO BULLOCKS DOWNTOWN”. Indeed, with the exception of the crosstown V line, just about every LATL car line in modern times passed through Downtown LA.
This postcard scene taken at 7th & Broadway captured an H-4 1200 class “S” car stopped at that legendary intersection. In 1932, LARY retrofitted cars no. 1201 to 1263 and the no. 1357 and no. 1370 with built in roof Hunter roller sign. Although the number of this car is not visible, it certainly would be one of the for mentioned 1200s.
As a very young railfan, I would go downtown most Saturdays via the no. 2 trolley coach from City Terrace. I would stake out a nice spot on Broadway and 7th and watch the endless parade of LATL cars passing through that intersection. The sound of the cars hitting the diamond was music to my young ears. I especially loved the sounds of the H cars cars as they rumbled through.
With car lines 5-9-W-& P on Broadway and lines R-S-& J on 7th, one or more cars thrilled me with every turn of the traffic lights. The friendly sounds of the trolley bells echoed off the tall buildings. You could hear the bells all over the downtown district. It was paradise.
Alas, all this wonderment ended on that faithful day in 1955. After that day, downtown LA lost almost all its charm. The beautiful sounds of the cars’ bells were replaced by the harsh beeping horns of the replacement GM buses.
here still were 5 car lines serving downtown, but the frequency of the cars was much less. Soon, the W line was gone too, leaving the P car as the only car line on Broadway. And then came March 31, 1963. Downtown LA was DONE. A wonderful city had, in my eyes, become just another town.
Although light rail has returned to LA , the Central Business District will never be the same. The charm of the CBD is gone.
Ralph Cantos Collection