Pacific Electric 5167 at Watts Car House: The New Kid in Town

By Ralph Cantos

This photo taken in February 1956 shows newly arrived Pacific Electric no. 5167 at Watts Car House. The 5167 was a youngster in the car house, compared to the other cars 5111 through 5125 that were built in 1922. The 5167 went into service in 1925 as the 717.

By late 1955, the Watts Line was down to 12 serviceable cars. The Watts Line required 10 cars to meet morning and evening rush hour schedules (5 two-car trains). With just two extra cars on hand, cars 5166 and 5167 were brought over from the abandoned Western District to beef up the roster of available cars.

The six miles of Four Tracks had numerous blind and very dangerous at-grade crossings. By the time 5166 and 5167 arrived, three cars had been lost to accident damage. While these three cars were repairable, Torrance Shops were out of the picture, and without an adequate repair shop available, the three cars were parked in the weeds at Fairbanks Yard and left to rot.

It’s nothing short of amazing that 5167 made it through to the 1959 abandonment of the Watts Line without and damage, other than pure neglect by Metropolitan Coach Lines management. Cars 5112-5123-5166-5167 were rescued and taken to OERM. A fifth car, 5116, was scrapped at OERM for parts. The 5167 lives on today as the 717.

Ralph Cantos Collection

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  • Bob Davis

    Note the “Pasadena Short Line” on the headsign–A) The Short Line was abandoned in 1951, and B)the cars typically assigned to that route in the last year or so were in the lower 5050 number range.

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