Abandonment Aftermath

By Stephen Dudley

December 1960: In this telephoto view taken in December 1960, a Long Beach local train has paused at Los Cerritos for passengers. The merging of the track in the distance for the approach to the Los Angeles River bridge can be seen. The linemen made sure that the two lamps on the poles high above the car were kept functioning so as to illuminate at night this somewhat remote stop. One sign of decline is that in the final years, the cement passenger shelter was gradually being vandalized. Otherwise, it was pretty much business as usual as it had been for close to 60 years.

July  1962:  After the April 1961 abandonment of the Long Beach line, the dismantling began.   By July 1962, in this scene just north of Los Cerritos, all the overhead has been removed and the northbound track eliminated including the switch that connected it to the track over the Los Angeles River.  Still in place are the overhead support poles, the ties, and the block signals that once served the interurbans.
April 1964: Three full years after abandonment, all that remains at Los Cerritos is the seldom used southbound freight track along with two reminders of busier times — the deteriorating passenger shelter and the grand staircase that once served this busy stop.   Now, the Metro A (former Blue) line occupies this same real estate on a fenced right of way.    The modern passenger likely has no inkling that there ever was an interurban stop here serving many dozens of passengers throughout the day.
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Showing 10 comments
  • Jeff Butler

    I never cared for the MTA colors, as it reminded me of the “enemy” taking over the PE
    Besides Pacific Electric cars are “RED” cars

  • Bob Davis

    Going back about ten years, we had the abandonment of the Monrovia-Glendora Line. I lived next door to the 5th Ave. stop and had a “ring-side seat” to the dismantling process. My school was next to the street-running segment on Olive Ave. and I saw the terrible machine that ripped the rails out of the pavement. I wasn’t taking photos in those days, but Alan Weeks took pictures of the awful contraption.

  • Kevin Fleming

    That staircase at Los Cerritos remained until they regraded the area when building the Blue Line. Two concrete mailbox poles one on each side of the stairs remained as well.

  • Al Donnelly

    Okay, now I’m confused. Photo 2 is further back and the station stop must be way down by the second group of trees (notice the two palms are not visible at the first group). The progression in poles, tracks, power lines, etc. makes sense, but how do the derricks right next to the shelter and track disappear in photo 2 only to re-appear in photo 3. Did those bobbing head dinosaurs go field grazing between drinks of oil?

  • Stephen Dudley

    Photo #2 was taken NORTH of the Los Cerritos stop about where the two lone support poles appears in photo #3. (In other words, the stop was behind the photographer.) The four oil derricks in photo #2 can be seen on the left in the far distance of photo #3.

  • Al Donnelly

    Thanks Stephen. Like Hank Williams, I saw the light! That patch of dirt between the poles in #3 is actually the improved roadway on the left in #2..not really soil colored but a photo effect.

  • Robert Houston

    How come the MTA take over abandoned lines that Pacific Electric operated.

  • Bill Luxford

    I I had a chance to see the Long Beach Line in operation during my visit courtesy of the U.S. Navy in 1956, but never got a chance to ride any of it. Wish now I had taken time to do so.

  • George Petrin

    Interesting little tidbit of history.


    Los Cerritos was probably the “classiest” place on the line. When photographing the red cars one afternoon around 1960 I saw a limo drive up and drop off an elderly lady in a fur coat, who got on the next northbound car.

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