LATL 5 Line Abandonment: After 60 years, rail service returns (in part)
By Ralph Cantos
These 2 photos from different angles were taken on an over cast morning at 67th Street and Crenshaw Blvd. The date is Sunday, May 22, 1955, “the morning after the night before.”
Rail service on LATL car lines 5-7-8-9-F and the northern end of the W line had ended in the early morning hours on this date. Officials of the LATL invited Civic leaders of Inglewood for a photo op to celebrate a “new era in transportation” for Inglewood by staging the “old and new” modes of transport for photos.
It was a massive abandonment of 5 profitable car lines.
LATL management would have probably preferred to keep the 5 cars line in operation and leave the dirty deed of killing off LA’s city streetcar system to the forth coming LAMTA. But the construction of a one-mile stretch of the Harbor Freeway built OVER the rails of Grand Avenue between Jefferson and Santa Barbara Boulevards doomed the car lines. Grand Ave was used by the 5-F and 9 lines, but the loss of this track cut off access to Division 5 located at 54th St and Second Avenue.
It was the same dirty tactics that ended PE’s Northern District when a one-mile stretch of Aliso Street was condemned for the Hollywood Freeway construction.
But the long-gone rail service is being vindicated all over greater Los Angeles.
Sixty years after these photos were taken, construction is now under way to return rail service to the EXACT location. The new METRO RAIL – CRENSHAW -LAX rail line will follow the route of the old 5 line for several miles in South West LA.
As a final note to history, after the abandonment of the 5 Line, business at the Chili Dog stand went to hell. Revenues of the penny scale out front of the stand also fell off drastically. The cars had stopped in front of the Chili Dog stand for decades, but the new bus stop was located one block south of the private right-of-way, leaving the Hot Dog stand high and dry.
Within a year, the stand, along with the once profitable penny scale, were history, the last dirty deed of the May 22, 1955 abandonment had been done!
Ralph Cantos Collection