LA PCCs at Christmas Time: Part 3

Harry D. Peat Photo, Ralph Cantos Collection

Harry D. Peat Photo, Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority PCC no. 3046 swings onto Florence Avenue at the south end of Huntington Park’s central business district.

This beautiful photo taken by Harry D. Peat in December 1962 will be the last time such a photo can ever be taken again. This is the LAST Christmas for LA’s once-vast streetcar system. The excellent condition of the overhead and no. 3046 belies the fact that the end of its service life — along with 163 of its sisters PCCs — is a just four months away.

In most cases, the Christmas decorations that hung from streetcar overhead were paid for by an “small financial assessment” imposed on businesses along the street where such decorations were to be displayed. A private contractor would hang the decorations, all the while dodging the passing streetcars, in this case, the busy J line.

If the PE / LARY / LATL / or the MTA were ever paid a “small gratuity” for the use of their overhead span wires, this is lost to history. Even more important, such beautiful holiday scenes of LA’s streetcars passing below Christmas-decorated overhead has also been lost to history.

I don’t see Christmas decorations being hung from the catenary on today’s light rail lines such as the Blue, Gold and Expo Lines here in LA or anywhere else in America for that matter….

Harry D. Peat Photo, Ralph Cantos Collection

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Showing 4 comments
  • Patrick Galligan

    A fine photo of the cars’ final SoCal holidays, and thanks for the interesting info on the overhead decorations.


    Nice to see the operator is paying attention.

  • Alex Figueroa

    what intersection is this?

  • Bob Davis

    Most of today’s light rail lines have the trolley wire suspended from structures within the right of way, rather than span wires stretching to buildings or poles on either side of the street. I know a retired SF Muni supervisor who looks for leftover eyebolts in downtown area buildings that once supported span wires–he has spotted these in downtown LA and Pasadena, and probably in other cities.

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