LAMTA 3075, LA’s First Green PCC: A False Sense of Optimism

By Ralph Cantos

This photo taken by the late Jerry Squire in 1965 is from the Andy Goddard collection, and shows LAMTA no. 3075 at Vernon Yard being made ready for its trip to LA Harbor. From there, it’s off to faraway Chile to be used as de-motorized, locomotive-hauled trailers. Twenty-two air cars were sold to the CHILE NITRATE CO. Two cars were stripped for parts at Vernon Yard, the remaining twenty cars sold whole. Cairo purchased the remaining 134 cars shortly after the Chile deal was completed.

The 3075 was the first LA PCC to be released from South Park Shops in April 1958 in the new green MTA scheme. The car had a complete rebuild and repainting much to the delight of LA rail fans. It was hoped by all who saw the 3075 for the first time that she was now ready for several more decades of service on the streets of Los Angeles. Alas, it was not to be.
Just five years after making its debut in its new two-tone green paint job, the 3075 and 163 of her sisters would be retired and placed in dead storage at Vernon Yard to await an uncertain future.

By the end of 1965, Vernon Yard was devoid of all the PCCs. They had all departed for a much less glamorous life in either Chile or Cairo. Both systems trashed the once-pristine cars. In less than 10 years, the Chile cars were reduced to employee housing at the company’s nitrate mine operation. The cars that made it to Egypt were reduced to rolling wrecks in about the same amount of time.

Four cars, numbers 3001, 3072, 3100 and 3165 live on in retirement at OERM, while 3101 now resides in Colorado at a railroad museum there. The big, beautiful “all-electrics” served the commuters of Los Angeles for just 15 years, a damn shame to say the least.

Jerry Squire Photo, Andy Goddard Collection

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Showing 6 comments
  • Al Donnelly

    As a child of the late era, I still can see LA out the windows of these MTA PCCs. Very smooth ride.

  • syBB

    I have often wondered that the reason the PPCs were hard to sell domestically is because they were narrow gauge?

    • Bill Bolton

      By the time the LA PCCs hit the North American market, there were plenty of newer PCCs available from other US systems that were quitting operation…… and not that many remaining buyers!

  • Ralph Cantos

    Because the LA PCC’s were narrow gauge, the resale market for these fine cars was VERY limited.

  • Ralph Cantos

    If Chile and Cairo had not purchased all of LA’s beautiful PCC’s, it is very possible that all but a few of them would have gone to scrap at Terminal Island like the H-4’s and Hollywood cars before them. As is,the sale of the PCC’s to Chile and Cairo delayed the scrapping of the cars by about 10 years..

  • dave garcia

    They also were not all electric. Years ago was ftold by a then Muni superintendent of equipment (Bill Rushing) that the Municipal Railway had looked into the San Diego PCC cars and lost interest as soon as they found out thy were air cars.

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Ralph Cantos CollectionJerry Squire Photos, Andy Goddard Collection