LARY 3025 at St. Louis Car Company: A Pampered Life Awaits Her!
By Ralph Cantos
Los Angeles Railway PCC no. 3025 is “locked and loaded” aboard a flatcar at the St. Louis Car Company factory. The photo dates to late 1937. The 3025 is part of the first order LARY placed with the builders. The first 20 cars, 3001 to 3020, were outfitted with Westinghouse electrical components, while cars 3021 to 3060 contained General Electric equipment. All of the LA PCCs enjoyed a pampered life in the land of sun, palm trees and good weather.
The LARY PCC’s were received with great civic pride, and fan fair. Mayor Frank Shaw proclaimed March 22-28th as Transportation Week in honor of the new cars. There was only one slight “glitch” in getting the PCCs into service. A long-standing city ordinance requiring streetcars to be equipped with Eclipse Fenders kept the new beauties out of service for a short time. The LARY actually drew up specs to mount Fenders to the front of the cars. But common sense prevailed and the PCCs were allowed to finally make their long awaited debut.
Child star Shirley Temple posed in front of and at the controls of the 3002. Thousands of Angelenos and Civic leaders attended the ceremonies on the Spring Street side of City Hall. This type of “hoopla” was never to be repeated when new buses were placed into service. PCCs delivered to such rust belt systems such as Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and Brooklyn operated in very severe winter conditions on salt-socked, snow-covered streets.
As a result, those rust belt PCCs might last 20 at best, with NO resale value except for scrap. . . but not so in Los Angeles. “Pride of ownership” and good weather resulted in pristine-looking PCCs gliding along streets of LA for decades. The P-1s from 1937 were prematurely retired at just 25 years of age. However due to their excellent condition at retirement, new buyers were found for just about all of LA’s beautiful PCCs . . . but that’s another story.
Ralph Cantos Collection