LATL F Class No. 1165: Farewell Fan Trip

 Roger Titus Photo, Ralph Cantos Collection

Roger Titus Photo, Ralph Cantos Collection

By Ralph Cantos

This beautiful photo was taken by the then-16-year-old Roger Titus. The date of this Fan Trip was November 7, 1954, and the 1165 poses for the camera at Inglewood Cemetery.

All 16 F-Class 1100s, long a fixture of the busy 2-man V Line, had been in dead storage at Division 1 since September 1951 along with the remaining 500-class BF Standards and “odd-ball” cars 2601-02 and 2501.

The 1165 looked really good considering that it had been in storage for so many years. I am sure that the Division 1 Shop forces must have washed the 1165 for the fan trip.

By this late date, the upcoming massive May 22, 1955 rail abandonment was a known fact. Not only were the days numbered for the 1165, but also rail lines 5, 7, 8, 9, F and the northend of the W Line. Also on borrowed time were the bulk of the H-4s and all of the homebuilt K-4 class cars still in service at this time.

The May 22 abandonment would result in a massive “streetcar house-cleaning” of almost 275 well-maintained cars. LATL would never send “shabby” looking equipment to scrap. What would the management of National Metals & Steel think if a bunch of junk showed up at their front gate? LATL management did have some degree of pride.

And so it was, by the end of 1955, car 1165 along with its 14 of its sisters, 59 K-4s and about 140 H-4s would join over 100 BEAUTIFUL PE Hollywood cars that had arrived at Terminal Island for scrapping at about the same time.

Happily, there were some “escapees” to the terrible fate that awaited most of these nice cars. Three of the last BF Standards were saved: 521 going to Sea Shore Trolley Museum, 525 was saved by the SC-ERA and moved to temporary storage at Travel Town, and the 536 was donated to the “Children of LA” by LATL and put on permanent display also at Travel Town.

In addition, the SC-ERA saved F class car 1160, joining the 525. Also saved was K-4 1559 by the PRS. H-4 1201 was donated to the children of Inglewood and put on display in Centinela Park. Within just a few days of being placed in the Park, the unguarded 1201 was reduced to a “dangerous fire trap” by the grateful youth of Inglewood that all but scrapped it on the spot!!

The 1201 was saved and joined the 525, 1160, and 1559. Also being saved at this precarious time was the 2601 which also headed for the “safe harbor” of Travel Town. Sadly, the 2501 was lost, at least as a complete car. A few years after being sent to Terminal Island for scrapping, a few private individuals put up the funds and the body of the 2501 was rescued and moved to OERM. H-4 car 1318 went to a Trolley Museum in Oregan. Lastly, about 60 H-4s were lightly refurbished and sent the grateful people of Seoul, South Korea were they would continue to operate for almost two more decades.

Today, cars 525, 1160, 2601, and 1559 along with cars 1423 and 1450 survive in operating condition at OERM, thanks to the efforts of young rail fans so many years ago.

In the “What Goes Around, Comes Around Department” and “I told you so,” the new LAMTA Crenshaw – LAX light rail line will operate on former AT&SF track directly across the street from where this photo was taken. The new line will parallel the old 5 Line for more than a mile at this point.

Ralph Cantos Collection

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Showing 4 comments
  • Bob Davis

    The 5 Line lives on in Eagle Rock, as the name of a pub. One of the LA Times sports columnists went there to watch a World Cup game in a proper setting. I was quite amazed to see a streetcar line that was abandoned almost 60 years ago memorialized in the name of the local “watering hole”.

  • william laffan

    I remember living in a mansion converted to apartments at the corner of Normandie and Santa Barbara (Now Martin Luther King) street in the late 40’s early 50’s.
    I rode cars like the one pictured on the 5 car line to downtown LA.
    Later, in the early 50’s, I lived in Gardena and at least once saw a trolley in Hawthorne, the southern end of the 5 line.
    I hear talk about bringing trolleys back to Broadway downtown. Instead of the streamlined ones pictured, I hope “Calfornia Style” semi open cars like the one pictured are the ones they use.

  • Gerald Hunter

    Last summer the city of Inglewood dug up Hawthorne
    Blvd between La Brea and Century for “improvements”
    and guess what they found? Thats right, 3 foot, six inch,
    gauge train tracks! And now the Crenshaw connector is
    under construction. Sad to think they tear it all out just
    to put it back again.

  • Bob Davis

    I remember when the PE tracks in Monrovia were pulled out of Olive Ave. in 1952 (Alan Weeks took photos of this unhappy process). The rail was definitely not fit for re-use. Modern light rail construction is to a much higher standard than that of Henry Huntington’s day. I think part of the design philosophy is to use more capital expenditure during the construction process to keep down maintenance costs in the future.

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