San Diego Train Connection “Deluxe”
By Ralph Cantos
The City Of Los Angeles and its transit systems have had some “special” transportation events, some big, some small, that went virtually unnoticed with little celebration or fanfare.
One such special event took place for a period of about five years each Saturday and Sunday afternoon during the summer months. The “event” would begin at Georgia Street car house when a lone P-3 all-electric would leave the yard with SPECIAL displayed on its head sign. The P-3, in this case, Los Angeles Transit Lines car no. 3136, would make its way to Broadway, head north to 1st Street, turn east to Main Street and that is where something special happened: the P-3 would turn north on Main Street and follow the route of the F line to Union Station Loop.
The reason for this special movement was to provide a “deluxe” train connection for passengers that had just arrived at LAUPT on the Santa Fe train from San Diego. Passengers using the LATL’s F line to get to Downtown came down the streetcar “cortège” and instead of finding an H-3 waiting for them, they discovered the latest in city rail transportation, a near-new P-3 All Electric. On the head sign was displayed P Pico and GEORGIA ONLY. Passengers who just needed to get to 7th & Broadway hopped or hobbled aboard the 3136 , and in no time were at 7th & Broadway, in smooth, silent comfort, to the center of LATL’s vast rail network.
From there, passengers could reach just about any destination by transferring to other rail and bus lines.
This wonderful convenience all came to an end on May 22, 1955 when LATL pulled the plug on the F line along with rail lines 5-7-8-and 9. It was a real nice treat for connecting train passengers while it lasted.
It is often said “all good things must come to an end.” In this case, it did — on 5-22-55.
Ralph Cantos Collection
I was never aware that this service exited. How was information that this service existed made available to the San Diegan passengers? Was it through signs, posters, literatures, or an LATL employee?
My guess is that an LATL supervisor was on hand to direct passengers only wishing to get to 7th & Broadway to board the PCC, other wise, the regular F line car would follow the PCC soon after.
Although this was no longer the case after about 1935 or so, 7th & Broadway was once the western end of Route 66.
Early on it terminated at San Fernando Road as the city was not within the scope of the authority. Naturally, this affront was met with a move to bring it into the urban zone and then across it, but they kept changing the route alignment. At one point, Eagle Rock Boulevard served as a part of 66 when it came over the Colorado Street Bridge at the Arroyo. The whole history is complicated but has been layed out online now.