PE 969 and 999: Unholy Shenanigans at Pasadena
By Ralph Cantos
This photo, taken on October 8, 1950, was in front of the Pasadena Car House on North Fair Oaks Avenue. The occasion for this embarrassing moment to 43-year-old car 969 was the “celebration” of the abandonment of the Pasadena via Oak Knoll line and the inauguration of the “NEW MOTOR COACH” service on that same Oak Knoll Line. The new General Motors 2700-class Diesels buses can be seen in the background.
The 969 was being pushed by famed car 999. The desecration of the 969 was a moot point by this date, as the 31 remaining 950s were retired a few weeks earlier with the September 17th abandonment of the world-famous Venice Short Line. For the 999 and 969, a bleak future awaited them at National Metals & Steel on Terminal Island. By the end of November 1950, all the 950s were off the PE, awaiting a fiery cremation at the scrap yard.
Only one car, 994, would escape destruction, at least for about 6 months. Rail fan and PE Historian, Ira L. Swett, had car 994 set aside for preservation. The PE had sold the 950s and 10s for an unheard of $1750.00 EACH. That was a hell of a lot of money in 1950. The trolley preservation movement was still several years away, and Travel Town was still in the planning stages. Most LA railfans were just teenagers at that time and $1750.00 dollars was just to much an obstacle to overcome.
And so, sadly, the 994 was lost. Today, the body of 993 awaits a multi-thousand dollar restoration at OERM. It had escaped scrapping by being used as an employee locker room at the scrap yard. Richard Fellows purchased it, hoping to place it on rubber tires like his 1058 and 665. He passed away before before doing any type of restoration. One other 950 never made it to Terminal Island; that car being the 983. It was purchased from the PE for use as a storage shed in Compton. If you knew where to look, the body of the 983 could be seen from the windows of Long Beach Line Blimps just a few hundred feet behind Compton Station. Richard Fellows purchased the body of 983 and it would be “repurposed” as his rubber-tired 1058. An so, the 993 remains the only intact body of the beautiful 950s. Long live this fantastic survivor.
Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection, Ralph Cantos Collection
Richard Fellows built the 1058 from the body of PE 983. Terminal Island.
Here is another photo of the 1058, this photo shows the correct paint job. In the first photo of 1058, the lower body frame was painted black, which was incorrect. Richard soon painted the lower body red. In this photo, the 1058 is on its way to Downtown LA for the movie, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?
I believe I took the fist picture that you
posted under Ralph’s Collection
Correction: It was the body of 963 (former 714) that was at Southern Heater in Compton. Some parts were rescued from it and from the ground, as it was reported about to be scrapped. Then Richard Fellows bought it. Those parts (clerestory window, standee window, a door and an interior inlaid mahogany panel) are now with 993 at OERM.
I met Rich Fellows at his warehouse (formerly S Calif Edison) in Vernon 5/87, and saw his collection. Sadly he died in a boating or surfing accident about 1988.