Pacific Electric no. 1258: It’s still here (sort of)

By Ralph Cantos

In this 1938 photo, Pacific Electric no. 1258 awaits departure time at the PE San Bernardino Station. The cars became known as “Portland 12s” to all that loved these elegant cars.

The Portland 12s came to the PE in 1929 from the abandoned Southern Pacific Railroad Portland-area operations. The cars were built in 1912 by the Pullman Car Co. On the PE, they were numbered 1252-1263. The Portland 12s served the PE well.

Only two of the big cars did not make it to the end. Car nos. 1254 and 1258 were both retired in 1947. The 1254 suffered extensive fire damage and the 1258 had a very unfortunate collision with one of PE’s own mighty 1200s. PE’s 1200s were much better built than the Pullman-built Portland 12s. Both cars were scrapped at the Torrance Shops, or so it seemed…

The 1254 was scrapped, BUT fate stepped in, and the body of the 1258 was purchased by a private party for use as part of a commercial business in the City of Lomita where she remains to this day. It takes a little “detective work” to spot the remains of the 1258, but she is there.

This photo from the Ira Swett Collection, shows the 1258 at Torrance Shops awaiting "scrapping."
1258 at Torrance ShopsThis photo from the Ira Swett Collection, shows the 1258 at Torrance Shops awaiting "scrapping."
1258 Awaits Delivery; image courtesy Southern California Railway Museum.
1258 During Scrapping1258 awaits delivery to Lomita; image courtesy Southern California Railway Museum.
And here is where the 1258 resides today. She is there, you just have to do some detective work to spot her.
1258 TodayAnd here is where the 1258 resides today. She is there, you just have to do some detective work to spot her.
Look close, that’s the 1258's belt rail and rivets.
1258 TodayLook close, that’s the 1258's belt rail and rivets.
Unbelievable, ceiling vents and light fixture bases unique to the Portland 12s still survive in 2021.
1258 TodayUnbelievable, ceiling vents and light fixture bases unique to the Portland 12s still survive in 2021.
PE 1299: The last of her kind
PE 1299: The last of her kindNot widely known is that PE Business car no. 1299 was rebuilt from a SP Portland trailer. When the PE decided to replace aging business car no. 1000, a Portland trailer was plucked from the rows of SP Portland motor and trailer cars stored at Torrance Shops. Being a trailer, she was a very tight and low mileage car. She became 1299 and survives today at OERM, 100 percent complete as the last time she operated on the dwindling PE rail system.
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Showing 2 comments
  • Gerald Hunter
    Reply

    WOW, a very surprising post. When I first saw the scrap yard photo of the car, I thought I was looking at the body of the blimp that resides next to the Live Steamers area at Wilson Park in Torrance, Ca.
    What’s the story of that car please?

  • Ralph Cantos
    Reply

    The car at Wilson Park is IER #4601. On a foggy morning in 1946, car #4601 was the lead car of a 3 car TORRANCE SHOP train . Operating on the Torrance Line, the motorman missed a red block signal, and hit Juice Jack #1628 head on. The motorman was killed and many Torrance Shop men were injured . The body of 4601 was purchased by a private party for use as part of a house in Torrance. Decades later, as the house was being demolished, the 4601 was discovered to the surprise of everyone. The body of 4601 was then moved to Wilson Park.

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Photo by Harold F. Stewart from the Craig Rasmussen CollectionAlan K. Weeks photo. All Rights Reserved. Domino6145@aol.com Photographer: Alan K Weeks Location: Hill Street Rail Tunnel at the Sunset Blvd Entrance. Los Angeles, California Date: March 5 1949 Railroad: Pacific Electric Car#: PE 110 Line: Echo Park Blvd Line Filed in Envelope 24 Image Notes: Scanned Steve Crise Photo 2014