6th and Main Platforms

Pacific Electric’s 6th & Main Street Station, with an overhead view taken from the building itself, looking eastward at the elevated tracks and arrival / departure platforms. The image is circa 1950.

Unknown Photographer, Jack Finn Collection

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  • Ralph Cantos
    Reply

    Notice the 950 at the lower right in this photo. Thats the daily Santa Monica Air line car. The Air line was a Western District line, but termainated at 6th & Main St. Station on the Southern District.

    • David Sobo
      Reply

      If this is circa 1950, would not the air line car been a Hollywood type?

  • Alexis Kasperavicius
    Reply

    That blue building at the top left is the only one still standing. Now white with the doors bricked up, but still there!

  • Davey
    Reply

    This is awesome. Thanks for sharing. So from the terminus in the foreground, did this line run along an elevated structure along just a short distance or a considerable distance before returning to street level? Were there stations underground as well? Forgive my ignorance.

  • David Moser
    Reply

    Davey: Not ignorance, very good questions!This elevated structure was over a quarter mile long, very roughly. It ended at street level on San Pedro street.This terminal, the 6th/Main terminal, was above ground, with no subway stations. Pacific Electrics Subway station, at 4th and Hill, had a 1 mile long subway from the basement of the building, coming out on the surface streets northwest of said subway terminal. I have read of projected plans P.E. had of elevating much more of the Long Beach line, but alas, it never came to fruition. One last fact:the above mentioned subway ran about 30 years, then was abandonded. I was born on the day it ended, June 19, 1955.

  • Mike Kaluger
    Reply

    Right next to the Blimp on the right is a good view of the double slip switch that the team from OERM can be seen dismantling in several of the photos on the “Headquarters” page after the terminal closed.

  • David L. Hereford
    Reply

    This photo could have been taken as late as from early to mid-1950. There are no GM TDH5103’s in the bus yard. According to a GM Delivery List from the Ohio Museum of Transportation the first of these buses were delivered to PE from July to September 1950. Also, the Venice Short Line which also utilized 950’s was not converted to buses until September 17, 1950 and the Air Line’s western terminus was near the VSL’s Ocean Park car house.

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    Looking East? I know LA is laid out rather cockwise, but this would be more southern facing (South by Southeast to be exact). The shadows betray the direction and time of day is afternoon.

  • Ralph Cantos
    Reply

    In answer to David Sobo’s question. The Air line used 950’s and 10’s until the VSL was abandoned on 9-17-50. From then on, a Hollywood car would hold down the run until the Air Line passenger service was abandoned in Oct. 1953..

  • syBb
    Reply

    The blimp in front of the 950 may have been the Newport Beach Express.”

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    To clarify Davey’s question more, the P.E. Building opened Jan. 15, 1905 as a real terminal. Cars entered at ground level from Main Street and then had to run out the same way. Because this caused congestion on Main, the elevated structure was built (opening Dec. 3, 1916) in order transform this into a run through station (technically no longer a terminal even though some tracks were built this way). As to the underground…there was a portion of the building below track level. As sixth street ran downhill, the basement level becomes progressively more exposed toward the back. The arched windows seen on sixth show the location of Coles Grill in this area after c.1908 (according to claims). However, when the terminal opened, W. Frimmersdorf and E. I. Machtig ran the original Pacific Electric Grille and Buffet with a “Main Dining Room” seating 500, a “Palm Garden”, and a bar called the “Buffet”. Photos show the dining room had a 13-member orchestra. The was also a large kitchen. Arched windows can be seen at the end of the dining room, so all of this was possibly contained in the basement area (however, arched windows do exist on the upper floors so all of this has yet to be confirmed). Out back, below the elevated tracks was a stub yard (cars seen in the photo). At no time could trains have accessed the basement level.

  • SyBB
    Reply

    I recall that there were some tracks buried in the sidewalk under the viaduct on Los Angeles Street behind the PE building.

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    Ralph posted photos of the 7th Street Surface Yard holding PCC’s of two guages along with busses in 1952. The yard was named due to its’ access from 7th, but it actually aligns with a broken street named Werdin Place (approximately) which once could be found on both sides of the area. The yard served as a short lived terminus for some Southern District trains until the elevated was fully operational to San Pedro. This, along with the early restaurants, might suggest some form of access did exist in the building to get up to the Main Street level from the basement. [Special 16 has information on the early trackage along the Sixth Street side that once ran to the Espee’s Arcade Depot.] The last yard access by rail was apparently ended in 1952.

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    Oh, yes…this just reminds me. Somewhere I have a very old snapshot of people waiting to board a PE car destined for Mt. Lowe. From what I recall, the car is outdoors in a dirt yard (and possibly a wood car). Does anyone know if the Surface Yard was ever used to originate these trips rather than the station?

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    Well, unless I have another photo, the one I found might be at Rubio. It is a left side view of a very spiffy Suburban Car 457…passengers and motorman aboard, rear pole up outbound to Mt. Lowe, conductor on the ground in front of a garage/shed structure. Fender retracted. At least two track sets visible, car on far one. Through the windows one sees vegetation. At the rear a vertical (catenery?) pole extends up. So circa 1925-26, maybe Rubio…but why are the passengers not getting off?

  • Al Donnelly
    Reply

    A correction..the Surface Yard would actually line up with Santee Street, not Werdin. The yard was on the 200 block of East 7th, just below Los Angeles. The bus/auto ramp down to Maple would be built across the rear of its’ path.

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Unknown Photographer, Jack Finn Collection / Traction Photographs, San Francisco, CAJack Finn Collection, Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society Collection