5028 Fan Trip to Rivera
Pacific Electric PCC car no. 5028 pauses for a pole reversal at Rivera during a fan trip along the now-disused Whittier Line of the Southern District. The image is dated February 22, 1953, just prior to the sale of passenger operations to Metropolitan Coach Lines.
Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection
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Note that this PCC was retrofitted with trolley wheels for this trip along trackage not serviced with a trolley wire greaser. Ordinarily, these cars were fitted with carbon inserts in their trolley poles for electrical pickup, but carbon inserts required having the trolley wires greased.
Rivera was a town near Whittier … Short distance was a New Tract Housing development called Pico…. IF YOU LIVED IN PICO, YOU WOULD BE HOME NOW… That area near Paramount Blvd, merged and formed the city PICO RIVERA ……………
I was on this fan trip and 13 years of age. The trip started at the Subway Station, over Santa Monica Blvd to Beverly Hills, to Santa Monica freight station, up the Air Line to the 4 tracks, to Rivera, to El Segundo Station, to San Pedro, to Long Beach, then back to the Santa Monica Air Line to return to the Subway Station. What stood out most on the trip was that 5028 hit a auto coming back on the Air Line late Sunday afternoon. Little damage was done to 5028, but its coupler sure messed up the auto.
Notice that one of the passengers is attending to the trolley pole. I was told that the front pole kept dis-lodging from the hold down hook went over 30mph. The PE PCC’s were “bouncers”. The track on the Glendale – Burbank line was completely rebuilt before they went into service to give then a smooth ride. The PCC’s were tryed on the Venice Short Line for a time, but the track was just to old, and the PCC’s got the nick name “vomit comets”. Their use on the VSL did not last to very long and all of them spent the rest of the PE lives on the Glendale – Burbank Line
Is is safe to say that PE never tried running PCCs on the Northern District, not even for a fan trip? According to Special 61, they did “run the numbers” on rebuilding track on the Pasadena Short Line and the M-G line as far as Monrovia, and buying a batch of PCCs, but it turned out to be cheaper to buy buses and scrap the part of the railroad with no freight customers. And, of course, the pre-emption of Aliso St. for the 101 Freeway was the final nail in the coffin.
A few years ago a photo of a PCC on the Oak Knoll line in 1941 was posted. It appears to have been a revenue run, but presumably it was for test purposes. During the late 1940s and early1950s, PCCs were used for fan trips on the Southern and Western districts, but I’ve never heard or seen evidence of one going onto the north after World War II. Had PE decided to modernize rather than “bustitute” the lines to Pasadena and Monrovia. they might have been well advised to buy cars similar to the Philadelphia Suburban cars that used double-ended PCC bodies and MCB (similar to Hollywood car) trucks with more powerful motors.