PE 1219 Mishap: The Santa Ana Line claims another PE train

By Ralph Cantos

This photo taken around 1947 shows speedster no. 1219 in the ditch after smashing into a large tractor-trailer rig on the notorious Santa Ana line. The 1219 and train were properly rolling along at a “mile-a-minute” clip when the big rig loomed at a crossing on the track ahead. One can only imagine what the motorman must have shouted out loud (OH +#^*!!) as he threw the 1219 and train into the “BIG WHOLE” and braced for the inevitable crash and “pile up.”

With no “PA” systems on the trains back in those days to warn of the impending disaster, passengers on both cars could only hold onto the seat frame in front of them while the conductors on both cars must have tumbled down the isles as the emergency brakes were activated. The partial remains of the big rig can be seen in the photo. Both the 1219 and the 1262 came out of this mess in better shape than the truck. Both cars would live on for a few more years. The entire 1200 class, save for 1299, were scrapped at Kaiser Steel Fontana in 1951, ending a distinguishing career of PE’s finest interurban cars.

Ralph Cantos Collection

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Showing 5 comments
  • Ralph Cantos

    Notice the PE WHITE model 798 “rescue bus” at the left side of this photo. After riding on a Butterfly 12, the passengers must have thought that a WHITE gasoline bus was a real “pile” of junk. They were not the best bus ever built !!

  • Everett Neal

    It’s hard for me to imagine how anyone can survive a mishap like that.

  • Lauren B.

    How interesting! Why was the Santa Ana Line notorious?

  • David Moser

    Lauren that is a good question. When this line was built in 1906, few automobiles were about, but by the 20’s the over 100 grade crossings on this route were slowed by cars, and accidents resulted. Safety protection amounted to wig wag signals, etc. This route was very fast initially, then slowed severely as the decades rolled by. By 1950 the route was abandanded. Of note, parts of the route in Santa Ana snd Garden Grove are being rebuilt for the OC streetcar, opening late in 2021.

  • Scott Pitzer

    To be more exact, in 1950 the passenger service was cut back to L.A.-Bellflower. Freight continued but of course speed wasn’t a big priority for freight.
    Can we get this wreck location pinned down at all?

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Ralph Cantos CollectionStephen Dudley Photo, Stephen Dudley Collection