The Day Before the Long Beach Line Was Abandoned: April 8, 1961
By Ralph Cantos
The last day of regular service was a very sad day for me. For several months I had been getting petitions signed by rail passengers to prevent abandonment — petitions given to me by the City Of Long Beach on actual city letterhead. In all, about 8000 passengers signed the petitions. I, along with Long Beach city officials, went to court in an effort to save the rail service. The court ordered the Southern Pacific to make the right-of-way available to the LAMTA, but the LAMTA was not interested in continuing the rail service for many reasons. I really thought we would win the fight to save the rail service. Twice while I was petitioning aboard the cars, MTA Special Agents put me off the train, telling me that I was not allowed to petition on State Property.. The second time they threw me off the train late at night at Dominguez Junction. I was pissed. I had to walk a mile to find a pay phone and call my dad to come and get me. I got an ear full from him. All this work was for nothing. I was 18 years old at the time and on the very last run as we pulled into Long Beach at dawn, the track was lined with red flares in the dawn mist. I broke down and cried like a baby. I will NEVER FORGET THAT LAST RUN.
Fred Victor DuBritz Photo, Steve Crise Collection