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The Electric Railway Historical Association Archive

After nearly 50 years of operation, the ERHA has collected a considerable amount of Southern California traction materials; which we refer to as our "Archives." This collection includes everything from donated member photos, movies, slides and videos, to original streetcar company documents all the way up to our two Pacific Electric transit buses, (undergoing restoration) and our three retired Los Angeles Railway Streetcars on permanent loan to the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

Material was originally collected directly from the Los Angeles Transit Lines and the Pacific Electric through the good graces of their employees who saw no reason to throw this material out when there were these "kids" who wanted it. Much other "stuff" came from the company's trash heaps or from the salvage companies who won the contracts to scrap large batches of the cars.

Many members have donated copies of their personal collections and upon their passing as unknowing/uncaring family members have gone about throwing out life-time "collections of old junk" the ERHA's copy has become the only surviving record of many images and scenes of a Los Angeles long gone.

In other cases a chance meeting or a newspaper article about the Associaton has brought in never before seen material from a non-railfan whose great uncle worked for the PE and is glad to find an organization that will care for it.

And as a last resort, the ERHA has even been known to purchase a collection or two when we cannot convince the heirs to donate it...

Unfortunately the ERHA has never had a permanent home base, so the contents of the collection are scattered among trustworthy members willing to give up space in their garages and basements. Sealed and packed for storage, these artifacts are unavailable for research but we console ourselves that at least the materials are being preserved.

The ERHA hopes eventually to have a permanent location open to researchers and scholars, but for now we have to be content to publish and distribute what we can.

We were prompted to put this note into our web page because we have received quite a few e-mails of late asking why there aren't any pictures of the "Big Red Cars" on the site. Don't we have any pictures to put on-line? And we had to chuckle a bit; we have tens of thousands of pictures in the Archives.

Actually we've primarily been avoiding putting lots of pictures on-line to save band-width to make our site load as quickly as possible. We see a couple of more years of inputting textual histories before we publicize the site. Then we'll go back in and add maps and drawings and lastly when the 'net' is up to the task we plan to add lots of photographs and movies.

In the meantime, our members receive TIMEPOINTS in the mail every quarter filled with lots of traction photos from the Archives.

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