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WPacific Electric logoWPacific Electric 1045 Steel Interurban
Pacific Electric 1045 Steel Car Diagram

WPE 1045 was a steel motor car, built for The Visalia Electric Railway in 1909 by Moran Shipbuilding Co. of Seattle. This car and a companion combo (see PE 1364) were designed by VE and the story goes that VE's manager, in an attempt to ingratiate himself with Southern Pacific, VE's parent company, arranged to trade sacks of potatoes for these cars; SP, when it learned of the novel arrangement, showed its displeasure by hiring a new manager for VE.

WBe this as it may, PE 1045 was not a PE property for long. Purchased from VE in 1918, PE tried to adapt these AC cars to DC operation but the experiment was unsuccessful. Old-timers recall that the only line these two cars could operate on with any degree of success was the line to Santa Ana --- with no grades whatsoever. PE did operate the cars for a short time, and even drew up diagram sheets which we reproduce herein --- but in 1919 an offer came in from an AC line Norther California: The San Francisco, Napa & Calistoga Railway, which was too good to turn down. Both cars were eventually shipped to that company where they ran for years as numbers 60 and 61.

WWhy PE did not make trailers of the two steel cars, or re-equip them with proper motors and controls is not clear. The logical explanation is that PE had many new cars on the drawing boards as of 1920 and felt no need to have these non-standard cars remain on the property.

WDimensions are as seen in diagram above. Other specifications follow:

WWeight: 101,600 lbs.
WMotors: Four Westinghouse 132C (160 hp)
WTrucks: Baldwin 84-30A
WWheels: 36"
WBrakes: Westinghouse AML
WCompressor: D3EG
WCouplers: Janney radial
WTrolley bases: PE standard pneumatic

WApparently PE never took a photo of motor 1045; a photo of this car in service on PE would surely be the find of the decade.

WVE 203-PE 1045-SFN&C 61 was purchased by Napa Valley from PE in September, 1920; the following June Napa Valley de-motorized the car, using its electrical equipment in a new freight locomotive, NO. 99.

WA disastrous car barn fire hit Napa Valley on January 22, 1932, and this car's companion combo, Napa Valley 60, was a victim. Car 61 was then re-motorized and saw heavy use.

WFor many years after Napa Valley abandoned passenger service, the body of car 61 was used at Napa Junction as living quarters for a section hand. In 1951 the body was sold for use as a shelter for hunters and may still be in the marshes near Suisun in this service.

WPE purchased VE 203 for $15,162 and then spent $3,200 more to convert (?) the car to DC operation. Only the war emergency could have justified this expenditure.

WPE obtained about $18,000 for this car when it was sold to Napa Valley.

WPerhaps the most unusual feature of the VE cars was their window sash at approximately eye level; it must have been a trying experience for a passenger interested in viewing the passing scenery.

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