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South Pasadena Local Lines


South Pasadena Line
ROUTE: 1895: From 4th & Spring, Los Angeles to Fair Oaks & Chestnut, Pasadena, via Spring, Main, Marchessault, Buena Vista, Pasadena Avenue, private way, Mission Street, private way, Fair View Street, Columbia St., Fair Oaks Ave. to Colorado Street in Pasadena.
1903: From 6th & Main, Los Angeles, via Main, 1st, Los Angeles, Aliso, Gallardo, Mission Road, Daly Avenue, Pasadena Avenue, private way, Roble Avenue, private way, Mission Street, Fair Oaks to Colorado Street in Pasadena.
1906: From 6th & Main, Los Angeles via Main, 1st, Los Angeles, Aliso, private way to Daly Street, and as in 1903.
1908: Same as 1906 except north terminus became Mission & Fair Oaks.

   This was Southern California's first interurban line, built as "The Pasadena & Los Angeles Electric Railway:. To describe its impact upon those untroubled times, let us turn to a magazine of that period; in it we find this early interurban road featured in an article entitled: "A Model Electric Road". We quote:
"Any city in the country might well be proud of so perfect an electric transit system as that of the new Pasadena & Los Angeles Electric Railway; and it is doubtful if any other city can yet match it. Certainly New York has no surface road remotely to be compared with this. It is to the usual electric line what a Pullman service is to an old-fashioned car. The road runs from 4th Street in Los Angeles to Chestnut St., Pasadena(eleven miles) through the hitherto quiet district between Los Angeles and its chief suburb; and the effect of the line is already felt in every front foot of the distance. Thus made easy of access, the charming valley of the Arroyo Seco will be built up densely all the way. With its important termini, delightful itinerary, and magnificent equipment, the P&LA though already a large success, has every promise of growing to much greater things."

   And it did grown to much greater things, although not in the way the enthusiastic author envisioned. The P&LA was the direct fore bearer of both the Los Angeles-Pacific (later to comprise most of PE's Western District) and the original Pacific Electric Railway. But the circuitous route, followed by the P&LA was no competitor for PE's later and more direct Pasadena Short Line, and it degenerated into a streetcar line which terminated at South Pasadena.

   There may be those who would question the validity of including the South Pasadena and Ave. 64 Lines in a work supposedly devoted to interurban lines. However, the Northern District of PE was the direct outgrowth of the South Pasadena Line---the old "Main Line" interurban between Los Angeles and Pasadena.
As for the Ave. 64-Annandale Line, where else can it be fitted in logically but here, in conjunction with the South Pasadena Line?

   Although officially opened on May 1, 1895, it was not until five days later that though cars ran between Pasadena and Los Angeles---a walking transfer having been necessary around the a-building bridge at Garvanza. The original line, single track with passing sidings, was 3'6" gauge, with 50 lb. rail laid on redwood ties. The ten cars (90-99) which opened the line reached downtown Los Angeles via Los Angeles Railway trackage from a point approximately opposite Sycamore Grove. The builders of the line---General M. H. Sherman and Mr. E.P. Clark---already had made names for themselves as the builders of the Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway, from which they were ousted in 1895 in a reorganization; they managed to salvage the P&LA from the ruins and used it as the basis of their much larger Los Angeles-Pacific enterprise. Car house and power plant of the P&LA were at Columbia Street and S. Fair Oaks Ave. in Pasadena, while the main office was at 4th & Spring, Los Angeles. Hardly had the new line opened than the heavy traffic demanded that it be double-tracked; this was accomplished late in 1895.

Pasadena & Los Angeles Ticket Office

   In mid-1897 a reorganization was effected which saw Sherman & Clark lose control to a Chicago syndicate which transferred the main office to Pasadena and reversed the name of the company to "Los Angeles & Pasadena Electric Railway.
   Henry Huntington entered the electric railway business in Los Angeles in 1898, and one of his first acts was to purchase the Los Angeles & Pasadena. On November 12, 1901, Huntington incorporated his "Pacific Electric Railway Company of California", and on March 10, 1902, the LA&P was deeded to PE.
   From 1898 to 1902, Huntington secured his interurban franchises in the names of both Los Angeles Railway and Los Angeles & Pasadena Electric Railway. Hence the franchise for the Alhambra-San Gabriel Line is recorded as having been issued to the LA&P with that company actually credited with constructing the major portion of that line. Similarly, the Sierra Madre Line is the first presented under the aegis of the LA&P, as was also the Monrovia Line. Huntington's first acts were to build the Pasadena Short Line which relegated the older line to a status of minor importance, and to standard-gauge the old line, known as the Main Line. This was finished in late 1903, and all Main Line cars were rerouted to Main Street from Spring St. In 1906 Huntington secured a "shorter short line" by building on the roadbed of the old San Gabriel Valley Rapid Transit Company from the east bank of the Los Angeles River to what became Enchandia Junction and the Main Line was thereupon rerouted through that junction and private way to Daly Ave. & Mission Road, with trackage on Mission Road to Gallardo Street being abandoned. Remainder of the line was unchanged.
   Then the passing years brought through-routing with the Watts Line from 1915 to 1923; single-routing with an LA loop via San Pedro St., 6th St., and Main Street until 1932, and then a rejoining with the Watts Line.
   On January 2, 1935, the South Pasadena Line was cut back to Mission Road(General Hospital) with trackage from that point to Mission & Fair Oaks being abandoned. On June 1, 1938, the General Hospital Line was separated from the Watts Line and made a shuttle, running but a scant thousand feet from Enchandia Junction to Mission Road. On October 17, 1942, this last bit of the South Pasadena Line was abandoned.

   As of 1927, the South Pasadena Line covered the 9.28 miles between its termini in a running time of 45 minutes. Normal weekday service operated on a 10" headway except during the PM peak when a 5" service was maintained. Sundays and holidays had 20" service during the morning and 10" the rest of the day. Service was maintained over this line for practically the entire 24 hours of a normal weekday. 242 trains operated daily, divided equally between inbound & outbound trips.
   Numerous steam road crossings tended to delay cars. In order, as one left Los Angeles, the crossings were: Alameda St.(SP), L.A. River(AT&SF, UP), Ave. 36(UP), Ave 61(AT&SF), Arroyo Glen(UP), Meridian Street (AT&SF).
   The South Pasadena Line continued through to Colorado & Fair Oaks, Pasadena, relieving the Short Line trains of that obligation. During this period the line was known as the "Pasadena" via Garvanza Line".

   A limited amount of freight service(all on the LA end) was performed by this line. The spurs were located on Daly Street near Mission Road, with freight cars hauled to Enchandia Junction., about 1500 feet distance.
   In the early days, Southern California's first electric railway freight business was begun by a private company. "The Pasadena & Los Angeles Electric Express Company", using two box motors. The line also had one more first: the first combination baggage-mail car was operated on its tracks.

Arroyo Seco Trestle at Garvanza

   Originally this line had four bridges. The most spectacular spanned the Arroyo Seco at Garvanza and was the highest bridge on the PE system. It was a single track structure, of combination steel and frame bent construction. Built in 1895, it was rebuilt in 1903 and strengthened in 1916. It was about 900 feet long. Two double track wooden trestles spanned the SP main line at Daly Street & Alhambra Avenue and the UP Pasadena Branch at Fair View near Columbia Street The lower Arroyo Seco was crossed by means of a concrete structure on Pasadena Ave. near Ave. 36; this was a paved viaduct for both vehicular and rail traffic.
Power came from the following substations: Central(LA), Maple(LA), Valley Junction, and Pasadena.
Cars (15 required) were stored at Macy Street in LA and at the S. Fair Oaks carhouse in Pasadena.

   As originally built, the line used 40-50 lb. T-rail. Huntington laid new 60 lb. T-rail in 1903 when he standard-gauged the line. The only change thereafter was to replace short sections with 128-lb. girder rail as the need for reconstruction arose; for instance, in 1925 the tracks on Daly Ave. between Main Street and Manitou Street were thus rebuilt. EQUIPMENT:
   From 1902 to 1907, Old PE 200s served the line, succeeding the original equipment, P&LA 80s and 90s. In 1907 various wooden city cars of the new/or rebuilt California type came into service, augmented after 1913 by the new 160-169 Class and various small 400s. In 1919 the 200 Class took over, running till 1928. From 1928 to 1938 the 600 Class was assigned to the South Pasadena Line. When the line became the General Hospital Shuttle, it was served in order by a 600, a Birney and by a new 100, usually 102.

   Believe it or not, the chief tourist attraction on this line was the Cawston Ostrich Farm, on the east bank of the Arroyo Seco at Garvanza. In was American's first ostrich farm, having opened in 1886. The incubators, the dye houses and factories were widely publicized and the South Pasadena cars hauled thousands for 25 cents round trip(which included admission to the Farm). Just as long as ostrich feathers enjoyed a vogue as an essential part of milady's costume, so did this lucrative business help keep the South Pasadena Line in the black.

   The Ave. 64-Annandale Line (sometimes known as the Church of the Angeles Line) was the sole branch of the South Pasadena Line. It was projected as an alternate entrance to Pasadena but this failed when the expense of building a bridge over the Arroyo Seco at California Street proved to be exorbitant. For some years it enjoyed a through service to Los Angeles, but finally degenerated into a Birney Shuttle. Its chief purpose appears to have been a stimulate the sale of lots in the Annandale area.

   From 6th & Main the Annandale Line traversed the route of the South Pasadena Line to Roble Ave. & Ave. 64(MP 7.33). There it turned north on Ave. 64 to Church of the Angeles (MP 8.18) and to Annandale(MP 8.83).

   The Annandale Line was first in the public eye as the Traction Company's competing line to Pasadena. The Campbell-Johnson Brothers began building the line in 1902., supposedly backed by the LA Traction.
   However, it turned out that Huntington was the backer, having secured the valuable franchise to keep the Traction out of the western entry to Pasadena. The line was opened to Church of the Angeles in 1904 and extended to Annandale in 1908. A scant mile away, on the opposite bank of the Arroyo Seco, was the western end of the W. California Street local line(Pasadena), built on the same Campbell-Johnson franchise; as late as 1912 PE was considering connecting the two lines, but it never came to pass. In 1913 the line was two-tracked. On November 13, 1926 the upper portion of the line was abandoned from Adelaide Pl. to Annandale. On April 3, 1928, the rest of the line folded. The tracks, all in city streets, were removed in 1926-1929, and in 1931.
Notes from the Pasadena "Star" regarding the Ave. 64 Line:

February 9, 1903: "Campbell-Johnson starts work at Garvanza. A big gang of men, several hundred of them, early this morning started work on the new line on Pasadena Ave. Just north of the point where PE swings under Garvanza Villa, Sherer & Crowley, the contractors, have built PE's Alhambra, Monrovia, Long Beach and Pasadena Short LInes; it is said that many infer that PE and the Campbell-Johnson are identical."

February 24, 1903: "Campbell-Johnson work stops. Several blocks of light rail were laid in Garvanza. It is of excellent quality of construction. In the work done it is a fill six feet in depth and of considerable length. The workers are awaiting more materials."

   An incomplete file of early public timetables indicates that the Annandale Line enjoyed through service to 6th & Main at all times until July, 1911 when only morning and evening rush hours service operated through, with base service operating as a shuttle, connecting with South Pasadena cars. In the yearly years (1907) the Watts Line sent alternate cars through to Annandale throughout the day. On November 1, 1913, Annandale cars began operated full-time to 6th & Main on a 22-minute base headway making the 8.83 miles in 48 minutes. In 1915 the line became an all-hours shuttle, but late the same year was again through-routed with Watts. On December 3, 1916, the Annandale Line was separated from Watts, and in January 1920, the line used a single Birney.

   The line was opened with California cars of the Old PE 100 Class. When through-routed with Watts it enjoyed Old PE's 200 Class(1907) and then came New PE's 200 Class California cars. The 1915-1916 through-routed with Watts again brought better cars, the 500 and 400 Classes. After January 1920, the line used a single Birney.

   Originally 60-lb. rail, the line was rebuilt in 1913 with 128-lb. girder rail from Roble Ave. to Meridian St.(This was the LA city limits, hence the heavy rail which the city required.) The upper portion of the line remained 60-lb.

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