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More than any other street, Aliso Street was the throat of the Northern District. From Aliso and San Pedro Streets. to Aliso and Mission, every train and car on the Northern District was funneled through this narrow seven blocks of congestion street running . PE tracks actually reached as far west as Los Angeles St, but the short block from San Pedro St. to Los Angeles St. was a part of the loop through the downtown district formed by San Pedro St., 6th St.(or the elevated tracks through Main St. Station), Main St., First St., Los Angeles St., and Aliso St.
Not only did all Northern District equipment have to traverse Aliso St., but such rolling stock as was stored at Macy St. during the day for other than Northern District trains had to deadhead through this vital link. In addition, freight motors bridging the gap between Butte St. Yard on the
Southern District and/or Eighth St. Yard could only reach State St. via San Pedro and Aliso Streets.
Thus Aliso St. was usually a beehive of activity insofar as PE was concerned. No other single street offered a better display of so many different types of equipment, which in the course of almost any short period of time ran the gamut from city car to heavy interurban train, from box motor to electric locomotive.
Progress came early to Aliso St. in the shape of the multi-million dollar Union Passenger Terminal, opened by the three steam railroads(Southern Pacific, Union Pacific and Santa Fe) in May, 1939.
This brought a heavy addition to the vehicular traffic using this thoroughfare and heightened the red cars' battle for car space.
Next came the freeways, with Aliso picked as the connecting link between the Hollywood Freeway on the west and the Santa Ana-San Bernardino Freeway
on the east. First step was the construction of huge new viaduct over the Los Angeles River and Mission Road. The original viaduct was built in 1903 and consisted of four lanes; center two lanes were PE private way, unpaved, while single lanes for autos were at either side. This was a low level viaduct, making it mandatory for PE cars and autos to cross Santa Fe and Union Pacific steam tracks at grade at either end of the structure. The tragic 1915 collision between a backing Santa Fe steam switch engine and PE 422 killed several passengers and caused agitation of such magnitude that it led to the high level bridge of today which cross both the river and rail trackage. The Aliso Street Viaduct was torn down in 1940 and replaced by the present freeway structure which entered service in mid-1943. PE participated in the cost of this mammoth structure, paying $350,000 as its share of the improvement. With the opening of the first segment of the San Bernardino Freeway(then called the Ramona Freeway) in August of 1943 a flood of autos and trucks descended upon Aliso Street. The Santa Ana Freeway added still further astronomical increases to the traffic flow in August of 1949. With each new freeway extension, more and more autos and trucks entered Los Angeles via Aliso St, each further hampering PE's use of the street. One by one, interurban lines were abandoned and busses appeared in steadily increasing numbers. The final act occurred in July, 1950, when the State of California notified PE that it was readily to rebuild Aliso St. itself to conform to the freeway design. PE could not(or so it claimed) pay the cost of relocating its tracks, so the stage was set for the disappearance of the big red cars from the street whereon they had been seen for almost fifty years. On Sunday, September, 30, 1951(the day after abandonment of the last two lines on the Northern District) PE cars ran along Aliso Street for the last time---Pasadena Short Line and Sierra Vista cars deadheading back to the city.
MAIN STREET: Prior to October 21, 1950 cars on the Pasadena Short Line and the Oak Knoll Line would enter the station concourse via Main St. Cars leaving the concourse via Main Street were those on the Alhambra, Redondo-Gardena and Sierra Madre Lines. Watts-Sierra-Vista Line cars also passed on Main St. PE's last cars to run on Main Street in regular service traversed the thoroughfare on October 21, 1950---the Watts-Sierra Vista Line. There followed a short period wherein a franchise car ran. but this ended on December 28, 1950. The official abandonment of PE trackage on East Ninth St. from San Pedro St. to Main St., Main St. to Los Angeles St., Los Angeles St. from 1st St. to Aliso St., and Aliso St. from Los Angeles St. to San Pedro St. took place at 12:01 AM December 29, 1950.
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