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Pasadena Local Lines
LOCAL LINES OF PASADENA
PASADENA FACTS: Pasadena, twelve miles northeast of Los Angeles, early became the second largest city in the county and retained that distinction for many years; in more recent times, staid Pasadena has been surpassed by other cities, but during most of PE's time, Pasadena ranked second only to Los Angeles in passenger traffic importance.
Pasadena is surrounded on the north and west by the San Gabriel Mountains and the San Rafael Hills respectively. The land upon which the city itself was laid out slopes gradually from the north toward the southeast, and has an average elevation of 859 feet.
Pasadena is bounded by the north by Altadena, an exclusive country residential area; on the west, the deep gash of the Arroyo Seco forms a natural boundary; to the south are the communities of South Pasadena and San Marino, with no natural boundaries separating them. Arcadia and Sierra Madre flank Pasadena's eastern border, although considerable open countryside separated these cities.
Pasadena was served by three railroads: The Santa Fe, the Union Pacific, and the Southern Pacific---the latter two by branch lines only.
Pasadena streets are laid out parallel to meridian and base lines with the exception of a small portion on the west side. Blocks are rectangular, with the long measurements running north and south.
The main thoroughfare in Pasadena is Colorado St., running east and west. Crossing Colorado at approximate half mile intervals are secondary streets of importance: Fair Oaks Avenue, Los Robles Avenue, Lake Avenue, Hill Avenue, and Allen Ave. Secondary streets paralleling Colorado St. to the north are Orange Grove, Villa St., and Washington St.; to the south are Green St. and California St.
Pasadena was one of the "Great Boom" cities, having been founded in 1886. In 1904 North Pasadena was annexed, and in 1906 East Pasadena met a similar fate. San Rafael Heights. and Linda Vista were annexed in 1914 and subsequent annexations saw the city's area grown from 5.1 square miles (1886) to 19.68(1938). The city is chiefly residential in character, although World War II brought a considerable expansion of manufacturing. Pasadena is self sufficient to a degree not usually encountered in a smaller city so close to a metropolis; it is remarkably independent in regards to civic, business, financial, recreation and educational activities; its leading college, California Institute of Technology is world famous.
Population figures cannot take into account the considerable number of people living in county territory adjacent to Pasadena such as Altadena. However, as of 1920, there were 45,000 residents in the city; in 1930 the figures had grown to 76,086; and in 1937, a good estimate was 82,500. Adding the county residents, the Pasadena transportation area that year probably was about 105,000 souls.
No words need be added concerning Pasadena's tourist attractions. Its Tournament of Roses, Rose Bowl Game, Mt. Wilson Observatory, Santa Anita Racetrack, and Huntington Library keep it continually in the national spotlight.
PACIFIC ELECTRIC IN PASADENA:
The Great Merger brought the present PE company to Pasadena. On September 3, 1911, it obtained ownership of a general system of local and interurban rail passenger lines in the Crown City which has been developed since 1886 by a number of predecessor companies. Chief among these predecessors were the old Pacific Electric and its associated company, The Los Angeles Interurban Railway Company, henceforth LAIU. These companies traced their lineage back to The Los Angeles & Pasadena, The Pasadena & Mt. Lowe, The Pasadena & Los Angeles, plus a host of horsecar companies such as the Pasadena Street Railroad, The Highland Railroad, The Colorado Street Railway, The City Railway of Pasadena, and the West Pasadena Railway.
To give a thumbnail sketch of street railway development in Pasadena:
1886: The first horsecar line opens; 3'6" gauge. Pasadena Street Railroad.
1893: The first electric line opens; 3'6" gauge. City Railway Company.
1894: The Pasadena & Los Angeles Electric Railway purchases all Pasadena street railway companies.
1895: The P&LA opens the first interurban in Southern California: Pasadena to Los Angeles.
The bulk of the horsecar lines are rebuilt and electrified, 3'6" gauge. Additional electric lines built.
1898: The Los Angeles & Pasadena Electric Railway Company succeeds the P&LA. At this time the Pasadena city lines had grown to 32.17 equivalent single track miles.
Last horsecar line abandoned.
1902: Old Pasadena Electric succeeds the Los Angeles & Pasadena.
1903: Old PE rebuilds practically all Pasadena electric railways, standard gauging them, laying heavier rail and reconstructing trolley wire.
1904 The Pasadena & Mt. Lowe Railway is absorbed, many new lines built. to This was a period of intense activity and when completed, Pasadena had an exemplary completed, local and interurban rail network.
1911: Old PE and LAIU jointly performed this work.
1911: New PE succeeds Old PE and LAIU.
1912: Southern Pacific Pasadena Station electrified for PE use; access trackage via Broadway electrified.
Numerous extensions and new lines built, also three older line rebuilt.
1923: PE motor coaches replace all but four local rail lines; as these four lines are through-routed, but two rail lines remain of a strictly local character.
1941: Remaining local rail lines abandoned; PE sells its city lines to Pasadena City Lines, Inc., a National City Lines property.
Pacific Electric official records show the entire history of the car assignments of the Pasadena local service from 1911 to 1941. For our purpose, intervening years wherein assignments remained substantially the same as the year or years immediately preceding have been omitted.
1911: Twenty five cars of the 200 Class provided all local service. These were operated by two man crews, as were all Pasadena local cars until the advent of the Birneys in 1920.
1913: Seven of the 120 Class, twenty-two of the 200 Class and six of the 430 Class.
1914: Ten of the 170 Class and twenty of the 300 Class. The 170s were steel, center-entrance & exit. 600-1200 volt cars obtained from Southern Pacific's Oakland Lines. The 300s were the famous "Dragons", steel, center entrance & exit, low step cars designed by New Yorkers. Note that in this year every Pasadena city car was steel, and of modern design--undoubtedly the high spot of equipment assigned to the Crown City.
1915: The Dragons remained--all twenty of them--but the 170s left, needed in 1200-volt territory. Replacing them came one 200 and ten 160s. brought in from Pomona when that part of the PE system went over to 1200 volt operation.
(This car assignment remained constant for 1916, 1917 and into 1918; then one of the Dragons was withdrawn, leaving nineteen).
1920: Forty-five Birneys (340 Class) came to town, but still there were ten 160s and six Dragons retained.
1922: Thirty-nine 340s, ten 160s, two 200s.
1924-1941: Birneys. How the years cut these down in number is noteworthy: 1924(37); 1928(36); 1929(35); 1931(35); 1933(23); 1936(25); 1938(26).
The following rail lines were operated by PE in Pasadena.
Pacific Electric local rail lines in Pasadena were backboned by Colorado St. Secondary trunk lines were N. Fair Oaks and No. Lake.
E. Colorado St. Line: From Fair Oaks Avenue. to Daisy AVe. in Lamanda Park, 3.29 miles, of which all was double track except that portion from Lamanda Park Junction. to Daisy Avenue, 0.51 mile.
History: Horse car line built between Fair Oaks and city limits, then 688' east of Lake Avenue, in 1886 by Colorado Street Railway Co. Electrified 1894 by Pasadena & Los Angeles Railway Company. Standardized and extended to Lamanda Park Junction. by Old PE in 1903. Extended to Daisy Ave. in 1906 by LAIU. Abandoned 1941 from Lake Ave. to end. Abandoned 1950 from Fair Oaks to Lake Ave.
No. Fair Oaks Ave. Line: From Colorado St. north to Mariposa and thence east to Lake Avenue, 4.28 miles, all double track.
History: Horse car line from Colorado to Chestnut built 1886 by Pasadena Street Railroad Company. Horse car line from Chestnut to Mountain View Ave. built in 1887 by City Railway Co of Pasadena. Electrified in 1894 by P&LA from Colorado St. to Montana St. Standard gauged and extended to Mariposa & Lake by Old PE in 1903. Abandoned 1941 from Chestnut to Mariposa; abandoned 1952 from Colorado to Chestnut.
No. Lake Ave. Line: Horse car line built by Highland Railroad Co. in 1888 from Villa St. to New York Ave. It was later extended to Altadena in vicinity of Mendocino St. From Villa south to Colorado built as horse car line at unknown date. In 1894 electrified by P&LA form Colorado St. to Villa as part of North Loop. Standard gauged by Old PE 1903 and extended to E. Orange Grove Ave. by Old PE 1904. Extended to Mariposa by LAIU, probably 1906. Abandoned 1941.
Mileage: 2.32(Colorado to Mariposa) of which all but 0.49 was double tracked.
Lincoln Ave. Line: From junction with the No. Fair Oaks Line at Chestnut St. to Lincoln & Montana, 2.30 miles, all double tracked.
History: Built 1913 by New PE. Abandoned 1941.
West Colorado & Orange Grove Ave. Line:
From Colorado & Fair Oaks, west on Colorado to Orange Grove, north and east on Orange Grove to Los Robles Avenue, 2.52 miles, of which all was single track except 0.33 mile from Fair Oaks to Vernon on Colorado.
History: Horse car line on Colorado from Fair Oaks to Vernon(U.P. Station) was built in 1891 by West Pasadena Railway Co. Electrified by P&LA 1894. Standard gauged 1903 by Old PE and extended to Orange Grove Ave. same year. Orange Grove Ave. track built by Old PE in 1903-04 from Colorado to Fair Oaks, and by LAIU in 1907 from Fair Oaks to Los Robles. Abandoned 1923.
North Loop Line: From N. Los Robles & Colorado St. north on single track on N. Los Robles to Villa St., thence east to Lake on double track, north on Lake to E. Orange Grove Avenue, and east on Orange Grove on single track to Allen Ave. Cars on this line operated on Colorado St. to Vernon Ave. Mileage: 1.70 from Colorado & N. Los Robles to Villa & Lake, of which 0.47 was double track and 1.09 on Orange Grove. Remainder of route was shared.
Trackage on Villa and N. Los Robles was built in 1888 as a horse car line by Highland Railroad; electrified in 1894 by P&LA at which time it was a true loop, running via Los Robles, Villa, Lake and Colorado. Old PE standard-gauged the North Loop in 1904. LAIU built the E. Orange Grove extension in 1907. Abandoned 1923.
East Washington St.: Shared trackage from Colorado & Fair Oaks via Colorado and N. Los Robles to Willa St. Thence on own tracks, north on Los Robles to Washington, east on Washington to Tierra Alta. Mileage: 3.24 from Villa St., all single track.
The portion from Villa on N. Robles to Washington and on Washington to Lake was built in 1906 by LAIU; the Lake-Tierra Alta segment on Washington was built by New PE in 1912. The Line was abandoned in 1923.
Mendocino Ave. Line: From Lake Ave. on Mendocino to Allen Avenue, 1.17 miles, all single track.
Built 1913 by New PE; abandoned 1932.
This was not a true line, but an extension of the N. Lake Ave. Line.
South Loop Line: From Colorado & S. Los Robles via S. Los Robles to California St., thence east to Tournament Park, 0.77 miles of single track and 0.85 of double track.
Los Robles from Colorado to California and California from Los Robles to Lake was built in 1888 by the Colorado Street Railway Company. This trackage was rebuilt and electrified by P&LA in 1894 and operated as a true loop, continuing north on Lake to Colorado, thence west to Fair Oaks. The Tournament Park extension was opened on December 18, 1904. The South Loop was standard gauged that same year by Old PE. The South Loop Line became the Tournament Park Line in the late Teens and was abandoned in 1923.
Arroyo Seco Line: On Raymond Ave. from Colorado St. to California St., thence west on California to Arroyo Drive on the brink of Arroyo Seco, 1.73 miles of which 1.04 was double track. Prior to 1914, this line's downtown terminus was at Broadway & Colorado alongside the SP Depot; route from there was south on Broadway to Bellevue, east to Raymond, thence as above.
Trackage on Raymond Ave. was built from Colorado St. to Glenarm St. in 1888 by The Highland Railroad. In 1889 Raymond between Bellevue and Glenarm was abandoned. P&LA rebuilt and electrified Raymond from Bellevue to Chestnut in 1894. Old PE standard gauged this portion in 1904. In 1904 new double track was constructed by LAIU on Raymond between Bellevue and California St., and on California St. from Raymond Ave. to Arroyo Drive, all double track except the outer end. This line was abandoned in 1923.
Columbia St. Line: On Columbia St. between S.Fair Oaks and Fair View St., 0.77 miles, double track. Built 1894 by P&LA as part of the original interurban line between Los Angeles and Pasadena. Replaced by new trackage
on Mission St. in South Pasadena in 1903 and Columbia St. was abandoned on May 23, 1912. In the interim one car daily had been operated between the Raymond Hotel(S. Fair Oaks) and the Santa Fe's South Pasadena Station.
Broadway Line: (See Arroyo Seco Line) This trackage on Broadway between Bellevue and Colorado St. was built in 1904 by LAIU as part of the Arroyo Seco Line. In 1912 PE leased the paralleling SP track on Broadway, electrified it, and used it thereafter. PE abandoned its own Broadway track on May 23, 1912.
S. Lake Avenue, S. Fair Oaks Ave.: Interurban cars to Los Angeles operated over these tracks and picked up local passengers within Pasadena city limits. After the sale of PE local lines in Pasadena in 1941, PE made payments to Pasadena City Lines for local passengers carried on its interurban lines.
Interurban operation on S. Lake Ave. was ended on October 6, 1950, and terminated on S. Fair Oaks Ave. on September 30, 1951.
At the present time, practically all vestiges of PE's Pasadena rail system have been obliterated.
STATISTICS: PASADENA LOCAL LINES, PACIFIC ELECTRIC RAILWAY:
Year Total Passengers Car Miles Revenue Revenue/Car Mile Revenue/Pass.
1913 7,710,888 1,447,260 $326,164 $0.225 $0.042
1914 8,011,622 1,546,461 332,843 .215 .042
1915 6,858,506 1,463,555 270,947 .185 .040
1916 6,742,288 1,524,664 263,518 .173 .039
1917 6,540,028 1,453,746 253,118 .174 .039
1918 6,377,363 1,466,266 248,680 .170 .039
1919 6,246,405 1,469,845 251,986 .172 .040
1920* 7,773,402 1,454,836 370,293 .255 .047
1921* 8,473,912 1,804,252 455,885 .253 .054
1922* 8,135,136 1,817,733 423,007 .233 .052
1923* 10,792,025 2,558,356 531,254 .207 .049
1924* 12,704,548 3,058,600 602,700 .197 .047
1925* 12,476,273 3,056,450 592,924 .194 .048
1926* 12,351,531 3,035,790 606,325 .200 .049
1933* 3,610,651r 970,104r 176,313r .18r
3,397,309b 1,421,292b 153,319b .11b
1935* 4,069,516r 927,930r 193,358r .21r
3,296,669b 1,192,605b 144,264b .12b
1937* 4,280,861r 872,407r 200,803r .23r
3,961,334b 1,305,209b 174,941b .13b
* Calendar year. r: Rail b: bus
THE 1923 ABANDONMENTS:
One of PE's earliest large scale abandonments of electric railway lines in
favor of busses took place in Pasadena in 1923. This action came about due to the following causes:
By 1922 PE was suffering from directly paralleling bus competition in Pasadena. To make matters worse, not enough traffic existed to support
the competing operations. PE was faced with the necessity of making an expenditure of approximately $750,000 for track renewals. A vociferous faction opposed elimination of competing busses. Another faction endorsed the city's bonding itself to establish a municipal bus system which would supplant PE's rail operations entirely in the local field. An election was called on a municipal bus system proposal and after a spirited campaign, the bus issue was defeated by a two-to-one margin.
With the air thus cleared, PE and the city were able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. All paralleling bus competition within the city was eliminated. A 6 cents local fare was established(ten tickets for 50 cents) with free transfers within the city limits. Track was rehabilitated on the heavier lines, but under a temporary permit, PE bus operation was established on Los Robles Ave. where track renewal would have cost $350,000.
This "temporary" substation became permanent, and other light rails lines were similarly converted.
Lines involved and dates they were converted to bus operation:
North Loop(July 3, 1923)
Tournament Park(July 22, 1923)
N. Orange Grove(July 29, 1923)
E. Washington(July 29, 1923)
Arroyo Seco(September 6, 1923)
To establish a bus system in Pasadena, PE spent $500,000 for a garage and parking area at Broadway and Bellevue, plus 45 new busses.
1941 ABANDONMENTS: On January 19, 1941, PE sold its Pasadena local lines, rail and bus, to Pasadena City Lines, a new company and a subsidiary of Pacific City Lines, a National City Lines subsidiary. Busses were in readiness to take over the four local rail lines: Lincoln Avenue, Altadena, N. Lake Avenue, and E. Colorado St. and local rail service, except for the few local riders on the two interurban lines, ceased as of this date. Pasadena City Lines paid PE $223,400 for its rails, overhead, Altadena substation, garage with equipment, and busses. The Birney cars were not included, nor was property still required for operation of the Oak Knoll and Short Line interurban services.
Pacific City Lines also purchased local PE bus lines in the city of Glendale at the same time.
Previously, Pacific City Lines had purchased other Southern Pacific-owned streetcar companies in San Jose, Fresno and Stockton---all of which properties were speedily converted to 100% bus operation.
A survey of trackage to be sold was made by PE in 1940 and revealed:
Lincoln Ave Line: 128 lb. girder rail between Fair Oaks and Grove Avenue, about 2,125 feet. Then 72 and 75 rail to Prospect Boulevard., approximately 3,160 feet. From here to Forest Avenue, 128 lb. and 93 lb. rail, a distance of 176 feet; then 128 lb. girder rail to end, Montana St., 6,724 feet, in concrete pavement. total: 4.66 Equivalent single track miles.
Colorado St. Line, east from Lake Ave.: A total of 9,100 feet of 128 girder rail in asphaltic concrete pavement to Huntington Drive(Lamanda Park Junction.); then 184 feet of 93 lb. rail crossing the Sierra Madre Line; followed by 2,665 feet of single track, 128 lb. girder rail to end of Daisy Ave.
Total: 4.02 Equivalent Single Track miles.
Lake Ave. Line: 302 feet of 128 lb. girder rail at Colorado St., followed by 66 feet of 91 lb. rail; then 8,199 feet of 75 lb. rail to Washington St., followed by 3,042 feet of 128 lb. girder rail to Woodbury Road; here single track began, continuing north 3,845 feet to Mendocino St., including substation spur. Then came 428 ft. of double track 60 lb. rail to Mariposa, junction with Altadena Line. Total: 5.29 E.S.T. miles.
Altadena Line: 11,566 ft. of 128 girder rail from Walnut St. to Montana St. except 70 ft. of 72 lb. rail at Chestnut St. Then 2,569 ft. of 60 lb. rail from Montana St. to Mountain View Avenue, followed 1,486 ft of 70 lb. rail to Mariposa; then 5,948 ft. of 60 lb. rail on Mariposa to end of Lake Ave.
Total: 8.20 E.S.T. miles.
All of the above trackage and PE's interest in overhead facilities were sold in place to Pasadena City Lines and that company then resold them to scrap dealers who effected their removal---EXCEPT Lake Ave. north from Woodbury Road(north city limits of Pasadena) to beginning of private way at Las Flores Ave. was quitclaimed to the County of Los Angeles and abandoned in place.
The Birney cars were taken to Torrance Shops and either scrapped or turned back to SP.
After the 1941 abandonment, no more cars were stored at the S. Fair Oaks Yard, and the Railway Express Agency box motors were handled at Pasadena Car House, enabling abandonment of trackage on Broadway and on Bellevue. Trackage on Raymond from Bellevue to the Car House was also abandoned and the Car House was then, perforce, single end.
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