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Newport-Balboa Line

   Here was the South's answer to the West's miles of ocean beach running. This line provided its passengers with 15.5 colorful miles of riding with pounding surf but a stone's throw from the car.

   The Newport-Balboa Line followed the Long Beach Line to North Long Beach. From here it proceeded southeasterly to Seal Beach, then down the coast to Huntington Beach, Newport & Balboa.

Los Angeles0.00
Dominguez Junction13.31
North Long Beach17.52
East Long Beach20.11
Seal Beach24.11
Anaheim Landing24.61
Sunset Beach26.70
Huntington Beach32.46
Newport Beach37.82

   Old PE did the preliminary engineering work for this line and also acquired portions of the right-of-way; on January 12, 1904 the work was turned over to LAIU and deeded to that company on July 1, 1904.

   LAIU proceeded to construct this line; double track to Huntington Beach, single track from there to Balboa. Segments were opened to the public as follows:

   PE took over operation of the line on July 1, 1908, and on September 1, 1911 New PE took over the ownership.

   New PE operated the line down thru the years, as gradually improved roads and automobiles diverted patronage. On June 9, 1940, rail passenger service between Newport Beach and Balboa was abandoned and rails were removed in 1941. Sporadic abandonments and restorations followed but the last big red car ran on June 30, 1950.

   Old PE 300s (later New PE's 800s) opened the line and ran on it until succeeded by the 1000s about 1927. The Tens continued to run on this line until about 1942, after which World War II brought a multiplicity of equipment: 1200s, 1100s, 600s, 4500s 4600s. Officer's cars 1000 and 1299 were fixtures on the line after 1937 running as the club car Commodore.

   For that portion of this line between 6th & Main and North Long Beach, refer to the Long Beach Line.

North Long BeachAnaheim Landing60RD
Anaheim LandingStolco75RS
StolcoHuntington Beach75RD
Huntington BeachNewport Beach75RS
Newport BeachBalboa (as of 1939)60RS
Ra: Rail T: Ties, B: Ballast, R: Redwood, D: Dirt, S: Sand

Electrical Facilities:
   In addition to substations already listed for the Long Beach Line, the following substations were used for the balance of the Balboa Line: No. 17: Los Patos No. 18: Newport Beach

Car Storage:
   Car storage facilities were located at Balboa (6) and at Huntington Beach (8 cars). Cars used on this line were also stored in Los Angeles on the 7th Street's Surface Tracks.

   The Newport-Balboa Line was not a heavy freight line; the three year (1935-37) average freight revenue per mile of line was but $2,559 putting it well down among the "also rans". Heaviest station was East Long Beach, with Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Newport Beach and Balboa following in that order. An average of 1,994 cars was handled annually, carrying an average of 78,768 tons of freight, and resulting in an average revenue of $55,524 for the 21.7 miles from Los Cerritos to Newport.

   Before the construction of the Pacific Coast Highway (U.S. 101) which closely parallels this line, PE freight trains did much better; the author remembers as a boy getting up at dawn to meet the Balboa freight and riding the cab into town; most of the community's necessities were handled by PE in those days. Locomotive 1611 brought freight cars full of groceries, furniture, medical supplies, and almost anything else one might name.

   Sugar beets brought considerable carloads down the Wiebling branch in the old days, and when oil was discovered at Huntington Beach, PE did a land office business moving in materials and taking out black gold by the carload.

   In later years the boat builders at Newport created a demand for lumber, fittings, etc., and completed boats moved out via PE flat cars.

   Freight to East Long Beach consisted in the main of general merchandise among which lumber was prominent.

Passengers: (Fare & Transfer)
YearPassengersCar MilesRevenue
* Best Year
# Service curtailed during war years
% 1949 total is for ll months
& No 1946 service prior to June 17

   This line made connection at Newport Beach with motor coaches of another operator for Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach and Dana Point.

   Typical equipment required by this line in the late Twenties consisted of five cars which were stored overnight at Balboa and Los Angeles; at that time seven crews were needed, five working out of Los Angeles, two out of Balboa.

   At its height, this line carried fairly heavy weekend crowds. The author recalls as many as eight 800-Class cars stored over Sunday on the double track stub at Balboa; these would leave for Los Angeles in two and three car trains late Sunday afternoon.

   Balboa owes its start to this line; whereas Newport Beach was Orange County's (principally Santa Ana's) front door in the days of coastwise steamer traffic and was tied to Santa Ana by Southern Pacific, Balboa was but a sandy peninsula until PE extended to the town site. Steady growth thereupon ensued and in due time Balboa surpassed Newport as a favorite spot for holiday seekers.

   On at least two occasions, rails were extended to the tip of the peninsula to carry rock for breakwaters protecting the entrance to Balboa Bay.

   Southern Pacific rails originally extended up the coast from Newport Beach to Huntington Beach, thence proceeding inland to connect with SP's extensive system of branch lines in Orange County. The SP line along the beach was inland from PE's, but quite close, together they could be mistaken for a double track railroad. SP ripped up its Santa Ana-Newport Beach-Huntington Beach Line in the late 1920s.

   Prior to the 1929 depression, there was a movement to build summer cottages along the coast in the vicinity of Sunset Beach; this provided some extra patronage. After the depression this trend halted; when good times returned an excellent paved highway attracted most of the vacationers' business.

   Beyond Los Patos (south of Sunset Beach) and to Huntington Beach, there was a long expanse of swampy land, favored by duck hunters. Some exclusive clubs were established, and even PE itself encouraged its employees to visit the area. Two old PE car bodies were placed on the sand to accommodate visiting employees. (from class 1000, "ten-hundred", cars)

   Drifting sand was a hazard to operation whenever high winds occurred; many times the ties were obscured by sand, and even the rail heads themselves disappeared regularly under the buffeting of the wind.

   Floods also were a menace; the San Gabriel River and other streams entered the Pacific Ocean under bridges used by this line, and when Southern California suffered one of its wet winters, bridges went out with regularity.

   This line was definitely an interurban line in character. Schedule speed in the late Twenties was around 30mph, giving this line the status of second-fastest on the entire PE system. Little traffic congestion was experienced as the line was entirely on private way except in Los Angeles and Newport Beach.

   Even at its peak, the Balboa Line did not carry on the average more than a 50% passenger consist compared to seats available. On outbound cars, the passenger load fell off rapidly beyond North Long Beach. Maximum loads were carried between Slauson Junction and Watts, trackage which was well served by other lines.

   This line was single-tracked between Willow and Huntington Beach in 1941. Register stations were then located at Willow and Newport Beach.

   A major track relocation was approved by the State Railroad Commission October 10, 1944.   (Application No. 26264)

"The United States of America and Pacific Electric Railway Company are authorized to construct a main track at grade across several streets and alleys in the City of Seal Beach and vicinity thereof at the locations shown on the map filed with the application, to be identified and protected as follows:

StreetCrossing No.Protection
Electric Avenue6E-24.402 Std. No. 3 Wigwags
16th Street6E-24.442 Std. No. 1 Crossing Signs
Alley6E-24.47-D1 Std. No. 1 Crossing Sign
17th Street6E-24.502 Std. No. 1 Crossing Signs
Alley6E-24.54-D1 Std. No. 1 Crossing Signs
Bay Boulevard6E-24.582 Std. No. 8 Flashing Lights
Surf Avenue6E-25.562 Std. No. 1 Crossing Signs

Applicants shall bear entire construction and maintenance expense. Construction of said crossings shall be equal or superior to Standard No. 2 of G. O. No. 72, without superelevation and of a width to conform to the portion of the street now graded, with tops of rails flush with roadway, and with grades of approach not exceeding those shown on print attached to the application. Within thirty days after completion pursuant to this order.

The relocation rejoined the old line just south of Surfside Colony (North Sunset Beach).

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