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San Pedro Narrow Gauge
Not well known is the fact that for several years San Pedro not only had
a narrow gauge(3'-6") local line, but also a block of three-rail combination gauge electric railway.
First interurban line into San Pedro, as has already been mentioned, was
that built by the California Pacific Railway Company, the interurban subsidiary of the Los Angeles Traction Company. Entering San Pedro from Los Angeles via S. Vermont Ave., Gardena and way stations, the line ran its first through car in January, 1903.
The California Pacific entered San Pedro as follows: southeasterly on the
County road to Ancon St., south on Ancon to First St., east on 1st to Front
St., south on Front to 5th St., west on Fifth to Beacon St., north on Beacon to Second St., and east on Second to Front St., completing the loop.
This was all 80 lb. rail ASCE Section and was laid in 1902. Total mileage within San Pedro comprised 1.43 equivalent single track miles, of which
0.47 was double track and 0.49 was single track.
After the Great Merger of 1910, the major portion of the through route to L.A. was standard gauged; however, that part of the former California Pacific from Ancon & Bay Streets., San Pedro, to the San Pedro terminus remained narrow gauge, with passengers being required to transfer at Ancon & Bay Streets. This inconvenience lasted until the latter part of 1916, when PE received permission to abandon the narrow gauge and substitute therefore a new connection through the yards of the San Pedro Lumber Co. and property of the Los Angeles Steamship Co. to a connection with the San Pedro main line, thus affording a continuous run for the standard gauge cars direct to the PE San Pedro Station.
In a proposal dated January 7, 1915, PE stated: "Abandon narrow gauge line on Beacon St. between 6th & 2nd Streets.; on 2nd St. between Beacon St. and Front St.; on Front St. between 2nd and Ancon and Bay Streets.; 3,660 lineal feet of single track and 250 lineal feet of third rail construction---5,395 square feet of asphalt paving."
As its reasons for the above abandonment, PE stated on the same date:
"Ordinance #33482 (NS) adopted by the City Council of Los Angeles, December
15, 1915, grants this company permission to abandon its narrow gauge lines
on Beacon St., between 6th and 2nd Streets., and on 2nd St. between Beacon and
Front Streets., no Front St. between 2nd, Ancon & Bay Streets., San Pedro. The company abandoning the line relieves itself of expense involved account of the City extending Harbor Boulevard., improving in the vicinity of 2nd St. and construction overhead highway bridge resulting in a cut of 48 ft. below our
track. This line does not realize any favorable revenue as it only serves for connection with the passenger cars on the Gardena-San Pedro Line, passengers being transferred and carried over the narrow gauge line to the main street of San Pedro."
It is not known when the portion of the narrow gauge on Front St. between
2nd St. and 4th St. was removed. It is probable that this work took place before the Great Merger.
The extensive San Pedro regrading performed circa 1920-23 gave the entire
business section and waterfront area between Bay St. and 14th a vastly different appearance. Once high bluffs were cut down, their earth was used to fill in the Outer Harbor. Harbor Boulevard. was created out of whole cloth,
Bacon St. in the vicinity of 7th St. was lowered an average of eight feet, and similarly major changes were made. Only the Long Beach subsidence correction of the present day cam compare in magnitude.
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