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San Pedro Line

WThis line used portions of both the Long Beach Line and the San Pedro via Wilmington Line. The portion of this line that was constructed especially for it began at the east end of the 7th Street Bridge in Long Beach, crossed that bridge, ran north one block alongside the flood control channel and then swung west, paralleling 9th and 7th Sts. on private way to a junction with the San Pedro Line in Wilmington. This line used the PE Station in Long Beach, Wilmington and San Pedro. Prior to 1940 this line entered Long Beach via Third Street, looping via Pine and Ocean; after 1940 it entered and left via Ocean, with trains taking the crossover on Ocean near LocuStreet At various times this line operated via the West Basin route.

WThe first day of regular service was June 25, 1910. On that memorable day a city car with but two motors left Long Beach at 6:30 AM and inaugurated electric railway service between Long Beach and San Pedro direct. Five days later a four-motor car of the Old PE 200 Class took over, there having been numerous complaints as to the slowness of the original equipment. The car had to perform all local service on W. 3rd Street, Long Beach---its original route to and from its private way alongside the flood control channel(Los Angeles River). The last car each night made a franchise run via the Daisy Ave. Line to State Street(now Pacific Coast Highway). This line operated continously until conversion to bus operation on January 2, 1949.

WEquipment basically assigned to this line is shown below; however, when traffic so demanded, additional equipment was operated which was drawn from the Los Angeles interurban pool.

1911-1930*:500 Class
1930-1940:800 Class
1940-1946:1000 Class
1946-1949:1200 Class
*Approximate date of changeover.

WIn addition, service operated for the Southern Pacific Company(five trips daily each way as of 1927) used 1000 Class equipment.

WBetween the 7th Street Bridge and E. Wilmington Jct., track was 60 lb. rail laid on redwood ties with dirt ballaStreet At various times this line obtained better steel until at the end it was almost entirely 90 lb. rail with rock and/or gravel ballaStreet

Electrical Facilities:
WNone peculiar to the line; see San Pedro via Dominguez and Long Beach Line.

Car Storage:
WSee Long Beach and San Pedro via Dominguez Lines.

WThis line was a very important freight line. Freight operation was conducted over the major part of this route, with the Harbor Belt Line handling freight operations south of Anaheim Street, in Wilmington. This line provided PE with its entry into Long Beach's rapidly growing harbor. Separate figures for this line are unavailable, being lumped with San Pedro Line.

WOn Pico Ave., Long Beach, this line served the PE-SP Long Beach freight station and numerous spurs reached from this line to all parts of the Long Beach Harbor. PE had to relocate its Pico Ave.(Water Street) tracks in 1920 due to construction of the flood control channel.

Passengers:W(Fare and Transfer)

WRailroad crossings were comparatively numerous on this line, due to the maze of harbor freight rail lines of the three major railroads. Taking these crossings in order from Long Beach:
  1. Perry Street (.45 miles west of Gaspur); SP, with safety stop required
  2. Union Pacific: (0.98) mile west of Gaspur); interlocker
  3. Santa Fe: (1.02 miles west of Gaspur); interlocker
  4. East Wilmington: (1.37 miles west of Gaspur); Southern Pacific: interlocker
WThis line was protected by block signals from Gaspur to East Wilmington Junction

WThe West Basin portion of this line is recalled by old-timers as being one of PE's worst maintained lines. Until 1942 the line was used only for freight switching and the inbound track was usually used to store freight cars. To such people, the renaissence of this portion of the Long Beach-San Pedro Line was well nigh incredible. To give a professional railroader's opinion of the West Basin Line as it existed as late as 1944, we quote from a letter written by Mr. R.W. Putnam of the Southern Pacific who was asked to inspect and report on the condition of the line in that year:

"It is proposed to re-lay 5.874 track miles between San Pedro and Wilmington with 90 lb. rail. While this railroad is owned by PE, it is operated and maintained by the Harbor Belt Line Railroad and carries passenger traffic to San Pedro and freight traffic between Wilmington and Wilmington Road. The rail is 70 lb. and 80 lb., laid about 1902, and the curvature between Wilmington and San Pedro reaches as high as 30 degrees, while the curvature from Wilmington Road north to Wilmington is considerably lighter. Rail on the sharp curves is very badly worn and there is no question about the advisability of re-laying, and while the rail on the lighter curves, is not worn so badly, it is very much distorted and bent. The Harbor Belt Line people have not maintained this track in a desirable manner at all, and no matter what section of rail might have been re-laid, it would have been ruined insofar as surface is concerned as there has been no semblance of maintenance. Before rail is renewed on this stretch of track it should be surfaced to some degree under the old rail or the relay rail will be damaged within a day or two after it is laid. Some pressure should be brought to bear on the Harbor Belt Line people to properly maintain this piece of track. It is really much worse than any piece of track over which I have seen trains operate. Understand that the PE has complained bitterly about the maintenance of the railroad but with little results, and if this track is relaid with 90 lb. rail there must be an understanding with Harbor Belt Line that it will be maintained, otherwise there is no object in re-laying it."

WThe West Basin Line did get its 90 lb. rail and the rail was much better maintained for this was the only route into San Pedro (the Gardena route joined this route) after the bascule bridge was opened for the duration and later after it was removed. However, the sharp curves still remained and severely limited train speeds.

WUntil the advent of World War II, this line's 7.82 mile length was entirely double-tracked except for approximately 1.5 miles of single track operation between Gaspur and East Wilmington Junction where it joined the San Pedro via Dominguez Line. In 1942 this stretch of trackage was double-tracked to accommodate the heavy wartime traffic increase; not only of the Long Beach-San Pedro Line, but also of the Terminal Island Line which branched from it at Island Junction. This second track entered service on January 9, 1943, greatly increasing the capacity of this line.

WThere was another very short piece of single track: from 3rd Street, Long Beach, to near Ocean Avenue (Morgan Avenue Yard). This was double tracked in 1940.

WTrolley wire was de-energized from East Wilmington Junction to 7th & Pico on 12/30/55.

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