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San Pedro Local Lines
SAN PEDRO LOCAL LINES
The story of the development of the Los Angeles Harbor is too well known to dwell upon here. Suffice it to say that the transformation of acres of mudflats into the world's greatest man-made harbor came about only after prolonged struggle and the expenditure of many millions of dollars.
In 1800, L.A. had 11,000 people; 1890 saw 50,000 souls residing in the City
of Angels. They badly wanted a harbor, and so they built one. In 1871 the federal government started the development by building a breakwater connecting Terminal Island with Dead Man's Island. In 1891 San Pedro was officially selected as Los Angeles' future outlet to the sea, but it took eight years of fighting in Congress against Powerful interests(chiefly the
Southern Pacific) who favored Santa Monica(Port Los Angeles) or Redondo.
The first load of rock which was to form the key to the harbor---11,000 foot breakwater---was finally dumped into place in 1899 and the tremendous arm protecting the anchorage from the sea was completed in 1912.
In 1909 L.A. annexed the towns of Wilmington and San Pedro by means of the famed "Shoestring Strip", a narrow neck of city land extending for miles over vacant farmland before touching the former boundaries of the seaside towns.
PE built to San Pedro from L.A. in 1905 through its subsidiary, LAIU.
A competing interurban electric railway, the California Pacific, had opened
its narrow gauge(3'6") line from Los Angeles via Gardena in January, 1903.
The San Pedro local electric railway lines were built by LAIU as it consolidated its position.
San Pedro, an independent city until annexed by the city of Los Angeles in
1909, was one of PE's smaller local rail systems. As of the year 1926, the San Pedro local lines' relationship to the entire PE system was as follows:
Fare & Transfer Passengers: 0.61%
Passenger Revenue: 0.26%
Car MIles: 0.67%
As of that year, three local rail lines were being operated: (1) Point Fermin; (2) La Rambla; (3) West Basin. The West Basin Line was operated only during morning and evening hours to serve workmen employed at oil refineries located along that old line and over which(at that time) no other passenger service was being operated. It was extremely unimportant, as a traffic check made on October 19, 1927( a Wednesday) revealed a total of 5
passengers were carried inbound and 15 outbound.
Point Fermin Line: As of 1911 this line ran from 6th-Palos Verdes via 6th, Pacific, and private way to a terminus at the public park on the promontory at the Point, a distance of 2.33 miles of single track and 0.21 mile of double track.
This line was built in 1905-06 to 14th & Pacific and extended to the Point in 1907. 1918 saw its extension to 5th & Front Streets.
Unregulated bus competition siphoned much traffic from this line, yet as of 1927, it provided the following percentages of local business in San Pedro:
Fare and Transfer Passengers: 59.92%
Passenger Revenue: 59.47
Car Miles: 77.06
Port MacArthur, located on Pacific Ave. about the midpoint of this line, provided much business for cars, which in 1927 were four 200 Class one-man vehicles, but Birneys in later years.
A short, winding and scenic bit of private right of way carried the cars
over the crest of the hill at the Point, bringing them out on top of Point Fermin where they terminated at Pacific & Carolina St., opposite the park. In later years, serious earth slippages at the outer terminus forced the cars to turn back about a block east.
PE cars not only competed with paralleling bus routes, but did so at a higher fare. It is remarkable that this line survived as long as it did,
but the end came on October 1, 1934. The tracks from 6th & Pacific to the park were removed in 1935 and 1936.
La Ramble Line: Same as Pt. Fermin Line to 6th & Pacific, thence north to Pacific to 5th, west on private way and La Alameda to Bandini, north to Santa Cruz.
As of 1926, it accounted for the following percentages of business in the categories:
Fare & Transfer Passengers 38.53%
Passenger Revenue 30.15
Car MIles: 20.81
This line was 1.52 miles in length and the running time was 9 minutes. As of 1927, two cars of the 200 Class were assigned, one man operated.
La Rambla was fortunate in that it did not have any bus competition; thus while not as heavy a line as Point Fermin, it was the last line to survive, being abandoned on January 23, 1938. This line was built in 1905-6.
As of 1911, this line operated from 4th & Palos Verdes via 4th, Front, 6th, Pacific, 5th and private way to La Alameda and First. In 1915 its downtown terminus became 6th & Palos Verdes and in October, 1918, it was extended to the PE Station at 5th & Front.
Certain other lines were operated in San Pedro by PE as part of its local
Crescent Ave. Line: Known also as the Beacon Ave.-Palos Verdes Line, this line was opened on March 1, 1906 and was abandoned about 1915.
Beginning at 5th & Beacon Streets., this line operated via Beacon, 13th, Palos Verdes and Crescent Ave. to 22nd St., a distance of 1.19 miles, all single track and all in streets.
14th St. Line: 14th St. had PE tracks on it from the Harbor front all the way to Gaffey ST., a distance of 1.88 miles, of which 0.23 was double tracked. That part from Pacific to Gaffey was originally part of the Pacific Ave.(later Point Fermin) Line, and was abandoned in 1915 with all cars thereafter going to the Point. That part between Pacific and the harbor front was operated as part of the Outer Harbor Line until that line was rerouted on October 6, 1916. The unused rails remained in place until
1936! This line was built in 1903-1905.
5th St. Line: On Pacific, from 5th to 3rd, 0.18 miles, all single track of of 1914. Passenger service unknown.
Outer Harbor Line: As of 1911, this line ran from 4th & Palos Verdes via
4th, Front, 6th, Pacific, 14th, and San Pedro St. to the Outer Harbor, terminating at the inner end of the large fill where a submarine base was later located. On October 6, 1916, the line was rerouted, thereafter operating entirely on private way from the PE Station through the railroad yards to the Outer Harbor terminus. This line was abandoned on April 21, 1924. For many years it had but a single car assigned to it and was an extremely informal operation.
Narrow Gauge: This interesting little line was a shuttle between Ancon & Bay Streets. to the PE Station at 5th & Front and served as a shuttle connection with the San Pedro via Gardena Line.
CAR ASSIGNMENTS: San Pedro, being a small system, had for the most part
a mediocre lot of city cars:
1911: Three of the 110 Class.
1913: Three of the 100 Class.
1914: Three of the 120 Class.
1915: One of the 1 Class, four 120s and one 400.
1916: Three 120s.
1918: Three 120s two 400s.
1920: One 200, one 400, four 410s.
1922: Four 120s, one 400, one 200.
1924: Six 120s.
1925: Three 120s, six 200s.
1928: Two 200s, Five 340 Class Birneys.
1929: One 200, five 340's
1931: Five 340s.
1933: Four 340s.
1936: Two 340s.
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