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San Pedro via Torrance Line
SAN PEDRO VIA TORRANCE LINE
This line was the first interurban line to San Pedro. In later years it was primarily a freight line, serving important industrial installations in the vicinity of Torrance. It was also the only connection between the PE system
and its great shops at Torrance. In fact, the city of Torrance was laid out
as an industrial city and depended completely upon this line for rail access.
ROUTE: Trains of this line followed the Long Beach Line to Watts, then the
Redondo via Gardena Line to South Los Angeles. from this point trains continued west on the El Segundo Line to Delta(Vermont Ave.), where they turned south to Strawberry Park (here rejoining the Redondo via Gardena Line), Gardena and Hermosillo. At Hermosillo trains turned southward and passed through Torrance and Harbor City before arriving at San Pedro where
connection was made with the West Basin Line.
MILEAGES: Los Angeles: 0.00
Slauson Junction.: 4.27
South LA: 9.88
West Athens: 11.02
Strawberry Park: 13.09
Harbor City: 21.36
San Pedro 25.77
HISTORY: For historians of segments between Los Angeles & Watts, please refer to Long Beach Line. For historians of segments between Watts and South Los Angeles, see Redondo via Gardena Line.
Trackage between South Los Angeles and Delta was constructed by New PE in 1912.
From Delta to Strawberry Park, built by California Pacific in 1901.
From Strawberry Park to Hermosillo, built by Redondo Railway in 1889-1890. California Pacific also built through from Strawberry Park to Hermosillo in
1901 but on a slightly different route; the route followed after 1911 was that of the old Redondo Railway.
From Hermosillo to McKinley, built by California Pacific in 1901. Certain interruptions followed, and the first California Pacific car did not enter San Pedro until January, 1903.
Above trackage was 3'6" gauge when New PE obtained it in the Great Merger, 1911.
New PE at once standard gauged this line, opening it as a 4'8.5" line through to San Pedro on March 19, 1912.
The loop line through Torrance Townsite was built in May, 1912, with additional trackage installed in May, 1914. This left the original line at Humphrey's(Dolanco Junction.), rejoining the main line at Ocean Ave.
Passenger service over this line was abandoned on January 15, 1940. Tracks
have been retained for freight service.
EQUIPMENT: Basic EQUIPMENT for this line during most of its existence was the 800 Class. However, both 500 and 1000 Class cars were also used. As of 1928, fifteen cars were required.
TRACK: For that portion of this line between Los Angeles and Watts, refer to Long Beach Line.
For that portion of the line between Watts and South Los Angeles, refer to Redondo via Gardena Line.
For that portion of the line between South Los Angeles and Delta, refer to El Segundo Line.
From Delta to a junction with the West Basin Line rail was 70 lb. on redwood ties; ballast was rock from Delta to Ocean Ave., then gravel to the West Basin Line.
This line was entirely single track.
ELECTRICAL FACILITIES: In addition to the substations between Los Angeles and Watts(see Long Beach Line) this line used the following substations:
No. 16: Strawberry Park
No. 32: Torrance
No. 1: San Pedro
The Torrance Substation was located in the shop grounds and provided energy for the Torrance Shops as well as for this line.
CAR STORAGE: Cars were stored at 7th St. surface tracks, L.A. and at 1st St. and 5th St., San Pedro.
FREIGHT: This line was as strong in freight as it was weak in passenger service. For the three years 1935-36-37, this line ranked high, being the
seventh heaviest freight line on the entire PE system(it was exceeded in order by Watts-LA Harbor. San Bernardino, El Segundo, Hollywood, LA-Watts,
and Whittier-La Habra-Fullerton).
Average freight revenue per mile of line during the same period was $9,716.
Factories in Torrance accounted for most of this line's freight. Only other
points of even minor importance were Dolanco and Harbor City. Torrance was
fifth among PE's seven stations which did business of $100,000 or more during the 1935 to 1937 period; it was exceeded by El Segundo, LA, LA-Harbor, and Wingfoot LA.
Torrance was conceived and built as an industrial city in the mid-teens. It was selected by such heavy industries as Columbia Steel, and was the location of PE's multi-million dollar shops, as well as numerous other imposing industrial establishments. PE spur tracks extended into a very large number of plants, each of which brought lucrative freight billings. Most of this freight moved toward LA.
PE had monopoly of Torrance business until 1929, when the Santa Fe line to the Harbor was constructed; it passed through the western and southern sections of Torrance, missing the heavy industries but creating new facilities which have attracted a number of newer plants.
World War II brought aluminum and artificial rubber plants, among others; these were served by PE primarily and brought new and important business to this line.
PASSENGERS: (Fare and Transfer)
Year Passengers Car Miles Revenue
1913 497,895 314,738 $ 46,554
1914 526,446 370,191 55,819
1916 326,947 200,320 35,597
1918 726,633 322,059 80,982
1920 878,347 522,993 124,041
1922 681,741 425,481 120,081
1924 676,022 423,783 143,567
1926 459,613 390,600 93,838
1928 431,268 371,615 82,889
1930 332,535 346,967 64,791
1932* 158,357 239,326 31,542
1934 105,181 160,144 17,345
1936 124,240 161,568 18,892
1938 101,461 156,138 16,589
*Shuttle service began.
Although numerous small settlements were encountered along this line, in general its territory was sparsely settled and agricultural and industrial in nature. Most of the through passengers between LA and the harbor area traveled via the San Pedro via Dominguez Line which was much more direct and considerable faster. A fairly large percentage of passengers handled by this line travelled between Hermosillo and Torrance, and between San Pedro and Harbor City. As of 1932, but two through trips from Hermosillo(where connections were made with Redondo via Gardena cars) to San Pedro were scheduled, and but 13 shuttle trips between Hermosillo and Torrance, daily except Sunday. Traffic characteristics on this line in terms of load factors were extremely unsatisfactory in the '30's, particularly in connection with the Hermosillo-San Pedro shuttle service where the load factor was but 7% based upon a full weekday of travel.
In numerous instances a 56-seat car ran on this line with but 2,3 or 4 passengers on board.
MISCELLANEOUS: The Torrance Shop Train was a unique fixture on this line.
Running mornings and evenings from 6th & Main to PE shops, it handled
company employees only, although numerous unqualified passengers were known to ride. It usually had second-line interurban cars assigned to it until the '50's, when scrappings brought the Shop Train up to par with the best used elsewhere on the diminished system.
Connecting the Torrance Shops with the Torrance PE Station via the single
track line was the "jigger", an ancient wood California car of the 160 Class; the jigger ran only as needed and was retired without rail replacement about 1040.
Because it served the Torrance Shops; this line undoubtedly had a higher
percentage of deadhead cars operating over it than any other interurban line. Certainly rail EQUIPMENT operated over this line to and from the
shops was as diversified as it was possible to achieve--Birneys and 1200s
and everything in between.
For the same reason, this line was the first to receive new cars and the last to bear the weight of old cars.
Between Watts and San Pedro this line had no crossings at grade with other
A double-light circuit controlled the Torrance Shops branch, with the light
circuit switches located at Torrance and at the shops.
The Carson Cutoff, originally the main line, was removed from service about 1940 and used only to store cars and for switching movements.
Meets were made at Torrance Station; trains required to take siding used the PE Shops branch.
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