TIMEPOINTS VOL 17 NO 5  May, 1959



Feature Article:


Our survey of the Los Angeles Metropolitan area has been directed primarily toward determination of the extent of needs for mass rapid transit.  In the course of our work, we have accumulated a great deal of information with respect to the requirements of the area for mass transportation in all its aspects.  We consider it appropriate, therefore, to submit to the Authority recommendations which are applicable to the entire scope of MTA operation.


FIRST . . .

Our origin and destination studies have indicated a sizeable volume of local movements, i.e., movements of short length and only moderately concentrated as to volume and route, which constitute a potential for bus service.  (Even when we finally get a sizeable rapid transit system, buses will still be with us, in large quantities; Ed.)  We recommend continued analysis of these routes and schedules and establishment of new routes with a view toward optimum matching of supply of service with demand for service.


SECOND . . .

Our surveys have indicated various medium or long haul movements where for mass transit, does appear worthy of exploration for possible express bus operation.  We recommend that the Authority continue to explore fully all movements which appear to justify express bus routes and exploit to the maximum the freeway system for such express operations.

We recommend that the Authority proceed at this time with engineering studies to determine in each case appropriate location of line and station, type of facilities and equipment to be provided, and estimates of construction cost sufficient, in comparison with estimates of revenues and expenses, to indicate the feasibility of the lines described below.

The following four corridors are believed to be the most promising for rapid transit out of all the corridors studied.  These four are the following:  Wilshire Corridor, Long Beach Corridor, San Bernardino Corridor, and Reseda Corridor via Cahuenga and Wilshire.



This corridor runs from the central business district as do all the corridors.  (The term ‘corridor’ is used in this work as the area in which each different route could possibly be built.)  From the downtown area, henceforth designated LACBD, paralleling the San Bernardino Freeway to West Covina.  This corridor currently has a relatively heavy volume of potential travel throughout its length.  The corridor penetrates an area which is undergoing a very raid rate of growth.  The travel time advantage which could be achieved by the use of rapid transit in the corridor is very significant.  While the corridor is served throughout its length by freeway, the congestion during peak hours in the westerly ten mile section of the freeway demonstrates the advantages which rapid transit could provide.  Additionally, there is a possibility of acquisition of right of way at relative low cost, compared with other corridors, through usage of the median strip of the San Bernardino Freeway.



This corridor runs from the LACBD to Long Beach via Huntington Park, Lynwood, and North Long Beach.  The corridor itself is several miles east of the present rail right of way.  Potential volume through this corridor is relatively high.  The profile diagram shows a potential traffic pattern of over 150,000 for a distance of seven miles from the inner end of the corridor.  Further, we believe it essential to give consideration to this corridor since it already contains an MTA rail service which deserves further study as to possibilities for adaptation to modern rapid transit.



This route would use the same corridor as the Wilshire rapid transit line to about Highland Ave., Highland being in the center of the corridor which is about a mile wide, thence leaving the Wilshire corridor turning north though Hollywood and into Cahuenga Pass.  The corridor generally follows Lankershim after leaving the pass.  The route swings slightly to the west, running through North Hollywood, and following Vanowen to the end of the line a mile or so west of Reseda Blvd.

A rapid transit line following this corridor would provide a link between the rapidly growing San Fernando Valley and that part of Los Angeles lying south of the Santa Monica mountains, which appears vital to continued growth of the Valley as an integral part of the city.  This corridor takes advantage of the Wilshire corridor to provide:

 (a) A line between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, and downtown Los Angeles, with less route mileage overall and consequently lower capital costs than would result from a line running directly between Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles.

 (b)  A direct route between the San Fernando Valley and Hollywood and the areas along Wilshire from La Brea eastward (the corridor extends that far west; Ed.)

 (c)  A fast route between the western San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, which have a community interest as demonstrated by the origin and destination studies.

Other corridors studies are named below.  Space does not permit describing their characteristics or recommendations for them as stated in the report.  Even if they were not set apart as the most promising routes, they are nevertheless still promising future rapid transit routes.  They are:  Pasadena, San Gabriel, Santa Ana, Inglewood, Pico Blvd., Reseda via Sunset and Cahuenga, San Fernando via Sunset and Cahuenga, and San Fernando via Glendale.  The names of these corridors are names used to tell them apart and do not necessarily mean that the route would go all the way to the town named.

Not mentioned in the report is the fact that C&C also recommended one type of rapid transit for all lines, i.e., if monorail was chosen, it would be used on all routes.  (It looks as though Los Angeles is on the way to getting started on rapid transit; that is if all the studies still upcoming are ever completed--Ed)




Assemblyman Charles Wilson has introduced a bill which if passed, would mean an end to all chartered bus and streetcar movements of MTA.  Also, the bill would force MTA to raise fares to recover the lost income.  The MTA states it will lose some $150 thousand by discontinuing the service.

Quoting an MTA spokesman: “We must derive some revenue from our equipment in off peak hours by chartering it or we’re not doing our job to provide low-cost public transportation.  We shall continue to operate charter service until ordered not to by the Supreme Court.  The next thing they will do is knock out the race track ‘Flyer’ and that will be an additional loss to be recovered elsewhere.

The reason the bill was introduced is, as Wilson states, that MTA charter service was threatening smaller charter bus lines’ business.  MTA retaliated by stating that their charter rates were the same as any other company and is in fair competition with them.  MTA also labels the bill ‘unconstitutional’.

Railfans should remember that if the bill is passed, it would end all chances of any more of the enjoyable excursions on Los Angeles streets.

As a final note, the MTA will very likely take the whole measure to court.  The regular patrons will also look with disfavor if the bill is passed for the fares will show a substantial increase.



The streetcar and bus operators of the MTA voted unanimously for the BRT as their new bargaining agent May 14th.  All that remains now is to integrate the two unions.  The Amalgamated Workers will be under BRT rules.  Seniority will merge.



As reported in the April, TIMEPOINTS, the trackage on Ocean Park Ave. in Long Beach is in the process of relocation.  This is necessitated due to a new section of the Long Beach freeway which will parallel part of the rails where they swing off of Ocean Ave. and into Morgan Yard.  The relocation itself, will go as far as the S.P. circular bridge branch that continues to Fairbanks Yard.

By the end of April the line had been single-tracked from the foot of Ocean Ave., the outbound track being put out of service.  Sometime in the early part of May the single track was reversed at the Morgan lead to the outbound track and the inbound one from Fairbanks was reportedly to be abandoned permanently.  LATL track crews were seen May 8th removing the switch where the double track used to turn into single on the right-of-way to Fairbanks.  The infamous puzzle switch at the Morgan lead has been removed.  It was one of the few single point double slips in existence.

The present picture shows the following heading north.  First, the single track from Ocean is the inbound track. --without the aid of special work--and leads to a switch, the left leg of which heads into Morgan Yard replacing the double slip, the other leg continues up Ocean Park Ave and on to Fairbanks.

The manholes in the street (O.P. Ave.) have been raised six feet which indicates that the street will eventually be paved to the same height.

No work has started yet on relocation of Morgan Yard itself.



As a surprise move, Ralph Merritt resigned Monday, May 11th from his post of executive director of the MTA.  He had asked the MTA board to start looking for a successor six months ago.

His reason for resignation reportedly was not because of all the opposition from the LA Board of Supervisors and the Assemblymen at the state capital.  He had been accused of mismanaging the MTA and of not making any improvements in service.

In a letter of resignation to the Authority, Merritt gives his reason for resigning: “The first and most important year of Authority responsibility has now been completed with a record of sound financing and successful operations.”  In other words, Merritt had announced several months ago that he would retire after the first year of operation.  Replacing Merritt will be Fred S. Dean.



Wire is down on Central Ave. from the wye at Wilde to Second St.  Also down on this newly abandoned section of emergency trackage is wire at Main St. where it crosses the t-c overhead and at the curve at Second and Broadway.  New hangers have been installed at the Wilde Street wye.  All places on Second Street not mentioned above, still retain overhead.

*  *  *  *  *

All special work at 12th and San Pedro has been removed.......The crossover at 7th and Los Angeles St. is now unusable as the chain has been removed from the westbound switch which is set for straight ahead.  The switch at the eastbound track is still usable...........

All narrow-gauge work equipment is currently under the roof at South Park.  The four pieces of M/W rail cars are all that are left of hundreds in the days of LARy.  The cars are #9310, a rail grinder which hasn’t been used for over three years, #9225, a crane which is usually kept at Vernon Yards and used regularly, #9350, a tower car, and #9550, the South Park switcher which is kept there permanently.  All cars except for the crane have received the MTA herald.  #9550 has been painted green for some time..........

*  *  *  *  * * *

Cars seen in new paint this month are the following: 3017, 3076, 3123.......It has been noticed that quite a few big ‘P’s’ are sporting repainted anti-climbers on both ends.  Many of the P2 cars that are still painted yellow are getting large spots of touchup on all sides.  These are quite noticeable as the original paint job is faded and dirty.  Why these cars aren’t just completely repainted in green instead of the patchwork job is not known.

*  *  *  *  *  *

The Riverside Drive bridge on the abandoned Glendale-Burbank line is being torn down. The Fletcher Drive bridge will soon meet the same fate.........

MTA is installing split signs on some of their #6300 series buses.  One wonders if the PCCs will every get this double sign arrangement on the head sign.



On Saturday May 9th at about 7:30 in the evening, an operator on the “P” line was robbed at gunpoint for $30.16.  Since the operator, who was starting inbound from Dozier loop with #3130, had to wait for the police to come, two cars finally were tied up behind #3131 at 1st and Rowan.

Of the two, only one car was actually in service.  The other being #1450, which was also heading into town with a crowd of railfans aboard.  After fifteen minutes, #3131 started off once again with #1450 and #3160 following.



Car #1802 returned from Fairbanks Yard last month with many refinements not usually done to red cars when they are repaired.  Among the things that made the car so deluxe are its eight new wheels and rehabilitation of the trucks.  On the interior, there is found repainted grab-rails at the conductor’s station in the middle of the car and at the front door on the north. The new paint shows what paint can do to enhance the car.  The new wheels add much to its riding qualities.  A surprising thing  itself is that the car had not been in operating condition since the first of 1958 and had all its windows broken out.  (Maybe the MTA is getting a kinder feeling toward its red cars).



Last month we stated that shop switcher 9550 had not been off company property for over 50 years prior to the H3 switching.  The record book shows that 9550 made at least one trip to old Division 2 (across 54th Street) during the war to switch cars.  A photograph in the Ray Younghans collection shows the old car pulling the 1288 on the ladder track after having an accident on the “S” line.



Now that MTA is running the local transit business, bids must be submitted when any new equipment is purchased.  (This is contrary to the NCL-J.L. Haugh method heretofore used.)  So it was last month when MTA ordered 100 buses, 75 city, 25 interurban.  When the bids were finally received, the low bidder was GM.  At first, it was found that Mack had the lowest-per-vehicle cost.  But after analysis, the cost of equipment to bring the Macks up to GM standards would be more expensive.



Another famous class of cars entered history as the last of the LARY  H’s, car #1450, made its final run Saturday May 9th.  A crowd of over 50 were aboard the car witnessing the passing of another era.  Some came from as far away as the Bay area for the trip.

Although the trip was to officially start at South Park Shops, the car had to deadhead form Division 20, where it has been stored for two weeks previous, to the shops were the large crowd boarded.

The car performed beautifully on the line for its new owner, Ray Ballash.  It seems the shop men did an excellent job of restoring #1450 to operating condition, (even down to repainting the steps and treadles).

The beautiful weather encouraged picture taking at most points along the daylight part of the trip.

All out-of-service trackage and most of the regular operating routes were covered with the exception of West Third and West Pico.

Many incidents prevailed to keep the trip running late.  First, the group was stopped by a funeral procession on 54th Street en route to South Park Shops.  Later in the evening, the group was again detained about 20 minutes at First and Rowan  when the motorman of the regular car ahead was held up at gun point.

The car finally arrived back at Shop Park at 9:00pm.  With the arrival at the shops, another final run was completed.

As a final note in passing, it was called to our attention that an interesting event had taken place on the trip.  Motorman Al Styffe was handed the bill of sale for the car to look at while the trip was in progress.  Thus, this is the first time in history that the operator of a car has held the bill of sale for that car while operating it.

It was noticed when #1450 arrived back at South Park that it and #1423 were all that was left on the property of the H3's and H4's as all others had already left for Terminal Island.

Many thanks are given to motorman and Association member A.W. Styffe who operated the trip and to Emery Marks and Richard Ritterband of the ‘Golden West Railfans’ for planning and sponsoring a truly enjoyable trip.





In a form letter sent to many interested railfan and museum organizations, the Johnston Traction Company management announces:

“Dear Rail Fans:

This summer will be the last for running streetcars as we are changing over to trackless trolleys in the early part of the fall.

Those of you who are interested in hiring the road can do so at the old rate of $9.00 an hour.  Most any time is convenient for us but we would prefer Saturdays or Sundays.

The old streetcars that have been used by rail fans for the past nine or ten years will still be available.  We have many reservations for Saturdays and Sundays so may we hear from you in the near future as we would like to schedule them early.

Yours very truly, JOHNSTON TRACTION COMPANY, Roy Williams.”

If you are taking a trip back east this year don’t miss out on this amazing little rail system.  If you would like to charter a car, JTC’s address is 343 main Street, Johnston, Penn.



The MTA has unveiled plans for construction of a $21 million subway.  The tube would be nearly a mile long and would parallel the Boylston Street Tube.  A bill has been filed with the legislature to authorize the project.  The link would run beneath Stuart St.  The completion of the tube would enable substitution of buses for streetcars on Tremont St.  The Stuart link would connect with the present Tremont St. subway about a block south of the Boylston station.

The Boston Old Colony Transportation committee has approved a plan to replace railroad commuter service on the Old Colony line with rapid transit.



The NYCTA has approved a $6 million dollar expenditure to establish a new express station at Lexington Ave. and 59th St. on the East Side Line.

The board of Estimate has approved sale contracts to sell the NYCTA Subway power stations to a private firm, Consolidated Edison.



This community will lose most of its trolley buses when 14 new motor coaches are delivered in the near future.



CTA announces a time schedule for elevation of the ground-level section of the Lake Street  r-t line.  The elevations, making use of C&NW right-of-way, should be completed by October 1, 1961.  The elevation will eliminate 22 hazardous grade crossings.



What next, rockets to Mars?  The D.C. Transit System has had its proposal to run limousine service from New York City to Washington approved by the ICC.  Fares would be: $12.50 one way, $20 round trip.



The OTC has ordered 32 more buses from GM of Canada to complete its streetcar abandonment program.



Japan has started building a super-railway for trains so fast they will need radar-operated brakes.

Officials said the new second Tokyo-Osaka mainline will cost nearly $500 million but when completed in five years will permit running the world’s fastest trains--if some technical bugs can be worked out.

Declaring the project epoch-making, government railway President Shinji Sogo Monday broke ground for the line’s longest tunnel, five miles, under the nearby foothills of Mount Fuji.

The new 300-mile shortcut has been engineered like an American freeway, with the gentlest of curves, to permit electric trains top speeds of 156 mph.

The National Railway said it hopes to run three-hour Tokyo-Osaka expresses at an average of 100 mph.  Fastest trains on the present 343 mile line, jammed with more than 300 trains a day, make the run in 6 hours 50 minutes at average and top speeds of 53 and 74.4 mph.

Beside being 43 miles shorter than the old, the new line will be Japan’s first railway of standard Western (4 foot 8.5 inch) guage.  Japanese engineers said a big problem is designing automatic brakes, probably with radar, to stop trains going too fast for engineers to read the signals.

Also, more effective brakes must be developed, they said, for the air brakes now used would require 2.5 miles to stop a train running at 156 mph.  Wind resistance is also expected to be a problem.