TIMEPOINTS VOL 17 NO 6  June, 1959






A defective reverser mechanism resulted in one of the few traction accidents ever to occur on the viaduct of the Main Street Station.  Blimp 1542 (ex-PE 434) was the car, track 6 the place, Sunday May 24th in the early evening the date and time.

It all began when the regular crew went to prepare the 1542 for its trip to Long Beach.  The car would not function properly, so the mechanic at Watts carhouse was called to the scene.  He arrived and looked over the situation, then decided to do some testing.

Putting the ‘reverser handle’ in forward position, he attempted to start the car.  Instead of going slowly forward, it suddenly and abruptly jumped backwards.  Though only about seven feet from the end of the track, the 1542 gained enough momentum to cause the following damage:

Plowed through and totally dismantled the rail bumper, totaled the dash sign rack, tore out half the guard railing, demolished the stub signal (which shorted out the entire plant on the viaduct thus delaying all trains), and bent half a dozen new dash signs.

Self-inflicted damage included: bent steps, twisted coupler, pilot torn almost completely off, and rear trolley pole bent.  The 1542 topped it off by grounding itself out so that it had to be towed from the scene.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the incident was the indifference of patrons who had to walk around the damage to board a substitute car on track 5.  About three of the 50-plus riders noticed the damage.

A visit to Fairbanks Yard on June 1st showed that the physical damage to the car has been repaired.  It appeared that mechanical work was still in progress.



Memorial Day saw two car trains heading outbound to Long Beach during the morning while all inbound traffic was handled by single cars.  By afternoon the situation had been reversed with packed multiple-unit service to Los Angeles.

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The three tracks furthest from the street at Morgan Yard are now out of service.  The wire is still up but the switches are rusted as well as the switch points.  The street out in from of Morgan Yard--Ocean Park Ave.--has been sealed off and vacated.  A concrete wall closes it off from Ocean Ave.  The single track pulls off of Ocean and through an entrance in the wall.

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According to a list at Fairbanks, the following cars are to be scrapped: 1521, 1526, 1527, 1539*, 1806, and 1821.  (*)...Combo; sold to OETM.  The 1806 and 5121 were originally to go for scrap with the other four 5050s in February but were hauled back to Fairbanks at the last moment.  #1808 has been out of service since November when it broke an equalizer bar.  It was never repaired.

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The ice dock at Graham Yard is being torn down.  A portion of the trolley-bus overhead at the Central and Wilde wye has a splotch of yellow paint on it so that the streetcar operators can tell which is the position wire.

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The transfer table at South Park Shops has been cut back three stalls on the east end.  The pit is being paved and the stalls involved are being made ready for bus use; thus the reason for this remodeling.  Now that the H3s are gone, there is no need for all the space at the east end of the shops.

The last two H3s on the property, 1423 and 1450, left the shops on May 28th for the OET Museum site at Perris, California.

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SPRAY GUN  DEPT.---Cars seen in the new MTA paint this month are: 3006, 3011, and 3062.  Car 3062 is the guinea pig car having many features not found on the other 163 PCCs.  The most characteristic of these being the single seats between the front and center doors.  None of the features have been changed as the result of its trip to the shops.



A small fire broke out at 4pm of June 4th in a back beam of the Division 20 trainmen’s room. 

The cause of the small blaze was believed to be due to bad electrical wiring.  It was put out soon after the fire department arrived.  The firemen chopped up most of the floorboards around the beam which was also pretty well smashed.

While all this was going on, activity around the room remained normal as operators came and left for their runs and the clerk took care of the stack of transfers behind him.  The only person in the room that was in a hurry was Al Styffe who was acting as clerk at the time and had to get all the paper money in the safe in case the fire got out of hand.  All told there were seven fire trucks at the scene.  This was in case of a flare-up as the fire had been mostly put out by the clerk with the use of the hose line in the room.



Streamliners of the ‘P’ line once more carried passengers over 11th Street between Broadway and Figueroa.

This emergency route, westbound only, went into service for less than half an hour on May 22nd as the result of an auto accident in the middle of 11th and Broadway.  In fact, the curve used by the ‘P’ cars just cleared the two involved autos.  About five cars went west on 11th Street.

It all started about 12:30pm when a station wagon, attempting to turn left to go up Broadway, hit the front end of an auto proceeding east on 11th.  The interesting fact here is that the driver of the station wagon is a streetcar operator working out of Division 20.



Blimp 1521 will not go for scrap.  Overhead is up on the ‘R’ line shoo-fly but as yet no track laid.  Other cars painted in June are 3048, 3015, and 3027.  Many Watts cars are being washed inside and out.  These cars once again look bright red like they did six years ago.  In your editor’s opinion, the solvent used is too strong for it not only removes the grime but also some of the paint.  On all the cars so far washed the black numbers are showing through and the decals are peeling off.  Regardless of this the cars are starting to get in as good condition as they were when PE had them.  Cleaned so far are: 1800, 1802, 1805, and 1809.





The steps that could be taken to keep passenger trains from going out of business were outlined by the Interstate Commerce Commission after a three-year study.  What the ICC proposes:

1. Lower State and city taxes on railroad property.

2. Have cities  manage commuter trains, paying railroads to operator them.

3. Have unions take action to reduce “feather bedding.”

4. Repeal of the 10 percent federal excise tax on passenger trains.

5. Orders to the Defense Department to use trains more in moving troops.

6. Special income tax treatment, to keep Federal Government from taking any

  savings made on State and local taxes.

7. Railroad mergers, or agreements, to reduce duplicating trains, stations.

8. Reforms in highway and airport programs that discriminate against railroads.

9. More experimenting by railroads with new types of equipment.

10. Greater efforts to lure travelers back to the rails with lower fares, better schedules.



D.C. Transit has been charged with violation of anti-trust laws by an attorney for Gray Line Sightseeing Company.

D.C. Transit contends that Gray Line and not DCT is the sightseeing giant of Washington and is not being forced out of business.

Gray Line has drafted legislation which would prohibit DCT from using any of its men and equipment for sightseeing tours.  But the District PUC has opposed this on the stand that such a law would deny DCT the use of its private property and would keep it from engaging in a business which had been the right of its predecessor, Capital Transit.

Latest unofficial word from Washington has routes 20 and 30 west of 19th Street and routes 70, 72, and 74 all going bus around or on Labor Day.  Route 20 is the scenic Cabin John line, while route 30 operates over Wisconsin Ave., and the three “seventies” operate on 7th Street, once to have become Chalk’s new rail rapid transit line.

The city of Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, recent purchaser of 50 surplus PCC cars from DC Transit, reportedly did not discover the difference between their gauge and DCT’s until the first of the cars arrived for use.  It seems Yugoslavia has a different “standard” gauge than the United States.

Even though DCT had announced differently, one more cars came out of the shop in the new paint scheme.  Since then three other cars have come out with the lower part repainted in the old colors.

Car 1101 of DC Transit is the opposite of MTA (ex-LATL) car 3062.  Whereas 3062 has only single seat on one side between the front and center doors, 1101 has double seats throughout; it being an experimental car on a system which uses the single seat on all other cars.

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LONDON--In the second phase of a conversion program, London Transport has converted 3 trolley bus routes to diesel bus operation.

SEATTLE--St. Louis Car Co. has submitted a proposal to build monorail equipment for the Century 21 World’s Fair Expo, to be held in 1961.

WINNIPEG--A recent report has recommended at $265 million, 23 mile subway network for this Canadian city of 410,787.  The report rejects expressways as “a totally inadequate solution”.  The report noted that they cost as much as subways, carry one-fifth the volume of traffic, and create extensive damage to valuable downtown property.

BALTIMORE-- BTC has adopted a new paint scheme, mint green with a dark green stripe below the windows.  No indication was given that any of the PCCs would ever receive new colors.

BOSTON-- MTA has announced that nine-mile Highland rail line will be service on July 4th.  Trains will operate on a 7-8 minute rush hour headway and total running time will be 32 minutes.  The PCC equipped line uses former Boston & Albany right-of-way.

NEW YORK-- The NYCTA will begin skip-stop service on the BMT Jamaica line on June 15th.  Only certain inbound cars will be affected.

PHILADELPHIA-- The Budd Co. is the low bidder for 270 new cars for the Frankfort-Market Subway-Elevated.