TIMEPOINTS VOL 17 NO 8  August, 1959





After all the rumors that have been flying around concerning the sale of Pacific Electric’s PCC cars to South America over the past few years truth to the rumors has finally come.  A South American buyer has bought the cars for use there.  No one knows just yet where they will be used but things seem to indicate that they will go to Buenos Aires to join the other ex-PE cars of the 732-759 and 1100 class.

It was learned that all thirty had been purchased, disproving an earlier theory that only eight were going abroad.  The price was not disclosed.

The cars are hauled from the subway at night and are loaded on trucks of the Owl Trucking Company, the same firm that removed the 12 5100s in 1956.

In the morning the trucks leave carrying two cars at a time (one per truck) up Beverly to Alvarado and via Alvarado, Hoover, South Figueroa, Coast Highway, and Alameda to the dock where the cars were loaded aboard ships with four on each end.  The first car loaded was 5023, followed by 5022, 5013, 5002, 5028, 5003, 5006 and 5004.  That completes the loading of cars as we go to press.  As can be seen by the list in the March TIMEPOINTS which shows the order in which the cars were stored in the subway, the cars were not put on board ship in the order of delivery to the dock.  The cars left the subway in the same order as in storage.

All windows that were broken or cracked were removed and boarded up.  The cars were washed down before leaving.  Loading will continue for some time as only ten cars have been loaded so far.  (Refer to March issue for the order in which they left the subway.  Ed.)



From now on all cars that come in to the shops for a class ‘C’ inspection will have a new feature added, a sealed beam headlight.  The sealed beam light is considered to be superior to the headlights now used on the cars.  So far the first and only car with this improved method of illumination is 3025.



On Friday July 17th the westbound track of a new shoo-fly was opened with the eastbound track seeing service on July 21st.

Here is a chronology of what took place in the wee small hours of July 17, when the westbound track was placed in service from an eye witness report by your Associate Editor.

12:40 AM               Last car, 3008, also last over old track passed 7th & Boyle inbound.  East end of “R” line dead at this time with owl cars turning back at 7th & Central and connecting with “R” buses.

12:50                       First rail lifted on the inside on the Boyle end.  First bus 6949 passes.

12:51                       Second inside rail lifted.

1:06                         Lower rails removed.  Lower wire installed.

1:15                         Second shuttle bus, 6032 passes.

1:17                         Relay rail was re-laid with constant spiking most of the time at the 7th Street end.  This continued until about 1:35.

1:37                         First rail laid on Boyle Ave.

1:45                         All rail in.

3:00                         Guard rails cut with torch.  Finishing touches added.  Blasting in the street completed.

4:11                         First car passes outbound and returns a half-hour later to be the first on the new shoo-fly.  Its number was 3102.  Second car over detour was 3023.  The eastbound track was put into service four days later in much the same way.

Official sources state that the shoo-fly will remain in service for one year.



At 5pm..the height of the rush hour--and at 7th & Broadway--the center of the business district--car 3120 refused to go any further under its own power last July 20th.  Traffic became snarled and streetcars on lines ‘J’, ‘R’ and ‘S’ eastbound began backing up while everyone waited for the emergency truck (known as a “Big Bertha”, Ed.) to arrive.  Some 15 minutes elapsed before Bertha arrived, and after some stop and go difficulty, managed to haul the 3120 down 7th to Central and out of the way of the other cars.  The breakdown made hash out of the schedules, which resulted in numerous special pull-outs from the barn to restore shattered service on the three lines affected.



Friday evening rail service on the ‘J’ Line of the narrow-gauge system was interrupted when the wire broke on Santa Fe Ave. between 27th and 28th Streets on July 24th.

The break occurred on the northbound track in the industrial city of Vernon.  By coincidence track crews were working on the same track just 200 feet north.

Car 3075 was the first to be delayed, followed shortly by a pull-in car.  The two cars sat for 20 minutes while line crews tackled the emergency.

In the meantime a supervisor had been working on a rerouting for northbound ‘J’ cars and sent orders for the two cars to back track to Vernon Ave.  There both, and several subsequent inbound cars, were sent downtown via Vernon, Avalon to 54th, where they wyed, thence via Avalon and “S” Line to Seventh where it rejoined the ‘J’ Line and continued through downtown.

The rerouting had made the 3075 about an hour late.  Since it was an early owl, it was relayed with a relief car near Pico & Grand.



Crossing gates were installed at the Florence Ave. crossing of the four tracks in July.  The new gates with flashing lights replace the old wig-wags and the flagman who was discharged of his duties.  The wig-wags and switchman’s shack were removed soon after the gates were installed.  The gates eliminate a great hazard as the buildings are extended right up to the tracks at the Florence crossing thus cutting down vision.


SHORTS  AND  BRIEFS.............................

PE track crews were seen working on the four-tracks at the Gage Ave. cross-over in late July.  They were replacing ties on the inbound tracks.

Track work on Broadway between 5th and 6th was in progress July 17th.

Combo 1546 left Fairbanks August 8th for the OET museum at Perris.

The 7th Street sub-station in Long Beach may see service again.  It sits beside the track that leads from Morgan to Fairbanks and since there are a number of 3-car trains that go by there it is felt that the sub is needed as the power is weak.

Watts cars 5122 and 1808 were seen sitting on Harbor belt track about a half-mile from the scrap yard on Terminal Island.  These three cars were included in the list of cars to be scrapped in last month’s issue.  The blimps that were on the scrap list have already arrived at National Metals and work on dismantling them is finished.

Rumor has it that the carhouse building at Division One will be razed.  The reason for this is that PE is going to trade land with the MTA so that the Authority will have all their property together.

The cross-over at 11th and Figueroa is no longer useable as the switch point at the southbound track has been removed.



Line car 9224 (ex-00164) spent several days during the latter part of July on the viaduct behind the Main Street Station (most railfans would like to believe that the viaduct is really the front of the station, Ed.)  in extensive work on the overhead.  Conversation with the line crews revealed that all span and guy wire will be completely renewed.  The trolley wire will not be replaced as it is felt to be in good condition.  (Correspondent’s Note: This is a major undertaking and would lend credence to rumors that the Long Beach Line is here to stay.)



The Riverside Drive bridge and Fletcher Drive trestle on the abandoned Glendale-Burbank rail line will soon be completely gone.  The concrete section in the middle of the trestle was taken down in late July and all that remains is the wooden structure on the west side. The wooden structure on the East was dismantled soon after the concrete portion.  The Riverside Drive bridge was completely dismantled by mid-July.



IN  THE  EAST---D.C. Transit

DC Transit has scrapped all the remaining 1000s (except 1053 which was held out for railfan use on the system) and one PCC, #1118.  All were scrapped at the now defunct Eckington car house during the last week in June.  The cars were cut in half at the center door and shipped by truck to the old Benning car barn yards and stacked in a junk pile.  No other cars are being scrapped at present.  However, it appears likely that another 180 cars are earmarked for scrapping in the near future to make room for the closing of the Northern car house and possibly the Navy Yard carhouse as well.

(Correspondent’s Note: It seems that Chalk intends to maintain his reputation of doing things fast that have to be done.  Prospects are that the rail system will fold by 1961, two years earlier than required.  This change in pace began when Chalk realized his trolleys were doomed.)




The Senate has approved a repeal of the 10% transportation tax on all passenger fares.  This action must be ratified by the House and must yet be signed by the President.  The move would affect many LAMTA lines.  At present all fares over 60 cents are subject to the tax.

In the face of rail abandonments, the National Capital Planning Commission and National Capital Reform Planning Council have presented a plan to President Eisenhower for a $565 million freeway, bus and rail system.

The plan calls for 66 miles of express bus routes on radial freeways and 33 miles of rail rapid transit.


SEATTLE- The Central Association of Seattle has urged immediate action on a rapid transit system in the Seattle area.


TORONTO- The first contract for the new Bloor-Danforth-University subway has been awarded by TTC.  The contract calls for 22,000 tons of cast iron from tunnel liners at a cost of $3,867,972.


CHICAGO-- Work has begun to complete the permanent right-of-way on the Congress Expressway rapid transit line of CTA from Lockwood Ave. to Des Plaines.  The new line work should be completed soon. 


BOSTON-- The 9.5 mile Highland branch to Riverside opened July 4th, and riding has been beyond expectations.  On Monday July 4th, 22,000 persons rode between 6AM and midnight.  Last year, just before abandonment, the Boston & Albany carried 1,000 persons daily.  The success has caused worries about equipment.  MTA may be looking for more used PCCs soon.