TIMEPOINTS VOL 2 NO 03 March, 1951
THE SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TRACTION REVIEW
TORRANCE SHOPS ARE CLOSED ‘PERMANENTLY’
On January 31 the famous Torrance Shops of the Pacific Electric were closed ‘permanently.’ This was a surprise move; no details are offered. Presumably, since Macy Street will soon be cut off from the rest of the system, all car repair will now be handled at West Hollywood, center of operations for the still-heavily-rail Subway-Western District.
ANGEL’S FLIGHT FRANCHISE TO BE RENEWED
The Board of Public Utilities recommended renewal of the franchise of the Angels Flight Railway February 6 to the Los Angeles City Council. The “world’s shortest railroad” will operate for another ten years (at least).
At present AFRy bids fair to outlast Pacific Electric! Perhaps this is due to AF’s lack of labor problems: the entire operation is handled by one man who sits at the top of the hill, controls two cars, and makes change and sells tickets.
The counterbalance incline was built in 1902. It serves a real need in linking decaying Bunker Hill with the hustling downtown Los Angeles area that lies at its feet.
ABANDONED TRACKS CONTINUE TO BE UPROOTED Alan Weeks
On Thursday, February 8, PE rail crane 00191 picked up the last piece of rail at San Marino, ending the Sierra Madre line. However, overhead was still up from Sierra Madre City limits to San Marino, as of February 14.
On February 6 a small crew of men removed the rail on the one-block section of private right-of-way on the Oak Knoll line by hand. Diesel engine 1322 was used one day to push the flat cars up the hill to the Hotel Huntington. A portable rented crane was used to remove the rail on a short section south of the hotel because overhead was already dead at that spot. Rail crane 00191 and freight motor 1591 entered service to remove rails on the rest of the Oak Knoll line, a task due to be completed February 20. Overhead was still all up as of February 14.
Venice Short Line rails were being removed from the streets of Santa Monica, to be reused on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, in mid-February. Rails are gone from the private right-of-way in Venice Boulevard from 2nd to 7th Avenues. All overhead is down on Hill Street and on Venice Boulevard as far west as the Burlington Substation.
ENTIRE PE NORTH DISTRICT TO GO BUS SOON
On February 14 the State of California ordered the Pacific Electric Railway to end all rail service on Aliso Street and to rip up the double tracks on that artery from the Los Angeles River to San Pedro Street.
The order was given by Charles H. Purcell, Director of the State Department of Public Works in a formal notice to PE that its franchise to operate on Aliso Street will be revoked in ninety days. Actual track removal may not take place for some months. No date for the execution was given. A PE spokesman said the carrier would comply “of course.”
Reason for the sudden demand is the development of Aliso Street into a part of the new freeway system for Los Angeles County. [Hollywood/San Bernardino/Santa Ana freeway junction] Its vehicular capacity must be greatly increased; hence the rails must go (rails that carry far larger loads with far greater efficiency in use of space than private automobiles - Ed.).
At present PE operates three rail lines on the affected trackage: the Sierra Vista local line, the Pasadena Short Line (both made one-man last October 22 in the expectancy of years of continued service) and the Monrovia-Glendora line, still using temporarily the traditional two-man 1100s, and already set for buses in September, anyway. The Short Line carries 8,000 riders daily.
Faced with the compulsory end of rails on Aliso, PE has two alternatives: (1) the construction of a costly detour, or (2) motor coach service replacing all rail service. When, on January 31, the first storm warnings came, Oscar Smith revealed the definite intention of the company to select the second alternative. PE is now momentarily expected to file for permission to wipe out all rail passenger service on its crumbling Northern District.
In effect, this order means that PE’s original entire abandonment application of early 1949 (before amendment) will be carried out, except that Watts-Bellflower, North Hollywood-Van Nuys, and Santa Monica Boulevard-West Hollywood are still rail contrary to PE’s earlier wishes.
Pasadena had strenuously objected to the use of busses on the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway), hence supporting continued rail service on the Pasadena Short Line. Details of an agreement are being worked out by which the Pasadena Short Line Bus will use Huntington Drive, and Fair Oaks Avenue even as the rail cars now do.
If, years ago, the much-talked-of “Eastern by-Pass” had been built, an elevated structure from Main Street Station to the Los Angeles River, this trouble would have never arisen, and running time would have been so reduced that PE would probably be making a decent profit on an all rail North. PE’s attempt to compromise by continuing sluggish one-man rail service on only one of its Northern lines has ended in disaster.
The Aliso Street fiasco also means that the San Bernardino Line and Macy Street Shops are isolated from the rest of the rail system.
LATE FLASH: On Feb. 20 PE applied to abandon Pasadena Short Line & Sierra Vista.
RAIL ROUTES OF YESTERYEAR #9
SAN BERNARDINO-ARROWHEAD HOT SPRINGS
Way up at the northeast corner of PE’s route map, you will see a section of what is now diesel-operated freight-only trackage extending from San Bernardino up into the foothills and ending at Arrowhead Hot Springs, a resort hotel from which mineral water is shipped out in bottles on PE freight cars.
In former years, however, this was one of PE’s regular passenger trolley lines, a bit more adventurous than most, but it carried many a guest to the hotel before the Rim O’ The World Highway penetrated to the hotel’s door on its way up the grade to Arrowhead and Big Bear.
Until around January 1920, seven round trips were made daily up the steep slope to the Springs. PE 1310 (Swett, Roster, p. 28) was the regular car, equipped with magnetic brakes. Service was 6 round trips daily in 1920, then 5 until early 1922, when raised to six again. Passenger service was entirely discontinued in July 1924, but the line was restored to activity 3 December of that year. In 1927 these trips left San Bernardino at 6.47, 8.02, and 9.30am, and at 1.02, 3.22 and 5.47 pm. Return trips left the hotel at 7.35, 8.20 and 10.14am, and 1.40, 4.25 and 6.25pm. By this time a single-truck Birney had replaced the ancient combine 1310.
In mid-1931 service was drastically slashed to one trip daily, leaving Arrowhead at 10.20am, and San Bernardino at 10.43am. This was increased to three trips daily by January 1932, leaving San Bernardino at 6.57am, 3.12 and 5.12pm, returning at 7.38am, 3.53 and 5.53pm.
The lone red Birney made its last trip sometime in August 1932. The trolley wire remained intact until 1945, when the diesels moved in. It must have been a real experience to lurch along the steep right-of-way in a Birney, up into the dry California hills on the “Mount Lowe Line” of Pacific Electric’s Eastern District.
LATL PLANS TO COMBINE THREE BUS ROUTES Alan Weeks
Los Angeles Transit Lines is planning to combine its bus lines 4, 49, and 90 into two through-routed motor coach services. This is to eliminate the downtown looping of lines 49 and 90.
Under the new scheme, line 4 will be the Melrose-Olympic line. Line 49 will become the South Figueroa - Maple Avenue route. There will be no 90-line.
Details of downtown routing and date for the change are not yet known. (Why won’t LATL give line 49 a new number in keeping with its low series for through-routed lines: line 6, say? - Ed.)
ADDENDA ET CORRIGENDA: RE: SPECIAL REFERENCE SUPPLEMENT
We’ll probably be making corrections and additions to our Special Reference Supplement on PE abandonments for some time to come. This month it’s a particularly glaring mistake, caught when your Editor perused the American Electric Railway Association magazine for December 1925.
The Subway, it seems, opened on 1 December 1925, not 7 February 1926 as the Special indicates. However, because of property entanglements concerning what is now Park Avenue, the connecting track between Glendale and Sunset Boulevards could not be placed in service until the later date. So for over two months the Glendale Line was the sole user of the new tunnel route.
Incidentally, construction work on the Subway began 3 May 1924; the same date that line “S” was extended from 68th to 77th and Central.
TIMEPOINTS EDITORIAL Laurence Veysey
TIMES AND WORDS CHANGE
The following are excerpts from the remarks of Paul Shoup, first president of the Pacific Electric Railway under S.P. management, uttered at the 1913 convention of the American Electric Railway Association. They constitute a self-explanatory editorial:
“No one wants ragged roadbed, shabby cars, irregular or infrequent service; by all, services is desired, first, last, and all of the way between; it is absolutely necessary to the development of the country.
“The electric railways... should never overlook the fact that good service is essential to their success and the only thing that will maintain for them the loyal cooperation of the public. It is essential to the development of the territory, which, in turn, is essential to create the traffic the railway must have.
“The service on interurban electric railways should be frequent, should be certain, and should take passengers to the business centers with such expedition that the suburban territory may, in a business and social way, be a part of the city’s life.
The greatest asset of any carrier is the good will of the public and the development of this feeling in the public through good service is as important as the development of the material resources of the territory served.
...The greatest asset of any carrier is the good will of the public ... through good services...
These words echo strangely in 1951. Is it possible that PE’s President himself could have uttered them, way back in the dim, prehistoric era of 1913?
PE TRIP SET FOR MAY 6; MEETING NEWS
The March meeting of the Southern California Division, ERA, will be held on Friday, March 16, downstairs at the Echo Park Recreation Center, Bellevue near Glendale Blvd. All are welcome. A valuable collection of Los Angeles Railway passes will be auctioned.
Members enjoyed an illustrated talk on the Pittsburgh Railways Co., by Lazear Israel, at the February meeting.
A Pacific Electric excursion was at that time set for May 6. Lines to be covered will include Whittier-Yorba Linda and Newport Beach. It is possible that power may be dead beyond Huntington Beach by that time, and it appears that this will be the very last passenger train ever to run on the famous water’s-edge Newport Beach Line.
Fares were set at $4.25 for SC-ERA members in good standing ten days in advance, at $4.50 to others in advance, and $5.00 on the car. A 5050 will be used, marking the first excursion ever to use this type of equipment. (More details in the April issue.)
BAY AREA ENJOYS SUCCESSFUL PE FANTRIP Mark Lees
February 11 saw BAERA invade PE using 1111 to El Segundo, Torrance, San Pedro, Wilmington, Long Beach, the Air Line, Beverly Hills, and Glendale-Burbank.
The poor cop at Hollywood and Vine just stood there with his mouth open, not knowing what to do, when we had a photo stop there. Most of the passers-by looked as if the world were coming to an end. It was really hilarious.
OUT OF THE PAST
OCEAN PARK CAR HOUSE 23 August 1950, L. Veysey
PE’s 1950 motor coach substitution program spelled death for the historic Ocean Park Car House and storage yards, as diesel buses moved in, and the ancient 950s and 1000s moved out. Still fresh in the railfan’s memory is the tang of salt air from the ocean a block away, and the dusk fog descending around the Old Woods, standing silent and aloof in the gathering gloom.
LOS ANGELES-SANTA MONICA VIA AIR LINE
Schedule, June 1927
Leave Santa Monica for Los Angeles at 6.39am; leave Los Angeles for Santa Monica at 5.35pm, daily except Sunday.
Leave Culver Junction only for Los Angeles 6.02am, 6.36, 7.38am, 5.24pm. (From 9th Avenue only), 6.00pm. Leave Los Angeles for Culver Junction only at 5.44am, 6.50, 5.10 and 6.09pm. Leave LA for 9th Avenue only at 4.42pm.
(Equipment: 3 800-class cars.)
OCEAN PARK - ALLA -INGLEWOOD LINE
Schedule, June 1927
Leave Ocean Park at 2.35pm; leave Inglewood at 3.15pm.
(Equipment: 1 200-class car)
LOS ANGELES-SANTA MONICA VIA AIR LINE
Schedule, March 1951
Leave Ocean Park 6.44am; arrive Los Angeles 7.52am.
Leave Los Angeles 5.12pm; arrive Ocean Park 6.21pm.
(Equipment 1 5050-class car)