May 31, 1953: Pacific Electric Railway Line Makes Last Run on Santa Monica Blvd

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Pacific Electric Railways West Hollywood

Today in West Hollywood transportation history, May 31, 1953, Pacific Electric Railway West Hollywood Line made its last run down Santa Monica Boulevard reports Metro Primary Sources Libraries.

The Pacific Electric Railway Company, nicknamed the “Red Cars,” was a privately owned mass transit system in Southern California consisting of electrically powered streetcars, interurban cars, and buses and was the largest electric railway system in the world in the 1920s. Organized around the city centers of Los Angeles and San Bernardino, it connected cities in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County.

The system shared dual gauge track with the 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) narrow gauge Los Angeles Railway, “Yellow Car,” or “LARy” system on Main Street in downtown Los Angeles (directly in front of the 6th and Main terminal), on 4th Street, and along Hawthorne Boulevard south of downtown Los Angeles toward the cities of Hawthorne, Gardena, and Torrance.

Pacific Electric Railway was created with Henry Edwards Huntington as principal stockholder.

Electric trolleys first appeared in Los Angeles in 1887.  In 1895 the Pasadena & Pacific Railway was created from a merger of the Pasadena and Los Angeles Railway and the Los Angeles Pacific Railway (to Santa Monica.) The Pasadena & Pacific Railway boosted Southern California tourism, living up to its motto “from the mountains to the sea.”

Old Mission Trolley streetcar of the Pacific Electric made a stop at Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, 1905.

Pacfiic Electric was sold to Southern Pacific in 1910.

In 1911 Southern Pacific combined Pacific Electric with nearly all of the interurban railways in a four-county region of Southern California, which continued operating under the Pacific Electric name.

Its passenger operations (both rail and bus) were sold to newly-formed Metropolitan Coach Lines in 1953.

The last Pacific Electric Railway was converted to buses in 1961. Parent company Southern Pacific ended Pacific Electric’s existence in 1965, folding what little millage of freight operation remained into its own operation.

Check out Pacific Electric Railway photos via Metro Library Archives:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/metrolibraryarchive/sets/72157617101374003/with/2932458584/

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Michael
Michael
1 month ago

Enjoyed this. Take a look at this piece which shows the Red Car coming out of the right away at Santa Monica and Fairfax where Whole Foods is now. https://www.cruiselinehistory.com/west-hollywoods-big-red-streetcars/

Congratulations on your great and informative news blog!