WFrom Wilmington this line (double tracked) continued through an industrial district and over the Southern Pacific's bascule-type bridge into San Pedro. This line was interurban in character and encountered little congestion except on public streets in Los Angeles.
WThis line was also used by passenger trains performing PE's famous steamship service. The most famous of all being the Catalina Specials which at one time were the heaviest trains on the entire Pacific Electric system.
WFrom Dominguez Junction south, this line double tracked and entirely on private right-of-way, paralleled Alameda Street to just north of the Pacific Coast Highway, then veered in a straight line toward Wilmington. At East Wilmington the Long-Beach-San Pedro Line joined, and at Anaheim Boulevard the Catalina Pier "A" Line branched off. The Wilmington Station was reached at Avalon Boulevard. At "B" Street the West Basin Line branched off. This line continued to Pacific Dock where the Sothern Pacific's bascule-type bridge reduced the line to single track briefly; then it entered San Pedro over a long double-track trestle, regaining the West Basin Line at 1st Street and continued on to its terminus, the PE San Pedro Station at 5th Street. Electrified trackage continued all the way out to Outer Harbor, but no extensive passenger service was ever operated beyond the PE Station.
WThe West Basin Line followed a meandering course along "B" Street to Figueroa Street, then veered its two tracks slightly to the left onto private way alongside Wilmington-San Pedro Road which it followed (joining the San Pedro via Torrance Line near Channel Street) to Gaffey Street, then via a twisting route to 1st Street and a junction with the San Pedro via Domingues Line.
WFrom the intersection of the private way and Wilmington-San Pedro Road (Avenue B, Wilmington), no fewer than three routes existed:
WThe San Pedro Line survived PE and MCL ownership only to fall victim to LAMTA; due to a great decrease in partronage the LAMTA ordered the rail service to give way to buses. The conversion took place on December 7, 1958.
|As of 1939, track between Dominguez Junction and San Pedro Station was as follows:|
|Dominguez to Anaheim Street:||90lb.||R||R|
|Anaheim Street to "B" Street:||60||R||S|
|"B" Street to ½ mile south:||90||R||R|
|½ mile so. of B to San Pedro:||60||R||S|
|(R: Redwood; R: Rock; S: Sand)|
WFrom Dominguez Jct. to San Pedro(5th Street) this line was double-tracked. Via the Bascule bridge this line enjoyed 100% private way; via the West Basin Line it ran on "B" Street on double track, 128-lb. girder rail for a distance of 1.00 miles, then via double track private way (60lb. rail) to a junction with the Bascule Bridge Line near First Street in San Pedro.
|No. 15:||San Pedro|
|No. II 43:||Wilmington No. 2 (1943)|
WEquipment servicing and repairs of a minor nature were made at First Street until 1950; afterwhich, at Torrance, 6th & Main, and finally at Fairbanks(Long Beach).
WFreight traffic to and from the Harbor was of a general nature such as canned goods, coke, sand, sulphur, lumber, wire , iron and steel, citrus fruits, bananas, and a great variety of manufactured products. For a number of years PE was the dominant carier at the Harbor, but its 51% of total carloads handled at the Harbor in 1924 dwindled to 26% as of 1938. The pre-eminent cause was the establishment of the Harbor Belt Line Railroad.
WPrior to 1929 the extensive city-owned trackage on and in the vicinity of the municipal docks and wharves on the west side of the Harbor was operated and maintained by PE under an operating agreement with the city of Los Angeles. The Union Pacific handled the east side of the Harbor under a similar agreement.
WIn order to provide equal access to the Harbor for all railroads (the Santa Fe had been frozen out) it was decided in 1929 to form a joint agency which would operate the pooled trackage of the city and railroads as a single unit and which organization should be separate and distinct from those of the four railroads (PE, SP, UP and AT&SF). Thus came about the Harbor Belt Line Railroad; it started operating on June 1, 1929; the net result has been the rise of the Santa Fe as a power at the port, mostly at the expense of PE.
WIn addition to traffic to and from the Harbor, other major originating points for freight on the San Pedro Line are Watson, Dominguez Jct., and Compton. Both Watson and Dominguez are important oil centers, while the Compton traffic is of a general nature.
|1948||(Figures not available)|
|*Best Year(1958 figures start 1/14/58 upon resumption of service after stike and go to 11/30/58 only: line abandoned 12/8/58.)|
In 1919 and 1920 the following work was accomplished.
WOn July 22nd, 1911, newspapers carried front page stories to the effect that SP would construct a huge bridge over the narrow channel connecting the Inner Harbor and the West Basin. Construction actually began shortly thereafter.
WThe new bridge was impressive; it was 187 feet long and afforded a clear channel of 185 feet for ships. It was of the type known as a "Strauss" trunnion, and lifted on pin or hinge. Electric motors lifted the ponderous span in fifty seconds, and a latch, also operated by a motor, held it in position when down. The King Bridge Company of Cleveland built the superstructure, which was installed by the SP's Engineering Dept. The foundations were equally impressive; tests showed nothing but sand for a hundred feet down, so three cofferdams had to be built; they were bound with concrete and sunk to a depth of 44 feet, after which piles were driven to a depth of 80 feet. Water was then pumped out of the cofferdams and the interiors concreted. Concrete piers were then constructed to a height of ten feet above low tide. There was a total of 3,500 cubic yards of concrete in the three piers, the largest of which was 22' by 55'. The new bridge was sufficiently wide to accommodate two tracks.
WBy the time the new bridge was finished, the Great Merger had taken place; PE and SP had entered into their alliance, hence it was but natural that SP should lease the new bridge to PE for joint operation. The lease took effect on March 15, 1915, and called for payments by PE to SP of a monthly rental amounting to 1/12 of 2.5% of the cost of the bridge, 1/12 of the cost for depreciation, together with half the monthly maintenance and operating expenses of the bridge, its trestle approaches and connecting tracks. Only the westerly track was electrified; hence PE had but a single track line across the bridge; a serious bottleneck on numerous occassions. Total length of leased track over the bridge was 0.403 miles.
WFrom February 15, 1942 until February 28, 1947 PE trains were rerouted via the West Basin Line as the Coast Guard ordered the bascule bridge to remain open as a wartime safety measure.
WOn September 28, 1955 PE trains left the drawbridge route permanently; damaged by a veering ship, the bridge was declared unsafe and was removed shortly thereafter.
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