TIMEPOINTS  The Southern California Traction Review

  April, 1953 VOL. VI, No. 4

Some casual facts about the Los Angeles Railway Lines

By the editor: L.R. Veysey


A close study of the rail line histories for Los Angeles Railway as given in Interurbans’ Special 11, reveals a number of interesting facts about the particular portions of trackage which have made up the system since 1920.

The segment which has had its service altered more times since 9 May 1920 than any other has been Spring St. from Court (near present-day Temple) to First.  A total of seventeen revisions in the lines using this track has occurred.  In order, theses changes have been as follows: (1) 5-9-20, A-E-G-L.  (2) 5-17-20, A-E-G-L-Vermont Ave.  Post Office Line.  (4) 12-20-20, A-E-G-L-W.

(5) 12-3-24, E-G-L-W-2-3.  (6) 4-6-26, temporarily abandoned.  This was during the reconstruction of the area preparing the way for the present Civic Center.  (7) 7-4-26, L.  (8) 9-0-37, no regular service.  (9) 0-0-28, L. (10) 6-12-32, N-8.  (11) 11-11-34, N-7-8.  (12) 5-3-39, 7-8.  (13) 9-24-39, L-7-8.  (14) 5-26-40, 7-8.  (15) 6-30-46, F-N-7.  (16) 8-347, N-7.  (17) 9-10-50, 7.

The following other segments of track have had their service altered ten or more times: From North Broadway and Pasadena Ave. via North Broadway to Sunset (11 times, the last in 1939); from Main and Sunset via Main to old Spring St.  (13 times, the last in 1948); from Spring and Temple via Spring to Court (15 times, the last in 1950); from Hill and First via Hill to Fifth (10 times); from Hill and Fifth via Hill to Eleventh (also 10 times); from Main and old Spring St. via Main to Temple (13 times, the last in 1948); from Main and Temple via Main to First ( 13 times); from Ninth and Main via Main to Olympic ( 11 times ); from Main and Broadway Place via Main to Eleventh (10 times); from Broadway and Temple via Broadway to First ( 11 times); from Second and Spring via Spring to First (11 times); from Second and Spring via Spring to Ninth (also 11 times); from Vermont and McClintock via Vermont to 39th (10 times); from Vermont and 39th via Vermont to Santa Barbara( 10 times).

The trackage unit which has had the largest number of lines using it at any one time is Main from Broadway Pl. to Eleventh, and also south to 12th.  Between 12 June 1932 and 11 November 1934, this segment was served by lines B-F-G(except nights and Sundays) -5-6-7-8-9.  This is a total of 9 lines.

Broadway, familiar as what is today the stronghold of LATL rail activity in downtown Los Angeles, never had more than 6 lines running over it at one time, south of First.  From 21 May 1932 to 12 June 1932, lines G-M-P-W-5-6 used it between Second and Olympic; after the latter date lines P-W-5-6-9-10 used it until 7 March 1937 when the line 6  was consolidated with line 5.  In this same period seven lines were using Broadway between Temple and First, since the Hill St. tunnel was then entirely P.E.  These were lines A-L-W-2-5-6-10.

Spring St. between Second and Ninth has had as many as four lines serving it at various times in the 1920s and early 1930s.

The four lines B-F-G-O were all routed on Main St. from 1926 to 1932.  Together with Pacific Electric local and interurban trains they made Main Street the most heterogeneous of any in either system, although less grandiose in purely LARY terms (this, however, wasn’t what the noted travel expert Richard Halliburton had in mind when he termed Main St. in Los Angeles “the most interesting street in the world”).

Since 1932 six separate pieces of track one block or longer in length have been added to the rail system.  All but one have been short extensions in connection with PCC loops.  This one was of course the Hill St. tunnel from Temple to First, involving a third narrow gauge rail on former P.E. trackage, which lasted but seven years, from 16 July 1939 to 30 June 1936.

A total of 262 separate stretches of track with distinctive histories of lines using them since 1920 can be discerned throughout the LARY-LATL system.

This does not include changes of a purely temporary nature, which would require a further breakdown.  LARY has had a more complex history on its routes, probably, more than any other American city system.



(From Los Angeles Board of Public Utilities, Annual Report, VII, 142)

NEWS April, 1953 Timepoints



 By Chuck Thorpe

The Pacific Electric has filed application for approval of the sale of its passenger service to Haugh and syndicate with the city of Los Angeles and the Public Utilities Commission.  Details of the sale are that all passenger franchises will be transferred to the new company, while some of the property involved in the passenger service will be transferred to Haugh with some of it remaining under PE ownership.  The property to be transferred includes all motor coaches, 735 fare boxes, many tools and the like.  Ocean Park bus garage, bus storage lots in Van Nuys, and Sunland will also be transferred. Several bus stations, the West Hollywood Garage, Macy St. Shops, and Morgan Ave. Yard will also be transferred to the new company.


All rail cars and track will remain under PE ownership.  The new company will lease many stations now used by the PE.


The breakdown on the cost of the passenger service to the new company is as follows:

Property and Improvements $1,714,288

Motor coaches  $4,957,490

Fare boxes(735)  $53,856

Tools $185,000

Franchise and Operating rights  $1,000

The terms of the sale are $4,750,000



  By Norman K. Johnson

The California Public Utilities Commission has granted the Pacific Electric Railway a five cent fare increase on all interurban fares.  The boost which affects 23 interurban lines goes into effect on April 27, 1953.  The rise will bring an increase of about one million dollars a year in revenue.  The commissions experts figure that the company will still loose about $500,000 a year.



Hearings will start on the petition of the Los Angeles Transit Lines for permission to re-route its 5, 9 and F lines on Grand and Santa Barbara during the week of April 20, 1953.  The re-routing is necessary because of the construction of the Harbor Freeway.  The re-routing will entail building about half a mile of new track on Santa Barbara and the abandonment of slightly more than this on Grand Ave.  The new re-routing will enable the company to cut the running time on the 5 and 9 lines, and will allow the dropping of one run from the 9 line.

The company is attempting to get the city to pay a large portion of the cost of re-routing the lines.  More details about all of this will be presented as they become available



 By Robert L. Abrams

The high Public Service executives have traveled to Minneapolis to investigate the possibility of purchasing 25 Twin Cities PCC cars for use in the Newark subway.  Funds have already been appropriated for building a terminal loop at the end of the subway right-of-way.

On March 8th Cleveland Transit System abandoned its Superior and East 55th St. lines, freeing its PCC cars for sale to Toronto.

Illinois Terminal Railroad abandoned nearly all of its Peoria-Decantur line on Feb. 22, but trains are still temporarily operating from Decantur to Forsythe, a distance of some six miles on the extreme southern end of the route.  The St. Louis-Alton line is expected to be abandoned in the month of March, but the Alton-Grafton railbus must remain in operation owing to lack of suitable highways in the vicinity.

On Feb. 22 the Kansas City Public Service Company cut back its Parallel-Jackson line, thus bringing an end to all service within Kansas City, Kansas according to plans publicized earlier.

Some good news.  Metropolitan Transit Authority in Boston has made plans to equip its Harvard-Waverly line with PCC cars, and has constructed a new loop at Waverly.



Eight of Pacific Electric’s 5050 Class cars have been sold to Portland Traction Co for use on its lines between Portland, Oregon City, and Bellrose.



Recent additions to Travel Town in Griffith Park include two steam engines loaned to Travel Town by the Harbor Dept. and Pacific Electric Box motor number 1498 which used to be passenger car Number 881.  The car was a passenger car prior to 1940, was rebuilt into a box motor in 1940 and then was rebuilt back into a passenger car in 1942 and re-numbered  881.  After the war, the car was again made into a box motor.  During the time it was a passenger car during the war, it was used on the Torrance Shop train.

There are rumors that Electric Locomotive 1544 of the Pacific Electric might also go to Travel Town.  This locomotive has never been painted back from its old PE red.



Two passengers on a Van Nuys--North Hollywood bus were slightly injured when the bus hit a Hollywood trolley at Maltman Ave. on Sunset Blvd.  The streetcar was barely damaged and no one on it was injured.  The accident occurred during the morning of April 12, 1953.



 By Chuck Thorpe

The figures of the Pacific Electric indicate that they expect the following deficits under the present fares for the year 1953.  (Fares before April, 27, 1953 increase).

Interurban Rail Passenger  $523,924

Local Motor Coach $313,269

Local Rail Passenger  $58,049

Interurban Motor Coach  $40,130



No date has been set as of yet for the abandonment of the Subway-Santa Monica Blvd.-West Hollywood line of the Pacific Electric.  The company has asked the PUC for permission to abandon the line on 5 days notice to the public and the commission.  If this permission is granted, the line might be gone before the next issue of “Timepoints”!  General Motors started construction of the new buses for the line on March 23, and delivered the first of them during the week of April 12, 1953.



May 3--- SC-ERA:  PE South with 5100 class car.

July 26---SP excursion to Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Santa Margarita Pacific RR Society



 By Werner Meyer

After the inspection trip with LATL car 1160 on April 19, 1953, it appears that the committee is going to decide to buy the car.  Delivery is planned for some time in May.

It appears that the third of the three Birneys in Ft. Collins owned by Los Angeles railfans has been sold to Rocky Mountain Railroad Club.  The other two have been sold to a Chicago group.

Now the sad part of this report.  The committee has decided that unless $1000 can be raised to ship our Fort Collins car by May 15, 1953 or unless sufficient capital can be raised to move it to a new storage place by that date the car will be sold as soon thereafter as a buyer is found.

The city of Los Angeles is being approached to see whether it would accept the car as a gift from the club under the condition that the city pay all charges involved in moving the car to Travel Town.  If the city will not accept the car on May 15, every effort will be made to sell the car to a railfan group.  Funds now available to move the Birney are less than $100.