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Los Angeles Pacific Logo                 Los Angeles Pacific
Los Angeles Pacific

   In the October 30, 1909, issue of the Electric Railway Journal there appeared an article by Mr. P.H. Albright, Engineer on the Los Angeles Pacific Company. So well did this article portray the company as it was at its near-peak that we have made the following digest of it to serve as the introduction of this electric railway system to the reader:

   "The Los Angeles Pacific Company is one of the large interurban electric properties on the Pacific Coast owned by the Harriman interests. It operates between Los Angeles, Hollywood, Colegrove, Sherman, Sawtelle, Soldiers' Home, Port Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Ocean Park, Venice, Palms, Playa del Rey, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and intermediate stations in California. This Road does a general passenger and freight business and also operates an express and mail service. The passenger business consists principally of an interurban traffic between Los Angeles and the above-mentioned towns and cities. Local passenger traffic in Los Angeles and the other cities served is an important item but does not compare in volume with the interurban traffic.

   "The interurban business is handled by electric trains of from one to six cars...their speed sometimes exceeds sixty miles-per-hour between stations on straight track.

   "There are six routes between Los Angeles and the beaches over which this company operates through interurban trains. The regular schedule for through trains to the beaches is as follows: One train on the Palms Division (Venice Short Line) every 20 minutes; one train on the Sawtelle Dvision (Santa Monica via Beverly Hills Line) every 30 minutes; one train on the Hollywood Division every 30 minutes; one on the Redondo Division every 30 minutes; one one the Westgate (Westgate Line) Division every hour. On the old Santa Monica branch of the Southern Pacific Railway (Air Line) cars run from Santa Monica to Port Los Angeles every 30 minutes, but from Ivy (Culver City) to Santa Monica the service is principally made up of special trains, as the regular schedule calls for but two trains each way per day. The frequency of trains, however, is increased on all the above routes as the traffic requires.

   "The traffic between Los Angeles and the beach resorts is exceptionally heavy on Sundays and holidays. Frequently, the service on the Palms Division, which carries the greater portion of the holiday traffic, is increased to one train of four to six cars every 7 minutes regularly.

   "Other interurban schedules include thirty-minute service between Los Angeles and Colegrove; 10-minute service between Los Angeles and Laurel Canyon by way of Hollywood; 15-minute service between Sawtelle and Playa del Rey by way of Santa Monica, Ocean Park and Venice, and two trains per day between Santa Monica and Inglewood. All of this traffic is handled by single cars with the exception of the Laurel Canyon trains marked 'Flyer.' The 'Flyer' service is run during the morning and evening rush hours between Hollywood and Los Angeles with trains made up of two and three cars.

   "The local passenger traffic is confined to within the city limits of Los Angeles, Hollywood, Sawtelle, Santa Monica and Ocean Park.

   "The freight business is exceptionally heavy on this road, as it serves exclusively all that country to the west and southwest of Los Angeles. Freight is handled in carloads as well as in smaller lots. The greater part of the freight is hauled between midnight and morning. This is done for two reasons: to keep freight out of the way of passenger trains, and to economize on power; the economy in power is made by using a supply of purchased electrical power capacity that would be a loss unless used for the transportation of freight, as the passenger traffic is light during these hours.

   "Crushed rock from rock quarries located on the line, oil from the Sherman oil district, which is served by this company; cargoes of lumber from the Long Wharf at Port Los Angeles and other carloads of freight are handled in trains of from 4 to 15 cars.

   "Outside the regular freight and passenger traffic, the 'Balloon Route' excursions are conducted by this company. During the summer and winter tourist seasons an average of ten thousand people per month are carried over the 'Balloon Route.' For this service the company operates attractive parlor cars.

   "The LAP Company files all freight and passenger tariffs with the Interstate Commerce Commission and the State Railroad Commission. Joint freight tariffs are now published in connection with the different steam lines entering Los Angeles. The express business is handled by the Wells-Fargo Express Company. Specially designed electric cars ae used in the express and mail service.

   "The rolling stock owned and operated includes 405 cars, consisting of 144 passenger cars, 6 parlor cars, 17 electric locomotives, 221 freight cars, 5 mail & express cars and 12 service cars.

   "Perhaps no other road in the West has undergone such a general reconstruction and through improvement as the LAP. This work was started in the summer of 1906 and has been carried on continuously since that time. This has involved a general reconstruction of all operated tracks; the leasing of the old Santa Monica branch of the SP; building new track; making extensive improvements and additions to the company shop: (at Sherman); constructing the new Hill Street cutoff, and increasing the electrical equipment both in the generating and distributing plants.

   "The total mileage of tracks in the spring of 1906 was 170.03 miles, of which 12.91 was standard in gauge, while the remainder was 3'-6" gauge. Practically the entire road was unballasted. Rails in use weighed from 40 to 70 lb. per yard with the major portion less than 60 lbs. Ties were 6"x8"x6' in size.

   "The ballasting and laying of new ties were done during the years 1906 and 1907 except on the Hollywood and Colgrove Divisions which were ballasted and converted to standard gauge this year. Ballasting was done with canyon gravel and crushed rock. The new ties are 6"x8"x8' of redwood, Japanese oak and a small proportion of Oregon pine.

   "The changing of all track except on the Hollywood and Colegrove Divisions to standard gauge was done during the spring of 1908. On account of the interlacing of the tracks and the numerous crossings with other companies in the city of Los Angeles and the heavy traffic which would not permit the discontinuance of car service, the change to standard gauge offered a great many novel problems both to the engineering and operating departments. However, the work was accomplished by laying a third rail in some places, and in others by laying two 'outside' rails, while in still other places, where car service was less frequent, by dispatching cars over one track while the other was being spread. Temporary special work layouts were placed where necessary prior to or at the time of making the change, but were replaced as rapidly as possible after narrow-gauge cars were removed from service.

   "The improvement of yard and terminal facilities was made chiefly at the Buena Vista freight depot, the Hill Street Station and at Sherman Yards in connection with the Sherman Shops. A large amount of local freight is carried out of Los Angeles from the Buena Vista freight depot. On account of the rapidly increasing number of cars used in hauling this freight, it became necessary to design and install a track layout that would utilize to the best advantage the property available for this purpose. In the new yard the minimum radius used on curves is 100 feet.

   "Formerly the passenger station in Los Angeles was on Fourth Street between Broadway and Hill Street. All cars were switched and loaded in the street. This was extremely unsatisfactory to the company and its patrons, as considerable delay was caused by blockades and insufficient switching facilities. In April, 1908, a new terminal was completed on Hill Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets, on the site of the proposed Fourth Street subway terminal. As it will have to be removed from this spot when work on the subway is commenced, the Hill Street Station is called a 'temporary' terminal. The yard comprises 0.41 miles of track laid with 75-lb. A.S.C.E. rail, and hard-center special work of 100-lb. A.S.C.E. rail. The depot is a 30-ft.x150-ft. brick structure, with stucco finish.

   "In addition to the brick station building at the Hill Street Terminal and at the Buena Vista freight yards, there are brick depots at Santa Monica, Ocean Park, Beverly, Playa de Rey, Hermosa Beach, Hollywood, Sawtelle and Sherman. Frame depots have been built at Port Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Palms, Soldiers' Home, Ocean Park, Venice and Redondo. Passenger shelters are placed at the intermediate stations.

   "Additional facilities have been built at the Sherman Shops.

Hill Street Cutoff:
   "One of the best examples of the company's progressive policy is the recently completed Hill Street Cutoff. The Hollywood and Colegrove cars were formerly brought from Buena Vista Street (N. Broadway) to the Los Angeles terminal over the tracks of the Los Angeles Railway Company (via Sunset, Main, Spring & Fourth Streets). Owing to the congested condition of the streets along this route, much delay and inconvenience were encountered in getting the cars in and out of the downtown district. In order to avoid congestion and operate over a shorter, quicker and more economical route, a cut-off line was built along Hill Street and a private right of way. This cutoff involved the building of 0.81 mile of double track and tunnels No. 1 and No. 2, respectively 546 feet and 976 feet in length.

   "The track construction in streets is in accordance with the company's standards, and consists of 72-lb. 6-in. rail (Lorain section No. 331), 6" X 8" X 8' redwood ties with 24" centers and an 8" base of crushed rock. The base was prepared by rolling first the dirt, then a 7" layer of 3" crushed rock, with a twelve ton steam roller. Next, the track was laid, and later brought to grade by tamping up with a 1" layer of crusher screenings. Rail joints were welded with thermit.

   "Tunnels No. 1 and No. 2 were both driven by the method of tunneling recently designed and used by the SP Company in driving five tunnels on the Bay Shore cut-off into San Francisco. Work on tunnel No. 2 was commenced during June, 1908, and completed in December, 1908. Work was commenced on tunnel No. 1 in December, 1908, and completed August 31, 1909. Cars were operated over this cut-off beginning September 15, 1909.

   "The tunnel cross-section was designed for a double-track electric railway with overhead trolley wires. The track centers are 12 feet. 8' concrete bench walls and a brick arch having a radius of 12' are used. Thus the height of the tunnel at the center of the arch is 22' and the width between bench walls is 28'. The portals and retaining walls are all of concrete. Special reinforced concrete construction was placed under California Street, adequate to support the wagon and street railway traffic on that thoroughfare.

   "A novel engineering method was employed in constructing the south portal and retaining wall of tunnel No. 1. On account of the heavy character of the dirt and its tendency to slip, the portal and retaining wall were constructed before the dirt was excavated from the south approach. This was done by sinking a shaft, through which the dirt was raised and construction materials lowered by an electric hoist. Thus, when the dirt on top of the portal and the wall was terraced off and the approach excavated, the completed tunnel was revealed.

   "The improvement in the electrical department has been in keeping with the improvements made in the other departments. All power stations have been enlarged both in electrical capacity and, with two exceptions, in the size of the buildings, since the spring of 1906. The electrical department has carefully planned all stations for future additions to the electrical capacity as well as for an adequate supply for present needs.

   "The electrical equipment comprises one central power station at Vineyard, substations at Bush St. (Burlington Ave.), West Olive, Ivy Park, Playa del Rey, Hermosa, Ocean Park, Sherman, and one portable substation.

   "The Vineyard power station has been reconstructed and enlarged to allow the installation of additional boilers, a large transformer room, and a high-tension switch gallery. To the units previously installed, consisting of one 600-kw., one 800-kw., and one 1200-kw. direct-connected 2200-volt, 50-cycle AC generators, a 2750-kw. Westinghouse Parsons steam turbine has been added. An electric crane for handling and installing machinery and for repair work also has been put in.

   "The Bush Street substation, located on W. 16th in Los Angeles, contained one 250-kw. induction motor-generator set. These have been removed and replaced by one 400-kw. and two 600-kw. induction m-g sets. A transformer annex has been added to the building and a part formerly occupied by the storage battery has been reconstructed, the battery removed and its enclosure added to the main tranformer room.

   "The West Olive substation, situated on the Hollywood Division in Los Angeles, contained one 300-kw. and one 400-kw. synchronous m-g set. The smaller set has been replaced by a 1000-kw. synchronous m-g. In reconstruction work the main sta building was turned to a transform high tension switch room and anot was erected ajoining the former latter structure is now the main street Room has been left in it for the future stallation of another 1000-kw. m-g.

   "Ivy substation, located at the of the Palms and Redondo Divisions Park, contained one 300-kw. synchronous set, to which has been added a 1000-kw duction m-g set. The entire station department was moved into a new and larger allowing ample room for transformers tension switches and buses, and also room for the addition of two more sets.

   "Del Rey substation, located at Rey, near the junction of the Lagoon Redondo Divisions, had one 300-kw. synchronous m-g set, to which a 250-kw. induction m-g set has been added.

   "The Hermosa substation contained kw. synchronous m-g set, to which a set has been added.

   "Ocean Park substation contained kw. induction m-g set and one 1000-kw. synchronous have been added. The building has been built and enlarged, and a transformer high tension switch room have been added.

   "The Sherman station, which was a plant, contained a 225-kw. and a 300-volt belted railway generators; also a 400-kw direct connected 600-volt generator, two belted units have been removed, by a 1000-kw, synchronous m-g set. The building has been enlarged and reconstruction.

   "The portable substation which has built consists of a 400-kw, induction mounted on a standard flat car and box on the sectional plan, so that any of various sections can be repaired or replace without disturbing the other parts.

   The buildings for the power station are of brick and with the exception of the yard power house, are finished in design such as to give the California 'Mission' effect. Particular care was made in the arrangement of doors and windows to allow the free distribution of light and air, and at the same time keep a dry interior during rainy weather. Interiors are painted white from the a line about six feet above the floor, the portion of the wall below this line painted a buff color.

   The buildings are picturesquely located in grounds which are laid out with flowers and shrubs. The effect is made more pleasing by artistic cooling fountains situated where they will add to the general attractiveness of the ground. The flowers are selected from the California varieties which bloom the year round."

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