Monday, November 9, 2015

The Militant's Pacific Electric Archaeology Map

P to tha E, yo.
So how was your Summer? You might have watched the hottest blockbusters, attended some awesome outdoor concerts or spent some time at the beach...

...But The Militant hardly did any of those things.

Now, you may to may not know that The Militant has written things like his insanely popular Epic CicLAvia Tour posts, of which he has done for every single CicLAvia route in the last five years. And he has also dedicated an entire week of special posts to places like Long Beach or the San Gabriel Valley (Okay, he didn't do an entire week for the SGV, but he owes you 626ers another one, he promises!). He has even done posts throughout September 2011 dedicated to our native people, flora and fauna.

The Militant has spent the past five months hard at work on his most epic of epic works ever. His passion project, if you will. Something he's shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears over (but mostly gas, TAP card value, pedal power, hiking mileage and solitary reading): An interactive map detailing all of the existing remnants of the Pacific Electric Railway.

This is not the map you're looking for. You can hardly read it :P
Now, if you don't know what the Pacific Electric is, then you might as well close the browser window right now. But just in case you've suffered amnesia, the Pacific Electric was the 1,100-mile rail transit system that spanned across Southern California before the era of freeways. Its legendary "Big Red Cars," as their trains were affectionately known round these here parts, not only transported people, but played an unprecedented role in So Cal's population, economy, culture, growth and human geography. For the sake of reference, The Militant will use the terms "Pacific Electric," "PE" and "Red Cars" interchangeably. As a corporate entity, the Pacific Electric lasted from 1901 to 1953. But the rail system and infrastructure that comprised the PE stretched to as far back as the 1880s, and the Red Cars themselves, though no longer painted red, rolled on our local rails until 1961. And even today's Metro Rail system, unfairly compared to its older and much more expansive predecessor, is still, by all intents and purposes, a direct descendant of the PE (more on this later).

Throughout this week, The Militant will be doing posts on various aspects of the PE that you may or may not have known before, including some things that will totally change the way you see Los Angeles, like forever.

For now, though, let's get to that map.

The Pacific Electric was perhaps the main reason The Militant Angeleno became a Militant Angeleno in the first place (after seeing an article in the old Los Angeles Reader in the late 1980s). After learning gradually about locations where remnant tracks or stations remained, he had always wanted to create a list or map -- as comprehensive as possible -- with their exact locations.

The advent of Google's Google Maps changed the game, and this playa wanted to throw down.

And so, ladies and gentlemen, natives and transplants, here it is, at long last: The Militant Angeleno's Pacific Electric Archaeology Map [cue the John Williams score]:


The full-size version of The Militant Angeleno's Pacific Electric Archaeology Map can be seen here so you can inevitably add it to your Bookmarks (you know you want to):


How To Use This Map
This is an interactive Google Map, which means you can click, drag, and zoom using your navigational device of choice. The Militant highly recommends you zoom in as close as possible, as some icon locations are directly next to each other, and might not be visible in the zoomed-out views of the map.

The map features various elements: Track and Track Remnants, Stations and Depots, Infrastructure, Electric Power Substations, Public Art, Surviving Red Cars and the PE Lines themselves. Click on the icon representing each of them and a pop-up window featuring a photograph of the location (Virtually all visited and taken by The Militant himself unless otherwise specified) which features the address and a description.  Think of all of Southern California as a living Pacific Electric museum, and this is your guide to the exhibits. And this map is by no means a passive virtual coffee table pictorial. The Militant encourages -- no -- commands you to go out and visit these locations yourself, to see with your own eyes and experience the ghosts of the Pacific Electric first-hand (and sure, The Militant doesn't mind at all if you take PE selfies (please hashtag #PacificElectric though).

Track and Track Remnants 
Click on the purple track icon to view the locations of known remaining Pacific Electric track. Many of them are still peeking out of the pavement in the street, some are hardly visible. But some tracks are fully intact. A great deal of the track is abandoned, though several miles of former PE track have been re-purposed as freight track and is still in use. The thing about railroad track is that the rails themselves, when still in use, are replaced over time. Often times, the rails have the year that the steel was forged embossed on the rails themselves. But the wooden ties the rails sit on could be originals from the PE era, though they themselves can also be easily replaced. The Militant used his best judgment according to research and the visual condition of the tracks. All of the track sections on the map represent the ones still existing from the PE era. Removed or fully-covered track is not represented. A number of streets still have PE track buried in the pavement (Hollywood Boulevard, The Militant is looking at you), but unless at least the tops of the rails can be seen, they do not qualify for inclusion in the map.

Stations and Depots
Click on the circular Pacific Electric logo icon to see the two dozen station structures, ranging from large buildings, to depots, to simple passenger shelters, still in existence. Some have been moved from their original location, but as long as they still exist, their present location is listed on the map (their original location is listed in their description). Some have been preserved to their original look, but others have been re-purposed as restaurants or other businesses. In many cases, historical plaques and some sort of historical designation can be found on or near these remaining structures, as they are still proud elements of the histories of their respective communities.

Infrastructure
Click on the black bridge icon to see the over 40 extant bridges, foundations, abutments, bridge supports, tunnel portals and non-station structures from the Pacific Electric. Some of these are obvious sights, easily seen from a street, such as Torrance's iconic El Prado Bridge, but many of them are quite off the beaten path, such as various bridges over the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and Santa Ana rivers (in those cases, they are accessible from bike trails). You may or may not have seen some of these structures before and have never known they were PE artifacts! Note that the PE also ran a bus system called Motor Coach Lines. Though some of their structures are still existing as well, The Militant did not include them in this map (Rail bias, yeah).

Electric Power Substations
Click on the red lightning bolt icon to see the 10 remaining electric power substations. The substations were buildings that housed the transformer systems that took electricity from the regional Southern California Edison or Los Angeles DWP power grid and converted the juice to the 600 or 1200 volts that fed the overhead wires to power the Red Cars. They literally put the "Electric" in "Pacific Electric." And since they were all built in the early decades of the 1900s, they are far more architecturally ornate than their modern-day, utilitarian Metro Rail counterparts (which are also much smaller due to advances in technology).

Public Art
Click on the artist's palette to view the many PE-related public art installations scattered around the Southland. Though not a part of the Pacific Electric per se,  the legend and legacy of the PE has inspired artists throughout Southern California to create murals, sculptures and other art installations that were inspired by or pay homage to the iconic Big Red Cars. Most of these pieces were created in the 21st century -- indicative of both the importance of public art in today's world, as well as the historic and cultural stature of the PE. Nearly all of these art pieces pay homage to the PE lines that ran in the exact location or in the vicinity that the artwork is located in. Mural-wise, many of the pieces were done by three artists: Atwater Village's Rafael Escamilla, Long Beach's Jose M. Loza and Art Mortimer, who painted period-piece murals in the coastal and inland extremes of the PE system. The PE-inspired public art is a key element in conveying the history of our old transportation system.

Surviving Red Cars
Click on the red trolley car icon to see where over 40 remaining Red Cars can still be found, in some form, in Southern California. Most of the beloved Red Cars, upon the system's decline, were either sold off to transit systems overseas (such as Buenos Aires, Argentina and Cairo, Egypt), or unceremoniously buried at sea off the coast to create artificial reefs. But some Red Cars still survive. Most can not only be seen but can be ridden at Perris' Orange Empire Railway Museum, and a few are scattered around Southern California as historical display items, or even re-purposed as buildings. The two replica Red Cars that ran in the recently-closed San Pedro Waterfront Red Car line are included, as they did run on an original PE route and virtually carry PE DNA through their dimensions and functions. However, the little Red Cars that run around Disney's California Adventure theme park in Anaheim, though a heartwarming Disney-fied tribute, are not included in this section, as they did not run on any original PE line, nor are they accurate replicas of original cars. They are included in the "Public Art" category, though.

The Lines
Click on the red lines on the map to see exactly where the PE passenger routes went (there were also PE freight lines, many of which shared track with corporate parent Southern Pacific, but those are not listed on the map, and likewise the PE's Motor Coach Lines bus network is not part of this map). Another thing that must be mentioned is the separate-but-related Los Angeles Railway (LARy) system (a.k.a. The Yellow Cars), also founded by Huntington. Those lines were not included on this map (Sit tight, folks, The Militant might make his own map for the LARy one day). Many historic maps of the PE exist, but none give the exact locations of the routes. This map was meant to get Southern Californians to understand were exactly the lines ran. You might live or work right near, or even along a former Red Car line and have never even known it! The lines were meant to represent all of the locations where the PE's tracks ran at one time or another. Keep in mind that not all of the lines existed all at once -- some lines were shut down as early as the 1920s. Also, most of the lines on the map are a comprehensive representation of the entire route. The PE network used trunk lines that were shares by multiple routes, which then branched out into various destinations. The full route is listed in the description. This was perhaps the most research-intensive part of this map-making process. The Militant used the Electric Railway Historical Society of Southern California's PE website, Harry Marnell's PE line pages, Abandoned Rails.com, various PE books, the maps archive at the Los Angeles Central Library and the 1981 Caltrans Inventory of Pacific Electric Routes (thank you Dorothy Peyton Grey Metro Library!) as main sources of information.

You can also view larger-sized photos, plus additional pics at The Militant's Photobucket site:
http://s24.photobucket.com/user/militantangeleno/library/Pacific%20Electric%20Map?sort=3&page=0

So there it is, take it. If you happen to find any errors, or know of another location where PE artifacts can be found that have not been included in this map, please contact The Militant ASAP at militantangeleno@gmail.com.

66 comments:

Ned Hamson said...

I used to live at 209 West San Bernardino Road in Covina. I used to go back through the orange grove and wave to folks on the Red Car as they went to work. It was where the Metrolink is today.

Militant Angeleno said...

Ned Hamson: Thanks for sharing your experience. But the PE tracks were along Badillo, south of where you lived, while today's Metrolink tracks are north of where you lived.

Jim Baker said...

Militant,

In 1947 PE shifted their Main Line to the Southern Pacific's right-of-way through Covina to Lone Hill near San Dimas to get off of Badillo. Today that is the METRO LINK San Bernardino line.



Eric Brightwell said...

I'm not sure who the artist is but there's a mosaic on exterior of the El Sereno library which portrays a Pacific Electric Red Car. Great job though, I'll be referencing this and exploring a lot!

Militant Angeleno said...

Jim Baker: Thanks for the info! This is important. Where did the western diversion of the line begin?

Militant Angeleno said...

Eric Brightwell: Thanks for the mural info. Will have to investigate this soon!

Tom Wetzel said...

When PE rerouted the line thru Covina, it connected to the old route at Lone Hill Junction. PE had already leased the SP Covina Loop from Lone Hill Junction to a point near the County Fairgrounds.

Aaron Thompson said...

Didn't there used to be a line down Crenshaw and one down MLK? Maybe it wasn't PE.

Militant Angeleno said...

Aaron Thompson: Yes there was, but it wasn't PE, it was the Los Angeles Railway (Yellow Cars). A Yellow Car Map should be forthcoming in the future!

Dan Gutierrez said...

Militant Angelino,
Thanks for assembling this map, it will be very helpful to note and include these locations on the many stair-walks that I lead in LA and in the South Bay cities and Long Beach, where I reside. One of my walks follows the red car line diagonaling through central Long Beach, I wanted to point out that not only is the life sized sculpture at Orizaba Park, noteworthy, but also the way the circle which it adjoins is reminiscent of a turntable, and the diagonal walkway heading SE has inlaid brick stripes, mimicking the rails that the train sculpture would have used!
Here are photos showing this.
First is the train sculpture (at a circle reminiscent of a turntable):
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10205737748194312&l=aa1e803ad1
Do an about face and you see the 'faux' tracks:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10205737748594322&l=82db50515f

Jeff Robertson said...

Militant Angeleno? Doesn't it make you MAD that the red cars are gone? I was born and raised in Southern California, Calabasas (pre-Kardashian, thank you very much)and my parents talked about how easy it was to get from San Gabriel to Santa Monica using the red cars. Any information about WHO was responsible for taking out the red cars? I heard it was the "automotive industry". But, that's kinda general.

eaglerocker57 said...

Really cool - lots of new stuff to work into walks. Thanks!

Aaron Thompson said...

Militant Angeleno--Awesome! Thanks.

Militant Angeleno said...

Jeff Robertson: Stay Tuned.... B>

faberglas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
faberglas said...

There's at least one Red Car still running in San Francisco.
http://www.streetcar.org/streetcars/1061-1061-pacific-electric/

Alan Weeks said...

Hi Arron

Yes the on Crenshaw and MLK (Santa Barbara Ave was the Los Angeles Railway narrow gauge
3 ft 6 in. This yellow car line was abandoned in Oct of 1955

Robert Fiore said...

Is there anywhere the Pacific Electric went that buses don't go now?

Militant Angeleno said...

faberglas: Those PCC trolleys in San Francisco were purchased from Philadelphia in the 1990s and were painted in the colors of various streetcar companies across the US, including the PE. But that car never ran on a PE route. Also, the actual PE version of those types of cars had controls on both ends of the car so they can be operated in any direction without being turned around. The SF Red Car re-creation has the controls on only one end.

Militant Angeleno said...

Robert Fiore: Echo Mountain and Mt. Lowe, for one. Also the Arrowhead Springs Resort north of San Bernardino. Also a few lines that served San Pedro harbor.

Forgedit said...

You may have seen it during your travels, but for your LARy map there is a yellow car under the overhang at the old subway bldg in downtown. #1435 from the S line.

Militant Angeleno said...

Forgedit: Yes, The Militant has seen it. unfortunately it was tagged a few months ago. Funny, though that structure was once a surface rail station, it was for PE Red Cars and not LARy Yellow Cars!

TK said...

Hey Militant!

You've ran circles with what I've been trying to do with PE for months, great job! Nice to know I'm not the only one with this kinda hobby out here in LA :)

Since you intend to begin something similar for LARy, feel free to use what I started awhile back - map was made with info from ERHA

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zQSWH4X3NkZg.kWRKpt2xrJqk

Joshua said...

You made a small mistake, and there is a remnant you did not include. The Redondo Beach-Del Rey line was farther north of Culver Blvd. after the intersection with Jefferson Blvd. If you look at it on Google Maps, you can clearly see the outline of the right-of-way. On that portion of the right-of-way, there are remnants of a wooden bridge from the line. Here is a picture of it: http://a.scpr.org/i/e3b87e2fd8e4d0174adce19389f4c424/33869-full.jpg

I also see you placed the route of the same line along Vista Del Mar. There is a street called Trolleyway directly west of it. I'd assume that's where the line ran.

Militant Angeleno said...

Joshua: Thanks, fixed. The alignment makes much more sense now. Is that picture of the bridge remnant yours?

Anonymous said...

This is great!

Matt Jackson said...

Thank you for such a comprehensive mapping of the PE network. It's great!

I'm just old enough to remember the LARy cars and the PE Long Beach Line when it switched over to the MTA Green/White colors. Every now and then, I see small remnants of the PE out here in San Bernardino (Found the PE Highland Depot, which is now a residence). Alas, the PE bridge over the Santa Ana River was removed last year to build a street bridge for access to the Amazon Distribution Center.

Timbo said...

I'd be interested in seeing this map with LA's current rail system overlayed

Laurie said...

Saw the maps on Curbed, just wanted to say thanks! Too bad Curbed no longer allows comments.

Unknown said...

faberglas; the red car in san francisco is a PCC from another city. It's only painted in Red Car colors. PE had 2 ended PCC cars. Some of the Market St. Rwy card s in SF have a PE whistle on them; the Milan car does. Listen for it!

Eric said...

The southern portion of the Oak Knoll alignment is a bit off. The line ran east of Oak Knoll Ave, a few feet past Courtland Ave. The tracks joined Oak Knoll Ave a bit north of Oak Knoll & Huntington Garden Dr. This Historic Aerials view from 1948 shows the PE right-of-way.
http://historicaerials.com:?layer=1948&zoom=16&lat=34.11507339376369&lon=-118.12924861907959

William Mathews said...

I used to think that the old right of way that crosses Huntington & Marengo in S. Pasadena on a NW-SE diagonal was a PE line. Do you know anything about the history of that route?

Militant Angeleno said...

William Matthews: That right of way was not a PE line, but a Southern Pacific Railroad branch line that once connected Pasadena with its main line in Alhambra:

http://www.abandonedrails.com/Alhambra_to_Pasadena

eaglerocker57 said...

As you state, the Mission Road Viaduct is being demolished. I stopped and watched the pile driver working on the last bit yesterday - it's gone. Built 80 years ago, out of service 60 years ago and suddenly LA Public Works can't bear it any longer and made a nice bit of history go away for good.

Militant Angeleno said...

eaglerocker57: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

kuech said...

Love this! I did a similar mapping project some years back, and posted the KMZ to Google Earth forums.

I'm sure you grow weary of this, but I see one route that might need correction: down in San Pedro, at the southern end of Pacific Ave, the right-of-way turned east onto a long curve coming back west again, entering the Sunken City. If you look at the plots and property lines east of Pacific and south of 36th street, you can make out the curve.

Eclexia said...

Beautiful map, great work!

I was walking on Sunset today where the former ROW crosses at Gardner. Right in front of me I see a small building that's obviously the old red car station. It's a restaurant called "Gardner Junction". I was wondering how I could have possibly walked past so many times without seeing it.

Got home and looked it up-- I never saw it because it's been behind a construction fence for three years. It just opened. In all the press, it's referred to as the location of the former train station. But it's very coy as to whether it is an extensive remodel of the original building, or whether the old building was completely torn out and a new one built to look like an old train station. If the former, holy crap, a station! If the latter, perhaps it qualifies as art?

Militant Angeleno said...

Eclexia: The "Gardner Junction" restaurant/bar uses the old name of the PE junction as its name. And that's where its historical connection ends.

There was no physical PE station building at Gardner Junction, just a concrete waiting area for passengers next to the track. Many stops were like that. In fact, most were.

In fact, the Gardner Junction restaurant people get the area's rail heritage TOTALLY wrong: The eatery's decor resembles more of an intercity train station like Union Station than a trolley stop. As if you can hop on a train and ride a big steam train all the way to Chicago from there or something. #nostalgiafail

Matt Jackson said...

I noticed you included the route into Highland. I have some additional data on where the tracks ran (old Sanborn Map image). The tracks extended a bit farther east and cut across the corner of Center St. and Pacific in a slight southeast direction to the depot (and possibly a packing house). I found what appears to be the old PE depot (now a residence) on Main just east of Center Street (behind the Highland Orange Association "Ice Arena" building and a packing house. I think it may have been moved to that location, but it's layout/configuration has the look of a small depot. The Ice Arena building appeared to only have been served by Santa Fe, but the packing house next to it was well-graded on both sides, implying it might have been served by PE on the south side of the building.

Joshua said...

No, that picture isn't mine. I found it on Google Images. Also, you didn't fix the second part of the Redondo Beach Line I mentioned. There's a street called Trolleyway a block west of Vista Del Mar. You have it going along Trolley Place.

Militant Angeleno said...

Joshua: Upon further review, the alignment on The Militant's Redondo-Del Rey Line is correct. Please review the Caltrans 1983 Survey of Pacific Electric Routes (PDF link in the blog post). However, there were PE tracks on Trolleyway, but they appear to be part of a branch line of the Venice-Lagoon Line (the sweeping curved line to the west of the Redondo-Del Rey route).

Walt said...

Militant this may be your best work yet. Never realized how well-connected Peedro and the Port of Los Angeles was to the Pacific Electric system. Makes sense. They were The 110, 103, 710 of their day.

So much of Los Angeles' history is tied the Pacific Electric. From the development of Los Angeles County that came at its dawning, to the failures of our city that came in the form of the Watts Riots brought on with the economic and transit vacuum caused by P.E.'s demise. Watts was once a transit hub for Southern California. People traveling to and from Long Beach, the South Bay, Peedro, and Orange County all had to go through Watts to connect to downtown, Santa Monica, Hollywood, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. I only recently began to explore the Watts to Santa Ana line which would seem most like the Expo Line in terms of reactivation, but unfortunately Metro's only plans to reach Orange County are via Gold Line expansion through Whittier.

The Map is amazing. But there is one missing section: The spur to Pacific Electric's Torrance Shops, the 61 acre rail yard and repair shop that maintained all those wonderful "Red Cars" from 1918 until their death in 1961.

The city that Jared Sidney Torrance founded was planned around the Pacific Electric. Torrance was envisioned as a industrial-residential community where the P.E. streetcar would be the primary transportation moving goods and workers. But that history is nearly forgotten in Torrance, home to oil refineries, and the North American headquarters for Honda and Toyota. Much of the P.E. rail that led to the Torrance Shops still exists and can be seen along Sartori Ave from Torrance Blvd to Dominguez Way where the shops once stood. Here's a 1952 newspaper clip about the P.E. Shops: http://www.torranceca.gov/archivednewspapers/Herald/1952%20Nov%209%20-%201953%20May%2031/PDF/00000103.pdf

Another landmark worth pointing out is the 1906 Oaklawn Waiting Station designed by architects Greene & Green located on the Pasadena Short Line at Fair Oaks between Mound Ave and their Oaklawn Ave Bridge.

The spurs that you delineate in wealthier neighborhoods served by the Coldwater, Columbia St, and the Arroyo Seco Lines are reminders of a more egalitarian time when everyone rode the Red Car, when the nickels of millionaires and paupers alike were used to take them around Los Angeles. I'd like to imagine, Jared Torrance in 1912 walking from his South Pasadena mansion at the corner of Buena Vista St and Meridian Ave to the Greene & Greene waiting station on Fair Oaks and taking the Red Car all the way down to the site of his town of Torrance and back again just as part of his routine.

Thanks for reminding us of our glorious public transit history.

Scott Trimble said...

Militant, incredible post! I must have clicked every single marker in your map. And every time I wondered to myself if you had included something... you did already. Here, though, are a couple of quick additions:

The Red Car is represented as part of the artwork in the Great Wall of Los Angeles inside the Tujunga Wash in Valley Glen, Los Angeles. You can see it in Google Street View right here, http://rata.la/1MIUaMC

Also, I noted that your entry for the Subway Terminal Building didn't include the (completely closed off to the general public) basement where the Pacific Electric station was once located. Permission granted if you want to use one of my photographs from down there (just link back to my main website page), http://rata.la/1RVCWM6

Cheers!
Scott Trimble

Anonymous said...

Great work! I had a friend that years ago worked at the Power House theater (3116 @2nd St, Santa Monica) that told me it was part of the power system for the street car system. It seems too far from the rail lines to be true.

Militant Angeleno said...

Anonymous: The Powerhouse Theatre looks similar to many streetcar substations of its day, but alas it was just a Southern California Edison power distribution plant: http://www.lifeofanactor.com/powerhouse.htm

Militant Angeleno said...

Scott Trimble: Thanks for the Great Wall reminder, will have to add that soon!

As for the Subway Terminal, this map was meant to encourage Angelenos to visit these remnant sites themselves to gain a connection to the PE's history. Since the basement is no longer publicly accessible, it does not get included in the map. Same goes for the old subway tunnel itself, which is mostly intact, but has been sealed off since 2007.

Mike H said...

This map is brilliant so thanks for the massive effort which must have gone into it. Great work!

Donald Woodward said...

Militant:

The PE PCCs were also able to operate in multiple unit (MU) operation, meaning that you can have more than one car coupled together in a train. As far as I know, these were the only cars that were able to do so.

Jim said...

Very nice. Thank you for your hard work on this project.

One minor point, you missed the artificial ocean reefs that contain what's left of some red cars.

http://www.trbimg.com/img-5147a25e/turbine/tn-hbi-pipeline-jpg-20130318/600/600x490

Militant Angeleno said...

Jim: This map was meant to point out SURVIVING remnants of the Pacific Electric that one can easily visit. And even with a submarine and scuba gear, the artificial reefs are already grown to the point where the Red Cars are unrecognizable. Furthermore, there is no way to pinpoint the exact locations offshore where the Red Cars were dumped. So they are intentionally not included on this map.

Audrey Dalton said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you this will be so much fun to look through. I will definitely visit more of these sites!

Eric said...

The alignment in downtown Fullerton for the Fullerton branch is wrong also. The line does not follow Berkeley Ave (which seems to be a much more minor street back then). After crossing Harbor Blvd, the line continues east past Lemon Street and turns south. The line passes right next to the main buildings of Fullerton College. The line continues through the same right-of-way until reaching Santa Fe Ave (a couple empty lots mark the ROW today). This Historic Aerials view from 1953 shows the right-of-way in downtown Fullerton.

http://historicaerials.com:?layer=1953&zoom=16&lat=33.87609876420067&lon=-117.92207479476929

Eric said...

Dude, sorry to keep on bothering you but the Fullerton alignment is still a few feet off (you're close though). The map in the link shows the real alignment. You can see the empty plots of land that clearly make up the right-of-way in some places. Please forgive my perfectionism. Just trying to help out.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z3upY69dMpTc.kLpsocFlJnvM&usp=sharing

Eric said...

Hey, it's me again! I did some research on erha.org and found that there are two branches missing from the Alhambra-San Gabriel line. One is a one-track spur that traveled south on Palm Ave in Alhambra to connect with the Southern Pacific line. The other was a second routing of the line to Temple City. The line veered south from Las Tunas Dr via S Mission Dr to Mission San Gabriel. The line looped back to Las Tunas via Junipero Serra Dr (back then a private right-of-way). Here's a map of the routing.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z3upY69dMpTc.kXZ0fQ1vOFJo&usp=sharing

Anonymous said...

I remember them as a youngster, in the early 40's. I lived just feet from the depot at the end of the line in Highland. We didn't see passengers, we usually had freight. The ATSF tracks ran just north, just across the street. We witnessed more than one derail on the curve off Pacific Ave. next to the Gold Buckle packing house. My friend lost his arm while trying to hitch a ride while on a bike as the train ran up Pacific, bike slipped. I think I was in the 4th grade. Sad to see it go, imagine what it could have been.

Bob Davis said...

I haven't delved into the map yet, but just the comments are fascinating. I grew up along the Monrovia-Glendora Line, and even wrote an article about it that's been published in the Pacific Electric Historical Society website. I lost interest after the Northern District was abandoned in 1951, and did not "come alive" until I joined Orange Empire in 1963. Regarding green cars running on the Long Beach Line--only one PE car became a "green machine": 1543, which is now in Travel Town. And the short spur in Alhambra: it was still there into the 1980s, when I was working at the Edison facility, but there's no trace of it now. It was a Red Car line that ran from the SP station in Pasadena to the SP main line station at Shorb (which later became the main SP stop for Alhambra). The route was quite round-about and was replaced by a bus in 1924. I should note that in 1923, PE bought a large number of buses from White Motor Co. to "bustitute" the weaker Pasadena local lines; this was several years before GM got interested in building buses.

mittim80 said...

Militant: you didn't include the former red line yard/siding on Heliotrope, just north of Beverly. No tracks remain, but a wide "street" adjacent to Heliotrope leaves an impression of where the yard was next to the street.

Militant Angeleno said...

mittim80: Those tracks were not Pacific Electric tracks, but Los Angeles Railway tracks. Their tracks were narrower than the standard-gauge PE tracks. A map of the Los Angeles Railway and surviving remnants will be coming sometime in the future.

rsgoldfast said...



This is all good. Keep doing that.

Thank you for sharing and updating!

I will come to look at this issue and look forward to!


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David said...

Hi Great work, thanks!!

One correction: the Sherman cutoff between the Sherman Car house on Santa Monica and the Burton Way junction with San Vicente didn't follow San Vicente blvd (it didn't exist when the line was built). It ran in back of houses until entering onto San Vicente further south. Also, San Vicente was widened and its coursed moved east in the Northern part near Melrose - it did not run that way in the past

see this map from the WPA collection

http://cdm16003.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15150coll4/id/15927/rv/singleitem/rec/4

David said...

Hi - here's a link to a mash up from the 1930s WPA maps that shows the Sherman Cutoff with the old street alignement

https://www.flickr.com/photos/davidelevine/23205475723/in/dateposted-public/

Dale Day said...

I was searching for information on the Tongva language and came across your blog. It is now bookmarked on my Feedly RSS reader so I can see every time you post.

I found this amazingly nostalgic, for I once rode the Red Car and the Yellow one too. Noticed you left those out. They were a great way to get around. I lived on Ardmore between Olympic and Pico and routinely walked down to Venice Blvd to catch the car - it did stop at Normandie although you don't show a station. I would ride it out to Venice Beach back when it was supposedly a replica of the Italian city.

If one know where to look the tracks for both systems were often simply paved over when the trolley were replaced by electric buses - by then I was in the army and far away.

Really ticks me off, Had a superb system and now they're spending billions of YOUR tax dollars to try to build a system people will use that will be nowhere as great as the old one.

Again, thanks for the memories.

Check me out on Google+ or either one of my blogs:
Father Serra's Legacy @ http://msgdaleday.blogspot.com
A Soldier's Stories @ http://lvcabbie.blogspot.ccom

AJ said...

Great Map!
Here's a couple more Northern District gems for you.
A second surviving substation exists in Pasadena at 2245 North Lake Ave. This one powered Mt. Lowe's cars, a lot of the Sierra Madre Line, and the northern Pasadena local lines.
Also, if you look at the right of way west of Soto street, directly down the hill from the house east of Soto at 4100 Hatfield Place, there's existing PE double track that crosses the driveway of one of the warehouses.

Thanks for sharing!

Militant Angeleno said...

Whatup AJ -

Thanks for the tips. The Soto double tracks were a great find. Also discovered there are other embedded tracks further north on that alignment.

The substation you mentioned on 2245 N. Lake Avenue is the same one that's already on the map though.

Lukas B. said...

You mentioned something about Metro being a direct descendant of the PE...what did you mean by that?

colleen said...

Very useful map - thank you for compiling it. Are there any contiguous abandoned sections that one is able to walk / bike along? Or are the old tracks entirely intersected by roads / buildings? Could one follow an old right of way from say, DTLA north to Los Feliz or Atwater?