Ride the Expo Line & Visit its Completion Sites Field Trip

Saturday - August 2, 2014

field trip

Expo Line - 26th St/Bergamot Station Rendering – Looking Southeast. Photo courtesy of Metro

LARHF is offering its Urban Archeology field trip with Ralph Cantos leading explorations of the Pacific Electric Santa Monica Air Line and the soon to be completed Metro Expo light rail line extending 15.2 miles from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

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Ride the Red Cars – Urban Archeology Field Trip

More adventures seeking out “what was” of the Pacific Electric’s Northern and Eastern Districts and riding the Red and Yellow Cars.

On Saturday the 26th of October, LARHF has planned another one of its “Urban Archeology” Field Trips with a major added attraction of riding the Big Red cars and a LARY streetcar at the Orange Empire Railroad Museum (OERM) in Perris, California. Ralph Cantos will once again be our guide.

The Field Trip will leave promptly at 8:30 a.m. from the Los Angeles Union Station East Portal Bus Plaza. Boarding a deluxe motorcoach, we will follow as closely as possible the Pacific Electric lines of its Northern and Eastern Districts out to San Bernardino and Riverside.

Outbound from Los Angeles we will pass where the Valley Junction was that sent the PE cars either to Pasadena or to San Bernardino.

At Valley Junction (3.31 miles from the PE Terminal at 6th and Main Streets) the San Bernardino Line continued to the right on double track through El Monte, Baldwin Park and Vineland to Covina and on to San Bernardino 57.78 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

At Valley Junction (3.31 miles from the PE Terminal at 6th and Main Streets) the San Bernardino Line continued to the right on double track through El Monte, Baldwin Park and Vineland to Covina and on to San Bernardino 57.78 miles from downtown Los Angeles.

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Round & Round on the Gold Line – Field Trip

Field Trip – Saturday – February 9, 2013

LARHF is off again for another of its popular Urban Archeology Field Trips, except that this trip will share the adventure with yesterday’s Santa Fe Railway and today’s and the future’s METRO Gold Line.

On Saturday, February 9, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. our adventure takes off from the Los Angeles Union Station aboard the METRO Gold Line to the end of the current line at Sierra Madre Villa.

Gold Line “Ansaldo Breda” cars at the Del Mar Station in Pasadena.

Gold Line “Ansaldo Breda” cars at the Del Mar Station in Pasadena.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

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Museum – Gardens & Trains – Field Trip

Field Trip – Saturday – July 21, 2012

A “jam packed” day awaits you on this LARHF Field Trip. Starting the day as guests at one of the world’s greatest libraries, gardens and art galleries, we will spend the morning viewing a fabulous railroad exhibit and then head for lunch by noon. In the afternoon you will find the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum a fascinating museum of railroad artifacts and memorabilia and the Santa Fe Society’s Western Archives. To top off the day, we will return to Los Angeles aboard a Metrolink train departing from San Bernardino at 3:35 PM and arrive at the Los Angeles Union Station at 5:15 PM.

All of this will take place on Saturday July 21, 2012. LARHF’s Fast Deer motor coach will leave from the MTA METRO Bus Plaza at the east end of the Union Station promptly at 8:45 AM. Free parking will be available in the MTA Garage, with an easy walk up to the Bus Plaza.

MTA METRO bus plaza

MTA METRO bus plaza where LARHF’s Fast Deer motor coach will be waiting.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens has graciously invited LARHF to view its current exhibition “Visions of Empire: The Quest for a Railroad Across America, 1840 -1880.” Peter J. Blodgett, curator of the exhibition will personally guide us through the exhibit.

Sprinter on its way to Escondido.

Visions of Empire banner hanging at the main entrance to the Huntington. The exhibition highlights 200 original items from the Huntington’s railroad collections—most never before on public display.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

Peter J. Blodgett, Curator of Western Historical Manuscripts has this to say about the exhibit. “Visions of Empire” follows the impact of the developing web of railroads through the 1870s and 1880s on everything from agriculture and immigration to politics and finance to tourism and leisure. It illuminates the creation of an entirely new “built environment” on the American landscape, the mobilization of massive industrial and financial resources, and the alteration of the relationship between private enterprise and governments on all levels.

Sprinter Operations Facility in Escondido.

The Gov. Stanford locomotive of the Central Pacific Railroad was built in Philadelphia in 1862 and was used in the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad. It was the CPs first locomotive bearing the road number 1.
Photo from the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens

Among the treasures on display are illustrated diaries from a young American civil engineer helping to build the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and a young British army officer exploring the Southern Great Plains by wagon; original letters written by surveyors, engineers and financiers pushing the first transcontinental to completion; copies of the first guide books produced for passengers on the first transcontinental excursions; and original maps that document America’s continental expansion. Also on view are magnificent photographs by Andrew J. Russell and Alfred A. Hart of the efforts required to build the first transcontinental line, and a rich array of original railroad posters and broadsides promoting the economic opportunities and the scenic wonders of the Far West

Sprinter Operations Facility in Escondido.

In 1869, The Great West Illustrated book with massive plate photographs of Andrew J. Russell illustrated romanticized views of the open landscape of the 1840s.

This photograph of Malloy’s Cut at Sherman Station in the Laramie Range on the transcontinental railroad is part of the Huntington exhibit.
Photo by Andrew J. Russell, from the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

Hundreds of the Huntington's Alfred A. Hart photographs are on view for the first time in a striking wall-sized installation. Some of these you’ll be able to be see close-up through a stereographic viewer, a 19th-century apparatus that brings a dramatic three-dimensionality to images of landscapes, laborers, campsites, and supplies of the 19th-century West.
Photo of the Hart display from the Visions of Empire exhibit by the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

Mr. Blodgett will guide us through the exhibition pointing out some of the exceptional highlights and conclude the visit with an explanation of the curatorial process employed in the mounting of the exhibition.

There will be time to explore the Botanical Gardens on your own before we return to the motor coach to continue on to lunch before arriving in San Bernardino.

In the afternoon, the Field Trip continues with a visit to the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum located in the beautifully restored 1918 Santa Fe Depot. Today, the Depot serves Amtrak and Metrolink passengers and it is across the tracks from the BNSF intermodal facility. Historically the great Santa Fe freight yard and shops used to be located here.

Chili’s Escondido

The Santa Fe Depot was restored in 2008. It originally opened on July 15, 1918 at a cost of $800,000 ($11,551,475 adjusted for 2005). At that time, it was the largest railway station west of the Mississippi River.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

Entrance to the Depot into the Museum from the trackside. Today BNSF unit trains of intermodel containers are made up here and run by here as does the Amtrak Southwest Chief.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

The Museum displays all kinds of unique artifacts, memorabilia, models . . . hundreds of historic photographs and special displays of San Bernardino City history. The Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society also has a portion of this Museum for its Western Archives. Included in the Archives are artifacts, books, magazines, drawings, photographs, slides and a wide variety of records and documents from primarily, but not exclusively, the old Coast Lines. We will have an opportunity of viewing the Archives and learning more about its holdings from Santa Fe archivists.

PCC car No. 517 – These cars were first introduced in San Diego in March 1937. The initial order consisted of 25 cars.

Whatever you are looking for in Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific “stuff” you’ll find it here. Lanterns, marker lights, badges, horns and even a comfortable miniature theater to view railroad DVDs.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

A Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) machine like the one used in this Depot from 1973 to 1989. Today, all of the CTC equipment and operation for the BNSF is located at its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

Signals galore! Block, semaphore, banjo, dwarf, cross buck, signs . . . check them out.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

This is what the San Bernardino Yard and Shops looked like in 1924. A very busy operation for AT&SF and all that remains today is a smoke stack.
Photo from the LARHF Archive

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

On the 13th of December 1937, Ralph Melching was there! How exciting to see all of that steam. Who could imagine that within twenty years it would be all gone? Only a photograph today can stir up memories and nostalgia like this.
Photo by Ralph Melching from the LARHF Archive

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

Time to go home aboard Metrolink Train #369. The Metrolink station is only a short walk from the Santa Fe Depot. While waiting for the Train, there is plenty of train action right in front of you. And if time permits, a walk over the Mt. Vernon Street bridge is perfect for an overall shot of the yard.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

You’ll be able to check out Metrolink’s new cab/passenger cars. These cars have a box at the front end of the coach that is designed to absorb energy and crumple in a crash. All of the passenger seats in the double-deck wagons face to the rear, making the ride safer for patrons. The trip back to Los Angeles is leisurely and enjoyable and just in time for a sandwich at Philippe’s and a chance to view LARHF’s current display “Amtrak – 40 Years of Passenger Service.”
Photo from the LARHF Collection

If you would like a Reservation Form for this Field Trip, please call (626) 458-4449 or email: info@larhf.org. to request a form. The fee for the trip including parking at the MTA garage in Los Angeles, all entrance fees, Metrolink and lunch is $65.00 for members and $85.00 for non-members. Join LARHF and become a member at the $25.00 level and save $20.00.

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Let's Ride the Rail Cars in San Diego County!

Field Trip - January 28TH 2012

Start with a ride on the Sprinter – then a very special ride on San Diego’s downtown newly restored PCC car, number 529 followed by a ride on the MTS Red Line car and finally a ride the Coaster! Oh yes, we’ll have lunch and visit the Sprinter service and maintenance facility.

All of this will take place on Saturday January 28, 2012. LARHF’s Fast Deer motor coach will leave from the MTA METRO Bus Plaza at the east end of the Union Station promptly at 7:30 AM. Free parking will be available in the MTA Garage, with an easy walk up to the Bus Plaza. Aboard the motor coach on its way to Oceanside breakfast refreshments will be served.

MTA METRO bus plaza

MTA METRO bus plaza where LARHF’s Fast Deer motor coach will be waiting.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

Our first stop is the North County Transit District’s (NCTD) Oceanside Center. The Coaster and Sprinter both operate out of this Center. We will be given an overview of the NCTD operations in its conference room at the Center and then board the Sprinter light rail line traveling from the west to the east between the cities of Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, and Escondido, its east end terminal.

Sprinter on its way to Escondido.

Sprinter on its way to Escondido.
Photo by NCTD

The Sprinter right-of-way follows approximately the old Santa Fe line. It is the first passenger train service along the Escondido Branch since the Santa Fe Railroad discontinued service in 1946. The pre-existing route was 22 miles from Oceanside to Escondido originally built in 1882. When the NCTD purchased the right-of-way, it had to be completely rebuilt from the roadbed, ballast up including the ties and rails, grade crossings and signals. Today the Siemens built rail cars glide over the system in one hour.

We will ride the Sprinter to Escondido, the end of the line, and then tour the Sprinter’s
Operations Facility for service and maintenance.

Sprinter Operations Facility in Escondido.

Sprinter Operations Facility in Escondido.
Photo by LARHF

Sprinter Operations Facility in Escondido.

Sprinter Operations Facility in Escondido
Photo by LARHF

It’s time for lunch. Our motor coach will meet us in Escondido and transfer us to Chili’s restaurant for your choice of sandwiches, salads, quesadillas and lots more.

Chili’s Escondido

Chili’s Escondido
Photo by LARHF

After lunch, sit back and relax in our motor coach as it heads to the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Headquarters and Terminal for a nostalgic ride on its newly restored PCC car.

PCC car No. 517 – These cars were first introduced in San Diego in March 1937. The initial order consisted of 25 cars.

PCC car No. 517 – These cars were first introduced in San Diego in March 1937. The initial order consisted of 25 cars.
Photo from MTS Archive

The PCC name comes from the design committee formed in 1929 representing the Presidents of various electric street railways. The Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Committee design proved successful in the United States, and after World War II was licensed for use elsewhere in the world. San Diego’s Silver Line has obtained six PCC cars formally used in San Francisco and Philadelphia.

PCC on trailer being delivered to the MTS Restoration Facility – 2006.

PCC on trailer being delivered to the MTS Restoration Facility – 2006.
Photo by MTS

The restoration of the first PCC car required over 3,000 volunteer hours and $850,000 in donations.

The San Diego PCC Car No. 529 during restoration.

The San Diego PCC Car No. 529 during restoration.
Photo by MTS

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.

The restoration of the San Diego PCC Car No. 529. is complete and the car is running on the Silver Line.
Photo by MTS

Following a ride along the new Silver Line, we will return to the MTS Headquarters to board its “Red” car traveling to the Santa Fe Amtrak Terminal.

A MTS “Red” car pulling out of the headquarters station.

A MTS “Red” car pulling out of the headquarters station.
Photo by MTS

At the Santa Fe Amtrak Terminal, we will board the NCTD Coaster train for a ride back to Oceanside.

Coaster at the Santa Fe Amtrak Station ready to pull out for Oceanside.

Coaster at the Santa Fe Amtrak Station ready to pull out for Oceanside.
Photo by MTS

In Escondido, our motor coach will take us back to Los Angeles. We anticipate returning to the LA Union Station Bus Plaza by 6:30 PM.

You will receive your Reservation Forms by December 15, 2011. The motor coach can only accommodate 40 passengers. The fee for the trip including parking at the MTA garage in Los Angeles, all rail tickets, breakfast beverages and pastry and lunch is $75.00 for members and $85.00 for non-members. Special pick-up arrangements will be made for San Diego and Orange County members.

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Come and Explore
The Pacific Electric Railway – Reality or Fantasy 60 Years Later!
Part 1

Saturday, September 24, 2011, LARHF presents a special tour of its popular series of Urban Archeology field trips. Ralph Cantos, learned urban archeologist and raconteur will lead our luxury bus tour beginning with an overview of the Downtown Los Angeles nucleus of the sprawling Pacific Electric (PE) system as it was in 1912 and as it is rising like a “Phoenix” once again around the region today.
All field trip attendees will also receive a complimentary copy of the book, “Destinations: How Trolleys and Postcards Helped Create the Southern California Dream, 1898-1950s.”

The Field Trip will leave promptly from the MTA METRO Patsaouras Transit Bus Plaza at 9:30 AM. (The street address is One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012.) Plan to board the Fast Deer coach no later than 9:15 AM. The Field Trip includes free validated parking in the MTA garage. The planned time to return is 12:30 PM.

METRO bus plaza

MTA METRO bus plaza where LARHF’s Urban Archeology Fast Deer coach will be waiting.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

Once the tour is underway, video monitors will display photographs showing how the route and surrounding area looked in the first half of the last century.

Belmont Sation Apartments

Six monitors in the coach project archival photographs depicting each of the PE locations to be visited, as they appeared when the Pacific Electric system was in full operation.
Photograph by Rex Miller

The tour will begin at the PE Headquarters built in 1905 by Mr. Henry E. Huntington, President and Owner of the Pacific Electric Railway. In a few short years, the PE would become the most far-reaching streetcar and interurban system in the entire United States. Today, 6th and Main Streets are realizing a renewal of downtown living.

Pacific Electric Headquarters

The Pacific Electric Headquarters was built in 1905. At that time it was Los Angeles’ first skyscraper and the largest building in the city.
Photograph from the Marc Wanamaker Collection

The second most important Pacific Electric building is the Subway Terminal building at 4th and Hill Streets. A visit is planned of this other downtown building that has not only survived for almost 100 years but has been totally restored and re-designed for apartment living.

The Subway Terminal Building steel framework was finished on October 24, 1925. The steel framework contained more steel than any other building in Los Angeles.

The Subway Terminal Building steel framework was finished on October 24, 1925. The steel framework contained more steel than any other building in Los Angeles.
Photograph from the Henry E. Huntington Library Collection

The Subway Terminal building was the starting point for the first subway in Los Angeles! When the automobile traffic on Hill Street became too frantic, the Pacific Electric built the subway to facilitate an easy and fast escape for its rail cars to avoid the downtown streets. The concrete tunnel lining was poured, set and stripped of form lumber, before the earth core was removed. The concrete lining in the tunnel had an inside clear opening of 28 feet.

The Subway Terminal tunnel bore

The contractor worked three shifts and the daily total number of men employed was about 650 workers. A report of October 1924, showed an average of 24 lineal feet of boring per day. The Subway Terminal tunnel bore was completed on April 16, 1925.
Photograph from the Henry E. Huntington Library Collection

The subway emptied into the Toluca Yard, the Urban Archeology tour’s next stop.

Today the Belmont Apartment complex occupies what was once the Yard. The crowded Toluca Yard would fill-up with “Red” cars waiting for the afternoon rush hour when they would be called on to transport hundreds of “downtowners” leaving from the Subway Terminal Building. From the Yard the cars proceed onto Glendale Boulevard and 2nd Street with tracks heading out to Glendale, Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

The Subway Terminal tunnel bore

Pacific Electric Cars emerging and heading into the subway. Outbound cars head north and west and inbound cars head to the Subway Terminal. The Yard’s storage tracks are to the left.
Photograph from the Craig Rasmussen Collection

 

The Subway Terminal tunnel bore

After the PE abandoned the Toluca storage yard it became a neighborhood soccer field and site of the graffiti art of the 1960s and 70s.
Photograph source unknown

The Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation has created an exhibit in the Belmont Apartments featuring forty-nine archival photographs, many of which have never been seen before. The display traces the construction of the Subway Terminal Building, the PE Tunnel and Toluca Yard. Urban Archeology participants will stand here on what was once the Toluca Yard and view the subway tunnel portal and the original Substation, which provided the electrical power for the rail cars.

As the Urban Archeology tour coach pulls away from the Belmont Apartments, participants can pretend they’re on a PE “Red” car, heading north on Glendale Blvd. The PE cars from here are either headed north and then west toward Hollywood or north on the Glendale-Burbank Line. The tour will follow the Glendale-Burbank Line to the Los Angeles River to view the remaining pylons of the Hyperion Viaduct PE Bridge that sped travel to Glendale and Burbank.

The Subway Terminal tunnel bore

A busy intersection in the 1940s at Beverly Boulevard and Glendale Avenue, looking north with an Adohr Milk billboard and oil derricks that are no longer there but the lamppost extensions, which held the streetcar power lines, remain.
Photograph from the Henry E. Huntington Library Collection

Next, the tour coach will turn around and head back to Glendale Blvd., and take the Park Street junction up to Sunset Boulevard.

Park St. Junction at Glendale Boulevard with PE car descending from Sunset Boulevard

Park St. Junction leads from Glendale Boulevard to the Sunset Boulevard junction. All westbound PE cars took this junction heading toward Hollywood, Van Nuys and Beverly Hills.
Photograph from the Craig Rasmussen Collection

At the Sunset-Santa Monica junction just past the Olive Substation, the tour will continue along Santa Monica Boulevard. Next up is Highland Avenue where the Van Nuys Line branched off to the north, crossing Hollywood Boulevard and running through the Cahuenga Pass.

Park St. Junction at Glendale Boulevard with PE car descending from Sunset Boulevard

Can you imagine the Hollywood Freeway with the PE cars running down the center?
Photograph from the Marc Wanamaker Collection

The PE Santa Monica Line headed directly west on Santa Monica Blvd. to Beverly Hills. Between Highland and just west of La Brea Blvd. there were many film industry businesses. A few blocks west of La Brea at Formosa Street stands the Formosa Café. The Formosa first opened in 1934 and an original PE car No. 913 makes up part of its structure.

A Hollywood landmark, the Formosa Café first opened in 1934

A Hollywood landmark, the Formosa Café first opened in 1934
Photograph from LARHF

Tour participants will also see where the PE Hollywood Blvd. Line ducked on to a dedicated right-of-way heading southwest from the corner of La Brea and Hollywood Boulevards on to what appears today to be an alley that led all the way to Fairfax Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd.

The Subway Terminal tunnel bore

The aerial view of the Hollywood Line’s private right-of-way from Hollywood Blvd. and La Brea Ave. to the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Fairfax Ave. clearly shows how the Pacific Electric surveyed this stretch of track before there were any homes or buildings in its way. Today there are clues and pieces of this right-of-way to be seen.
Photograph from the Marc Wanamaker Collection

Next on the tour’s itinerary is the area of West Hollywood that is home to a sheriff’s station and the Pacific Design Center. This stretch was once a large and important Pacific Electric facility with car houses and repair and maintenance shops; almost 20 acres made up this yard.

The Subway Terminal tunnel bore

Car maintenance was centered at Sherman, today known as West Hollywood. Sherman remained active as a car house and minor repair point until its final abandonment in 1955.
Photograph from the Marc Wanamaker Collection

Continuing along Santa Monica Blvd. the tour enters the city limits of Beverly Hills. The tour coach drives parallel to the PE right-of-way, which remains un-developed to this day, and continues a few more blocks to where the Beverly Hills PE Station stood at the corner of Cañon Drive and Santa Monica Blvd.

Beverly Hills PE Station

Beverly Hills Pacific Electric Station at the corner of Cañon Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard
Photograph by Roger L. Titus

The final route for the morning takes the tour eastbound along Burton Way from Beverly Hills to Los Angeles, where the line continues on San Vicente Blvd. Impressive viaducts crossed several of the major streets, before reaching Vineyard Junction where San Vicente and Venice Boulevards merge.

Beverly Hills PE Station

Vineyard Yard and Junction looking west in 1940. The Beverly Hills Line and Venice Short Line separated at this junction.
Photo from the Marc Wanamaker Collection

Heading eastward to the MTA METRO Parking, the tour bus will follow the PE Venice Short Line tracks to Downtown and turn north on Hill Street where the Line proceeded to its terminal at 4th and Hill. This Urban Archeology tour makes its final stop for today back at the MTA METRO Bus Plaza.

Don’t miss out on this “eye-opening” tour to see what the Pacific Electric “reality” was and its rebirth today in the greater Los Angeles Basin.

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“By the Sea – By the Beautiful Sea”

Saturday, June 18th is LARHF’s next exciting all day Field Trip with Ralph Cantos leading its Urban Archeology explorations of the Pacific Electric’s Southern District. Make your reservation now. Either call LARHF (626) 458-4449 and request a Reservation Flyer or write to LARHF, 1500 W. Alhambra Road, Alhambra, CA 91801. You may also e-mail LARHF – info@larhf.org.

The Field Trip will leave promptly from the MTA METRO bus plaza at 8:30 AM. Plan to board the Fast Deer coach no later than 8:15 AM. The Field Trip includes free validated parking in the MTA garage. Our planned return time is 4:30 PM.

Belmont Sation Apartments

MTA METRO bus plaza where our Fast Deer bus will be waiting.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

Leaving the MTA METRO bus plaza we will travel directly to Long Beach and the beginning of the Newport – Balboa Line at Willow Street and Long Beach Blvd.

Pacific Electric construction

In 1943 Long Beach Boulevard was lined with oil well derricks. PE Car No. 1239 headed for Newport Beach is just crossing the boulevard onto its private right-of-way, which our tour will follow.
Photo from the Craig Rasmussen Collection - Photographer – Ivan Baker

The PE Line right-of-way to Newport-Balboa was laid out practically in a straight line diagonally south east to where it paralleled the ocean. But, with today’s built-up Long Beach community it takes some maneuvering and zig-zaging to follow the Newport Line. We are searching for vestiges of the nearly 100 year old line and you have to be an archeologist or detective to find these relics.

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

Turning east from Cherry Avenue onto Pacific Coast Highway it almost jumped up and bit us. There it was, the double track line crossing PCH with the track in place. Ralph was jumping up and down with joy.

Amazingly the right-of-way heading toward Newport Beach is easily seen in many places. In other places along the way, houses have been built on what was the ROW and there is no trace of the steel rail line. After crossing a couple of bridges and following Electric Avenue (part of the original ROW) we’ll stop in Seal Beach and take a look at the 1925 PE Box Motor Tower Car No. 1734 and its small museum.

Belmont Sation Apartments

Tower Car No. 1734 was used to troubleshoot PE operational problems along the 40-mile PE Newport Line. A center tower was used for repairs and maintenance on the overhead lines.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

At the end of Electric Avenue our route heads back to the Pacific Coast Highway. Pacific Avenue parallels PCH and the PE ROW. Rolling along there are new and old homes facing Pacific Avenue and a few 1920’s home can still be seen. From here it’s a straight line along the coast to Newport Beach. We’ll pass several historical PE stops like Sunset Beach, Los Patos, Bolsa Chica, Stolco and Rocamp before we arrive at Huntington Beach. Because we have some time constraints and sadly since there is nothing left to see of the old PE Line south of Huntington Beach, we will head north on Beach Avenue for lunch and the afternoon’s events.

Pacific Electric construction

The Pacific Electric Gun Club had extensive facilities at Los Patos for its employees. At Los Patos, Club members were given options to lease company land on the beach side of present Pacific Coast Highway, where cabins and modest vacation homes were built and where hunting and fishing were indulged in. By 1934, the Los Patos site had 34 cottages, built and used by PE employees.

Photo from the Henry E. Huntington Library Photography Collection

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

PE Car No. 1218 flying along the beach at Los Patos in the 1940s.
Photo from the Craig Rasmussen Collection - Photographer – Harold F. Stewart

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

Water – Oil and Pacific Electric – a fitting trio. Car No. 1262 is waiting on the 15th of September 1945 for the next surge in riders at Rocamp just north of Huntington Beach.
Photo from the Craig Rasmussen Collection

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

A view from the ocean with PE Car No.1205 and the oil wells of Huntington Beach in the background.
Photo from the Craig Rasmussen Collection

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

One last view of the Pacific Ocean at Huntington Beach with a solid line of steel derricks in December 1939.
Photo from the Craig Rasmussen Collection - Photographer – Ivan Baker

After lunch at the Hometown Buffet we have an extra special treat in store for us. Visiting Richard Unfried at his home in La Mirada, he will show and tell us all about his great Sueher City model train layout. The Sueher City theme flows from the Sueher Pipe Organ Builders, NLC factory complex at one end of the layout.

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

It all begins at the Fulluda Station. The trains come and go on two levels.
Photographer – Richard Unfried

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

Sueher Pipe Works, have a clear ring to them as long as they are regularly played. See this three-rail (Lionel type) O gauge layout in action.
Photographer – Richard Unfried

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

Richard with a friend at the console of entirely rebuilt Aeolian Pipe Organ first built in 1927 and rebuilt by Richard after he retired having taught at Biola University for forty one years.

Before heading back to Los Angeles we’ll visit the Bellflower Pacific Electric Depot. It was completely rebuilt using the original Pacific Electric building plans. The depot is located beside the Santa Ana Line a 34-mile ride from Los Angeles to Santa Ana with about 30 stops along the way. Today a photo display is mounted in the Depot depicting the Santa Ana Line in its glory days. The display was curated by LARHF with photographs from the Craig Rasmussen Collection.

Opening Day Ceremony and first Pacific Electric car to run through the tunnel.

The restored Bellflower PE Depot as it is seen today. The Santa Ana Line ROW is just outside and can be seen both outbound and inbound on either side of Bellflower Boulevard.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

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North By Northeast Field Trip - 9/11/2010

Saturday the 11th of September, is LARHF’s next exciting Field Trip with Ralph Cantos leading its Urban Archeology explorations of the Pacific Electric Northern District. Make your reservation by downloading the Reservation Flyer or calling LARHF (626) 458-4449 to request a Reservation Flyer.

The Field Trip will leave promptly from the MTA METRO bus plaza at 8:30 AM. Make plans to board the coach no later than 8:15 AM. The Field Trip includes free validated parking in the MTA garage. Our planned return time is 4:30 PM.

MTA METRO bus plaza

MTA METRO bus plaza where our Fast Deer bus will be waiting.
Photo from the LARHF Collection

Boarding the bus we will proceed to the beginning of the PE Northern District at the Pacific Electric 6th and Main Street Headquarters.

Pacific Electric Headquarters

The Pacific Electric Headquarters was built in 1905. At that time it was Los Angeles’ first skyscraper and the largest building in the city.
Photo from the Bison Archives

We’ll follow Main Street to where the line turned east at Aliso Street. Today only a block or two remain of Aliso Street because the Hollywood Freeway chewed it all up.

Aliso Street from Alameda Street looking east past the Los Angeles Union Station.

Aliso Street from Alameda Street looking east past the Los Angeles Union Station. Philippe’s French Dip Restaurant was originally located on Aliso Street directly across from the Union Station.
Photo from the LARHF Archives

From here, we will have to use our imagination as only lingering vestiges of the line remain. Today the San Bernardino Freeway borders what was the Macy Street Yard. In its time it was a major repair facility for the Northern District. Today, MTA METRO uses it for its bus maintenance shops.

The Macy Street Yard

The Macy Street Yard in 1951 from bordering road.
Photo from the LARHF Archives

Our bus will next take the Soto Street exit and head north to a little street, Charlotte Street. From a bridge crossing the abandoned PE right-of-way we can see where the once busy Valley Junction was located.

The Valley Junction rails head east to El Monte, Covina and Pomona and the northern rails to the Pasadena Short Line,

The Valley Junction rails head east to El Monte, Covina and Pomona and the northern rails to the Pasadena Short Line, Sierra Vista Line and points east.
Photo from the LARHF Archives

Making a loop around from Charlotte Street, we’ll make a stop to look at the old right-of-way (ROW) still preserved and very much in evidence. The trackage is still only double rails at this point on the Northern Line.

This area of the PE right-of-way hasn’t been disturbed for over fifty years.

This area of the PE right-of-way hasn’t been disturbed for over fifty years. It is possible to hike along this abandoned ROW.
Photo from LARHF

Back on Soto Street and heading north, we think that the ROW near what was called Indian Village, can today best be seen in a paved parking area in front of a series of large buildings that was once the warehouses for the Broadway Department Stores. At this point in the line the double track went to four tracks, which can be seen in the parking area. The four-track system was built in 1910.

The four-track system of the Northern District

The four-track system of the Northern District began at what was called Indian Village and is seen here in a paved parking lot parallel to Soto Street.
Photo from LARHF

Continuing north on Soto Street, in about a mile, Mission Road and Soto Street come together and Huntington Drive begins, continuing through to Arcadia and Monrovia.

This is the original Pacific Electric viaduct built in 1934.

This is the original Pacific Electric viaduct built in 1934. The viaduct crosses over several streets and the trackage continues on a dedicated ROW along Huntington Drive.
Photo from LARHF

The El Sereno area four-track ROW, from approximately Eastern Avenue to Van Horne Avenue, featured steel catenary supporting bridges obtained from the Visalia Electric Railroad. This section of the Northern District was known as the “dream track.”

Steel catenary supporting brides for catenary system along ROW in El Sereno.

Steel catenary supporting brides for catenary system along ROW in El Sereno.
Photo from the LARHF Archive Collection

The next important stop along the way was Sierra Vista. Here the Alhambra-San Gabriel Line diverged and it was here that the Sierra Vista Local Line terminated. (Exploring the Alhambra Line will have to wait for another day.)

The Sierra Vista Line was through-routed with the Watts Line of the Southern District from 1938 to 1950.

The Sierra Vista Line was through-routed with the Watts Line of the Southern District from 1938 to 1950.
Photo from the Bison Archives on loan to LARHF

New Years Day 1948 crowds the Northern District line at Sierra Vista taking visitors attending the Rose Parade back to Los Angeles.

New Years Day 1948 crowds the Northern District line at Sierra Vista taking visitors attending the Rose Parade back to Los Angeles.
Photo from the Bison Archives on loan to LARHF

About a mile further along as the four-track system curved due east, we will pass the impressive Oneonta Park junction which is actually in South Pasadena. The name derives from the town Oneonta, New York where Henry E. Huntington was born in 1850 and lived as a child.

Oneonta Junction

Oneonta Junction was always busy even one year before the end of passenger service on the Northern District when this photograph was taken. The end of service came on September 30, 1951 and today it is only a little landscaped triangle of land dividing the streets heading north.
Photo from the LARHF Archive Collection

From Huntington Drive there were three PE lines that headed north. Each of the lines ran up to Colorado Blvd., and each of the lines had its own picturesque route. From Oneonta Junction, the Pasadena Short Line operated up to the North Fair Oaks Carhouse.

Pasadena electric generating plant and Pasadena Sub/Station was a Pacific Electric holding yard.

Located on south Fair Oaks adjacent to the site of the Pasadena electric generating plant and Pasadena Sub/Station was a Pacific Electric holding yard. Out of service Short Line and local cars would be held here until needed. This was also the site of the old Pasadena & Los Angeles Railroad carhouse and yard.
Photo from the Bison Archives on loan to LARHF

Pasadena “Barn”

The Pasadena “Barn” was built in 1903. This view of the carhouse was from Raymond Street at the opposite end from Fair Oaks. The carhouse had six tracks, two with service pits, and all together a capacity of forty-two fifty-foot cars. A hotel occupies this site today.
Photo from the LARHF Archive Collection

The next line east of the Short Line was the Oak Knoll Line that ran to Colorado Street and than west to the Fair Oaks Carhouse. After it left Huntington Drive, it ran on a section of private right-of-way, then on Oak Knoll Avenue, another piece of private ROW and finally on Lake Street up to Colorado Street where it turned west.

Pasadena “Barn”

El Molino Junction

At the El Molino Junction on Huntington Drive, the Oak Knoll Line heads north at this junction.
Photo from the LARHF Archive Collection

Beautiful countryside in 1906 when the Oak Knoll line was inaugurated

It was beautiful countryside in 1906 when the Oak Knoll line was inaugurated and it still is today except that homes occupy all of the land along the line. The world famous Huntington Hotel is now called The Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa located at the top of the knoll. It was originally called the Wentworth after its owner, General Wentworth. At that time the Oak Knoll Line was known as the Wentworth Line.
Photo from the LARHF Archive Collection

The third line, the Sierra Madre Line ran from Huntington Drive continuing north of Colorado Street to Central Avenue in Sierra Madre and ending at Baldwin Avenue. We’ll explore all three routes and work up an appetite for lunch. As we make our way south on Fair Oaks we’ll stop at the Barn Burner BBQ for some brisket, chicken, pulled pork beans and corn-on-the-cob.

The Barn Burner, A typical Texas type BBQ joint

A typical Texas type BBQ joint with delicious barbeque awaits LARHF’s Field Trip guests. The Barn Burner houses LARHF’S recently installed “satellite” exhibit featuring photographs and models of the historical trolley’s of Pasadena including a scale model of the MTA METRO Gold Line cars.
Photo from LARHF

After lunch we have a date with the Pasadena Model Railroad Club and its marvelous HO Sierra Pacific Lines railroad layout. We’ll be able to view and photograph it from the operating floor, a special privilege for our group.

Colorful and exciting 70 x 72 foot HO layout of the Pasadena Model Railroad Club

This colorful and exciting 70 x 72 foot HO layout of the Pasadena Model Railroad Club is a prototypical wonder! It requires, to be fully operational, over thirty operators, including a trainmaster, two dispatchers, ten mainline cab operators, a towerman, eight main yard operators, three engine service operators and several branch line operators.
Photos from LARHF

Colorful and exciting 70 x 72 foot HO layout of the Pasadena Model Railroad Club

 

Our final stop on the tour will be a visit to LARHF’s headquarters, for some refreshment and an opportunity to see its offices, archives and library. This is definitely a full day’s experience and adventure with historical, contemporary and railroad fun. We plan to return to the MTA METRO bus plaza no later than 4:00 PM. Don’t wait to make your reservation or you may be left behind.

Call LARHF today at (626) 458-4449 and sign up.
Download the Reservation Flyer

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A DAY WITH THE UNION PACIFIC - 3/20/2010

Saturday, March 20th is LARHF’s next exciting all day Field Trip. It’s time to make your reservation by either calling LARHF (626) 458-4449 and request a Reservation Flyer or write to LARHF, 150 W. Alhambra Road, Alhambra, CA 91801. You may also e-mail LARHF – info@larhf.org.

The Field Trip will leave promptly from the MTA METRO bus plaza at 8:30 AM. Make plans to board the coach no later than 8:15 AM. The Field Trip includes free validated parking in the MTA garage. Our planned return time is 4:30 PM.

MTA Metro Bus

MTA METRO bus plaza

THE UNION PACIFIC has invited LARHF to visit its West Colton Yard with a comprehensive tour of the facility and its operations. The Southern Pacific originally built the yard in 1972. At that time, the West Colton Classification Yard was the most modern and advanced computerized yard of its time.

An overview of West Colton Rail Yard

An overview of the yard will be seen from the roof of the headquarters/control tower building.

The hump crest is located immediately in front of the headquarters building. The yard has 48 classification tracks between 2400 feet and 3300 feet long able to hold 2000 cars.

Hump Remote Control operator

It takes a yardman and remote control engineer to operate the hump’s computer-controlled system of automatic switches and retarders managing the free-rolling movement of cars from the crest to the classification yard.

West Colton “One Spot” building is its rail car repair facility.

West Colton “One Spot” building is its rail car repair facility. There is lots of activity going on here with all kinds of freight cars being repaired both inside and outside of the building.

Repairs in progressTrain Repairs

Locomotive Repair Facility

On to the Locomotive Repair Facility made up of two buildings. We’ll see the 35,640-square foot diesel shop for locomotive maintenance/repair and engine change-out and a 19,600-square foot building for wheel truing and traction motor replacement.

Diesel Shop

The diesel shop has two run-through and three stub tracks. Each can service two locomotives simultaneously.

Transfer Table

One of the most distinctive features of the West Colton Yard Locomotive Repair Facility is the rectangular yellow transfer table between the two shop buildings. The table is 100-foot-long and it travels up to 245 on its tracks.

Wheel Truing building

Finally we will tour the wheel truing and drop table building that houses the equipment needed to assure that UPRR’s locomotives run on properly functioning wheels and axles. You are looking at the pit below one of the tracks where a lathe removes flat spots and unevenness from locomotive wheels.

Leaving the Union Pacific yard our next stop is the famous Colton Crossing The crossing is the intersection of the tracks of the BNSF and Union Pacific (UP) railroads. Union Pacific track runs east-west at the crossing while the BNSF track runs north-south. The Metrolink trains and Amtrak's Southwest Chief also use the BNSF track through the crossing while Amtrak's Sunset Limited uses the UP tracks. The Union Pacific track comes from the east through the Coachella Valley and into the yard in West Colton. The BNSF track from the south continues through the yard in San Bernardino and up Cajon Pass. The crossing was installed in 1882 with some real “old west” gun slinging.

SF Diesels

The crossing at Colton in this photograph is just behind the tower. This Santa Fe freight train with a blue and yellow Warbonnet F-45 is heading westbound in the direction of Fullerton and Los Angeles. The train is seen running beneath the I-10 Interstate freeway.

By now we should be hungry for lunch and within 20 minutes we will arrive in Riverside at the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Exterior of the Old Spaghetti Factory

Housed in an old fruit-packing house, the Old Spaghetti Factory has kept much of the early 1900s spirit in its décor.

LARHF Display

The Riverside Old Spaghetti Factory houses one of LARHF’s “satellite” displays. The satellite’s give the restaurant’s guests a unique moment to see and learn about the railroad’s and streetcar’s influence in this area. The current display is entitled “Early Days in Riverside” and is illustrated with enlarged archive postcards from the Roger L. Titus Collection and locomotive examples of the LARHF Model Collection.

Today’s mainline from Fullerton and heading up to Cajon is immediately behind the restaurant and one block away are both the Union Pacific and AT&SF Depots. We’ll take some time and walk over to each depot.

UP Depot

In 1904, when this depot was built, horse and wagons were still the major means of transportation in Riverside. The Los Angeles and Salt Lake Depot (Union Pacific System) was an imposing white stucco building with its heavy tiled roof, broad arched verandas and surrounding lawns and garden. It did much to promote the California image and today the Depot remains as a memorable example of the California Mission style of architecture.

SF Depot

That is how the Santa Fe Railway announcement for the opening of its new station in Riverside read. The opening took place on January 26, 1927 in a beautiful setting with parks and gardens, palm trees and the Gage Canal bordering it.

Driving from the depots our motor coach will drive through some of the old but stately homes of Riverside built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Our final destination for the day is the great viaduct bridge of the Union Pacific.

Bridge

Built in 1904 for permanency, the great viaduct spanning the Santa Ana River near Riverside, California was built of concrete and as such, was one of the more notable engineering achievements of the new Union Pacific railroad. Still in use today, the ten arch structure is close to one-fifth of a mile long and over 60 feet high.

Bridge today

Still in use today, the ten arch structure is close to one-fifth of a mile long and over 60 feet high. Hopefully we’ll see some train activity on the bridge.

From the bridge we’ll follow the Union Pacific mainline back up to the I-10 and then home, back to the MTA METRO Building car garage. Don’t forget to get your parking coupon which together with the ticket you received in the morning will give you a free day of parking.

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THE CAMERAS START ‘ROLLIN - 11/17/2009

Tuesday, November 17th, LARHF presents Marc Wanamaker in the MTA Board Room with a visual presentation about trains and streetcars in the movies. The evening begins with dinner at Philippe’s and a new display of LARHF’s with some amazing archive photographs of movie making throughout the first fifty years of 1900. Model trains and streetcars will accent the photographs.

At 7:00 PM in the MTA Board Room we will be treated to a visual presentation and conversation about the import of trains and streetcars in Hollywood moviemaking.

A TRIP TO HOLLYWOOD VIA THE “RED” CAR ROUTES

Make your reservation now. Only 46 seats will be available! On Saturday, November 21st, 2009, LARHF presents the latest in our popular series of Urban Archeology field trips. This trip will highlight the Pacific Electric‘s Western Division. We’ll start our trip at the Belmont Apartments, on Glendale Boulevard near Downtown Los Angeles.  LARHF has created an exhibit here with forty-nine archival photographs, many of which have never been seen before. The display traces the construction of the Subway Terminal Building, the PE Tunnel and Toluca Yard. Field trip participants will stand here on what was once the Toluca Yard, and will also view the original Substation and mouth of the Tunnel.

The Subway Terminal tunnel bore

The Subway Terminal tunnel bore was completed on April 16, 1925.
Photograph from the Henry E. Huntington Library Collection

The Toluca Yard, looking north directly toward Glendale Boulevard.

The Toluca Yard, looking north directly toward Glendale Boulevard. Construction of the Yard began in 1924.
Photograph from the Henry E. Huntington Library Collection

The Subway Terminal Building steel framework was finished on October 24, 1925. The steel framework contained more steel than any other building in Los Angeles.

The Subway Terminal Building steel framework was finished on October 24, 1925. The steel framework contained more steel than any other building in Los Angeles.
Photograph from the Henry E. Huntington Library Collection

Alas, we can’t ride a “red” car, but we'll travel along those cars' routes in our comfortable coach. As we travel, video monitors will display photographs showing how the route and surrounding area looked in the first half of last century. The trip will be a full day.

The MTA METRO bus plaza where the Field Trip will leave from and return to.

The MTA METRO bus plaza where the Field Trip will leave from and return to.
Photograph from LARHF

We must leave the MTA METRO bus plaza at 8:30 AM sharp. Make plans to board the coach no later then 8:15 AM. The Field Trip includes free validated parking in the MTA garage. Lunch will be served at Zeke’s BBQ in the heart of old Hollywood. Our planned return time is 4:30 PM.

When we pull away from the Belmont Apartments, it will be as though we were on a PE car, heading north from the Subway Terminal Building onto Glendale Blvd. We'll view lots of PE landmarks prior to our reaching the Los Angeles River. There, we'll see the remaining pylons of the Hyperion Viaduct PE bridges that crossed the River, sending the “red” cars into Glendale and Burbank.

This site at Monte Sano was the terminus of the Edendale Line with the double tracks of the Glendale-Burbank Line about to cross the River

This site at Monte Sano was the terminus of the Edendale Line with the double tracks of the Glendale-Burbank Line about to cross the River
Photograph from the Craig Rasmussen Collection

We'll turn around here and head back to Glendale Blvd., and take the Park  Street junction up to Sunset Boulevard. The junction was used to bring the PE cars up the grade onto Sunset, heading west.

Park St. Junction at Glendale Boulevard with PE car descending from Sunset Boulevard

Park St. Junction at Glendale Boulevard with PE car descending from Sunset Boulevard
Photograph from the Craig Rasmussen Collection

At the Sunset-Santa Monica junction just past the Olive Substation, our trip will continue along Santa Monica Boulevard. We'll pass Highland Avenue where the Van Nuys Line branched off to the north, crossing Hollywood Boulevard and running through the Cahuenga Pass. Our lunch stop will be at the recently built West Hollywood/La Brea shopping complex and Zeke’s BBQ. Not more than 50 feet away is the landmark Formosa Café. PE Car No. 913 makes up a part of the Café, which we will be able to see.

A Hollywood landmark, the Formosa Café first opened in 1934

A Hollywood landmark, the Formosa Café first opened in 1934
Photograph from LARHF

Marc Wanamaker, our special guest, will join us for lunch and then travel for about an hour with us on the bus, bringing us to some of the interesting movie locations in Hollywood where the studios used streetcars and trains in their films. Marc has been acknowledged as "Hollywood’s historian," and is an authority on the history of movie making and all of its varied tangents. His marvelous Bison Archives has been in the making for over 40 years. All of the movie publicity pictures in this News letter and LARHF’s web site are from his Archives.

Harold Lloyd in “Hot Water” – PE Car No. 239 – Photograph from the Bison Archives

Harold Lloyd in “Hot Water” – PE Car No. 239
Photograph from the Bison Archives

Our field trip doesn't end here. We'll also see where the PE Hollywood car ducked into a dedicated right of way down what appears today to be an alley all the way to Santa Monica Blvd. from the corner of La Brea and Hollywood Blvd.

Private right-of-way from Hollywood Blvd. south west to Santa Monica Blvd. Here at the Gardner Junction is PE Car No. 5103

Private right-of-way from Hollywood Blvd. south west to Santa Monica Blvd. Here at the Gardner Junction is PE Car No. 5103
Photograph from the Craig Rasmussen Collection

Next on our itinerary is Sherman – today West Hollywood – and what was back then, a large and important car house and shops for the PE. Almost 20 acres made up this yard, which today is home to a sheriff’s station and the impressive Pacific Design Center. Continuing along Santa Monica Blvd. we enter the city limits of Beverly Hills and pass along the PE right of way, which remains un-developed to this day and a few more blocks to where the Beverly Hills PE Station stood at the corner of Cañon Drive and Santa Monica Blvd.

Beverly Hills PE Station

Beverly Hills PE Station
Photograph by Roger L. Titus

Our final route for the day will take us eastbound along Burton Way from Beverly Hills to Los Angeles, where the line continues on San Vicente Blvd. Impressive viaducts crossed several of the major streets, before reaching Vineyard Junction and finally back downtown on the Venice Short Line tracks.

We'll conclude our Urban Archeology: Part IV course as we glide back into the MTA Bus Plaza. By the way, in the future we are planning some special mainline rail explorations.

Pacific Harbor Line/Urban Archaeology Field Trip

Saturday, June 6, 2009 – 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Here we go again and this time on a Saturday so that everyone can join LARHF for another exciting Field Trip. It begins at 8:30 AM at the Los Angeles Union Station’s East Portal Bus Plaza. Try to get their using public transportation but if you have to drive, you’ll be able to park in the METRO garage for free with a LARHF coupon included in your Trip package.

Metro Bus

The Union Station’s East Portal entrance and bus plaza. Our chartered motor coach will meet us here. The field trip must leave promptly at 8:30 AM.
Photo credit: LARHF

We will spend the morning visiting the Pacific Harbor Line, a short line railroad company that has been running the rails at the ports of Long Beach and San Pedro since 1998.

They’re big. They’re complex. Hundreds of millions of metric tons of goods move through their freight terminals each year. In fact combined, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest in the Western Hemisphere. The high volume of freight traffic at the two ports would create a chaotic and unwieldy rail operation if there weren’t an organization keeping it all on track.

Harbor Containers

Port and container ship
Photo credit: LARHF

PHL contracts with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to operate the traffic control system. PHL manages all rail dispatching and switching functions at the on-dock rail yards at the two ports. That includes:

  • Scheduling and overseeing all train movements within the 7,500-acre port complex.
  • Organizing railroad cars carrying containers of imported goods and switching them onto various tracks to form trains for BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad, which transport shipped goods to the rest of the United States.
  • Breaking down trains arriving at the ports, switching railroad cars onto various tracks and distributing them to nine marine terminals where containers are downloaded onto ships for export.
  • Maintaining 60 miles of railroad tracks within the port complex.
  • Storing railroad cars awaiting dispatch.

PHL Container car switching operation

PHL Container car switching operation
Photo credit: PHL

In addition to its container operation, PHL serves as a go-between for trains carrying supplies from various parts of the United States to be delivered directly to Los Angeles and Long Beach-area businesses. For this carload function, PHL handles tank cars, automobile carriers, box cars, hopper cars and various other types of cars.

PHL – tank cars

PHL – tank cars
Photo credit: PHL

The PHL is the first U.S. railroad to replace its entire locomotive fleet with new low-emissions engines meeting EPA Tier 2 standards. The result: the lowest average emission profile of any railroad in the United States

PHL diesels in the yard

PHL diesels in the yard.
Photo credit: LARHF

All of this daily activity is there for us to see and photograph.

The Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line

After lunch at the famous Whale & Ale restaurant in San Pedro, we have been invited to ride The Port of Los Angeles waterfront RED CAR Line. The line is using a former Pacific Electric right-of-way, also used by the Pacific Harbor Line for freight operations, rebuilt to accommodate trolley operations with traditional 600-volt DC overhead trolley wire. We will ride in the PE’s car No. 1058, a 1000-class Interurban 1907 vintage car. It was restored in the 1960’s and outfitted with rubber tires and a gasoline engine for tourists to ride in and see the sights of Los Angeles. Fortunately it was rescued from this usage and properly restored to its original rails condition

Pacific Electric Car

Pacific Electric car No. 1058 as it appears today. This car number is factitious since the car was originally from the PE 900 series. When Richard Fellows restored the car to appear like a 1000 series car, he gave it one number above the actual series.
Photo credit: Wayne Oberparleiter – Image Crafters Photography

Urban Archaeology – Part III

Railroad Urban Archaeology Headquarters, New York City

Railroad Urban Archaeology Headquarters, New York City. Well not really, but it could be? You decide.
Photo credit: LARHF

Finally, we get to go on our Urban Archaeology treasure hunt with Ralph Cantos. This time we are looking for vestiges of the Pacific Electric local lines in Long Beach.

In 1902, the Pacific Electric completed its high-speed line from Los Angeles to Long Beach. This line gave the beach city its greatest impetus for growth along with the discovery of oil in 1921.

Long Beach was a unique city for the Pacific Electric. It was one of the few communities wherein no electric railway lines existed prior to PE’s coming to town. PE, therefore built Long Beach’s entire local railway system with its carbarn first at Fifth and American (Long Beach Blvd.) and later at the Fairbanks Yard, which we will see on the tour.

Long Beach Limited PE Car No. 1237

Long Beach Limited PE Car No. 1237
Photo credit: Donald Duke Collection – Henry E. Huntington Library

The following are some of the Local Lines that existed in 1923:

  • American Ave. (Long Beach Blvd.) – North Long Beach Line
  • E. Third St. – Redondo Ave. Line
  • E. Seventh St. Line
  • Magnolia Ave. Line
  • Pine Ave. Line
  • Seaside Park Line
  • Long Beach-Alamitos Bay-Seal Beach Line

End of the line

Fact: In 1911 the LA/Long Beach Line made the trip from downtown Los Angeles to downtown Long Beach in 36 minutes and made 54 round trips daily. In 1954 it took 60 minutes.
(Source: Henry Huntington and the Pacific Electric – Spencer Crump)

That’s the end of the line for today’s field trip. Let’s see how long it will take us to return to Los Angeles at approximately 4:00 PM? We will hopefully be back at the MTA METRO bus plaza by 4:30 PM.

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METRO/Union Pacific Field Trip

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 – 8:30 AM – 4:40 PM

RED TO BLUE TO YELLOW

No, this is not a magic trick. It’s another spectacular Field Trip offered by LARHF. It
begins at 8:30 AM at the Los Angeles Union Station. Try to get their using public transportation but if you have to drive, you’ll be able to park in the METRO garage for free with a LARHF coupon included in your Trip package.

Union Station’s East Portal entrance

The Union Station’s East Portal entrance leads directly down the escalator to our meeting area before boarding the Red Line.
Photo credit: LARHF

 

Red Line

We leave the Station on the subway Red Line and head for the 7th Street METRO Center to transfer to the Blue Line.
Photo credit: LARHF

Slauson_Tower

The ride on the Blue Line, which was the first light rail constructed by METRO in 1990, heads towards Long Beach using much of the Pacific Electric’s original right-of-way.
Photo credit: Donald Duke Collection

From 9th Street in downtown Los Angeles to Watts, the Long Beach Line operated for almost 6 miles on four tracks. Those tracks were first laid in 1906, by Mr. Huntington’s orders. Picture Can you imagine the PE operating daily more than 600 cars over the Long Beach Line and its allied lines?

The ROC

This facility is the nerve center of the entire METRO rail operation.

Disembarking at the Rosa Parks Station (Imperial/Wilmington)

Disembarking at the Rosa Parks Station (Imperial/Wilmington) our first stop of the day is a rare visit to the “ROC” Rail Operations Control.
Photo credit: LARHF)

Under the watchful eyes of the ROC’s central control personnel, transit riders are helped when they have a problem whether it be “they can’t get the ticket machine to work”, or “what time does the next car come?”

The camera surveillance room allows METRO to “keep an eye” on all of the activities at every one of its stations.
Photo credit: LARHF

Passengers with any kind of problem regardless of its seriousness, control personnel can orally respond to their questions and problems over special loudspeakers in the stations or request police officers to intercept the problem and respond to individuals either aboard the rail cars or in the station.

ROC Control room

The second impressive control room at the ROC displays the entire METRO rail system displaying all of the turnouts, sidings and car storage yards.
Photo credit: LARHF

And for each system, the movement of the rail cars is plainly seen. The display screens are divided into sections much like the Pacific Electric districts except the METRO rail lines are identified by their colors, i.e. Red, Blue, Green and Gold.

Blue Line Shops & Yard

Blue Line Shops & Yard

Boarding our motor coach, the next stop is at the Blue Line Shops & Yard practically adjacent to the METRO Del Amo Station.
Credit: LARHF

When the Metro Blue Line opened, the line originally had 54 cars. In 2000, the Blue Line added 14 cars from the Metro Green Line after the Green Line began using Siemens cars. The Blue Line currently has 68 train cars in their fleet.

Vehicle storage yard

The vehicle storage yard is primarily used for cars that are taken off the route after the rush hour in the morning and at night.
Photo credit: LARHF

All of the maintenance requirements are serviced in the yard. The cars go through the car wash daily for exterior cleaning and another service area is set up for the car’s interior cleaning. Wheel truing is so important for the safe longevity of the wheels and to insure a smooth ride. A dedicated building with preparation tracks is part of this operation.

Operations and Wheel Truing building

The Operations and Wheel Truing building is the largest structure in the yard. Our tour includes the service facilities and operating areas in this building.
Photo credit: LARHF

The facility has routine maintenance/running repair bays as well as heavy repair bays with overhead crane capabilities and floor lifts for the cars. There are also machine and sheet metal as well as component repair shops. Our tour of the yard will cover all of these areas.

Taking time out for lunch and staying close to our next destination, we will have lunch at the Sizzler with a special LARHF luncheon menu. The menu will have something for everyone. Back on the motor coach, it’s time for the yellow! You guessed it – Armour Yellow can only mean the Union Pacific. A few minutes away is Alameda Street, which parallels the Alameda Corridor and the Union Pacific’s Dolores Support Yard.

The Dolores Facility

The Dolores Facility not only provides temporary storage of trains but is also the site of the Union Pacific’s locomotive maintenance facility.
Photo credit: Richard Elgenson – RailNews Network

Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF)

It’s just a short hop from here to the Union Pacific’s Southern California ICTF. In1987, the Southern Pacific built this ICTF just 4 miles from both the Los Angeles and Long Beach port activity. Soon the UP will invest $300 million to double its capacity.

There are two primary factors, which allow the ICTF to handle its large volume of containers efficiently.

  1. Storage of trains and equipment at the Dolores Yard
  2. The computerization of the inventory, utilizing OASIS (Optimization Alternative Intermodal Strategic Scheduler) to maintain inventory — in our tour of the ICTF we will see how these two elements make for a more efficient and real-time reporting of all yard activities.

Dolores Support Yard and Locomotive Maintenance

The last stop on the Field Trip is the Union Pacific Dolores Facility. It is important for fueling, maintenance, a crew change location and supporting the ICTF. At Dolores, diesels are dispatched to take trains in, around and out of the Los Angeles basin. The locomotive services here include welders, mechanics, plumbers, a boilermaker and hostlers all working together to service 25 locomotives per shift. The maintenance building features three run-through tracks. Track 1 is for fueling, with the other two tracks for various inspections and repair.

UP Dolores Diesel Maintenance building

Three tracks run the length of the UP Dolores Diesel Maintenance building always crowded with diesels waiting to be serviced and repaired.
Credit: Richard Elgenson – RailNews Network

By now we should be tired enough to relax as our motor coach returns to the METRO Building and the end of another LARHF adventure. Our next Field Trip will also take place in the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor area and include an “Urban Archeology” search with Ralph Cantos and some other cool destinations.

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Orange County Field Trip

Thursday, June 5, 2008 – 7:00 AM – 4:30 PM

No. 340 and No. 41 Steam Locomotives at Knott's Berry Farm

No. 340 and No. 41 Steam Locomotives at Knott’s Berry Farm
Photo by Richard Unfried

Put yourself in the engineer’s cab of the Denver & Rio Grande Western #340 steam locomotive when it steams out of the roundhouse on the Ghost Town & Calico Railroad at Knott's Berry Farm.

LARHF offers its latest and exclusive behind-the-scenes field trip on Thursday, June 5th

The day begins with a luxury motor coach trip from downtown Los Angeles to Knott's Berry Farm, in Buena Park, Orange County, California.

While members and guests are munching on a continental breakfast and seeing the “behind-the-scenes” action in the Roundhouse, each guest will have a turn at riding in the cab of the No. 340. This locomotive was built in 1881 and is the oldest locomotive in the United States to continuously maintain active duty.

Galloping Goose No.3 at Knott’s Berry Farm

Galloping Goose No.3 at Knott’s Berry Farm
Photo by Joe Lesser

The Rio Grande Southern Railway’s Galloping Goose #3 will also be taking guests for a ride on the Railroad. The “Goose” was built in 1931 by combining a “33” Pierce-Arrow touring car with a second-hand freight. Even in its present shape it dates back to shortly after World War II.

From Knott’s Berry Farm we have lunch planned nearby at the Hometown Buffet. Following lunch, our motor coach with Mark Borja as our guide, we will explore the present day extensive network of the Union Pacific’s branch lines (formerly the Southern Pacific) throughout Orange County.

Union Pacific Local Train on Santa Ana Street in Anaheim, California

Union Pacific Local Train on Santa Ana Street in Anaheim, California
Photo by Mark Borja

One of the highlights in the afternoon will be seeing a Union Pacific local train running along the streets in Anaheim. There will also be a BNSF surprise and other highlights.