Of course it was realized that the PE track on Aliso Street would have to be relocated from the pavement. The state highway department determined that it would require payment of $125,000 for PE's share of the costs of relocation to a parallel right of way (such as the right of way now used by the El Monte Busway). PE used this as part of its rationale in its 1949 petition for abandonment of all Northern District rail passenger service. However, the main rationale was the heavy operating losses on Northern District rail operations.
After crossing over the Los Angeles River on the new Aliso Street bridge, PE trains reached a private right of way on the east bank of the river and ran through the new San Bernardino-Santa Ana Freeway interchange (completed in 1943). In the photo below (circa 1950) an inbound train has just crossed under Macy Street and is about to cross over the inbound lanes of the San Bernardino Freeway.
Just east of the Macy Street bridge was the sprawling yards and shops where Pacific Electric cars were stored and maintained, as shown below. Much of this property is now owned by the MTA and used as a bus maintenance facility.
Note the four-track mainline here. This was a short half-mile long set of passing tracks. It was generally not very useful for express commuter trains to pass local streetcars because the local tracks (on the left in the photo) were usually blocked by standing freights. The four-track segment ended at Echandia Junction, shown below. The Echandia Junction local stop was accessible from Echandia Avenue in Boyle Heights by a pedestrian bridge (just visible on the left) over the freeway. (The pedestrian bridge no longer exists).
About a half mile further along the mainline the trains encountered Valley Junction, where the Northern District mainline swung sharply to the left and the El Monte-Baldwin Park-San Bernardino line (now the El Monte Busway right of way) continued eastward. The junction is shown below. The building at the left is the Valley Junction PE substation. The shelters for the El Monte line Soto Street stop are in the distance. The bridge over the tracks is Marengo Street.
Around the curve in the photo above is the Charlotte Street stop, shown below. After crossing under the Charlotte Street bridge, the line passes through a shallow cut next to Lincoln Park, and then turns northward at Alcazar Street, running along the west side of Soto Street.
About a mile north of Valley Junction the four-track mainline begins, at a spot called "Indian Village" (Multnomah & Soto Streets). The following photo shows how undeveloped the area around Indian Village was in the late '40s. Only two of the four tracks are visible in this photo because the railway grade is lower than the street in the foreground, which is Soto Street. From this point to Echandia Junction the PE mainline was only double track. The existence of this double-track section led to delays due to freight train movements blocking commuter trains. At various times from the '20s through the '40s it was proposed to extend the four-tracking from Indian Village to either Valley Junction (a distance of about a mile) or Echandia Junction. Just south of Indian Village the PE crossed Valley Boulevard and the SP mainline on a viaduct. The expense of building a four-track viaduct was one reason PE had not extended the four-tracking closer to downtown.
About a half mile north of "Indian Village" the PE four-track mainline crossed Mission Road on a massive viaduct built in 1934. The viaduct is still in use for Soto Street (below).
After crossing over Mission Road, the line turned northeast-ward, paralleling the north roadway of Huntington Dr. to Topaz Ave. After crossing Topaz Ave., the line curved eastward. The main local stop for Rose Hill was at the Monterey Rd. grade crossing. In the photo below (from the MTA Archives) the PE Monterey Rd. shuttle bus and the connecting inbound Sierra Vista local are shown at this stop.
The next stop a short distance from Monterey Rd is at Collis Avenue. The next shot shows an inbound Sierra Vista local about to pick up two passengers at the Collis Avenue stop. The photo was taken looking west from the Minto Court bridge, which no longer exists. An inbound express train has just passed the local train.
After climbing over the saddle in the hills at Minto Court, the line descends to the main El Sereno local stop at Eastern Avenue. The next photo shows a Sierra Vista train approaching Eastern Avenue.
The next image is a recent photo that looks in the same direction, towards Eastern Avenue and Huntington Drive in El Sereno. The roadway in the foreground is on the old Pacific Electric right of way.
A quarter mile east the next local stop is at Pueblo Avenue. In the photo below (by Raphael Long), looking west, an inbound local stops at Pueblo Avenue.
A quarter mile further east is Van Horne Avenue. In the following photo an inbound express from Pasadena slips through the grade crossing. Pasadena trains ran nonstop from Charlotte Street to Sierra Vista -- a distance of about four and a quarter miles.
In the rush hour scene below an outbound Pasadena express is approaching the Sierra Vista station just behind an outbound Sierra Vista local.
The following photo shows the Swiss chalet-style station at Sierra Vista as it looked in the 1930s.
The station building contained a coffee shop. This was the terminal of the Sierra Vista local line. Pasadena Short Line trains continue on the center tracks of the four-track mainline from Sierra Vista to Oneonta Park Junction station -- a distance of 0.8 miles. In the photo below an inbound Pasadena Short Line train is about to turn onto the four-track mainline at Oneonta Park Junction station. The cupola on the station roof contained a switching tower. From this point to Colorado Boulevard the Pasadena Short Line follows Fairoaks Avenue.
From Huntington Drive to Monterey Road the Pasadena line was in the median of Fairoaks Avenue. From Monterey Road north the line ran on street trackage for 2.8 miles to Colorado Street. In the following view, we see the main business district of South Pasadena near Mission St. in the 1920s.
Shortly after crossing the city limits the line passes the PE Pasadena electrical substation. Below we see a recent photo of this structure.
About a block further north, at Glenarm Street, we see an inbound Rose Parade train passing the pseudo-Spanish style mini-mall at Glenarm Street in the '40s.
The Pasadena Short Line reaches the end of its run at Colorado and Fairoaks. The following postcard, from the 1920s, looks east down Colorado Boulevard at Fairoaks. PE operated an extensive local streetcar network in Pasadena. We see a local streetcar approaching Fairoaks on Colorado in this image.
The next image looks north up Fairoaks at Colorado Boulevard. We see a group of passengers boarding a train for Los Angeles. There are drug stores on both the northeast and northwest corners, and a pool hall upstairs at left.
After passengers deboard from outbound trains at Colorado Boulevard, trains continue a couple more blocks to the Pasadena car-house at Mary Street, shown below.
The Pacific Electric Railway. was an extensive electrified freight and commuter railway centered in Los Angeles, with over 200 route miles of commuter lines. Pacific Electric -- a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) -- had been formed in 1910 from the merger of several Southern California electric railways that had been bought up by SP.
The electrified commuter railway operations were basically intact until 1950, and then were progressively dismantled in the '50s. SP-controlled management pushed for replacement of trains with buses from the late '30s onward due to persistent financial losses from rail passenger service.
In 1953 Pacific Electric sold its remaining passenger operations to Metropolitan Coach Lines (MCL). Part of the sale agreement was that MCL would continue to push for replacement of rail operations with buses on city streets, thus freeing PE's tracks for unimpeded movement of profitable freight trains.
The Pacific Electric was also the third-largest railway in California in terms of freight cars handled, ranking ahead of Union Pacific or Western Pacific in traffic within California. In particular, PE was the main carrier of carload freight to and from the combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, handling 35% of all harbor-related traffic. In 1947 PE made a profit of about 6% on invested capital from its rail freight operations.
PE also was a part of the nation-wide Railway Express Agency (REA) system, and distributed package and less-than-carload freight to outlying towns in trolley box motors from its hub at 8th & Alameda St. and the REA offices at Union Station. Carload freight operations were converted to diesel by 1957, and trucks took over LCL and package freight delivery in 1952.
The map below shows the PE rail passenger routes still offering regular service as of 1949.
|Year Rail Service Ended||
Expense Paid by Fares 1948
|LA to Long Beach||16,000 fare rides 1947||Converted to bus 1961.||97|
|LA to San Pedro||15,000 fare rides 1947||Converted to bus 1958.||86|
|Long Beach to San Pedro||
3,700 fare & transfer rides 1938
5,000 fare rides 1947
|Converted to bus 1949.||--|
|LA to Watts Local||20,000 fare rides 1947||Converted to bus 1959.||95.5|
|LA to Santa Ana||
1,100 fare & transfer rides 1938
5,000 fare rides 1947
Cut back to Bellflower 1950
with no direct bus replacement.
Remainder converted to bus 1958.
|LA to Newport Beach||700 fare & transfer rides 1938||
Replaced by bus 1940.
A few trains revived during World War II.
|LA to Pasadena via Oak Knoll||
5,500 fare & transfer rides 1938
7,500 fare rides 1947
|Replaced by bus 1950||--|
|LA to Pasadena via Fairoaks Ave||
4,800 fare & transfer rides 1938
7,500 fare rides 1947
|Replaced by bus 1951||81|
LA to Santa Monica
via Beverly Hills
|7,600 fare & transfer rides 1938||Converted to bus 1940.||--|
|LA-Gardena-Torrance-San Pedro||400 fare & transfer rides||
Replaced by Torrance and Gardena
city bus systems.
|LA-Gardena-Redondo||1,100 fare & transfer rides 1938||
Replaced by Gardena city bus system.
|LA to Sierra Madre||
1,000 fare & transfer rides 1938
2,000 fare rides 1947
|Replaced by bus 1950.||--|
2,900 fare & transfer rides 1938
5,000 fare rides 1947
(Plus 8,000 Santa Anita rides during race season.)
|Replaced by bus 1951.||73.7|
3,500 fare & transfer rides 1938
5,000 fare rides 1947
Replaced by bus east of
Baldwin Park 1941.
Remainder converted to bus 1950.
|LA-Alhambra-Temple City||3,600 fare & transfer rides 1938||Replaced by bus 1941.||--|
|LA-Glendale-Burbank||25,000 fare rides 1947||Replaced by bus 1955.||99|
|Hollywood Blvd-Echo Park Ave-Venice Blvd Local||69,000 fare rides 1947||
Echo Park Ave-Hill St-
Venice Blvd replaced by bus 1950.
Hollywood via Subway
replaced by bus 1954.
|LA to Santa Monica via Venice Blvd||15,000 fare rides 1947||Replaced by bus 1950.||85|
|Santa Monica Blvd-Van Nuys-West Hollywood||37,000 fare rides 1947||
converted to bus 1940.
Van Nuys converted to bus 1952.
converted to bus 1953.
LA to Sierra Vista
(El Sereno local service)
|12,000 fare rides 1947||Converted to bus 1951.||95.5|
LA to Redondo
via Culver City
|2,000 fare & transfer rides 1938||Converted to bus 1940.||--|
LA to Whittier
via Huntington Park
Cut back to Walker Ave in
without bus replacement 1938.
LA to South Pasadena
via Highland Park
Cut back to General Hospital 1935.
South Pasadena-Highland Park replaced by
Monterey Rd shuttle bus.
Hospital shuttle eliminated 1942.