Our Rich Streetcar History

Few folks living in our neighborhood know that at one time many years ago, local streetcars of the Los Angeles Railway and the Big Red Cars of the Pacific Electric, served all of Los Angeles with fast, dependable rail service. Here, on the Westside, local streetcars operated on Jefferson Blvd., Adams, Washington, Pico, Olympic, and W 3rd St.. The Pacific Electric interurban and suburban trolleys operated along Exposition, Venice and San Vicente Blvds

oct18rail1In this 1942 photo under the West Blvd. bridge at "Vineyard Jct. - a 2 car rush hour train from Beverly Hills has just arrived to pick up war time passengers on this overcast morning.  Because of tire and gas rationing, Angelinos turned to public transit in record numbers. This train will operate as a "16th Street local" picking up passengers at all stops. This train will operate through Downtown LA along Hill St  and then out Sunset and Hollywood Blvds. to Beverly Hills.

Oct18rail7Pico & Rimpau Loop as seen here in Oct. 1948. It was the busiest transit terminal in all of California, if not the entire country. Buses of the independent Bay Cities Bus line, and the  Santa Monica Municipal Bus Line interchanged with the Los Angeles Transit Lines "P" car line. In the background, Pacific Electric interurbans are in mid-day storage at the Vineyard yard along Venice Blvd. Today, there is no trace of what was once here. Today, this is the entrance to the Mid Town Crossing Shopping Center, with LOWES on the left and STARBUCKS on the right. Transit operations were moved to the former Pacific Electric right-of-way what was once the approach to the massive PICO-SAN VICENTE viaduct.

Oct18rail8 2With the old SEARS in the background, a 3 car rush hour train of the big 950's heads west towards Venice and Santa Monica in 1946.


Vinyard Jct.  1938. 
PE car 719 pulls away from West Blvd. in this 1938 photo.. A large banner hangs from the bridge announcing that SEARS PICO IS NOW OPEN.. It would stay open for about 60 years.

Oct18rail10In this very historic photo, its opening day of the new Pacific Electric  PICO-SAN VICENTE viaduct in November 1927. The view looks east towards Rimpau. A banner hangs from the bridge announcing the opening.  The PE brought out 3 of their newest interurbans, which were never used anywhere on the Westside. These big 1100 series cars were fixtures of the Pasadena lines .The viaduct was used by the trains of the Venice Blvd.-Beverly Hills-Santa Monica trains  until that line was abandoned in late 1950. The viaduct would remain standing and abandoned until it was torn down in late 1963..

Oct18railThe Pico-San Vicente viaduct is seen here, as the last PE car makes a final trip over the span. Its November 1950, regular service had been discontinued several months earlier, but the Pacific Electric was required to provide a shuttle service between the West Blvd. stop and Olympic Blvd. for 3 months,  as there was no bus replacement for the abandoned rail service. And so, after 23 years of service, and the big celebration of the viaducts opening, the end has come for the span. Because of the Korean War, The rails, aluminum  trolley support poles and the copper trolley wires were removed within weeks and sold for scrap. The viaduct, now stripped bare, would remain standing for another 13 years before being torn down in late 1963 




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About Us

Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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Dianne V. Lawrence
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