The Pacific Electric Railway once ran the world's largest intraurban railway and was located in Los Angeles. The service included the famed, Mt. Lowe Railway and the famous "Big Red Cars," and had several lines that extended as far as the cities of San Bernardino and Santa Ana. Several major routes included the "Balloon Route" which ran from downtown through Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Redondo Beach and back to Los Angeles via Culver City.)," and the "Triangle Trolley," which traveled to San Pedro, Long Beach and south to Balboa, then east to Santa Ana and back to Los Angeles. It was started by Collins P. Huntington around 1911 (Grandfather to Henry Huntington of the Huntington Library.)
In the 1920s signs of the end were starting to show, the car was becoming prominent in the area and as a result the trains had to slow speeds, and many tracks were paved over to accompany the growth of cars. If the 20s were bad, the 30s were particularly harsh with the Great Depression ridership dropped to an all time low and Pacific Electric resorted to additional bus service to keep their company afloat. As an even greater blow, the Mt. Lowe Railway was abandonded the result of a mysterious fire at the tavern it serviced.
By the late 1950s the Pacific Electric and the light rail system of the Los Angeles area was effectively, dead. By 1959 the Long Beach line was the last remaining and on April 8th, 1961 it had its last scheduled ride.
Today, public transportation is trying to make a comeback to the area, with the MTA spending millions building new subways, usage of light rail, the Metrolink, and buses. Today reminders of an era gone-by include the famous Angels Flight to the Bunker Hill district (Who cares if it wasn't part of the Pacific Electric? It's still cool) and several museums. A sad remainder of what was once the world's largest intraurban transport system.
Museums, Landmarks, Monuments...
- Orange Empire Railroad Museum -- Perris, California
- Pacific Electric Railway Monument -- Trask and Newhope Avenues, Garden Grove, California
- Pacific Electric Railroad Museum -- San Dimas, California