April 9, 1961: LA’s Red Car Trolley System Ceases Operations

Of course, the operative word is “had”, just like Brooklyn had the Dodgers. 

The system connected cities in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County.  At its peak, Pacific Electric was the biggest operator of interurban electric railway passenger service in the world, with 2,160 daily trains over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of track.

The irony is that, unlike most subway systems which were designed to get people to the city center, Huntington used the Red Cars to get people to move further away from the city centers and buy his properties.  As the decentralized city grew, the Red Cars could not keep  up and freeways took over.  The rest is history, although rail transit is making a comeback in the City of Angels and will finally reached the ocean once construction on the Expo Line expansion is completed in 2015.

A Streetcar Named Despair

2000px-Los_Angeles_Pacific_Electric_Railways_(Red_Cars).svgOn this day in 1961, the Pacific Electric Red Car’s 60-year history ended with a final ride from downtown Los Angeles to downtown Long Beach. Pacific Electric was a privately owned mass transit system in Southern California consisting of electrically powered streetcars, light rail, and buses and was the largest electric railway system in the world in the 1920s.  

Yes, not Gotham but Los Angeles had the largest railway system in the world.

Of course, the operative word is “had”, just like Brooklyn had the Dodgers.

The system connected cities in Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County and Riverside County.  At its peak, Pacific Electric was the biggest operator of interurban electric railway passenger service in the world, with 2,160 daily trains over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of track.

The irony is that, unlike most subway systems which were designed to get people to the city center, Huntington used the Red Cars to get people to move further away from the city centers and buy his properties.  As the decentralized city grew, the Red Cars could not keep  up and freeways took over.

The rest is history, although rail transit is making a comeback in the City of Angels and will finally reached the ocean once construction on the Expo Line expansion is completed in 2015.

Los Angeles’ Current Transit Map

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