Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Pacific Electric Railway
The Pacific Electric Railway, also known as the Red Car system, was a mass transit system in Southern California using streetcars, light rail and buses. At its greatest extent, the system connected cities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, and the Inland Empire.
The system was divided into three districts:
- Northern District: Pasadena, San Gabriel Valley, San Bernardino.
- Southern District: Long Beach, Newport, San Pedro, Santa Ana.
- Western District: Hollywood, Burbank/Glendale, San Fernando Valley, Santa Monica.
The Pacific Electric Railway was established by Henry Huntington in 1901. Passenger service was sold off in 1953 but continued until April 9, 1961 with the closure of the Long Beach line, the final link in the system as well as the PE's first line some sixty years prior. The freight service was sold to the Southern Pacific Railroad and operated under the Pacific Electric name through 1964. The majority of the surviving pieces of rolling stock can be both viewed and ridden at the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris.
The end of the Red Cars has been tied by some to the alleged General Motors streetcar conspiracy, in which a consortium of General Motors, Standard Oil, and others formed a front company, National City Lines, in order to buy streetcar lines, shut them down, and replace them with buses. The plot of the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit is loosely based on this theory.
The PE was also responsible for an innovation in grade crossing safety that was quickly adopted by other railroads, a fully automatic electromechanical grade crossing signal nicknamed the wigwag.
- Bill Volkmer's collection of Red Car Photos and post cards
- Corralitas Red Car Property
- Electric Railway Historical Association of Southern California
- Orange Empire Railway Museum
- Pacific Electric Photos by Jim Stubchaer
- Pacific Electric Railway Monument
- Pacific Electric Railway Preservation
- Pacific Electric Subway
- Pacific Electric System Map 1949
- Proposal to bring the Red Car back to to Downtown Los Angeles
- The Red Cars of Los Angeles
- Subway Tunnel Aerial Maps
- Surviving Equipment of the Pacific Electric
- Tours in a Bygone Era
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