April 8: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History


Los Angeles-Long Beach

Last day of service for Los Angeles-Long Beach line (Click for more information)

1961:  The last Pacific Electric Railway streetcar (“Red Car”) runs between Los Angeles and Long Beach — both the first and last interurban passenger line of the former Pacific Electric (under the auspices of Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority since 1958).

The line had connected the two cities since July 4, 1903 and is the last for the company since 1959 when the other lines had converted to buses.

The remaining streetcars in Los Angeles converted to bus lines in 1963.

When passenger rail is reintroduced in 1990, it is on the same Los Angeles – Long Beach right-of-way.

The 59-year history of Pacific Electric’s rail service between Los Angeles and Long Beach, including an image from opening day in 1902, is found here, while the story of how the rail line converted to buses is recounted here.

Below, documentary film footage from the last days of Pacific Electric rail service.

Gold Line groundbreaking

Metro Gold Line groundbreaking (It was still called “Blue Line” at the time. Click for more information)

1994:  A groundbreaking ceremony is held for the Pasadena Blue Line (now, Gold Line) at the intersection of Avenue 18 and Barranca next to the railroad bridge spanning the Los Angeles River.

The Mayors of Los Angeles, Pasadena and South Pasadena participate in the start of demolition of the existing Santa Fe bridge to make way for a new Metro Rail bridge.

The project is later temporarily suspended over funding shortfalls until the formation of the independent Pasadena Blue Line Construction Authority.

The Authority later holds a second groundbreaking ceremony on June 8, 2000, and the project opens as the Metro Gold Line on July 26, 2003.