1893: Thaddeus S.C. Lowe opens “The Great Incline” from Rubio Canyon to the top of Echo Mountain.
The trip up the mountain later becomes one of Southern California’s main tourist attractions.
It was evetually purchased by Henry Huntington and Pacific Electric who operated it as “The Mt. Lowe Line“, part of its tourist line operations. A disasterous fire and flood spelled the end of the service in the early 1930’s.
The Long Beach Line is the first Pacific Electric line to have been conceived, designed and constructed in its entirety with high speed operation in mind. It costs $960,000 to build.
Trains ran every 15 minutes beginning at 6:00am and over 30,000 people rode the Red Cars to Long Beach on that opening day.
In the decade following the opening of the line, Long Beach sees its population increase by 610%.
The Long Beach Line goes on to become Pacific Electric’s highest ridership line and continued in operation until April 1961.
At that point, it is shut down by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority due a lack of replacement capital funding.
The line is resurrected in 1990 with the opening of the Metro Blue Line, and continues to enjoy the highest ridership among Metro’s light rail lines.
We have gathered together a concise history and numerous images of Pacific Electric service between Los Angeles and Long Beach from 1902-1961.