March 25: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1937:  Los Angeles Railway introduces its new PCC streetcars, with child star Shirley Temple as the guest of honor at opening ceremonies.

The launch coincides with National Transportation Week, held in the third week of May each year.

Crowds surround Los Angeles Railway’s new PCC streetcars (Click for more information)

Transportation Week celebrations on Spring Street facing Hall of Justice (Click for more information)

Los Angeles Railway headquarters, 1060 South Broadway (Click for more information)

Although the 1937 celebration may have been overshadowed by the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge, thousands turned out in Los Angeles’ new streetcars — the same year that Los Angeles Railway re-opened its Transportation Library.

1985:  A pocket of underground methane gas explodes along 3rd Street in the Fairfax District, leaving 23 people injured.

Firefighters try to clear away debris after explosion at Ross Dress For Less store in the Fairfax District following methane gas explosion. Photo courtesy Los Angeles Public Library Herald Examiner Collection. (Click for more information)

A subsequent investigation and report by the City of Los Angeles identifies other nearby areas at risk, and the Metro Rail project is forced to reroute its initial line to the east through Hollywood.

More information can be found in the Task Force Report on the March 24, 1985 Methane Gas Explosion and Fire in the Fairfax Area, City of Los Angeles full-text report and the Three Decades Before Porter Ranch, a Methane Explosion Derailed L.A.’s Subway Plans post on KCET’s Lost LA series.