July 14: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1886:  The Temple Street Cable Railway begins operating cable car service between Spring Street and Edgeware Road through Bunker Hill.

(Click for more information)

It is later extended to Hoover Street in 1889.

Althought it will become the most sucessful of Los Angeles’ three cable car companies, cable car operations were expensive and difficult to maintain with the combination of dirt streets and rain.

It will later be sold in forclosure on February 28, 1889.

Henry E. Huntington acquired it in 1902, incorporating it into the Pacific Electric system and electrifying the line on October 2, 1902.

It is later transferred to Los Angeles Railway in 1910 which ran Birney Safety Cars on the line until it was abandoned in 1946 when Los Angeles Transit Lines purchases Los Angeles Railway.
1973:  The El Monte Busway opens.

(Click for more information)

The 11-mile long shared-use bus corridor is the oldest high occupancy facility in Los Angeles, running along Interstate 10 between the El Monte Transit Station and Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

The busway was later opened to three-person carpools in 1976.

The bus and high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes will be converted to high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes as part of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Metro ExpressLanes project which will include a new transit station to be built at the Patsaouras Transit Plaza.
1990:  The Metro Blue Line opens, marking the return of passenger rail to Los Angeles for the first time since 1963.

During the first two weeks after the grand opening, more than 600,000 people ride the Blue Line, including 32,000 on the first day of service, and nearly 70,000 on the second day (a Sunday).

The complete history of the Blue Line planning and opening festivities are recounted here.
2000:  Two Sumitomo P-865 Metro Blue Line rail cars are repainted in Pacific Electric Red Car livery to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Blue Line.

Metro Board Chair Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke at Blue Line 10th Anniversary. (Click for more information)

The “new Red Cars” will be used frequently in regular service as well as at special events commencing with an anniversary celebration.

Division 11 employees work with the Electric Railway Historical Association to replicate the Pacific Electric Railways paint scheme.

The exterior of the two cars bear the gold “butterfly wings and center headlamp of a 1940 street car, while the sides above the windows are stamped with the words “Pacific Electric” in gold lettering.

The most challenging part of the historical design is replication of the 1914 Pacific Electric whistle with its notable E-flat tone — a sound so admired by railroad buffs that it was licensed to Westinghouse for use on trains nationwide.

The two converted cars’ interiors are overhauled as well.  They feature light mint green wainscot with cream above.  Seats are changed from light blue to forest green.

The ERHA provides 24 special posters that include modern safety information along with photos and facts about the old Red Cars.

Additional information can be found here and numerous photos of the Blue Line 10th anniversary rail cars recreated as Pacific Electric streetcars can be found here.