September 1: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1911:  Several separate companies are officially merged to form the Pacific Electric Railway.

Although continuing to operate under the Pacific Electric name, Southern Pacific Railway merged “PERy” with nearly all of the interurban railways in a four-county region of Southern California.

Pacific Electric streetcar, circa 1911. (Click for more information)

Pacific Electric vehicles were commonly known as “The Red Cars,” the most obvious feature distinguishing them from the “Yellow Cars” operated by Los Angeles Railway.

The new company finds itself the most diversified operator of local streetcar, suburban, and inter-urban electric transportation routes in The United States.

Los Angeles Pacific Railway‘s 50%-completed line between Hollywood and Van Nuys is turned over to Pacific Electric Railway during “The Great Merger.”

Pacific Electric’s original facility at Sherman (now West Hollywood), 1911. (Click for more information)

More information can be found in our Finding Aid for Pacific Electric Railway Company Records in the Online Archive of California, as well as A History of the Rail Passenger Service Operated by the Pacific Electric Railway Company Since 1911 and by its Successors Since 1953 by Laurence R. Veysey.

Eastern Cities Transit bus, circa 1960 (Click for more information).

1920:  A new emergency auto tower for overhead maintenance work is placed into service for the Western Division of Pacific Electric at Sherman (now West Hollywood).

The equipment consists of a 1920 model Moreland truck fitted with a tower raised by a hand-wrench from the ground.

More information can be found in the September, 1920 issue of Pacific Electric Magazine.

1923:  The new California Motor Vehicle Act goes into effect.

The new legislation dictates that motorists shall “drive at a careful and prudent speed — having due regard to traffic, surface and width of highway.”

In addition, the manner of passing streetcars, stoppage of commercial and school buses and trucks carrying explosives before crossing railway tracks, and change in the right of way rule are some of the law’s new provisions.

The full text of the law and additional information can be found in the August, 1923 issue of Pacific Electric Magazine.

1971:  Southern California Rapid Transit District acquires Eastern Cities Transit.

1990: The Metro Blue Line‘s Long Beach Loop opens.

Southern California Rapid Transit District and Los Angeles County Transportation Commission officials join with members and local business and community groups to celebrate the opening of four new rail stations in downtown Long Beach.

Metro Blue Line’s Long Beach Loop on opening day, September 1, 1990. Photo by Alan Weeks. Click for more information

More information can be found in the October, 1990 issue of Headways, the Southern California Rapid Transit employee news magazine.