September 17: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1950:  The last day of service for Pacific Electric Railway‘s Venice Short Line.

Crowds wait at 5th and Hill Streets for the Pacific Electric Venice Short Line, September 1946 (Click to enlarge)

Pacific Electric spends $5.2 million dollars to modernize the company’s rail and bus passenger transportation system which includes 133 new “Suburban” motor coaches.

The coaches receive “enthusiastic receptions” at a series of five preview events marking the inauguration of the service and the retirement of the streetcars.

The line has a complex history dating back to 1897, when the portion between Hill & 4th Street to Vineyard (near Pico & San Vicente Boulevards) were constructed as part of the Pasadena & Pacific Railway Company.

The line was practically level, and with few curves, it served as a much more direct route to the beaches than did the line through Beverly Hills.

When the resort town of Venice was founded in 1904, the Venice Short Line served as the most popular way for Angelenos to get to the ocean until heavy street traffic, years of deferred maintenance and the rise of competing bus line gradually caused patronage to drop.

In 1911, it took 50-52 minutes to take the line from downtown to Venice.

More information can be found in the October, 1950 issue of Pacific Electric Magazine.