Images of Rail: Pacific Electric Red Cars


Of the rail lines created at the turn of the 20th century, in order to build interurban links through Southern California communities around metropolitan Los Angeles, the Pacific Electric grew to be the most prominent of all. The Pacific Electric Railway is synonymous with Henry Edwards Huntington, the capitalist with many decades of railroad experience, who formed the “P. E.” and expanded it as principal owner for nearly its first decade. Huntington sold his PE holdings to the giant Southern Pacific Railroad in 1910, and the following year the SP absorbed nearly every electric line in the four-county area around Los Angeles in the “Great Merger” into a “new” Pacific Electric. Founded in 1901 and terminated in 1965, Pacific Electric was known as the “World’s Great Interurban.”

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