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Red Car Revival – Port of Los Angeles Heritage Line Opens

Following the arrival of local dignitaries aboard restored Pacific Electric "Red Car" 1058, a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Downtown/6th Street

Opening Ceremony. Photo Randell Flint

The project, four years in the making, runs 2.4 km (1.5 miles) from the Cruise Ship Terminal on the north to the Cabrillo Marina at 22nd Street on the south along the tracks of the Harbor Belt Line railway which have been modified for time-separated freight/tram operation. There are two intermediate stops, at Downtown/6th Street and at the Ports of Call shopping area along the mostly single track freight line generally paralleling the former PE passenger line (most of which has been lifted in the years since passenger service was halted in 1958). Each station is based on a recreation of that used by Pacific Electric at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona.

1058 loading. Photo Randell Flint

Service is provided using the restored 1058 along with an accurate replica of 1909-era Pacific Electric 501. A second replica, PE 500, sister to the 501, is currently being completed in Port's workshop and will replace the 1058 in regular service when completed later this year. The 1058 is a rather celebrated survivor having been converted to rubber tyre operation after closure of the PE and now having been restored again to the rails. In its rubber-typed form, it was on hand for the first "red car revival" when the Los Angles - Long Beach "Blue Line" was opened in 1990.

The opening, delayed several times by lack of necessary approvals by the California Public Utilities Commission, was held across the street from the site of Pacific Electric's San Pedro station and followed by a day of free rides and related events.

501. Photo Randell Flint

Regular service is currently slated for the extended weekend of Friday through Monday between 10:00 and 18:00 with the $1 day-ticket fare being collected on board by the conductor who will also serve as "tour guide" pointing out the sites of San Pedro and the Port.

As part of his remarks at the ceremony, Larry Keller, Executive Director of the Port, called for further extension of the line north to Wilmington and south to the Cabrillo Marine Museum and the beach... as well as the addition of two more cars to the fleet.

Randell Flint

22 July 2003

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