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Guide to the Pacific Electric Railway Company Records
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Collection Overview
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The Pacific Electric Railway Company, established by Henry Huntington, connected cities across the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The records in this collection consist of information about rules and regulations governing employees, timetables and vehicle information, financial, operation, and service reports, as well as contracts and agreements made during the sale of Pacific Electric Railway Company property and stock to Metropolitan Coach Lines.
Pacific Electric Railway (PE) was created with Henry Edwards Huntington as principal stockholder. Huntington completed the first PE line in 1902 which ran from Los Angeles to Long Beach. He later sold his shares to Southern Pacific in 1910.The Pacific Electric Railway Company (PERy) was created by Henry Huntington in 1901. Huntington completed the first operating line in 1902 which ran from Los Angeles to Long Beach. He later sold his shares of PERy to Southern Pacific Railway in 1910. In 1911 the “Great Merger” took place. 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. PERy grew to connect various cities across the Los Angeles metropolitan area. PERy vehicles were commonly known as the Red Cars, the most obvious feature distinguishing PERy cars from the vehicles operated by the Los Angeles Railway. As patronage on passenger rail lines declined after the second World War, PERy began converting rail routes to bus service. Eventually, in 1953, PERy sold its passenger operations to the Metropolitan Coach Lines. Metropolitan Coach Lines continued the conversion from rail passenger service to bus passenger service and the final former Pacific Electric Railway passenger rail line was converted to bus service in 1961. Southern Pacific Railway eventually abolished the Pacific Electric Railway Company 1965, folding what little mileage remained of PERy’s freight operation into Southern Pacific’s own operation.
Please contact the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Research Library and Archive for information on collection access and restrictions.