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Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Separated Materials
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Library and Archives
    Title: Pacific Electric Railway Company Records
    Creator: Pacific Electric Railway Company
    Identifier/Call Number: 70-DPGTL
    Physical Description: 4.80 linear feet, 14 boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1908-1964
    Date (bulk): 1940-1950
    Abstract: 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.
    Physical Location: LACMTA Research Library and Archive

    Biographical / Historical

    Pacific Electric Railway (PERy) was created in 1901 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.
    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 "Yellow Car" 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 in 1965, folding what little mileage remained of PERy’s freight operation into Southern Pacific’s own operation.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The Pacific Electric Railway Company was sold to the Metropolitan Coach Lines bus company, which was later acquired by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMTA). LAMTA was superseded by the Southern California Rapid Transit District (SCRTD) in 1964. SCRTD’s library and its materials were retained by the successor agency, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, also known as Metro.

    Separated Materials

    Oversized material is located in the flat maps drawer.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. Digitized copies of selected photographs available online. Advance notice required for physical access to collection. Contact LACMTA Research Library and Archive to make an appointment.

    Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the LACMTA Research Library and Archive. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the LACMTA Research Library and Archive as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the LACMTA Research Library and Archive collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Pacific Electric Railway Company Records, 70-DPGTL. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Research Library and Archive.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Denise Villegas, 2012.

    Related Materials

    Records created by the Los Angeles Railway Corporation, which operated local rail passenger cars at the same time as the Pacific Electric Railway Company, and records created by Metropolitan Coach Lines, the company that acquired Pacific Electric’s passenger rail cars and buses, may be found in this repository.


    The collection is arranged in the following series:
    1. Reports, 1906-1954
    2. Employees, 1908-1953
    3. Vehicles and Line Locations, circa 1910-1950
    4. Maps and Routes, 1915-1957
    5. Public Relations, circa 1915-1950
    6. Corporate Culture, circa 1920 - circa 1940
    7. Facilities, 1940-1950
    8. Correspondence, 1952-1954
    9. Contracts and Agreements, 1953-1956
    10. Small Books, 1905-1951
    11. Miscellaneous, 1945-1964

    Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of records created during the operation of the Pacific Electric Railway Company. Such records include examinations, application materials, and rules and regulations for employees, time tables, vehicle specifications, fare information, and service announcements, 26 issues of “Pacific Electric Magazine,” reports on accidents, finances, operations, and service, correspondence and interlining arrangements between the Pacific Electric Railway Company, Motor Transit Company, and Pacific Greyhound Lines, contract containing the agreements made in the sell of Pacific Electric Railway Company rail passenger cars to Metropolitan Coach Lines.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Electric railroads -- Cars
    Labor unions -- California -- Los Angeles County
    Local transit -- California -- Los Angeles County
    Local transit -- Community relations -- California -- Los Angeles County
    Local transit -- California -- Los Angeles County -- Maps
    Pacific Electric Railway Company