Photographs of Pacific Electric Railway Company motor coaches and railroad cars, 1927-1950

Processed by Jane Carpenter with assistance from Simon Elliott; machine-readable finding aid created by Caroline Cubé.
UCLA Library Special Collections
Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
Box 951575
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
© 2013
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Photographs of Pacific Electric Railway Company motor coaches and railroad cars
Date (inclusive): 1927-1950. Range of dates from dates on photographs and manufacturing specifications.
Collection number: 94/6
Creator: Pacific Electric Railway Company.
Physical Description: 4 boxes (875 photographic prints) : b&w, 27 x 33 cm or smaller in boxes 29 x 40 cm or smaller.

Photographs are unmounted, arranged in groups of 1-102 photographs in individual folders, loosely organized by name of railway or bus line and vehicle model type.

Spec. Coll. copy: foldered photographs arranged in four beige cloth clamshell boxes numbered 6A-6D, each with box title "Pacific Electric Railway Co."
Abstract: Collection of 875 unmounted photographs (including duplicates) of motor coaches and railroad passenger cars in operation between 1927 and 1950 on routes of the Pacific Electric Railway Company and related bus and train systems of Los Angeles, California, and environs.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Language of the Material: Materials are in English.
Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Photographs of Pacific Electric Railway Company motor coaches and railroad cars (Collection 94/6). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

UCLA Catalog Record ID

UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233582 

Scope and Content

The photographs, probably assembled by the Pacific Electric Railway Company public relations department, for use in a pictorial history book of early Southern California transportation, include detailed interior and exterior views of the different models of vehicles in use by the Company, close-up views of some of the bus engines, and shots of the buses and trains carrying passengers on routes throughout the Los Angeles area, in towns such as Glendale, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Torrance, San Pedro, and Riverside. In several of the photographs, a Pacific Electric bus winds its way up Sunset Boulevard past the UCLA campus in its early years--with Royce Hall, Powell Library, and Stone Canyon Reservoir visible in the distance--all the way to the end of the Castellamare line in Pacific Palisades. In other street views, a bus passes Los Angeles High School; Otis Art Institute, at that time housed in the Spanish-Moorish mansion donated in 1918 by Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, founder and publisher of the LA Times; and the lotus-filled lake of Echo Park. Another early photo shows a 1911 coach surrounded by oil wells. Three photos document the Pacific Electric Camp in Agua Fria, east of Highway 89, a vacation camp built in 1917 by the Company for its employees in which they lived in tent houses, and enjoyed the dining room, social hall, swimming pool and other amenities. Close-up views of the display window of a local travel agency reveal brochures and posters for Pacific Electric Company vacation tours. There are also shots of railroad sidings, terminals, machine shops, track maintenance workers, railway personnel, drivers, conductors, porters, and freight checkers, including one photo of a stylishly-dressed woman freight checker. Several photos document hundreds of shipbuilding workers entering and leaving the shipyards in Long Beach. The United States Maritime Commission, which oversaw ship construction had its own private railroad car, the subject of one of the photos. Buses, trains, and trucks of other lines, including the Santa Monica Municipal Bus Line, Pacific Electric Motor Transport Company, the Los Angeles Motor Coach Company, People's Motor Bus Company--known for double-decker buses, Southern Pacific Company, and Los Angeles Railway are also documented. Included with the photographs are typed leaves of specifications of the vehicles, providing model series numbers, body dimensions, paint details, upholstery, engine size, date of manufacture, manufacturer, and many other details. Manufacturers included White Motor Coach Co., Mack Trucks, Inc., GMC, and Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company. Most of the photographs bear the stamp of Arrow Studios of 1053 S. Hill St. in Los Angeles, although other studios, such as Isham-Robinson (1722 Los Angeles St.), Keystone Photo Service, Arts Engraving Co., Inman Company, and Stagg are also represented.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Pacific Electric Railway Company --Photographs.
Pacific Electric Railway Company --Employees --Photographs.
Pacific Electric Motor Transport Company --Photographs.
Santa Monica Municipal Bus Lines --Photographs.
Pacific Electric Camp --Photographs.
Los Angeles Motor Coach Company --Photographs.
People's Motor Bus Company --Photographs.
Southern Pacific Company --Photographs.
Los Angeles Railway --Photographs.
Los Angeles High School (Los Angeles, Calif.) --Photographs.
University of California, Los Angeles --Photographs.
Otis Art Institute --Photographs.
Buses --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Buses --Design and construction --Photographs.
Bus travel --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Bus terminals --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Railroad terminals --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Railroad accidents --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Railroad sidings --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Road rollers --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Bus drivers --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Shipbuilding industry --Employees --Photographs.
Shipbuilding industry --California --Long Beach --Photographs.
Trucks --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Electric railroads --Cars --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Railroad passenger cars --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Travel agents --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Oil wells --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Machine shops --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Mechanics (Persons) --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Transportation --California --Los Angeles --Photographs.
Transportation --California, Southern --Photographs.
Pacific Palisades (Los Angeles, Calif.) --Photographs.

Genres and Forms of Material

Photographic prints.

Other Index Terms Related to this Collection

Arrow Studios.
Isham-Robinson Photography.
Keystone Photo Service.
Arts Engraving Co.
Inman Company.
Stagg Photographer.
White Motor Coach Co.
General Motors Corporation.
Mack Trucks, inc.
Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company.

Related Material

Part of the Photograph Album Collection (Collection 94)   in UCLA Library Special Collections.
Additional information available at the website of the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society at