R (Los Angeles Railway)

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Type Light rail
System Los Angeles Railway, Los Angeles MTA
Locale Los Angeles, East Los Angeles
Termini 3rd Street and La Brea Avenue
Whittier Boulevard and Eastern Avenue
Stations 33
Opened 1895
Closed 1963
Owner Los Angeles MTA
Track gauge narrow gauge
Electrification Overhead lines
Route map
3rd and La Brea
3rd and Highland
3rd and Rossmore
3rd and Larchmont
3rd and Van Ness
3rd and WesternS
3rd and Normandie
3rd and VermontV
Vermont and 6th
Vermont and Wilshire
Vermont and 7thV
7th and Rampart
7th and Park View
7th and Alvarado
7th and Figueroa
7th and GrandJ
7th and Hill
7th and Broadway
7th and Main
7th and Maple
7th and San PedroJ
7th and Central
7th and Alameda
7th and MateoS
7th and Santa Fe
Los Angeles River
US 101
7th and Boyle
Whittier and Boyle
Whittier and Soto
Whittier and Euclid
Whittier and Lorena
Whittier and Indiana
Whittier and Downey
Whittier and Eastern

R was a line operated by the Los Angeles Railway from 1895 to 1958, and by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority from 1958 to 1963.


Sixth Street Line (1895-1911)[edit]

The original routes of what would become the R line ran on a drastically different route. When it was first built in 1895, the route ran from a terminus at West Third Street down a private right-of-way between Wilton Place and Grammercy Place to Sixth Street. From there it continued down Sixth to Alvarado, Seventh Street, Figueroa, Sixth, Olive, and Fifth Street to Arcade Station (later Central Station). When the competing Los Angeles Interurban Railway was purchased, the Sixth Street Line ran entirely down 6th Street between Wilton and Arcade Station. This was briefly a local route of the Pacific Electric Railway before the Great Merger of 1911.

Stevenson Avenue Line (1895-1911)[edit]

The Stevenson Avenue Line was also one of the original LARy routes. Though its Downtown terminus is unknown, this route ran to the city's eastern city limit by way of First Street, Cummings Street, Boyle Avenue, and Stevenson Avenue (present-day Whittier Boulevard).

The Old R (1911-1931)[edit]

When the Los Angeles Railway was restructured, the Sixth Street and Stevenson Avenue lines were merged and streamlined. The western terminus was extended northwest along 3rd Street and Larchmont Boulevard to Melrose Avenue, while the eastern terminus was extended beyond city limits to a loop track between the Calvary and Beth Israel Cemeteries. The addition of new trackage over the Los Angeles River now allowed the route to run entirely on Seventh Street between Alvarado and Boyle, making trips across Downtown significantly shorter and quicker. In 1920, the route was renamed "R." It was one of the few routes not to be named after a street or neighbourhood through which it ran.

It ran from 3rd and La Brea to Whittier and Eastern East Los Angeles, by way of 3rd Street, Vermont Avenue, 7th Street, Boyle Avenue, and Whittier Boulevard. When the route opened, the original western terminus was at Larchmont Avenue and Melrose Avenue. This alignment was replaced by the new 3 in 1931.

The New R (1931-1963)[edit]

In 1931, the construction of several linking tracks allowed R's western portion to run on an entirely new route, from East Los Angeles to the new Fairfax District by way of Whittier Boulevard, Boyle Avenue, 7th Street, Vermont Avenue, and 3rd Street. The old western portion, which followed the new route closely, was re-christened 3, and terminated at Central Station. The new route was amongst the most used routes throughout its run.

In 1950, a branch line was run on Western Avenue between 3rd street and Santa Monica Boulevard. Previously this route had been serviced by the S line, but that route had been changed to terminate on 8th street. In 1958, this branch line was eliminated, and two miles of the 3rd street portion were cut back to a loop on Wilton Place and 4th Street. The route was decommissioned by LAMTA in 1963.


Electric Rail Heritage Association