Waterfront Red Car

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Port of LA Waterfront Red Car
Pacific Electric Replica 501 in San Pedro.jpg
Pacific Electric Replica 501 in San Pedro
LocaleSan Pedro, Los Angeles
TerminusBetween World Cruise Center
and 22nd Street at Miner Street
Commercial operations
Built byPacific Electric Railway
Original gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Original electrificationoverhead line
Preserved operations
Owned byPort of Los Angeles
Operated byPort of Los Angeles
Length1.5 mi (2.4 km)[1]
Preserved gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved electrificationoverhead line
Preservation history
July 19, 2003Opened[1]
September 27, 2015Closed
Waterfront Red Car Line
Route map
Wilmington Railway Museum
Harry Bridges & Figueroa
Gaffey & Westmont
Gaffey & Capitol
Pacific & Channel
World Cruise Center
1st Street
5th Street
Maritime Museum
Ports O'Call
22nd & Signal
Warehouse 1
22nd & Miner
Outer Harbor
Outer Harbor
22nd Street Park
22nd & Via Cabrillo-Marina
Fort Macarthur
Cabrillo Beach

The Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line is a currently non-operational 1.5-mile (2.4 km) heritage streetcar line for public transit along the waterfront in San Pedro, at the Port of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California.[1] It opened for service in July 2003, with a construction cost of $10 million.[1] Service ended on September 27, 2015 due to major construction projects that would result in the demolition of a portion of the route. In March 2016 development plans for the port were announced which would include resumption of service on the Waterfront Red Car Line.


The line used vintage and replica Pacific Electric Red Cars;[1] the route ran south over a former Pacific Electric Railway right-of-way from the World Cruise Center cruise ship terminal under the Vincent Thomas Bridge to the intersection of 22nd Street and Miner Street, with intermediate stops at Downtown San Pedro, the Maritime Museum, and the Ports O' Call Village.[2][3] The service operated three days a week (Friday-Sunday) with occasional service on other weekdays depending on passenger ship landings.[1]


The Pacific Electric Railway Red Car system operated for over 60 years (closed 1961), with more than 1,000 miles of tramway routes throughout Greater Los Angeles and the surrounding cities and counties.[4]

Before the line closed, the Waterfront Red Cars comprised three tram cars in the style of the originals. Two of the three Red Cars—the replica cars, numbers 500 and 501[5] — were built from scratch by employees of the port of Los Angeles;[1] the interiors are cooled using the same clerestory-style windows as the original 500-class Red Cars (“The Fives”); the third car, No. #1058, was a vintage Pacific Electric 950-class car,[5] having been assembled from two wrecked 950-class cars by Richard J. Fellows, restored for parades, movies, and the like, and then cleverly converted to be steered with the original throttle as a tiller and braked by the original brake handle; the original dead man pedal operated the gasoline engine throttle, which powered the rubber tires; the Port of Los Angeles bought the car and converted it back for rail operation as a charter service.[5]

The Waterfront Red Cars were supplemented by two shuttle bus lines; the Blue line serves downtown San Pedro and Ports O' Call village, whereas the Green line serves the harbor and marina.[1]

The replica cars will be reused again when the line reopens, but they must be modified to run on light rail tracks.[6] Whether the original car will be brought back to service is unknown, though it will most probably be retired.

Shutdown and future[edit]

Future extensions to Cabrillo Beach, Harbor Park, the new cruise ship terminal at Berth 46, Pacific Avenue, and Warehouse 1 were initially under consideration.[1] In April 2010, a new feasibility report was released, with the first priority to switch much of the existing line to street-running tramway track on Sampson Way.

In 2015 it was announced the Waterfront Red Car Line would be closed for 18 months, with service ceasing in late September 2015, to make way for the realignment of Sampson Way leading into Ports O’ Call Village;[7][8] because the street realignment cuts through the southern part of the line, it would require a new track and modified, street-level cars running parallel to the new Sampson Way, estimated to cost $40 million.[7] Port officials eventually concluded that such reconstruction would be cost prohibitive.[7] Waterfront Red Car Line service ended on September 27, 2015; however development plans for San Pedro's Ports O' Call were announced in March 2016 that included the resumption of Waterfront Red Car service; no date for the restoration of the Red Cars was included in the announcement.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Port of Los Angeles.org: Waterfront Red Car Line website. Accessed 19 August 2015.
  2. ^ SanPedro.com: POLA Waterfront Red Car Line - with map
  3. ^ RailwayPreservation.com: Port of LA Waterfront Red Car Line . accessed 19 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Port of LA Waterfront Red Car Line". U.S. Streetcar Systems Website (RPR Consulting, Inc.). 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  5. ^ a b c "Red Car Facts and Figures" (PDF). Port of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
  6. ^ "San Pedro Red Car will be part of new Ports O' Call plans". Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  7. ^ a b c Littlejohn, Donna (March 19, 2015). "Has San Pedro's waterfront Red Car reached the end of the line?". Daily Breeze. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  8. ^ Littlejohn, Donna (September 25, 2015). "San Pedro's Red Car unlikely to be spared by last-minute call for reprieve". Daily Breeze. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  9. ^ Littlejohn, Donna (March 1, 2016). "San Pedro's long-awaited Ports O' Call plan to be unveiled Wednesday". Daily Breeze. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  10. ^ Khouri, Andrew (March 2, 2016). "Developers reveal plans for $100-million makeover of Ports O' Call". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2016.

External links[edit]