Red Car Era An Album Memories of Los Angeles and the Pacific Electric Railway


Raphael Long


During the first six decades of the Twentieth Century, Southern California boasted a comprehensive network of suburban electrically powered trains and trolleys. Known as the Pacific Electric, it was the world’s largest interurban electric system. In their bright red livery, the Red Cars went everywhere. Lines extended along the beaches from Balboa to Santa Monica Canyon; from the cool snow covered alpine heights of Mount Lowe to the hot dry sandy desert of the San Fernando Valley; and from Los Angeles to the rural orange groves of Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. At its peak, Pacific Electric operated 6,200 trains daily over 1,061 miles of track. Raphael Long was there at mid-century photographing the system during its final years under Pacific Electric management. Presented here are 230 images from Mr. Long’s private collection. Red Car Era is filled with memories of a Southern California and Pacific Electric Railway that once was and will never be again.