Waterfront Red Car Line serves as a goodwill ambassador for the Port
of Los Angeles and the community of San Pedro by providing safe, reliable,
enjoyable and environmentally- friendly transportation for the thousands of
people who visit the San Pedro harborfront each year. The Red Car Line has
a leading role in revitalizing the local business economy by
enhancing San Pedro’s image as a tourist destination and improving
access to local businesses and attractions."
historic Red Car Line is a 1.5 mile rail trolley route linking the World
Cruise Center with attractions along the San Pedro waterfront. The line uses
three authentic replicas of the famous Pacific Electric “Red Cars” (electric
trolleys) that served Los Angeles until 1961, running on part of an historic Red
Car route. It marks the first time in over forty years that Red Cars have run
anywhere in Los Angeles.
line runs on a north-south alignment adjacent to Harbor Blvd. from the Cruise
Ship Terminal at Swinford St., 1.5 miles south to 22nd and Miner Streets, near
the Cabrillo Marina.
line uses an existing rail corridor, much of which is actually a former Pacific
Electric right-of-way. The route was chosen because the existing
trackage permitted a relatively low-cost but historically accurate way to begin
operations. Because the freight traffic on the line is relatively light, sharing
the line with the trolley operation is also practical, operating trolleys during
the day and freight at night. Historical
Note: The PE’s San Pedro depot stood on approximately the site of today’s
downtown Red Car station, along Harbor Blvd. between 5th and 6th Streets.
community interest in extending the Red Car Line has been very high and a formal
System Expansion study was completed in 2009. Options
under study include an extension to Cabrillo Beach,
(serving the 22nd St. Landing, Cabrillo Marina,
the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Cabrillo Beach Bathhouse and the fishing
pier), a branch serving a new cruise terminal at the Outer Harbor (Berth 46), a
branch reaching Warehouse One (south end of Signal St.) a branch serving Downtown San
Pedro, and a branch into Wilmington and along Gaffey Street. The study also
examined the best location to construct a permanent maintenance building, as well as
a Red Car museum.
The Red Cars currently operate on Saturday, Sunday
and Monday from Noon until 9 p.m. This three-day schedule is based around
the days when the cruise ships call at the Cruise Center. Service can be
expanded to other hours or days of the week as demand warrants.
fare is one dollar for everyone, with children 6 and under free. Fares are
collected on board the cars, and exact change is required. Your ticket is good
all day for unlimited rides on the Red Car.
Two cars are in
operation over the line at any given time. Normal service uses two newly built
‘replica’ Red Cars, patterned after a 1908 Pacific Electric car. A third
car, restored from an actual Pacific Electric car, is available for special
operations including charters.
the line ADA accessible?
everyone who wishes to should enjoy the Red Car experience. All stations are
equipped with wheelchair ramps and handrails, offering easy access for all
passengers. The two newly constructed replica cars each have two wheelchair
and maintenance of the cars has been contracted out to Herzog
Transit Services Inc., a professional operator of railway passenger
services. Each car has a two-person crew, a Conductor and Operator.
In addition to his/her primary duty to ensure passenger safety, the
Conductor also serves as a tour guide and greeter, welcoming riders aboard,
describing the story of the Red Cars, then and now, and highlighting attractions
in the San Pedro area.
In addition to spaces available on the street and in lots next to the stations,
a dedicated Red Car Line parking lot has been added adjacent to the 22nd St.
there are several options available.
Both MTA’s 445 express and 447 routes from
Downtown Los Angeles both serve the Harbor/Beacon Park-n-Ride lot, directly
across Harbor Blvd. from the World Cruise Center Red Car station. LA DOT
Commuter Express bus route 142 (connecting the San Pedro and Long Beach harbor
areas) has a stop adjacent to the 6th St. Red Car Station and its terminus is at
Ports O’ Call Village, in the parking lot across the street from the the Red Car station.
Also, Amtrak Thruway bus service from Los
Angeles Union Station is available to and from the World Cruise Center.
Red Car Line opened on July 19, 2003. That year there were 44,292
passenger boardings over 97 operating days. 2004 saw 85,221 boardings over 232
operating days, 2005 had 94,543 boardings over 239 operating days, and in 2006
there were 102,512 boardings over 240 operating days. 2007 ridership was 92,665
over 225 operating days. 2008 ridership was 132,035 over 239 operating days.
line demonstrates its passenger carrying potential during special events such as
the Port’s annual Lobster Festival, carrying around 11,000 passengers over
the three day festival each year since 2004. For the 2005 Tall Ships LA event,
the line carried 12,146 passengers over four days.
Waterfront Red Car Line was built by the Port of Los Angeles, which also owns
the tracks and related facilities. The Port’s own crews built the line’s
four stations and performed the majority of work on the line’s three railcars.
The total cost of the initial phase of the project, including the three
railcars, was $10 million. The funding for the project came from the Harbor
Revenue Fund, which is derived solely from the shipping revenues collected by
Pedro’s waterfront and downtown have a host of wonderful attractions,
including shops, restaurants, art galleries, the Warner Grand Theater, the L.A.
Maritime Museum, marinas, beaches and excellent views of the Port of Los
Angeles, one of the world’s busiest and most accessible port facilities. The
Red Car Line not only connects these attractions together, it is an attraction
in its own right, tapping into the nostalgia for LA’s famous ‘Red Cars’.
The highly visible Red Cars enhance San Pedro’s image while encouraging local
tourism and commercial investment...a successful formula in other great cities.
1,100,000 passengers pass through the World Cruise Center annually, with that
number expected to rise in the years ahead. The Red Car Line will strive to
capture a significant percentage of the cruise ship passengers, as well as
tourists from the greater Los Angeles metro area, home to more than 16 million
people. Ridership will grow to complement the commercial development and visitor
attractions in San Pedro, allowing visitors to enjoy the many charms of this
unique waterside community.
1995, a blue ribbon task force appointed by the Board of Harbor Commissioners
proposed a rail line to link the “string of pearls” attractions along the
waterfront. In 1998, the Pacific Corridor Citizens Advisory Committee
recommended a passenger rail connection between the Cruise Ship Terminal and
22nd St (anticipating future development at the site) with intermediate stops at
6th Street and Ports O’ Call Village. The Port of Los Angeles then developed
the concept as a community improvement and unique economic development engine.
Trolley operations have played key roles in the successful transformation of
communities around the country. There are currently about 18 such operations in other
U.S. cities, including San Francisco; Memphis; Charlotte; San Jose;
Portland; Tampa; Dallas; Little Rock and Kenosha, Wisconsin.