Original artwork Howard Nourse

"Updates" Archive Page 3


Update Archives page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7, page 8, page 9


1/1/02 Open House schedule announced

The public is invited to come view the progress on completion of the two Pacific Electric 500 Replica Cars and Car 1058 at the "Wilmington Red Car Works" in the Port of Los Angeles. The January open house will be on Friday, January 11 from 1 pm to 4 pm.  

The February Open House will be held on Saturday, February 2nd. from 1 pm to 4 pm.


From the southbound 110 Freeway, exit Anaheim St. Turn left on Anaheim. Follow Anaheim east to Fries Avenue. 

From San Pedro, take Harry Bridges Blvd. east to Fries Avenue.

Turn right (south) on Fries Ave. and proceed approximately two blocks. After crossing the railroad tracks, turn right (west) onto Pier "A" Street.

Proceed approximately 4 blocks to Berth 155 A, located at the corner of Pier "A" Street and Pier "A" Place. The street address is 877 Pier "A" Street. Parking is available on the street adjacent to the building, and there will be sign indicating where to enter the building.

Please note that the building will not be open to the public at other times.


1/15/02 Pictures from the First Public Open House

Over the past several weeks, a portion of Berth 155A has been turned into a simple, but very useful, workshop. There's ample room to work, and the building is just down the street from the Port's main shop facilities. The project to complete the replica cars now has a good home, and we'll bring you updates as the work progresses.

Car 1058 has now received most of its lettering, hand-painted by San Pedro's own Harbor Sign, who did a beautiful job. Also, the re-plated light fixtures have all been reinstalled inside the car. 

About 50 people stopped by at the January 11 Open House to view the progress at the "Wilmington Red Car Works". Guests were able to get an up-close look at the 1058 and the two replica cars, and view the work taking place on the trucks for the replica cars. Personnel were on hand to answer visitor's questions, and a variety of historical photos of San Pedro and the Pacific Electric were on display.

The February Open House will be held on Saturday, February 2nd. from 1 pm to 4 pm.

-John Smatlak photos. Click any image to enlarge-


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Lettering is added to car 1058; here the pounce pattern is applied.

Automotive striping tape helps ensure sharp edges where required

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The artist at work End view of car 1058, once again sporting its car number
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Work in progress on assembling the trucks for the replica cars Open house sign on Berth 155A
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1058 on display

1058 interior, with ceiling lamps reinstalled

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A look at the truck assembly area in the new shop

2/8/02 Project Updates

The second public open house was held at the "Wilmington Red Car Works" on Saturday February 2nd. About 100 people stopped by; in addition to receiving a first-hand look at the latest progress, a small theatre area offered a chance to see the Red Cars of yesteryear in the form of historic Pacific Electric movies on video, and the Southern California Traction Club displayed a small operating HO scale model trolley layout, complete with plenty of Pacific Electric models. The next open house will be Saturday, March 9th. 

Since the last update, work on completing the two replica cars has been rapidly picking up momentum. The photos below detail some of the latest developments.

-John Smatlak photos. Click any image to enlarge-


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Reinstalling the couplers on car 501. Car 501at open house
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The open house also featured a continuously running video of Pacific Electric cars in action.

There was plenty of activity at the open house, including an operating model trolley layout.

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Work in progress- completing pinion application; preparing to set locknut

Engineers from D&D Engineering study truck plans in preparation for upcoming testing

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Reinstalling the air compressor underneath car 501

With the car raised by the car lifts, a truck is rolled underneath

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Truck under car, note electrical equipment at left

Car 501lowered onto its trucks. The height is yet to be adjusted 

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Another view of car 501on its trucks Close-up on one of the rebuilt Taylor TR trucks

3/18/02 Project Updates

The third public open house was held at the "Wilmington Red Car Works" on Saturday March 9th. About 200 people came by for a look at the progress. Once again a small theatre area offered a chance to see the Red Cars of yesteryear in the form of historic Pacific Electric movies on video, and the Southern California Traction Club displayed an operating HO scale model trolley layout, complete with plenty of Pacific Electric models. The next open house will be Saturday April 6th. 

In other news, the wood shop has now been set up, and the sawdust is flying! On car 501, the carpenters have tried out their new steam-bending box, which was used to add another layer of wood to the car's curved letterboard. In addition, a good deal of work has taken place on the ends of the car; with equipment locations in the cabs and on the exterior ends now finalized, some additional woodwork has been installed. On Car 500, full scaffolding has been erected around the top of the car, and work is underway to complete the roof. Also, the sub-floor has been anchored to the frame.

Also, good progress has been made on completing the installation of airbrake equipment on car 501, including prototyping and installation of the necessary brake rigging. The paint shop has also been busy painting the many parts which will ultimately make up the finished product. In addition, all of the old seats have been removed from inside car 1058. New wooden walkover seats will ultimately be installed, and the floor will also be repainted. 

The Port invites you to come by for a visit on Saturday April 6th.

-John Smatlak photos. Click any image to enlarge-


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The top of Car 500 has been covered with scaffolding to permit easy access to the roof.

Car 501has just received its headlight hooks and trolley catcher.
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Exterior woodwork being added to the front of car 501. The prototype seat inside car 1058.
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A good crowd turned out for the March 9th Open House. Car 501 at the March Open House.
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The steam-bending box in action; the piece inside is now flexible enough for bending.

A few moments later, Port of LA carpenters have pulled the piece out of the steam box and applied it to Car 501.

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A great many clamps were used to hold the newly curved piece in place.

In other news near the Red Car Line, Warehouse One (near the 22nd St. end of the line) is being used once again as a movie subway tunnel, complete with subway car!


5/9/02 Project Updates

Allot has happened since our last update. On May 8th, the Port  was officially notified by the Federal Railroad Administration that its waiver petition covering the 'shared use' operation of the Red Car line and the Red Cars themselves, had been approved. This clears the way to begin testing of car 1058, which is scheduled to be moved from the Wilmington Red Car works over to the Waterfront Red Car Line in early June. At their May 8th meeting, the Board of Harbor Commissioners approved setting up a temporary storage facility at 22nd St., which will consist of a fenced compound and a large tent to protect the car. There will be a paved work area, and an on-site security guard. Once car 1058 arrives, testing and adjustment will commence, followed by testing of track, overhead, and crossing signal systems. Also, the monthly Open Houses continue at Berth 155A, the next one will be held Saturday, June 1.

As seen in the photos below, car 1058 is currently receiving some additional work at the Red Car Works, including painting of the floor, some additional truck and coupler work, and installation of anti-climbers on the buffers. 

-John Smatlak photos. Click any image to enlarge-


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The truck is extracted to remove the old end frame The truck, minus its end frame
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Red Car crew members look on as the new end frame is drilled The new end frame is attached
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Anti-climbers are added to the buffers Bending the steel strips for the anti-climber


Completion of the Replica PE 500s is also moving along nicely. To begin, contractors D&D Engineering have completed their structural testing of the rebuilt trucks being used for the replica cars. The result of these tests was a recommendation to replace part of the top chord in each truck frame with newer, stronger steel. All of these new steel pieces are now on hand, and one truck has already had the new parts installed. A second truck is in process now, and the other two will follow in short order.

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D&D Engineering collects data  Truck testing in progress
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Truck frame being reassembled following installation of new components

The truck frame is upside down, and is sitting on a tramming table

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Painted truck frame

Original roof framing from PE car 538, on loan from the Orange Empire Railway Museum


At the two cab positions inside car 501, the first of the finished interior woodwork has been installed. With these interior walls and windows in place, the controller, airbrake valve, hand brake, and other apparatus will be permanently installed along with the associated wiring and piping. Other interior work includes installation of the clerestory window framing, and a prototype side window section has been mocked up to finalize the design of the interior walls and windows. On the exterior of the car, the belt rail has now been installed, along with the majority of the trim pieces adjacent to the doors and windows. 


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End wall under construction, car 501 End windows for car 501 being varnished
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The belt rail is installed on the end of car 501 Installation of the clerestory window frames

Underneath car 501, the majority of the airbrake piping has now been installed, along with the sanders, and parts of the handbrake mechanism. The electricians are mounting the equipment boxes, and are preparing to run conduit. The final portions of the bolsters have been fabricated, and are being machined in anticipation of installing them under the car shortly.

On car 500, the roof framing is almost ready to receive its covering, all of the nailers have been checked out, with adjustments made as required, and the clerestory window framing is being installed.


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Completing the roof framing on car 500

Underneath car 501, with airbrake components at left


Construction of the seats for all three cars is also progressing rapidly. To date, almost 40 seat backs have been glued up, and a lot of other parts have been manufactured. All of the new steel castings have arrived for the walkover seat frames, and machining of the parts has begun.


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Some of the castings for the new walkover seats

Carpenters installing clerestory window framing inside car 501

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New seat backs, glued up and ready for additional work

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Carpenters at work Car 501 5/9/02
-John Smatlak photos. Click any image to enlarge-
Go to Updates Page 4




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