Original artwork Howard Nourse

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

Latest Update: May, 2012

May 9, 2012-  WATERFRONT RED CAR LINE OUT OF SERVICE FROM MAY 14 TO JUNE 28 AS WORK PROCEEDS ON DOWNTOWN HARBOR PROJECT. Downtown San Pedro Trolley to Make Additional Stops While Red Car is Non-Operational 

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — May 9, 2012 — The Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line will temporarily stop service from May 14 through June 28th --  with the Description: Description: C:\Users\BRUNTB.000\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\2S0BB67G\_DSC0095 copy.jpgexception of Memorial Day Weekend ­– due to construction of the new Downtown Harbor Project near downtown San Pedro and Ports O’ Call Village.

Free rides on the Red Car Line will be available on Mother’s Day weekend from May 11-13th and the Red Car will also reopen with free rides on Memorial Day weekend from May 25-28th

While the Red Cars are non-operational, the San Pedro Historic Waterfront Business Improvement District’s (PBID) Red Trolley will make stops along the Red Car route. The PBID Red Car Trolley runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. and the first Thursday of every month from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. 

Normal Red Car hours of operation are from noon to 9:30 p.m., Friday through Sunday, which resumes on Friday, June, 29, for the Port’s Annual “Cars & Stripes Forever!” event, a patriotic car show celebration to kick off Independence Day. For more information, call (310) 732-3508, or visit www.portoflosangeles.org.

The Downtown Harbor project will create a new harbor inlet for vessels to dock and approximately 700 linear feet of promenade. Surrounding the inlet will be a modern town square, featuring landscaping, lighting and expansive promenades, expected to be completed in 2014. Source: Port of Los Angeles press release.

November,  2010; New Red Car Book Includes Chapter on San Pedro Replicas- The new book "Pacific Electric's 500-Class Cars, Interurban Pioneers" features a chapter on the design and construction of the Port's two replica trolleys. The book tells the complete story of these pioneering “Red Cars”, covering all three sub-classes from their beginnings at the turn of the century, through preservation and restoration in the 2000s. An exhaustive selection of photographs, drawings and historical documents have been assembled to tell this fascinating story, providing coverage geared towards a wide variety of readers. Click here for further information on the new book.  

In San Pedro, the Red Cars continue to roll up the miles along the waterfront, and the area around the line continues to evolve. Since the line's opening in 2003, the Port of Los Angeles has completed several other major waterfront improvements including the Harbor Boulevard section of the Waterfront Promenade, the spectacular Fanfare Fountain, 22nd Street Park and new landscaped parking areas at 22nd and Signal Streets. With the closing of the old Westway Terminal facility last year, the freight trains serving this section of the Harbor have also stopped running over the Red Car Line tracks. 

The next waterfront development project to come on line is the expansion of the Cabrillo Marina, adding new boat slips, landscaping and other public amenities to another former industrial area. As seen in the photos below, this project has dramatically transformed the appearance of the 22nd / Miner intersection adjacent to the current Red Car terminus. 

In nearby Wilmington, the new Harry Bridges Boulevard Buffer project is rapidly taking shape. This much-anticipated 30-acre open space project is located between C Street and Harry Bridges Boulevard and Lagoon Avenue and Figueroa Street. Also in the works is a major makeover of the Downtown Harbor area in San Pedro. The area in front of the LA Maritime Museum has already received an initial makeover, but there's much more to come including an new Town Square, water cuts to create new harbor areas, and a display building for the historic Ralph J. Scott fireboat. 

In other waterfront news, the Port is taking a serious look at a proposal from the Pacific Battleship Center to bring the retired battleship U.S.S. Iowa to San Pedro as a floating museum. The ship would be anchored in the Main Channel adjacent to Downtown. San Pedro was home to the US Pacific Fleet until 1940 when it moved to Pearl Harbor. There will no doubt be more news on this story soon.

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Click on the image for more info on the new book on the PE 500-Class cars

Looking north from 22nd and Miner Streets we see the major new landscaping elements and some of the other intersection improvements now nearing completion. The Red Car terminus can be seen at right.


Looking south on Harbor Boulevard towards 22nd Street and the newly expanded Cabrillo Marina.

April 15,  2010; Red Car Feasibility Study Posted on Port Website- The Port has posted the entire Red Car Expansion Feasibility Study on its website. Click here for the Executive Summary. Quoting from the website: "Based upon the success of the existing Waterfront Red Car line, along with new opportunities associated with the redevelopment of the San Pedro and Wilmington waterfronts, the Port of Los Angeles initiated the Waterfront Red Car Line Expansion Feasibility Study to examine in detail the various options for expanding the Red Car line and provide recommendations based upon benefits, feasibility, and overall costs." Click here to download the study (32 Mb pdf file), click here to download the Appendices (146 Mb pdf file).

Concurrent with the release of the study, Port staff has been making presentations to local community groups about the study's findings.

January 1,  2010- The Red Car continues to operate on its three days per week schedule. Meanwhile important progress has been made on many other adjacent waterfront improvements including the completion of the new 22nd Street Park. 

In late September 2009, the Harbor Commission approved the San Pedro Waterfront Project, the next major milestone towards creating the long-sought revitalized waterfront. The project EIR included expansion of the Red Car system to Cabrillo Beach, the Outer Harbor, and City Dock No. 1, as well as a new Red Car maintenance facility. The Port is now working to prioritize which of the improvements contemplated in this massive project should move forward first.  More details are available in the Port's News Release

March 20,  2009- The Red Car operating hours have been adjusted to Noon to 9 pm, Fridays through Sundays. Until further notice, one car will now operate throughout the day. 

Ridership for the year 2008 was 129, 667, the best year by far since the line opened in 2003. 2005 ridership was 94.543, 2006 was 102,169, and 2007 was 93,718.

The PE 1058 page has been updated with a variety of historic photos from its days on rubber tires. 

October 1,  2008- The Red Car operating hours have been adjusted to Noon to 9 pm, Fridays through Mondays. Two cars operate throughout the day, and the later hours provide convenient access to the new Fanfare Fountain. The Red Car continues to be a popular way to travel along the waterfront; just over 11,000 passengers rode during the annual Lobster Fest event September 19-21. 

The following week, the San Pedro rail yard played host to the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners, or AAPRCO for short. Some two dozen luxurious passenger cars spent several days parked in the yard while convention activities took place at the nearby hotel. 

In other waterfront news, the Port of Los Angeles has released the Draft EIS/EIR for the San Pedro Waterfront Project. The project includes several expansion options for the Red Car, and a public meeting on the project will take place on October 27th in San Pedro. See the Port's website for more details.

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Scenes in the San Pedro Rail Yard September 22

John Smatlak photos  


September 1,  2008

Record Ridership- The debut of the new Fanfare Fountain and the Tall Ships event boosted Red Car ridership for the month of August to a new record, with 28,354 boardings! Based on the demand for evening service to see the very popular nighttime performances at the Fanfare Fountain, Red Car service hours have been extended to 9:30 pm (the last car leaves Gateway Plaza / Swinford Street for 22nd Street at 9:30 pm). 

August 2008

The Los Angeles Festival of Sail returned to San Pedro August 15-17. Thousands turned out to view the tall ships and enjoy the festive atmosphere along the waterfront. Record crowds rode the Red Car, with ridership reaching almost 12,000 for the three day event ! 

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Red Cars passing by the SP Slip. 
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The Red Cars were full throughout the event

The historic SS Lane Victory returns from one of her annual cruises to Catalina Island

Car 501 pauses at 22nd Street station.

Passing through the San Pedro yard next to Ports O' Call. 

John Smatlak photos  


July 2008

The new Gateway Plaza water features were officially opened on July 25. The evening ceremony featured live music and refreshments and was very well attended. Red Car Line operating hours were extended to beyond 10 pm, providing a shuttle service to parking at Ports O' Call. The new "Fanfare" water feature was of course the star attraction. Pumping 400,000 gallons of recycled water, the fountain features  58 choreographed water jets, lighting and music. The Gateway water features are the latest milestone in the ongoing program to create a world-class waterfront in the San Pedro and Wilmington communities. "Performances" occur daily, more information on the fountain is available on the Port's website. 

Upcoming attractions at the Port that will also feature extended Red Car Line operating hours include the Festival of Sail August 15-17, and Lobster Fest September 19-21. 

In other Red Car news, work continues on the system expansion study, with preliminary alignments now being designed for the extensions that are covered by the San Pedro Waterfront Project EIR. The Port has also begun offering a Red Car Field Trip program for school groups. Click here for more information on the program, or contact Mary Frances Sandoval at (310) 732-3960.

Scenes along the Red Car Line July 25, 2008. Fountain opening ceremony.
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John Smatlak photos  



October 2007

The Red Car Line carried just over 10,000 passengers for the weekend of Lobster Festival, September 15-16, 2007. The system operated with extended hours for the three day event, and provided an important (and fun) parking shuttle service for festival goers. 

In other Red Car news, work continues on the system expansion study, with the consultant team now finalizing their findings for presentation to Port staff. With the announced closing of Westway Terminal in 2009, and the resulting end of rail freight service in San Pedro, a number of new alignment concepts have now been opened up.

Adjacent to the line, work is well along on the new water feature that will be the icon of the new Waterfront Gateway at the entrance to the World Cruise Center. The Port is also moving ahead with a number of other significant community improvement projects in San Pedro and Wilmington. Click here for the proposed project description for the San Pedro Waterfront Project EIR.

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This August construction view shows the massive vault for the new Gateway water feature alongside the Red Car Line.

Replica Red Cars 500-501 continue to be reliable performers; car 500 is seen here along Harbor Blvd.

With the pending closure of Westway Terminal in 2009, freight service in San Pedro will come to an end. The Signal Street area is to be redeveloped as "City Dock No. 1", possibly providing a home for a new marine research institute.


April 2007- Steam Locomotive 3751 visits Red Car Line

Restored Santa Fe steam locomotive 3751 was in San Pedro from April 15th through the 21st. Public tours were offered on Saturday April 21 as part of the Port's Rail Festival event. Click here for further details. The locomotive last visited in October 2004. Additional information is available on the San Bernardino Railway Historical Society's website.

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John Smatlak photos  


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In other news, work continues on the Red Car Line System Expansion Study, and San Pedro continues to experience a major housing boom. 

In the Downtown area, the 116-unit Centre Street Lofts is now open, and construction is underway on a number of other projects including the 16 story, 318-unit Vue building, the 89-unit Bank Lofts, and three other projects. A number of other projects have been approved or are in the permit process.   

Click on the images at left.

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3/15/07 Updates- Ridership Up, Expansion Study Underway

Ridership on the Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Red Car Line surpassed 100,000 riders in 2006, representing ridership growth of about 10% each year in the past two years. 2006 saw a total of 102,512 boardings over 240 operating days.  
“People love to ride the Red Cars,” said Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D., executive director of the Port of Los Angeles. “When we decided to fully-restore an original 1911 Pacific Electric Car and introduce two replica cars, it was part of the Port’s larger vision of attracting visitors to the waterfront and linking them to local businesses. We achieved both.” Click here for the official Port press release.

The System Expansion study is also proceeding on schedule. The consultant team is busy gathering data and taking a look at the purpose and need of each of the potential expansion options.

A few new historic pictures have also been added to the Pacific Electric in San Pedro page.


11/21/06 Updates- Harbor Commission Approves Expansion Study

At its 11/16/06 meeting, the Harbor Commission approved a contract to study expansion of the existing Waterfront Red Car Line. The study will examine a variety of route proposals, and develop concepts for enhancing the role of the Red Car Line in local transportation. Prime contractor Wilson & Company has teamed with EDAW, Railway Preservation Resources, Stone Consulting, LTK, Aztec Engineering, and other local firms to provide a expert team to address the study issues. An article in the 11/15/06 edition of the Daily Breeze provides additional details. 


12/12/05 Updates- Harbor Blvd. Promenade Opens

The official opening of the next phase of the Waterfront Promenade (between Santa Cruz and 5th Streets) took place as scheduled on October 29. The scenes below provide a glimpse of the day's activities. 

The new section of promenade is a beautiful addition to the San Pedro waterfront, paralleling the Red Car Line tracks between the Cruise Center and 5th St. Nighttime lighting provides a very inviting appearance after dark as well. Additional details on the Promenade are available on the San Pedro Waterfront website

Photo- Port of Los Angeles

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501 cruises along the new Promenade Councilwoman Hahn addresses the crowd at the opening ceremony 501 passes by the ceremony in progress
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The Red Cars along the new section on Promenade

-John Smatlak photos - Click any image to enlarge-


10/24/05 Updates- Promenade Grand Opening October 29

The next phase of the Waterfront Promenade (between Santa Cruz and 5th Streets) officially opens on Saturday, October 29, in conjunction with the Port's "Happy Harbor Halloween" celebration. Click here for the Port's press release on the event. Additional details on the Promenade are available on the San Pedro Waterfront website. Rides on the Red Car Line will be free all weekend.

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The new promenade parallels Harbor Blvd. and the Red Car Line tracks between the cruise Terminal and Downtown San Pedro
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8/25/05 Updates

"Tall Ships LA", held in San Pedro August 11-14 was a very well attended event. Over the four day event, 12,146 passenger boardings were recorded on the Red Car Line. Sunday was the busiest day, with 4,594 boardings! A few photos from the event appear below.

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Car 500 crossing 5th St. northbound One of the many Tall Ships on hand for the event. Waiting at the Passing Siding at Gibson Park, note the masts in the background!
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Coinciding with the Tall Ships LA event, a portion of the new Promenade was open to the public. The partially completed Promenade was open between Santa Cruz and 5th Streets. A generous landscaping buffer separates the Red Car tracks from the walking and bicycle paths
TALL SHIP 007 sm.jpg (129460 bytes) A view at the Ports O' Call station during the event. Herzog Transit photo. -John Smatlak photos, except as noted

 - Click any image to enlarge-

7/27/05 Updates

Ridership update: During the first two years of operation (ending 6/30/05), the Waterfront Red Car line carried 170,677 passengers over 381 operating days. The line continues to operate four days a week (Friday through Monday) plus extra days for special events and when cruise ships call at the terminal outside the normal schedule.

Upcoming special events in San Pedro include "Tall Ships LA" August 11-14 and the annual Lobster Festival September 16-18.

The scenery along the Red Car Line continues to improve, with construction on the new Harbor Blvd. Promenade (paralleling Harbor Blvd. the Red Car Line) progressing very nicely. The pictures below provide some idea of how the area's appearance is being transformed.  Look for a grand opening of the Promenade later this year. Further information on the Promenade can be found on the Port's website. Planning efforts also continue for the line extension to Cabrillo Beach and other Harbor destinations. 

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Red Car approaching 5th St. southbound. With the old fence removed and all of the new trees, the view is much improved.

Crossing 5th St. southbound. Maritime Museum in the background.

Looking south from First St, Fire Station #112 in the background.

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Looking south from First St., you can see the bike path element of the Promenade under construction.

View north from First. St. The new walkway is really starting to take shape.

A Red Car approaches the Ports O' Call Station as a Cruise Ship heads out the Main Channel.


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