The Altadena Historical Society and Altadena Library are pleased to announce a presentation by railroad expert and co-founder of the Scenic Mount Lowe Group, Brian Marcroft. who will be sharing rare, never before seen images, maps, photos and documents of the Pacific Electric Railroad from the Ray Younghans estate, courtesy of the Orange Empire Railway Museum. Altadena’s historic Mount Lowe Railway became part of the PE in 1902. Charles Seims, author of Mount Lowe, the Railway in the Clouds and Trolley Days in Pasadena will be honored at this exciting event.
The presentation will be Mon., Nov. 23, at 7:30 PM at the Altadena Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Dr. Admission is free.
For more information, contact Jane Brackman at the Altadena Historical Society, firstname.lastname@example.org (626-797-8016) or www.altadenalibrary.org ; 626 798-0833; email@example.com
Founded by Henry E. Huntington in 1901, the Pacific Electric Railway featured the fondly remembered “Red Cars,” a system of electric street cars that transported its passengers on rail lines that connected Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The PE with its signature red painted trolleys became the largest electric railway passenger service in the world with over 1,000 miles of track.
The Old Mission route went to San Gabriel Mission, Pasadena, Busch Gardens, then back to Los Angeles. The Mount Lowe trolley rode a narrow-gauge railway to the top of Echo Mountain. The Balloon Route ran from downtown through Hollywood, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Redondo Beach and back to L.A. via Culver City. The Triangle Trolley went to San Pedro, Long Beach, Balboa, Santa Ana and back to L.A.
By the 1920’s the Red Cars had become a popular mode of transportation with an all time high of ridership in 1944. Slowly the automobile took over as the main mode of transportation. By 1959 only the Los Angeles to Long Beach line remained and on April 8, 1961 it also stopped operation.
In 1990 light rail returned to Long Beach with the opening of the Metro Blue Line which runs over much of the same route as the original Pacific Electric, perhaps reminding many of those glorious trolley days of yore.
More information on this topic can be found on the website of the Orange Empire Railway Museum (http://www.oerm.org/index.htm).
About Brian Marcroft:
Speaker Brian Marcroft grew up in Norwalk, California. His boyhood fascination with the railroad led to his eventual co-founding of the non-profit Scenic Mount Lowe group (http://www.mtlowe.net). Since 1990 Brian has served as a Forest Service volunteer. He is also on the Altadena Historical Society board of directors.
About Charles Seims:
Charles Seims, a Mount Lowe enthusiast since the age of 13, has published two books about the attraction. Mount Lowe Railroad in the Clouds was published in 1976 and its companion volume, Trolley Days in Pasadena came out in 1982. An avid collector of all things railroad, Seims is a frequent contributor to publications dealing with history.