Today on Hindsight – Who Killed The Pacific Electric Railroad?

Admin August 6, 2012 0

A chief complaint of residents and visitors to modern day Los Angeles is the lack of an extensive and efficient public transit system… specifically a subway or rail system as has existed in New York for over a century.  Even with the ever expanding Metro Rail, the vast majority of the city relies on bus service… and by “relies on” we really mean “completely ignores” in favor of driving on our congested freeways.

However, this was not always the case.  Los Angeles once boasted the largest public transit network in the world… the Pacific Electric Railroad, referred to colloquially as the “Red Cars” provided a vast system of subways, rails and street cars that criss-crossed thousands of miles of rapidly developing Southern California territory from 1900 until it’s veritable demolition in the 1950s.  ”From the Mountains to the Sea” or “From the City to the Orange Groves” posters used to read… indeed you could take public rail service from any of the beach cities, to downtown, Hollywood, the top of Mt. Lowe or all the way out to Riverside, San Bernardino and more!

So… what happened to Henry Huntington’s great rail system?  Why would Los Angeles allow such a system to be demolished in favor of the massive freeway network the city has become famous for?  The story is steeped in local lore and conspiracy… even being featured in films like “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”   Find out the whole history today on HINDSIGHT’S LAST SHOW (before we go the way of the Dodo… or, for that matter, the Pacific Electric Railroad).  Tune in at 5pm Pacific or download us on iTunes!