The Pacific Electric Railway
in Southern California
  I have been interested in the Pacific Electric since I was a teen. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon), so I didn't see the PE during its heyday or even during its declining years. I had the opportunity to live in the Torrance area for several months during 2000. During that time I spent most weekends driving and walking the remnants of the PE lines. The following pages are a record of the areas that interest me, with photos and maps from many sources.
Thanks to Harry Marnell (who I only know via the internet) for introducing me to the photography search engine at the Los Angeles Public Library website: A number of the photos on these pages are from that site.
Another source of aerial photographs and maps used here is the MSN Terra Server at This is a wonderful resource for satellite views of the United States.
  6th & Main Station
Corporate headquarters of the Pacific Electric, and the departure point or destination of many many trains each day, the 6th & Main station was truly the center of the PE. As far as I know, the photographs in the page below have never been published till now. This may be due to their poor labeling and classification within the LAPL photograph collection.
Torrance was conceived as an industrial city in the mid 1910's. The Pacific Electric was the only railroad serving Torrance industries until 1929, when the Santa Fe built its west-side line to the harbor. The new Santa Fe line passed through western and southern Torrance, missing most of the industries already served by the PE. Soon new industries and refineries located along its lines.
  I hope you enjoy these maps and pictures. Comments are welcome:  
  Copyright 2000,01,02,03
William E. Den Beste
Last modified on  8/11/03 2:39:42 PM