Local rail-borne transit in Los Angeles began with horsecars in 1874, evolving with cable-powered and later electric-powered passenger vehicles. “Yellow Cars” describes the principal local transit system in and around Los Angeles in the first half of the 20th century. The canary-colored local streetcars formed the inner-neighborhood lines between a vast rail network of main lines known as the “interurban” system, primarily the Pacific Electric Railway “Red Cars,” which spiderwebbed throughout Los Angeles County and into Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties. Rail tycoon Henry Edwards Huntington consolidated several independent lines into this great interurban empire. He sold it in 1910 to the Southern Pacific Railroad, keeping the Los Angeles Railway Yellow Cars. These evocative photographs illustrate travel during decades of change, progress, economic setbacks, war, and postwar retrenchment, when streetcar service was taken over by bus lines.
About the Author
The main sources of these vintage images are the Dorothy Peyton Gray Transportation Library at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the collections of Craig Rasmussen and author Jim Walker, who has written or edited more than 40 railway books. A founder of the Orange Empire Railway Museum at Perris, California, Walker is the archivist/historian of Metro’s library.
Table of Contents
The First Years: 1874-1898 9
The Huntington Years I: 1898-1910 21
The Huntington Years II: 1910-1927 27
The Later Los Angeles Railway Years: 1927-1945 41
Los Angeles Transit Lines: 1945-1958 75
The Last Yellow Car Years: 1958-1963 115
Aftermath and Rail Rebirth: 1963-Present 123