Railway historian Ralph Cantos shared another photo of Larchmont’s street car line with us. This one shows the Los Angeles Transit Lines (LATL) Car 521 on Larchmont Boulevard near Melrose in 1952, when the car made a special tour of the city’s railway system to raise funds. According to Cantos, the car had been retired from service for some time when the LA Transit Lines, now mostly a bus company, decided to clean out their storage yards. They offered the car, one of its three best, to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. The museum agreed to take the car, but local preservationists had to raise the funds to send it there.
“The 521 car had to travel through the Panama Canal in order to reach Maine, and that was an expensive trip, ” Cantos explained to the Buzz. “So they charged patrons $10 a ticket for a tour of the street car system. That was a lot of money at the time but it helped raise the funds needed to ship the car to Kennebunkport, where it can still be seen today.”
Of the other two cars, the 536 was on display in Travel Town in Griffith Park for about 40 years, until it was severely damaged when a tree fell on it. (Fortunately, preservationists saved the salvageable parts.) And the other car, the 525, can still be seen at the Southern California Railway Museum in Perris, California, which is now open for visitors after being closed for a year during the pandemic.
According to Cantos, “the little tree next to 536 [seen in the above photo from Travel Town] would grow big and tall and would fall on the 536, forty years after the photo was taken.”
The Los Angeles Railway owned and operated 800 of these cars, explained Cantos. But today, only four are left: 521, 525, 665, and 1160. The Red Car #1001 in the photos above and below was moved from Travel Town to the Southern California Railway Museum…so visitors can still experience a piece of our Larchmont history with these amazing trains from days gone by.