Video: 63 years later, streetcar enthusiast takes the train again to Santa Monica

This is an awesome video, produced by our friends in the Los Angeles County Newsroom. The subject: Alan Weeks, 84, a retired Metro employee who was on the last streetcar to Santa Monica in Sept. 1953 and who took thousands of photos of the Los Angeles streetcar scene in the 1940s, ’50s and early ’60s.

Alan’s collection has gone a long way to helping all of us either remember or comprehend the vastness of the streetcar network which vanished for good in 1963 after a long decline. “At the time, there was a lot of us who never thought we’d see rail transit in this area again,” Alan told me a few years ago. “It seemed like everyone wanted a house, two cars in the driveway and a swimming pool.”

Alan has been busy on two fronts the past few years: documenting construction of the Expo Line’s second phase and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Many of Alan’s photos can also be seen on the Metro Transportation Library & Archive’s Flickr page in this album on the Pacific Electrics and this album on the Los Angeles Railway streetcars. And here’s a nice collection of his black and white images that appeared on the blog a while back.



5 replies

  1. That’s Walter Abenseth on the right. He later bought and saved several of these cars, which today can be seen and ridden at Orange Empire Railway Museum, Perris, CA.

  2. I think that’s Walter Abenseth on the right. He later bought and saved several of these cars, which are now at Orange EMpire Railway Museum in Perris, CA.

  3. It’s great to see a rail comeback, here in Los Angeles. I can remember riding the “Red Car”, as it was comminly called, with my Grandmother. I even remember the old downtown terminal at 4th & Hill Sts.
    On a second note, Will people be required to change trains, Tomorrow & Saturday, at Culver City, in order to get from Downtown LA to Santa Monica, or will their be direct service from Downtown LA?

    • It’s a direct line John. From Downtown L.A. all the way to Santa Monica.