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Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
10-07-2011, 07:07 PM
Post: #11
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
The PE line is an interesting line and you did a good job finding photos and maps to show the line.

The SP line that ran next to the PE between Newport and Huntington Beach was built by the Santa Ana & Newport. The 1916 flood destroyed both the PE and SP lines at the mouth of the Santa Ana River and when service was restored the SP used the PE bridge. The SP line was abandoned in 1933 as well as the Dyer to Newport section of track.

Passenger service to Newport ended in 1950. The Newport line was cut between East Long Beach and Seal Beach in 1958, freight service to Seal Beach and Newport continued via the line between Stanton and Huntington Beach. The track beween Huntington Beach and Newport was abandoned in 1962; Huntington Beach and Seal Beach in 1966. The Pacific Electric was merged into the SP in August 1965.

Dates were checked with the book Rails Through The Orange Groves by Donaldson and Meyers

Cliff
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SteveD
10-07-2011, 08:00 PM
Post: #12
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
Makes me wish I had a time machine to go back several decades to see all these old lines in action.

OCC- It would be nice to be omnipotent.
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10-07-2011, 08:16 PM
Post: #13
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
(10-07-2011 08:00 PM)orange choo choo Wrote:  Makes me wish I had a time machine to go back several decades to see all these old lines in action.

OCC- It would be nice to be omnipotent.

You'd have to go back more than several decades OCC. I hired out in the mid 60's and a lot of these tracks in the photos were gone then.

V

SLOCONDR
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10-07-2011, 08:30 PM
Post: #14
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
(10-07-2011 08:16 PM)SLOCONDR Wrote:  You'd have to go back more than several decades OCC. I hired out in the mid 60's and a lot of these tracks in the photos were gone then.

V

SLOCONDR
Time flies, sometimes it seems like the 80s and 90s were just yesteday and even though I'm in my mid thirties I fell lke I'm 22.

Great work you guys, I lived in an apartment that overlooked the old ROW in LB and I would sit on my porch and picture trains going by bringing passengers to Belmont Shore and Seal Beach. I didn't know it went all the way down to Newport. I bet all those millionaires would hate hearing trains go by or slow them down on the way to the shopping mall LOL.
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10-07-2011, 09:04 PM
Post: #15
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
(10-07-2011 07:07 PM)Myfordbrowning Wrote:  The PE line is an interesting line and you did a good job finding photos and maps to show the line.

The SP line that ran next to the PE between Newport and Huntington Beach was built by the Santa Ana & Newport. The 1916 flood destroyed both the PE and SP lines at the mouth of the Santa Ana River and when service was restored the SP used the PE bridge. The SP line was abandoned in 1933 as well as the Dyer to Newport section of track.

Passenger service to Newport ended in 1950. The Newport line was cut between East Long Beach and Seal Beach in 1958, freight service to Seal Beach and Newport continued via the line between Stanton and Huntington Beach. The track beween Huntington Beach and Newport was abandoned in 1962; Huntington Beach and Seal Beach in 1966. The Pacific Electric was merged into the SP in August 1965.

Dates were checked with the book Rails Through The Orange Groves by Donaldson and Meyers

Cliff

I haven't read Rails through the Orange Groves myself but I know everyone on the subject matter references it. Good check on the dates, I kind of just broad stroked the time frame and a lot can happen in 10 to 20 years. The SP sharing the PE line after 1916 explains why only one trestle can be see in the 1927 Flood picture. The continuation of freight into the early 60's must explain why there is a bridge across the Santa Ana but no power lines and why homes don't line the ocean at Huntington Beach, why West Newport exists and why only now the former footprint of the wye in Newport Beach is being developed.

One clarification though for anyone else reading is that the PE was basically purchased by SP back in 1911 but continued to exist in some independent capacity (at least in name) in various parts of the region for a while thereafter.
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10-07-2011, 09:13 PM
Post: #16
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
(10-07-2011 08:30 PM)orange choo choo Wrote:  
(10-07-2011 08:16 PM)SLOCONDR Wrote:  You'd have to go back more than several decades OCC. I hired out in the mid 60's and a lot of these tracks in the photos were gone then.

V

SLOCONDR
Time flies, sometimes it seems like the 80s and 90s were just yesteday and even though I'm in my mid thirties I fell lke I'm 22.

Great work you guys, I lived in an apartment that overlooked the old ROW in LB and I would sit on my porch and picture trains going by bringing passengers to Belmont Shore and Seal Beach. I didn't know it went all the way down to Newport. I bet all those millionaires would hate hearing trains go by or slow them down on the way to the shopping mall LOL.

I'm not sure how that would work either. Noise restrictions at KSNA not only affect takeoffs and landings but the amount of traffic permitted in the first place (granted as far as airports are concerned this makes KSNA a lot easier to fly out of). Next door in Irvine, I don't know if they have quiet zones (I don't live in that part of town), but there are sound barriers for most of the residential sections. It doesn't stop all of it though and I wonder how that affects land value. I'm surprised there is any regular street running anymore. I guess it would look like Long Beach or Anaheim. Regardless beach traffic on PCH would still be a pain.
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10-07-2011, 09:43 PM
Post: #17
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
OMG I love this thread! It's nice to see some historic photos from my former hometown! Thank you for sharing! :-)
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10-07-2011, 10:02 PM
Post: #18
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
The Southern Pacific did gain control of the Pacific Electric in 1911 and general policies of the PE were dictated by the SP. However the PE's day to day operations were independent from it's owner. The regulatory agencies (California Railroad Comission/Public Utilities Comission and Interstate Commerce Comission) treated the PE as a separate railroad in most matter. The PE owned or leased their equipment, had their own labor agreements and their own operating procedures until near the end of it's separate existence.

Top management may have held positions in both companies, the SP was a source of equipment that the PE obtained through the years. As the PE changed from a freight and passenger company to a freight only operation with fewer employees the SP influence increased with the PE closing their general shop and contracting the services of the SP, using SP operating rules with a few exception rather than their own rule book and going to SP style employee timetables. These changes occurred mostly during the last 10 years that the PE existed as a separate company.

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10-10-2011, 01:11 PM (This post was last modified: 12-31-2012 09:45 PM by SteveD.)
Post: #19
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
I'm a long time collector/gatherer of images and info about O.C.'s coastal rail lines, too, so appreciate the material shared here. The proposed P.E. crossing of lower Newport Harbor to reach Corona del Mar was a trestle concept rather than tunnel, but was denied by War Department , leaving only r-o-w along Bayside Drive thru CdM (now mostly park and vacant land, e.g. beneath Goldenrod footbridge), gifted to City for roadway and recreational purposes by P.E. after coastal extension failed.
The WWIIish relocation of H.B. depot was back along La Bolsa Branch and is probably where your photo was actually taken.
I have written up some of the history of the parallel S.P./P.E. N.B.-H.B. tracks elsewhere before but offer it here again:
Orange Coast R.R. Bridges(H.B.-N.B.)
When P.E. built alongside S.P. between Newport and Huntington Beach in 1905, the beach and roadbeds were continuous and uncut by any waterway(the Santa Ana River emptied directly into the west end of lower Newport Bay near the Arches, behind the sandspit upon which the rail lines were constructed).
In several years of the late Teens, one or both railroads were washed out by winter storms, the S.P. suspending service until summer when roadbeds could be restored(more or less). In 1915-16, the Santa Ana River broke through the beach near Huntington Beach, severing operations by both companies for more than a month. P.E built a substantial bridge at the break and resumed service in the Spring. S.P. had access to H.B. via its peatlands route from Anaheim thru Westminster so was under no great pressure to restore its coastal trackage, but when it did fix its coastal trackage that summer, it chose to share P.E.’s trestle over the main washout and storm cut river channel(near Gamewell station). This joint use included the single track on the bridge and caused the need for two hand thrown switches and signals at opposing ends of the joint trestle, imposing a six minute delay for all thirty P.E. trains that used the structure each day at that time. Not very long later, this first trestle was filled in by the State as it undertook to secure the roadbed of its adjacent Coast Highway, but except for brief intervals when the practice was suspended, the two roads still shared the buried bridge and sustained the imposition of pausing to secure safety for the passage of their respective trains (S.P. traffic here had dwindled and its branch would become ‘freight only’ here by the early Twenties and so was the least impacted.).
During the Twenties, another series of storms did damage elsewhere along the beach.
In the early twenties, the County undertook to create a permanent improved route for the Santa Ana River to prevent it from silting up Newport Bay via its old channel to that estuary. The new outlet to the sea was to be closer to Newport than the storm cut opening near Huntington described above and required routing under both railroads at the new location. Originally both railroads settled for a large culvert beneath their tracks to guide the river seaward.(rather than individual trestles as suggested by the L.A. Times artwork accompanying the article about the river jetties posted on this site). Shortly thereafter, P.E. opted to build a trestle to replace its culvert, but S.P. kept its culvert in place . After a Spring 1921 storm washed out the S.P. culvert and nearby trackage, the two railroads resolved to repeat the solution that had served them nearer Huntington Beach and once again installed turnouts bringing the tracks of both lines together at each end of the newer P.E. trestle, so the two companies once again enjoyed joint track and bridge across the official river mouth, with safety stops required by trains of both roads before passing over. Through the next few years, S.P. employee timetables carried the admonition,”Light system between Gamewell and Newport Beach over two sections of Pacific Electric track”, altho details of the ‘light system’ are not clear. By the end of the decade, a somewhat different procedure was implemented, with S.P. ETT noting, “Joint use with Pacific Electric Ry over two bridges in Pacific Electric track between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach “, with the following Special Rule spelled out:
JOINT USE PACIFIC ELECTRIC TRACK OVER BRIDGES BETWEEN
NEWPORT BEACH AND HUNTINGTON BEACH
Southern Pacific trains are required to protect themselves by flag while using the
Pacific Electric tracks over two bridges between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.
Southern Pacific trains will stop before fouling the Pacific Electric track. Flagman will protect to rear on both Pacific Electric and Southern Pacific tracks.

Brakeman will immediately proceed ahead on Pacific Electric tracks to a point a sufficient distance beyond the junction switch of the Pacific Electric track to insure protection against opposing Pacific Electric train before the Southern Pacific train occupies the track.
After waiting fifteen minutes for brakeman to proceed ahead and front is protected as provided above, the switch will be opened and train may proceed over the joint track.
It must be understood that the switches will not be opened for the Pacific Electric track until the movement is protected.
No known mishap resulted from this scheme of joint operation, nor is it clear if S.P. crews used both bridges in one continuous move under the above rule or repeated the procedure separately for each bridge(the distance encompassed by both was2-3 miles, a good walk for either trainman–wish we had a retiree who actually did it to clarify the point), but there were more washouts of the beach tracks in the later Twenties which disrupted coastal operations despite the presence of the two bridges. The most severe(1927) actually finished filling in around the Gamewell bridge begun by the State a few years before. It might also be noted that the two standard gauge railroads discussed were not the only tracks along this beach, as a narrow gauge industrial tram was put down in 1924 to distribute concrete aggregate along the length of the Pacific Coast Highway there from a socalled “Macklin” spur where the aggregate was delivered from Orange County Rock Company. (Article posted to Rail Mapping site, 1/11/2006 by SED)
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10-10-2011, 04:41 PM
Post: #20
RE: Pacific Electric: Newport-Balboa Line
(10-10-2011 01:11 PM)SteveD Wrote:  I'm a long time collector/gatherer of images and info about O.C.'s coastal rail lines, too, so appreciate the material shared here. The proposed P.E. crossing of lower Newport Harbor to reach Corona del Mar was a trestle concept rather than tunnel, but was denied by War Department , leaving only r-0-w along Bayside Drive thru CdM (now mostly park and vacant land, e.g. beneath Goldenrod footbridge), gifted to City for roadway and recreational purposes by P.E. after coastal extension failed.
The WWIish relocation of H.B. depot was back along La Bolsa Branch and is probably where your photo was actually taken.
I have written up some of the history of the parallel S.P./P.E. N.B.-H.B. tracks elsewhere before but off it here again:
Orange Coast R.R. Bridges(H.B.-N.B.)
When P.E. built alongside S.P. between Newport and Huntington Beach in 1905, the beach and roadbeds were continuous and uncut by any waterway(the Santa Ana River emptied directly into the west end of lower Newport Bay near the Arches, behind the sandspit upon which the rail lines were constructed).
In several years of the late Teens, one or both railroads were washed out by winter storms, the S.P. suspending service until summer when roadbeds could be restored(more or less). In 1915-16, the Santa Ana River broke through the beach near Huntington Beach, severing operations by both companies for more than a month. P.E built a substantial bridge at the break and resumed service in the Spring. S.P. had access to H.B. via its peatlands route from Anaheim thru Westminster so was under no great pressure to restore its coastal trackage, but when it did fix its coastal trackage that summer, it chose to share P.E.’s trestle over the main washout and storm cut river channel(near Gamewell station). This joint use included the single track on the bridge and caused the need for two hand thrown switches and signals at opposing ends of the joint trestle, imposing a six minute delay for all thirty P.E. trains that used the structure each day at that time. Not very long later, this first trestle was filled in by the State as it undertook to secure the roadbed of its adjacent Coast Highway, but except for brief intervals when the practice was suspended, the two roads still shared the buried bridge and sustained the imposition of pausing to secure safety for the passage of their respective trains (S.P. traffic here had dwindled and its branch would become ‘freight only’ here by the early Twenties and so was the least impacted.).
During the Twenties, another series of storms did damage elsewhere along the beach.
In the early twenties, the County undertook to create a permanent improved route for the Santa Ana River to prevent it from silting up Newport Bay via its old channel to that estuary. The new outlet to the sea was to be closer to Newport than the storm cut opening near Huntington described above and required routing under both railroads at the new location. Originally both railroads settled for a large culvert beneath their tracks to guide the river seaward.(rather than individual trestles as suggested by the L.A. Times artwork accompanying the article about the river jetties posted on this site). Shortly thereafter, P.E. opted to build a trestle to replace its culvert, but S.P. kept its culvert in place . After a Spring 1921 storm washed out the S.P. culvert and nearby trackage, the two railroads resolved to repeat the solution that had served them nearer Huntington Beach and once again installed turnouts bringing the tracks of both lines together at each end of the newer P.E. trestle, so the two companies once again enjoyed joint track and bridge across the official river mouth, with safety stops required by trains of both roads before passing over. Through the next few years, S.P. employee timetables carried the admonition,”Light system between Gamewell and Newport Beach over two sections of Pacific Electric track”, altho details of the ‘light system’ are not clear. By the end of the decade, a somewhat different procedure was implemented, with S.P. ETT noting, “Joint use with Pacific Electric Ry over two bridges in Pacific Electric track between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach “, with the following Special Rule spelled out:
JOINT USE PACIFIC ELECTRIC .TRACK OVER BRIDGES BETWEEN
NEWPORT BEACH AND HUNTINGTON BEACH
Southern Pacific trains are required to protect themselves by flag while using the
Pacific Electric tracks over two bridges between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.
Southern Pacific trains will stop before fouling the Pacific Electric track. Flagman will protect to rear on both Pacific Electric and Southern Pacific tracks.

Brakeman will immediately proceed ahead on Pacific Electric tracks to a point a sufficient distance beyond the junction switch of the Pacific Electric track to insure protection against opposing Pacific Electric train before the Southern Pacific train occupies the track.
After waiting fifteen minutes for brakeman to proceed ahead and front is protected as provided above, the switch will be opened and train may proceed over the joint track.
It must be understood that the switches will not be opened for the Pacific Electric track until the movement is protected.
No known mishap resulted from this scheme of joint operation, nor is it clear if S.P. crews used both bridges in one continuous move under the above rule or repeated the procedure separately for each bridge(the distance encompassed by both was___ miles, a good walk for either trainman–wish we had a retiree who actually did it to clarify the point), but there were more washouts of the beach tracks in the later Twenties which disrupted coastal operations despite the presence of the two bridges. The most severe(1927) actually finished filling in around the Gamewell bridge begun by the State a few years before. It might also be noted that the two standard gauge railroads discussed were not the only tracks along this beach, as a narrow gauge industrial tram was put down in 1924 to distribute concrete aggregate along the length of the Pacific Coast Highway there from a socalled “Macklin” spur where the aggregate was delivered from Orange County Rock Company. (Article posted to Rail Mapping site, 1/11/2006 by SED)

Thanks for the elaboration. Especially on the CdM extension. I had read in couple of places that a tunnel was planned either road or rail from Balboa to CdM but no specifics except that it was underfunded, rampant with corruption and ill planned. I always wondered how exactly how any crossing would work since most of CdM is over a hundred feet higher than Balboa. A Bayside Dr route under Goldenrod though would make sense. It makes me wonder if that cut is natural or if it was designed with a route to Balboa, or at least the harbor, in mind. Also I wonder if the pictures I saw of Sunset Beach with a set of tracks between the ocean and the beach front houses, in addition to the PE right of way, were a part of the narrow gauge railroad mentioned.
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