TRAVEL TOWN: INTERURBANS & MOTORCARS
LOS ANGELES METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY #1543
   BUILT: 1911 BY AMERICAN CAR AND FOUNDRY
             PURCHASED AS SCRAP IN 1961
   HORSEPOWER: 560
   DRIVER DIAMETER: 36"
   WEIGHT: 61 TONS

     
    Thirty years ago streetcars such as this one were king of transportation in Los Angeles as
well as in many other U.S. cities. At the end of the Second World War, trolley lines in Los Angeles carried over 200 million passengers and made $1.5 million dollars per year. Today, many people think
a streetcar system is the answer to the crowded freeways in Los Angeles. In fact, in recent years, streetcars and interurban have started their return to Southern California.
     
     In 1911, the American Car and Foundry delivered a consignment of interurban electric motor
cars to the Southern Pacific for operation on their Oakland, Alameda & Berkeley lines. Our car was originally trailer #436, rebuilt in 1938 as passenger car #379. When electric service ended on that
line in 1941, the cars were saved from scrapping by the United States Maritime Commission. The
"Blimp," as it was nicknamed, operated during the Second World War as one of the "Calship Specials;" hauling welders and yard workers directly to the California Ship Building Corporation yard on Terminal Island, Long Beach. At the end of the war in 1945, Pacific Electric bought the former Southern
Pacific motorcars. Metropolitan Coach Lines purchased the Pacific Electric passenger lines in 1953;
the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority took over MCL in 1958. This former "Big Red Car," as
the Pacific Electric interurbans were known, was the only motor car painted LAMTA green, and is
the last remaining document of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's short reign.