San Pedro Red Cars ~ Wednesday, January 21, 2009
We made a family trip to southern California last weekend and went for a ride on the Port of L.A. Waterfront Red Car in San Pedro, a re-electrified piece of authentic PE trackage, which uses a restored (sort of full-scale kitbashed) PE "ten" and two replica "fives" (these are the ones usually running).
The cars are really wonderful.
The world's most beautiful trolley?
This was Nathan's first trolley ride!
The cars are painted a really dignified dark red--much darker than I'd imagined for PE, based on color pictures I've seen. The crew assured me the shade was authentic, but that the paint tended to fade into a red over time in the sunlight; and in fact, since the cars are never turned on the waterfront line, one side (west?) that gets more sun was already looking lighter than the other.
Then, too, maybe the PE was painting its equipment a more conventional red by the time railfans were taking color pictures of last runs in the 50's.
At the north end of the line there is a cool fountain that shoots jets of water to music, designed (again according to our conductor) by the same people that did the fountain at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
We first approached it while it was between runs... and got more than a little wet when it started its next show! You aren't allowed on the trolley soaking wet, so we had some time to kill. It was a surprisingly warm day for January (still winter, even in LA!) so getting dry was no problem. A stand nearby sold snowcones and roasted corn. The corn was pretty good, actually.
We got off at the Downtown/6th St. station for lunch. At our conductor's recommendation, we went to Green Onion, a reasonably kid-friendly Mexican restaurant up 6th St (he also said that Acapulco was good, but would probably be crowded--we saw it, more directly on the waterfront, and it looked kinda trendy; still, if you want a view of the harbor, it'd be nice).
I'll close this out with one more quick video (if you watch it, YouTube will suggest lots of other Red Car videos, too).