From Above The Air...

Pacific Electric Subway - Toluca Portal

1925 - 1955 - 2004

By the early 1920's, downtown Los Angeles traffic was already seriously congested. The 4300-foot "Hollywood Subway" was opened in 1925 in order to get PE's "Big Red Cars" out of the central city more quickly. Busses gradually replaced the trolleys, and the last train through the subway ran on June 19, 1955.

For a detailed history of the subway, see the Electric Railway Historical Society's
"Pacific Electric Hollywood Subway"


As Ira Swett described the following three pictures (from his Lines of Pacific Electric - Western District):

"Morning, noon, and night at Toluca Yard"

1925: Under Construction


1940: The Peak Years Are Approaching
Note the Beverly Blvd Viaduct under construction


1959: Night Has Fallen
Preparing retired "PCC" cars to go to Buenos Aires

After Ira passed away in 1975, I began making trips to "his" Emerald Street photo-spot

1980: Not much has changed
Toluca Yard is pretty much ignored by everyone


In 2000, the Subway's 75th Anniversary, I returned yet again

A rainy December Day, and but one hearty soul visits to look at the graffiti and "graf-art"
that now adorns old Toluca Substation No. 51


2004: "The End is Near?"

Suddenly, in early 2004, word spreads that a low-income apartment complex is about to be built on the site. Such housing is desperately needed in the area... but will all vestiges of the Hollywood Subway and Toluca Yard be obliterated?


April 10, 2004





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