Ride the Old PE Red Car (Back and Forth) in San Pedro

Our next stop on our day out in San Pedro after the Harbor Fire Museum was a walk across Beacon Street for a ride on the restored Pacific Electric Railway along the San Pedro Waterfront (AKA “Red Car”). While it’s not the first time we’ve ridden the Red Car, it has been a long, long while.

The Pacific Electric Railway Red Car in San Pedro, CA.

The Pacific Electric Railway Red Car in San Pedro, CA.

T and C look through a sight on a old military gun outside of the LA Maritime Museum.

T and C look through a sight on an old military gun outside of the LA Maritime Museum.

T and C outside the LA Maritime Museum at the same gun display as above in June 2009.

T and C outside the LA Maritime Museum at the same gun display as above in June 2009.

torpedo June 2009

C and T outside the LA Maritime Museum in June 2009.

P1010484

But before our trip on the Red Car, we made a few stops outside of the Los Angeles Maritime Museum. While we’ve never been inside of this museum (admission is just $3 for adults, $1 for youth and seniors, children free; however, we don’t think T is quite old enough to appreciate the history just yet), there’s plenty to see outside for free. There’s an old rotating battleship gun, a life-size torpedo, a ginormous boat propeller, and many other ship parts, accessories, and military arsenal to explore. Of course, these items are anchored down (pun intended), making touching and climbing a-OK, and the active ammunition have long since been removed or deactivated. T has loved to explore these displays over the years, and this past weekend was no different.

Red Car stop at 6th Street in Old San Pedro (CA).

Red Car stop at 6th Street in Old San Pedro (CA).

Red Car on approach!

Red Car on approach!

The USS Iowa, now a museum located in San Pedro, CA.

The USS Iowa, now a museum in San Pedro, CA.

Fireboat outside of LAFD Station #112. I don't know if this is Fireboat #2 or an active service vessel. Maybe T's buddy's dad or mom will see this post and clue me in here.

Fireboat outside of LAFD Station #112. I don’t know if this is historic Fireboat #2 or an active service vessel. Maybe T’s buddy’s dad or mom will see this post and clue me in here.

A typical harbor view along the Red Car Railway in San Pedro, CA.

A typical harbor view along the Red Car Railway in San Pedro, CA.

The Red Car runs through the heart of the Port of Los Angeles.

The Red Car runs through the heart of the Port of Los Angeles.

After some maritime pretend play, we finally arrived at the Red Car stop at 6th Street. There a perfectly crafted replica trolley car greeted us. The Red Car runs back and forth along a restored Pacific Electric railway line on the waterfront of San Pedro. While the car doesn’t take passengers much of anywhere except a handful of stops along Ports O’ Call for a wonderful fountain show at the end near the USS Iowa and World Cruise Center at the Port of Los Angeles, the 1.5-mile Red Car ride is a trip back in time.

Inside of the Red Car trolley that now runs along a restored railway line on the San Pedro, CA, waterfront.

Inside of the Red Car trolley that now runs along a restored railway line on the San Pedro, CA, waterfront.

The woodwork inside of the Red Car trolleys is exquisite. True craftsmanship.

The woodwork inside of the Red Car trolleys is exquisite. True craftsmanship.

Old advertisements on display in the newly restored and replica Red Cars in San Pedro, CA.

Old advertisements on display in the newly restored and replica Red Cars in San Pedro, CA.

A then-and-now look at the Red Car trolleys.

A then-and-now look at the Red Car trolleys.

The Red Car Railway’s restored and replica cars all include striking details, such as antique ads that once were on display during the PE’s actual runs in the 1920s and wooden carvings that are simply breathtaking. The cars also operate as they would have back during their original runs. The drive machinery is modeled after that of the original cars (brake handles, electric wires overhead, and gear shift), and the driver is required to change ends of the car depending which direction the car is headed. Operators and engineers also flip the seats over once the car reaches the end of the line just like they would have back during the original runs (the seats are slatted wood-worked and brass-fitted benches). It’s all of these things collectively that give riders a taste of the real Red Car experience, even though the Red Cars stopped running through Los Angeles as suburban transit lines almost 100 years ago.

T in his second free hat of the weekend on the Red Car in San Pedro, CA.

T in his second free hat of the weekend on the Red Car in San Pedro, CA.

T posing in front of the driving equipment of the replica PE Red Car in San Pedro, CA.

T posing in front of the driving equipment of the replica PE Red Car in San Pedro, CA.

Sorry, C, but free hats are for the kids only (though you wear it surprisingly well)!

Sorry, C, but free hats are for the kids only (though you wear it surprisingly well)!

While Red Car rides are not free, they might as well be. Riders can pay $1 and ride all day. Yes, I said $1. I can’t think of anything you can do all day long for a buck, except for this, I mean. And, yes, you just might discover that your train-tranced child will want to ride all day. Even at five-years-old it still takes some enticement to get T to disembark. Oh, and there’s free hats for the kids, too. Hmm, perhaps San Pedro needs to adopt the motto of, “Home of Free Hats for the Kids!” considering it was T’s second free hat last Saturday from his second outing around the town.

So next time you find a buck or two in your pocket, maybe that’s a sign of where you’ll be spending your Saturday together. Who said a buck can’t buy much these days?

The San Pedro Waterfront Red Cars operate from 12 p.m. (noon) to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A $1 all-day fare includes unlimited rides for that day (it’s noted on this site that children 6-and-under are free). Cash only and riders pay fares aboard the trolleys. Click here for a map of the Red Car’s route and other attractions along the line.

PLEASE NOTE: According to a friend who visited here on March 2, it turns out that the PE Red Car Railway in San Pedro will be closed from March 17 through the end of June (2013) due to construction in the area. I do not know anything more at this time, but I have contacted @San_Pedro_CA via twitter to try to get more information; when I do I will post here. Thanks, Toni, for passing this along!

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2 responses to “Ride the Old PE Red Car (Back and Forth) in San Pedro

  1. Pingback: Train Angels Exist in San Pedro | Real Mom Time (RMT)

  2. Pingback: All Aboard! T’s Train List (with Links)! | Real Mom Time (RMT)

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