Watts (Pacific Electric)

Last updated
Type Light rail
System PE Bolt.svg Pacific Electric
Locale Southern California
Termini Pacific Electric Building
Daily ridership37,436 (peak, 1946)
4,325 (close, 1958)
Owner Southern Pacific Railroad
Operator(s) PE Bolt.svg Pacific Electric
Line length7.45 miles
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification Overhead lines
Route map

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Pacific Electric Building
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Vernon Avenue
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Slauson Junction
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Florencita Park
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local service

The Watts line was a local line of the Pacific Electric Railway that operated between the Pacific Electric Building in Downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States and the Watts Station at 103rd Street in Watts, Los Angeles. It was the primary local district service for the Southern District, which also included the Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Ana and Whittier lines. The route operated along the Southern Division's Four Tracks route, with the Watts Line using the outer tracks and the Long Beach line and other interurban and express lines using the inner tracks. [1] It operated between 1904 and 1958. During the 1910s, its service was combined with the South Pasadena Line of the Northern District. From 1938 to 1950, the line was combined with the Sierra Vista Line, which was the main local line in the Northern District. Since 1990, service along the Watts Line between Washington Boulevard and 103rd Street has been operated by the Los Angeles Metro Blue Line, with stations at Washington Boulevard, Vernon Avenue, Slauson Avenue, Florence Avenue, Firestone Boulevard and 103rd Street.

Pacific Electric Building

The historic Pacific Electric Building opened in 1905 as the terminal for the Pacific Electric Red Car Lines running east and south of downtown Los Angeles, as well as the company's main headquarters building. It was designed by architect Thornton Fitzhugh. Though not the first modern building in Los Angeles, nor the tallest, its large footprint and ten-floor height made it the largest building in floor area west of Chicago for several decades. Above the main floor terminal were five floors of offices and on the top three floors, the Jonathan Club, one of the city's leading businessmen's clubs. The club moved to its own building on Figueroa Street in 1925. After the absorption of the Pacific Electric into the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1911, the PE Building became the primary Los Angeles offices for the Southern Pacific.

Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood of Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California

Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) is the central business district of Los Angeles, California, as well as a diverse residential neighborhood of some 58,000 people. A 2013 study found that the district is home to over 500,000 jobs. It is also part of Central Los Angeles.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

Stops and stations

The following were stops and stations along the Watts line [2]

Related Research Articles

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The Blue Line is a 22.0-mile (35.4 km) light rail line running north-south between Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, passing through Downtown Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, Watts, Willowbrook, Compton, Rancho Dominguez and Long Beach in Los Angeles County. It is one of six lines in the Metro Rail system. Opened in 1990, it is the system's oldest and third busiest line with an estimated 22.38 million boardings per year as of December 2017. It is operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

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103rd Street/Watts Towers station Los Angeles Metro station

103rd Street/Watts Towers is an at grade light rail station on the Los Angeles County Metro Blue Line.

Vernon station station on the Los Angeles County Metro Blue Line

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Alameda Street is a north-south street in Los Angeles County, California. It is approximately 21 miles in length, running from Harry Bridges Boulevard in Wilmington; and through Carson, Compton, Lynwood, Watts, Vernon and Arts District to Spring and College in Chinatown. For much of its length, Alameda runs through present and former industrial corridors, and is paralleled by Southern Pacific Railway tracks.

Watts Station

Watts Station is a train station built in 1904 in Watts, Los Angeles, California. It was one of the first buildings in Watts, and for many years, it was a major stop for the Pacific Electric Railway's "Red Car" service between Los Angeles and Long Beach. It was the only structure that remained intact when stores along 103rd Street in Watts were burned in the 1965 Watts Riots. Remaining untouched in the middle of the stretch of street that came to be known as "Charcoal Alley", the station became a symbol of continuity, hope, and renewal for the Watts community. It has since been declared a Historic-Cultural Monument and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This article covers streets in Los Angeles, California between and including 41st Street and 250th Street. Major streets have their own linked articles; minor streets are discussed here.

The Santa Monica Air Line was an interurban air-line railroad operated by the Pacific Electric between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles which ran from 1909 to 1953 and has been reactivated as the Expo Line.

Redondo via Gardena was a line of the Pacific Electric Railway. One of two routes to Redondo Beach, this one was faster than Redondo Beach via Playa del Rey as a result of its routing along the Watts 4-track main line.

The Long Beach Line was a major interurban railway operated by the Pacific Electric Railway between Los Angeles and Long Beach, California via Florence, Watts, and Compton. Service began in 1902 and lasted until 1961, the last line of the system to be replaced by buses. However, the Southern Pacific Transportation Company continued to operate freight on the tracks, as the Union Pacific Railroad still does north of Dominguez Junction, and in 1990 the Southern California Rapid Transit District opened the Blue Line light rail along the same right-of-way.

J (Los Angeles Railway) Los Angeles Railway line

J was a line operated by the Los Angeles Railway from 1911 to 1945, by Los Angeles Transit Lines from 1945 to 1958, and by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority from 1958 to 1963

R (Los Angeles Railway) Los Angeles Railway line

R was a line operated by the Los Angeles Railway from 1895 to 1958, and by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority from 1958 to 1963.

5 (Los Angeles Railway) Los Angeles Railway line

5 or the 5 Car was a line operated by the Los Angeles Railway, later named the Los Angeles Transit Lines, and by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. From 1920 to 1932, this route was known as the E Car. This was changed as part of a method to distinguish routes that lacked loops at their termini. Consequently, the 5 Car was unique during the LAMTA era in that it did not use PCC streetcars. It used buses from 1955 to 1964, transferring from LATL in 1958, then splitting the line in two in 1961, until all lines were turned over to SCRTD in August 1964.

F (Los Angeles Railway) Los Angeles Railway line

F was a line operated by the Los Angeles Railway from 1911 to 1956.

Los Angeles Pacific Railroad

Los Angeles Pacific Railroad (1899−1906) was an electric railway and steam locomotive public transit and cargo shipping railway system in Los Angeles County, California. At is peak it had 180-miles of track from Pasadena, through Downtown Los Angeles, the Westside, and Santa Monica, then to the South Bay towns along Santa Monica Bay.

Amoco Junction was a junction on the Pacific Electric Railway's Southern District. It was located in Nevin, South Central Los Angeles at 25th Street and Long Beach Boulevard. It was named after a nearby American Olive Company (AmOCo) plant. It was the junction where the Santa Monica Air Line split off from the Watts, Long Beach and other Southern District Lines. It was one of several points at which a tower crossed the quadruple tracks between Downtown Los Angeles and Watts. Despite being a junction, many lines did not stop at Amoco, which was only served by local lines. Service was provided to Amoco Junction between 1904 and 1958. Though it is located along the route of the Los Angeles Metro Blue Line, it is not a stop or station on it, nor it is it a station on the Expo Line that replaced the Santa Monica Air Line.


  1. "Pacific Electric Watts Line". Eagle Rock Historical Association.
  2. Pacific Electric Railway Guide: Names and locations of stops, cross streets and important points of interest on or Adjacent to Lines of the Pacific Electric Railway. Orange Empire Railway Museum.