Photos: When the Red Car Rolled Through Orange County | KCET
Photos: When the Red Car Rolled Through Orange County
How important was the Pacific Electric's arrival to Orange County? When its red cars first rolled into Pacific City in 1904, a small beachside community renamed itself after the railway's owner. We know it today as Huntington Beach. But Henry Huntington's influence was felt far beyond the coastal settlements. His railway served as a catalyst for real estate development all along its three intra-county lines that pierced the Orange Curtain. A new line to the county seat, Santa Ana, gave rise to the towns of Stanton and Cypress. The extension of the Whittier line to Yorba Linda spurred the early growth of Brea (then known as Randolph). Later, the railway's Santa Ana line would become one of its most successful, as its straight, diagonal path across the Los Angeles Basin provided a more direct route between Los Angeles and Orange counties than the highways that meandered from town to town. Nearly 2.5 million passengers rode that line in 1945. But the Orange County's red cars ultimately suffered the same fate as the rest of the system, which after World War II suffered from aging equipment and a steep decline in ridership. Regular passenger rail service to Orange County ended in 1950.
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