Lines of Pacific Electric Railway and Motor Transit Company in Southern California


Visualizing the gradual shift from rails to roads for public transportation across Southern California.

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Created by a member of the influential Southern Pacific Railroad, Henry Huntington, in 1901, the Pacific Electric Railway Company operated the largest interurban electric railway system in the world by the early 1920s. Aggressive pursuit by the railway’s officers led to significant consolidation among private companies and generous land concessions by local politicians for new tracks.

This map, drawn by Gerald Eddy and issued in 1935, shows the network after a period of consistent growth throughout the 1920s. Railroads, bus routes, and steamship lines can be seen stretching from Los Angeles inland as far as Big Bear Lake and Idyllwild. Topography is depicted pictorially and several advertisements for the Mt. Lowe Tavern, a popular tourist attraction, can also be seen.

By the mid-1930s, the company had expanded into motorcoach transportation, but the electric railways (red) remained the preferred method of transportation for most commuters in the region. This would change after World War II, when more robust road networks and the increasing popularity of the automobile would result in shifting preferences towards buses and private car ownership. Text on the verso describes additional recreational opportunities and leisure trips in the region and presents a list of facts about the Pacific Electric Railway Company.

Sources: Southern California Railway Museum, Pacific Electric Railway Maps

Map Details

Publication Date: 1935

Author: Gerald Eddy

Sheet Width (in): 21.3

Sheet Height (in): 15.5

Condition: A

Condition Description: Light creasing along originally issued fold lines and a few extraneous creases in the corners. Very good to near fine overall.


1 in stock