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Los Angeles Transit History
Brief Summary 1873 - 1887
By: M | Metro   |  Email: customerrelations@metro.net

Main Street Railroad Company
David B. Waldron was authorized by the Los Angeles City Council on July 3, 1873 to "lay down and maintain two iron railroad tracks, theron propelled by horses or mules, and to carry passengers thereon..."  With this charter, he formed the Main Street Railroad Company. Waldron was not strongly motivated to pursue this venture and the enterprise did not become a reality.

Spring and West 6th Street Railroad
In 1874 the Spring and 6th Street franchise was issued to Judge Robert M. Widney (also one of the founders of the University of Southern California). The company served the downtown Los Angeles area from Main Street to Spring Street, to First Street, to Fort Street (now Broadway), then to Fourth Street, Hill Street, and finally Pearl Street (now Figueroa Street). This single track horse car driven line began public transit in Los Angeles.
The Main Street and Agricultural Railroad was the first suburban line in Los Angeles. This company was chartered in November 1874 and began operation in 1875 from Old River Southern Pacific on North Spring Street.  The line operated through the city on Main Street to Washington Boulevard and extended to Agricultural Park (now Exposition Park), traveling by way of Washington, Figueroa, and Wesleyan (now University Avenue).

East Los Angeles & San Pedro Railway Company
Also founded by Robert Widney, this line was incorporated on May 1, 1875 but did not begin construction until March 1876.  It ran north from Fourth Street and was intended to lay track to the new Southern Pacific depot.  It reached only to College Street and North Broadway.  Due to low patronage, the railway company folded after just four years.

Los Angeles & Aliso Street Railroad Company
The Los Angeles and Aliso Street Railroad Company was franchised in June, 1875 and regular service began in February, 1877.  Baseball fever increased ridership and a second line, the East First Street Line, was built.  It became a cable railway in 1899.

City Railroad Company
This line was chartered in 1883 and became the first line dedicated "exclusively to public transit."  Other lines under development were primarily focused on promoting real estate.  This horse car driven system ran from the Southern Pacific Depot south and west to a terminal at Washington Boulevard and Figueroa Street.

The Central Railroad Company 
Also chartered circa 1883, the Central Railroad Company was developed to consolidate with the Los Angeles & Aliso Railroad and eventually merged with the City Railroad on May 1, 1886.

Main & Fifth Street Railroad 
As the name suggests, the Main & Fifth Street Railroad (which began service on July 30, 1887) ran from First and Main Streets to Fifth Street and Central Avenue.  It was electrified by the Los Angeles Railway Company in 1897.

Los Angeles & Vernon Railroad 
This company operated a horse car line on Central Avenue from Fifth Street to Vernon Avenue.  It was purchased by the Los Angeles Consolidated Electric Railway in May, 1891.

Second Street Cable Railroad Company 
Founded in March 1885, the Second Street Cable Railroad Company was a single track system opening from Spring Street to Texas (Belmont Avenue).

Temple Street Cable Railway Company 
This line opened on July 4, 1886.  In 1888 it was extended to Dayton Heights.  It carried more passengers than any of the other lines.
Incorporated in 1887, Los Angeles Cable Railway was the largest transit venture in the city, operating from Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles out to Westlake Park and Grand Avenue.  It was the last city line to convert to electrification. It was renamed the Pacific Railway Company in 1889 and was later sold to Henry E. Huntington.

Metro Information
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952
ATTN: Customer Relations

One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952
Metro Headquarters is located on the corner of Cesar E. Chavez Ave. and Vignes St.

Phone: 323-466-3876  |  323-GO-METRO

Los Angeles Transit History
Brief Summary 1873 - 1887

By: M | Metro
Office 323-466-3876
Office 323-GO-METRO
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