The Pacific Electric’s Newport line was crucial to the development of Seal Beach and the coastal cities of Orange County down to Newport Beach. The Pacific Electric red car trolleys once ran along Electric Avenue through the city for most of the first half of the 20th century. A second line came across the bridge from the Long Beach Peninsula on Ocean Avenue and turned down Main Street to join the main line at Electric Avenue.
Here’s an eight minute portion of a Pacific Electric training film from 1914 posted on YouTube. It’s best to keep in mind that this film was originally made to instruct PE employees how to do their jobs and not entertain. Still, it does offer an interesting glimpse into what it was like to ride on a red car in 1914.
This video was taken from an 8mm film compiled by Interurban Films, a specialty film company that compiled railroad footage into film collections for rail fans. Interurban Films was founded and run by the late Bruce Frenzinger, one of the founding members of the Seal Beach Historical & Cultural Society and a driving force in the initial acquisition and restoration of the Red Car Museum back in the seventies. The next time you visit the Red Car Museum, toot the train whistle in Bruce’s honor.
– Michael Dobkins
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