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East Bay Electric Lines
Owner Southern Pacific Railroad
Operation
Began operation 1911
Ended operation 1941
Technical
Track gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Overhead lines

The East Bay Electric Lines were a unit of the Southern Pacific Railroad which operated a system of electric interurban-type trains in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.[1][2] Beginning in 1862, the SP and its predecessors[3] had operated local steam-drawn passenger service in the East Bay on an expanding system of lines, but in 1902 the Key System[4][5] started opening a competing system of electric lines and ferries. The SP then drew up plans to expand and electrify its system of lines and this new service began in 1911. The trains served the cities of Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro transporting commuters to and from the large Oakland Pier (the "mole") and the Alameda Pier of the Southern Pacific. A fleet of ferry boats ran between these piers and the docks of the Ferry Building on the San Francisco Embarcadero. The East Bay Electric Lines became the Interurban Electric Railway (IER) in December, 1938 in anticipation of the completion the following month of the tracks on the lower deck of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge to the San Francisco Transbay Terminal. Southern Pacific ended its IER transbay commuter train service in July, 1941.

Contents

Lines

The East Bay Electric Lines[2] were originally designated mainly by the names of their principal street routes. They received numbers for Bay Bridge service. The most significant changes occurred as the result of the removal of the Harrison St. bridge between Oakland and Alameda in December, 1923, and the agreement with the Key System in March, 1933, with the Bay Bridge plans in view, to abandon duplicating lines on the basis of which company first served each area.

The Oakland Seventh Street Line carried the most passengers, with the Berkeley Shattuck Avenue Line being second in this respect. The total patronage of the system was at a maximum about 1920 and had declined to about half this number by the time of Bay Bridge operation.

  • Berkeley, California Street Line - Starting at Thousand Oaks station at the intersection of Solano and Colusa Avenues (Colusa Wye) in Berkeley, via Colusa, Monterey, private right-of-way, California, Stanford to the upper platform of the 16th Street Station in Oakland, thence to Oakland Pier. Terminated March, 1933.
  • Berkeley, Shattuck Avenue Line (originally Berkeley Branch Railroad steam line) - Starting at Thousand Oaks station (Colusa Wye) in Berkeley, via Solano, private right-of-way, Northbrae Tunnel, Sutter, Henry, Shattuck,[6] Adeline, Stanford to the upper platform of the 16th Street Station in Oakland, thence to Oakland Pier. Designated Line # 3 (local) and # 9 (express) for Bay Bridge service, re-routed direct to the bridge with no stop at 16th Street Station. During Bay Bridge operation, the last train of the day (early morning) to leave San Francisco was extended from Thousand Oaks along the outer Ninth Street Line to Albany (San Pablo Ave.) because there was no Ninth Street Line service at this time;[7] this was the last IER train when service was terminated in July, 1941.[8]
  • Berkeley, Ninth Street Line - Starting at Thousand Oaks station (Colusa Wye) in Berkeley, via Solano, Jackson, private right-of-way, Ninth Street to private right-of-way to Stanford to the upper platform of the 16th Street Station in Oakland, thence to Oakland Pier. Designated Line # 5 for Bay Bridge service, re-routed direct to the bridge with no stop at 16th Street Station. Terminated July, 1941.
  • Berkeley, Ellsworth Street Line - Starting at Ellsworth and Allston Way in Berkeley, via Ellsworth to Woolsey, Adeline, Stanford to the upper platform of the 16th Street Station in Oakland, thence to Oakland Pier. Line shortened one block to Bancroft Way in 1931. Terminated March, 1933.
  • Oakland, Seventh Street, Dutton Ave. Line (originally San Francisco and Oakland Railroad steam line) - Starting at Dutton Avenue and Bancroft in San Leandro, through the neighborhoods of Eastmont (with freight service to a Chevrolet plant), Havenscourt, and Seminary, via Bancroft, Almond Street, then private right-of-way to 90th Avenue, then Blanche Street to 82nd Avenue, then private right-of-way to Ritchie Avenue, then Beck Street to 73rd Avenue, then private right-of-way to Church Street, then Beck Street to 64th Avenue, then private right-of-way to Seminary Avenue, then Bond Street to private right-of-way leading through Melrose and along the SP main line tracks through Fruitvale[9] to 7th Street, then 7th to Oakland Pier. Originally, regular trains operated only as far as Havenscourt, with a connecting train (Suburban Connection) meeting every other train and operating to Dutton Ave. Starting in February, 1924 all trains operated to Dutton Ave., but the last few cars of each outbound train were removed at Seminary Ave., then added to the front of the next inbound train.[10] During rush hour an additional express train was operated via Alameda Pier and the Lincoln Avenue line, stopping only at Park St. N. (Alameda), then across the Fruitvale Bridge to join the Seventh Street line east of Fruitvale Station, and then made limited stops to the end of the line.[11] Designated Line # 2 (local) and # 7 (express) for Bay Bridge service, and re-routed via the upper platform of the 16th Street Station in Oakland. Starting in March, 1939, all cars operated through to Dutton Ave.[10] Terminated March, 1941.
  • Alameda, Encinal Avenue Line (originally South Pacific Coast Railroad steam line) - Starting at High St. South, via Encinal, Central, Main, private right-of-way to Alameda Pier. When outbound trains arrived at High St. South, they became inbound Lincoln Avenue trains. For Bay Bridge service, starting at West Alameda, via private right-of-way, Main, Central, Encinal,[12] Fernside, private right-of-way, Fruitvale Bridge, private right-of-way alongside Fruitvale Ave. to junction with 7th St. line at Fruitvale Station. Designated Line # 4 eastbound and # 6 westbound. Terminated January, 1941.
  • Alameda, Lincoln Avenue Line (originally San Francisco and Alameda Railroad steam line) - Starting at High St. South, via Fernside, private right-of-way, then Lincoln to 5th St., then private right-of-way to 4th St., Pacific, Main, private right-of-way to Alameda Pier. When outbound trains arrived at High St. South, they became inbound Encinal Avenue trains. For Bay Bridge service, starting at West Alameda, via private right-of-way to Main, then Pacific to 4th St., then private right-of-way to 5th St., Lincoln,[13] private right-of-way,[14] Fruitvale Bridge, private right-of-way alongside Fruitvale Ave. to junction with 7th St. line at Fruitvale Station. Designated Line # 6 eastbound and # 4 westbound. Terminated January, 1941.
  • Alameda via Fruitvale (Horseshoe) Line (originally Central Pacific Railroad steam line) - Alameda Pier (or other Alameda location on Lincoln Ave. line) to Oakland Pier via Fruitvale Bridge. An important purpose of this line was to give Alameda residents access to main-line trains at Oakland Pier. Terminated January, 1939.
  • Oakland, 18th Street Line - Starting at 14th and Franklin Station, via Franklin to 20th, 20th (alternating with 21st) to West Street, then via diagonal private right-of-way to 18th Street, 18th to the upper platform of the 16th Street Station, thence to Oakland Pier. In 1926, starting at Webster and Second Street via Webster to 20th to Franklin and as before. Terminated March, 1933.
  • Oakland via Alameda Pier Line (originally South Pacific Coast Railroad steam line) - Starting at 14th and Franklin Station, via Webster, Harrison St. bridge, to private right-of-way to Alameda Pier. Terminated December, 1923.
  • Crosstown Streetcar Line - Starting at a loop in front of Oakland 16th St. Station, via 18th St., then via diagonal private right-of-way to West St. to 20th (alternating with 21st) to Franklin, through 14th and Franklin Station to Webster St. to Harrison St. bridge to private right-of-way to Mastick (Alameda) to 8th to Central to Encinal to Fernside to private right-of-way to Lincoln to Mastick and back. Alternate cars went around the Alameda loop in the opposite direction. Some service was to 14th and Franklin only. In December, 1923, all service was cut back to the 14th and Franklin station. Terminated March, 1926.
  • Mail trains - Starting in December, 1923, mail trains, usually consisting of one box motor, would load sacked mail several times a day at Oakland Pier and deliver it to Oakland 16th St. Station and to Berkeley Station. Mail from Oakland Pier was also delivered to Alameda Station, in this case using scheduled shop trains of cars being sent from Oakland Pier to the Alameda Shops for maintenance and repair. Terminated November, 1938.

The SP seemed to prefer to have groups of their lines terminate at the same place. Three lines originally terminated at Thousand Oaks in Berkeley, two at 14th and Franklin in Oakland, and two at High St. S. in Alameda. The IER had two lines terminate at Thousand Oaks and two lines at West Alameda.

Equipment

Electrical power at 1200 volts DC was supplied by the SP's own power plant, located on the east side of the Tidal Canal along Fruitvale Ave. Substations were at Thousand Oaks, West Oakland, and the power plant. The trains and streetcars used pantographs to obtain electrical power from overhead catenary wires. The equipment was maintained at the Alameda Shops,[15] located at West Alameda, on the Oakland Estuary. During bridge operation routine maintenance was performed at a shop in the Bridge Yards.[16]

The large steel cars, 73 ft. long, used by the SP for its commuter trains were moderately heavy in overall weight but low in weight per passenger due to their huge capacity, 3-2 seating, maximum of 116 passengers.[1][2] At first they were painted in standard railroad olive green, but were soon painted a bright red and became known as the "red trains" or "big red cars". The first group of cars arrived in 1911 from the American Car and Foundry Company (ACF) and consisted of 40 powered passenger coaches (motors), 25 powered combination baggage-passenger cars (combos), and 50 unpowered passenger coaches (trailers), some with train controls and some without. They had large rectangular end windows which proved to be a liability for train crews in accidents.[17] Over time these windows were replaced by smaller, distinctive round windows, or "owl-eyes", similar to but larger than those of the Pennsylvania Railroad's MP54 cars, in all cars except for trailers without train controls, which could not be used at the ends of trains.[13] The second group of cars arrived in 1912 from the Pullman Company and consisted of 10 motors, 4 combos, and 2 powered baggage-express cars (box motors), all with round end windows. The third group of cars arrived in 1924 from the St. Louis Car Company and consisted of 6 motors with round end windows, bringing the total number of cars for ferry-train service to 147.

The usual operating practice was that the number of powered cars in a train was at least one more than the number of trailers. Trailers, with or without train controls, were always placed in the interior of trains; train controls on trailers were mainly used in assembling or disassembling trains. As ridership declined and trains became shorter, trailers were primarily used only during rush hour. Combos were used to carry checked baggage to and from main-line trains at Oakland Pier and to deliver bundled newspapers. They were usually put on the end of the train toward Oakland Pier, and most commonly on the Seventh Street Line as far as Havenscourt or Seminary Avenue.[10] When plans for longer routes were not implemented,[18][19] 21 of the ACF combos were changed to motors at the time they received their round end windows in the 1920s. Due to the heavy grades on the Bay Bridge, 10 trailers were changed to motors in 1938 when all the passenger-carrying cars were modified with automatic train control and other safety equipment for bridge operation.[20] The California Toll Bridge Authority (TBA) funded these changes and received title to 58 cars in return. Originally all the cars carried the name "Southern Pacific Lines" until Bay Bridge service began, at which time the IER-owned cars were repainted with "Interurban Electric Railway Company", but the TBA-owned cars continued to bear the name "Southern Pacific Lines" until the termination of service in 1941.

In addition to the large cars already described, the SP took delivery in 1912 of 20 streetcars from the Pullman Company for its Oakland-Alameda streetcar line. In 1913 it found that they had too many of these cars so they shipped 10 of them to the Pacific Electric (PE).[21] By 1919 patronage had grown so the SP recalled two of the cars from PE.

Aftermath-Lines

The rival Key System assumed rights to some of the trackage and overhead wires of abandoned IER/SP routes.[1][2][4][5][22] This had first occurred due to the 1933 consolidation. In March, 1933, a portion of the abandoned California Street line in Berkeley, from about Ada and California Sts., up Monterey Avenue to Colusa Avenue, was used for the Key's Sacramento Street Line (H line) until this line's abandonment in July, 1941. In April, 1941, a portion of the abandoned 7th Street, Dutton Avenue Line in East Oakland, from East 14th Street to Havenscourt Boulevard, was used to extend the Key's 12th Street Line (A Line) until October, 1950, when this line was cut back to 12th and Oak Streets. In August, 1941, a portion of the Shattuck Avenue line in Berkeley, from about Dwight Way to the south end of the Northbrae Tunnel was used to extend the Key's Shattuck Avenue Line (F Line). In December, 1942, the F Line was extended further, through the tunnel to the intersection of Solano Avenue and The Alameda. The F-line was abandoned in April, 1958.

Key System streetcars also used the IER Shattuck Avenue tracks from Parker Street to University Avenue until abandonment in November, 1948.[23] During World War II the Key System used a portion of the 7th Street, Dutton Avenue Line tracks in Oakland on 7th Street, from Broadway to Pine Street, for streetcar service[24] to a shipyard and most of the 9th Street track of the Ninth Street Line for the Richmond Shipyard Railway.

SP freight service continued over parts of the Ninth Street, Shattuck Avenue, Seventh Street, and Lincoln Avenue Lines. An excursion train, pulled by a steam locomotive, was operated over this track in April, 1954, by the Bay Area Electric Railroad Association.[25] By 1960, all of this track, except for the part from the Ninth Street Line, had been abandoned.

The most noticeable remaining structures from the SP/IER lines are the Northbrae tunnel, used to extend Solano Avenue eastwards, and the Alameda shop building, used by private businesses.

Aftermath-Cars

After the SP streetcar line was abandoned in 1926, all 12 cars were sold to the Key System.[26][27]

After IER service ended, the TBA separated their 58 cars from the SP's 89 cars. In 1942, the TBA sold 6 motors for scrap in January[28] and then sold their remaining 52 cars to the Houston Shop Corp., which shipped the cars via the SP to Houston. One of the TBA trailers was wrecked in transit, so the SP replaced it with one of their trailers. The SP sent the 2 box motors to the PE,[29] in March and April used 5 trailers for buildings in West Oakland,[30] and stored their remaining 81 cars until they were requisitioned in July and September by the United States Maritime Commission for use in transporting workers to World War II shipyards: 20 trailers to a line in the Portland, Oregon, area and 61 cars to the PE in Southern California where some of them were in use until that system ceased operations in 1961.[31] Many cars were reassigned to other locales during World War II.[32] A few of the cars have been preserved and can be seen at Travel Town in Los Angeles[33], the Western Railway Museum in Rio Vista, California (in need of restoration), and the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Southern California.

See also

  • The Key System[4][5]; another transbay commuter rail system that served the East Bay during the same era.

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Tufveson.
  2. ^ a b c d Ford (1977).
  3. ^ See under Lines.
  4. ^ a b c Sappers (1948).
  5. ^ a b c Demoro (Parts 1 and 2).
  6. ^ Red car (before bridge) at Berkeley Station
  7. ^ INTERURBAN ELECTRIC RAILWAY COMPANY TIME TABLE, San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, San Leandro, March 25, 1940, Form 1.
  8. ^ Ford, (1977), p. 278.
  9. ^ IER train at Fruitvale Station
  10. ^ a b c Ford (1977), p. 329.
  11. ^ Southern Pacific TIME TABLES, SAN FRANCISCO, OAKLAND, SAN LEANDRO, BERKELEY, ALAMEDA, Ferry and Electric Train Service, Form 7, May, 1938.
  12. ^ IER car on Encinal Ave. line at Chestnut station
  13. ^ a b IER car on Lincoln Ave. line at Bay St. station.
  14. ^ IER car on Lincoln Ave. line at Alameda Station
  15. ^ Alameda shops
  16. ^ Ford (1977), p. 245.
  17. ^ Original train (combo, trailer, motor) in Alameda
  18. ^ Demoro, Part 1, p. 40.
  19. ^ Ford (1977), pp. 115, 123, map on p. 128.
  20. ^ Ford (1977), pp. 250-251.
  21. ^ Swett (1964), pp. 84-85.
  22. ^ Sappers (2007).
  23. ^ Sappers (2007), pp. 175-176.
  24. ^ Sappers (2007), pp. 114, 116, 120, 155, 168, 234.
  25. ^ Ute & Singer, p. 125
  26. ^ Sappers (2007), pp. 440-441.
  27. ^ Demoro, Part 2, p. 275.
  28. ^ Sappers (1965).
  29. ^ Swett (October, 1965), pp. 572-573.
  30. ^ Southern Pacific Co. records.
  31. ^ Swett, (April, 1965), pp. 388-409.
  32. ^ Some of this information is known, some is not, and contradictory statements have been published on some points.
  33. ^ LAMTA #1543

References

  • Demoro, Harre W. (1985). The Key Route: Transbay Commuting by Train and Ferry, Part 1. Interurbans Specials. 95. Glendale, California: Interurban Press. ISBN 0-916374-66-1.  
  • Demoro, Harre W. (1985). The Key Route: Transbay Commuting by Train and Ferry, Part 2. Interurbans Specials. 97. Glendale, California: Interurban Press. ISBN 0-916374-68-8.  
  • Ford, Robert S. (1977). Red Trains in the East Bay: The History of the Southern Pacific Transbay Train and Ferry System. Interurbans Specials. 65. Glendale, California: Interurbans Publications. ISBN 0-916374-27-0.  
  • Ford, Robert S. (1980). Red Trains Remembered. Interurbans Specials. 75. Glendale,California: Interurbans Books. ISBN 0-916374-44-0.  
  • Guido, Francis A., ed (July 1966). "IER Pictorial". The Western Railroader (San Mateo, California: Francis A. Guido) 29 (7).   Issue No. 318.
  • Sappers, Vernon J., ed (1948). From Shore to Shore: The Key Route. Peralta Associates.  
  • Sappers, Vernon J. (1965). "S.P. 362-367 Data". Interurbans Specials (Ira L. Swett) 40: 147.  
  • Sappers, Vernon J. (2007). Key System Streetcars: Transit, Real Estate and the Growth of the East Bay. Wilton, California: Signature Press. ISBN 978-1-930013-07-0.  
  • Swett, Ira L., ed (1964). Cars of Pacific Electric, Vol. I: City and Suburban Cars. Interurbans Specials. 28. Los Angeles: Interurbans Electric Railway Publications.  
  • Swett, Ira L., ed (April 1965). Cars of Pacific Electric, Vol. II: Interurban and Deluxe Cars. Interurbans Specials. 36. Los Angeles: Interurbans Electric Railway Publications.  
  • Swett, Ira L., ed (October 1965). Cars of Pacific Electric, Vol. III: Combos, RPOs, Box Motors, Work Motors, Locomotives, Tower Cars, Service Cars. Interurbans Specials. 37. Los Angeles: Interurbans Electric Railway Publications.  
  • Tufveson, Ray (October 1940). "A History and Roster of the Interurban Electric Railway". Bulletin of the California-Nevada Railroad Historical Society 4 (6).   Reprinted as "IER, The Big Red Cars". The Western Railroader (San Mateo, California: Francis A. Guido) 19 (7). May 1956.   Issue No. 199.
  • Ute, Grant; Singer, Bruce (2007). Alameda by Rail. Images of Rail. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-4706-0.  

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