Alan Weeks was there when the Red Cars stopped running. “Nobody ever thought we’d see it come back,” he says in a short film.

After more than six decades, passenger rail has finally returned to the west side of Los Angeles. Friday morning marked the official opening of Metro’s Expo Line extension, which runs from downtown L.A. to the shores of Santa Monica. Portions of the tracks run along the old route of the Pacific Electric “Red Cars,” which ran all over Southern California during the first half of the 20th century.

In a short film from the Los Angeles County newsroom, Alan Weeks, an 84-year-old streetcar enthusiast, photographer, and retired Metro employee, describes what it’s like to be among the few Angelenos who’ve now experienced two generations of L.A. transit. He was aboard the very last Red Car train to pull into Santa Monica in 1953, and last week, he got to preview the Expo extension. The video captures Weeks’ easygoing delight riding the new segment, part of system that he describes as an “all-the-way-around better system” compared to what L.A. once had and tore down to make way for cars.

“Nobody that I was with, myself included, ever thought we’d see it come back,” he says. “Now, I think the younger people have rediscovered the benefits of an inexpensive ride.”

Here’s hoping, Mr. Weeks.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Perspective

    The Fight to Integrate New York City’s Specialized Schools Is Misguided

    It affirms a supremacist mentality. I thought we were done propping that up.

  2. Transportation

    Beverly Hills Has Financed Its Metro Fight With $13 Million In Local Taxes

    Instead of reconstructing aging school facilities, the district is using a voter-backed ballot measure to pay for a legal campaign against a subway extension.

  3. An Uber pick-up location in downtown Houston in 2017.
    Transportation

    Is Uber the Enemy or Ally of Public Transit?

    Depends on the city, and the transit agency.

  4. Design

    London’s Latest Bit of Rail Infrastructure Is a Very Old Street

    After a revamp, a tunneled Victorian thoroughfare has become part of London Bridge Station.

  5. Transportation

    An Impressive, Unnecessary, Multi-City Bridge

    The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is little more than propaganda announcing the unity of China and her former colonies, despite their very different historic, legal, and even transportation backgrounds.