Uncovering what really happened to the Los Angeles streetcar system

Was there a conspiracy to end L.A. streetcars? We speak with experts to find out why the red and yellow lines were dismantled.

ByOlivia Smith KABC logo
Friday, December 3, 2021
Uncovering what really happened to Los Angeles streetcars
Was there a conspiracy by car companies to stop the streetcar system in L.A.? We speak with experts and historians to find out why the red and yellow lines were dismantled.

With Hidden History, ABC7 explores local history and hidden facts in our communities. The series highlights extraordinary details in neighborhoods you may otherwise overlook.

Streetcars once ruled the streets of Los Angeles, stretching across the county from one corner to another. Some may know these cars as trolleys, but the technical term for them is streetcars.

Experts told ABC7 the yellow and red cars were largely created and subsidized by real estate developers who wanted to provide easy access to transportation in L.A., enticing people to buy homes in the sprawling suburbs.

MORE: Take a tour of the Beverly Hills Witch's House

By 1911, there were two leaders in town: the yellow cars were owned by Los Angeles Railway and the red cars were owned by Pacific Electric Railway.

MORE: How this LA canyon filled with oak trees went from an oasis to a parking lot

But what happened to these front-runners of the L.A. public transportation system? To find out, we spoke to historians and experts in the field to uncover the past.

Watch the video above for the full report.

Follow Olivia on social media: