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Proposal to Revive Trolleys Approved

June 07, 2003|Hilda Munoz | Times Staff Writer

Plans to revive a 1920s-era railway system in San Pedro won approval this week from the California Public Utilities Commission, and backers hope to have three trolleys running by next month.

The railway is part of an effort to boost tourism in the harbor district. Two of the streetcars, reproductions of Pacific Electric trolleys known in their heyday as Red Cars, and a 1907 vintage trolley, would run along Harbor Boulevard between Ports o' Call Village and the Los Angeles World Cruise Center.

Officials hope to lure passengers on cruise ships to the shopping village and to other spots around San Pedro, including the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

On Thursday, the PUC signed off on the line's security and safety programs. The commission set speed limits and established the types of brakes that will be used. The two reproduction trolleys can run at 20 mph and the vintage trolley at 17 mph, the PUC decided.

"That was one of the biggest hurdles we had to get over. Now we can move forward," said Bob Henry, manager for the Port of Los Angeles project, which began four years ago. "I was told two things when I started: It would be impossible to do this, and it would take five years. I'm trying to beat those predictions."

After about four years of planning and building, the project -- estimated to cost $10 million upon completion -- is slated to go on its first official run July 19, he said.

Each customer would pay $1 for an all-day pass, Henry said. "I want them to get on and off. I don't want them to feel like they have to pay every time they get on," he said.

Henry said the streetcars would run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Mondays -- days when most cruise ships arrive and depart at the port.

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