PE 1299 was a luxurious "Business Car", reserved for the exclusive use of company officials and their guests for travel on the Pacific Electric. The 1299 was built in the PE's Torrance Shops in 1929 using the body of Southern Pacific trailer coach 477, which had been acquired second-hand from SP's abandoned electric lines in Portland, Oregon.
The car has observation rooms at either end, and a toilet compartment and small kitchen in the middle. The kitchen was used to prepare light meals and refreshments for the passengers. The carpeted interior is outfitted with portable leather armchairs, and the large windows on the ends of the car provide a good view of the line.
The 1299 was also used for PE's "Commodore Limited" parlor car service between Los Angeles and Balboa (Newport Beach) from 1942 to 1948. The deluxe, extra-fare service was used by numerous prominent Los Angeles businessmen who had summer homes in Balboa, among them PE President Oscar A. Smith.
After Parlor Car service ended in 1948, the 1299 continued to be used for company inspection trips and was frequently chartered by rail enthusiast groups for special fan trips. Retired in 1958, it was sold to a private party and moved to the LA County Fairgrounds in Pomona, where it was displayed until 1998. Acquisition of car 1299 was made possible by the generous support of Mr. Walter Abbenseth.
PE 1299 is a complete car, but has not run in over 40 years. Restoration will occur as time and resources permit. In 2005, the airbrake system and couplers were overhauled and the car is now capable of being operated as an unpowered trailer. Its inaugural run (as a trailer) occurred during Annual Meeting Day, March 5, 2005.
Although they were used on the PE for 16 years, there are few known photographs of trailers 1045-46, which tends to support the theory that they were used only to accommodate overflow traffic. Both cars were retired in 1934. Available information suggests that the PE made only minor modifications to the cars, replacing the baggage racks with an advertising card rack, removing the toilet compartment, and replacing the exterior side doors with the company’s standard folding trap/gate apparatus (such as can be seen on car 1001 at Perris today).
Although the PE listed the cars as non-control trailers, it is interesting to note that they retained features such as pilots and roof gongs which one would not expect to find on a non-control trailer. In the PE’s own photograph of car 1046, looking in to the vestibule you can see what looks like an air-brake stand. Examining the cars today, there are holes in the platform floor for brake pipes and controller wiring, and there are also holes in the wall below the front window where you would expect to see a controller and brake stand, all of which tend to suggest the cars retained their operating controls. It is hoped that additional material will come to light in the future to help resolve these questions.