PE-179

170-Class or "Submarine"
PE-179
Car Specs
Car Number: 
179
Type: 
"Submarine"
Builder: 
Pullman
Built / Retired: 
1912 - 1934
Construction: 
Steel
Seats: 
54
Length: 
44 ft. - 9 in.
Weight: 
60,500 lbs.
Notes: 
body, on trucks

The 179 was part of a group of 20 cars built for the Southern Pacific Railway’s local streetcar operation in Oakland, California.  Southern Pacific transferred 10 of these cars to its Pacific Electric operations in 1913, where they were needed to meet growing demand. The new 170-class cars were the first steel-bodied cars in the PE's fleet, and PE crews nick-named them "Submarines", after the then-emerging naval phenomenon. The West Coast's first submarine base had opened in the L.A. Harbor that same year.

The 170-class cars were almost retired by 1928, but three remained in service in Long Beach until final retirement in 1934. Many of these sturdy steel cars ended up being sold to the public as empty carbodies. This one became a home in the Crestline area of the San Bernardino mountains. It was acquired by the Museum in 1974 along with the carbody of PE 1046. The 179 was stored outdoors until 2009, when it finally received an indoor home in the new Ron Ruffulo Carhouse.

These were the PE’s only city streetcars that were capable of operation on both 600 and 1200 volts. Thus the cars were frequently assigned to lines which connected with the PE’s 1200-volt San Bernardino line. The carbody has been placed on a pair of trucks acquired from San Francisco, and it is hoped to some day restore it to operational condition. At least two other carbodies of this same class survive today in Tujunga, California.  

More Images
PE 179 "as discovered" in Crestline, 1974. Brian Norden photo
PE 179 "as discovered" in Crestline, 1974. Brian Norden photo
Lifting 179 as the trailer backs underneath, April 2009.
Lifting 179 as the trailer backs underneath, April 2009.
179 heads around the Museum's Loop Line on its way to indoor storage. April 2009.
179 heads around the Museum's Loop Line on its way to indoor storage. April 2009.
View of the car's interior, April 2009
View of the car's interior, April 2009
View of the car's interior, April 2009
View of the car's interior, April 2009
April 2009
April 2009

Additional Images

Builder's photo, 1912 at the Pullman Plant. OERM Collection
Builder's photo, 1912 at the Pullman Plant. OERM Collection
This is how the cars looked in service on the SP's Oakland streetcar operation- note pantograph. OERM Collection
This is how the cars looked in service on the SP's Oakland streetcar operation- note pantograph. OERM Collection
Builder's view of the interior. OERM Collection
Builder's view of the interior. OERM Collection
Official PE photo of the 170-class. OERM Collection
Official PE photo of the 170-class. OERM Collection
170 class car at Beverly Hills. Craig Rasmussen Collection
170 class car at Beverly Hills. Craig Rasmussen Collection
170-class car in service in San Bernardino.  OERM Collection
170-class car in service in San Bernardino. OERM Collection

OERM 2014 Calendar

OERM 2014 CalendarThe Orange Empire 2014 Calendar titled "The Street Cars of Los Angeles" is now available. Photographs of the Los Angeles Railway and the Pacific Electric Railway in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas enhance each month.. The price is $12.95 each plus sales tax and $5.00 shipping. To order your calendar call 951-943-3020 or e-mail info@oerm.org for more information.