PE-418

"Blimp"
PE-418
Car Specs
Car Number: 
418
Type: 
"Blimp" MU Coach
Builder: 
Pullman
Built / Retired: 
1913 - 1961
Construction: 
Steel
Seats: 
80
Length: 
72 ft. 4 in.
Weight: 
121,160 lbs.
Notes: 
operational

Car 418 was built for the Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley Lines of the Southern Pacific RR, which provided electric commuter service in the San Francisco Bay area. It was later transferred to the SP's Interurban Electric Railway, and operated across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge from 1939 until 1941. The tracks over the bridge were shared with trains of the competing Key System (including “Bridge Unit” 167, also preserved at OERM).

Following America’s entry into World War II, the U.S. Maritime Commission purchased sixty-one IER cars, including the 418, for its Calship service between Los Angeles and the harbor area to the south. Beginning in 1943, the new "Terminal Island" line served the Calship Shipyard on Terminal Island, connecting with PE’s Long Beach/San Pedro line. The Calship service was discontinued in September, 1945.

PE ultimately purchased the 418 from the Maritime Commission, along with the majority of its other East Bay brethren. In 1947-48 the cars were remodeled to include new interiors, seating and the famous "butterfly" paint scheme. The “Blimps”, as they came to be known, operated on PE’s Southern District lines out of Downtown Los Angeles. The 418 was retired in 1961, following the closure of the last of the former "Red Car" routes, the line between Los Angeles and Long Beach.

PE 418 is fully operational and is used regularly on the museum railway.

Renumberings: The car was originally numbered SP 344, it became PE 4614, then PE 418 in 1947, and finally MTA 1528 in 1958.

More Images
418 passing UP 942, May 2009
418 passing UP 942, May 2009
The "Blimps" as they appeared in service in the Bay Area, prior to coming to Pac
The "Blimps" as they appeared in service in the Bay Area, prior to coming to Pacific Electric. OERM Collection
Sister car 345 in 1943. The car is lettered for the US Maritime Commission, whic
Sister car 345 in 1943. The car is lettered for the US Maritime Commission, which operated the line to the Calship shipyards. Note the gates in the doorways. OERM Collection
At the Museum, 1993. John Smatlak photo
At the Museum, 1993. John Smatlak photo
Night operations at the Museum, Sallam Allah photo
Night operations at the Museum, Sallam Allah photo
3-car Blimp train, John Smatlak photo
3-car Blimp train, John Smatlak photo

Additional Images

Rail Festival 2003
Rail Festival 2003
With PE 332 12/03
With PE 332 12/03
Interior 2005
Interior 2005
Carhouse Four yard 9/05
Carhouse Four yard 9/05
2008
2008
2008
2008

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