by Steven John Koeppe - Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30" - 2015
In 1908 an engineer set a record by driving his locomotive and tender from the Los Angeles Depot to Santa Monica in just 22 minutes. He also over ran the end of the rail yard, plowed across Ocean Avenue and into the garden of the Arcadia Hotel. I'm working from a mosaic of several photographs a stitched together: the left side was shot from 1898, the locomotive in 1908, the right side in 1902.
On May 20, 2016, commuter light rail returned to Santa Monica. I for one am very excited about it. But some preached doom and gloom. There are many who predicted that trains and motor vehicles are bound to collide. Others, that our idyllic enclave would be over run by outsiders. Such notions are ridiculous; tourists and commuters came and went by rail since before the beginning of the 20th century.
Local rail service ended after auto, tire and oil interests forced the Pacific Electric "Red Cars" (the trolleys in the background on the viaduct) into bankruptcy. Short sided powers that be tore up and sold off over 90% of that extensive system of rails and right of ways. For the next 60 years the only way to get around was by congested streets and freeways. Rush hours have only gotten worse with the passage of time.
To see the photo montage I worked from: CLICK HERE.