WWWhat's On My Easel Today
by Steven John Koeppe - Acrylic on canvas, 24"x30"
Commuter rail is returning to Santa Monica. It may even be operational before the end of 2015. I for one am very excited about it. But some preach doom and gloom. There are those who predict that trains and motor vehicles are bound to collide. Others, that our idyllic enclave will be over run by outsiders. Such notions are ridiculous; tourists and commuters have come and gone by rail since long before the beginning of the 20th century.
Local rail service only came to an end after auto, tire and oil interests ganged up to force the Pacific Electric "Red Cars" (the trolleys seen in the background on the viaduct) into obsolescence and bankruptcy. Short sided powers that be tore up and sold off 90% of that very extensive system of rails and right of ways. For the following 60 years the only way to get around was by congested streets and freeways. Rush hours have only got worse as time passed.
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. In the background, The Santa Monica Mountains were shot in the present day. I intend to use this art for my 2016 calendar.
To see the photo montage I am working from: CLICK HERE.