From 1901 to 1961, the Pacific Electric Railway -- or the "Red Car" -- operated as one of Southern California's primary mass transit options, connecting Orange and Los Angeles Counties in a large series of rail corridors. Now, officials are examining ways to reuse the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor, an abandoned 20-mile rail corridor running from Santa Ana to Paramount.
According to a June 14 Orange County Register article, "Is reusing the old Pacific Electric Railway a possibility?, the hope is that someone can find a way to use the abandoned rail line to
connect the Los Angeles Metro Blue Line, Metro Green Line, and Union Station on the north end, and the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center on the south end.
I have no idea whether such a project is economically feasible or whether it will get off the ground. However, the ever-increasing costs of major right-of-way projects, coupled with the public's aversion to the government's use of eminent domain (often required for such projects), suggests that it makes a lot of sense to study whether an intact, existing right of way can be reused.
Whether anything ever comes of this, I like the fact that officials are studying the issue. We'll see what happens.
Rick Rayl is an experienced litigator on a broad range of complex civil litigation issues. His practice is concentrated primarily on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, and other real-estate-valuation disputes. His public ...
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