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Pacific Electric Railway El Prado Bridge

By Phillip Cohen / Daily Breeze - Torrance, CA

The newly named and renovated Pacific Electric Railway - El Prado Bridge
in Old Torrance was rededicated Thursday


Torrance rededicates renovated landmark railroad bridge

The newly named and renovated Pacific Electric Railway - El Prado Bridge in Old Torrance was rededicated Thursday by Mayor Frank Scotto, right, and other city officials. The city spent about $400,000 repairing the century-old city landmark over Torrance Boulevard that once was used by Los Angeles' famous Red Cars.

The Torrance historical railroad bridge was rededicated and renamed the Pacific Electric Railway El Prado Bridge in a ceremony Thursday. The area around the bridge was cleaned, anti-graffitti coating was placed on the concrete and the fence at the top was replaced. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)

Torrance officials held a ceremony Thursday to rededicate and rename the historic railroad bridge that has become a symbol of the city. The bridge is now called the Pacific Electric Railway El Prado Bridge. The city spent thousands of dollars to refurbish the structure. The arched, concrete bridge is unique and is the only such structure in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Landmark Torrance Boulevard bridge named
The Torrance historical railroad bridge was rededicated and renamed the Pacific Electric Railway El Prado Bridge in a ceremony Thursday. Mayor Frank Scotto speaks at the ceremony with the bridge in the background. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)

It only took a century, but the historic bridge over Torrance Boulevard in Old Torrance finally has an official name: the Pacific Electric Railway - El Prado Bridge.

"This is the first time it has actually really had a name," said Councilman Tom Brewer, chairman of the Citizen Development and Enrichment Committee. "It's rather fitting we waited 100 years to name the bridge. But if you're going to do it, it's better late than never. "

The City Council selected the name from among four options at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The name is actually a combination of two informal names the structure was known as when it was built: the El Prado bridge and the Pacific Electric Railway bridge.

When the bridge was built in 1913, El Prado was the name for that part of Torrance Boulevard, which didn't receive its current name until 1931. The structure was paid for by the defunct Pacific Electric Railway Co.

Southern Pacific Railroad, which took over ownership of the bridge, donated it to the city in 1986.

The city has spent almost $400,000 renovating the bridge, which no longer functions as a railway connector, and will hold a rededication ceremony at 4:30 p.m. May 23.


Phil Cohen (left) and Kelly Smith (right) were invited to the dedication to represent the Southern California Live Steamers located in Torrance, CA. The Red Car model seen here was scratch built by Kelly Smith over 30 years ago and is very similar to the cars that were run over and under the bridge
back when it was in use in the early 1900s. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)

 

A Short History of the Pacific Electric Railway Company’s El Prado Bridge over the Torrance Branch Line.
Click HERE


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About the Author:
Phillip Cohen is a former aerospace engineer. Currently a part time professional photographer and full time computer programmer specializing in database driven websites and business applications. Phil is currently the webmaster and vice president of the Southern California Live Steamers and former president of the South Bay Camera Club, also in Torrance.

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