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A Trip to Ride Metro's K Crenshaw Light Rail Line 10/9/2022

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I awoke in our apartment in Santa Ana and after breakfast and our Internet duties, I drove us to the Santa Ana station and parked in the northeast lot. Elizabeth bought our weekend passes while I made our way to a covered bench and heard a horn so got my camera ready.

A twenty-seven minute late Pacific Surfliner 567 arrived before departing for Los Angeles.

Metrolink 661 then came into the station we and boarded the bicycle car where we found Erik Thompson with friends Cole, his father Phillip, Leo and his father Toshiro. The train took us to Anaheim where David Aten boarded but would not be joining us for the full trip. As we neared Los Angeles there was a trio of items of photographic interest.

"Caritas" is former St. Louis-San Fransico 14-4 sleeper 1450 "Pierre Laclede" built by Pullman-Standard in 1948. It became Canadian National 2095 "Chuchill Falls" in 1965 then was purchased by Clark Johnson in 1982 who re-named it "Caritas", the Greek word for charity. Iowa Pacific Holdings purchased Clark's High Iron Travel Company in 2006, and in 2021 it was sold to the Railroading Heritage of Midwest America, also known as the Friends of the 261.

Patrick Henry Creative Promotions sleeping car "Evelyn Henry", ex. Wisconsin Southern "Northern Nites", exx. Rail Ventures "Gallatin River", exxx. Amtrak 4591, nee Union Pacific 14-section sleeping car 5551 "Alpine Peak", built by American Car and Foundry in 1954. It can sleep 10 guests utilizing both the lower and upper beds or can be used in suite configuration for six guests featuring four deluxe suites with two lower beds in each suite and private bathroom.

Patrick Henry Creative Promotions dome observaton car 9007, built by American Car and Foundry in 1955 for Union Pacific's "City of Portland". In 1972 it became Auto Train 906 then Auto Train dome night club 542. The car was sold to Al Nippert/Gator Route 1981 and resold to White Auto Parts, Kissimee, Florida in 1982. It was re-sold in 1987 to Northern Rail Car in Cudahy, Wisconsin and re-built as Wisconsin Southern Railroad 9007, re-painted WSOR red/silver colors and named "Northern View", adding an open platform to the lounge end of the car to create the classic business car look.

The car contains a large kitchen, a dining room under the dome area seating 12 people, a rear lounge, open platform and luxurious seating in the dome itself. The car's furniture and woodwork are all Honduran Mahogany. It was sold in 2001 to John Kirkwood/Rail Ventures but it remained WSOR to meet pre-existing charters, then was re-named "Glacier Park" and moved to lease on Montana Rockies Rail Tours and other charters. It was leased to American Orient Express in 2003, then sold to Creative Charters (Patrick Henry) of Houston, Texas in 2004 and renamed "Warren R Henry".

We arrived in Los Angeles and said goodbye to David then went into the station as Erik wanted some food and the others visited the Trimana store. After everyone was ready, we took the escalator down into the Los Angeles subway station and waited a few minutes for our train to arrive. We took that train to 7th/Metro and waited for the Expo Line train to arrive. Once aboard, we took that to Expo/Crenshaw station and detrained.

Crenshaw K Light Rail Line

Metro K Line will extend light rail from the existing Metro E Line at Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards to the Metro C Line. While the rail line includes eight new stations, only seven will be open in the autumn on October 7, 2022. The train will travel 8.5 miles and will serve the cities of Los Angeles, Inglewood and El Segundo and portions of unincorporated Los Angeles County. The K Line opens at noon to passengers. Fare on the K Line, as well as across the Metro system, is free through Sunday to celebrate the new line.

The northern-most point of the line is the Expo/Crenshaw station at the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards. The line heads south along Crenshaw Boulevard, with stations at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, in Leimert Park and Hyde Park. The southern half of the line uses the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way, with stations in Fairview Heights and downtown Inglewood, ending at the Westchester/Veterans Station, near La Cienega Boulevard and Florence Avenue.

The line fulfills a dream that began when Tom Bradley was mayor from 1973-93 and wanted to provide world-class transportation in South Los Angeles, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. "L.A. Metro K line, the 8 1/2 mile line runs from the Adams District through the heart of historically Black Los Angeles and will eventually offer a path to connect to the Los Angeles Airport and the South Bay, be Los Angeles"."

"The K Line is integral to Los Angeles' transportation future", he said. "It will open doors of opportunity for riders across our region and help make Los Angeles a more accessible, sustainable, and inclusive city".

We walked over to the K Line celebartions and received a bag in which we put in a few Go Metro pocket guides, Meet the Line Letters (Metro is switching from named to letters to identify their rail lines) and K Line Destination guides. We then walked to the escalators and went down into the depths of the Expo/Crenshaw Station.

Felix the Cat, my favorite cartoon as a kid, is the symbol of Felix Chevrolet that we passed on the Expo Line, and was in this station as artwork.

The train came arrived at the Expo/Crenshaw station and I would take my pictures looking back to where we had been. The forward-facing camera is the object you will see in the top of the pictures.

The temporary end of the line at the Expo/Crenshaw station.

A few minutes later the train left the station.

Our train arrived at the second underground station on the line, Martin Luther King Junior station.

At the last undergound station, Leinart Park.

This train climbed up to ground level for most of the way to Westchester, the current end of the K line along Crenshaw Boulevard.


On the way to Hyde Park station.

Our train stopped at Hyde Park station; on the other platform was a northbound K line train.

The train left here.

This train would run under Florence Boulevard.

The tunnel under Florence Boulevard. We would now run in the median of this street.

We are on the way to Fairview Heights station.

Our train stopped at the Fairview Heights station.

We past a pocket track where trains could be staged.

On the way to the third to the last curve on the line.

We met a train on the third to the last curve.

Our train stopped at Downtown Inglewood station.

The train took the last S curve on the line and would follow Florence Boulevard to Westchester.

Another set of crossovers on our route.

Our train took the final curve on the line.

We crossed Century Boulevard on the final bridge; the train pulled into the Westchester station and we detrained.

We had to wait for the next northbound train to leave then all of us walked over to the other track and I was given a K Line lapel pin. While we waited, Elizabeth went to get a pin of her own.

The Westchester station.

Our train came back into the station and we boarded for the return trip.

We re-crossed San Diego Freeway Interstate 405 on this trip back to Los Angeles. We took this train back to the north end of the K line at Expo/Crenshaw and missed a connecting Expo Train waiting to cross Crenshaw Boulevard. Erik and his friends decided to detrain at USC/Jefferson and have lunch at Panda Express and Elizabeth and I wanted to take the 2:00 PM Metrolink train so we stayed on board and rode the Expo line back to 7th and Metro. We then went downstairs and boarded a Purple Line train back to Union Station, returning with plenty of time for the train to arrive, be cleaned and depart at the advertised.

Union Pacifc DPUs on the rear end of the container train.

"St. James Place" was Illinois Central 11-double bedroom car 3501 "Belleville" built by Pullman in 1952. The railroad retired the car in 1971 and sold it to Butterworth Tours of Moline, Illinois, who operated the car occasionally as a day parlour car between Rock Island and Chicago over the Rock Island in the early 1970's. "Belleville" ended its Butterworth days named "Bonnie B.", wearing navy blue and light gray paint. The car was later picked up by Kasten Railcar Services which sold it to Charter Wire in 1985.

Union Pacific 7003 "Challenger" built by America Car and Foundry in 1954, then sold to Auto Train 70 in 1972, sold to James E. Strates Shows in 1981, sold to a private party in 1982, then sold to the Collis P. Huntington chapter of the NRHS in 1982 as "Sandstone Falls". The car was renumbered UP 7003 then to the same group 7003 during 1993 due to a dispute with the Union Pacific. It was sold in 2001 to Charter Wire of Milwaukee, Wiconsin for their business train and rebuilt by Avalon Rail as "Charter Club".

These two pictures were just grab shots; they are rare visitors to Los Angeles.

Patrick Henry Creative Promotions dome-observaton car 9007, which would be going east on the evening's Southwest Chief along with "Evelyn Henry". Elizabeth and I returned to Santa Ana and went to Jersey Mike's for dinner before returning to the apartment for the rest of the day.