5 or the 5 Car was a line operated by the Los Angeles Railway from 1920 to 1958 and by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority from 1958 to 1963. From 1920 to 1932, this route was known as the E Car. This was changed as part of a method to distinguish routes that lacked loops at their termini. Consequently, the 5 Car was unique during the LAMTA era in that it did not use PCC streetcars. It used buses from 1955 to 1964, transferring from LATL in 1958, then splitting the line in two in 1961, until all lines were turned over to SCRTD in August 1964.
The southern portion of the route began as the Inglewood Division, one of the main lines of the Los Angeles and Redondo Railway. From a terminus at 2nd and Spring Streets, the steam and later electric railroad ran to Redondo Beach via 2nd Street, Broadway, 7th Street, Grand Avenue, Santa Barbara Avenue, Leimert Avenue, Crenshaw Boulevard, Redondo Boulevard, Florence Avenue, Market Street, La Brea Avenue, Hawthorne Boulevard, Ripley Avenue, Anita Street, and Herondo Street.
In the Great Merger of 1911, the southern portion of the Redondo Railway were given over to the Pacific Electric Railway, while the northern portion became part of the Los Angeles Railway. The Hawthorne Line, as it was then called, terminated at the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and Broadway in the heart of Hawthorne, where one could transfer to two Pacific Electric routes. At some point in the 1910s, this route was merged with the Eagle Rock Line to become one of the longest streetcar routes in the United States.
The Eagle Rock Line was one of LARy's original routes, connecting Downtown Los Angeles to the small agrarian suburb of Eagle Rock by way of Main Street, Avenue 20, Dayton Avenue, a private right-of-way (on which was soon built Avenue 28), Eagle Rock Boulevard, and Colorado Boulevard to Townsend Street. At Eagle Rock and Colorado, one could transfer to a branch of the Glendale and Montrose Railway.
In 1916, the renovation of the Broadway Tunnel allowed streetcars to run through it. Before this, all routes northeast had to run along Main Street at the Plaza de los Angeles, but now all of Broadway enjoyed direct, continuous service. It was along Broadway that the Eagle Rock Line was re-routed, bypassing most of Lincoln Heights, while increasing service to Solano Canyon and Little Italy.
The E Line was the result of combining the Eagle Rock and Hawthorne Lines. At nearly 22 miles, it was the longest route of the Los Angeles Railway by far, and the route that extended further north, south, east or west than any other route. Said route traversed Colorado and Eagle Rock Boulevards, Cypress Avenue, Avenue 28, Figueroa Street, San Fernando Road, Pasadena Avenue, Broadway, Broadway Place, Main Street, Jefferson Boulevard, Grand and Santa Barbara Avenues, Leimert, Crenshaw, and Redondo Boulevards, Market Street, La Brea, and Hawthorne Boulevards.
In 1932, the route name was changed to 5. An additional route known as 6 followed the same route, but terminated at Avenue 45 in Eagle Rock and Arbor Vitae in Inglewood.
In 1948, the northern terminus of the route was cut back to the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Eagle Rock Boulevards in the heart of Eagle Rock. From this period onward, a bus following the same route supplemented the streetcar, phasing it out by May 1955, due to 11 Harbor Freeway construction. Today, the route is closely followed by Metro bus routes 40, 84, & a short segment of 81. The under construction Crenshaw/LAX Line will follow the same route between Leimert Park and Market Street in Inglewood.
The 5 bus route was split by LAMTA in 1961, the north portion to Eagle Rock Bl. & Colorado Bl. was served by route 7 from S. Broadway. A bar will open on Colorado Boulevard in November 2013 with a theme '5' Bar for the line which served local Eagle Rock residents for many years. The old style 'box' line sign is used, with the reflective dots denoting the number. Boulevard Newspaper, October 2013