During the 1890s, talks were under wayof building a port at one of a number of potential sites along the Los Angeles coast line. The California Southern Railroad sought to capitalize on this future port and built a line from Inglewood straight to La Playa, since La Playa, Santa Monica, and Long Beach/San Pedro were all potential sites as decided by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Initial dredging at La Playa did not go well, however, and the effort was abandoned, leaving the CSR's route there virtually unnecessary. But before abandonment came, the CSR determined that perhaps the line would benefit from potential passenger/tourist traffic to the Ocean Park area. While the original track at La Playa was used, a change in direction in the right-of-way, northwest to Venice, was made at Alsace station.
The line did see high passenger volumes in the early years; the line also served produce warehouses and other small businesses until the 1960s. Under the ownership of the Southern Pacific, most of the rails remained in place until 1977. By then, the line had modern girder bridges over the Ballona Creek and nearby storm channels, along with a couple of wig-wags and faded "Pacific Electric" wooden crossbucks.
As of 2003, only the Marina Del Rey crossing and one or two other isolated segments remain. The girder bridges and wig-wag crossbucks are gone. The line served Inglewood, Mesmer, Alsace, Alla (diamond with another PE line between Redondo Beach and Culver Junction), Machado, Ocean Park, and Santa Monica.
Thanks to Randy Bramstedt for contributing information about this route.