The line uses vintage and replica Pacific Electric Red Cars. The route runs south over a former Pacific Electric Railway right-of-way from the World Cruise Center cruise ship terminal under the Vincent Thomas Bridge to the intersection of 22nd Street and Miner Street, with intermediate stops at Downtown San Pedro, the Maritime Museum, and the Ports O' Call Village.  The service operates three days a week (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) with occasional service on other weekdays depending on passenger ship landings.
The Pacific Electric Railway Red Car system ran for over 60 years (closed 1961), with more than 1000 miles of tramway routes throughout Greater Los Angeles and the surrounding cities and counties.
Today the Waterfront Red Cars comprise three tram cars in the style of the originals. Two of the three Red Cars—the replica cars, numbers 500 and 501 — were built from scratch by employees of the port of Los Angeles; the interiors are cooled using the same clerestory-style windows as the original 500-class Red Cars (“The Fives”). The third car, No. #1058, is a vintage Pacific Electric 950-class car, having been assembled from two wrecked 950-class cars by Richard J. Fellows, restored for parades, movies, and the like, and then cleverly converted to be steered with the original throttle as a tiller and braked by the original brake handle; the original dead man pedal operated the gasoline engine throttle, which powered the rubber tires. The port of Los Angeles bought the car and converted it back for rail operation as a charter service.
The Waterfront Red Cars are supplemented by two shuttle bus lines. The Blue line serves downtown San Pedro and Ports O' Call village, whereas the Green line serves the harbor and marina.
Future extensions to Cabrillo Beach, Harbor Park, the new cruise ship terminal at Berth 46, Pacific Avenue, and Warehouse 1 have been under consideration. In April 2010, a new feasibility report was released, with the first priority to switch much of the existing line to street-runningtramway track on Sampson Way.
In 2015 it was announced the Waterfront Red Car Line would be closed for 18 months, with service ceasing in late September 2015, to make way for the realignment of Sampson Way leading into Ports O’ Call Village.  After that, it’s return is uncertain. Because the street realignment cuts through the southern part of the line, it would require a new track and modified, street-level cars running parallel to the new Sampson Way, estimated to cost $40 million.  Port officials have indicated that simply might be prohibitive.