Iowa Traction

1. It was foggy in Emery, Iowa on the morning of August 22, 2006. As I arrived at the Iowa Traction shop and yard, only an indistinct orange blob gave any indication that any of the railroad's ancient electric locomotives were present. As the fog lifted, little by little, IATR Baldwin-Westinghouse type B steeplecab # 50 came into view. Here it is pictured as the mist retreated into the background.

1. It was foggy in Emery, Iowa on the morning of August 22, 2006. As I arrived at the Iowa Traction shop and yard, only an indistinct orange blob gave any indication that any of the railroad’s ancient electric locomotives were present. As the fog lifted, little by little, IATR Baldwin-Westinghouse type B steeplecab # 50 came into view. Here it is pictured as the mist retreated into the background.

Today, we are featuring more fine photography from guest contributor Kenneth Gear, from a trip he took to Iowa in 2006. We thank him for this, and his many other contributions to this site.

Here is what the Wikipedia says about the Iowa Traction Railway, which is keeping a long tradition of electric freight alive:

The Iowa Traction Railway Company (reporting mark IATR), formerly the Iowa Traction Railroad Company, is an electrically operated common carrier railroad running between Mason City and Clear Lake, Iowa, United States, and also serving Rorick Park near Mason City. It can trace its roots back to the Mason City and Clear Lake Railway, which was founded in 1896. The shops were situated in Emery, the midpoint between the two namesake towns. Passenger service began on July 4, 1897. Freight has been the major source of income since the beginning and has been the only source since the charter for trolley service in Mason City expired August 30, 1936. The Mason City and Clear Lake Railway’s name was revised slightly to Mason City and Clear Lake Railroad in 1950, when new owners took over.

The name was changed to Iowa Terminal Railroad in 1961 when new owners from Michigan took over. They acquired the Charles City Western on December 31, 1963. The Charles City Division was dieselized after a tornado destroyed much of the overhead wire on May 15, 1968. Several years later the remaining trackage at Charles City was abandoned. Meanwhile, the Mason City Division continued to operate as usual. The Charles City equipment was transferred to Mason City to replace equipment burned in the November 24, 1967 shop fire. On April 13, 1987, the Iowa Terminal Railroad was sold to Dave Johnson and renamed to Iowa Traction Railroad.

Today, the Iowa Traction continues to actively operate the track between its Emery headquarters (southwest of Mason City) and the Clear Lake Junction with Union Pacific Railroad. Though track exists beyond Emery to Interstate 35 in the west and from Clear Lake Junction to 15th Street Southeast in Mason City to the east, the active portion is Emery to Clear Lake Junction.

2. IATR # 51 with the car barn in the background.

2. IATR # 51 with the car barn in the background.

3. Iowa Traction # 50 at Emery. It was built in 1920 for the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad.

3. Iowa Traction # 50 at Emery. It was built in 1920 for the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad.

4. Iowa Traction # 50 at Emery 8/22/06.

4. Iowa Traction # 50 at Emery 8/22/06.

5. Iowa Traction # 51 in the Emery IA yard. #51 was built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in 1921 for the Northeastern Oklahoma Railway. 8/22/06.

5. Iowa Traction # 51 in the Emery IA yard. #51 was built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in 1921 for the Northeastern Oklahoma Railway. 8/22/06.

6 & 7. Iowa Traction interurban coach # 727 (formerly Chicago North shore & Milwaukee # 102) is just inside the Emery Car barn on August 25, 2006.

6 & 7. Iowa Traction interurban coach # 727 (formerly Chicago North shore & Milwaukee # 102) is just inside the Emery Car barn on August 25, 2006.

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8. IATR interurban car # 727 is all decked out with flags and marker lamps because it will be out and running the next day on a fan trip, the "Mason City Limited". Unfortunately my travel plans did not allow for me to remain in Mason City for another day so I missed seeing this classic interurban running down the rails. August 25, 2006.

8. IATR interurban car # 727 is all decked out with flags and marker lamps because it will be out and running the next day on a fan trip, the “Mason City Limited”. Unfortunately my travel plans did not allow for me to remain in Mason City for another day so I missed seeing this classic interurban running down the rails. August 25, 2006.

9. IATR # 54 was built in 1923 for the Southern Iowa Railroad. Here it is inside the Emery shop.

9. IATR # 54 was built in 1923 for the Southern Iowa Railroad. Here it is inside the Emery shop.

10. Iowa Traction Steeplecab # 51 and Interurban car # 727 inside the shop at Emery.

10. Iowa Traction Steeplecab # 51 and Interurban car # 727 inside the shop at Emery.

11, 12, & 13. Iowa Traction # 51 at night in the yard at Emery, IA The sky being illumined by bright flashes of lightning. Soon a thunder storm rolled through cutting short my attempts at night photography. 8/25/06

11, 12, & 13. Iowa Traction # 51 at night in the yard at Emery, IA The sky being illumined by bright flashes of lightning. Soon a thunder storm rolled through cutting short my attempts at night photography. 8/25/06

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14. Iowa Traction flanger # 32 at Emery, IA

14. Iowa Traction flanger # 32 at Emery, IA

15. Iowa Traction snow plow # 40 at Emery, IA.

15. Iowa Traction snow plow # 40 at Emery, IA.

16. Iowa Traction Steeplecab # 60 is dwarfed by the silos at the AGP soybean processing plant. Mason City, IA. 8/22/06

16. Iowa Traction Steeplecab # 60 is dwarfed by the silos at the AGP soybean processing plant. Mason City, IA. 8/22/06

17. IATR # 60 pulls a cut of hoppers away from the AGP plant at Mason City.

17. IATR # 60 pulls a cut of hoppers away from the AGP plant at Mason City.

18. Iowa Traction Baldwin-Westinghouse type C steeplecab # 60 switching cars at the Mason City AGP plant. This locomotive was built in 1917 for the Youngstown & Ohio River as their # 5.

18. Iowa Traction Baldwin-Westinghouse type C steeplecab # 60 switching cars at the Mason City AGP plant. This locomotive was built in 1917 for the Youngstown & Ohio River as their # 5.

19. IATR # 60 moves light over the 19th Street SW crossing in Mason City. This locomotive remains in revenue service to this day and it was built in 1917. Next year it will be 100 years old and still going strong!

19. IATR # 60 moves light over the 19th Street SW crossing in Mason City. This locomotive remains in revenue service to this day and it was built in 1917. Next year it will be 100 years old and still going strong!

20. Number 60 takes yet another string of hoppers away from the AGP plant. 8/22/06

20. Number 60 takes yet another string of hoppers away from the AGP plant. 8/22/06

21. Steeplecab # 60 also worked for Iowa Traction predecessor Mason City & Clear Lake as # 52. In 1961 the MC&CL was sold and renamed Iowa Terminal. In 1987 abandonment was close at hand when it was purchased by local interests and renamed again, this time to Iowa Traction. The word "traction" was included in the new name so there would be no doubt that the line would remain electric

21. Steeplecab # 60 also worked for Iowa Traction predecessor Mason City & Clear Lake as # 52. In 1961 the MC&CL was sold and renamed Iowa Terminal. In 1987 abandonment was close at hand when it was purchased by local interests and renamed again, this time to Iowa Traction. The word “traction” was included in the new name so there would be no doubt that the line would remain electric

22. Here is one last shot of IATR # 60 hauling a cut of cars at AGP in Mason City on August 22, 2006.

22. Here is one last shot of IATR # 60 hauling a cut of cars at AGP in Mason City on August 22, 2006.

23. August 25, 2006 was grey and overcast in Mason City but the sight of a 1917 built steeplecab electric locomotive in revenue service sure brighten up the day. Cloudy weather afforded the opportunity to get a shot of # 60 leaving AGP from the opposite side.

23. August 25, 2006 was grey and overcast in Mason City but the sight of a 1917 built steeplecab electric locomotive in revenue service sure brighten up the day. Cloudy weather afforded the opportunity to get a shot of # 60 leaving AGP from the opposite side.

24. Steeplecab electric locomotives aren't the only ancient pieces of railroad equipment used on the Iowa Traction. In Mason City this old semaphore signal protects the IATR crossing of the Union Pacific Railroad. 8/26/06.

24. Steeplecab electric locomotives aren’t the only ancient pieces of railroad equipment used on the Iowa Traction. In Mason City this old semaphore signal protects the IATR crossing of the Union Pacific Railroad. 8/26/06.


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Recent Finds

On August 1, 1951, CTA surface system fares were increased to 17 cents. Here, on two-man PCC 4188, Miss Elma Parrssinen dutifully pays her fare to conductor James Long. According to information provided by Andre Kristopans, which we ran in a previous post, car 4188 had a retirement date of June 9, 1953, making it one of the first postwar cars scrapped as part of the so-called "PCC Conversion Program," whereby some parts from these cars were recycled into new 6000-series "L" cars.

On August 1, 1951, CTA surface system fares were increased to 17 cents. Here, on two-man PCC 4188, Miss Elma Parrssinen dutifully pays her fare to conductor James Long. According to information provided by Andre Kristopans, which we ran in a previous post, car 4188 had a retirement date of June 9, 1953, making it one of the first postwar cars scrapped as part of the so-called “PCC Conversion Program,” whereby some parts from these cars were recycled into new 6000-series “L” cars.

Here are lots of “new” old photos that we have recently unearthed for your viewing pleasure. As always, if you have interesting tidbits of information to add, including locations, do not hesitate to drop us a line, either by leaving a Comment on this post, or by writing us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski


Chicago Transit

This photo of CTA streetcar 6149 was taken from an original red-border Kodachrome, which identifies the location as the "Campbell Avenue barn yard." However, to me it looks like 69th and Ashland. The slide mount is of a type used by Kodak between 1950 and 1955. I would say this is closer in date the the former.

This photo of CTA streetcar 6149 was taken from an original red-border Kodachrome, which identifies the location as the “Campbell Avenue barn yard.” However, to me it looks like 69th and Ashland. The slide mount is of a type used by Kodak between 1950 and 1955. I would say this is closer in date the the former.

M. E. writes:

Regarding https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/dave4891.jpg
which was labelled “Campbell Av. barn yard” but you think it is the 69th and Ashland carbarn:

Campbell is 2500 West, which puts it a block west of Western (2400 West). Suppose the original location statement was a mile off. Paulina is 1700 West, a block west of Ashland (1600 West), and at 69th St., Paulina was just west of the carbarn. So I agree with you that this is probably the 69th and Ashland carbarn.

As confirmation, the 67th-69th-71st St. line (route 67) went right past the carbarn, and the destination sign aboard the route 67 car says 71st and California, the western terminus, where the route 67 car will go after leaving the barn.

However, I cannot explain the presence of route 4 Cottage Grove cars at the 69th and Ashland carbarn. The readable destination sign on car 6149 says Cottage Grove and 79th, which is a lot closer to the big carbarn at 77th and Vincennes than it is to 69th and Ashland.

I consulted my Lind book to find out when the 79th Street line and the 67th-69th-71st Street line were converted to buses. Lind says 79th was converted in September 1951 and 67th-69th-71st was converted in May 1953.

So I think this photo was taken after September 1951 and before May 1953. Somehow Cottage Grove cars were able to get to the 69th and Ashland carbarn, even though the trackage diagrams in the Lind book show no switches at 67th and Cottage Grove. Maybe the CTA built switches at 67th and Cottage Grove after September 1951 just for this purpose.

The 69th and Ashland carbarn also housed Western Ave. cars. But that carbarn must have closed soon after May 1953, because after that date, PCC cars on Western used 69th St. trackage to go east to Wentworth, south to Vincennes, and southwest to the 77th and Vincennes carbarn. That lasted until Western was converted to buses in 1956.

Thanks… I will have to look up the closing date for the 69th station (car house).
M. E. replied:
As I recall, the 69th and Ashland carbarn served these lines in the 1950s:
 9 Ashland
49 Western
63 63rd
67 67th-69th-71stLind says both lines 63 and 67 converted to buses in May 1953. But Ashland did not convert until February 1954. And as I said earlier, Western converted in 1956.Therefore, the 69th and Ashland carbarn closed in February 1954, after which Western cars lived at 77th and Vincennes until 1956.

I looked it up on the Internet, and after streetcars left, 69th and Ashland continued to handle buses for many years:

69TH STREET
1601 W. 69th St. (at Ashland Ave.)
Opened in 1908
Capacity in 1911: 191 cars inside/25 cars outside
Capacity in 1943: 191 cars inside/133 cars outside
First used for buses in 1953
Used for propane buses 1953-1973
Last used for streetcars 1954
First diesel buses 1973
Closed June 18, 1995
Replaced by 74th Street Garage
Building demolished in 1998

Source: www.chicagorailfan.com

M. E.:

I moved out of Englewood in November 1954. I wasn’t aware that the 69th and Ashland carbarn became a bus barn and lasted another four decades. Live and learn.

The fact that the 69th and Ashland barn stayed open after May 1954 begs this question: Why didn’t the Western Ave. streetcars continue to use it, rather than travel all the way to 77th and Vincennes?

I think I have an answer. After May 1954 there were only a few remaining streetcar lines:

4 Cottage Grove
22 Clark-Wentworth
36 Broadway-State
49 Western

The CTA probably wanted to consolidate all streetcar operations in one or two barns. The 22 line ran right past the 77th and Vincennes barn; the 36 line was half a mile away; and the 49 line used 69th St. to reach the 77th and Vincennes barn. The 4 line continued to use the 38th and Cottage Grove barn until the 4 line was converted to bus in June 1955. (I found this on the same Web page you cited: http://chicagorailfan.com/rosctaxh.html .)

But herein lies a further question: If 38th and Cottage Grove was kept open until the Cottage Grove line was converted, then why were Cottage Grove cars in the photo of 69th and Ashland? I already mentioned that I saw no trackage that would allow Cottage Grove cars to reach 69th and Ashland.

I had the radical notion that perhaps the photo was not of 69th and Ashland, but instead of 38th and Cottage Grove. But then why would a 67 route streetcar be there? And the same lack of switches at 67th and Cottage Grove would preclude allowing 67th-69th-71st cars to travel to 38th and Cottage Grove.

All told, a mystery.

A mystery alright, and one that perhaps our readers might help solve, thanks.

CTA red cars 612 and 407 at 95th and Ashland in December 1951.

CTA red cars 612 and 407 at 95th and Ashland in December 1951.

Ashland and 95th today, looking north.

Ashland and 95th today, looking north.

In this September 14, 1960 view, we see a pair of CTA 4000s heading east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", running alongside South Boulevard just west of Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park. Just over two years later, this portion of the line would be relocated to the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment, where it continues to run today as the Green Line. (Clark Frazier Photo)

In this September 14, 1960 view, we see a pair of CTA 4000s heading east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, running alongside South Boulevard just west of Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park. Just over two years later, this portion of the line would be relocated to the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment, where it continues to run today as the Green Line. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Here is what South Boulevard looks like today, at approximately the same spot.

Here is what South Boulevard looks like today, at approximately the same spot.

Here, we see CTA red Pullman 165 heading west on the private right-of-way portion of the 63rd Street route, a few blocks west of Central Avenue. The date is given as August 17, 1951, although some might argue for 1952 instead. These tracks ran in 63rd Place, which is now a completely built-up residential area a short distance south of 63rd Street.

Here, we see CTA red Pullman 165 heading west on the private right-of-way portion of the 63rd Street route, a few blocks west of Central Avenue. The date is given as August 17, 1951, although some might argue for 1952 instead. These tracks ran in 63rd Place, which is now a completely built-up residential area a short distance south of 63rd Street.

63rd Place today. After streetcars quit, the CTA bus was re-routed onto 63rd Street in this area.

63rd Place today. After streetcars quit, the CTA bus was re-routed onto 63rd Street in this area.

This picture of a 1926-vintage Illinois Central Electric suburban train was taken on September 9, 1959. I am not sure of the location, but it is marked as a Randolph Street Express, and the smokestack at right belongs to a laundry. Service continues today under the aegis of Metra Electric with modern bi-level cars. David Vartanoff writes: "The IC Electric pic is likely Kensington. Look at extreme magnification and one sees the r-o-w expand to 4 tracks." Jack Ferry adds: "The IC Suburban Train is heading northbound at 115th St. Kensington." This would be the same station near where the CTA route 4 - Cottage Grove streetcar ended. That was the site of many pictures over the years.(Clark Frazier Photo)

This picture of a 1926-vintage Illinois Central Electric suburban train was taken on September 9, 1959. I am not sure of the location, but it is marked as a Randolph Street Express, and the smokestack at right belongs to a laundry. Service continues today under the aegis of Metra Electric with modern bi-level cars. David Vartanoff writes: “The IC Electric pic is likely Kensington. Look at extreme magnification and one sees the r-o-w expand to 4 tracks.” Jack Ferry adds: “The IC Suburban Train is heading northbound at 115th St. Kensington.” This would be the same station near where the CTA route 4 – Cottage Grove streetcar ended. That was the site of many pictures over the years.(Clark Frazier Photo)

Here, we are at Cottage Grove and 115th, the south end of route 4. CTA red cars 3182 and 660 are visible. The date given is December 1952, but some might argue for an earlier date than that since there are no PCCs in sight here. The line ran parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service embankment.

Here, we are at Cottage Grove and 115th, the south end of route 4. CTA red cars 3182 and 660 are visible. The date given is December 1952, but some might argue for an earlier date than that since there are no PCCs in sight here. The line ran parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service embankment.

Cottage Grove and 115th today.

Cottage Grove and 115th today.

This wintry scene shows CTA red Pullman 636 on Cottage Grove near the 115th Street end of the line. The date is given as December 1952 but some might argue it should be earlier.

This wintry scene shows CTA red Pullman 636 on Cottage Grove near the 115th Street end of the line. The date is given as December 1952 but some might argue it should be earlier.

It's June 10, 1951, and CTA red Pullman 230 is heading west on Chicago Avenue in this view taken from the Ravenswood "L".

It’s June 10, 1951, and CTA red Pullman 230 is heading west on Chicago Avenue in this view taken from the Ravenswood “L”.

A contemporary view of Chicago Avenue looking east from the "L".

A contemporary view of Chicago Avenue looking east from the “L”.

Here, CSL car 19xx is heading eastbound on Chicago Avenue, having passed the north-south "L" and a safety island.

Here, CSL car 19xx is heading eastbound on Chicago Avenue, having passed the north-south “L” and a safety island.

Chicago Avenue looking west toward the "L".

Chicago Avenue looking west toward the “L”.

CSL 1433.

CSL 1433.

CSL 1724. I'm wondering if this is on Wabash, just north of the Chicago River. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1724. I’m wondering if this is on Wabash, just north of the Chicago River. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1856. Not sure of the exact location, but it appears to be one of Chicago's angle streets. Patrick writes: "CSL 1856 looks to be eastbound on Harrison (it appears signed for Harrison), crossing Ogden. The building on the northeast corner is still there." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1856. Not sure of the exact location, but it appears to be one of Chicago’s angle streets. Patrick writes: “CSL 1856 looks to be eastbound on Harrison (it appears signed for Harrison), crossing Ogden. The building on the northeast corner is still there.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The J.L. Higgie building, at Ogden and Harrison, as it appears today.

The J.L. Higgie building, at Ogden and Harrison, as it appears today.

CSL 1300, signed for Cicero Avenue. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1300, signed for Cicero Avenue. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1301 on the 14-16th Street line. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1301 on the 14-16th Street line. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Madison and Wells in the early 1900s. Not sure if we are looking east or west. Mike Payne writes, "I believe the picture on Madison and Wells is looking west; in the distance you can see Market St, and the weird “L” stub structure ending on the south side of Madison."

Madison and Wells in the early 1900s. Not sure if we are looking east or west. Mike Payne writes, “I believe the picture on Madison and Wells is looking west; in the distance you can see Market St, and the weird “L” stub structure ending on the south side of Madison.”

The old Market Street stub-end "L" terminal, which was used by Lake Street trains until the late 1940s. It was demolished shortly thereafter, and Market Street itself was turned into the north-south portion of Wacker Drive in the 1950s.

The old Market Street stub-end “L” terminal, which was used by Lake Street trains until the late 1940s. It was demolished shortly thereafter, and Market Street itself was turned into the north-south portion of Wacker Drive in the 1950s.

CSL 1371, signed for Taylor-Sedgwick-Sheffield.

CSL 1371, signed for Taylor-Sedgwick-Sheffield.

CTA 1693 on the Division route, probably in the late 1940s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CTA 1693 on the Division route, probably in the late 1940s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1885 southbound on the Kedzie line. From the street addresses, I'd say we are on California Avenue. The sign on the from of the car advertises "1275 New Streetcars and Buses - Soon," so perhaps this is circa 1945-46. I recently came across a CTA document advertising the 1275 figure, and it was dated January 1946. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1885 southbound on the Kedzie line. From the street addresses, I’d say we are on California Avenue. The sign on the from of the car advertises “1275 New Streetcars and Buses – Soon,” so perhaps this is circa 1945-46. I recently came across a CTA document advertising the 1275 figure, and it was dated January 1946. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1459. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1459. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1076 is southbound in the 1940s, but on which line? Perhaps the sign, indicating a route via Larrabee and Wells, offers a clue. Phil Oellrich says, "CSL car 1076 is southbound on Damen Avenue about to turn south on Lincoln Avenue at Irving Park Blvd. The route is Lincoln-Rosehill . On August 1, 1948, the CTA discontinued Lincoln-Rosehill service, while extending the North Damen Bus to follow roughly the same route north of Irving Park. The white Terra-Cotta building behind car 1076 housed the North Center Theatre at 4031 N Lincoln, which opened on February 3, 1926 and closed in 1963. The building was demolished in 1966-67." (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1076 is southbound in the 1940s, but on which line? Perhaps the sign, indicating a route via Larrabee and Wells, offers a clue. Phil Oellrich says, “CSL car 1076 is southbound on Damen Avenue about to turn south on Lincoln Avenue at Irving Park Blvd. The route is Lincoln-Rosehill . On August 1, 1948, the CTA discontinued Lincoln-Rosehill service, while extending the North Damen Bus to follow roughly the same route north of Irving Park. The white Terra-Cotta building behind car 1076 housed the North Center Theatre at 4031 N Lincoln, which opened on February 3, 1926 and closed in 1963. The building was demolished in 1966-67.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The same corner today. Lincoln is to the left, Damen to the right, and Irving Park would be right behind us. We are looking north.

The same corner today. Lincoln is to the left, Damen to the right, and Irving Park would be right behind us. We are looking north.

CSL 3106. But which line is this, and which "L" is in the background? It's hard to make out for sure, but the side sign may say 18th Street. Patrick writes: "CSL 3106 is on Leavitt, northbound, at 21st Street. The buildings are still there. The Douglas L is in the background." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3106. But which line is this, and which “L” is in the background? It’s hard to make out for sure, but the side sign may say 18th Street. Patrick writes: “CSL 3106 is on Leavitt, northbound, at 21st Street. The buildings are still there. The Douglas L is in the background.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

21st and Leavitt today.

21st and Leavitt today.

CSL Pullman 620 is southbound on Western Avenue, while some track work goes on nearby. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL Pullman 620 is southbound on Western Avenue, while some track work goes on nearby. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The caption on this photo reads, "Westbound car 2623 passes under the Illinois Central main line at 75th and South Chicago Avenue, over the diagonal tracks of the busy South Chicago line." Bill Shapotkin notes, "Indeed, this car is on 75th St and has just x/o UNDER the IC. The car is W/B (note platform of IC's Grand Crossing station at left atop embankment)." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The caption on this photo reads, “Westbound car 2623 passes under the Illinois Central main line at 75th and South Chicago Avenue, over the diagonal tracks of the busy South Chicago line.” Bill Shapotkin notes, “Indeed, this car is on 75th St and has just x/o UNDER the IC. The car is W/B (note platform of IC’s Grand Crossing station at left atop embankment).” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2813 on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago line, which was jointly through-routed by both the Surface Lines and the aforementioned Indiana operator. Streetcar service was eliminated on this line in 1940, but this picture looks older than that.

CSL 2813 on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago line, which was jointly through-routed by both the Surface Lines and the aforementioned Indiana operator. Streetcar service was eliminated on this line in 1940, but this picture looks older than that.

The photo caption reads, "The open fields behind car 2701 notwithstanding, the corner of 79th and State was a busy transfer point. This eastbound 79th Street car clatters over the CSL tracks on State." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The photo caption reads, “The open fields behind car 2701 notwithstanding, the corner of 79th and State was a busy transfer point. This eastbound 79th Street car clatters over the CSL tracks on State.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

It's October 1871, shortly after the Great Chicago Fire. The view is of State and Madison, looking northeast. The various horse cars we see are serving the Madison, Blue Island, and State Street lines.

It’s October 1871, shortly after the Great Chicago Fire. The view is of State and Madison, looking northeast. The various horse cars we see are serving the Madison, Blue Island, and State Street lines.

Here, the caption reads, "43rd-Root. Westbound car 3280, about to cross Halsted Street to reach its west terminal at the Stock Yards. This line competed with the Stock Yards "L" and lasted until 1953." Andre Kristopans adds, "3280 turning from nb State into wb Root. Old Bowman dairy bldg still there." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Here, the caption reads, “43rd-Root. Westbound car 3280, about to cross Halsted Street to reach its west terminal at the Stock Yards. This line competed with the Stock Yards “L” and lasted until 1953.” Andre Kristopans adds, “3280 turning from nb State into wb Root. Old Bowman dairy bldg still there.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The old Bowman Dairy building at 43rd and Root as it looks today.

The old Bowman Dairy building at 43rd and Root as it looks today.


Chicago Buses

CTA trolley bus 9713 is shown heading westbound on North Avenue at Cicero on April 26, 1970. The last Chicago trolley bus ran in 1973.

CTA trolley bus 9713 is shown heading westbound on North Avenue at Cicero on April 26, 1970. The last Chicago trolley bus ran in 1973.

CTA Flxible propane bus 8050, shown here on Central Avenue near the end of its service life in 1971, was part of a series delivered in 1956-57. These buses replaced some of the last Chicago streetcars, but they were woefully underpowered for the job they had to do. I believe we are just south of Belmont Avenue. Trolley buses last ran on Central on January 7, 1970. The old street lamps were holdovers from an earlier era, and were retained in some shopping areas of the city for some time, even after more modern lights were installed.

CTA Flxible propane bus 8050, shown here on Central Avenue near the end of its service life in 1971, was part of a series delivered in 1956-57. These buses replaced some of the last Chicago streetcars, but they were woefully underpowered for the job they had to do. I believe we are just south of Belmont Avenue. Trolley buses last ran on Central on January 7, 1970. The old street lamps were holdovers from an earlier era, and were retained in some shopping areas of the city for some time, even after more modern lights were installed.

The same area today. We are looking south on Central Avenue, just south of Belmont.

The same area today. We are looking south on Central Avenue, just south of Belmont.

After the Chicago Cubs won their first world championship since 1908, the Chicago Transit Authority put a special "wrap" on one bus (I think the number is 8305) for a limited time, and ran it on Addison, which passes right by Wrigley Field. The following two pictures were taken there on November 9, 2016. Bill Shapotkin adds, "While the Cub's victory was the first in 108 years, it was also the first since moving to Wrigley Field (formerly Weegman Park). When the Cub's won the 1908 series, they were still playing on the West Side grounds (roughly Wood/Polk, if I recall the location correctly)." Yes, that is also where games for the 1906 WS between the Cubs and White Sox were played (the Sox won, 4 games to 2). Legend has it there was an insane asylum located near West Side Grounds, which is supposedly the origin of the expression, "from out of left field."

After the Chicago Cubs won their first world championship since 1908, the Chicago Transit Authority put a special “wrap” on one bus (I think the number is 8305) for a limited time, and ran it on Addison, which passes right by Wrigley Field. The following two pictures were taken there on November 9, 2016.
Bill Shapotkin adds, “While the Cub’s victory was the first in 108 years, it was also the first since moving to Wrigley Field (formerly Weegman Park). When the Cub’s won the 1908 series, they were still playing on the West Side grounds (roughly Wood/Polk, if I recall the location correctly).” Yes, that is also where games for the 1906 WS between the Cubs and White Sox were played (the Sox won, 4 games to 2). Legend has it there was an insane asylum located near West Side Grounds, which is supposedly the origin of the expression, “from out of left field.”

Here, 8305 heads west on Addison. There is a lot of construction around the ballpark these days, as entire blocks have been cleared, and a couple of large hotels are going up.

Here, 8305 heads west on Addison. There is a lot of construction around the ballpark these days, as entire blocks have been cleared, and a couple of large hotels are going up.

I was lucky to get all of 8305 in the frame here, as it was "at speed" and I had to dodge traffic in the middle of the busy street to get this unobstructed shot.

I was lucky to get all of 8305 in the frame here, as it was “at speed” and I had to dodge traffic in the middle of the busy street to get this unobstructed shot.

CTA bus 700 is powered by Lithium batteries, and is one of two currently owned by the authority, although there are plans for 20 or 30 more. These are the first electric buses the CTA has had since the last trolley bus ran in 1973. I did not board this bus, but would expect it to provide a ride similar to a trolley bus.

CTA bus 700 is powered by Lithium batteries, and is one of two currently owned by the authority, although there are plans for 20 or 30 more. These are the first electric buses the CTA has had since the last trolley bus ran in 1973. I did not board this bus, but would expect it to provide a ride similar to a trolley bus.

CTA electric bus 700 at the west end of route 21 (Cermak), which is the North Riverside Mall, on November 29, 2016.

CTA electric bus 700 at the west end of route 21 (Cermak), which is the North Riverside Mall, on November 29, 2016.


Interurbans

It's June 1962 at Rondout, and we see a North Shore Line freight train, headed up by electric loco 455.

It’s June 1962 at Rondout, and we see a North Shore Line freight train, headed up by electric loco 455.

This June 1962 North Shore Line photo looks like it was taken at about the same time as one in our previous post More Color Restorations (August 9, 2016). As you can see from the sign on car 744, the occasion was a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. This may be the excursion on June 22, 1962, which was billed as a farewell trip. As it turned out, a few additional fantrips were held before the interurban was abandoned on January 21, 1963. Don's Rail Photos says, "744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940." This car is on the wye at the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee.

This June 1962 North Shore Line photo looks like it was taken at about the same time as one in our previous post More Color Restorations (August 9, 2016). As you can see from the sign on car 744, the occasion was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. This may be the excursion on June 22, 1962, which was billed as a farewell trip. As it turned out, a few additional fantrips were held before the interurban was abandoned on January 21, 1963. Don’s Rail Photos says, “744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940.” This car is on the wye at the Harrison Street Shops in Milwaukee.

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This photo of North Shore Line 774 plus 3 looks to have been taken where the line shifted from 5th to 6th Street in Milwaukee. The date is January 13, 1963, just eight days before service ended. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

This photo of North Shore Line 774 plus 3 looks to have been taken where the line shifted from 5th to 6th Street in Milwaukee. The date is January 13, 1963, just eight days before service ended. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A photo stop on the same January 13, 1963 fantrip. Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can help identify the location. Don's Rail Photos says, "774 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930, It was rebuilt as Silverliner on May 9, 1950." Joey Morrow writes: "NSL 774 is west of Green Bay Jct. The line to the west leads to the Highwood shops and offices. In the distance you can see the bridge that is currently used by the Metra UP-N. You can still see where the NSL once ran under the bridge. The line to the east leads to The Lake Bluff station just across the street out of the shot. Not totally sure if the cement that once held the catenary supports is still there or not, but the telephone POLES behind the camera man are still there." (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

A photo stop on the same January 13, 1963 fantrip. Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can help identify the location. Don’s Rail Photos says, “774 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930, It was rebuilt as Silverliner on May 9, 1950.” Joey Morrow writes: “NSL 774 is west of Green Bay Jct. The line to the west leads to the Highwood shops and offices. In the distance you can see the bridge that is currently used by the Metra UP-N. You can still see where the NSL once ran under the bridge. The line to the east leads to The Lake Bluff station just across the street out of the shot. Not totally sure if the cement that once held the catenary supports is still there or not, but the telephone POLES behind the camera man are still there.” (J. W. Vigrass Photo)

It's April 1964, more than a year after North Shore Line service ended. Car 251 is at the head of the line here, and has already been sold to the Illinois Railway Museum, where she runs today. This may also be a J. W. Vigrass photo, but it is not marked as such.

It’s April 1964, more than a year after North Shore Line service ended. Car 251 is at the head of the line here, and has already been sold to the Illinois Railway Museum, where she runs today. This may also be a J. W. Vigrass photo, but it is not marked as such.

A close-up of the last picture shows a sign: "Acq'd for Ill. Ry. Museum. Do not climb, tamper with, or remove parts from this car." Sound advice, indeed!

A close-up of the last picture shows a sign: “Acq’d for Ill. Ry. Museum. Do not climb, tamper with, or remove parts from this car.” Sound advice, indeed!

Our previous post The Littlest Hobo (November 27, 2016), which featured some pictures of scrapped Pacific Electric “Hollywood” cars stacked up like cordwood, inspired me to run this photo, showing one of the cars that actually was saved:

Pacific Electric "Hollywood" car 5112 in Watts local service on April 9, 1958. By then, the service was being operated by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. Don's Rail Photos says, "637 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1922. It was rebuilt in 1939 and rebuilt in 1950 as 5112. It became LAMTA 1801 in 1958. It was retired and restored as 637 at Orange Empire Railway Museum in March 1960."

Pacific Electric “Hollywood” car 5112 in Watts local service on April 9, 1958. By then, the service was being operated by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. Don’s Rail Photos says, “637 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1922. It was rebuilt in 1939 and rebuilt in 1950 as 5112. It became LAMTA 1801 in 1958. It was retired and restored as 637 at Orange Empire Railway Museum in March 1960.”

The following photo has been added to our post Red Arrow in Westchester (September 13, 2016):

Although the late Merritt Taylor, Jr. may have been, in some fashion, a "closet railfan," he was also responsible for the ill-fated Railbus experiment on the Red Arrow Lines in 1967-68. This was an attempt to replace rail with buses that could also run on railroad tracks. Fortunately, the effort proved to be a failure. Taylor had found that he couldn't simply convert all his rail lines to bus service, without losing much of the rights-of-way in turn due to the terms under which rail service had started many years earlier. It turns out that the requirements of a railcar and a bus are too much different to be combined into a single vehicle. Within a couple years of this experiment, Taylor sold Red Arrow to SEPTA, and the Norristown, Media and Sharon Hill lines remain rail to this day.

Although the late Merritt Taylor, Jr. may have been, in some fashion, a “closet railfan,” he was also responsible for the ill-fated Railbus experiment on the Red Arrow Lines in 1967-68. This was an attempt to replace rail with buses that could also run on railroad tracks. Fortunately, the effort proved to be a failure. Taylor had found that he couldn’t simply convert all his rail lines to bus service, without losing much of the rights-of-way in turn due to the terms under which rail service had started many years earlier. It turns out that the requirements of a railcar and a bus are too much different to be combined into a single vehicle. Within a couple years of this experiment, Taylor sold Red Arrow to SEPTA, and the Norristown, Media and Sharon Hill lines remain rail to this day.

PS- Here is a video with many additional pictures of the Red Arrow Railbus:


Recent Correspondence

The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

The experimental Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Hampton Wayt writes:

I am trying to research the history of the design (industrial design or “styling”) of the PCC streetcars. Over the years, two different people have independently indicated to me that industrial designer Donald R. Dohner was responsible for the design of the PCC, but I have been unable to verify it. Dohner was the head of design for Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company from 1930 through 1934 and would work on many transportation designs while employed there. He also had an industrial design firm in Pittsburgh after leaving Westinghouse.

Dohner was the unrecognized primary designer of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s iconic GG-1 electric locomotive for which Raymond Loewy got (or should I say, “took”) full credit. For years, retired industrial designers that I met told me that Dohner designed the GG-1 despite what Loewy claimed, and after doing some serious in depth research I was finally able to prove they were right (Loewy made some very minor changes to the GG-1 prior to manufacturing, but would take credit for much, much more than he actually did). Dohner never received credit for the design during his lifetime, and only began to receive recognition for it for the first time 75 years later after the fact, thanks to an article I wrote on the matter for Classic Trains magazine in 2009.

A couple of years ago I was also able to verify that Dohner designed the New Haven Comet Train with the Goodyear Zeppelin Corporation, his having worked heavily on the design in 1933. He never received credit for the design of this train either.

Neither of the two individuals who credited Dohner with the PCC design knew the name of the streetcar, but both stated that it was a design that was used universally all over the country. One of the men also stated that the cars were in Brooklyn first and then “all over.” That suggests the PCC to me, but I do not know where to begin to research it.

Do you happen to know if any of the original paperwork for the Presidents Conference Committee exists for researchers? If so, I would love visit the archives and take a close look and see if Dohner’s name appears anywhere in the record as it did in Pennsylvania Railroad paperwork found during my research on the GG-1.

It also occurred to me that Dohner could have been involved in the design of the experimental CSL 4001 car, which was developed with Westinghouse. Do you happen to know if there is any documentation on the development of this unit?

Any guidance you can give me would be greatly appreciated, and I look forward to your response.

Best Regards,
Hampton C. Wayt
http://www.hamptoncwayt.com

Thanks for writing. In one of my previous blog posts, I note the following:

Starting in 1929, CSL* was a very active participant in the Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Committee, whose work developed the standardized PCC car, which soon dominated the industry.

The PCC patents were assigned to the Transit Research Corporation, whose stock was owned by the various transit operators who took part in the program. CSL apparently owned the largest amount of stock, which in turn was owned by the Chicago Transit Authority starting in 1947. Eventually Walter J. McCarter, first general manager of CTA, became the head of TRC, which I think has since been disbanded.

*Chicago Surface Lines

TRC’s successor, in turn, was the Institute for Rapid Transit, which merged with the American Public Transit Association, and is now called the American Public Transportation Association. So, you might try contacting them to see what they may know.

However, if Dr. Harold E. Cox is to be believed, TRC’s main focus was technical patents involving components such as truck and wheel design. (See his 1965 article, “What is a PCC Car?”)

Dr. Cox is, as far as I know, still living, so you might try contacting him as well. However, according to this news story from 2015, Dr. Cox is fighting a courageous public battle with Alzheimer’s.

It may be that a lot of the familiar PCC design “look” came from each individual car manufacturer, building on previous work done by others. The progression would be from the 1934 Brill car 7001, built for the Chicago Surface Lines, to the very similar cars built for Washington, D.C. in 1935 (the order split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company), to the 1936 PCCs from SLCC (Brooklyn, Chicago, et al) and the one car built by the Clark Equipment Co. (which has standee windows, not seen on many cars prior to the end of WWII).

The efforts from various manufacturers to develop a “type car” preceded the PCC effort, as can be seen in the Brill “Master Units” circa 1932. But these efforts were never 100% successful, although the PCC car did come the closest. Still, there were numerous variations between cities, Chicago’s being the most different of them all.

Even after the concept of a “standard” PCC car became the norm for North American cities, the PCCs made by SLCC competitor Pullman have subtle differences in styling, including a somewhat boxier overall appearance. This may have been the result of differences in manufacturing techniques between the two companies.

So, chances are the styling of the PCC cars cannot be ascribed to a single individual, but it is certainly possible that one person, such as your candidate, may have played a very important part.

There is also a complicating factor regarding Brill. While Brill built the CSL 7001, and part of the 1935 order for DC, the company had a policy of not paying any patent royalties to other firms. Thus, they parted ways with the PCC project at this point.

However, they did come up with their own PCC knock-off, which was called the Brilliner. They first started marketing these in 1938, and the last ones were sold in 1941. Very few were sold.

The Brilliner came too late to save Brill. By then, St. Louis Car Company had the bulk of the streetcar market to themselves, with Pullman taking a much smaller share.

Brill exited the streetcar market at this point, and merged with ACF in 1944 to form ACF-Brill. They made buses, including some trolley buses.

I hope other people who read this may be able to offer additional insights of their own. I am assuming you are familiar with the available literature, which includes various books such as PCC From Coast to Coast. There is at least one book about the St. Louis Car Company, written by the late Alan R. Lind. Some of the other PCC books, which you might find for cheap or in public libraries, include PCC: The Car That Fought Back, An American Original: The PCC Car, and Dr. Cox’s PCC Cars of North America.

Thanks.


Jay Maeder, Sr.

John Edward Maeder's 1925 high school yearbook picture. Hawken School is located in Cleveland, Ohio, and was founded in 1915.

John Edward Maeder’s 1925 high school yearbook picture. Hawken School is located in Cleveland, Ohio, and was founded in 1915.

We have written about the short-lived and ill-fated Speedrail project before. This was a 1949-51 attempt to continue interurban service between Milwaukee and Waukesha, Wisconsin, led by Jay Maeder, Sr. (1908-1975).

This was a noble effort. Maeder grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where a former interurban still runs today as the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit line.

Milwaukee’s TMER&L (aka TMER&T) west line was known locally as the “Rapid Transit” line, and with a little less bad luck, could have evolved into something akin to what Cleveland has today. But alas, it was not to be, due to a horrific head-on collision in 1950 that killed several people.

Jay Maeder, Sr. was at the controls of one of the two cars involved in the collision, which remains controversial to this day. The question recently came up on one of the online transit forums I belong to, as to what Maeder’s background was. I did manage to come up with a few things:

His real name was John Edward Maeder. Jay was a nickname. In the 1930 census, the family was living in South Euclid, Ohio.

In a 1949 newspaper article, regarding the Speedrail purchase, Maeder is referred to as a “Cleveland industrial engineer.” Apparently, he was an efficiency expert.

“Jay” probably was a nickname based on his first initial. Perhaps, like many other people, he did not like his first name (cf. James Paul McCartney).

Here is his high school yearbook from 1925:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/k12-prod-us-east-1-media-pub/291/misc/misc_112653.pdf

At that time, John Edward Maeder was nicknamed “Ed,” which is how they had him in some of the census records. Apparently, he did not like his first name.

John Edward Maeder’s birth certificate gives the same date of birth as that given for Jay Edward Maeder (March 11, 1908).

The 1910 US census says there was a two-year-old child named Edward in the household, but does not mention other siblings. Since his father’s name was also John, that may be why they were calling him Edward from an early age.

The 1920 census has him as J. Edward, but again mentions no siblings.

In the 1930 census, they have him as Edward J., but again there are no siblings listed. He was 22 years old then, and his occupation is listed as a newspaper solicitor (salesman?).

So, everything seems to indicate he was an only child. Haven’t found an obit for Jay Maeder Sr. yet though.

Jay Maeder Sr.’s wife Catherine died in Houston, Texas in 2009, aged about 99.

I don’t know if Jay Maeder Sr. ever lived in Texas, or if, sometime after the 1950 crash, he reverted to using John, his real name.  His son, Jay Maeder, Jr. lived from 1947 to 2014, and was the last writer for the Little Orphan Annie cartoon strip before it was retired in 2010.

If Speedrail had survived, it surely would have received a shot in the arm from the opening of County Stadium along its route in 1953. The Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee that year, and had good attendance for several years before moving to Atlanta in 1965. The Braves were in the World Series two years running (1957-58), winning the world championship in 1957 over the New York Yankees.


Bonus Photo

Pictures of the Grand Rapids (Michigan) streetcar system are rare, as it quit in 1935. Creating a roster would be difficult, as the cars had names rather than numbers. Here, we see the "F. W. Wurtzburg," built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

Pictures of the Grand Rapids (Michigan) streetcar system are rare, as it quit in 1935. Creating a roster would be difficult, as the cars had names rather than numbers. Here, we see the “F. W. Wurtzburg,” built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)


New Book Project

We are now working on a new paperback book Chicago Trolleys, that we expect will be published in 2017. Original research does cost money, so please consider making a donation to cover our costs. We will keep you updated as we progress, and thank you in advance for your help.


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The Littlest Hobo

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People often have memories, dating back to childhood, of things that, for unknown reasons, made a big impression on them. In my case, it is an obscure 1958 children’s film called The Littlest Hobo.

Here is a synopsis from Amazon:

While beloved collie Lassie captivated TV viewers, this simple, sweet-natured film, shot all over 1950s Los Angeles, follows a clever German Shepherd who hops off a freight train and soon rescues a lamb bound for slaughter. Along the way, the canny canine outwits the cops, a dog catcher and some predatory bums, even arriving at a soup kitchen as the preacher welcomes his “lost sheep.” He also helps a wheelchair-bound girl take her first steps and earns his woolly pal a gubernatorial pardon. Improbable? More like irresistible. So much so that The Littlest Hobo graduated to lasting fame in two popular Canadian TV series across two decades, first-time director Charles R. Rondeau became a prolific helmer of episodic TV, and young lead Buddy Hart would go on to play Chester Anderson on Leave It to Beaver. Buoyed by a breezy, jazz-inflected score by Ronald Stein and the lovely tune “Road Without End,” sung by Randy Sparks, The Littlest Hobo, long out of circulation but happily back to win over a new generation, is the doggonedest charmer ever.

And here is a more thorough version from Turner Classic Movies:

A German shepherd dog named London accompanies a hobo to Los Angeles aboard a freight train. After getting a bath from the railcar washer, London helps clean up at a nearby hamburger stand, but decides to move on when the hobo takes a job there. Later, while strolling down Wilshire Blvd., London is drawn to a striking French poodle, but is distracted by a passing truck carrying a young boy, Tommy, weeping over a lamb. London follows the truck to a slaughterhouse, where, realizing the lamb’s fate, the dog rescues him. Startled, the workers at the meat plant contact the police, who pursue the animals but lose them in a junkyard filled with abandoned streetcars. Coming upon an evangelist on the street preaching about “the lost lamb”, the animals are given food and spend the night in the mission. The next day London and the lamb, Fleecie, continue on and find themselves near the mansion of Governor Malloy. The governor is consulting Dr. Hunt about his young daughter Molly, who is confined to a wheelchair. Dr. Hunt tells Malloy that Molly must regain the desire to walk again. London leads Fleecie near Molly and pretends to attack the lamb in order to provoke the child into walking. Frantic to save Fleecie, Molly stands up and takes several steps toward the animals before collapsing. Her cries draw her father, but frighten Fleecie, who runs away. The police soon recapture the lamb and return it to the slaughterhouse. Malloy, however, has put a search out for Fleecie to please Molly. The Malloys find Fleecie and save the lamb just in time. Meanwhile, London locates Tommy and guides him to the governor’s mansion to show the little boy the happiness Fleecie has brought to someone else. Content that Fleecie is safe and cared for, Tommy departs, escorted by London, who remains with the boy a short while before again answering the call of the open road.

This was very much a low-budget film, which made great use of striking outdoor locations, in Southern California rail yards and on Terminal Island, where hundreds of LA interurbans and streetcars were stacked up like cordwood. Being just the right age for this film when it was new, these scenes remained vivid in my memory. In some shots, you can actually read individual car numbers.

Unfortunately, this film was unavailable for many years. Now it has been released on DVD, and after a wait of more than 50 years, I finally had a chance recently to watch the film again. Sure enough, for me, the most effective scenes in the film are the ones shot on Terminal Island, where Pacific Electric “Hollywood” cars were piled up alongside H and K-series streetcars from Los Angeles. Some say there were still car bodies there as late as 1966. Interestingly, a few cars were dumped into the Pacific Ocean off Redondo Beach, in order to create an artificial reef.

The film’s success led to a couple of long-running Canadian TV series, which I have not seen.

Here are some screen shots from the 1958 film, featuring the various railroad locations that were used as backdrops. To these, we have added some additional pictures from Terminal Island that we found on the Internet.

And while the great majority of LA’s streetcars and interurbans were already on the “scrap heap of history” by 1958, they did run for a few years longer before their final abandonments, the PE until 1961 and LA streetcars in 1963. But even then, that was not really the end.

In the years since 1963, electric transit in Los Angeles has made a comeback in a big way. And, thanks to a recent successful ballot initiative, LA’s system seems likely to continue to grow and expand for many years to come.

-David Sadowski


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Additional Photos

Stacks of carbodies signal the end of rail service in Los Angeles with these former Pacific Electric streetcars neatly arranged at a Terminal Island scrapyard. (Jack Finn Collection)

Stacks of carbodies signal the end of rail service in Los Angeles with these former Pacific Electric streetcars neatly arranged at a Terminal Island scrapyard. (Jack Finn Collection)

Pacific Electric Railway streetcars stacked at a junkyard on Terminal Island, March 1956.

Pacific Electric Railway streetcars stacked at a junkyard on Terminal Island, March 1956.

The final resting place. National Metal and Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Long Beach, California. Notice the stacks of Pacific Electric street cars in the background. May 1959. (Robert Vredenburgh Photo)

The final resting place. National Metal and Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Long Beach, California. Notice the stacks of Pacific Electric street cars in the background. May 1959. (Robert Vredenburgh Photo)

Pacific Electric street cars waiting to be scrapped. National Metal and Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Long Beach, California. May 1959. (Robert Vredenburgh Photo)

Pacific Electric street cars waiting to be scrapped. National Metal and Steel Corp., Terminal Island, Long Beach, California. May 1959. (Robert Vredenburgh Photo)

Pacific Electric red cars awaiting demolition on terminal island in Long Beach, CA.

Pacific Electric red cars awaiting demolition on terminal island in Long Beach, CA.

It's 1958 at the Terminal Island scrapyard where Los Angeles Transit Lines (and in this shot, Southern Pacific) units go to die an inglorious death. Three LATL (ex-Los Angeles Railway) units sit atop one another while being framed by former SP heavyweight cars. (L. Swanson Photo, Andy Goddard Collection)

It’s 1958 at the Terminal Island scrapyard where Los Angeles Transit Lines (and in this shot, Southern Pacific) units go to die an inglorious death. Three LATL (ex-Los Angeles Railway) units sit atop one another while being framed by former SP heavyweight cars. (L. Swanson Photo, Andy Goddard Collection)

Los Angeles Transit Lines (ex-Los Angeles Railway) car no. 1159 sits atop other units at the Terminal Island scrapyard. The image is dated November 2, 1958. (L. Swanson Photo, Andy Goddard Collection)

Los Angeles Transit Lines (ex-Los Angeles Railway) car no. 1159 sits atop other units at the Terminal Island scrapyard. The image is dated November 2, 1958. (L. Swanson Photo, Andy Goddard Collection)

Pacific Electric "Hollywood Cars" stacked for scrap on Terminal Island, near Long Beach.

Pacific Electric “Hollywood Cars” stacked for scrap on Terminal Island, near Long Beach.

AWAITING DESTRUCTION--Old Pacific Electric cars are piled up like toys at junkyard on Terminal Island, awaiting dismantling to become scrap metal. (Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection)

AWAITING DESTRUCTION–Old Pacific Electric cars are piled up like toys at junkyard on Terminal Island, awaiting dismantling to become scrap metal. (Los Angeles Times Photographic Collection)

Scrapping at National Metals on Terminal Island circa 1956.

Scrapping at National Metals on Terminal Island circa 1956.

Los Angeles streetcars at Terminal Island.

Los Angeles streetcars at Terminal Island.

(Ralph Cantos Collection)

(Ralph Cantos Collection)

Decommissioned former Pacific Electric streetcars are stacked prior to scrapping on Terminal Island. The date is February 23, 1956. (Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection)

Decommissioned former Pacific Electric streetcars are stacked prior to scrapping on Terminal Island. The date is February 23, 1956. (Alan Weeks Photo, Alan Weeks Collection)

Abandoned former Pacific Electric streetcars get piled high at the Terminal Island scrapyard in the 1950s. (Jack Finn Collection)

Abandoned former Pacific Electric streetcars get piled high at the Terminal Island scrapyard in the 1950s. (Jack Finn Collection)

Marine biologists inspect the street cars to be used in artificial reef pilot projects in 1959. (Photo, Artificial Habitat in the Marine Environment, Department of Fish and Game, University of California, 1964)

Marine biologists inspect the street cars to be used in artificial reef pilot projects in 1959. (Photo, Artificial Habitat in the Marine Environment, Department of Fish and Game, University of California, 1964)

A U.S. Navy salvage ship lowers an unknown trolley or streetcar into the Pacific off Redondo Beach / Palos Verdes in September 1956. (Photo, Artificial Habitat in the Marine Environment, Department of Fish and Game, University of California, 1964)

A U.S. Navy salvage ship lowers an unknown trolley or streetcar into the Pacific off Redondo Beach / Palos Verdes in September 1956. (Photo, Artificial Habitat in the Marine Environment, Department of Fish and Game, University of California, 1964)

Marine biologist Charles H. Turner inspects a submerged trolley in the South Bay, July 1959. (Photo, Artificial Habitat in the Marine Environment, Department of Fish and Game, University of California, 1964)

Marine biologist Charles H. Turner inspects a submerged trolley in the South Bay, July 1959. (Photo, Artificial Habitat in the Marine Environment, Department of Fish and Game, University of California, 1964)

New Book Project

We are now working on a new paperback book Chicago Trolleys, that we expect will be published in 2017. Original research does cost money, so please consider making a donation to cover our costs. We will keep you updated as we progress, and thank you in advance for your help.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 167th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 222,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a contribution there as well.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

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Stephen M. Scalzo in Memoriam

The late Stephen M. Scalzo‘s family has graciously permitted me to share this information with you, for the benefit of those who knew him:

Stephen Michael Scalzo, 73, of Park Forest, Illinois, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, in the arms of his wife, Kimberly. He was preceded by his parents, Silvio M. and Jerry V. Scalzo, and is directly survived by his wife, daughter Emily, sons David and Michael, daughter-in-law Licun, grandson Ciro, estranged sister Annette, and nieces Michelle and Kristi. His extended family, friends, and colleagues number in the hundreds. He was an animal lover, and many of Stephen’s pet companions were rescues, including the Chihuahua he left behind, Chiquita, her daughter Spot, and his cats, Chessie and Panama—fittingly named after railways.

A native of Peoria, Illinois, Stephen was an alumnus of Bradley University and worked many years for various railways, most recently Metra in Chicago. Fittingly, he passed in Metra’s Millennium Station on his way to work at a job he loved. He was an avid rail fan and belonged to the CERA and was an Illinois Railway Museum member since the 1960s. He attended monthly CERA meetings in the Loop, and often took Saturdays out to go to Union, Illinois to enjoy the exhibits and ride the trains at the museum. His obsession was electric streetcars and trolleys. He was a cartographer whose maps were published in numerous CERA publications, and his articles about railways were published in a variety of train magazines.

Although he grew up listening to the St. Louis Cardinals on the radio, he grew to love the Cubs after moving to Chicago in the 1960s and enjoyed attending games at Wrigley with his children—especially if the Cardinals were in town. He celebrated the 2016 Cubs World Series win with joy and was looking forward to next year.

A quiet man, he was known for a dry sense of humor and had a mischievous streak, occasionally playing pranks when his family least expected them—though he never could hold back a wicked little grin when he was playing them. He was generous, loving, and hard-working. He will be greatly missed by many.

Stephen Scalzo will be laid to rest in an informal ceremony at Skyline Memorial Park’s chapel at 10am, Wednesday, November 23, 2016. He wished that in lieu of flowers, donations in his memory be sent to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois, where he spent many happy days riding the trains and enjoying the exhibits.

Skyline Memorial Park is located at 24800 S. Governors Highway in Monee, Illinois.

Our deepest sympathies go out to the entire Scalzo family for their loss. The family has also created a memorial page here.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Eight

This famous photo shows Tower 18 at Lake and Wells in 1917, a very busy intersection indeed. We are looking north along Wells. In 1969, the tower was torn down and replaced in a slightly different location, so that Lake Street trains could continue directly east instead of having to turn south on Wells. This was done to facilitate pairing the Lake line with the new Dan Ryan service. (George Trapp collection)

This famous photo shows Tower 18 at Lake and Wells in 1917, a very busy intersection indeed. We are looking north along Wells. In 1969, the tower was torn down and replaced in a slightly different location, so that Lake Street trains could continue directly east instead of having to turn south on Wells. This was done to facilitate pairing the Lake line with the new Dan Ryan service. (George Trapp collection)

I apologize for the 16-day gap since our last post, but I recently worked 15 straight days as an election judge. It usually takes me a while to recover when I do this. On the other hand, I have friends who say it will take them the next four years to recover from this election, so I should consider myself fortunate.

Today we have another generous selection of Chicago rapid transit photos from the collections of George Trapp. We thank him again for sharing these with our readers.

Today, we are mainly featuring the South Side “L”, used by today’s CTA Green Line, plus Howard Street on the North side, and the Niles Center/Skokie branch, today’s Yellow Line.

As always, if you have anything interesting to add to the discussion, you can either leave a comment here on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- To find earlier posts in our series, just type “Chicago rapid transit” in the search window at the top of the page.


CTA hi-speed 6129 at Chicago Avenue on the Ravenswood (today's Brown Line) in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA hi-speed 6129 at Chicago Avenue on the Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speeds 32 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speeds 32 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speed 3 at Kimball in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speed 3 at Kimball in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This look like the Linden Yard in Wilmette to me. The date is 1957-58. George Trapp: "Linden Yard but looking North toward Linden Station." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) This and the other photos taken at the same time are "Kodachrome prints" (see the next picture).

This look like the Linden Yard in Wilmette to me. The date is 1957-58. George Trapp: “Linden Yard but looking North toward Linden Station.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) This and the other photos taken at the same time are “Kodachrome prints” (see the next picture).

The phrase "Kodachrome print" has gone by the wayside. But back in the old days, there were two different ways to make color prints-- a Type C print from a negative, and a Type R print from a slide. You could also have a C print made from a slide by way of an internegative, which somewhat reduced the inevitable buildup in contrast printing direct, but also sacrificed some sharpness. Scanning and modern color printing has replaced much of this.

The phrase “Kodachrome print” has gone by the wayside. But back in the old days, there were two different ways to make color prints– a Type C print from a negative, and a Type R print from a slide. You could also have a C print made from a slide by way of an internegative, which somewhat reduced the inevitable buildup in contrast printing direct, but also sacrificed some sharpness. Scanning and modern color printing has replaced much of this.

A pair of flat-door 6000s at Howard Yard circa 1957-58. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A pair of flat-door 6000s at Howard Yard circa 1957-58. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Howard Yard, 1957-58. This was taken at the same time as the previous photo. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Howard Yard, 1957-58. This was taken at the same time as the previous photo. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

THe view looking north from the transfer bridge at Howard in 1957-58. The tracks going to the north are Evanston; at left, the North Shore Line's Skokie Valley Route, site of today's Yellow Line. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

THe view looking north from the transfer bridge at Howard in 1957-58. The tracks going to the north are Evanston; at left, the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route, site of today’s Yellow Line. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

In response to demands that the struggling Chicago Rapid Transit Company replace their aging fleet of wooden cars with modern ones, the company had a mock-up built for a proposed 5000-series car at Skokie Shops. This shows some influence from New York City cars. The 5001-5004 articulated cars that were eventually built in 1947-48 were patterned after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit "Bluebirds," but styling from this mock-up does seem to be reflected in the 6000s that followed in 1950. (George Trapp Collection)

In response to demands that the struggling Chicago Rapid Transit Company replace their aging fleet of wooden cars with modern ones, the company had a mock-up built for a proposed 5000-series car at Skokie Shops. This shows some influence from New York City cars. The 5001-5004 articulated cars that were eventually built in 1947-48 were patterned after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit “Bluebirds,” but styling from this mock-up does seem to be reflected in the 6000s that followed in 1950. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT gate car 2509, shown here coupled to 4395, is signed for Westchester, so this may be Laramie Yard on the Garfield Park "L". (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT gate car 2509, shown here coupled to 4395, is signed for Westchester, so this may be Laramie Yard on the Garfield Park “L”. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A Niles Center car at Main Street in Skokie. (George Trapp Collection)

A Niles Center car at Main Street in Skokie. (George Trapp Collection)

When the Niles Center branch ran (1925-1948), Chicago's rapid transit lines depended on a lot of walk-in riders from the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, large parts of Skokie were not built up until after World War II. (George Trapp Collection)

When the Niles Center branch ran (1925-1948), Chicago’s rapid transit lines depended on a lot of walk-in riders from the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, large parts of Skokie were not built up until after World War II. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1804, shown here at Crawford, has just changed over from overhead wire to third rail on its inbound journey. George Trapp: "This car, built by A. C. F., was originally a trailer as were all the cars from 1789-1815. These cars are quite similar to the 1769-1788 built by Pullman in 1909." (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1804, shown here at Crawford, has just changed over from overhead wire to third rail on its inbound journey. George Trapp: “This car, built by A. C. F., was originally a trailer as were all the cars from 1789-1815. These cars are quite similar to the 1769-1788 built by Pullman in 1909.” (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1807 in the pocket track at Dempster, northern end of the Niles Center branch. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 1807 in the pocket track at Dempster, northern end of the Niles Center branch. (George Trapp Collection)

A train of CRT 4000s on the North Shore Line. (George Trapp Collection)

A train of CRT 4000s on the North Shore Line. (George Trapp Collection)

The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)

The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)

The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. George Trapp: "Note cars 1776 and 1779, which head up the two trains at right. Built by Pullman in 1909, these were the last wooden cars built new in Chicago." (George Trapp Collection)

The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. George Trapp: “Note cars 1776 and 1779, which head up the two trains at right. Built by Pullman in 1909, these were the last wooden cars built new in Chicago.” (George Trapp Collection)

Construction at Skokie Shops. By comparing this photo to a similar one on Graham Garfield's web site, we can date this to about 1930. George Trapp: "Construction at Skokie (Niles Center at time of photo) is late 1920's or early 1930's. Wood cars at right are in CRT Green and Orange scheme." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Construction at Skokie Shops. By comparing this photo to a similar one on Graham Garfield’s web site, we can date this to about 1930. George Trapp: “Construction at Skokie (Niles Center at time of photo) is late 1920’s or early 1930’s. Wood cars at right are in CRT Green and Orange scheme.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The view looking north from Howard Street. George Trapp dates this to the "late 1920's - 1930's." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The view looking north from Howard Street. George Trapp dates this to the “late 1920’s – 1930’s.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

The Ravenswood terminal at Lawrence and Kimball in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)

The Ravenswood terminal at Lawrence and Kimball in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speed car 4, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1960, at Skokie Shops in December 1962. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA high-speed car 4, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1960, at Skokie Shops in December 1962. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 29 outbound from Howard on the new Skokie Swift in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 29 outbound from Howard on the new Skokie Swift in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA high-speed car 2 at Skokie Shops in June 1962. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA high-speed car 2 at Skokie Shops in June 1962. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA car 4 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA car 4 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA car 2 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA car 2 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CRT 4320 at Skokie Shops, freshly repainted. George Trapp: "CRT 4320 not CTA, car is freshly painted in CRT Green and Orange and is a Met assigned car note position of safety springs and Van Dorn coupler." Comparison with a similar photograph dates this one to 1937. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4320 at Skokie Shops, freshly repainted. George Trapp: “CRT 4320 not CTA, car is freshly painted in CRT Green and Orange and is a Met assigned car note position of safety springs and Van Dorn coupler.” Comparison with a similar photograph dates this one to 1937. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Gate cars at Howard. (George Trapp Collection)

Gate cars at Howard. (George Trapp Collection)

A CTA single car unit at Howard on the Evanston shuttle. (Lou Gerard Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A CTA single car unit (28) at Howard on the Evanston shuttle. (Lou Gerard Photo, George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: "Car 2788 is probably at 54th Avenue yard on Douglas Park branch as that is what rear side sign says." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: “Car 2788 is probably at 54th Avenue yard on Douglas Park branch as that is what rear side sign says.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

An old postcard view of the Wells Street bridge over the Chicago River. I assume we are looking north. The clock tower is part of the old Chicago & North Western station. It would be nice to see this one in color. (George Trapp Collection)

An old postcard view of the Wells Street bridge over the Chicago River. I assume we are looking north. The clock tower is part of the old Chicago & North Western station. It would be nice to see this one in color. (George Trapp Collection)

Metropolitan Elevated Railway car 800 heads up a train in the early 1900s at the old Glenwood amusement park in Batavia on the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago (later the CA&E). That's the branch's large powerhouse in the background. Circa 1960, this was considered (but rejected) as the new home for the fledgling Illinois Electric Railway Museum. (George Trapp Collection)

Metropolitan Elevated Railway car 800 heads up a train in the early 1900s at the old Glenwood amusement park in Batavia on the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago (later the CA&E). That’s the branch’s large powerhouse in the background. Circa 1960, this was considered (but rejected) as the new home for the fledgling Illinois Electric Railway Museum. (George Trapp Collection)

Unlike this one, most 4000-series "L" cars did not have giant thumbprints on them. So, either the Cardiff Giant has paid a visit, or someone put their thumb onto a wet print or negative. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Unlike this one, most 4000-series “L” cars did not have giant thumbprints on them. So, either the Cardiff Giant has paid a visit, or someone put their thumb onto a wet print or negative. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This photo of two gate cars on the Loop "L" is a bit scratchy, but I think I recognize the Insurance Exchange Building at right, which would make this the Wells leg of the Loop, looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

This photo of two gate cars on the Loop “L” is a bit scratchy, but I think I recognize the Insurance Exchange Building at right, which would make this the Wells leg of the Loop, looking north. (George Trapp Collection)

The South Side "L" crossing Garfield Boulevard (55th), circa the 1920s. (George Trapp Collection)

The South Side “L” crossing Garfield Boulevard (55th), circa the 1920s. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT gate car 50. Don's Rail Photos says, "50 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 50. It became CERy 50 in 1913 and CRT 50 in 1923. It was rebuilt as S2 in 1939." (George Trapp Collection)

CRT gate car 50. Don’s Rail Photos says, “50 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 50. It became CERy 50 in 1913 and CRT 50 in 1923. It was rebuilt as S2 in 1939.” (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4265 heads up a northbound train going into the State Street subway not far south of Roosevelt Road. It is signed as going to both Howard and Skokie. This picture must have been taken between 1943 and 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4265 heads up a northbound train going into the State Street subway not far south of Roosevelt Road. It is signed as going to both Howard and Skokie. This picture must have been taken between 1943 and 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South Side "L". (George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South Side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)

M. E. says this is "the view facing west at Indiana, again while the Kenwood line was a through line." George Trapp: "The center-door steel car is a loop-bound Kenwood train, shown at the junction with the main South Side "L". The 4-car train is a north-south through train. The wood train about to cross in front of the Kenwood train is probably a Loop-bound Englewood train." The tracks at right were used for freight. This photo was taken from the roof of the building shown on the left of the next picture that follows. Contrast this with a photo taken circa 1955-57 at much the same spot in our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)

M. E. says this is “the view facing west at Indiana, again while the Kenwood line was a through line.” George Trapp: “The center-door steel car is a loop-bound Kenwood train, shown at the junction with the main South Side “L”. The 4-car train is a north-south through train. The wood train about to cross in front of the Kenwood train is probably a Loop-bound Englewood train.” The tracks at right were used for freight. This photo was taken from the roof of the building shown on the left of the next picture that follows. Contrast this with a photo taken circa 1955-57 at much the same spot in our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)

I thought perhaps this was a Stock Yards train, but close examination of the sign seems to indicate it's a Kenwood instead. If you zoom in, you can also see freight tracks at left, which paralleled the Kenwood line on an embankment. If so, we are looking east from where the Kenwood branch met the South Side main line near Indiana Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)

I thought perhaps this was a Stock Yards train, but close examination of the sign seems to indicate it’s a Kenwood instead. If you zoom in, you can also see freight tracks at left, which paralleled the Kenwood line on an embankment. If so, we are looking east from where the Kenwood branch met the South Side main line near Indiana Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)

An enlargement of the previous photo, showing the Kenwood right-of-way adjacent to freight tracks on an embankment. I am not sure which movie theater that is in the background-- the only Park Theater I know of was located at Lake and Austin. This picture was probably taken in Kenwood shuttle days on the CTA (1949-1957), since there is only the one track connecting it with the main line. Two tracks were visible in the earlier picture taken from the roof of a nearby building. Chris Cole adds, "The Park Theater is listed in Cinema Treasures at 3955 S King Dr. That matches the location in the picture."

An enlargement of the previous photo, showing the Kenwood right-of-way adjacent to freight tracks on an embankment. I am not sure which movie theater that is in the background– the only Park Theater I know of was located at Lake and Austin. This picture was probably taken in Kenwood shuttle days on the CTA (1949-1957), since there is only the one track connecting it with the main line. Two tracks were visible in the earlier picture taken from the roof of a nearby building. Chris Cole adds, “The Park Theater is listed in Cinema Treasures at 3955 S King Dr. That matches the location in the picture.”

The facade of the old Park Theater, located at 3955 S. Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. Drive, is still there, next to the abandoned embankment that once housed the Kenwood "L".

The facade of the old Park Theater, located at 3955 S. Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. Drive, is still there, next to the abandoned embankment that once housed the Kenwood “L”.

M. E. writes: "The sign says Kenwood to Indiana Ave., which was the shuttle service."

M. E. writes: “The sign says Kenwood to Indiana Ave., which was the shuttle service.”

We are looking east from the Indiana Avenue station. Off in the distance, more or less straight ahead, is the Kenwood branch of the "L". The north-south main line heads off to the right (south) at this point, and Stock Yards service would go behind us to the west. M. E. adds: "The caption also says Stock Yards service is behind the photographer. It would be more accurate to say the Stock Yards L used the south side of the south platform, which is visible in the picture. From there the Stock Yards L headed west (behind the photographer) to Halsted, then into the stock yards. This picture was taken while the Kenwood line was still a through line into the Loop (and possibly north to Wilson). The same view after the Kenwood line was cut back to a shuttle is in photo dave408." George Trapp adds: "straight ahead with jog is the Kenwood Branch, which shared embankment with Chicago Junction Ry." (George Trapp Collection)

We are looking east from the Indiana Avenue station. Off in the distance, more or less straight ahead, is the Kenwood branch of the “L”. The north-south main line heads off to the right (south) at this point, and Stock Yards service would go behind us to the west. M. E. adds: “The caption also says Stock Yards service is behind the photographer. It would be more accurate to say the Stock Yards L used the south side of the south platform, which is visible in the picture. From there the Stock Yards L headed west (behind the photographer) to Halsted, then into the stock yards. This picture was taken while the Kenwood line was still a through line into the Loop (and possibly north to Wilson). The same view after the Kenwood line was cut back to a shuttle is in photo dave408.” George Trapp adds: “straight ahead with jog is the Kenwood Branch, which shared embankment with Chicago Junction Ry.” (George Trapp Collection)

David Vartanoff noticed that this Chicago Blues LP features a cover shot of the "L", taken where Kenwood branched off from the main line.

David Vartanoff noticed that this Chicago Blues LP features a cover shot of the “L”, taken where Kenwood branched off from the main line.

61st Street on the South side "L". (George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: "The pair of South Side gate cars are at Lake between State and Wabash on a Wilson Ave. Local, probably originating on the Kenwood Branch." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

George Trapp: “The pair of South Side gate cars are at Lake between State and Wabash on a Wilson Ave. Local, probably originating on the Kenwood Branch.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. (George Trapp Collection)

This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. (George Trapp Collection)

South Side Rapid Transit car 139 rounding the curve at Harrison and State, probably in the late 1890s. George Foelschow: "The photo of South Side car 139 on the Harrison curve April 16, 1898 appears on page 35 of CERA B-131, authored by Bruce Moffat. Multiple-unit inventor Frank Sprague may be at the controls, since he is pictured on the following page the next day on an M-U test at 61st Street yard. These tests presaged the steam to electric conversion on the South Side “L”." (George Trapp Collection)

South Side Rapid Transit car 139 rounding the curve at Harrison and State, probably in the late 1890s. George Foelschow: “The photo of South Side car 139 on the Harrison curve April 16, 1898 appears on page 35 of CERA B-131, authored by Bruce Moffat. Multiple-unit inventor Frank Sprague may be at the controls, since he is pictured on the following page the next day on an M-U test at 61st Street yard. These tests presaged the steam to electric conversion on the South Side “L”.” (George Trapp Collection)

It is not widely known, but during its first few years, the South side "L" was powered by steam. This picture was taken at Indiana Avenue in the 1890s. (George Trapp Collection)

It is not widely known, but during its first few years, the South side “L” was powered by steam. This picture was taken at Indiana Avenue in the 1890s. (George Trapp Collection)

Finally, here are a few more pictures from a 4000s fantrip on the Skokie Swift in the late 1970s or early 1980s:

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)

(George Trapp Photo)


Recent Correspondence

Adam Platt from Minneapolis writes:

Hello David… very much enjoy the blog and look forward to your posts.

A couple of notes regarding the current post.

—Re Kenwood shuttle–The Park theater at 40th and Grand Blvd opened as the Grand Oak, a vaudeville house, but became the Park during the period 1937-1958.

—The single unit at Howard NB on Evanston shuttle is car 28. Throughout the late 1960s and 70s, the car assignments on Evanston (still hard to think of it as the Purple Line) were single units 27, 28, 39-50. I practically lived on these cars growing up in east Wilmette. Later the CTA moved single units 5-22 and 31-38 from the Ravenswood to Linden and they operated in rush hour Evanston Express service, but I believe lacking fireboxes, they did not run in shuttle service.

1-4 were retired early, though I remember riding 4 on Skokie in the 1970s, in normal green/white CTA paint, though service there was held down mostly by cars 23-26, 29-30, which had pan trolleys, with doodlebugs 51-54 running in rush hour. Ultimately all 5-50 finished their lives on Evanston, I believe, though perhaps the Skokie cars migrated straight to the scrapper.

The Evanston shuttle operation was really one of the most interesting in the system because it ran one-man with the motorman collecting fares from many of the low volume Evanston stations until approx 1980. And notably, these motormen managed to collect fares, operate the doors, and run the line faster than most current CTA one-man operators. And Evanston ran one-man all but roughly 35 hours a week, which is amazing when you consider today’s volumes, though I think there are half as many off peak runs on Evanston than there were back in single unit days. I recall 4 cars typically active at once (but don’t hold me to it). Of course, some stations had agents in rush hours, some in middays. I do believe around 1980 CTA went to mostly two-car trains on Evanston shuttle and this unique operation was history.

Adam adds:

And of course after I sent this I discovered that all the 5-50 cars ended their life running infrequently on weekends on the Blue Line, as the CTA could not retire them due to the constraints of a federally funded rehab.


Stephen M. Scalzo, In Memoriam

We are shocked by the news that long-time railfan historian Stephen M. Scalzo has died at the age of 73.  His family has graciously shared the notice they have prepared with us. You can read it here.

Steve was a long-time member of the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group, and had a background as a railfan journalist and historian going back more than 50 years. He will be sorely missed by all of us.

-David Sadowski


Another Milestone

In the first few days of November, we passed last year’s total of 107,460 page views, even though there have been fewer posts (57 vs. 108). This year’s posts, on the other hand, are longer and contain more pictures. Our current total of 218,332 page views in less than two years now exceeds that of the previous blog we worked on, and we have done this in a shorter period of time.

We must be doing something right, eh?


New Book Project

We are now working on a new paperback book Chicago Trolleys, that we expect will be published in 2017. Original research does cost money, so please consider making a donation to cover our costs. We will keep you updated as we progress, and thank you in advance for your help.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-31-2016

NJ Transit's Gladstone Branch took on the appearance of an Interurban railroad once it reached the open country side of Somerset County New Jersey. Close head ways, fast running, wooden catenary poles, and 1930's era MU equipment combined to create that Interurban look. This photo shows clearly the wooden catenary poles as a fast running Gladstone bound train of Ex-DL&W DC electric MU cars fly down the track near Bernardsville, NJ on June 2, 1983. (Kenneth Gear Photo)

NJ Transit’s Gladstone Branch took on the appearance of an Interurban railroad once it reached the open country side of Somerset County New Jersey. Close head ways, fast running, wooden catenary poles, and 1930’s era MU equipment combined to create that Interurban look. This photo shows clearly the wooden catenary poles as a fast running Gladstone bound train of Ex-DL&W DC electric MU cars fly down the track near Bernardsville, NJ on June 2, 1983. (Kenneth Gear Photo)

Reader’s Photos

Kenneth Gear writes:

On the subject of the The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection*, I am, as you said (you were referring to me?), looking forward to seeing the Gladstone Branch material on it.

NJ Transit’s Gladstone operation is about as close as I ever got to riding and photographing a true Interurban Railroad. I think it was very close, with it’s DC electric MUs and wooden catenary poles. It sure had the “feel” of an interurban, at least it did to me. I attached two photos to illustrate my point. One of my “railfan regrets” is never getting over to SEPTA’s Norristown line and riding and photographing the Bullet cars. I always meant to, but somehow it never happened. Another regret is that when I made a railfan trip to Chicago back in 1982 I did not ride the CSS&SB’s old MUs. I did however, photograph ONE train of them, I attached the photos as well.

Looking at this CSS&SB photo gave me an idea for the Trolley Dodger. Perhaps you could ask people to send in a few of their traction photographs to use in a “Readers Photos” section. These photos would not necessarily pertain to the subject of the post, just a little gallery of unrelated traction photos. It might come in handy if you need to fill out a Trolley Dodger post that’s a little short. It’s just an idea.

*See our post Guy Wicksall and His Films, October 11, 2016.

Thanks! I will run your pictures. Once people see how it’s done, they will probably be inspired to send others of their own. And yes, I was referring to you.

Does the Gladstone branch retain any of that interurban character today? Interesting that it was so interurban-ish, yet was probably never classified as one. Unfortunately, I never got to ride it before the old cars were replaced.

Ken replied:

I’d say the Gladstone Branch does retain it’s Interurban look, too a lesser degree. It’s still a single track main line with many passing sidings where, during rush hours, a lot of meets are done. The headways are still rather short between trains and the Gladstone end of the line has not changed all that much. It is an affluent area and land owners like their large estates and are not so willing to sell out for strip malls and housing developments.

What mostly made me think of Interurban trains on this line were the original Lackawanna RR DC electric MU cars, With their replacement, a good deal of that “charm” disappeared (daily commuters on those cars would most likely disagree). The wooden catenary poles have also been recently replaced with metal ones.

njt-mu-far-hills-12-15-14

I’ve attached a recent photo of a NJT train of ARROW MUs departing the Far Hills station to show you how it looks now, still somewhat Interurban if you ask me. The photo was taken in December of 2014.

njt-mu-millington-nj-8-23-84

I forgot to attach a photo of the Lackawanna MUs in traction orange. This scene, too me, has a very strong interurban flavor. It was taken in the last weeks of DC electric service and the lead MU looks a little rough around the edges, but I really like the shot. It was taken at Pond Hill Road near Millington NJ on August 23, 1984.

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South Shore coach/baggage car # 108 is the last car of a afternoon rush hour train. Seen from East Balbo Avenue, Chicago on June 23, 1982.

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Hoboken sure don’t look like this any more! The Ex-DL&W MUs are gone, the cranes along the long slip are gone, and the World Trade Center Towers are gone. This Kodachrome slide was taken on a gloomy day in March of 1980, just outside of the MU shed.

img108-copy

A nice broadside view of an afternoon rush hour Gladstone Branch train of NJ Transit (Ex-DL&W) DC electric MUs. The train is approaching the station stop at Far Hills, NJ on June 2, 1983. The Interurban RR look of this operation must not have been lost on someone in NJ Transit’s employ. When these cars needed repainting they were not given another coat of olive green paint- NJT painted them in a nice bright paint job of traction orange!


PS- I may be able to shed a little light on the mystery of the Lehigh Valley RR Baldwin switcher under catenary on the DVD.

Mr. Wicksall says in the narration that the scene may have been filmed on the North East Corridor in New Jersey. I think that is correct. It may have very likely been shot between Edison, NJ (at the time it may still have been called Stelton) and Metuchen. In this area was a former military base called Camp Kilmer. It was served by three railroads, the Pennsylvania (off the mainline), Lehigh Valley (off the Perth Amboy Branch), & Reading (off the Port Reading Branch). By the 1960s’ when that film was shot the base was closed and the land was being sold off for business redevelopment. Before this happened some of the base trackage was removed and that may have caused one railroad to use the tracks of another while serving the various industries on the former base property. I know the relationship among the competing RRs was not always friendly there. The Penn Central & Reading ended up in court fighting over who had the right to switch a chemical factory located on the Kilmer land.

Anyway, that is, in my humble opinion, the most likely reason for the LV train having been seen on PC electric trackage.

The only other place I know of that LV trains were regularly seen under PRR catenary was at “NK” tower in Newark, NJ where the “Hunter” connecting track linked the PRR NEC to the LV mainline. This was primarily a track used in the days of LV passenger service (which ended in 1961). Here LV diesels or steam was changed for PRR GG-1s (and reverse) for the trip into or out of Pennsylvania Station, New York. I believe a small amount of freight was interchanged here but the film footage on the DVD does not appear to have been shot here.

Thanks! I will forward this to Guy.


Another Mystery Photo

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Tony Zadjura of the Jefferson Township (Pennsylvania) Historical Society writes:

Hi Dave! Help! Need your help again. I don’t know what we have here. Overall view shows “Cobbs Gap” as it was called years ago. Present day PA Rt 435 runs below the cliffs, known as Greenville Cliffs years ago, in the background. The second photo is a cropped enlargement of the same. The car has the Erie logo, and the number 200. Thanks in advance.

Hopefully some of our readers can shed some light on this mystery photo, thanks.


Early CTA Schedules, Fares

Andre Kristopans recently sent us several scans, including a CTA schedule summary for Westchester trains, fare changes over the years, and CRT schedules as of the CTA takeover. Note Sunday only North-South. Other routes ran 24 hours terminal to terminal on Sunday.

Regarding fare changes, Andre adds:

A few items of interest:

On 10/1/47 CTA raised the fare from 8 cents to 10 cents. Chicago Motor Coach had already been 10 cents, so now inter-company transfers were free. CTA kept raising the fares, to 11c 5/11/48, and 13c 6/20/48, while CMC did not follow to 13c until 9/18/48. CTA again upped to 15c 10/15/49, while CMC did not follow until 11/8/51, but then CTA again went up, to 20c 6/1/52, which CMC did not match. So much of the time, CMC fares were LOWER than CTA.

Transfers were free until 7/23/61, then charge 5 cents. Went up to 10 cents 7/8/70.

Supertransfer (Sundays only) started 6/2/74

I replied:

Thanks. So, in 1952 if you transferred from CMC to CTA, you had to pay a nickel?

Andre:

Yes indeed! Additional amount was, as far as I can tell, paid to the receiving agency, in this case the CTA bus driver. But you can tell that towards the end, passengers were probably not too happy with this, because until 10/1/47 the extra fare was the other way!

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Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can always drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski


New From Trolley Dodger Press

VIDEOS ON DVD:

DVD05CoverA.pmd

The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection (1963-1975)

Our latest release, by special arrangement with Guy Wicksall, features video transfers of rare, high quality 16mm color films of electric railroads taken across the country between 1963 and 1975. These are much better quality than the more typical 8mm films railfans used back then. If you like classic railfan videos, you are sure to enjoy this collection, which features narration by the photographer. Mr. Wicksall receives a royalty on each disc sold.

Disc 1: 38 Chicago and New York Commuter Trains, 1963-1964 (18:24)
Includes Illinois Central Electric, South Shore Line, Chicago Transit Authority “L” trains in the Loop, on Lake Street, Howard, and Evanston lines, Chicago & North Western and Milwaukee Road commuters, Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central, Long Island Rail Road, New Haven, and New York elevated trains.

Disc 2: 48 Commuter Trains, 1968-1975 (57:22)
Includes San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) PCCs (some double-ended), trolley buses, and cable cars, Philadelphia Suburban (Red Arrow Lines), including Straffords and Bullets), Penn Central, New Haven, Erie Lackawanna, South Shore Line, Illinois Central Electric, and more.

Total time – 75:46

# of Discs – 2
Price: $24.95


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 164th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 213,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a contribution there as well.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

Chicago Streetcars in Color, Part Four

CTA 3182 and 660 at Cottage Grove and 115th in December 1951. This was the south end of route 4. The Illinois Central Electric is up on the embankment.

CTA 3182 and 660 at Cottage Grove and 115th in December 1951. This was the south end of route 4. The Illinois Central Electric is up on the embankment.

For our latest post, we have a collection of nice color images of classic Chicago streetcars, both red cars and PCCs. We have spent many, many hours working to improve the quality of these images, including both color correction and restoration, plus quite a bit of tedious “spot removal.” We feel the results, while not always perfect, are a great improvement compared to how they looked when we got them.

We hope that you too will enjoy our efforts. As always, if you can have anything interesting to say about these pictures, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- To see earlier posts in this series, type Chicago streetcars in color in the search window at the top of the page.

CTA 7116 on the Museum Loop trackage near Soldier Field in January 1954. This would have been a short-turn on route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. These tracks were built in the early 1930s to serve the Century of Progress World's Fair. In CERA Bulletin 146, there is another picture of this same car on the Museum Loop in 1951. It's dark, but you can just make out an Illinois Central Electric train at right.

CTA 7116 on the Museum Loop trackage near Soldier Field in January 1954. This would have been a short-turn on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. These tracks were built in the early 1930s to serve the Century of Progress World’s Fair. In CERA Bulletin 146, there is another picture of this same car on the Museum Loop in 1951. It’s dark, but you can just make out an Illinois Central Electric train at right.

CTA PCC 7058 crossing the Congress Expressway construction site on Halsted in May 1952.

CTA PCC 7058 crossing the Congress Expressway construction site on Halsted in May 1952.

A Pullman-built PCC at the same location. Here, the bridge has been completed.

A Pullman-built PCC at the same location. Here, the bridge has been completed.

In the latter days of streetcar service on Halsted (1953-54), PCCs were replaced by older red Pullman streetcars such as this one. More progress has been made building the highway, as compared with the previous pictures.

In the latter days of streetcar service on Halsted (1953-54), PCCs were replaced by older red Pullman streetcars such as this one. More progress has been made building the highway, as compared with the previous pictures.

CTA 4387 heading north on Clark, just north of Devon. On page 241 in CERA Bulletin 146, there is a different picture taken near this location.

CTA 4387 heading north on Clark, just north of Devon. On page 241 in CERA Bulletin 146, there is a different picture taken near this location.

The same location today.

The same location today.

This picture of CTA 528 was taken in January 1952 on Roosevelt Road near Ashland, where route 9 took a jog from Ashland to Paulina. There was a portion of Ashland where streetcars were not permitted to operate. One of our readers asks, "Why is there a gauntlet track in the foreground?" This is a picture of Roosevelt and Ashland (the north side of the street), where two different tracks converged into one. First, there was the Ashland car line turning onto Roosevelt towards Paulina. The other track would have been for Roosevelt, since at this point the line took a jog, and went off onto a sort of "service drive" on the sides of the street. In general, Roosevelt ran in the main part of the street, except for the section between Ogden and Ashland, which used this arrangement. (This arrangement is no longer used here, and the area where streetcars ran is now covered with grass.) So the two tracks, coming from different directions, could have converged into one at this spot. This is shown on the supervisor's track maps. Lending credence to my theory, you can see the "L" on Paulina in the background.

This picture of CTA 528 was taken in January 1952 on Roosevelt Road near Ashland, where route 9 took a jog from Ashland to Paulina. There was a portion of Ashland where streetcars were not permitted to operate. One of our readers asks, “Why is there a gauntlet track in the foreground?” This is a picture of Roosevelt and Ashland (the north side of the street), where two different tracks converged into one. First, there was the Ashland car line turning onto Roosevelt towards Paulina. The other track would have been for Roosevelt, since at this point the line took a jog, and went off onto a sort of “service drive” on the sides of the street. In general, Roosevelt ran in the main part of the street, except for the section between Ogden and Ashland, which used this arrangement. (This arrangement is no longer used here, and the area where streetcars ran is now covered with grass.) So the two tracks, coming from different directions, could have converged into one at this spot. This is shown on the supervisor’s track maps. Lending credence to my theory, you can see the “L” on Paulina in the background.

The same view today, looking west from Roosevelt and Ashland.

The same view today, looking west from Roosevelt and Ashland.

This is an enlargement from the 1948 CTA supervisor's track map, which can be found in our E-book Chicago's PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store. Roosevelt is the street between Taylor and 14th.

This is an enlargement from the 1948 CTA supervisor’s track map, which can be found in our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store. Roosevelt is the street between Taylor and 14th.

CTA Pullman 136 on Roosevelt near Ashland. This is an Ashland car, making the jog between Paulina and Ashland, while the bus is serving Roosevelt. Daniel Joseph adds, "The 5000 series Twin Coach propane buses were not being delivered to Chicago until December 1950 according to the data in Andre Kristopans' book." So the picture cannot be earlier than that date. The marquee of the Joy Theater, located at 1611 W. Roosevelt Road, provides another clue. According to Cinema Treasures, "Located on the Near West Side, on Roosevelt Road at the intersection of Ashland Avenue, the Orpheus Theatre opened in 1913. The movie house was later operated by the Marks Brothers circuit, and still later, by the Essaness circuit. By the 1940’s, the theatre was renamed the Joy Theatre. In 1952, the Joy Theatre was acquired by the Gomez family, who renamed it the Cine Tampico, for their home town in Mexico. It was still in operation as a Spanish-language movie house by the mid-1970’s. A drive-up bank is located today where this movie theatre once stood." That would make 1952 the latest date this photo could have been taken.

CTA Pullman 136 on Roosevelt near Ashland. This is an Ashland car, making the jog between Paulina and Ashland, while the bus is serving Roosevelt. Daniel Joseph adds, “The 5000 series Twin Coach propane buses were not being delivered to Chicago until December 1950 according to the data in Andre Kristopans’ book.” So the picture cannot be earlier than that date. The marquee of the Joy Theater, located at 1611 W. Roosevelt Road, provides another clue. According to Cinema Treasures, “Located on the Near West Side, on Roosevelt Road at the intersection of Ashland Avenue, the Orpheus Theatre opened in 1913. The movie house was later operated by the Marks Brothers circuit, and still later, by the Essaness circuit. By the 1940’s, the theatre was renamed the Joy Theatre. In 1952, the Joy Theatre was acquired by the Gomez family, who renamed it the Cine Tampico, for their home town in Mexico. It was still in operation as a Spanish-language movie house by the mid-1970’s. A drive-up bank is located today where this movie theatre once stood.” That would make 1952 the latest date this photo could have been taken.

The same location today. We are looking to the southwest. The bus is heading east, as was the streetcar in the preceding picture.

The same location today. We are looking to the southwest. The bus is heading east, as was the streetcar in the preceding picture.

CSL 1786 under the Lake Street "L" on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC's assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location."

CSL 1786 under the Lake Street “L” on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC’s assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location.”

CTA 1745 is westbound at Lake and Long in June 1952 on route 16. Here, it ran parallel to the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", also under wire.

CTA 1745 is westbound at Lake and Long in June 1952 on route 16. Here, it ran parallel to the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, also under wire.

Lake and Long today. We are looking east. The CTA Green Line (formerly the Lake Street "L") has run on the embankment since 1962 and connects with the steel "L" structure at Laramie.

Lake and Long today. We are looking east. The CTA Green Line (formerly the Lake Street “L”) has run on the embankment since 1962 and connects with the steel “L” structure at Laramie.

Here, we see CTA 1745 at Lake and Austin, the west end of route 16, on June 15, 1952. In this view, looking east from suburban Oak Park, the Park Theatre is still in business. By the time streetcar service ended here in 1954, it had closed.

Here, we see CTA 1745 at Lake and Austin, the west end of route 16, on June 15, 1952. In this view, looking east from suburban Oak Park, the Park Theatre is still in business. By the time streetcar service ended here in 1954, it had closed.

The same location today.

The same location today.

This view of CTA 1751 looks west from the Chicago side of Lake and Austin in December 1953. The movie theater has closed, and was eventually demolished. Riders heading west from here could take a Chicago & West Towns bus across the street. The Lake Street "L", just to the south, continued west for another 1.5 miles.

This view of CTA 1751 looks west from the Chicago side of Lake and Austin in December 1953. The movie theater has closed, and was eventually demolished. Riders heading west from here could take a Chicago & West Towns bus across the street. The Lake Street “L”, just to the south, continued west for another 1.5 miles.

CSL Pullman 786 on Van Buren in February 1952.

CSL Pullman 786 on Van Buren in February 1952.

Among these red cars at 77th and Vincennes, we see CTA Pullman 142 at left in November 1949.

Among these red cars at 77th and Vincennes, we see CTA Pullman 142 at left in November 1949.

CTA 3277 heads north on Cicero Avenue near Cermak in October 1951, crossing the Douglas Park "L".

CTA 3277 heads north on Cicero Avenue near Cermak in October 1951, crossing the Douglas Park “L”.

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA 370 in the old Van Buren streetcar tunnel that ran under the Chicago River. This picture is dated October 1953.

CTA 370 in the old Van Buren streetcar tunnel that ran under the Chicago River. This picture is dated October 1953.

CTA Pullman 812 crossing the Illinois Central Electric suburban service in August 1948. Not sure which line this is. Bill Shapotkin: "As for the "line" (presume you mean the IC, not CSL/CTA line), the one in the next photo is the IC South Chicago line. The carline is Stony Island." M. E. writes, "I blew up this photo to read the destination sign. It seems to say 28 Stony Island, 93rd. If so, then this view is at 71st and Stony Island, and the streetcar is heading south. It was probably just south of 71st St. that Stony Island became very wide, with a private right-of-way for streetcars right down the middle of the street, then grassy swales on either side of the streetcar path, then one-way auto traffic on each side of the swales. I'm pretty sure this separation existed at 75th St. You see this private right-of-way in your photo here. Confirmation is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Shore,_Chicago where one paragraph states: Before the community came to be known as South Shore in the 1920s, it was a collection of settlements in southern Hyde Park Township. The names of these settlements—Essex, Bryn Mawr, Parkside, Cheltenham Beach, and Windsor Park—indicate the British heritage of the Illinois Central Railroad and steel mill workers who had come to inhabit them. Most of these settlements were already in place when the Illinois Central built the South Kenwood Station in 1881 at what is now 71st and Jeffrey Boulevard." Tony Waller: "The photo at 71st & Stony Island could have been of a Stony Island car or a Windsor Park car, as the latter line diverged from Stony Island at 73rd St." David Vartanoff: "pic of 812 might well be Stony Island and 71st. clues are, median streetcar ROW, and the name Parkside on the corner building. Parkside was the original name of the IC station at Stony Island." Bob Lalich: "I agree. The view is NW."

CTA Pullman 812 crossing the Illinois Central Electric suburban service in August 1948. Not sure which line this is. Bill Shapotkin: “As for the “line” (presume you mean the IC, not CSL/CTA line), the one in the next photo is the IC South Chicago line. The carline is Stony Island.” M. E. writes, “I blew up this photo to read the destination sign. It seems to say 28 Stony Island, 93rd. If so, then this view is at 71st and Stony Island, and the streetcar is heading south. It was probably just south of 71st St. that Stony Island became very wide, with a private right-of-way for streetcars right down the middle of the street, then grassy swales on either side of the streetcar path, then one-way auto traffic on each side of the swales. I’m pretty sure this separation existed at 75th St. You see this private right-of-way in your photo here. Confirmation is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Shore,_Chicago where one paragraph states: Before the community came to be known as South Shore in the 1920s, it was a collection of settlements in southern Hyde Park Township. The names of these settlements—Essex, Bryn Mawr, Parkside, Cheltenham Beach, and Windsor Park—indicate the British heritage of the Illinois Central Railroad and steel mill workers who had come to inhabit them. Most of these settlements were already in place when the Illinois Central built the South Kenwood Station in 1881 at what is now 71st and Jeffrey Boulevard.” Tony Waller: “The photo at 71st & Stony Island could have been of a Stony Island car or a Windsor Park car, as the latter line diverged from Stony Island at 73rd St.” David Vartanoff: “pic of 812 might well be Stony Island and 71st. clues are, median streetcar ROW, and the name Parkside on the corner building. Parkside was the original name of the IC station at Stony Island.” Bob Lalich: “I agree. The view is NW.”

71st and Stony Island today. We are looking north.

71st and Stony Island today. We are looking north.

Several CTA Sedans (aka Peter Witts) in the scrap yard on December 26, 1952. These cars were part of an order of 100 built in 1929 and potentially could have provided many more years of good service. Unfortunately, none were saved.

Several CTA Sedans (aka Peter Witts) in the scrap yard on December 26, 1952. These cars were part of an order of 100 built in 1929 and potentially could have provided many more years of good service. Unfortunately, none were saved.

In 1953, the City of Chicago sold part of Cottage Grove Avenue (between 31st and 35th) to developers, who eventually built the Lake Meadows Apartments. This portion of street was closed to traffic, except for the route 4 streetcar, which received a series of reprieves from the City Council until buses replaced the PCCs in June 1955. If we can identify the church at left, we should be able to determine if we are facing north or south. This car is 4032. M. E. adds: "The destination sign seems to read 4 Cottage Grove, then either 93rd or 115th. Either way, the view is north, the streetcar is heading south. Confirming this are all the tall buildings at the right side, which must be near downtown." Frank Hicks: "The photo on Cottage Grove is facing north, probably at 33rd; the church in the left background is Olivet Baptist at 31st & King Drive." Eugene King: "The church in the pic with southbound Blue Goose 4032 is the Olivet Baptist Church. It is located at the south east corner of 31st Street and King Dr (South Parkway at the time of the photo). I am a member and know at least one other member who attends regularly lived in the neighborhood prior to the construction of the Lake Meadows and Prairie Shores apartments."

In 1953, the City of Chicago sold part of Cottage Grove Avenue (between 31st and 35th) to developers, who eventually built the Lake Meadows Apartments. This portion of street was closed to traffic, except for the route 4 streetcar, which received a series of reprieves from the City Council until buses replaced the PCCs in June 1955. If we can identify the church at left, we should be able to determine if we are facing north or south. This car is 4032. M. E. adds: “The destination sign seems to read 4 Cottage Grove, then either 93rd or 115th. Either way, the view is north, the streetcar is heading south. Confirming this are all the tall buildings at the right side, which must be near downtown.” Frank Hicks: “The photo on Cottage Grove is facing north, probably at 33rd; the church in the left background is Olivet Baptist at 31st & King Drive.” Eugene King: “The church in the pic with southbound Blue Goose 4032 is the Olivet Baptist Church. It is located at the south east corner of 31st Street and King Dr (South Parkway at the time of the photo). I am a member and know at least one other member who attends regularly lived in the neighborhood prior to the construction of the Lake Meadows and Prairie Shores apartments.”

Olivet Baptist Church today, with the Lake Meadows Apartments in the background. (This view is from a different vantage point than the preceding photo. Here we are north of the church on Martin Luther King Drive.)

Olivet Baptist Church today, with the Lake Meadows Apartments in the background. (This view is from a different vantage point than the preceding photo. Here we are north of the church on Martin Luther King Drive.)

CTA 4011 and other PCCs at the west end of the 63rd Street line in December 1951.

CTA 4011 and other PCCs at the west end of the 63rd Street line in December 1951.

CTA 4047 crossing the Chicago River at State Street on December 7, 1953. This is a route 4 - Cottage Grove car.

CTA 4047 crossing the Chicago River at State Street on December 7, 1953. This is a route 4 – Cottage Grove car.

CTA Pullman 252 in the early 1950s at an unknown location. One of regular readers thinks this is "Van Buren, one block east of Ashland, with the car heading east." If so, the date can't be later than 1951. Streetcar service on Van Buren ended then to allow for construction of the temporary Garfield Park "L" right-of-way at ground level, which opened in September 1953.

CTA Pullman 252 in the early 1950s at an unknown location. One of regular readers thinks this is “Van Buren, one block east of Ashland, with the car heading east.” If so, the date can’t be later than 1951. Streetcar service on Van Buren ended then to allow for construction of the temporary Garfield Park “L” right-of-way at ground level, which opened in September 1953.

The same location today. We are looking west on Van Buren, just east of Ashland.

The same location today. We are looking west on Van Buren, just east of Ashland.

CTA 6204 on 93rd at Stony Island Avenue in 1949.

CTA 6204 on 93rd at Stony Island Avenue in 1949.

CTA 7197 is southbound at Clark and Thome. There is a similar picture taken at this location on page 155 of CERA Bulletin 146.

CTA 7197 is southbound at Clark and Thome. There is a similar picture taken at this location on page 155 of CERA Bulletin 146.

CTA D-304, a sprinkler converted into a snow plow, shown at 77th and Vincennes in September 1951.

CTA D-304, a sprinkler converted into a snow plow, shown at 77th and Vincennes in September 1951.

CTA 3122 and 1764 at the east end of the Chicago Avenue line on March 29, 1952. A few of the older streetcars were painted green, but I don't know of anyone who preferred this to CSL red.

CTA 3122 and 1764 at the east end of the Chicago Avenue line on March 29, 1952. A few of the older streetcars were painted green, but I don’t know of anyone who preferred this to CSL red.


New From Trolley Dodger Press

VIDEOS ON DVD:

DVD05CoverA.pmd

The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection (1963-1975)

Our latest release, by special arrangement with Guy Wicksall, features video transfers of rare, high quality 16mm color films of electric railroads taken across the country between 1963 and 1975. These are much better quality than the more typical 8mm films railfans used back then. If you like classic railfan videos, you are sure to enjoy this collection, which features narration by the photographer. Mr. Wicksall receives a royalty on each disc sold.

Disc 1: 38 Chicago and New York Commuter Trains, 1963-1964 (18:24)
Includes Illinois Central Electric, South Shore Line, Chicago Transit Authority “L” trains in the Loop, on Lake Street, Howard, and Evanston lines, Chicago & North Western and Milwaukee Road commuters, Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central, Long Island Rail Road, New Haven, and New York elevated trains.

Disc 2: 48 Commuter Trains, 1968-1975 (57:22)
Includes San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) PCCs (some double-ended), trolley buses, and cable cars, Philadelphia Suburban (Red Arrow Lines), including Straffords and Bullets), Penn Central, New Haven, Erie Lackawanna, South Shore Line, Illinois Central Electric, and more.

Total time – 75:46

# of Discs – 2
Price: $24.95


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