52 Years Ago Today…

Car 736 on the Mundelein branch.

Car 736 on the Mundelein branch.

The U.S. lost one of its last electric interurban railways on January 21, 1963, a very cold day indeed, as the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (aka the North Shore Line) stopped running. We thought we would commemorate that fateful anniversary by featuring some rare and seldom-seen photos.  (PS- you can bring up a larger version of each photo by clicking on it.)

I was just 8 years old at the time, and never got the chance to ride the North Shore Line, but I have certainly appreciated it since I was a kid and learned of its demise. Still pictures are fine, but motion pictures have a remarkable ability to bring things from the past back to life.

You too can experience the North Shore Line in motion by attending this Friday’s Central Electric Railfans’ Association program in Downtown Chicago. For further information, go here.

-David Sadowski

According to Don's Rail Photos, loco 453 "was built by General Electric in June 1918, (order) #6903."

According to Don’s Rail Photos, loco 453 “was built by General Electric in June 1918, (order) #6903.”

Electric loco 453 heads up a short freight train.

Electric loco 453 heads up a short freight train.

Silverliner 737 crawls along the bridge just south of the Milwaukee terminal.

Silverliner 737 crawls along the bridge just south of the Milwaukee terminal.

North Shore city streetcar 351 in Milwaukee prior to the abandonment of service on August 12, 1951. Sister car 354 is at the Illinois Railway Museum.

North Shore city streetcar 351 in Milwaukee prior to the abandonment of service on August 12, 1951. Sister car 354 is at the Illinois Railway Museum.

According to Don's Rail Photos, "(Birney) 327 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948." They were lettered for Chicago & Milwaukee Electric since that was the franchise holder.

According to Don’s Rail Photos, “(Birney) 327 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948.” It was lettered for Chicago & Milwaukee Electric since that was the franchise holder.

CNS&M 178 heads up a two-car train on Chicago's Loop. The 4000s in the background are heading in the same direction as the North Shore train.

CNS&M 178 heads up a two-car train on Chicago’s Loop. The 4000s in the background are heading in the same direction as the North Shore train.

Cars at Highwood, the North Shore headquarters.

Cars at Highwood, the North Shore headquarters.

A photo stop on one of the many North Shore Line fantrips in later years.

A photo stop on one of the many North Shore Line fantrips in later years.

Silverliner 762 gets flagged through the busy "throat" of the Milwaukee terminal, circa 1960.

Silverliner 762 gets flagged through the busy “throat” of the Milwaukee terminal, circa 1960.

Silverliners at the Milwaukee terminal.

Silverliners at the Milwaukee terminal.

Line car 606 at the Milwaukee terminal. According to Don's Rail Photos, "606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, (order) #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum."

Line car 606 at the Milwaukee terminal. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, (order) #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.”

Another fantrip train. Perhaps one of our knowledgeable readers can identify the location.

Another fantrip train. Perhaps one of our knowledgeable readers can identify the location.

A "railfan's view" along the Skokie Valley Route.

A “railfan’s view” along the Skokie Valley Route.

Silverliner 738 in the snow.

Silverliner 738 in the snow.

CNS&M 747 heads up a Chicago Limited.

CNS&M 747 heads up a Chicago Limited.

Along the Mundelein branch.

Along the Mundelein branch.

Car 758 heads up a train in 1941.

Car 758 heads up a train in 1941.

Electroliner 801-802 passes Tower 18 on Chicago's Loop.

Electroliner 801-802 passes Tower 18 on Chicago’s Loop.

Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can help identify this location.

Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can help identify this location.

CNS&M 725 on layover at Roosevelt Road on February 13, 1960, during a heavy snowstorm. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M 725 on layover at Roosevelt Road on February 13, 1960, during a heavy snowstorm. (Richard H. Young Photo)

A view showing the coupling and diaphragm between Silverliners 415 (dining car) and 768 (coach); special excursion train, Northbrook, February 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

A view showing the coupling and diaphragm between Silverliners 415 (dining car) and 768 (coach); special excursion train, Northbrook, February 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M 237 heads up six multiple unit express motors at Pettibone Yard, North Chicago Junction, February 13, 1960. (Richard H.

CNS&M 237 heads up six multiple unit express motors at Pettibone Yard, North Chicago Junction, February 13, 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M car 300 on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. For a few years, prior to WWII, the railroad let the fans use this as a "club car."

CNS&M car 300 on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. For a few years, prior to WWII, the railroad let the fans use this as a “club car.”

Another view of CERA club car 300 on an early fantrip on the Shore Line route.

Another view of CERA club car 300 on an early fantrip on the Shore Line route.

Silverliner 768 at the Milwaukee terminal. This slide was processed in January 1963, meaning this could be the last day.

Silverliner 768 at the Milwaukee terminal. This slide was processed in January 1963, meaning this could be the last day.

You've probably seen "first day of issue" stamp covers before, but this is kind of the opposite. Some railfans mailed these commemorative envelopes to themselves on January 21, 1963, the day the North Shore Line finally passed into history.

You’ve probably seen “first day of issue” stamp covers before, but this is kind of the opposite. Some railfans mailed these commemorative envelopes to themselves on January 21, 1963, the day the North Shore Line finally passed into history.

9 thoughts on “52 Years Ago Today…

  1. The mystery photo above is at Edison Court, looking north. You’re looking at a rear-end add of a car from the “pocket” track to a southbound train.

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  2. Picture 1, with car 736, looks to be Eastbound, just outside of Mundelein station. It looks like it may be headed towards Brice Ave. I wonder if that is the shuttle car with the open door and headlight on the rear? If you look close, it appears they have only plugged one of the headlight plugs in. There are no switches to select which headlight is on, but if you only plug one plug in, you can use the bright/dim switch to turn one ends headlight on or off. There is likely a headlight on the other end plugged in the same way.

    Picture 13, with car 770, is a southbound train leaving Milwaukee street running at Harrison St.

    Picture 16, with car 747, is also at Harrison St. The train seems to be heading north, off the shop track instead of the main line.

    Picture 17, with car 732, looks to be at Highwood instead of Mundelein. You can see the telegraph line for the CNW in the background.

    Picture 18, with car 758, looks to be in Skokie somewhere on what is now the swift, I’m guessing near Crawford roughly. Looks like a northbound train.

    Picture 20, with car 730, is looking North down into the pocket track at Edison Court, Waukegan. Looks like 730 is being added to the rear of a southbound train.

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  3. North Shore fans are fortunate that many of the CNSM cars have survived, and some have “room to run” at Illinois Ry. Museum. We southern California fans have only one original Pacific Electric intuerurban car in running condition, and it’s one of the last wooden cars PE bought. None of the original PE steel interurbans have survived except for one rusted hulk in South America. The steel interurbans that are preserved are all hand-me-downs from abandoned SP electric operations.

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      • Sure, 1299 count. Sadly, it is the only (steel) survivor from the 1200-class. And there are a few others, like the steeple cab no. 1624, the 71-foot “Blimp” no. 418. And there’s Pacific Electric Business car no. 1000, it is a “Ten” just like PE1001.

        No. 1000 was replaced by 1299 as the new business car around the time the 1200-class steel interurbans took over the brand new 59 mile, San Bernadino line from the 1000-class wood interurbans known as “Tens”. They’re long gone (the Big Red Cars), except for the few I’ve mentioned, above. There are others, but not much.

        The OERM doesn’t have extensive roster of Pacific Electric equipment. They’ve mostly been scrapped. North Shore railfans are fortunate; PE railfans, not so. I am not aware of any 950 survivors.

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  4. My brother rode the last North Shore train out of Chicago. He was a sailor stationed at Great Lakes at the time. I remember my dad and I taking him downtown that cold winter night for his ride back to the base.

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