Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story


Trolley Dodger Press is proud to announce the publication of Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, an E-book on data disc.

At its peak, the Chicago Surface Lines operated 3100 streetcars over the largest such system in the world. This included 683 modern PCC streetcars, which ran between 1936 and 1958.

The publication this month of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Era, 1936-1958 by Central Electric Railfans’ Association is an important addition to the historical record. This lavishly illustrated 448-page book includes hundreds of great pictures of Chicago’s PCC streetcars and is a must-have for all serious railfans. If you have not already done so, we urge you to purchase a copy directly from CERA, before it is completely sold out.*

Besides being a picture book, CERA Bulletin 146 includes a detailed history of the rise and fall of the modern streetcar in Chicago. However, as comprehensive as this book is, Chicago streetcars are such a vast subject that it is likely impossible for anyone to have the “last word.” Even in a book as large as this, there were many things that inevitably had to be left out.

With this in mind, David Sadowski, co-author of B-146, has put together a companion volume, an unofficial supplement that helps tell the “rest of the story” about Chicago’s PCC cars. This is an E-Book on a DVD data disc that can be be read on a computer, using Acrobat Reader.

Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story includes more than 448 pages of information, including informative essays, hundreds of great photographs, detailed track maps, and a variety of supporting documents. These include the Chicago Transit Authority‘s 1947 modernization program, various CTA annual reports, the 1951 consultant report that recommended Chicago keep its PCCs, and a 1954 Transit Research Study by Werner W. Schroeder, member and vice chairman of the Chicago Transit Board.

The essays examine, among other things, the PCC conversion plan, through which the CTA “recycled” parts from 570 of 600 postwar PCC cars for use on a like number of new rapid transit cars. The author also looks into the circumstances under which Chicago could have retained some sort of streetcar system, the failed effort to build a streetcar subway, CTA’s 1952 takeover of the Chicago Motor Coach Co. bus routes, plans to use the PCCs on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, and how transit unification brought about the demise of the streetcar system we did have.

Read this book, and you too will have the “rest of the story!”

For release on June 21, 2015, the 57th anniversary of when the last Chicago streetcar ran.

This title can be pre-ordered now in our Online Store.

A pair of CTA

A pair of CTA “curved door” PCC rapid transit cars being delivered via the North Shore Line in the 1950s. These used parts salvaged from scrapped Chicago PCC streetcars.

*Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

16 thoughts on “Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story

    • I got a copy of B-146,Chicago Streetcar Pictorial, The PCC Car Era. This book answers a lot of my questions about the PCC streetcar era. The best book on Chicago streetcars ever written.

  1. There is so much technical information on the Chicago PCCs that remains unanswered, at least to those out side the “inner sanctum” of Chicago fans. I am hoping that this companion e-Book will at least cover many of those idioscrictonies. Much, much remains unansereed.

    • I’ll have the discs finished this weekend and all orders will be shipped on Monday, thanks. I had to take an unexpected sick day or two recently and that slowed me down.

  2. I received the rest of the story e-book thurs 17th, you did a great job! I really like the e-book format, conventional books are great but bulky, heavy and such.

    I liked the report’s recommendation that several of the PCC equiped lines be retained into the indefinite future. I had thought that with a more pro-streetcar management at CTA, that several of the lines could have been retained. In fact but for the lack of strong pro-streetcar people, the CTA had the answer already in the regularly assigned services using modern equipment on the heavily used routes, 4, 8, 20, 22, 36, 49 and 63.

    Picture these routes operating today and having been brought up to light-rail standards where the service could actually operate during certain hours of the day as limited surface semi rapid-transit augmenting the “L” and subway services and comfortable fast local surface transport at other times of the day and evening. Just a pipe dream!

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