CA&E Mystery Photos – Part 1

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(Editor’s note: You can find the answers here.)

This month marks 58 years since the fabled Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban suspended passenger service in the middle of the day, stranding thousands of commuters who had taken it downtown that morning. Although there were efforts to save the railroad, or parts of it, after that fateful July 3rd in 1957, it all came to naught.

This important railroad, which ran downtown over the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Garfield Park “L” until September 1953, was abandoned in 1961 and has been turned into the Illinois Prairie Path. Several of its railcars were saved, and by far the best collection of them can be found at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, where they are operated frequently.

To celebrate the memory of the CA&E, we are sharing many great color photos with you. This is the first of two parts, and another batch will be posted on the 15th.

Although I can figure out several of the locations myself, I thought it would be best to get our readers involved, for I know there are many of you who enjoy figuring these things out. Therefore, we will have another mystery photo contest.

Tell us where these pictures were taken, if you can. In some cases it may not be possible to determine an exact location.

But besides that, give us some other interesting information about what you see. As usual, by clicking on each photo with your mouse, you can bring up a larger version in your browser.

Please refer to each image using the number provided in the caption. The contest deadline is midnight Chicago time on July 20th. The rest of the photos will be posted tomorrow (15th).

You can send us your submissions as comments to this post, or by e-mail to:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-Ye Olde Editor

PS- The contest winner will be the one who gives us the best overall submission. The prize will be a copy of our Railroad Record Club #35 and 36 compact disc, which includes vintage audio from both the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin and the CTA Garfield Park “L”. You will find this and much more in our Online Store.

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15 thoughts on “CA&E Mystery Photos – Part 1

  1. A few –

    #1 – big curve east of Halsted, #2 same
    #3 – Rockwell bridge over CNW and PRR
    #5 – Throop shop – note that while shop had quite a bit of inside capacity, there was almost no outside storage
    #6 – coming into Sacramento WB. Stationhouse burned out a few weeks before Van Buren surface diversion started and was closed early.
    #7 – CAE Laramie layup tracks west of station south of Lexington Av
    #8 – Between river and First Av – Northern Illinois Public Service property on left, now site of Maybrook Court
    #9 – Fifth Av station Maywood
    #13 – Two closest are the ex Oklahoma Ry motors
    #19 – Looking east at Desplaines Av station, B&OCT grade crossing in background, source of many, many delays
    #20 – Laramie Av yards, L part east of station
    #21 – CAE Laramie yard, looking west from Laramie Ave
    #22 Gunderson Av passing track, this is towards the end as the middle track is rusted black
    #23 EB train crossing Desplaines Av, note L staging track to left of main where L trains waited for leaving time
    #25 EB somewhere between Harlem and Austin, B&OCT in foreground
    #26 WB train at Racine. This station had 4 platforms, two on each side of Throop shop leads
    #27 Throop shop in its last days. Note how bricks are “leaching”.
    #28 Coming WB into Canal St station
    #30 Cook County Branch south of IC underpass north of Roosevelt with a charter
    #33 Freight train on Cook County Branch around Harrison St
    #34,35 – On Cook County Branch around Jackson or so, next to Mannheim Rd
    #36 – same location as #30
    #37 – Kedzie station, CAE stop because of Sears headquarters at Arthington and Kedzie. CTA ran extra buses for Sears until Sears moved downtown
    #38 – approaching CNW/PRR at Rockwell WB. Photo from PRR tracks note brick structure bases, then last few are steel. Structure was raised when PRR/CNW was elevated.
    #39,40 – both again at Kedzie
    #41 – Looking east from Racine, track in center is Throop shop lead
    #43 – Crossing Fist Ave EB
    #45 – Crossing Douglas track EB at Marshfield
    #46 – Looking east from Halsted towards the big curve
    #47 – Another one at Kedzie

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  2. #28, west side elevated main line, you can see the CBOT builting
    #5, west side el @ Racine
    #1, #2, #46 all approx the same place- Jackson-Halsted-Van Buren on the west side. in #2 you can see the CBOT building much further in the distance. Can spot a couple of existing buildings on the current google/bing photos like 728 W Jackson at left in #46

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  3. Thanks for assembling this CA&E set. Photos 4 and 18 are at the east side of Glen Ellyn, taken from the Hill Avenue bridge looking east toward Lombard. Both trains are westbound at Glen Oak Country Club stop (the golf course is to the right and behind the shelter). The CA&E bridge over the East Branch of the DuPage River and the concrete bridge over two-lane Illinois Route 53 (Columbine Avenue) are in the distance. The trailing switch just behind the communication(?) box to the left rear of the train leads to a short Public Service of Northern Illinois stub siding. I lived less than a mile from this location (my grandparents lived even closer). Although the CA&E station was on the south end of Lombard (we lived on the north side), I still occasionally used the interurban to travel home from Glenbard High School in Glen Ellyn (1951-1955) when I missed the last school bus.

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  4. Hi,
    Photo 11 of the North Shore wood repainted in CA&E colors is very useful for me. I have a 0-scale Labelle Interurban kit that I will be building to represent one and it’s nice to know how they are painted.
    I can’t wait to see more.

    Charles

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  5. Just about all these photos on the elevated tracks appear to be taken around 1952 when the Congress Expressway was under construction.

    #1 South end of Halsted curves. CAE train is outbound, Looking NE, late morning.

    #2 CAE 453 (St. Louis, 1945) South end of Halsted curves, Looking NE. Quite cold.
    #3 CAE 458, 458 and 454 (St. Louis, 1945) on bridge over railroad near Kilbourne Station, looking NE with Van Buren St. visable.

    #4 CAE 40 (Stephenson, 1902) at Glen Oak flag stop.

    #5 CAE 459 (St. Louis, 1945) at Racine Station. CRT cars, including 2880, also visible.

    #6 CAE 460 (St. Louis, 1945) at north Sacrimento curve with Cincinnati car and two Pullmans, 422, and 428, outbound. Looking NE.

    #7 CAE 314 and other wooden cars at Laramie Av. Notice old wooden CTA cars at far right.

    #8 CAE 428 (Cincinnati, 1927) and 452 (St. Louis, 1945) with another St. Louis car behind it in winter. I have no Idea where this is.

    #9 CAE 410 (Pullman, 1923) leading another Pullman at westbound platform of 5th Av, Maywood, looking east in early afternoon. I lived less than 2 block south of this station from 1947–1954, and saw severe deterioration of service during that time. I would guess this photo to be somewhat older that the others based on the fact that the railings are painted green (just barely) rather than red, and the old crossing gates that were replaced in the late 40’s.

    #10 This is a picture of the north yard with the Wheaton shops at the left and the track to Elgin at the very right edge of the picture, looking SW.

    #11 This is a train of ex-North Shore wooden cars parked, probably no longer seeing much use.

    #12 East yard of the Wheaton Shops.

    #13 North yard of the Wheaton Shops, with 3004, 3003, 2001, and 2002 lined up.

    #14 Two wooden cars that had been parlor cars 600 and 601, rebuilt as coaches with metal added and reconfigured to mate with steel rather that wooden cars, in the north yard of the Wheaton shops at a time when they were seeing little use.

    #15 Same two cars as in #14 in about the same place, the north yard of the Wheaton Shops, but from a different angle.

    #16 Same 4 locomotives lined up in the same order as in #13, shown from a different angle.

    #17 East yard of Wheaton Shops again, with the tracks to Aurora visible at the extreme left.

    #18 CAE 310 (Hicks, 1907) stopped at Glen Oak. This must be a fan trip, as there would not normally be that many patrons waiting there!

    #19 East end of the old Des Plaines station which was replaced by a fancy interchange on the other (west) side of Desplaines in March of 1953. The shadows, including that of the photographer, indicate this picture was taken in late afternoon, with a four-car steel train with CAE 430 (Cincinnati, 1927) on the end about to cross the tracks of another railroad (B&OCTRR) on its way to downtown Chicago. After the crossing, the two different railroads run parallel almost to Laramie Av.

    #20 CAE 458 (St. Louis, 1945) approaching Laramie Av station from the incline leading up to Cicero station, and just visible in the distance, Kilborne. The view, looking east, includes a vast fleet of wooden CTA cars, with a wooden CTA train about to ascend the incline. The tracks east from here were owned by the CTA. The tracks west of here were owned by the Chicago, Aurora, and Elgin. The tracks west of here to Desplaines Av. were later sold by the CAE to the CTA once CAE trains stopped going east of Desplaines in March of 1953. Notice the monitor style roofs which were distinctive to the Metropolitan line CTA cars.

    #21 Yard of the east side of Laramie Av, looking NW.

    #22 Gunderson Av. station with westbound CAE train approaching the station looking NW. CAE 428 (Cincinnati, 1927) is at the rear of the two-car train.

    #23 CAE 459 (St. Louis, 1945) leads this three-car train heading for Chicago. View is looking Northwest.

    #24 CAE 3004 and 3003 (Baldwin-Westinghouse, 1923) with freight cars in Wheaton.

    #25 CAE 459 (St. Louis, 1945), followed by CAE 452 and other(s), somewhere between Laramie Av and Hannah, looking NW.

    #26 CAE 319 (Jewett, 1914) leading a train during evening rush hour, looking east.

    #27 Three car steel train westbound near Throop street.

    #28 One of the ex-North Shore Line wooden cars leads a westbound train over Union Station headed for Canal Street station. The train came from the Wells Street station through the tall buildings. The tracks curving off to the right Lead to the CTA station at Franklin and Van Buren. All these tracks saw heavy traffic until March of 1953.

    #29 CAE 314 (Kuhlman, 1909) almost certainly at the north Wheaton yard, but there is nothing in the picture to confirm that.

    #30 CAE 310 (Hicks, 1907) would appear to be on a fan trip about to go through the underpass between the Mannheim Road section and the Roosevelt Road section of the Mt. Carmel branch (aka the cook county branch) which was used for freight operations only after 1926. Notice the trolley pole is up. This branch was unique in that it had no third rails anywhere from Mt. Carmel cemetery to where it joined the main line. view is looking NE.

    #31 CAE 418 (Pullman, 1923) is ready to lead CAE 406 out of the Elgin Terminal along the Fox River. Notice 406 has recently been painted in the final CAE livery. That means this picture is newer than other pictures in this series that show 406 still painted blue like the 418 here.

    #32 The two GE locomotives (1920) pulling freight in the middle of nowhere.

    #33 Same consist as in #32.

    #34 CAE 310 (Hicks, 1907) southbound at the stone quary on the west side of Mannheim Road, probably the same fan trip as in picture #30. View is looking NW.

    #35 Same as #34 but from a slightly different angle.

    #36 CAE 310 (Hicks, 1907) southwest bound having just passed through the underpass in picture #30 This picture would appear to have taken earlier the same day. The underpass is still there today, but it has been filled in some over the years.

    #37 CAE 318 (Jewett, 1914) at Kedzie station at the head of a three-car train. Another train with CAE 408 (Pullman, 1923) at the rear is visible in the distance. Looking east.

    #38 CAE 302 (Niles, 1906) leads a four-car train through the wilderness destined to become the Congress Expressway. Van Buren Street, future site of the infamous “stop light express,” can be seen.

    #39 CAE 414 (Pullman, 1923) leads a westbound train at Kedzie station. It would appear to be evening rush hour. Looking east.

    #40 CAE 34 (Stephenson, 1902) leads a westbound train of wooden cars at Kedzie station. It is afternoon or early evening.

    #41 CAE 52 (Stephenson, 1902) leads a three-car westbound train between Racine and Halsted. I suspect that the track at far left is under construction for the east end of the infamous “stop light express,” to allow the destruction of the tracks in the foreground for the construction of the Congress Express, which can be seen at the right. Looking east. These tracks will soon be far less used because of the loss of the CAE, and all CTA trains except the Garfield Pk.

    #42 CAE 48 (Stephenson, 1902) with CAE 18 (Niles, 1902) in the background, and other cars sit in the yard at Wheaton. By this time, the blue wooden cars were downright ugly.

    #43 CAE 454 (St. Louis, 1945), eastbound, crosses 1st Av, Maywood. Will it turn back at Des Plaines AV? It depends on when the picture was taken relative to March, 1953. Notice the newer style crossing gates in contrast to the old gates is picture #9.

    #44 CAE 422 and 434 (both Cincinnati, 1927) at Wheaton station. Notice all the fresh red paint. Also notice the jumper cables hanging from the not recently painted fence.

    #45 CAE 404 (Pullman 1923) eastbound at Marshfield Jct where the Douglas Pk branch can be seen at the right. Looking west.

    #46 CAE 456 (St. Louis, 1945) at the end of an evening rush-hour train bound for downtown Chicago on the Halsted curves, a popular place for photographers. Looking NE.

    #47 Appears to be a companion picture to #40. Notice the same people waiting on the platform. The man in a brown suit even has his legs crossed the same way.

    #48 CAE 451 (St. Louis, 1945) leads a three-car westbound consist just west of the Des Plaines Av. interchange with the CTA. It is about to pass through the two cemeteries before crossing the Des Plaines river and turning NW towards 1st Av. Maywood.

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  6. Here is Frank Hicks’ submission:

    David,

    Wonderful photos you’ve posted of the CA&E! My father and I were both thrilled to see them and we agreed that we’ve never seen most (any?) of these before. Of course we’re particularly interested in the wood fleet and there are some terrific shots of the railroad’s wood cars. Most of the locations are pretty obvious, though there are a few that stumped me, but either way I figured I would send some observations on the cars in case you were interested.

    #1-2 – Halsted Street curve, note the pre-rebuild Cincinnati

    #4 – a great shot of a six-car train of “shorties” westbound at Glen Oak. The lead car is either the 36 or the 46 (the number is badly worn but I think it’s the 46) as those were the only two motor cars with the smaller “flap” style ventilators. The train includes five motors and a trailer and the trailer, right behind the lead car, also has that style ventilators while the rest of the cars – like the rest of the wood fleet – have normal boxy Utility ventilators. The train is an interesting mix; the last car is in red, the rest in blue, and the second-to-last car hasn’t had its roof tarred yet while the rest have.

    #6 – Sacramento curve, note that the second car is a rebuilt Cincinnati and the third is an un-rebuilt one.

    #7, #29, #42 – Neat series of shots, taken at Lockwood Yard. The lead car, Stephenson 48, is one of a small number of “shorties” that kept its arched trim until the end. Note that it also has the blocked-off clerestory, a Wheaton modification that was made to a number of cars during the 1920s. For whatever reason this particular modification fell out of favor (like the
    arched trim). Behind it is Kuhlman 314 in fresh red paint, Niles 303 (today preserved in Connecticut), and two more Kuhlmans. Bringing up the rear is another Niles, either 201, 300 or 307 judging from the blocked-off clerestory. These photos also make an interesting study in storm windows. The “shorties” and the 300-series Niles cars were built withe removable
    storm windows, and the 48, 303 and rear car all have theirs fitted. The Kuhlmans (and Hicks cars) were built with permanent storm windows fitted inboard of the regular sash, and the 314 has its lowered. The fourth car in the strong appears to have its storm windows raised for some reason (you can see a light grey band under the drip rail) while the Kuhlman painted red has had its permanent storm sash removed in favor of removable sash (several of the Jewetts, which were built with permanent storm sash fitted outboard of the regular sash, and Kuhlmans had this modification made in the early 1950s).

    #11 – Interesting shot, I would assume from the winter of 1953-1954. If memory serves the ex-North Shore cars were retired following the cut back to Forest Park, and judging by the ties across the tracks this photo was taken post-retirement (despite the cars being mostly complete right down to flags in the flag brackets!). What I’m wondering is, what in the world is that thing in the coupler?

    #12 – Nice shot at Wheaton, I’m guessing taken during the 310 fantrip. The 315 must have been one of the last 300-series wood cars in blue. Note the rebuilt Pullman in the shop at right.

    #14-15 – Nice views of the 435-436 prior to scrapping. In the lower photo, I wonder what was cut up ahead of them; I can see a traction motor armature in the pile of metal to the left.

    #21 – Interesting view of the storage tracks west of Lockwood with a couple of trains of “shorties” in what I presume is midday storage. Judging from the number of “shorties” in red I’m guessing this is pretty close to the end of service over the “L.”

    #26 – What a classic shot! I’m guessing this is the “cannonball set” (so nicknamed by the fans, not the railroad) that was often trained together in later years. This consisted of the three up-rated Jewetts, 319-321, with trailers 105 and 205 interspersed. In this view it appears to be 319-105-320-205-321 (the 321 had lost its oval window by this time so the middle Jewett is most likely the 320). Only the 105 and 320 are in red. The 319 was painted in this version of the “Early American” livery in May 1950. Taken at Racine.

    #37 – The 318 and two other Jewetts, likely the 316 and 317, westbound at Kedzie with a Pullman rounding Sacramento curve in the background.

    #38 – Great photo of the 302 leading what appears to be a solid rake of 200/300-series Niles cars (there may be a Hicks in there somewhere, tough to tell from the sides) into the sun. The motorman has his shade pulled down pretty far!

    #40/47 [same photo] – Nice shot of a five-car rush-hour train of “shorties” at Kedzie, express to Wheaton if the sign is to be believed. The 34 is still in tattered blue and retains its light grey roof, or what’s left of the paint anyway; a lot of cars had their roofs tarred in the late 1940s/early 1950s. It looks like the motorman has drawn the curtain over the “railfan window” in the bulkhead so that the commuters don’t all have the sun in their faces. And it’s tough to tell but it looks like an ex-North Shore wood car in the background on the curve.

    #41 – A slightly unusual consist, as the “shorties” were often segregated and run together. But here we have two “shorties” followed by what I believe is a Jewett westbound at Racine on a local.

    Thank you for all of your great work on the blog and for going to the effort of posting these. It is much appreciated. I can’t wait for Part Two!

    Regards,

    Frank Hicks

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  7. FYI, here is Bill Shapotkin’s entry:

    OK, here we go:

    1. Met ‘L’. View looks east from Halsted Station.
    2.W/B train (led by a St Louis car) approaches Halsted Station. Again view looks east.
    3. W/B train x/o the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell St. Photo taken just before ‘L’ was closed (notice the surrounding buildings are gone). View looks N/E.
    4.W/B train (PM rush?) at Glen Oak station. View looks east off Hill Ave bridge. What is even more interesting is that in distance (at right) is the Shapotkin house (where I grew up).
    5. E/B train of St Louis cars passing the Met shop at Racine Ave. View looks west.
    6. Car #460 (the last psgr car received by the CA&E) leads a W/B train approaching Sacramento Blvd. View looks N/E.
    7. Not sure — I want to say Lockwood Ave Yard looking E-N/E.
    8. At left is the Commonwealth Ave yard east of first Ave, Maywood. Train at left is E/B, train at right is W/B. View looks west.
    9. A W/B train at 5th Ave/Maywood station. View looks east.
    10. Storage Yard at Wheaton Shops (shop building is at left). Photographer is looking W-S/W off Elgin Branch (which is visible at right).
    11. Four of the ex-CNS&M woodies — sitting forlornly in the “Orchard,” storage track at west end of Wheaton Yard. View looks west.
    12. Line-up of cars in front of shop building in Wheaton. Note the use of trolley poles (not third rail) in front of building. View looks west.
    13. Wow! Rare shot of four of the freight locos (the 2000s and 3000s), all in the same paint job. Believe this is on the freight lead (located south of freight yard and west of the two main tracks of Aurora Branch) in front of Wheaton Shop. View looking S/E.
    14.These are the two one-time parlor cars — which were built as woods and converted to operate with the steels. Photo taken at Wheaton Yard. Believe view looks N/W.
    15. Same two cars as above. View looks N/E at/near west end of yard trackage at Wheaton.
    16. Same as photo #13 — but looking N/E. Great pic!!
    17. View in front of Wheaton Shop building. View looks S/W (timetable W/B on Aurora Branch)
    18. Fantrip (Morry Kleibolt trip) photo at Glen Oak. View looks E-S/E off Hill Ave.
    19. A W/B train is about to x/o the SOO/GCW at Beloit Ave. View looks west.
    20. A W/B train of St Louis cars at Laramie Ave. View looks east off footbridge.
    21. Lockwood Ave yard. Believe view looks N/W across the mainline.
    22. Gunderson Ave ‘L’ station. View looks west.
    23. An E/B train is about to x/o Des Plaines in Forest Park. View looks W-N/W.
    24. Locos #3003-3004 lead an E/B frt out of Wheaton. In backgound is the “new” Dispatcher’s Office. View looks west. (Another great pic — never seen this one before.)
    25. This one is a total guess. A W/B train of St Louis cars is passing thru the 25th Ave/Maywood station. View looks S/E across CGW mainline.
    26. A W/B train of woodies at Racine Ave. View looks east.
    27. An E/B train of steel cars pass the old Met powerhouse. Surrounding buildings have all been demolished in advance of expressway construction. View looks N/W.
    28. A W/B train of ex-CNS&M woods x/o the Union Station trainshed. View looks east from Canal St Station.
    29. Nice pic of #314. Believe photo taken at Wheaton Yard.
    30. Fantrip on Mt Carmel Branch. IC Iowa Division is overhead. (Another nice pic — never before seen (by me) vantage point.)
    31. Aurora terminal (the one opened 1939 along Fox River). View looks E-N/E.
    32. Nice going-away shot of a freight (locos #2001-2002). Location unknown.
    33. Locos #3003-3004 switching in Aurora (just east of CB&Q xing). View looks N/E.
    34. Fantrip on Mt Carmel Branch. View looks N/W off Mannhiem Rd.
    35. Same.
    36. Car #310 on fantrip Mr Carmel Branch. IC is sort of visible in background.

    Damn — you wore me out, and there are still pix left to be ID’d! Will address those later. BTW, did NOT consult any of my pix or any books in ID-ing these photos. Like to think I know the railroad well enough to be able to ID these things. Please let me know how well I did/not do.

    Ok, after a few yours sleep, am picking this up where I left off earlier this morning:

    37. Car #318 leads a W/B train (at Kedzie). View looks east
    38. An E/B train of woodies approaching the C&NW/PRR bridge. View looks W-N/W.
    39. W/B trains (is that the CANNONBALL) at Kedzie station (same location as #37). View looks east.
    40. Another WB trains (of woodies) at Kedzie station. View looks east.
    41. W/B train of woodies approaching Racine Ave. Note the ramp (at left) leading down to Van Buren St trackage — places the time frame as 1953 (no earlier than June or July?). View looks east.
    42. Car #38. Believe pic taken at Wheaton (might be Lockwood — but more likely Wheaton).
    43. An E/B St Louis car (460?) in Maywood — believe it is s/o First Ave (note CGW xing in background). View looks north.
    44. Two trains meet at Wheaton station (note C&NW station at left). View looks east.
    45. An E/B train ix x/o the W/B Douglas Pk ‘L’ at Marshfield Ave. View looks west.
    46. A W/B train of steel cars negotiates the “S” curve east of Halsted St. Note the surrounding View looks east.
    47. Is this a trick or what? Appears to be same pix as #40 (car #34 leading the same train W/B at Kedzie).
    48. Nice shot of a W/B train (in Maywood?) with view looking east.. Exact location unknown.

    OK, how did I do?

    Bill Shapotkin

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  8. Dan Hagstrom writes:

    I finally got around to looking at your mystery photos. Several of them are no mystery to me. #9 is looking east at the 5th Avenue Station in Maywood, my home town. The picture was taken after 1952 because I can see the newer crossing gates at 4th Avenue in the distance. #43 is a picture I never thought I’d ever get to see. This is looking north at the First Avenue grade crossing. The Chicago Great Western crossing gates are visible just beyond, and on the left is the Refiner’s Pride gas station that was situated between the Aurora tracks and the Great Western tracks on the west side of First Avenue. And #80 is on the main line approaching First Avenue from the east, from behind Commonwealth Edison. Again, the Refiner’s Pride gas station is visible. I was 10 1/2 years old when the Aurora stopped passenger services, so I have some pretty good memories of where the Aurora passed through Maywood. I lived about 4 blocks south on 4th Avenue.

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  9. Three final observations:

    1. Error on my part in #6: 422 and 428 are 1927 Cincinnati cars, not 1923 Pullmans.

    2. Error (not mine) in #13: The two closest locomotives were built by Baldwin-Westinghouse. The two more distant ones were built by GE. The ex-Oklahoma Ry locomotives were numbered 4005 and 4006 and are not in the picture.

    3. In the non-contest picture between #45 and #46, may I assume the train in the foreground is still using the old elevated trackage to Chicago, while the train on the Paulina connector is a work train somehow involved in preparing the connector for use when the foreground track is removed completely?

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    • Thanks for the corrections. I have updated the captions accordingly.

      Yes, I assume that the Douglas train on the old “L” is in regular service, and that might be a test train on the connector.

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