#1 – WS: Met ‘L’. View looks east from Halsted Station. FH: note the pre-rebuild Cincinnati. EM: South end of Halsted curves. CAE train is outbound, Looking NE, late morning.
Here are the long-awaited answers to Part 1 of our recent Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban Mystery Photos Contest.
We are grateful for all your excellent submissions. I always find it remarkable just how much detail our eagle-eyed readers can find in some of these vintage images. Thanks to everyone who took the time to send in an entry.
There were several great entires, and in particular, I would like to single out Andre Kristopans, Frank Hicks, and William Shapotkin, who all made significant contributions. Sorting out these answers was quite a job– I had to make a spreadsheet to keep it all straightened out.
Based on the criteria of best overall submission, Edward Maurath is the winner of Part 1. Congratulations on a difficult job well done!
He will receive 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.
We have combined some of the best answers about the “Roarin’ Elgin” in each photo caption. To simplify matters a bit, we will refer to the four main entrants by their initials (AK, FH, WS, and EM).
I feel confidant that the great majority of answers are correct, but inevitably some of them are going to be educated guesses and if additional information comes up that can clarify matters, we will update the captions accordingly. As Ronald Reagan once said, “Trust, but verify.” As we all know, the majority opinion is not always the right one.
Answers for Part 2 are here.
PS- We apologize for inadvertently posting the same image twice (#40 and 47).
#2 – Same location as #1. In fact, this picture was probably taken seconds later.
#3 – WS: 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. EM: CAE 458, 458 and 454 (St. Louis, 1945)
#4 – WS: 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.)
FH: 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.
Gary Kleinedler adds, “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.”
#5 – EM: CAE 459 (St. Louis, 1945) at Racine Station. CRT cars, including 2880, also visible.
BS: E/B train of St Louis cars passing the Met shop at Racine Ave. View looks west.
AK: Throop shop – note that while shop had quite a bit of inside capacity, there was almost no outside storage.
#6 – EM: CAE 460 (St. Louis, 1945) at north Sacrimento curve with three Cincinnati cars including 422 and 428, outbound. Looking NE.
AK: coming into Sacramento WB. Stationhouse burned out a few weeks before Van Buren surface diversion started and was closed early.
FH: Sacramento curve, note that the second car is a rebuilt Cincinnati and the third is an un-rebuilt one.
#7 – FH: (and #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).
EM: Notice old wooden CTA cars at far right.
#8 – WS: 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.
EM: CAE 428 (Cincinnati, 1927) and 452 (St. Louis, 1945) with another St. Louis car behind it in winter.
AK: Between river and First Av – Northern Illinois Public Service property on left, now site of Maybrook Court.
#9 – EM: 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.
Dan Hagstrom writes, “#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.”
#10 – WS: 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 – WS: Four of the ex-CNS&M woodies — sitting forlornly in the “Orchard,” storage track at west end of Wheaton Yard. View looks west.
FH: 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?
Charles Sontag adds, “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.”
#12 – FH: 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.
#13 – WS: 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.
EM: North yard of the Wheaton Shops, with 3004, 3003, 2001, and 2002 lined up.
AK: Two closest are the ex Oklahoma Ry motors.
EM: 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.
Bob Campbell: “Regarding photo #13, in CERA Bulletin #105, page IV-9, the Wheaton map indicates that the four freight motors are sitting on the “passing siding” (not the yard lead in the background, at a lower grade level) which is oriented in a NE – SW direction, so the photographer is facing S-S-W, not S-E. In photo #16, the same equipment in the same location as photo #13, the photographer has changed positions and is now facing East, instead of N-E.”
#14 – EM: 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.
WS: 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.
FH: 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.
#15 – WS: Same two cars as above. View looks N/E at/near west end of yard trackage at Wheaton.
#16 -WS: Same as photo #13 — but looking N/E. Great pic!!
#17 – EM: East yard of Wheaton Shops again, with the tracks to Aurora visible at the extreme left.
#18 – WS: Fantrip (Maury Kleibolt trip) photo at Glen Oak. View looks E-S/E off Hill Ave.
EM: 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 – EM: East end of the old Des Plaines station which was replaced by a fancy interchange on the other (west) side of Desplaines in September 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.
AK: Looking east at Desplaines Av station, B&OCT grade crossing in background, source of many, many delays.
(Truman Hefner Photo)
#20 – EM: CAE 458 (St. Louis, 1945) approaching Laramie Av station from the incline leading up to Cicero station, and just visible in the distance, Kilbourn. 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 September of 1953. Notice the monitor style roofs which were distinctive to the Metropolitan line CTA cars.
WS: View looks east off footbridge.
#21 – WS: Lockwood Ave yard. Believe view looks N/W across the mainline.
FH: 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.”
#22 – EM: 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.
AK: Gunderson Av passing track, this is towards the end as the middle track is rusted black.
#23 – AK: EB train crossing Desplaines Av, note L staging track to left of main where L trains waited for leaving time.
EM: CAE 459 (St. Louis, 1945) leads this three-car train heading for Chicago. View is looking Northwest.
#24 – WS: 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 – EM: CAE 459 (St. Louis, 1945), followed by CAE 452 and other(s), somewhere between Laramie Av and Hannah, looking NW.
AK: EB somewhere between Harlem and Austin, B&OCT in foreground.
#26 – FH: 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.
AK: WB train at Racine. This station had 4 platforms, two on each side of Throop shop leads
#27 – WS: 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.
AK: Throop shop in its last days. Note how bricks are “leaching”.
#28 – EM: 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 September of 1953.
#29 – EM: CAE 314 (Kuhlman, 1909) almost certainly at the north Wheaton yard, but there is nothing in the picture to confirm that.
#30 – EM: 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.
AK: Cook County Branch south of IC underpass north of Roosevelt with a charter.
WS: Fantrip on Mt Carmel Branch. IC Iowa Division is overhead.
Bill Shapotkin writes, “The date of the photos (and there were several) of car #310 on a fantrip on the Mt Carmel Branch was (per caption on Pg 75 of SUNSET LINES (Vol1)) August 8, 1954.”
#31 – EM: 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.
WS: Aurora terminal (the one opened 1939 along Fox River). View looks E-N/E.
#32 – WS: Nice going-away shot of a freight (locos #2001-2002). Location unknown.
Jerry P. Hund says, “I belelieve #32 was taken in Bellwood, just east of Bellwood Ave. We can also see some freight cars on the IHB track that came down the trestle from the mainline. All tracks would run parallel to the CGW mainline. This view is looking northeast.”
#33 – Here we have a real difference of opinion:
WS: Locos #3003-3004 switching in Aurora (just east of CB&Q xing). View looks N/E.
AK: Freight train on Cook County Branch around Harrison St.
Bill Shapotkin writes, “This picture appears on Page 157 of SUNSET LINES (Vol 1), by Larry Plachno. The caption reads (in part): “Here, locomotives 4006-4005 are switching the CB&Q interchange on the north side of Aurora,” which, per the map on Pg 92 of said book, puts the location as being at Aurora Ave.”
#34 – EM: 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.
AK: On Cook County Branch around Jackson or so, next to Mannheim Rd.
#35 – EM: Same as #34 but from a slightly different angle.
#36 – EM: 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.
AK: Cook County Branch south of IC underpass north of Roosevelt with a charter.
#37 – FH: The 318 and two other Jewetts, likely the 316 and 317, westbound at Kedzie with a Pullman rounding Sacramento curve in the background.
AK: Kedzie station, CAE stop because of Sears headquarters at Arthington and Kedzie. CTA ran extra buses for Sears until Sears moved downtown.
#38 – FH: 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!
EM: 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.
AK: 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.
Richard Neva adds, “Number 38 appears to show Our Lady of Sorrows Church with 2 spires in the background which I was very familiar with during my early growing years.”
#39 – WS: W/B train (is that the CANNONBALL) at Kedzie station (same location as #37). View looks east.
EM: CAE 414 (Pullman, 1923) leads a westbound train at Kedzie station. It would appear to be evening rush hour. Looking east.
#40 – FH: 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 – WS: 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.
FH: 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.
EM: 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.
AK: Looking east from Racine, track in center is Throop shop lead.
#42 – EM: 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 – EM: 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 September, 1953. Notice the newer style crossing gates in contrast to the old gates is picture #9.
WS: An E/B St Louis car (460?) in Maywood — believe it is s/o First Ave (note CGW xing in background). View looks north.
Dan Hagstrom adds, ” #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.”
#44 – EM: 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.
WS: Two trains meet at Wheaton station (note C&NW station at left). View looks east.
#45 – EM: CAE 404 (Pullman 1923) eastbound at Marshfield Jct where the Douglas Pk branch can be seen at the right. Looking west.
The same approximate view as #45, but a year or two later. This picture was most likely taken during the transition period around April 4, 1954, when Douglas Park trains were rerouted over the Lake Street “L” via what we today call the Paulina Connector, part of today’s Pink Line.
According to http://www.chicago-l.org:
“But by spring 1954, the main line elevated had to be taken out of service. The Garfield Line was running on a nonstop temporary grade-level alignment as far east as Aberdeen Street, but this arrangement would have been less than satisfactory for the Douglas operation. So, on April 4, 1954, the CTA reactivated a section of the Logan Square branch between Marshfield and Lake that had been closed for revenue operations when Logan Square trains were rerouted to downtown via the new Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway (but had been kept for nonrevenue equipment moves). Marshfield Junction was removed in favor of a straight connection from the Douglas to the Paulina Connector (as this nonrevenue leg was often called) and a new connection, Paulina Junction, was built from the Connector to the Lake Street elevated adjacent to the flyer-over and abandoned Lake Street Transfer station where the two crossed. Douglas trains would now access the Loop via this connection over the Paulina Connector and Lake Street Route.”
#46 – EM: 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 – WS: Is this a trick or what? Appears to be same pix as #40 (car #34 leading the same train W/B at Kedzie).
(Duplicate photo, sorry! -Ed.)
#48 – EM: 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.
(Editor’s note: off to the left, but not visible in this picture, would have been a large gas tank that was a Forest Park landmark for many years. This is the location of the Eisenhower expressway today.)