According to the Wikipedia:
Ephemera (singular: ephemeron) is any transitory written or printed matter not meant to be retained or preserved. The word derives from the Greek, meaning things lasting no more than a day. Some collectible ephemera are advertising trade cards, airsickness bags, bookmarks, catalogues, greeting cards, letters, pamphlets, postcards, posters, prospectuses, defunct stock certificates or tickets, and zines.
In library and information science, the term ephemera also describes the class of published single-sheet or single page documents which are meant to be thrown away after one use.
Today’s post features some railfan ephemera, things that were designed for transitory use, that few people would have considered worth saving. We can be thankful that they were saved, since these items can sometimes tell us important things we would not know otherwise.
There are several tidbits of information in the brochures and flyers we’re presenting today. A CTA brochure from 1949 includes a very good statement of how that agency intended to speed up rapid transit service.
An early (1959) fundraising flyer from an early version of the Illinois Railway Museum calls CA&E car 309 the “jewel” of the Roarin’ Elgin’s fleet. This car was eventually purchased by the museum and, after surviving a later fire, restored back to operating condition.
Don’s Rail Photos says, “309 was built by Hicks Locomotive Works in 1907. It was modernized in October 1941 and acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1962.”
You can read the 309 story on the excellent Hicks Car Works blog here.
We have several other CA&E-related items. A timetable from late 1939 pinpoints the date when the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban switched their route into Aurora from street trackage to a new private right-of-way along the Fox River.
Finally, there are some vintage CTA flyers that describe how to troubleshoot various problems on the venerable 4000-series “L” cars that were, for so many years, a mainstay of the system before their retirement in 1973. Two cars from that fleet are still on the CTA property today and are occasionally run, as they were last year, when they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Skokie Swift, today’s Yellow Line.
The institution of A/B service led to other changes. As the following correspondence shows, it impacted where CTA stored rapid transit trains. As the CTA’s Tom Buck pointed out, prior to this, trains terminated at various places along the North-South line, and service was overlapping. Once “Skip Stop” service began, there was a need for improved facilities at the ends of the line.
Thus, a turning loop was installed at Howard Yard between 1949 and 1950, so that trains could be turned around quicker.
Nowadays, the term “cc” (short for carbon copy) is widely used in e-mail. But there was a time when it had a more literal meaning. Back in the days when people corresponded via typewriters, if you wanted to keep a record of letters written, you would make a carbon copy.
You would place a piece of blue carbon paper behind your stationary, and behind that, a very thin sheet. Here are two such carbon copies.
These letters date from 1975, in the years before home computers, in the days when people still wrote actual letters to each other and mailed them. Before he worked at the CTA, Tom Buck (1917-2004) wrote about transit matters for the Chicago Tribune.