Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars – Part 2

Work car AA59 at Devon Station (car house) on November 15, 1953. Andre Kristopans gives a scrap date of 1956 for this car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers.” The “Matchbox” 1374 at IRM is part of this same series (1101-1425). Looks like a Postwar PCC behind it.

Celebrating Labor Day, here is the second in a two-part series featuring Chicago Surface Lines work cars. You can find part one here.

Much of what we know about these cars comes from Don’s Rail Photos, a very comprehensive source of information.

As always, if you know more than we do, please share it with us, so we can improve our efforts. You can leave a comment on this post, or e-mail us directly at: thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

We asked Andre Kristopans if it might be possible that CSL streetcar RPO (railway post office) car H2, shown in our previous post, may be the same car also pictured later as money car M201.

Here is his reply:

CSL did a lot of scrapping in the late 30’s, partially in order to “balance the books” after the pre-war PCC’s came. They had to retire an “equivalent value”, which is why a lot of Matchboxes (1100-1400’s) were scrapped around then, along with old work cars, and interestingly some old single-truckers that had been in storage since about 1918 as what would now be called a “contingency fleet”. More than likely H2 went in that purge, though I can’t say for sure.

Sometimes the Surface Lines kept cars in storage for decades, just in case they might be usable for some purpose in the future.

Sweeper E223 is one of the very few pieces of CSL work equipment that have survived. It was purchased by Dick Lukin in 1956 and eventually made its way to the Illinois Railway Museum.

You can read the story of how that came to be here on the excellent Hicks Car Works blog.

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

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This former mail car ended its days as a CSL supply car. Not sure if this is the same car as H201 in our previous post. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

This former mail car ended its days as a CSL supply car. Not sure if this is the same car as H201 in our previous post. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

SS1 appears to be a portable substation. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

SS1 appears to be a portable substation. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Don’s Rail Photos says, “S3 was built by Chicago Rys in 1911 as 3. It was renumbered S3 in 1913 and became CSL S3 in 1914.” Note the trolley coach at rear.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “L202 was built by Chicago City Ry in 1909 as CCRy C50. It was renumbered L202 in 1913 and became CSL L202 in 1914. It was rebuilt as S343 in 1959 and acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1979. It was acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1983 and restored as L202.”

Sweeper E18 in action. From the Park Theatre in the background, we can tell that this is Lake Street at Austin Boulevard, the west city limits and end of the #16 Lake Street route. There are a couple more photos of the same movie theater in our earlier post West Towns Streetcars in Black-and-White.

Sweeper E18 in action. From the Park Theatre in the background, we can tell that this is Lake Street at Austin Boulevard, the west city limits and end of the #16 Lake Street route. There are a couple more photos of the same movie theater in our earlier post West Towns Streetcars in Black-and-White.

E304 at work.

E304 at work.

E209 at 69th yards in January 1941. (Vic Wagner Photo)

E209 at 69th yards in January 1941. (Vic Wagner Photo)

Sweeper E215.

Sweeper E215.

Sweepers E8 and E7. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

Sweepers E8 and E7. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

Plow E6 on January 9, 1954. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

Plow E6 on January 9, 1954. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

CSL 701, built by the Pressed Steel Company in 1909. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “These cars were built to the same design as the Pullmans.” (Earl Clark Photo)

Snow plow F305.

Snow plow F305.

Sand car/snow plow D212 at 70th and Ashland.

Sand car/snow plow D212 at 70th and Ashland.

Home-made snow plows F301 and F304. Chances are these were scrapped prior to the 1947 CTA takeover of CSL.

Home-made snow plows F301 and F304. Chances are these were scrapped prior to the 1947 CTA takeover of CSL.

Don’s Rail Photos says , “E57 was built by Russell in 1930.” (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

Sweepers E27, E221, “Matchbox” 1362, and sprinkler/plow D4. Don’s Rail Photos says, “E27 was built by McGuire-Cummings as CRys E27. It became CSL E27 in 1914.”

Sweeper E227 in action.

Sweeper E227 in action.

Sweeper E234.

Sweeper E234.

Sweeper E205.

Sweeper E205.

Apparently this photo, which was mis-marked as Chicago, must be from somewhere else. As Andre Kristopans points out, Chicago's sweepers were all in an E or F series, and the paint scheme of the streetcar at right is not CSL. Perhaps one of our readers can help us figure out where this is from. (Roy Bruce Photo)

Apparently this photo, which was mis-marked as Chicago, must be from somewhere else. As Andre Kristopans points out, Chicago’s sweepers were all in an E or F series, and the paint scheme of the streetcar at right is not CSL. Perhaps one of our readers can help us figure out where this is from. (Roy Bruce Photo)

Heavy duty sweeper E18 in action. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

Heavy duty sweeper E18 in action. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

Sweeper E25 in action on February 5, 1942. (Robert S. Crockett Photo)

Sweeper E25 in action on February 5, 1942. (Robert S. Crockett Photo)

L201.

L201.

Sand car R202 at South Shops in March 1948. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo)

Sand car R202 at South Shops in March 1948. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo)

Sweeper E40 awaiting scrapping at South Shops, with L201 at rear, on February 22, 1955. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo)

Sweeper E40 awaiting scrapping at South Shops, with L201 at rear, on February 22, 1955. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo)

Sweeper 0103 on Sloane Avenue in 1941.

Sweeper 0103 on Sloane Avenue in 1941.

While not Surface Lines equipment, electric loco S-104, which CTA inherited from the Chicago Rapid Transit Company, does fit in with the overall theme of this post (labor). Don’s Rail Photos says, “S-104 was built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in August 1920, #53555, as Northwestern Elevated RR S-104. In 1923 it became CRT S-104 and CTA S-104 in 1948. In 1978 it was sold to Toledo Edison Co as 4. It was sold to Rail Foundation in 1996.” This photo was taken in April 1955.

7 thoughts on “Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars – Part 2

  1. The sweeper S3 is not in Chicago. All CSL sweepers were in E or F series. Also note car to the right is in a different, non-Chicago paint job.

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    • Apparently this photo, probably from the 1940s, was mislabeled a long time ago as being from Chicago. I have changed the caption.

      Perhaps one of our readers can help us figure out where it is really from, thanks.

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  2. I remember a work car that resembled only one closed platform from a 1500 or 1600 turtleback that I did not notice in these excellent photos. From the closed platform back it was chopped off for flat bed hauling duties Wonder if anybody remembers it.

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  3. Mike Engelberg writes:

    Only one thing I can add to your work car postings:

    The CSL had an open field at 38th and Halsted where it stored all sorts of streetcar and track parts. This was on the west side of Halsted. The work cars I saw there resembled the one atop your part 1 posting. I’m not certain about two things:
    (1) whether any work cars “lived” there overnight.
    (2) whether there was a fence around all of this. I don’t recall seeing a guard booth
    either. But these memories are almost 70 years old, and are subject to senility.

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    • You can find some photos of this materials handling yard here:

      http://www.cera-chicago.org/Blog/3304349

      On the CERA “farewell to red cars” fantrip, which took place on May 16, 1954, they visited this yard and some of the work cars were hauled out for pictures. I would expect that the yard was shut down and dismantled shortly afterwards, since streetcar service on Halsted itself ended as of May 30th.

      This was the subject of the June 2014 CERA program presented by Bernard Rossbach, who had organized the trip 60 years earlier.

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