A two-car Garfield Park train, including car 2848, on the Loop “L”. (George Snyder Photo)
Our last major post on Chicago’s rapid transit lines was on April 28, so we figure it’s time for another look. In newspaper parlance, -30- means “the end,” (there was even a 1959 film by that title directed by Jack Webb) but here, we present 30 classic Chicago “L” photos that we think are the living end.
While we have some information for these pictures, if you can share something interesting about them that we might have missed, do not hesitate to contact us. You can leave a comment to this post, or write us directly at:
A Ravenswood Local made up of “Baldy” 4000s (including car 4200) on the Loop “L”. (George Snyder Photo)
A Douglas Park Cicero-Berwyn Express on the Loop “L”. This picture must date to before December 9, 1951, when A/B service began on Douglas. (George Snyder Photo)
Articulated “Doodlebug” 5001 at Laramie Yard on the Garfield Park “L”, when this car was new (late 1940s). (George Snyder Photo)
The location of this photo would be hard to identify, if not for the presence of overhead wire instead of third rail. That makes it Isabella on the Evanston line. This station closed on July 16, 1973.
Niles Center train 1045 in the pocket at the Dempster station, with North Shore Line track in the foreground. The Skokie Swift never used this terminal arrangement.
A rare shot of the lower Wilson Avenue station on the north side “L”. This was once the terminal before the “L” was extended north. This station opened on March 5, 1907. The intent was to alleviate crowding at the upper Wilson station, already in use. Lower Wilson closed on August 1, 1949, early in the CTA era.
Skokie Shops, date unknown. Probably early in the CTA era.
A single car Niles Center train in the open cut in Evanston.
A six-car CRT “L” train on the Niles Center branch. Service on this line quit on March 26, 1948. This was part of the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route. After the interurban quit in 1963, the CTA bought the line to Dempster and the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) was born. Service did not generally warrant the use of a six-car train in the 1940s when this picture was taken, but sometimes CRT trains were used on the North Shore Line to haul the military.
A two car CRT “L” train in December 1935. The location is given as Austin, but the photo does not indicate whether this is the Douglas Park branch or Garfield. Bill Shapotkin writes: “I can’t tell you where this pic was actually taken, but I can tell you where is was NOT taken. This photo is NOT on Garfield Pk/Westchester. If it were anywhere on that line, the third rail chairs would be the CA&E’s wooden third rail chairs — the chairs shown in this photo are rapid transit third rail chairs. Additionally, if it were “Austin” (on Garfield Pk), we should see the B&OCT next door (and it is not). Now, as for where I think this photo was taken — there appears to be an interlocking nearby (notice the piping next to outside rail). Thus, I believe the train is WB on DOUGLAS approaching Oak Park Ave (where, if I recall correctly) there was an interlocking. Therefore we would be looking east. At least that is my best guess.”
The east end of the CTA’s Jackson Park “L” in July 1959. The “L” has been truncated west of here since and no longer crosses the Illinois Central (now Metra) Electric.
The DesPlaines Avenue terminal at the west end of the CTA Congress line in November 1959. Wooden “L” cars were no longer being used for passenger service by time, and the three cars were probably being used here for offices as the station was being somewhat reconfigured. Note the lack of a canopy.
A Kenwood shuttle car at 42nd Place terminal on June 12, 1957. November 30 was the last day of service on this branch. (Lawrence H. Boehuring Photo)
A downtown-bound train at the old Logan Square “L” station on May 10, 1958, about 6 weeks before service on the Milwaukee-Dearborn subway was connected up with the Congress and Douglas branches. (Laurence H. Boehuring Photo)
Six old wooden “L” cars, including 1784, in the Linden Avenue yard in Wilmette on June 12, 1957. (Laurence H. Boehuring Photo)
The view looking south from the platform at the Linden Avenue station in Wilmette on June 12, 1957, showing two old wooden “L” cars in the yard, including 1793 and 3156(?). In the distance, we can see one of the four articulated 5001-5004 series cars. (Laurence H. Boehuring Photo)
The arcade at the old Logan Square “L” terminal on May 10, 1958. About a dozen years later, this station was replaced by a subway as part of the extension of this line to Jefferson Park. (Laurence H. Boehuring Photo)
Kedzie and Linden, the site of the old Logan Square “L” terminal, as it looks today. Andre Kristopans says,”The old Logan square station is still under there under the new façade. There is a substantial gap between the inside ceiling and roof of this building because of the supports for the shop above the north half of the building were part of the structure and were not removed, and for aesthetic reasons the high walls were extended all the way around.”
The view looking north at the Linden Avenue terminal in Wilmette, showing wooden “L” cars (including 1770 and 1736). A poster at right advertises Waterman fountain pens. The date is June 12, 1957. (Laurence H. Boehuring Photo)
A view looking east towards the Marion Street station on the Lake Street “L” on June 7, 1957. (Laurence H. Boehuring Photo)
A Kenwood shuttle car at the Indiana Avenue station on June 12, 1957. November 30 was the last day of service on this branch. (Lawrence H. Boehuring Photo)
This picture was taken at the Oak Park Avenue terminal along the outer end of the Douglas Park “L”, looking west. The apartment building at right is still standing. The line was cut back to 54th Avenue 1952. The train is a Cicero-Berwyn Express, ready to head downtown. It must be before December 9, 1951, when A/B skip-stop service was instituted. Note the Burma Shave sign at right.
CRT/CTA snow plow S220 at Laramie on the Garfield Park “L” in 1948.
A CTA Met “L” train crosses the Chicago River in 1950, on the double Scherzer rolling lift bridge that was there at the time. Now, just south of here, the CTA Blue Line passes underneath the river.
CTA 2703-2753 at the east side of Skokie Shops on May 1, 1955. This was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip that included a shops tour.
An open platform/vestibule two-car Douglas Park train at Van Buren and Wells in September 1949. One of the cars is 2775. Contrast this with the later photo taken at this same location, after the removal of the “L” structure west of here for the construction of Lower Wacker Drive.
The same location as the last photo, but no earlier than 1955. The “L” structure and tower west of here have been removed. The Garfield Park “L’ connection to the Loop was moved slightly north of here via a new connection through the old Wells Street Terminal. The sign on the train says that the last stop is Clinton. The Insurance Exchange building is at right.
The Pulaski station on the Douglas Park “L” on May 10, 1958. There was a yard there at the time. (Lawrence H. Boehuring Photo)
Laramie Yard on the Garfield Park “L”, looking east. A few blocks back, the “L” went up a ramp onto steel structure. Today, the Eisenhower expressway would be somewhere off to the right.
CTA Met car 2819, signed for Garfield Park, at Laramie Yard in August, 1954.
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 80th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”