We recently presented four installments of Chicago PCC pictures from the collections of George Trapp. Today we offer another batch made up of our own recent acquisitions for your enjoyment.
To see the previous four posts, and another featuring Mr. Trapp’s pictures of historic Chicago buses, just type “George Trapp” in the search window on this page. Links to these should come right up.
Some of these pictures show prewar Chicago PCCs in experimental paint schemes. These were tried out by the Chicago Surface Lines in 1945-46 before settling on the well-known combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange for the 600 postwar cars that were on order.
We found this online about the development of Swamp Holly Orange:
Yellow (truck lines) commissioned DuPont to determine what color was most visible from the greatest distance for the fleet. After careful research, DuPont presented a color, dubbed “Swamp Holly Orange.” And so the company named Yellow had an official color—orange—the safest color on the road.
All of the pictures in today’s post are being added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store.
Over the next few weeks, we will post some of George Trapp’s pictures of red Chicago streetcars, so watch this space.
We also wish to thank the great photographers who took these pictures originally. We have provided attribution for each photo where we have the information. The two pictures taken by John F. Bromley in 1956 are presented with his permission.
I was still a teenager with a Voightlander camera and was on a trip with my parents at the time. I recall riding the 36 up to the carhouse, and I think I came back on the 22.
Mr. Bromley is a well known historian and is the author of two books on the Toronto transit system.
Of course, the deluxe hardcover book Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era 1936-1958, published in June by Central Electric Railfans’ Association, is the premier volume covering the rise and fall of the modern streetcar in the Windy City. That book contains hundreds of great color photos and is a must-have for anyone who is interested in the subject, or even anyone who is interested in knowing what Chicago’s disparate neighborhoods looked like in a bygone era. While I am proud to be a co-author of that work, B-146 is available directly from the publisher. I would be remiss if I did not mention that Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with CERA.
In my humble opinion, B-146 is a fantastic bargain and a great value for the money, and I urge you to get a copy if you have not already done so.
My more recent E-book, available on a data disc in PDF format, is intended as a very unofficial supplement and companion to that noble work. One advantage that an electronic book has over a printed one is that more information can be added to it as things become available. We have already added numerous photos, maps, etc. to it, and the material from the Trapp Collection is a tremendous addition, which we are very grateful to have.
On top of that, we have now added another section of photographs to the book covering Chicago’s rapid transit system as it appeared early in the CTA era. That will give the reader a very clear idea of how badly the system was in need of improvement and modernization, a factor in the process by which CTA ultimately decided to eliminate streetcars.
With the E-book, we are not attempting to duplicate anything covered in B-146, which mainly showcases color photography. But there are still lots of great black-and-white photos that deserve to be seen, and lots of other information which could not be included even in a 448-page book. Chicago once had the largest streetcar system in the world, and chances are it will be a long time, if ever, before anyone has the “last word” about it.
If you have already purchased our E-book, and wish to get an updated copy with the additional information, this can be done at little or no cost to you. We always intended that it would be improved over time and offer an upgrade service to our purchasers on an ongoing basis.
As always, clicking on each photo with your mouse should bring up a larger version of the picture in your browser. You may be able to magnify this if you then see a “+” on your screen.
Finally, if you have any interesting tidbits of information to share about the photos you see here, don’t hesitate to let us know, either by making a comment on this post, or by dropping us a line to:
PS- We have just added a couple more pictures to our post Railfan Ephemera (August 26th). One shows the interior of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 300 shortly before it was scrapped in 1962. The other is of CA&E car 36 in action.