After a five month interruption, service on the Chicago Transit Authority’s five mile long Yellow Line resumed today (October 3Oth). Part of the 90-year old embankment had collapsed back in May, probably due to a nearby construction project.
To celebrate this, the CTA ran a ceremonial train at about 8:00 am, made up of new “L” cars 5713-5714, the final pair of 5000-series cars received. I did not get to see this train as I arrived in Skokie about an hour later. Various dignitaries, including the mayor of Skokie, were to be on it.
However, besides some 5000s, the CTA also ran a pair of 2400s on the Yellow Line for a while. Nearly 40 years old now, these are considered historic cars. A pair of them are already out at the Illinois Railway Museum.
When the 4000s were finally retired from service in 1973, they were about 50 years old. At the time, that seemed really old. Now 40 years is not too shabby either, but when you are of a certain age, having lived through the 1970s, it’s the nostalgia that seems a bit strange. It will get even worse, since 1990s nostalgia is just around the corner.
I had thought perhaps they would wait until after the AM rush hour to run the ceremonial train, but, as CTA’s Graham Garfield explained to me, there are only three sets of cars on the line then anyway, so it’s not like they would have got in the way of anything.
The weather, fortunately, was sunny all day, with temps in the mid-50s, so we got some good shots of what was going on.
We have written about the Yellow Line before. On February 3rd, our post Skokie Swift: The “True Gen” covered the origins of the line, and included several pictures of the CTA’s 1920s-era 4000-series “L” cars in operation there. We also featured some images of the old Niles Center line (predecessor of the Skokie Swift/Yellow Line) in our post More Chicago Rapid Transit Photos on September 21.
Photos of the Niles Center branch in action are somewhat rare, since it only operated for 23 years. By comparison, the North Shore Line used these tracks for about 38 years, and the Skokie Swift went into operation 51 years ago.
I have some history with this line, since my Dad and I rode it on the very first day of operation in April 1964. Back then, service was provided by high-speed versions of the CTA’s single car units in the 1-50 series, which were then less than five years old.
The emphasis was completely on speed. All intermediate stops that had been served by the old Niles Center branch were eliminated, and these cars could shake, rattle, and roll at speeds of at least 60 miles per hour. The total trip between Dempster and Howard only took about six minutes or so, at an average speed of at least 45 mph end to end.
I can assure you it was quite a thrilling ride!
In the years since, things have slowed down a bit, and one additional station has been added at Oakton. Still, the ride takes only about 8 and a half minutes, as you can see from the back window video we shot today. This will give you a good look at the 1200 feet of right-of-way that had to be redone. You can tell where it is, since the new fill is pure white, and there are CTA personnel walking around inspecting things.
Ordinarily, I would try to smooth out some of the shakiness in the video, but I think that leaving it this way does give you more of the exciting feel of riding the Yellow Line.
In the five months since service was disrupted, CTA has been offering replacement bus service. But to entice riders back, they are offering free rides for one week, and free parking in the Dempster lot for the rest of this year.
It is a smart strategy and appears to be working. The parking lot was already full by the time I got there.
Kudos to CTA for a job well done.
CERA Bulletin 146 Gets a Rave Review
Railfan and Raiload magazine reviews Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958 in their November issue. I am one of the co-authors of that book.
You can read their glowing review, filled with superlatives, here. This is reproduced with the permission of Railfan and Railroad.
Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association. Bulletin 146 is available from CERA and their dealers.
New Print Making Services
We’ve been getting requests to make prints available from some of the many great photographs we have posted to The Trolley Dodger. So, we have decided to offer 5″ x 7″ and 8.5″ x 11″ color and black-and-white prints to you at very reasonable prices. These are suitable for matting and framing.
One of our customers says that our work is “Simply stupendous!” We hope you will agree.
These are high resolution digital prints on glossy paper, made on a professional grade Epson model 1430 printer. Each print comes with descriptive information on the back, and will be shipped in the USA via First Class Mail. Shipping within the United States is included in these prices.
Prints will be made full-frame unless otherwise indicated, and may have white borders since most original images are not directly proportional to these print sizes. Prices for other sizes are available upon request. The largest size we can make is 13″ x 44″.
All prints will be shipped in manila envelopes with cardboard inserts to prevent them from being bent.
Many, but not all, the images posted to The Trolley Dodger are available. We can only make prints for those images that we either have rights to or are in the public domain. It is not our intention to deprive others of the profit from their copyrighted work. Let us know what you are interested in and we can discuss this.
Each image on our web site has a unique identifying number. If you hover your mouse over the image, you should be able to see this number. If you click on the image to bring up a larger version of it, that is the last part of the URL (like “misc783,” for example).
While the images we post to the Internet have a “watermark” on them, this will not appear on the prints we make for you, which also use higher resolution.
There is a shipping surcharge for orders sent outside the United States— $5 USD for Canada, and $10 USD elsewhere. There are payment buttons for these surcharges at the bottom of this page.
All proceeds from the sale of these prints go towards supporting our research efforts and historic preservation. With your support, we can continue to bring you more of these fine images in the future. These payment buttons have been added to our Online Store.
8.5″ x 11″ Color or Black-and-White Prints
Price: $7.50 each
5″ x 7″ Color or Black-and-White Prints
Price: $3.75 each
We Thank Our Readers
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We thank you for your support and encouragement.