Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Two

A Pullman emerges from one of the downtown streetcar tunnels that went under the Chicago River, but which one? George Trapp says "car 558 (is) emerging from the East end of the Washington Tunnel at Franklin on an inbound Milwaukee Avenue run." Andre Kristopans notes that the grades in these tunnels were "VERY steep - something close to 10%. They had very strict rules regarding following distance and speed."

A Pullman emerges from one of the downtown streetcar tunnels that went under the Chicago River, but which one? George Trapp says “car 558 (is) emerging from the East end of the Washington Tunnel at Franklin on an inbound Milwaukee Avenue run.” Andre Kristopans notes that the grades in these tunnels were “VERY steep – something close to 10%. They had very strict rules regarding following distance and speed.”

Thanks to the generosity of George Trapp, here is another generous helping of classic Chicago Surface Lines streetcar photos from his collection. (To see additional photos he has already shared with us, just type “George Trapp” into the search window at the top of this page. Several other posts should come up.)

These pictures date to the “red car” era in Chicago, which began in the early 1920s and ended in 1954. A particular highlight is a half-dozen shots of CSL streetcar 1415 shown in various places along the same route, in pictures taken by the late Joe L. Diaz.

George Trapp notes, “Car #2908 and all of the shots of #1415 were taken on the Webster-Racine line before it’s abandonment on August 30, 1947. Elevated station is the Webster Station closed in 1949 used by Wilson Avenue locals. Webster-Racine was single track with a passing siding under the “L”.” (Bill Shapotkin also identified this as the Webster station.)

My guess is Joe Diaz set out to document this line just prior to the end of streetcar service, judging by the age of the various autos shown in the pictures. The date of abandonment predated the official takeover of CSL by the Chicago Transit Authority by one month.

Bill Shapotkin writes:

Webster/Racine was not widely photographed. As I understand it (from conversation with Roy Benedict), the line operated with one car — two in the “rush.” The two cars would pass under the ‘L’ at Sheffield (only passing track on the otherwise single-track line).

The 1415 was part of the same series as car 1374, the “Matchbox,” which as been restored to operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. Earlier this year, the body of car 1137, also part of this series, was unearthed in Wisconsin, although we do not know its ultimate fate.

According to Don’s Rail Photos:

Small St. Louis Cars 1101-1425

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.

We also have some interesting street scenes from around 1928 showing various “L” lines in the city. These have a fascination in their own right, especially comparing the “then and now.”

One photo in particular shows the Lindy Theatre, which somehow seems to have escaped the notice of the otherwise very thorough Cinema Treasures web site. Photos posted here would seem to indicate the Lindy was in operation on Madison at Paulina from around 1928 to at least 1937. Cinema Treasures has a different location for this movie theater.

As always, if you can help identify locations, or have interesting facts or reminiscences to add, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. You can leave comments on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

FYI there will be several additional posts in this series coming up in the near future, so watch this space.

-David Sadowski

George Trapp notes:

Notice that in the two photos of Sedans, cars 3340 and 3332 that neither car is going to the South end of the line. Car 3340 is only going as far as Wentworth-Cermak looping via Clark, Cermak, Wentworth and Archer back to Clark Northbound. Car 3332 is a Clark local only going as far as Downtown (Van Buren?). It is followed by a small St. Louis car in salt service. Only cars 1398-1423 were one manned in the early 1920’s; the rest remained two man until stored in the Depression with approximately 85 being scrapped along with Brill built 1424-1428 after arrival of 1936 PCC’s in 1937.

Some thought on the Franklin and Elm trackage, looking at the photo of curve, it may have been impossible for double truck cars to pass on that curve, it may have never been upgraded for double truck cars in the 1908-1914 period.

CSL Sedan 3340 crosses the old Milwaukee Road freight tracks near Wrigley Field. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL Sedan 3340 crosses the old Milwaukee Road freight tracks near Wrigley Field. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

George Trapp: "Car 5913 at South shops freshly painted signed for the old designation for Western Avenue as Through Route #10." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

George Trapp: “Car 5913 at South shops freshly painted signed for the old designation for Western Avenue as Through Route #10.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 561 and 1466 at the entrance to the Van Buren streetcar tunnel. 1466 is signed as a demonstration car, i.e. training. You can see another view of this tunnel, taken from the opposite direction, in a previous post: https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/02/28/chicago-streetcars-in-black-and-white-part-2/ (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 561 and 1466 at the entrance to the Van Buren streetcar tunnel. 1466 is signed as a demonstration car, i.e. training. You can see another view of this tunnel, taken from the opposite direction, in a previous post:
https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/02/28/chicago-streetcars-in-black-and-white-part-2/ (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2908 near the old Webster "L" station, on the Webster-Racine line.  (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2908 near the old Webster “L” station, on the Webster-Racine line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The site of the old Webster "L" station as it appears today, at approximately 950 West Webster. Until the Webster-Racine streetcar line was abandoned in 1947, there was a passing siding here.

The site of the old Webster “L” station as it appears today, at approximately 950 West Webster. Until the Webster-Racine streetcar line was abandoned in 1947, there was a passing siding here.

CSL 1415 near the Webster "L" station, on the Webster-Racine streetcar line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1415 near the Webster “L” station, on the Webster-Racine streetcar line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1415 on Webster-Racine. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1415 on Webster-Racine. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1415 near rowhouses, on the Webster-Racine line. Can that be a vaulted sidewalk? Perhaps that might be a clue as to the location. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Rob L. Segal says this location, "is on Webster just west of Lincoln Avenue. Many of the rowhouses in the background are still there on the north side of Webster (652 W. Webster, for example) across from Oz Park."

CSL 1415 near rowhouses, on the Webster-Racine line. Can that be a vaulted sidewalk? Perhaps that might be a clue as to the location. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Rob L. Segal says this location, “is on Webster just west of Lincoln Avenue. Many of the rowhouses in the background are still there on the north side of Webster (652 W. Webster, for example) across from Oz Park.”

1415 yet again, on the Webster-Racine route. This time the destination is clearly visible as Racine and Fullerton. Bill Shapotkin writes, "Believe this photo is taken at Webster/Lincoln (view looks east) -- which was the east (south(?)) end-of-the-line. (Note that the cross-street is an angular street. The streetcar (left) would be heading S/B in Lincoln." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

1415 yet again, on the Webster-Racine route. This time the destination is clearly visible as Racine and Fullerton. Bill Shapotkin writes, “Believe this photo is taken at Webster/Lincoln (view looks east) — which was the east (south(?)) end-of-the-line. (Note that the cross-street is an angular street. The streetcar (left) would be heading S/B in Lincoln.”
(Joe L. Diaz Photo)

1415 on the Webster-Racine line, near the Webster "L" station on the north-south main line.  (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

1415 on the Webster-Racine line, near the Webster “L” station on the north-south main line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

1415 again, on the Webster-Racine route. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

1415 again, on the Webster-Racine route. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

According to George Trapp, this is the Webster "L" station, where there was a passing siding, near the midpoint of the Webster-Racine streetcar line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

According to George Trapp, this is the Webster “L” station, where there was a passing siding, near the midpoint of the Webster-Racine streetcar line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

929 and 1077. The former is signed to go to Dearborn and Polk. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

929 and 1077. The former is signed to go to Dearborn and Polk. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

George Trapp says, "Small Pullman #1039 is Southbound on (the) Lincoln-Rosehill line," signed to go to Dearborn and Polk. Another writer says 1039 is southbound on Wells at North Avenue, an area now known as Old Town. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

George Trapp says, “Small Pullman #1039 is Southbound on (the) Lincoln-Rosehill line,” signed to go to Dearborn and Polk. Another writer says 1039 is southbound on Wells at North Avenue, an area now known as Old Town. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

North and Wells today.

North and Wells today.

Geroge Trapp writes, "Car #1744 (is) on Western at Ravenswood "L" just south of Leland." This station was completely rebuilt circa 1979-81.

Geroge Trapp writes, “Car #1744 (is) on Western at Ravenswood “L” just south of Leland.” This station was completely rebuilt circa 1979-81.

CSL 1739 heads southwest on Ogden, having just passed under the Douglas Park “L”.

CSL 6181, southbound on Halsted.

CSL 6181, southbound on Halsted.

CSL 1416 at Laramie and Harrison. The Chicago Rapid Transit Company's Laramie Yard is visible at rear. We are looking to the southwest. The building at rear is still there today.

CSL 1416 at Laramie and Harrison. The Chicago Rapid Transit Company’s Laramie Yard is visible at rear. We are looking to the southwest. The building at rear is still there today.

Harrison today. The Eisenhower expressway is a short distance south of this location.

A view of the same scene at Laramie and Harrison today. The Eisenhower expressway is a short distance south of this location.

The sign on the train station identifies it as Fernwood. That should help us determine the location of CSL 3100. Bill Shapotkin writes, "This picture is on 103rd St (I believe looking east). The car is W/B and about to x/o the C&WI."

The sign on the train station identifies it as Fernwood. That should help us determine the location of CSL 3100. Bill Shapotkin writes, “This picture is on 103rd St (I believe looking east). The car is W/B and about to x/o the C&WI.”

CSL Birney car 2001. Don's Rail Photos notes that sister car 2003 was

CSL Birney car 2001. Don’s Rail Photos notes that sister car 2003 was ” was built by Brill Car Co in October 1920, (order) #21211. It was retired in 1932 and scrapped in March 1937.” Chances are the same is true of this car. Birneys were generally used in very small cities and were not very successful in Chicago.

CSL 4000 on a charter. The side sign says Cicero (Avenue).

CSL 4000 on a charter. The side sign says Cicero (Avenue).

This picture must have been taken during World War II, since this car advertises recruitment in the WACs (Women's Army Corps). George Trapp adds, "1721-1785 class car painted for WAC is southbound on Clark at Devon signed for Route 22."

This picture must have been taken during World War II, since this car advertises recruitment in the WACs (Women’s Army Corps). George Trapp adds, “1721-1785 class car painted for WAC is southbound on Clark at Devon signed for Route 22.”

This picture is identified as Ashland north of Roscoe on January 23, 1929. This would be the Ravenswood “L” (today’s Brown Line), and the “L” station one block west is Paulina. We are looking north.

Ashland just north of Roscoe today.

Ashland just north of Roscoe today.

This is identified as Elm Street looking west at Franklin on December 28, 1928, which makes this the mainline Northside "L". George Trapp notes, "Tracks on Franklin and Elm were not in regular service since at least 1924 if not before, once used as an alternate route for the old Southport-Downtown route. Work cars did use the tracks and had to jump the tracks on Sedgwick and Orleans."

This is identified as Elm Street looking west at Franklin on December 28, 1928, which makes this the mainline Northside “L”. George Trapp notes, “Tracks on Franklin and Elm were not in regular service since at least 1924 if not before, once used as an alternate route for the old Southport-Downtown route. Work cars did use the tracks and had to jump the tracks on Sedgwick and Orleans.”

Here is a view of the "L" looking east from Orleans and Elm. Franklin Street no longer goes through this area and dead-ends at Walton. So, this is a view of the same general area as the previous picture, but looking at it from the other side.

Here is a view of the “L” looking east from Orleans and Elm. Franklin Street no longer goes through this area and dead-ends at Walton. So, this is a view of the same general area as the previous picture, but looking at it from the other side.

Lincoln Avenue just north of Addison, as it looked on January 28, 1929. That’s the Ravenswood “L” in the background with the Chicago & North Western in the foreground.

Madison and Paulina on November 26, 1928. That is the Logan Square “L”, now part of the CTA Pink Line. You can see a picture taken 9 years later from the station platform here:
https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/10/12/more-chicago-pcc-photos-part-four/
Comparing the two pictures, we find the same pawn shop in both, along with the Lindy Theatre, here showing Cecil B. De Mille’s 1927 silent film King of Kings, starring H. B. Warner. That would mean we are looking west here instead of east.

Jefferson Street and Van Buren on December 19, 1928. That’s the old Met “L” in the background, which was replaced by the Congress rapid transit line nearly 30 years later.

Lincoln Avenue just south of Sheffield on January 8, 1929.

Lincoln Avenue just south of Sheffield on January 8, 1929.

The same general location today (intersection of Lincoln, Wrightwood, and Sheffiled, looking SE).

The same general location today (intersection of Lincoln, Wrightwood, and Sheffiled, looking SE).

Franklin Street looking south at Chestnut on February 20, 1928. In the background, we see the “L” station at Chicago Avenue on what was then the north-south main line.

Franklin looking south from Chestnut today.

Franklin looking south from Chestnut today.

As winter approaches, we bid you adieu with this snowy scene showing CSL Peter Witt (aka Sedan) 3332 heading south on Clark at at Menomonee near Lincoln Park; note snow plow behind Sedan with wing extended. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

As winter approaches, we bid you adieu with this snowy scene showing CSL Peter Witt (aka Sedan) 3332 heading south on Clark at at Menomonee near Lincoln Park; note snow plow behind Sedan with wing extended. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)


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Two New CD Collections of Vintage Steam Train Audio Are Now Available

Here are two new additions to our catalog of vintage train sounds on Compact Disc available in our Online Store. Additional titles, including some rare traction audio CDs, are in the pipeline and will be available soon. We are well on the way towards fulfilling our goal of making the entire Railroad Record Club collection available once again to the public, after being out of print for so many years.

We thank Kenneth Gear for lending us these and many other original LPs from his collection. Thanks to his generosity, you too can now hear these public domain “orphan works” put out by long-gone obscure record labels 40 or 50 years ago.

There is a lot of hard work involved in digitizing these classic recordings, but with the use of modern technology and a lot of plain old hard work, these recordings are sounding better than ever.


Screen Shot 11-12-15 at 10.43 PM.PNG

TOS-12
Twilight of Steam
# of Discs – 2
Price: $19.95

Record #TOS-12:
The long out-of-print, thrilling audio counterpart to the exciting and controversial 1963 book The Twilight of Steam Locomotives by Ron Ziel. (Book not included.)

Railroads covered include the Reader, Virginia Blue Ridge, Southern Pacific, Bevier & Southern, Mobile & Gulf, Kentucky & Tennessee, Magma Arizona, the Mississippian, Graham County Railroad, Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal, Denver & Rio Grande, East Broad Top, Reading, Canadian Northern, the Strasburg, the Burlington, Buffalo Creek & Gauley, Grand Trunk Western, Alabama Central, Valle de Mexico, Rockton & Rion, Duluth Missabe & Iron Range, and Great Western. These were among the last steam locos in regular service on North American railroads, in recordings made between 1958 and 1966.

Total time – 130:51


FFRCover

FFR
Fast Freight Rolling
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Record #FFR:
This album represents the ultimate audio documentation of the grand age of the iron horse on the Western Maryland Railway, in recordings made circa 1952-53.

These are the only known audio recordings of the Western Maryland Railway. Every major class of steam motive power operated by the Western Maryland is included. It also includes Western Maryland #6, the last and most modern Shay-type locomotive ever built.

From the Wikipedia:

The Western Maryland Railway (reporting mark WM) was an American Class I railroad which operated in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. It was primarily a coal hauling and freight railroad, with a small passenger train operation. The WM became part of the Chessie System in 1973, although it continued independent operations until May 1975 after which time many of its lines were abandoned in favor of parallel Baltimore and Ohio Railroad lines. In 1983 it was fully merged into the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which later was also merged into the Chessie System with the former Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, which is now CSX Transportation.

Total time – 67:38


10 thoughts on “Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Two

  1. A Pullman emerges from one of the downtown streetcar tunnels that went under the Chicago River, but which one? George Trapp says “car 558 (is) emerging from the East end of the Washington Tunnel at Franklin on an inbound Milwaukee Avenue run.”

    Mr. Trapp was correct, from left to right, the first two buildings still stand at and near the southwest corner of Franklin and Washington streets.

    From the SW corner, left to right, count four buildings to the Chicago Civic Opera Building with one of the twin marquees that still stand out on both the Madison and Washington streets sides of the Civic Opera Building.

    Like

  2. Re: CSL 1416 at Laramie and Harrison. Could this be an Ed Frank photo? It is well-known that Ed traveled all over Chicago on his bike to photograph streetcars to save carfare. That might be his calling card propped against the line pole. It’s ironic that he squandered his resources on film and deprived himself of the joy of streetcar riding.

    Like

    • It’s certainly possible, but since there is no name on the back of the photograph, such an attribution would be mere guesswork on my part. But, having ridden his bike to Laramie and Harrison just to take a picture, why would he want the bicycle to show up in the picture itself?

      Thanks.

      Like

      • It’s a mantra among railfans not to have people in the picture obscuring the car. The photographer in this case composed a scene including the operator (the white stripe on the end means a one-person operated car), a bike, and elevated cars in the background. In any case, no do-overs are possible at this late date.

        Like

      • I can appreciate a good “roster shot” as much as the next person, but I also like pictures of streetcars with people in them. They show how the cars were actually used. Sometimes I wish there were more pictures showing people getting on and off the cars.

        Like

  3. Madison & Paulina 11/26/28 view west under Logan Square “L” shows what appears to be construction activity at future site of Chicago Stadium.

    Like

  4. The photo that begins with the caption, “CSL 1415 near rowhouses . . . ” is on Webster just west of Lincoln Avenue. Many of the rowhouses in the background are still there on the north side of Webster (652 W. Webster, for example) across from Oz Park.

    Like

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