Our recent post about the Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Limited interurban (December 7) prompted us to dig around for some additional photos to share with you. In addition, we have some recent selections from the Trolley Dodger mailbag. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks, either as comments, or to:
Joey Morrow writes:
On this link there are 2 photos that show the northbound (outbound) platform directly north of Elm street east of the (North Shore Line) Winnetka Station which would have been on the modernized section of the Shore Line route. The only thing remaining are the cement blocks that supported the platform structure. The platform is long gone, but the cement supports are still fighting trees and other greenery from taking out the last known platform (that I know of) from America’s fastest interurban era. The strange thing is that this platform was abandoned in 1955.
Obviously it’s either gone (let’s hope not), or it’s so hidden you can’t see it. But it’s pretty clear that those photo’s are not old. I’m pretty sure that one of them is still there, or at least the foundation of the platform.
P.S. Thank you so very much for posting my email on your blog, you totally made my day!
The Shore Line was abandoned in 1955 since it was a lot slower than the Skokie Valley route and presumably had a lot fewer passengers. It also had a lot more direct competition. Of course, their eventual goal was to abandon everything, which did happen in 1963.
Around 1950, the CTA proposed turning over the Evanston/Wilmette service to the North Shore Line, in exchange for having all their trains terminate at Howard. I am sure some people at the CTA regarded the interurban operations on their tracks as an inconvenience that created various operating complications. With the CTA’s attempts to speed up service, at first by using A/B skip-stop service, then later high speed motors, they felt that reasonable times to downtown could still be achieved even if interurban passengers had to change trains at Howard (or Forest Park).
This did not work out so well for the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in 1953-57 but that was mainly due to the very slow temporary trackage on Van Buren Street (2 1/2 miles). Who knows how things would have worked out if CA&E had survived after the new Congress rapid transit line had opened in June 1958?
Riley O’Connor writes (in reference to our recent post about the Ken Kidder O-scale model of CSL 7001):
Thanks for the reference to the CSL car. It sometimes seems that the best we can do is get “close enough” for colors. And, sometimes an educated guess is closer to reality than the rivet counters want to admit.
I follow a seller on eBay who operates out of Waukesha and he seems to be knowledgeable about the Kidder 0-Scale production. There appear to have been quite a number of these short production run cars in addition to your CSL car. I just haven’t had time to sit down and pick his brain about them. Kidder specialized in this sort of thing, and these cars appear to be at the direction of a buyer or two, with an additional unknown number of “spec” cars. No telling where he got the drawings of the different cars; perhaps Wagner.
From what I’ve seen, Kidder did, among other things, an Electroliner body (four cars, but no floor or mechanism) and a number of interurbans. Also at least one city car in 0-Scale.
By the way, I’ve read your blog on many occasions and I thank you for doing it. It’s very interesting.
One possible source for the 7001 blueprint would be Car Plans of the Chicago Surface Lines (1962), published by the Electric Railway Historical Society as their 38th bulletin. All 49 ERHS bulletins have been reissued by Central Electric Railfans’ Association on a DVD data disc in PDF form, and are available directly from them or their dealers.
I’ve seen Ken Kidder brass Birney cars for sale on eBay, both single and double truck. The double truck Birney would be the same type of car (Johnstown 311) featured on Railroad Record Club LP #23, Pennsylvania Trolleys, available on CD via our Online Store. This car still exists and was the first one acquired by the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Pennsylvania.
Kenneth Gear writes:
I started buying RRC LPs from Mr. Steventon back when I was in high school (Mid-1970s) My uncle had RRC 10 PRR and he loaned it to me and I enjoyed it very much. In spite of the fact that this record was almost fifteen years old, I wanted to find out if the other LPs (I knew there had to be at least nine others) were still available. I wrote a letter to the Railroad Record Club thinking that I’d never get a reply. Could the post office even deliver a letter addressed simply Hawkins, Wisconsin? A few weeks later I got a nice handwritten note from Mr. Steventon (I sure wish I had saved it) explaining that RCA had lost or destroyed his master discs that the LPs were made from. He was in the process of having new masters made using good copies of the 10″ LPs. He would then start selling the remastered records as 12″ discs.
I would end up buying eight LPs over the next couple of years, but for a while my interest faded. By the time I wanted to start buying more, it was all over.
Just one of the reasons I enjoy these records (CDs) so much.
Awhile ago I sent a few Railroad LPs to a company I found online. I spoke to the sound engineer on the phone before I sent any thing to them. He admitted that he had no idea what to do with locomotive sound recordings but he agreed to make simple transfers to CD without attempting any restoration or track dividing. The results were CDs that sounded exactly like playing the LPs. Your work is so much better that there is no comparing them.
So far, I haven’t been able to find anything to indicate that Steventon (1921-1993) had any children. His wife’s name was Mary (née Witt) (1921-2003) and they got married in Washington, D. C. in 1954, when they were in their early 30s.
She outlived him by ten years and it looks like someone else helped clean out their house after she died. His own personal collection of RRC LPs ended up getting sold one-by-one on eBay.
I would like to think that we are continuing to carry out Mr. Steventon’s life mission by making these fine recordings available once again in modern form as compact discs.
Dennis Kern writes:
I wrote you a while back asking if anyone might have photos/plans of interurban stations/depots specifically ones like the ones on Northern Indiana Power. This was the line that ran from Marion, Indiana to Frankfort, Indiana and more specifically like the depot in CERA book bulletin 102, 1958 on pg 55 of Michigantown – Bottom right. The depot in this photo is very like the one we are working on in Russiaville, Indiana. I know you indicated you might ask around however since I have not heard anything more I assume you did not find anything. You will recall we want to restore the Waiting room in the depot. We did find one photo of the Agents office which is attached for you.
!. Can you tell me your opinion of generally what a waiting room would be like. I am thinking a lot of depots had vertical siding about 3 feet up from the floor covering the lower portion of the plaster. This wood was like box car siding I think. Would appreciate any suggestions you might have because if we can not find anything specific we will just make it look like a generic depot interior.
2. Could you look at the photo – Questions; the two men in uniform – one is an agent. The uniforms are different i.e. one has a dark shirt – other has a white shirt also different hats – we have talked about trying to obtain some uniforms like these and putting some “dummies” in the depot agents office. Any idea where we might obtain uniforms like these. Also any idea on the route map on the wall above the desk, Also the telephone. Also would you say what I think is a window – to the left of door in the back – might be a ticket window – what do you think. Also any comments you might have about the other objects in the office.
Thanks for your time in looking at this.
Let me ask the readers of my blog and also some of the railroad discussion groups I belong to. I apologize for not following through on your previous request. Chances are some of our readers will offer some excellent ideas.
Andre Kristopans writes:
I have a series of huge sheets from1939 that detail car equipments. Would have to scan in three sections to send, and right now scanner is acting up anyway. However, let me give you some interesting tidbits regarding the Odd 17 (actually 19) cars:
6138-6146, 3090 built 1918
6138-6142 Brill 27GE1 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 4 GE 226-A 45hp motors weight 46700
6143-6145 MCGMCB A/Brill 27FE1 trucks, 6′ wheelbase, 4 GE 80-A 40hp motors, weight 51600
6146 Brill 39E trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 2 GE 242-B 65hp motors, weight 40600
3090 Brill 39E-1 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 2 GE 242-B 65hp motors, weight 41100
6147-6154, 3091 built 1919
6147-6153 Brill 27GE1 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 4 GE 226-A 45hp motors, weight 46100
6154 Brill 51-E2 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 4 GE 80-A 40hp motors, weight 51150
3091 Brill 39E-1 trucks, 4’10” wheelbase, 2 GE 242-B 65hp motors, weight 41800
27GE1 trucks with 226A motors (12) almost certainly came from 1429-1526 series cars, of which many were sold 1914-1916
MCB 10A trucks (the 6-foot wheelbase ones) with 80A motors would have come from 5001-5200 series, though trucks were apparently rebuilt by Brill as “27FE-1″ as MCB 10A trucks were only 4’10” wheelbase.
There were three cars burned 1916, 5169, 5194,5303.
39Ewith 242-B motors would have come from 5701?
39E1 with 242-B motors on 3090-3091 might have been new purchases as no other cars with 242-B motors were retired by 1918-19
Here is some more info on these 19 cars. Officially, 6138-6142 replaced 2520, 2526, 2584, 2597, 2621, 6147-6150 replaced 2515, 2546, 2565, 2585, 6151 replaced 2777, 6152 replaced 5239, 6153 replaced 5765, and 6154 replaced 2561. However, the reality is a bit different.
2500’s had 4 GE 67 40hp motors and 6′ wheelbase St Louis MCB trucks. Very different from 226-A’s and 27GE-1 trucks.
2777 had again 4 GE 67 40hp motors and Brill 51-E-2 trucks
5239 GE 80A 40hp motors and Brill 27FE trucks
Possibly 2777’s trucks ended up under 6154, with 5239’s motors?
6143-6146 do appear to have the equipments of 5169,5194,5303,5701 which they “replaced”. However, note that 1927 inventory shows 6143-6145 with GE 80 (not 80-A) motors. This might be an error, though.
It would appear that 6138-6142 and 6147-6153 did not have the equipments from the cars they “replaced” at all, but instead had trucks and motors from entirely different cars, the 1409-1505 series Bowling Alleys. One wonders if the 2500’s trucks went with the 1400’s bodies when they were sold off?
In addition 3090-3091 “replaced” 1405 and 1360, Matchboxes. Again, no equipment match. St Louis 47A trucks with GE 80A 40hp motors vs Brill 39E-1 trucks and 242-B motors. In 1927, though, 3090 is shown with GE 80A motors, which were apparently from the Matchbox, but by 1939 has 242-B’s.
Here is an interesting tabulation. One-man conversions over the years.
1994-1999 to convertibles (can be operated one or two man) 1936
2841,2842,2845 to one-man 1926-27
5703-5722 to convertibles 1933
5723-5731 to convertibles 1935
6000-6019 to one-man 1945, back to 2-man 1946
6061-6065 to convertibles 1936
1721-1726,1728-1737,1739-1753,1755-1762,1764-1769,1771-1785, 6155-6158 to one-man 1949-50
3119-3129,3131-3132,3134-3149,3151,3153,3154,3156-3158,3160, 6159-6186 to one-man 1949-50
3161-3169,3171-3175,3177,3178,6187-6196,6198 to one-man 1949-50
3179 to convertible 1935
3200-3201 to convertibles 1936
3202-3231,6199-6218,3232-3261,6219-6238 to one-man 1932
3204-3206,3210-3216,3220,3222-3224,3227,3229,3244,6219-6221,6223-6227,6229,6235 return to 2-man 1948, back again to 1-man 1949
3262-3281,6240-6252 to one-man 1932
3262,3264,3265,3267-3270,3275,3276,3278,3279,6241-6252 return to 2-man 1948, back again to 1-man 1949
3282-3301,6253-6265 to one-man 1932
6253,6255,6257,6258,6261,6264,6265 return to 2-man 1948, back again to 1-man 1949
3302-3321,6266-6279 to one-man 1932
3319,3321 return to 2-man 1948, back again to 1-man 1949
3325,3347-3349,3351,3352,3354,3355,3357,3360,3361-3363,3368,3372,3378,3379,6303,6305,6310,6319 to one-man 1952, never operated as such
4002-4051,7002-7034 to one-man 1952
4052-4061 to one-man 1952, 4059-4061 back to 2-man 1954, then all 4052-4061 to convertibles 1955
7035-7044 to one-man 1952, back to 2-man 1954, to convertibles 1955
7049,7052,7053,7057,7058,7060,7062,7064,7066,7067,7070-7074 to one-man 1952, but back to 2-man same year
7235-7249,7251,7253-7259 to convertibles 1955
Ron Ruddell writes:
The China shown on your blog embossed with the Liberty Bell was not used in any depot restaurant. It was custom-fired in 1914 for Liberty Bell Car 999. Please see my book “Riding on the Bell” – page 78 for further information. I have a pickle dish of the same pattern.
Thanks for the correction.
Nice to hear from you again. Congratulations on the successful completion of your excellent and very definitive work on the Liberty Bell interurban.
In the News
Upcoming Exhibition at Grohmann Museum in Milwaukee
Jan. 22 – April 24, 2016
Art of the North Shore Line
With its rapid expansion in the 1920s, the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad set the standard for electric interurban transit in America; no railway could compare to the North Shore Line. The North Shore Line also established itself as a leader in marketing with a highly successful print ad and poster campaign featuring the work of designers Willard Frederic Elmes, Oscar Rabe Hanson and Ervine Metzl, among others. Assembled from the collection of the Milwaukee Public Library and a number of private collections, this exhibition features many of these memorable posters along with photographs, prints and ephemera from the height of the North Shore Line’s success. Curated by photographer John Gruber and J.J. Sedelmaier, world-renowned artist, designer and animator of Saturday Night Live’s TV Funhouse.
Gallery Night and Day
Friday, Jan. 22, 5 to 9 p.m. – Free admission
(Presentation by John Gruber and J.J. Sedelmaier, guest curators, at 7 p.m.)
Saturday, Jan. 23, Noon to 6 p.m. – Free admission
1000 N. Broadway
Milwaukee, WI 53202
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