Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 2-28-2016

In 1957, CTA PCC 7271 and 7215 pass on Clark Street, just north of North Avenue. The old Plaza Hotel, located at 59 W. North Avenue, is in the background. A Hasty Tasty restaurant was located in the building, with a Pixley and Ehler's across the street. These were "greasy spoon" chains that were known for offering cheap eats. Local mobsters were known to hang out at the Plaza. The Chicago Historical Society, now known as the Chicago History Museum, would be just to the left, out of view in this picture. The Moody Bible Institute would be out of view on the right. (Russel Kriete Photo)

In 1957, CTA PCC 7271 and 7215 pass on Clark Street, just north of North Avenue. The old Plaza Hotel, located at 59 W. North Avenue, is in the background. A Hasty Tasty restaurant was located in the building, with a Pixley and Ehler’s across the street. These were “greasy spoon” chains that were known for offering cheap eats. Local mobsters were known to hang out at the Plaza. The Chicago Historical Society, now known as the Chicago History Museum, would be just to the left, out of view in this picture. The Moody Bible Institute would be out of view on the right. (Russel Kriete Photo)

In this close-up, that looks like 7215 at right. Photographer Russel A. Kreite (1923-2015), of Downers Grove, Illinois, was a member of the Photographic Society of America and had many of his photos published in books and magazines.

In this close-up, that looks like 7215 at right. Photographer Russel A. Kreite (1923-2015), of Downers Grove, Illinois, was a member of the Photographic Society of America and had many of his photos published in books and magazines.

Chicago PCC Station Assignments

Robert Dillon writes:

For the last several months I have been over and thoroughly enjoying CERA Bulletin 146 and your compendium “Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story”. It brings back a wealth of wonderful memories from my childhood growing up in Rogers Park. I was a frequent rider on the “Clark Street Car” and was immediately smitten with the post-war PCC from the day in 1947 that I first heard the gong and witnessed an otherwise unbelievably silent arrival and breathtaking appearance of a Howard bound PCC at Clark Street and Morse Avenue.

The trivia set forth on page 429 of Bulletin 146 indicates that 400 Pullman and St Louis post-war PCCs were assigned to the Clark-Wentworth and Broadway-State routes for runs out of the Clark-Devon and 77th-Vincennes Carbarns. What I have not been able to find in any of the literature is how those 400 cars were allocated by post-war PCC manufacturer and/or by car number series to those stations. Were there an equal number of Pullmans and St. Louis PCCs at each of Clark-Devon and 77th-Vincennes? I would imagine that after 49 Western was equipped exclusively with St.Louis PCCs in 1948 the St.Louis PCCs would have predominated at Clark-Devon.

There are several other car assignment questions that arise from the PCC Trivia Page. Thus, during 1948 and 1949 when the 69th St. Carbarn was handling both Western Ave and 63rd St. PCC-assigned runs, it presumably stabled all 83 of the pre-war PCCs, but how many St. Louis post-war PCCs were also then housed at 69th Street?

It is indicated that by the end of 1948, there were a few PCC cars assigned to the Cottage Grove-38th Street Carbarn Were these pre-war or post-war PCCs (Pullman or St.Louis) and what routes were they used on?

Finally, I am aware there were a number of 8 Halsted runs out of Limits Carbarn. And, maybe some Broadway-State runs as well. That suggests there were Pullman and/or St.Louis PCCs stationed at Limits, at least during the earlier 1950s. If that is true, is there any info as to the number of Pullmans vs St. Louis PCCs at Limits?

I would be very grateful for any illumination you could provide on the questions set forth above. Or, if you could point me toward resources where I might be able to find answers that would be very much appreciated as well.

Thanks very much for all of your terrific efforts on the Chicago PCCs. I can’t begin to express how much enjoyment it has given me.

There are a few different ways we can approach these questions. First of all, it’s possible that CTA records indicating which cars were assigned to which stations (car barns) and routes may still exist and can provide the necessary information.

In the absence of that, a lot can be learned by studying photographs. This would be a statistical approach. It would take some time and effort, but a lot could be learned that way. I would have to create a spreadsheet and compile data from a large number of images.

Over time, the number of cars required for each individual route changed. In general, the numbers declined since there were substantial ridership losses during the first decade of the CTA era. Some of the brochures CTA distributed when routes were changed over from streetcars to buses give the numbers of PCCs that were in use at the time of the switch to buses.

When Madison first got PCCs in late 1936, the route needed about 100 cars as I recall. Since there were only 83 prewar PCCs made, some of the 1929 Sedans filled out the schedule. These were fast cars and could keep up with the PCCs.

By the time PCCs were taken off Madison in 1953, I doubt this many cars were needed.

This reduction in the number of cars on individual routes also helps explain why it was possible for CTA to use the postwar PCCs on more routes than the four that were originally planned. Between 1947 and 1958, ridership on the CTA’s surface system was nearly cut in half.

I would be interested to know what information our readers can share with us. Hopefully, some of our frequent contributors can weigh in on this subject, thanks.

M. E. writes:

Your latest blog update contains a question about the 38th St. car barn: Which streetcar lines were served by the PCCs kept there?

It seems to me the answer is easy: Only 4 Cottage Grove. This line received some pre-war PCC cars a few years before it was converted to bus. (I have seen photos of post-war PCCs on Cottage Grove, but that would have been short-lived.)

The other south side PCC lines used south side barns as follows:

36 Broadway-State, 22 Clark-Wentworth, 8 Halsted, and 42 Halsted-Archer-Clark (all post-war PCC lines) used the barn at 77th and Vincennes. Line 22 ran in front of the barn. Line 36 ran behind the barn a few blocks on State St., and likely used 79th St. west to Vincennes to reach the barn.. I believe Halsted cars used 79th St. east to Vincennes to reach the barn (although I am not certain).

63 63rd St. (pre-war PCC) and 49 Western (post-war PCC) used the barn at 69th and Ashland. 63rd St. cars used Ashland south to 69th to reach the barn.

When the 69th and Ashland barn closed, I’m pretty sure 63rd was no longer a streetcar line, and Western Ave. cars used 69th St. east to Wentworth, south to Vincennes, southwest to 77th and Vincennes.

Andre Kristopans has a great answer:

Jan 1951:
Prewar – 75 69th, 8 Kedzie
St Louis 40 Limits, 50 69th, 199 Devon
Pullman 225 77th, 85 Kedzie

May 1953:

Prewar 83 Cottage Grove
St Louis 20 Cottage Grove, 66 77th, 41 69th, 160 Devon
Pullman 215 77th, 63 Kedzie, 31 Limits

March 1954:

Prewar 83 Cottage Grove
St Louis 20 Cottage Grove, 74 77th, 38 69th, 155 Devon
Pullman 87 77th

June 1957

4372-4411 77th
7136-7181 Devon
7182-7224 77th

Prior to 1957, assignment sheets only showed series by barn, not actual car numbers.

To get more specific than that, we would have to study photos to figure out where particular cars were assigned at various times. By 1957, all remaining cars in use were made by St. Louis Car Company in 1946-48.

Regarding 4391, the only postwar car saved, I know it spent time on Western Avenue before ending its days on Wentworth. According to the excellent Hicks Car Works blog, it was assigned to 69th station and later 77th. Therefore it was spared a lot of outdoor storage, which would have been the case at Devon.

There were various mechanical differences between the postwar Pullmans and the St. Louis cars. Some stations (car barns) were equipped to handle both types, and others were not.

These mechanical differences were spelled out in detail in a 24-page CTA troubleshooting manual for PCC operators. If anyone has a copy of this manual and can provide us with the information, we would very much appreciate it. This brochure was a greatly expanded version of one that CSL issued in 1946, which was only four pages.

The same location as above, perhaps taken a few years earlier.

The same location as above, perhaps taken a few years earlier.

plazahotel

Clark Street at North Avenue today. We are looking south. A bank has replaced the Pixley's, and the Latin School of Chicago now occupies the location of the old Plaza Hotel.

Clark Street at North Avenue today. We are looking south. A bank has replaced the Pixley’s, and the Latin School of Chicago now occupies the location of the old Plaza Hotel.


1920s Mystery Photos Redux

These two pictures appeared in The Rider’s Reader (January 31, 2016):

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is "State and Washington looking south." This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is “State and Washington looking south.” This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

Our readers have identified this as being "Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago." The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Our readers have identified this as being “Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago.” The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Miles Beitler writes:

I’m writing about two unidentified photos on your trolleydodger.com blog. The captions state that the photos appear to be of State Street in the loop in the 1920s or 1930s. One reader suggested that it was part of the 1926 Eucharistic Congress.

I don’t think it was the Eucharistic Congress (which I know was held that year in Mundelein) but I do think the year was 1926. All of the flags and patriotic decorations lead me to believe that it was the celebration of the United States sesquicentennial (150th birthday) which would have been July 4, 1926.

That’s an interesting suggestion, thanks. But one picture does show a large crowd outside Holy Name Cathedral. What would that have to do with the Fourth of July?

Miles replied:

The two photos might have nothing to do with each other except for the fact that both show patriotic decorations along State Street. I was referring to those decorations which I believe were there for the sesquicentennial.

The crowd outside Holy Name Cathedral could have been there for the Eucharistic Congress (although the Congress was held far away in Mundelein), or for a special Sesquicentennial Mass, or maybe even for the funeral of a prominent local politician or notorious gangster. But someone at Holy Name should be able to tell you.

Your blog also has a photo of a NSL Electroliner speeding through Skokie at “East Prairie Road circa 1960”, and a current photo of the CTA Yellow Line labeled “East Prairie Road looking east along the CTA Yellow Line today”. I believe the “today” photo is actually looking WEST; you can see the remnants of the Crawford Avenue station, as well as Crawford Avenue itself, one block to the west. As for the Electroliner photo, the eastbound and westbound mainline tracks are closer together near the CTA Skokie Shops than this photo indicates. So I think it might be just east of Kostner Avenue; there was a half-mile long siding along the westbound track which ended at that point, as well as a crossover between the two mainline tracks which is visible in the distance.

You may be correct about the North Shore Line picture. I will revise the caption accordingly.

The other two pictures appear to have been taken at one time and so I am inclined to think they relate to the same event, whatever it was.

Thanks.

Finally, Miles wrote:

I did some quick research and it seems clear that the photo of Holy Name Cathedral is indeed of the Eucharistic Congress procession. There was an outdoor mass at Soldier Field in addition to the larger one held in Mundelein. The photo of State and Washington Streets seems to depict similar decorations which may have been placed along the route to Soldier Field.

Thanks for your interesting blog and photos!

Well, thank you for all your help. As we have noted before, the information that comes with photos may or may not be correct. There were a couple of instances recently where the this info turned out not to be correct. This sometimes happened when the photographer was from out-of-town and thus was not as familiar with locations as one of the locals.

In the case of the North Shore Line photo, what’s written on the negative envelope actually matches what you say. I chose the opposite direction since I was unaware of the siding you mention. Now it all makes sense. However, further research has led me to think the photo was taken

Here is the photo in question, which originally appeared in Lost and Found (February 12, 2016):

An Electroliner at speed near Crawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA's Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

An Electroliner at speed near Crawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA’s Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Today's CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Today’s CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Detail from an old CERA North Shore Line map, with the location of this photo indicated.

Detail from an old CERA North Shore Line map, with the location of this photo indicated.

The True Colors of Chicago’s Postwar PCCs

Although signed for Clark-Wentworth, this shot of 4160 is actually on Madison in Garfield Park. (CSL Photo) George Trapp says he got this picture from the late Robert Gibson.

Although signed for Clark-Wentworth, this shot of 4160 is actually on Madison in Garfield Park. (CSL Photo) George Trapp says he got this picture from the late Robert Gibson.

Pantone 151 is Swamp Holly Orange.

Pantone 151 is Swamp Holly Orange.

On the Chicagotransit Yahoo group, Damin Keenan writes:

What recommendations would you have for matching CTA’s colors using model paints?

Specifically I need Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange and Mint Green and Alpine White.

Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange are famous among railfans as the original color scheme adopted by the Chicago Surface Lines for their 600 postwar PCC streetcars. Some of these paints were also used on cars and trucks in that era.

FYI, I found a 1950 truck paint called Swamp Holly Orange:

http://paintref.com/cgi-bin/colorcodedisplay.cgi?color=Swamp%20Holly%20Orange

Ironically, this color was associated with the Yellow Freight Lines. According to the Wikipedia:

In 1929, A.J. Harrell enlisted the help of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company to improve highway safety by determining the vehicle color that would be the most visible on the nation’s highways. After the review was completed, it was determined that the color of the Swamp Holly Orange would be most visible from the greatest distance. Swamp Holly Orange became the color used on all company tractors.

There is also a commercially available enamel paint by that name:

https://www.imperialsupplies.com/item/0850700

However, to my eye these may look darker than what I recall seeing from photos. This was all in an era before the Pantone Matching System. Apparently, Swamp Holly Orange is Pantone 151.

You might try this for Mercury Green:

http://www.pfs-ware.com/WhitePapers/pdf/paintcodes.pdf

Croydon Cream is a color used on Harley-Davidson motorcycles:

http://www.harleydavidson-paint.com/croyden-cream.html

Mint Green and Alpine White shouldn’t bee too hard to find, but then again, there are many variables that determine how color will look, which include indoor viewing, outdoor viewing, how many coats there are, etc. plus how much sun and weathering the paint got prior to when pictures were taken.

Even in the old days, you will notice how touch-up paints did not always match the original. That was one factor that led CTA to switch to a darker green on the PCCs in the early 1950s.

Modern paints are also, most likely, made of somewhat different ingredients than the original paints were.

You might do just as well to try and “eyeball” the color based on good quality photographs. Even in the old days, I expect there were variations in these colors, as there were in such things as “Traction Orange.”

I recall hearing a story that there was a heated argument out at IRM between some people who were wrangling over what constituted Traction Orange. Finally, they consulted an old-timer who told them that it was simply whatever was on sale at the paint store at that particular time.

Some of these issues were discussed in a blog post I wrote a while back:

https://ceramembersblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/any-color-you-like-transit-trivia-1/

Pay particular attention to the comments, thanks.

PS- Here are a few formulas for Swamp Holly Orange, from the October 1988 issue of Model Railroader:

Accu-Paint: 2 parts AP-72 D&RGW Yellow, 1 part AP-73 Chessie Yellow

Floquil: 3 parts D&RGW Yellow, 1 part Reefer Yelow

Polly S: 2 parts Reefer Yellow, 1 part Reefer Orange

Scalecoat: 1 part 15 Reefer Yellow, 1 part 39 D&RGW Old Yellow

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks! Especially if they have a streetcar RPO postmark (see below). You can reach us either by leaving a comment on this post, or at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 124th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 130,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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.”

We thank you for your support.


New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Seven

CSL Sedan 6317 at 10559 South Ewing. That bus at right is on the 103rd Street route. That's the old Eastside Theater behind the streetcar. According to Cinema Treasures, "The Eastside Theater opened in 1922, at Ewing Avenue between 105th Street and 106th Street, in the East Side neighborhood of Chicago, not far from the Illinois-Indiana border. The Eastside Theater closed in 1951. Today, a bank is located on the site of the Eastside Theater, in a building dating from the late-1970’s." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL Sedan 6317 at 10559 South Ewing. That bus at right is on the 103rd Street route. That’s the old Eastside Theater behind the streetcar. According to Cinema Treasures, “The Eastside Theater opened in 1922, at Ewing Avenue between 105th Street and 106th Street, in the East Side neighborhood of Chicago, not far from the Illinois-Indiana border. The Eastside Theater closed in 1951. Today, a bank is located on the site of the Eastside Theater, in a building dating from the late-1970’s.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

Here is another generous helping of classic Chicago streetcar photos from the latter part of the CSL era as well as the early days of its successor, the Chicago Transit Authority.

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 additional posts in this series coming up in the near future, so watch this space. To see previous posts, use the search window on this page.

-David Sadowski


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 123rd post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 129,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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.”

We thank you for your support.


New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


CSL 702, shown here in 1951, was built by the Pressed Steel Car Company in 1909. The photo caption describes this as being the last car left in the 701-750 series. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) Andre Kristopans: "750 is at South Shops, on what would be 78th St just east of Vincennes."

CSL 702, shown here in 1951, was built by the Pressed Steel Car Company in 1909. The photo caption describes this as being the last car left in the 701-750 series. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) Andre Kristopans: “750 is at South Shops, on what would be 78th St just east of Vincennes.”

Westbound car 3109 crosses the 18th Street bridge. This CSL Safety Car, also known as a Sewing Machine(?), was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Westbound car 3109 crosses the 18th Street bridge. This CSL Safety Car, also known as a Sewing Machine(?), was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Blue Island car 3111 on the 18th Street line, at about 1738 West. (Joe L. Diaz Collection) Andre Kristopans: "3111 is on 18th Street WB, just west of Halsted where 18th had a major jog to the south. Leavitt/Blue Island was the west end of the 18th line."

Blue Island car 3111 on the 18th Street line, at about 1738 West. (Joe L. Diaz Collection) Andre Kristopans: “3111 is on 18th Street WB, just west of Halsted where 18th had a major jog to the south. Leavitt/Blue Island was the west end of the 18th line.”

CSL Sedan 6281 at South Shops,probably when new (1929). (Chicago Surface Lines Photo)

CSL Sedan 6281 at South Shops,probably when new (1929). (Chicago Surface Lines Photo)

CSL 6237 at 51st and State. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 6237 at 51st and State. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

51st and State today. The school in the background is now called the Crispus Attucks Community Academy.

51st and State today. The school in the background is now called the Crispus Attucks Community Academy.

CSL 1533, signed for 16th and Kenton, on September 27, 1947, just a few days before the CTA takeover.

CSL 1533, signed for 16th and Kenton, on September 27, 1947, just a few days before the CTA takeover.

CSL 6139 on the 35th Street route on April 27, 1951. This was one of the "Odd 17" cars (actually 19) in the two series 3090-3091 and 6138-6154. According to Don's Rail Photos, "6139 was built by American Car Co in February 1918, (job) #1079."

CSL 6139 on the 35th Street route on April 27, 1951. This was one of the “Odd 17” cars (actually 19) in the two series 3090-3091 and 6138-6154. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “6139 was built by American Car Co in February 1918, (job) #1079.”

CSL 5068 on the Wallace-Racine route, circa 1948-49, near the Santa Fe Hotel. This was a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. According to Don's Rail Photos, "5001 thru 5200 were built by Brill in 1905, #14318, for the Chicago City Ry. where they carried the same numbers. They were rebuilt in 1908 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars." George Foelschow: "I believe car 5068 is on Polk Street just west of State Street downtown, on the Wallace-Racine line. The Santa Fe was a modestly-appointed hotel in the South Loop and the restaurant carries a “10” on its awning. I don’t believe South Side Brills ever saw Webster Street on the North Side."

CSL 5068 on the Wallace-Racine route, circa 1948-49, near the Santa Fe Hotel. This was a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “5001 thru 5200 were built by Brill in 1905, #14318, for the Chicago City Ry. where they carried the same numbers. They were rebuilt in 1908 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars.” George Foelschow: “I believe car 5068 is on Polk Street just west of State Street downtown, on the Wallace-Racine line. The Santa Fe was a modestly-appointed hotel in the South Loop and the restaurant carries a “10” on its awning. I don’t believe South Side Brills ever saw Webster Street on the North Side.”

CTA 1599 at Van Buren and Damen on September 24, 1949. This car was built by Chicago Railways in 1912. Don's Rail Photos says, "These cars were improved versions of the Pullmans of a couple years earlier." We are looking to the east, and the Paulina "L" is visible at rear. During construction of the Congress expressway, half of Van Buren in this area was used for ground-level rapid transit service between 1953 and 1958.

CTA 1599 at Van Buren and Damen on September 24, 1949. This car was built by Chicago Railways in 1912. Don’s Rail Photos says, “These cars were improved versions of the Pullmans of a couple years earlier.” We are looking to the east, and the Paulina “L” is visible at rear. During construction of the Congress expressway, half of Van Buren in this area was used for ground-level rapid transit service between 1953 and 1958.

Van Buren and Damen today.

Van Buren and Damen today.

CTA Pullman 199, signed for Baltimore and 93rd.

CTA Pullman 199, signed for Baltimore and 93rd.

CSL 6021 at Archer and Pitney Court on September 6, 1947. To paraphrase Don's Rail Photos, It was "built by Brill Car Co in July 1914, (job) #19450. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1945 and restored as two-man in 1946."

CSL 6021 at Archer and Pitney Court on September 6, 1947. To paraphrase Don’s Rail Photos, It was “built by Brill Car Co in July 1914, (job) #19450. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1945 and restored as two-man in 1946.”

CTA 6070 on the California shuttle on December 31, 1948. Andre Kristopans: "6070 is at California and Belmont SB. The building to the left still stands, the old “Immel State Bank”, now a banquet hall."

CTA 6070 on the California shuttle on December 31, 1948. Andre Kristopans: “6070 is at California and Belmont SB. The building to the left still stands, the old “Immel State Bank”, now a banquet hall.”

California and Belmont today. We are looking north.

California and Belmont today. We are looking north.

CTA 5565 on September 10, 1949. This was known as a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. M. E. writes, "Methinks this photo is at Root St. (4130 South) and Halsted. Under that assumption, the view faces north, the L is the Stock Yards L, and the streetcar is on the 44 Wallace-Racine line, heading from westbound on Root to southbound on Halsted."

CTA 5565 on September 10, 1949. This was known as a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. M. E. writes, “Methinks this photo is at Root St. (4130 South) and Halsted. Under that assumption, the view faces north, the L is the Stock Yards L, and the streetcar is on the 44 Wallace-Racine line, heading from westbound on Root to southbound on Halsted.”

CTA 3105 at Leavitt and Cermak on April 9, 1948. This is another Safety Car, aka a "Sewing Machine."

CTA 3105 at Leavitt and Cermak on April 9, 1948. This is another Safety Car, aka a “Sewing Machine.”

Leavitt and Cermak today.

Leavitt and Cermak today.

CSL 1382. To paraphrase Don's Rail Photos, "1382 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4911. It became CSL 1382 in 1914."

CSL 1382. To paraphrase Don’s Rail Photos, “1382 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4911. It became CSL 1382 in 1914.”

CSL 6162 on the Broadway-State line. Don's Rail Photos says, "6162 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21686. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949." This was part of a group known as "169" or Broadway-State cars.

CSL 6162 on the Broadway-State line. Don’s Rail Photos says, “6162 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21686. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949.” This was part of a group known as “169” or Broadway-State cars.

1537 and 1559 on the Taylor Street shuttle, after the mid-section of this line had been abandoned. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

1537 and 1559 on the Taylor Street shuttle, after the mid-section of this line had been abandoned. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2514 crossing the Rock Island at Givins station. According to www.chicagorailfan.com, the "earlier station was located on the north side of 111th St. west of Laflin Ave., on the east side of the tracks. A later station was constructed south of 111th St. on the west side of Marshfield Ave., on the east side of the tracks, discontinued in 1984. Construction of Interstate Highway 57 may have affected the station location." This was part of a series called "Robertson" Rebuild Cars, built in 1901 by St. Louis Car Company. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Andre Kristopans adds, "RI Givins station at the end was a small (maybe 10×20) cinder block structure south of 111th. It hung around for many years after no more trains stopped there until being demolished circa 2000."

CSL 2514 crossing the Rock Island at Givins station. According to http://www.chicagorailfan.com, the “earlier station was located on the north side of 111th St. west of Laflin Ave., on the east side of the tracks. A later station was constructed south of 111th St. on the west side of Marshfield Ave., on the east side of the tracks, discontinued in 1984. Construction of Interstate Highway 57 may have affected the station location.” This was part of a series called “Robertson” Rebuild Cars, built in 1901 by St. Louis Car Company. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Andre Kristopans adds, “RI Givins station at the end was a small (maybe 10×20) cinder block structure south of 111th. It hung around for many years after no more trains stopped there until being demolished circa 2000.”

Where the Rock Island crosses 111th today, just west of I-57.

Where the Rock Island crosses 111th today, just west of I-57.

CSL 5649 at Division and Western. This was another Brill-American-Kuhlman car. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 5649 at Division and Western. This was another Brill-American-Kuhlman car. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3189 at Cottage Grove and 38th. This was known as a "Sun Parlor" car and was built by CSL in 1923.

CSL 3189 at Cottage Grove and 38th. This was known as a “Sun Parlor” car and was built by CSL in 1923.

CTA Pressed Steel car 730. It was built in 1909 to the same specs as the Pullmans.

CTA Pressed Steel car 730. It was built in 1909 to the same specs as the Pullmans.

CSL's Navy tribute car during World War II. (Seth Bramson Collection)

CSL’s Navy tribute car during World War II. (Seth Bramson Collection)

CSL's War Bond car during World War II. This picture was probably taken around 1942 on State Street while the streetcar tracks were being redone as part of the subway construction project.

CSL’s War Bond car during World War II. This picture was probably taken around 1942 on State Street while the streetcar tracks were being redone as part of the subway construction project.

CSL 922, probably circa 1915. This was known as a "Little" Pullman and was built in 1910. (Seth Bramson Collection) Andre Kristopans: "922 – very early shot indeed. Note car is still in all green, not red and cream. Also note a date that looks like “3-22-15”? date painted on panel under front door. I imagine this is a paint date. Also note car has no side route signs. It is sitting at West Shops."

CSL 922, probably circa 1915. This was known as a “Little” Pullman and was built in 1910. (Seth Bramson Collection) Andre Kristopans: “922 – very early shot indeed. Note car is still in all green, not red and cream. Also note a date that looks like “3-22-15”? date painted on panel under front door. I imagine this is a paint date. Also note car has no side route signs. It is sitting at West Shops.”

CSL Pullman 677 on the outer end of Milwaukee Avenue on March 4, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection) Andre Kristopans: "677 – Most likely on Milwaukee north of Central where many cars turned back. Originally turnback point was Gale St, right where Jefferson Park terminal now is, but later was moved to Central."

CSL Pullman 677 on the outer end of Milwaukee Avenue on March 4, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection) Andre Kristopans: “677 – Most likely on Milwaukee north of Central where many cars turned back. Originally turnback point was Gale St, right where Jefferson Park terminal now is, but later was moved to Central.”

CSL Pullman 696 at the Museum Loop in Grant Park in April 1940. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL Pullman 696 at the Museum Loop in Grant Park in April 1940. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL Pullman 431 on Cicero Avenue, February 22, 1940. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL Pullman 431 on Cicero Avenue, February 22, 1940. (John F. Bromley Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six

The date is October 21, 1956, and the occasion is a weekend fantrip using red Pullman 225 and postwar PCC 4406. We have posted other photos from this fantrip before. By this time, Chicago only had two streetcar lines left, and they only operated on weekdays. Car 225 is one of three Pullmans that were saved, and it is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. Bob Lalich adds, "The photo of red Pullman 225 on a fan trip was taken at 18th and Clark. The car is SB." The church was called Old St. John's, and was demolished around 1962.

The date is October 21, 1956, and the occasion is a weekend fantrip using red Pullman 225 and postwar PCC 4406. We have posted other photos from this fantrip before. By this time, Chicago only had two streetcar lines left, and they only operated on weekdays. Car 225 is one of three Pullmans that were saved, and it is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.
Bob Lalich adds, “The photo of red Pullman 225 on a fan trip was taken at 18th and Clark. The car is SB.” The church was called Old St. John’s, and was demolished around 1962.

The same location today. The large shadow is from an "L" extension that did not exist when the previous picture was taken. It was built in 1969 for the Dan Ryan line and is now used by the Orange Line.

The same location today. The large shadow is from an “L” extension that did not exist when the previous picture was taken. It was built in 1969 for the Dan Ryan line and is now used by the Orange Line.

Here is another generous helping of classic Chicago streetcar photos. They date to the latter part of the CSL era as well as the early days of its successor, the Chicago Transit Authority. (We also have a trolley bus photo.)

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 additional posts in this series coming up in the near future, so watch this space. To see previous posts, use the search window on this page.

-David Sadowski


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New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


CTA 9193 is on what is billed as "Chicago's first trackless trolley special," March 2, 1958. Andre Kristopans: "Trolleybus 9193 is on Kedzie just north of the Sanitary & Ship Canal (about 33rd). Bridge is IC Iowa Division, background bridge is Chicago & Illinois Western. Clue was the big tank to the right. 1938 aerial photo shows this tank. Note how little traffic there is on Sunday!" The occasion was the very first Omnibus Society of America fantrip, which used a prewar trolley bus on south side areas where they had not been used in service.

CTA 9193 is on what is billed as “Chicago’s first trackless trolley special,” March 2, 1958. Andre Kristopans: “Trolleybus 9193 is on Kedzie just north of the Sanitary & Ship Canal (about 33rd). Bridge is IC Iowa Division, background bridge is Chicago & Illinois Western. Clue was the big tank to the right. 1938 aerial photo shows this tank. Note how little traffic there is on Sunday!” The occasion was the very first Omnibus Society of America fantrip, which used a prewar trolley bus on south side areas where they had not been used in service.

The same location today, approximately 3374 S. Kedzie. There is an incline at this point leading up a bridge, behind the photographer, going over the Sanitary & Ship Canal.

The same location today, approximately 3374 S. Kedzie. There is an incline at this point leading up a bridge, behind the photographer, going over the Sanitary & Ship Canal.

CTA 5426 is on route 8 at Halsted and Lake, having just passed the "L". The National Cash Register Company was located at 178 N. Halsted, just south of the "L", so we are looking north.

CTA 5426 is on route 8 at Halsted and Lake, having just passed the “L”. The National Cash Register Company was located at 178 N. Halsted, just south of the “L”, so we are looking north.

The same scene today is almost unrecognizable.  National Cash Register's former location is now a parking lot.  The "L" station at Halsted was closed in 1994, during the Green Line rebuild, and demolished in 1996.  It was replaced, more or less, by the Morgan station two blocks west, which opened in 2012.  Chicago's downtown is moving west and this area is undergoing rapid change.

The same scene today is almost unrecognizable. National Cash Register’s former location is now a parking lot. The “L” station at Halsted was closed in 1994, during the Green Line rebuild, and demolished in 1996. It was replaced, more or less, by the Morgan station two blocks west, which opened in 2012. Chicago’s downtown is moving west and this area is undergoing rapid change.

Chicago and Calumet District Transit Company car 59, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901. Joint service to Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago, Indiana was operated with the Chicago Surface Lines until June 9, 1940.

Chicago and Calumet District Transit Company car 59, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901. Joint service to Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago, Indiana was operated with the Chicago Surface Lines until June 9, 1940.

CTA Sedan 3337 is southbound on Wabash for route 4 - Cottage Grove in the early 1950s.

CTA Sedan 3337 is southbound on Wabash for route 4 – Cottage Grove in the early 1950s.

CTA 1771 says it is on route 60 - Blue Island in this early 1950s photo. But, as Andre Kristopans notes, "Look carefully – this is on Lake near Austin! Destination sign reads “Lake-Austin”, route # sign is set wrong!" (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 1771 says it is on route 60 – Blue Island in this early 1950s photo. But, as Andre Kristopans notes, “Look carefully – this is on Lake near Austin! Destination sign reads “Lake-Austin”, route # sign is set wrong!” (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

The same location today. This is around 5994 W. Lake.

The same location today. This is around 5994 W. Lake.

CTA 5304 is eastbound on the private right-of-way at the west end of route 63, followed by prewar PCC 4002. Note how 5304 is using the front trolley pole, reversed. (R. J. Anderson Photo)

CTA 5304 is eastbound on the private right-of-way at the west end of route 63, followed by prewar PCC 4002. Note how 5304 is using the front trolley pole, reversed. (R. J. Anderson Photo)

The same location today. This is about 5938 W. 63rd Place. As you can see, the middle building, once a storefront, has been converted to residential. That explains why it goes all the way out to the sidewalk. The bungalow at right looks much as it did, while the building at left has had its top redone at some point, due to deterioration of the brick, as you can see on the side of the building.

The same location today. This is about 5938 W. 63rd Place. As you can see, the middle building, once a storefront, has been converted to residential. That explains why it goes all the way out to the sidewalk. The bungalow at right looks much as it did, while the building at left has had its top redone at some point, due to deterioration of the brick, as you can see on the side of the building.

CTA 928 is on route 47 in this September 2, 1949 view. Andre Kristopans: "at end of line at 47th and Kedzie."

CTA 928 is on route 47 in this September 2, 1949 view. Andre Kristopans: “at end of line at 47th and Kedzie.”

47th and Kedzie today. One building is still there, but the top has been redone.

47th and Kedzie today. One building is still there, but the top has been redone.

CTA salt spreader AA105, formerly car 2854, at 69th and Ashland. This car was scrapped on February 17, 1954. (C. Edward Hedstrom Collection)

CTA salt spreader AA105, formerly car 2854, at 69th and Ashland. This car was scrapped on February 17, 1954. (C. Edward Hedstrom Collection)

#28 Stony Island cars also went to the Pier at times. After Indiana & Stony went Bus, Cottage (for awhile) was extended to Grand & Wabash to State, but not to the Pier.

In this September 12, 1951 view, CTA 982 is heading south at about 400 N. Wabash, approaching the bridge over the Chicago River. The Silver Frolics nightclub at rear, said to be run by The Outfit, closed in the early 1960s and became the second location of the famous Chez Paree. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Jr. Photo) Jim writes: ‘This is a route #38 Indiana car from Navy Pier to 51st Street its south terminal. It is not a 51st St car.
#28 Stony Island cars also went to the Pier at times. After Indiana & Stony went Bus, Cottage (for awhile) was extended to Grand & Wabash to State, but not to the Pier.
Cottage used the #38 Short turn front roll sign for Wabash-Grand & PCC cars were used.”

There is a modern parking garage on the site of the old Silver Frolics on Wabash today.

There is a modern parking garage on the site of the old Silver Frolics on Wabash today.

CTA 6180 is at 43rd and Oakenwald on August 8, 1953, the last day of streetcar service on the 43rd-Root Street line. Note the Illinois Central station at rear. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

CTA 6180 is at 43rd and Oakenwald on August 8, 1953, the last day of streetcar service on the 43rd-Root Street line. Note the Illinois Central station at rear. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

43rd and Oakenwald today.

43rd and Oakenwald today.

CTA 5508 at 79th and Western on May 29, 1949. That looks like a 1948-50 Packard at left, which some have nicknamed the "pregnant elephant" styling. We can catch a glimpse of the nearby CTA turnback loop for route 49 - Western at right. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 5508 at 79th and Western on May 29, 1949. That looks like a 1948-50 Packard at left, which some have nicknamed the “pregnant elephant” styling. We can catch a glimpse of the nearby CTA turnback loop for route 49 – Western at right. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 6236 at 71st and California on the 67-69-71 route on May 29, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 6236 at 71st and California on the 67-69-71 route on May 29, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 3266 at 71st and California on the 67-69-71 route on May 29, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 3266 at 71st and California on the 67-69-71 route on May 29, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA work car R202 at 93rd and Drexel on December 30, 1947. (J. William Vigrass Photo) Andre Kristopans: "R202 is a sand car. It was used to deliver sand to the sand boxes that were located at most terminals and other places where streetcars might encounter slippery conditions. Remember, in the 1950’s streets were not salted, and all that was plowed was basically the car tracks, using mostly sweepers."

CTA work car R202 at 93rd and Drexel on December 30, 1947. (J. William Vigrass Photo) Andre Kristopans: “R202 is a sand car. It was used to deliver sand to the sand boxes that were located at most terminals and other places where streetcars might encounter slippery conditions. Remember, in the 1950’s streets were not salted, and all that was plowed was basically the car tracks, using mostly sweepers.”

CSL 2802 is on Anthony Avenue at Commercial Avenue in this July 13, 1941 photo. Note the Pennsylvania Railroad station at rear. (John F. Bromley Collection) Bob Laich: "The building immediately behind CSL 2802 on Anthony Avenue was PRR’s South Chicago freight station, which was built at street level. The platform for the South Chicago passenger station can be seen on the elevation in the right background." Andre Kristopans adds, "something odd here – note “Special” sign in front window. Appears to be a charter waiting for its party off the PRR." This must be Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip #35, which used this car on that date.

CSL 2802 is on Anthony Avenue at Commercial Avenue in this July 13, 1941 photo. Note the Pennsylvania Railroad station at rear. (John F. Bromley Collection) Bob Laich: “The building immediately behind CSL 2802 on Anthony Avenue was PRR’s South Chicago freight station, which was built at street level. The platform for the South Chicago passenger station can be seen on the elevation in the right background.” Andre Kristopans adds, “something odd here – note “Special” sign in front window. Appears to be a charter waiting for its party off the PRR.” This must be Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip #35, which used this car on that date.

CSL 3212 heads up the line-up at Archer Station (car house) on October 16, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 3212 heads up the line-up at Archer Station (car house) on October 16, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 3217 is on route 73 - Armitage on July 1, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection) Andre Kristopans: "EB passing Mozart Park at Armitage and Avers."

CSL 3217 is on route 73 – Armitage on July 1, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection) Andre Kristopans: “EB passing Mozart Park at Armitage and Avers.”

CSL 5814 (route 4 - Cottage Grove) is southbound on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. At rear, you can see where the Roosevelt Road streetcar line was extended to the Museum Loop for the 1933-34 world's fair (A Century of Progress). (J. William Vigrass Photo)

CSL 5814 (route 4 – Cottage Grove) is southbound on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. At rear, you can see where the Roosevelt Road streetcar line was extended to the Museum Loop for the 1933-34 world’s fair (A Century of Progress). (J. William Vigrass Photo)

Wabash and Roosevelt Road today. Since the previous picture was taken, Roosevelt was extended east, in roughly the same location as the old CSL viaduct over the Illinois Central.

Wabash and Roosevelt Road today. Since the previous picture was taken, Roosevelt was extended east, in roughly the same location as the old CSL viaduct over the Illinois Central.

CTA 6034 is at Kedzie and Bryn Mawr, the north end of route 17, on April 16, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 6034 is at Kedzie and Bryn Mawr, the north end of route 17, on April 16, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 5802 in August 1948 at one of the Stations (car houses) serving the Cottage Grove line. As you can see, at one time CSL (and CTA) were very much interested in landscaping and beautification. (Carl Hehl Photo) Bob Lalich: "CTA 5802 in August 1948 was taken at the Burnside car barn. The IC tracks can be seen in the background. There was an article about the Burnside car barn gardens in First & Fastest a couple of years ago." Andre Kristopans adds, "definitely the back yard at Burnside."

CTA 5802 in August 1948 at one of the Stations (car houses) serving the Cottage Grove line. As you can see, at one time CSL (and CTA) were very much interested in landscaping and beautification. (Carl Hehl Photo) Bob Lalich: “CTA 5802 in August 1948 was taken at the Burnside car barn. The IC tracks can be seen in the background. There was an article about the Burnside car barn gardens in First & Fastest a couple of years ago.” Andre Kristopans adds, “definitely the back yard at Burnside.”

CSL 1933 at Chicago Avenue and Lake Shore Drive on May 12, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 1933 at Chicago Avenue and Lake Shore Drive on May 12, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 287 on route 52, Kedzie-California. (John Buff Photo) Andre Kristopans: "287 looks like Kedzie at Marquette. Note trolley wire tensioners behind car that would indicate near a terminal."

CSL 287 on route 52, Kedzie-California. (John Buff Photo) Andre Kristopans: “287 looks like Kedzie at Marquette. Note trolley wire tensioners behind car that would indicate near a terminal.”

Although the photo says this is Madison, that sure looks like Chicago Union Station, which means car 701 is probably on Adams instead, heading east. (B. H. Nichols Photo) Bob Lalich: "I agree with your comment, car 701 is passing CUS on Adams." Andre Kristopans: "701 should be on Adams EB at Canal."

Although the photo says this is Madison, that sure looks like Chicago Union Station, which means car 701 is probably on Adams instead, heading east. (B. H. Nichols Photo) Bob Lalich: “I agree with your comment, car 701 is passing CUS on Adams.” Andre Kristopans: “701 should be on Adams EB at Canal.”

Adams and Canal today.

Adams and Canal today.

CTA 3250 is at the end of the line on route 67. The presence of "wings" on this car would indicate this car has probably been repainted green. (John Buff Photo)

CTA 3250 is at the end of the line on route 67. The presence of “wings” on this car would indicate this car has probably been repainted green. (John Buff Photo)

CSL Sedan 3343 at around 7740 S. Vincennes Avenue on December 1, 1940, passing South Shops.

CSL Sedan 3343 at around 7740 S. Vincennes Avenue on December 1, 1940, passing South Shops.

The same area today.

The same area today.

CSL Red Cross tribute car near the Wrigley Building in June 1944. This car was in the 1700-series. (Gordon Lloyd Photo)

CSL Red Cross tribute car near the Wrigley Building in June 1944. This car was in the 1700-series. (Gordon Lloyd Photo)

CTA 5421 at South Shops on May 20, 1951.

CTA 5421 at South Shops on May 20, 1951.

CTA Pullman 848 at South Shops on May 20, 1951

CTA Pullman 848 at South Shops on May 20, 1951.

CSL 3132 on Broadway-State. Andre Kristopans adds, "just a feeling based on background buildings, but I’ll bet it’s on 119th between Halsted and Michigan." (Comparison with other photos indicates the location is most likely 119th and Morgan.)

CSL 3132 on Broadway-State. Andre Kristopans adds, “just a feeling based on background buildings, but I’ll bet it’s on 119th between Halsted and Michigan.” (Comparison with other photos indicates the location is most likely 119th and Morgan.)

The Roebuck Stops Here

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That's Sears at left. The 'L' station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash 'L' station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That’s Sears at left. The ‘L’ station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

From guest contributor Eric Bronsky:

Sears has been in the news lately. The onetime catalog/mail order champion is fading fast. I was never a fan of Sears, but I was curious to see what this company has brought to the table over the years. One thing led to another and I ended up writing a piece about Sears’ State Street stores (that’s right, there were two Sears flagships in downtown Chicago). I illustrated it with my own photography plus some great historic images from my collection (including the monorail ride in Sears’ toy department).

The file ended up being too big to send as an email attachment, so I posted it online. To view, click on this link:

The Roebuck Stops Here

As a bonus, here are then-and-now photos of Congress Street.

Here's the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash 'L' station was razed during the '50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the 'L' visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Here’s the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station was razed during the ’50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the ‘L’ visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Several major department stores along State Street once had direct connections to ‘L’ stations on Wabash and subway stations along State. The first downtown Sears established a direct basement-level entrance to the Van Buren & Congress mezzanine of the Jackson & State station in 1943. When that store closed, this station entrance also closed. The basement arcade of the building at 22 W. Madison / 2 N. State (the Boston Store until 1948) had a subway entrance, but the new Sears store never used that entrance and it remained sealed. Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s) connection to the State St. subway is the last remaining department store entrance.

Of course, you are welcome to share this with others! You may also print out The Roebuck Stops Here or download it to save on your computer.

— Eric

Selected FSA/OWI Photos, 1935-45

The Library of Congress has uploaded a great many photos taken between 1935 and 1945 by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information. You can search through their collections here.

We have selected some Chicago-area photos from this archive to share with you. These are mainly the ones that are, in some fashion, transportation related, although I have also included a few that aren’t. I hope that you will enjoy them.

There is not a lot of information provided with each photo, but our readers should be able to figure out most of the locations without too much difficulty. I think the picture showing sidewalks in an area where there aren’t any houses yet may be Westchester, where development started in the late 1920s and was delayed until after the end of World War II by the Great Depression.

The pictures of the “L” are from the south side. You should have no difficulty recognizing the Maxwell Street market, the Stockyards, etc. etc. The train station pictures are from Union Station. One photo shows the Illinois Central electric suburban commuter service, today’s Metra Electric.

I only found a few streetcar pictures in the archive. It may not be possible to determine where some were taken due to the fog.

-David Sadowski

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Finally, here are a few from Milwaukee, circa WWII. I believe these may show the old Milwaukee Electric interurban right-of-way going west of the city, which was known as the “Rapid Transit” line. Portions of this are now taken up by an expressway.

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This is our 121st post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 127,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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.”

We thank you for your support.


New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


More CSL and C&WT Photos

CTA 6284 at Indiana Avenue and Cermak circa 1951. (Earl Clark Photo)

CTA 6284 at Indiana Avenue and Cermak circa 1951. (Earl Clark Photo)

Today we are featuring classic streetcar photos from the Chicago Surface Lines and Chicago and West Towns Railways. To find more such pictures in our earlier posts, use the search window on this page.

Photos are a wonderful aid to memory. 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 additional Surface Lines photos coming up in the near future, so watch this space.

-David Sadowski


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 120th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 125,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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.”

We thank you for your support.


DVD04FrontDVD04Back

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


CTA 3381, now in CTA green, near the south end of route 4 - Cottage Grove, circa 1952. We can tell that this car has been converted to one man because of the sign that says, "Enter at Front." (Earl Clark Photo)

CTA 3381, now in CTA green, near the south end of route 4 – Cottage Grove, circa 1952. We can tell that this car has been converted to one man because of the sign that says, “Enter at Front.” (Earl Clark Photo)

CTA 3182 and 660 at Cottage Grove and 115th circa 1951. (Earl Clark Photo)

CTA 3182 and 660 at Cottage Grove and 115th circa 1951. (Earl Clark Photo)

In this 1945 view, CSL 6191 has just turned from Pine onto Lake, heading east on route 16. Looks like the trolley has come off the wire. (Stephen D, Maguire Photo)

In this 1945 view, CSL 6191 has just turned from Pine onto Lake, heading east on route 16. Looks like the trolley has come off the wire. (Stephen D, Maguire Photo)

Westbound CTA 1758 is turning from Lake onto Pine in this March 1953 view. This is where Lake switched over to the other side of the Chicago & North Western embankment. The streetcar would continue on to Austin Boulevard, the city limits. That looks like a 1952 Kaiser at left.

Westbound CTA 1758 is turning from Lake onto Pine in this March 1953 view. This is where Lake switched over to the other side of the Chicago & North Western embankment. The streetcar would continue on to Austin Boulevard, the city limits. That looks like a 1952 Kaiser at left.

The Pine Avenue viaduct today, looking north.

The Pine Avenue viaduct today, looking north.

The Pine Avenue viaduct looking south. I assume the tracks have not really shifted location, and this is an optical illusion based on the fact that the Google Street View camera was in motion when it took this picture. In other words, it was the camera that shifted its position, not the tracks.

The Pine Avenue viaduct looking south. I assume the tracks have not really shifted location, and this is an optical illusion based on the fact that the Google Street View camera was in motion when it took this picture. In other words, it was the camera that shifted its position, not the tracks.

CTA 3153 and 1772 at Lake and Austin, the west end of route 16, on May 15, 1954, same day as the famous "Farewell to Red Cars" fantrip run by Central Electric Railfans' Association.

CTA 3153 and 1772 at Lake and Austin, the west end of route 16, on May 15, 1954, same day as the famous “Farewell to Red Cars” fantrip run by Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

CTA 818 by the Park Theatre at Lake and Austin on August 13, 1948. I don't believe the movie theatre stayed open much later than this. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 818 by the Park Theatre at Lake and Austin on August 13, 1948. I don’t believe the movie theatre stayed open much later than this. (John F. Bromley Collection)

This old photo was identified as Chicago, but we'd like to know what our readers think.

This old photo was identified as Chicago, but we’d like to know what our readers think.

Chicago Surface Lines work cars P8, P251, P9 and S55 on the scrap line at South Shops, May 12, 1943.

Chicago Surface Lines work cars P8, P251, P9 and S55 on the scrap line at South Shops, May 12, 1943.

CSL supply car S201. (Earl Clark Photo)

CSL supply car S201. (Earl Clark Photo)

CTA 144 at, I believe, the east end of the 63rd Street line on 64th just west of Stony Island. The Charles J. Klees Golf Shop opened in 1910 across the street from the Jackson Park Golf Course and is still in business today at 10436 S. Western Avenue. Car 144 is preserved in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 144 at, I believe, the east end of the 63rd Street line on 64th just west of Stony Island. The Charles J. Klees Golf Shop opened in 1910 across the street from the Jackson Park Golf Course and is still in business today at 10436 S. Western Avenue. Car 144 is preserved in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

West Chicago Street Railway sprinklers.

West Chicago Street Railway sprinklers.

CSL 5660 on through route 9 - Ashland in 1941. Paraphrasing Don's Rail Photos, 5660 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in June 1907 (order) #350 for the Chicago & Southern Traction Company. It was purchased and rebuilt as Chicago City Ry 5660 in 1912 and became CSL 5660 in 1914. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

CSL 5660 on through route 9 – Ashland in 1941. Paraphrasing Don’s Rail Photos, 5660 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in June 1907 (order) #350 for the Chicago & Southern Traction Company. It was purchased and rebuilt as Chicago City Ry 5660 in 1912 and became CSL 5660 in 1914. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

CSL 2753 in 1946. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

CSL 2753 in 1946. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)

CSL 2776 at Wabash and Wacker in the 1940s. (George Snyder Photo)

CSL 2776 at Wabash and Wacker in the 1940s. (George Snyder Photo)

CTA 3333 on route 5 in the summer of 1949. (R. O. Johnstone Photo)

CTA 3333 on route 5 in the summer of 1949. (R. O. Johnstone Photo)

CTA Sedan (aka "Peter Witt") 6310 appears to have been converted to one-man in this view circa 1952 view at South Shops. However, it may not have been used in service this way before being scrapped. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA Sedan (aka “Peter Witt”) 6310 appears to have been converted to one-man in this view circa 1952 view at South Shops. However, it may not have been used in service this way before being scrapped. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 114 heading east on 63rd street, just about to go under the Jackson Park branch of the "L". M. E. adds, "At the right side of the picture in the foreground are two vertical posts that supported the structure that went south across 63rd St. to the lower 63rd St. yard. Therefore this picture was taken just about underneath that structure." (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA 114 heading east on 63rd street, just about to go under the Jackson Park branch of the “L”. M. E. adds, “At the right side of the picture in the foreground are two vertical posts that supported the structure that went south across 63rd St. to the lower 63rd St. yard. Therefore this picture was taken just about underneath that structure.” (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

314 E. 63rd Street today. In the previous photo, the photographer appears to have been standing under the ramp going down to the CTA's 63rd Street Lower Yard. The ramp has been rebuilt since the earlier picture was taken. The broken lines in the ramp are due to the movement of the camera while this Google Street View picture was being taken.

314 E. 63rd Street today. In the previous photo, the photographer appears to have been standing under the ramp going down to the CTA’s 63rd Street Lower Yard. The ramp has been rebuilt since the earlier picture was taken. The broken lines in the ramp are due to the movement of the camera while this Google Street View picture was being taken.

CSL 2530 in Hegewisch on March 16, 1943. Note the South Shore Line station at rear. (Gordon Lloyd Photo)

CSL 2530 in Hegewisch on March 16, 1943. Note the South Shore Line station at rear. (Gordon Lloyd Photo)

Don's Rail Photos says CSL 2595 was "built by St Louis Car Co in 1901." The 2501-2625 cars are known as Robertson rebuilds. 2595 is shown on the Riverdale line on November 11, 1939.

Don’s Rail Photos says CSL 2595 was “built by St Louis Car Co in 1901.” The 2501-2625 cars are known as Robertson rebuilds. 2595 is shown on the Riverdale line on November 11, 1939.

C&WT 138 at Cermak and Kenton in the 1940s. Here riders could transfer to the Chicago Surface Lines route 21 streetcar at right. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

C&WT 138 at Cermak and Kenton in the 1940s. Here riders could transfer to the Chicago Surface Lines route 21 streetcar at right. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

C&WT 155 on private right-of-way west of the Brookfield Zoo on April 11, 1948, on the CERA "day after abandonment" fantrip. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 155 on private right-of-way west of the Brookfield Zoo on April 11, 1948, on the CERA “day after abandonment” fantrip. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT at 52nd and 36th on February 28, 1938. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT at 52nd and 36th on February 28, 1938. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 119 on August 19, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 119 on August 19, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 138 at the Brookfield Zoo on July 22, 1938, on the busy LaGrange line. The zoo first opened in 1934. Within a year or two, all West Towns streetcars would be repainted blue. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 138 at the Brookfield Zoo on July 22, 1938, on the busy LaGrange line. The zoo first opened in 1934. Within a year or two, all West Towns streetcars would be repainted blue. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 15 on DesPlaines Avenue on April 11, 1948. The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip, held the day after West Towns streetcar service came to an end. Note one of the distinctive C&WT shelters at rear. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 15 on DesPlaines Avenue on April 11, 1948. The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip, held the day after West Towns streetcar service came to an end. Note one of the distinctive C&WT shelters at rear. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT line car 15 at Harlem and Cermak on August 19, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT line car 15 at Harlem and Cermak on August 19, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT snow sweeper 9. According to Don's Rail Photos, "9 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1928. It was sold to Sand Springs (Oklahoma) Railway in 1948."

C&WT snow sweeper 9. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “9 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1928. It was sold to Sand Springs (Oklahoma) Railway in 1948.”

C&WT 126, with bus substitution notice, on April 4, 1948. (Photo by Mathews)

C&WT 126, with bus substitution notice, on April 4, 1948. (Photo by Mathews)

Lost and Found

A close-up of Columbia Park & Southwestern 306 on the "Mobile Home Route."

A close-up of Columbia Park & Southwestern 306 on the “Mobile Home Route.”

Today’s post ties a number of photos together under the heading “Lost and Found.” There are images from the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, the North Shore Line, and various early preservation efforts. Two of the three great Chicago-area interurbans are lost to history.

Interestingly, among the “saved” equipment shown in these early photos, none of these cars is still at the same location where the pictures were taken. In the case of Milwaukee Electric car 882, it was still in use at a Wisconsin electric power plant as late as 1961, three years after the last Milwaukee streetcar ran on the streets. Yet, oddly enough, it does not appear to have been preserved.

While many of these early museum-type operations such as Trolleyville USA* are no longer with us, they should not be regarded as failures. They played a crucial role in saving many electric railcars from the dustbin of history, and provided a “bridge” to a welcome home in some of today’s more durable institutions.

So, while much of our transit history has been lost, thanks to a few dedicated individuals, not all of it was lost. And despite all the travails and convoluted ways that various cars were saved, there is still a rich history that survives to be found by future generations.

-David Sadowski

PS- Trolleyville USA in Olmstead Township, Ohio, which I visited in 1984, was part trolley museum, and part common carrier. It provided much-needed transportation between a trailer park and general store, both of which were owned by the late Gerald E. Brookins. It is thanks to him that many unique pieces of equipment were saved.

Let me take this opportunity to clear up a Trolleyville “factoid” that has circulated.

Cleveland was where Peter Witt developed his namesake streetcar design, but it is one of the ironies of history that none were saved. A solitary Cleveland Peter Witt car lasted until 1962 before it too was unfortunately scrapped.

Don’s Rail Photos reports, “4144 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in August 1929, (order) #951. It was retired in 1954 and sold to an individual in Lorain. It was lettered as Arlington Traction Co 4144.” Owner Norman Muller had the car in his yard with an organ installed inside.

Some have pondered why Gerald E. Brookins did not save the car. Some have speculated that he was tapped out after purchasing four of the curved-side CA&E cars or that Mrs. Brookins would not let him buy another car.

In 2014, author Blaine Hays told me the real story. He says Brookins had plenty of money and could easily have afforded to purchase the 4144. However, in general his interest in trolley cars was limited to purchasing ones that could be readily run on his short railroad. By 1962, the 4144 did not fit into this category and after having been changed around and stored outside for years, would have required a substantial amount of restoration work, in any case a lot more than Brookins wanted to do.

Thanks to Brookins, four of the ten Ca&E St. Louis-built cars from 1945 were saved. But of fate had turned a different way, all ten cars might have ended up in service on the Cleveland rapid on the airport extension. In the early 1960s, Cleveland transit officials were planning to build this extension “on the cheap,” using local funds. If they had, the CA&E cars would likely have provided the original rolling stock. As things turned out, the project got put off for a few years until Federal funds were available. It opened in 1968 with new equipment.

Ironically, at least one CA&E car (303) did eventually run on the Cleveland system. The Lake Shore Electric Railway was a short-lived successor to Trolleyville that planned to operate in Cleveland. Ultimately, the effort failed due to lack of funding, and the cars in the Brookins collection were sold at auction. Some ended up at the Illinois Railway Museum and the Fox River Trolley Museum, but I have seen pictures of the 303 running in Cleveland in the early 21st century with a pantograph installed.

Who’da thunk it?


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 119th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 123,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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.”

We thank you for your support.


img994srpo1

American Streetcar R.P.O.s

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (nearly 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


CA&E 423 and 433 have just passed each other just west of the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue in October 1953. Concordia cemetery is to the left. This is now the site of I-290.

CA&E 423 and 433 have just passed each other just west of the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue in October 1953. Concordia cemetery is to the left. This is now the site of I-290.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E 18 was "built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in March 1941 and retired in 1955." Here it is at Wheaton on March 15, 1952.

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E 18 was “built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in March 1941 and retired in 1955.” Here it is at Wheaton on March 15, 1952.

Curved-sided CA&E car 455, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945, at Wheaton on July 7, 1954.

Curved-sided CA&E car 455, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945, at Wheaton on July 7, 1954.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E merchandise express car 9 was "built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959." It is shown here at Wheaton in August 1948.

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E merchandise express car 9 was “built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959.” It is shown here at Wheaton in August 1948.

CA&E 427 parked at Laramie Avenue in August 1948. It was built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927.

CA&E 427 parked at Laramie Avenue in August 1948. It was built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927.

The view looking south towards the Wilmette station on the CNS&M Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955. For a view from the other end of the same station, look here. Northbound trains began street running on Greenleaf Avenue here.

The view looking south towards the Wilmette station on the CNS&M Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955. For a view from the other end of the same station, look here. Northbound trains began street running on Greenleaf Avenue here.

The same location today, where the North Shore Line curved to the right to head west on Greenleaf.

The same location today, where the North Shore Line curved to the right to head west on Greenleaf.

Once the North shore Line entered Greenleaf, the street widened. We are looking west.

Once the North shore Line entered Greenleaf, the street widened. We are looking west.

Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can tell us if this photo of car 158 was also taken along Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can tell us if this photo of car 158 was also taken along Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

Don's Rail Photos says that North Shore Line caboose 1003 "was built by American Car & Foundry Co in 1926. It was rebuilt without a cupola but restored when it was acquired by IRM." There was some discussion recently on a Yahoo group concerning CNS&M cabooses. Someone was interested in making a model, and this nice side view should help determine the dimensions.

Don’s Rail Photos says that North Shore Line caboose 1003 “was built by American Car & Foundry Co in 1926. It was rebuilt without a cupola but restored when it was acquired by IRM.” There was some discussion recently on a Yahoo group concerning CNS&M cabooses. Someone was interested in making a model, and this nice side view should help determine the dimensions.

An Electroliner at speed near Carawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA's Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

An Electroliner at speed near Carawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA’s Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Today's CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Today’s CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

CNS&M Silverliner 738 heads up a four-car special train making a station stop at Northbrook during a snowstorm in February 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M Silverliner 738 heads up a four-car special train making a station stop at Northbrook during a snowstorm in February 1960. (Richard H. Young Photo)

CNS&M 150 in a night scene at Waukegan on January 26, 1962.

CNS&M 150 in a night scene at Waukegan on January 26, 1962.

Electroliner 804-803 at the CTA Roosevelt Road "L" station in Chicago on February 17, 1957.

Electroliner 804-803 at the CTA Roosevelt Road “L” station in Chicago on February 17, 1957.

CNS&M Electroliner 803-804 at Deerpath, Illinois, February 17, 1957. Could be the photographer boarded the train in the previous picture at Roosevelt road and got off here.

CNS&M Electroliner 803-804 at Deerpath, Illinois, February 17, 1957. Could be the photographer boarded the train in the previous picture at Roosevelt road and got off here.

Columbia Park and Southwestern 306, ex-Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric, ex-Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, at Gerald E. Brookins' Trolleyville USA in 1962. Electric operations appear to be underway already, or nearly so.

Columbia Park and Southwestern 306, ex-Aurora, Elgin & Fox River Electric, ex-Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, at Gerald E. Brookins’ Trolleyville USA in 1962. Electric operations appear to be underway already, or nearly so.

Don's Rail Photos says, "306 was built by St Louis Car in 1924, #1306. In 1936 it was sold to CI/SHRT as 306 and in 1954 it was sold to CP&SW as 306. It was transferred to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1984 where it is being restored as AE&FRECo 306."

Don’s Rail Photos says, “306 was built by St Louis Car in 1924, #1306. In 1936 it was sold to CI/SHRT as 306 and in 1954 it was sold to CP&SW as 306. It was transferred to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1984 where it is being restored as AE&FRECo 306.”

photo089

CTA Red Pullman 144 and Milwaukee streetcar 972 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, February 1960.

CTA Red Pullman 144 and Milwaukee streetcar 972 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, February 1960.

A snowy view of the 144 in February 1960, less than two years after this car last ran on the streets of Chicago (in a May 1958 fantrip).

A snowy view of the 144 in February 1960, less than two years after this car last ran on the streets of Chicago (in a May 1958 fantrip).

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 65 at IERM in February 1960.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 65 at IERM in February 1960.

Don's Rail Photos says Milwaukee electric car 882 "was built by St Louis Car Co in 1920, (order) #1239. It was one manned in 1926 and rebuilt in 1954 with a plow on one end and a pilot on the other for use at the Lakeside Power Plant of WEPCo. It also had interurban headlights added. It ran until May 8, 1961." Unfortunately, it does not appear this car was saved.

Don’s Rail Photos says Milwaukee electric car 882 “was built by St Louis Car Co in 1920, (order) #1239. It was one manned in 1926 and rebuilt in 1954 with a plow on one end and a pilot on the other for use at the Lakeside Power Plant of WEPCo. It also had interurban headlights added. It ran until May 8, 1961.” Unfortunately, it does not appear this car was saved.

The two North Shore Line Electroliner sets had a second life for a while as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow line between Philadelphia and Norristown. Red Arrow President Merritt H. Taylor Jr. (1922-2010) was a closet railfan, and the pride he took in saving these fine streamlined cars is clearly evident in the picture on this 1964 timetable, when they were put into service. This was a morale booster for both the railroad and its riders after enduring a 34-day strike in 1963, the only one in its history.

The two North Shore Line Electroliner sets had a second life for a while as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow line between Philadelphia and Norristown. Red Arrow President Merritt H. Taylor Jr. (1922-2010) was a closet railfan, and the pride he took in saving these fine streamlined cars is clearly evident in the picture on this 1964 timetable, when they were put into service. This was a morale booster for both the railroad and its riders after enduring a 34-day strike in 1963, the only one in its history.

CNS&M 162 at the American Museum of Electricity in Schenectady, New York in 1968. Don's Rail Photos says, "162 was built by Brill in 1915, #19605. It was acquired by American Museum of Electricity in 1963 and resold to Connecticut Trolley Museum."

CNS&M 162 at the American Museum of Electricity in Schenectady, New York in 1968. Don’s Rail Photos says, “162 was built by Brill in 1915, #19605. It was acquired by American Museum of Electricity in 1963 and resold to Connecticut Trolley Museum.”

This 1968 photo presents a bit of a mystery. The only other North Shore car owned by the American Museum of Electricity was 710, sold along with the 162 to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1971. But there are other cars shown in this line-up, and the partial number for this one looks like it's in the 750-series.

This 1968 photo presents a bit of a mystery. The only other North Shore car owned by the American Museum of Electricity was 710, sold along with the 162 to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1971. But there are other cars shown in this line-up, and the partial number for this one looks like it’s in the 750-series.

More CA&E Jewels

CA&E 309 at Wheaton on a May 19, 1957 CERA fantrip. About two years later the fledgling Illinois Electric Railway Museum referred to this car as the "jewel of the fleet," when raising money for its purchase. We reproduced that flyer in our post Railfan Ephemera (August 26, 2015).

CA&E 309 at Wheaton on a May 19, 1957 CERA fantrip. About two years later the fledgling Illinois Electric Railway Museum referred to this car as the “jewel of the fleet,” when raising money for its purchase. We reproduced that flyer in our post Railfan Ephemera (August 26, 2015).

We’ve been on a bit of a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin kick lately, so here are some more great photos of that fabled interurban. Several of these were taken on Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrips. There were many such trips in the sunset days of the “Sunset Lines.”

We also have some photos of city streetcars in Elgin in the early 20th century. As you can see from the photos, some of these were lightly built lines that I am sure did not offer up the riding quality generally associated with the CA&E.

We also tracked down a photo of a Commonwealth Edison electric loco in service, to satisfy a request made some time ago by one of our readers.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We have the unique and rare opportunity to buy nearly a dozen 7″ reels of 8mm railfan films shot between 1954 and 1971 at a very reasonable cost. These include Chicago rapid transit, streetcars in New Orleans, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Newark and Philadelphia, the Red Arrow lines (including the Ardmore branch), and several CERA fantrips. This opens up the possibility that at some future date, we may be able to offer DVDs of these films. But a lot of work and expense has to go into making that a reality. Your generous contributions towards that goal are greatly appreciated.


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In our post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-18-2015, Mike Murray asked for pictures of the Commonwealth Edison third rail operation on Chicago's north side (not far from the former location of Hot Doug's). Well, we finally found one. Here is electric loco S-4 at California and Addison on January 9, 1949. According to Don's Rail Photos, "4 was built in November 1911 by Alco, #50284, and General Electric, #3514. It was donated to Illinois (Electric) Railway Museum in 1962."

In our post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-18-2015, Mike Murray asked for pictures of the Commonwealth Edison third rail operation on Chicago’s north side (not far from the former location of Hot Doug’s). Well, we finally found one. Here is electric loco S-4 at California and Addison on January 9, 1949. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “4 was built in November 1911 by Alco, #50284, and General Electric, #3514. It was donated to Illinois (Electric) Railway Museum in 1962.”

"CTA elevated train on loop over Aurora-Elgin track (Garfield Park line, Des Plaines Ave.), August 1955." (Roy Bruce Photo)

“CTA elevated train on loop over Aurora-Elgin track (Garfield Park line, Des Plaines Ave.), August 1955.” (Roy Bruce Photo)

CA&E 454 and 701 at Lakewood on a May 19, 1957 CERA fantrip. This is the same train shown in another picture at Elgin. (Roy Bruce Photo)

CA&E 454 and 701 at Lakewood on a May 19, 1957 CERA fantrip. This is the same train shown in another picture at Elgin. (Roy Bruce Photo)

CA&E Pullman 405. But is this Aurora or Batavia?

CA&E Pullman 405. But is this Aurora or Batavia?

This would appear to be a lineup of rapid transit cars in storage at Roosevelt Road on the Westchester branch, which was owned by CA&E. It was intended to be part of a bypass route that would have gone through what we know today as Oakbrook. Service on this branch ended in December 1951. The only car number I can make out in this photo is 2889. (Dick Rumbolz Photo)

This would appear to be a lineup of rapid transit cars in storage at Roosevelt Road on the Westchester branch, which was owned by CA&E. It was intended to be part of a bypass route that would have gone through what we know today as Oakbrook. Service on this branch ended in December 1951. The only car number I can make out in this photo is 2889. (Dick Rumbolz Photo)

CA&E 421 and 423 street running in Aurora. Since the street running was eliminated in 1939, this photo cannot be later than that date.

CA&E 421 and 423 street running in Aurora. Since the street running was eliminated in 1939, this photo cannot be later than that date.

A two-car CA&E train, headed up by 434, "at speed." Not sure of the exact location. (H. L. Younger Photo)

A two-car CA&E train, headed up by 434, “at speed.” Not sure of the exact location. (H. L. Younger Photo)

CA&E 314 and CTA 2833 at Laramie on March 12, 1953. I'm not sure whether the 314 is on a storage track. The photographer notes, "this section to be abandoned by CA&E." The interurban cut back service to Forest Park that September 20th. I believe we are looking east. (Roy Bruce Photo)

CA&E 314 and CTA 2833 at Laramie on March 12, 1953. I’m not sure whether the 314 is on a storage track. The photographer notes, “this section to be abandoned by CA&E.” The interurban cut back service to Forest Park that September 20th. I believe we are looking east. (Roy Bruce Photo)

CA&E freight locos 2001 and 2002 at Wheaton on March 14, 1957.

CA&E freight locos 2001 and 2002 at Wheaton on March 14, 1957.

CA&E 454 and 701 at Elgin, alongside the Fox River, on a May 19, 1957 CERA fantrip. 701 was a control trailer and had formerly been owned by the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. As Don's Rail Photos says, "701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938." It and its brothers had their ends modified by CA&E to fit Chicago "L" clearances.

CA&E 454 and 701 at Elgin, alongside the Fox River, on a May 19, 1957 CERA fantrip. 701 was a control trailer and had formerly been owned by the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. As Don’s Rail Photos says, “701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938.” It and its brothers had their ends modified by CA&E to fit Chicago “L” clearances.

CTA 6041-6042 at Western Avenue on the Van Buren temporary trackage, February 22, 1955. This rerouting, caused by Congress expressway construction, had a lot to do with the demise of the CA&E.

CTA 6041-6042 at Western Avenue on the Van Buren temporary trackage, February 22, 1955. This rerouting, caused by Congress expressway construction, had a lot to do with the demise of the CA&E.

CA&E 300 and 318 at Batavia on a July 4, 1956 CERA fantrip.

CA&E 300 and 318 at Batavia on a July 4, 1956 CERA fantrip.

CA&E Pullmans 419 and 403 are taking a photo stop at Glen Oak on a July 4, 1956 CERA fantrip.

CA&E Pullmans 419 and 403 are taking a photo stop at Glen Oak on a July 4, 1956 CERA fantrip.

A close-up view.

A close-up view.

CA&E 321 and 404 at Wheaton on July 4, 1956.

CA&E 321 and 404 at Wheaton on July 4, 1956.

An Elgin trolley.

An Elgin trolley.

Photo caption: "Elgin Illinois 1923. 10 cents from here to Elgin via the "Toonerville Trolley," trolley clog(?) 5 cents extra."

Photo caption: “Elgin Illinois 1923. 10 cents from here to Elgin via the “Toonerville Trolley,” trolley clog(?) 5 cents extra.”

Photo caption: "Next stop Trout Park."

Photo caption: “Next stop Trout Park.”

The Trout Park roller coaster. Trolley lines often built amusement parks in order to generate traffic.

The Trout Park roller coaster. Trolley lines often built amusement parks in order to generate traffic.

An Elgin trolley.

An Elgin trolley.

Elgin trolleys.

Elgin trolleys.

The Elgin Watch factory circa 1910. It closed in the 1960s.

The Elgin Watch factory circa 1910. It closed in the 1960s.

A couple of CA&E woods (including 308) head east, approaching the Des Plaines Avenue terminal in April 1957, a few months before abandonment of passenger service. Another CA&E train is in the terminal, while a train of CTA 4000s, including a "baldy" with the blocked-off center door, turns around on a wooden trestle. This arrangement began when the CA&E stopped running downtown in September 1953.

A couple of CA&E woods (including 308) head east, approaching the Des Plaines Avenue terminal in April 1957, a few months before abandonment of passenger service. Another CA&E train is in the terminal, while a train of CTA 4000s, including a “baldy” with the blocked-off center door, turns around on a wooden trestle. This arrangement began when the CA&E stopped running downtown in September 1953.

This undated 1950s photo shows a westbound Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train (cars 406 and 41x) at the Villa Park station. According to the Great Third Rail web site, "The station was rebuilt again in 1929. During this reconstruction, the eastbound platform was moved to the west side of Villa Avenue with the construction of an expansive Tudor Revival station designed by Samuel Insull’s staff architect, Arthur U. Gerber. The westbound platform remained in place and was outfitted with a flat roofed wooden passenger shelter. Villa Park was one of a few stations to survive the demise of the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin. Both it and Ardmore (the next station west) were purchased by the village of Villa Park and refurbished with an official dedication by the Villa Park Bicentennial Commission on July 5, 1976. It is now home to the Villa Park Historical Society which hosts an annual ice cream social on July 3, the anniversary of the day the CA&E ended passenger service."

This undated 1950s photo shows a westbound Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train (cars 406 and 41x) at the Villa Park station. According to the Great Third Rail web site, “The station was rebuilt again in 1929. During this reconstruction, the eastbound platform was moved to the west side of Villa Avenue with the construction of an expansive Tudor Revival station designed by Samuel Insull’s staff architect, Arthur U. Gerber. The westbound platform remained in place and was outfitted with a flat roofed wooden passenger shelter. Villa Park was one of a few stations to survive the demise of the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin. Both it and Ardmore (the next station west) were purchased by the village of Villa Park and refurbished with an official dedication by the Villa Park Bicentennial Commission on July 5, 1976. It is now home to the Villa Park Historical Society which hosts an annual ice cream social on July 3, the anniversary of the day the CA&E ended passenger service.”

I believe this photo shows CA&E freight loco 4006 on the Mt. Carmel branch.

I believe this photo shows CA&E freight loco 4006 on the Mt. Carmel branch.

The CA&E station at Spring Road in Elmhurst in the 1950s.

The CA&E station at Spring Road in Elmhurst in the 1950s.

Here is Lackawana & Wyoming Valley 31 as it appeared on August 3, 1952. Passenger service ended on this third-rail line at the end of that year. Some have wondered if the LL rolling stock could have benefited the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, but the general consensus is these cars would have been too long to navigate the tight curves on the Loop "L", although perhaps they could have been used west of Forest Park. As it was, there were no takers and all were scrapped. Ironically, some thought was later given by a museum of adapting a CA&E curved-side car into an ersatz Laurel Line replica, but this idea was dropped.

Here is Lackawana & Wyoming Valley 31 as it appeared on August 3, 1952. Passenger service ended on this third-rail line at the end of that year. Some have wondered if the LL rolling stock could have benefited the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, but the general consensus is these cars would have been too long to navigate the tight curves on the Loop “L”, although perhaps they could have been used west of Forest Park. As it was, there were no takers and all were scrapped. Ironically, some thought was later given by a museum of adapting a CA&E curved-side car into an ersatz Laurel Line replica, but this idea was dropped.