CTA articulated “Doodlebug” 5003 southbound at Main Street in Evanston. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)
An aerial view, showing where the picture of 5003 was taken near Main and Chicago. There is a gap between the CTA Evanston branch and the Metra UP-North Line (formerly, the Chicago & North Western), large enough for a short paved road, now mainly used for parking.
Today, we have another batch of classic Chicago rapid transit photos to share with you. These are not easy to come by, and as far as I can tell, this is only the third time we have devoted an entire post to them.
The two previous articles were Chicago Rapid Transit Mystery Photos – Solved (April 28, 2015) and More Chicago Rapid Transit Photos (September 21, 2015), although of course we have sprinkled plenty of other rapid transit photos into other postings.
We have some great pictures of the experimental articulated “Doodlebugs” ordered by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company, which were delivered in 1947-48. These were the first new Chicago rapid transit cars in nearly 25 years, and were inspired by the similar “Bluebird” compartment cars purchased by New York’s Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit in 1939-40.*
Chicago’s Loop “L” is famous world-wide. What is perhaps less known is how a few other cities had short stretches of elevateds, and we have included a couple pictures of those as well. In addition to Baltimore and Boston, shown here, there were also “els” of some sort in Kansas City and Hoboken, New Jersey. To this day, there is more elevated trackage in New York than in Chicago.
Some of today’s pictures were taken at much the same times and places as pictures in those two earlier posts. Sometimes we have been able to identify the times and places when these pictures could have been taken, other times not. As always, if you can help provide any information that might shed light on what’s going on here, we would definitely appreciate it.
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PS- These images are being added to our E-book The New Look in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available through our Online Store.
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*Here are some films of the Bluebirds in action circa 1954, shortly before they were retired:
CTA 5001 at Laramie on September 27, 1948. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)
CTA 5003 on the Met “L” near Throop Street Shops in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)
Brand-new CTA 5003 on C&NW flatcars in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)
CTA “L” car 3115 at West Shops in April 1949. This was one of the few places where CTA rapid transit cars and streetcars could operate on the same tracks, the other being at 63rd Street Lower Yard. The location is approximately 3900 W. Lake Street. There was a ramp, a rather steep grade in fact, connecting with the Lake Street “L”, which lasted until 1987. Can that be a streetcar at right?
The approximate location of the previous picture. Since that photo was taken, CTA has built a substation here for the Lake Street “L”.
Streetcar tracks are still visible today at CTA’s West Shops, which was built by the West Chicago Street Railroad, which became part of Chicago Surface Lines in 1914. CTA used West Shops for rapid transit car work for a few years into the early 1950s, before such work was consolidated elsewhere. The tracks crossing Lake Street itself were only removed a couple years ago.
The first train of new 6000s on display at the North Water Street terminal on August 17, 1950. This terminal provided a convenient place to display a train without interfering with regular service.
A rare CTA three-car train of singe car units on the Ravenswood (Brown Line) “L” on May 28, 1978. In general, three-car trains resulted from one of the cars in a four-car train being taken out of service. This picture was taken at Chicago Avenue. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) It’s been pointed out to me that this picture was taken on a Sunday, during a time when the Ravenswood did not run on Sundays. So, this was a fantrip train that would have had the run of the Ravenswood south of Belmont. This picture looks like it was taken at track level. Now the Brown Line runs downtown seven days a week. Gordon Earl Lloyd (1924-2006) was a well-known railfan author and photographer.
The Guiford Avenue el in Baltimore, circa 1949. (Lester K. Wismer Photo)
A Boston Elevated Railway train of 0300-class cars , near Rowes Wharf station on the last day of the Atlantic Avenue el, September 28, 1938. (Robert Stanley Collection)
The mount on this Kodachrome slide helps narrow down the time frame on this photo to 1955-57. We are at the Indiana Avenue station on the South Side “L”, looking west. We posted a picture showing the view looking east at this station in a previous post. That picture shows a Kenwood shuttle train, but the wood cars in the distance here are very likely Stock Yards cars. Wooden “L” cars would not have been running on the Howard-Jackson Park-Englewood line, as that went through the State Street subway. According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, Stock Yards shuttle cars would have stopped at the south platform (to the left in this picture) via a single track. Presumably, the two-car wood train in this picture is heading west, and the mainline train of 6000s is heading east. Running parallel to the “L” at this point, just to the north, is the Chicago Junction Railway, which built and owned the Kenwood branch of the “L.” This part of the CJ was abandoned in the 1960s after the Union Stock Yards had dwindled down to next to nothing.
A close-up view of the previous scene.
An early 1940s map of the Stock Yards branch of the “L”. Indiana station is just to the right of the green line. You can see how the Chicago Junction ran parallel to the “L” just to the north. The Stock Yards branch was abandoned in 1957, shortly before Kenwood.
An early 1940s map of the Kenwood branch of the “L”, which was abandoned in 1957.
CTA 4357 at South Boulevard and Maple in October 1952, at the west end of the Lake Street “L” when it ran on the ground.
South Boulevard and Maple in Oak Park today. The Lake Street “L”, today’s Green Lin, was relocated to the Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962. That’s the Harlem station at left, which has its main entrance at Marion Street.
There was only a brief period when this May 1969 photo could have been taken. What we see is the west end of the Englewood “L” yard near Loomis. The yard itself was renovated in the early 1960s, as evidenced by the concrete supports. We are standing on a newly built section of “L”, soon to be connected to the rest of the structure, that extended this line to Ashland, a more practical terminus that provides a better place for bus transfers. We are looking east.
CTA Met car 2888 heads up a Garfield Park train on the Loop “L” circa 1950.
A Douglas Park local at the west end of the line at Oak Park Avenue in Berwyn, circa 1950. This is before A/B “skip stop” service began on this route, which was soon cut back to 54th Avenue, its present terminus.
A CTA single car unit running under wire at the Linden terminal in Wilmette in 1964. We are looking south. The Evanston branch was changed over to third rail along with the retirement of 4000-series “L” cars in 1973.
A woman on CTA “baldy” car 4031 notices her picture is being taken at an unidentified location. As you can see, these 1913 “L” cars featured sideways seating.
We previously ran a very similar picture in an earlier post. In fact, it seems likely both pictures were taken at much the same time, although they are not identical. In any case, the previous caption information will do just as well here: According to Andre Kristopans, it shows a “Normal Park shuttle between Harvard Englewood and Stewart Jct – appears inbound.” Edward Maurath notes that car “223 was made by Jewett in 1902 for the South Side Line, then known as the ”alley L’.”
A Douglas Park “L” train, signed to go to Lawndale, at Randolph and Wabash. CTA had a small storage yard at Kenton, which was abandoned in the early 1950s.
The same location as the last picture, and another Douglas Park train going to Lanwdale only, but this is a different car (2821) and run number (316 vs. 315). Interesting that consecutive runs would only be going that far. There must not have been much demand for outbound service when this picture was taken.
This is the old Clark and Lake “L” station and we are looking east. An outbound Ravenswood “A” train is stopped at the station. The signs at right are advertising a stage version of Mister Roberts at the Erlanger Theatre. A/B “skip stop” service was instituted on the Ravenswood on August 1, 1949, which is probably around the time this picture was taken. Prior to this, most Ravenswood service was operated by 4000s running via the subway. By Spring of 1951, base service on the Rave was being operated by new 6000s.
Where this picture could have been taken was somewhat of a mystery, but the one place that seems a good fit is the old Lawndale terminal on the Humboldt Park “L”. There, only one track served the platform, while there were two tracks for storage. Gate cars such as these were used during the CTA era, and the “L” itself was shoehorned between buildings such as the one at left. There was a tower at the end of the platform, such as the one seen here. In that scenario, the “M” may simply stand for Metropolitan, as Humboldt Park was part of the Met “L”.
For the sake of comparison, Graham Garfield’s excellent web site shows a picture taken at Lawndale, but looking in the opposite direction (east):
The building shown in the last picture, as it looks today on Lawndale just north of North Avenue. The buildings to the west of here have been torn down (there is a car wash on that site today), but note the similarity in construction to the building shown in our mystery photo.