More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Eight

On June 19, 1953, CTA Pullman-built PCC 4337 is at the Halsted and 79th loop, south end of route 8. But the car is signed for route 42, Halsted-Downtown, which was a variant on the line. CTA bus 2581 is at left. Soon, the Pullmans would begin disappearing from this route as they were sent off to St. Louis Car Company for scrapping in the "PCC Conversion Program." There are very few photos of PCCs on route 42, making this one a rarity.

On June 19, 1953, CTA Pullman-built PCC 4337 is at the Halsted and 79th loop, south end of route 8. But the car is signed for route 42, Halsted-Downtown, which was a variant on the line. CTA bus 2581 is at left. Soon, the Pullmans would begin disappearing from this route as they were sent off to St. Louis Car Company for scrapping in the “PCC Conversion Program.” There are very few photos of PCCs on route 42, making this one a rarity.

Also, in the early photo, all buses and cars went around the block via 79th and Emerald, and exited westbound. Later there was a large section added in the back, behind the buildings you see, so buses could enter directly off Halsted, loop around, and come back out onto Halsted."

The bus loop at Halsted and 79th as it appears today. Andre Kristopans: “Regarding 79th/Halsted loop, the driveway is actually just as wide in both photos. It is an optical illusion because where once there were three lanes, now there are only two, wider, lanes, and a single, wide, platform.
Also, in the early photo, all buses and cars went around the block via 79th and Emerald, and exited westbound. Later there was a large section added in the back, behind the buildings you see, so buses could enter directly off Halsted, loop around, and come back out onto Halsted.”

Here we have another bevy of Chicago PCC streetcar photos for your enjoyment. To see previous installments in this series, just use the search window at the top of this page.

As always, if you have interesting tidbits of information to add to what we have written here, don’t hesitate to add your comments or drop us a line to:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski

PS- These photos are also being added to our E-book collection Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store.

If you are interested in PCC trucks, the motors that make these things go, there is an interesting article you can read about them, written by Bill Becwar, who is one of our readers. It explains how trucks from actual Chicago streetcars came to power ones used now In Kenosha, by way of scrapped 6000-series “L” cars.


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Now Updated with 46 Pages of New Material:

StitchSCAN0109-SCAN0114rapidtransitnews1

Lifting the Lid in the Loop, 1915
The Chicago Freight Tunnels, 1928
Chicago Elevated Railroads Consolidation of Operations, 1913

The Chicago Tunnel Company (1906-1959) operated an elaborate network of 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge track in 7.5-by-6-foot (2.3 m × 1.8 m) tunnels running under the streets throughout the central business district including and surrounding the Loop, delivering freight, parcels, and coal, and disposed of ash and excavation debris.

Our E-book collection includes two short books issued by the Tunnel Company, detailing their operations. Lifting the Lid in the Loop is 46 pages long, has many great illustrations, and was published in 1915. To this we add a different 32-page illustrated book from 1928.

The third volume in this collection, Chicago Elevated Railroads Consolidation of Operations (60 pages) was published in 1913 to help facilitate the through-routing of the South Side and Northwestern elevated lines. As Britton I. Budd wrote in the introduction, “This book of instructions is issued for the purpose of familiarizing the employees of the South Side Elevated Railroad with the character, service, track arrangement, and general features of the system of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad, and to familiarize the employees of the Northwestern elevated Railroad with the same details of the South Side Elevated Railroad, before through-routed operation of cars is begun.”

Now The Trolley Dodger is making all three of these long-out-of-print works available once again on a single DVD data disc. Includes a Tribute to the late bookseller Owen Davies, who reprinted the “L” book in 1967, a 1966 Chicago Tribune profile of Davies, and reproductions of several Davies flyers. 177 pages in all.

This collection is a tremendous value, since an original copy of Lifting the Lid in the Loop alone recently sold for over $200 on eBay.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95


It's November 14, 1948, and CTA PCC 4341 and its follower are on Southport at Clark Street, the north end of the #9 Ashland route-- a very unusual place for PCCs to be. That's Graceland cemetery on the east side of Clark. Andre Kristopans writes, "The Clark PCC’s parked on Southport are Cubs extras. Would have come down from Devon (note CLARK-LAWRENCE sign), and would be put away on normally-unused track on Southport. When game would let out, they would be backed back out onto Clark, and sent south." Which all sounds very plausible except for the date of the photograph. But as Andre pointed out in a later note, on November 14, 1948 the Chicago Bears played the Green Bay Packers, and that game took place in Wrigley Field. So these PCCs are being held back until the end of the game. The Bears won that day, 7-6.

It’s November 14, 1948, and CTA PCC 4341 and its follower are on Southport at Clark Street, the north end of the #9 Ashland route– a very unusual place for PCCs to be. That’s Graceland cemetery on the east side of Clark. Andre Kristopans writes, “The Clark PCC’s parked on Southport are Cubs extras. Would have come down from Devon (note CLARK-LAWRENCE sign), and would be put away on normally-unused track on Southport. When game would let out, they would be backed back out onto Clark, and sent south.” Which all sounds very plausible except for the date of the photograph. But as Andre pointed out in a later note, on November 14, 1948 the Chicago Bears played the Green Bay Packers, and that game took place in Wrigley Field. So these PCCs are being held back until the end of the game. The Bears won that day, 7-6.

Clark and Southport today.

Clark and Southport today.

Someone's just gotten off CTA PCC 4246 via the middle door on October 8, 1948. The car is heading southbound on route 36 - Broadway-State and is just north of Lake Street in this Mervin E. Borgnis photo. Borgnis wrote a number of different railfan books, and at one time worked as a motorman for the Lehigh Valley Transit Company in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Jim Huffman writes: "It does not look like State St, to me it looks like Wabash. The Broadway-State route used Wabash as a detour until the State St bridge was constructed. The new bridge was Dedicated on 5/28/1949, which precludes it being on State."

Someone’s just gotten off CTA PCC 4246 via the middle door on October 8, 1948. The car is heading southbound on route 36 – Broadway-State and is just north of Lake Street in this Mervin E. Borgnis photo. Borgnis wrote a number of different railfan books, and at one time worked as a motorman for the Lehigh Valley Transit Company in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Jim Huffman writes: “It does not look like State St, to me it looks like Wabash. The Broadway-State route used Wabash as a detour until the State St bridge was constructed. The new bridge was Dedicated on 5/28/1949, which precludes it being on State.”

Wabash and Lake today. We are looking north.

Wabash and Lake today. We are looking north.

CTA PCCS 4372 and 7261 are at 81st and Halsted, the south end of the busy Clark-Wentworth line.

CTA PCCS 4372 and 7261 are at 81st and Halsted, the south end of the busy Clark-Wentworth line.

CTA pre-war PCC 4007 speeds east on private right-of-way near the Narragansett terminal of the 63rd Street line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA pre-war PCC 4007 speeds east on private right-of-way near the Narragansett terminal of the 63rd Street line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL pre-war PCC 7002 is in the Madison-Austin loop, at the west end of busy route 20, circa 1945-46 in "tiger stripes" livery.

CSL pre-war PCC 7002 is in the Madison-Austin loop, at the west end of busy route 20, circa 1945-46 in “tiger stripes” livery.

In this posed press photo, probably taken in late 1936, two well-dressed models show how easy it is to get on the new "streamliners." This may be car 7002. (Chicago Architectural Photographing Company)

In this posed press photo, probably taken in late 1936, two well-dressed models show how easy it is to get on the new “streamliners.” This may be car 7002. (Chicago Architectural Photographing Company)

CSL PCC 4062, the first postwar car delivered, heads west on Madison just east of Laramie, probably in the fall of 1946. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL PCC 4062, the first postwar car delivered, heads west on Madison just east of Laramie, probably in the fall of 1946. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

5146 W. Madison today.

5146 W. Madison today.

CTA 4010 and 4035 lay over at the expansive loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett in December 1952.

CTA 4010 and 4035 lay over at the expansive loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett in December 1952.

CTA 4029 lays over on 64th Street near Stony Island on March 10, 1952. This was the east end of route 63.

CTA 4029 lays over on 64th Street near Stony Island on March 10, 1952. This was the east end of route 63.

Dave Carlson asks:

Great pics, as always. What was that interesting building on the left side of the photo at 63rd and Stony? Is it still there?

63rd and Stony Island was once the eastern terminus of the Jackson Park branch of the South Side “L”, so it was an important transfer point to other places. Greyhound had a terminal there, and there were various other retail businesses.

However, now the Jackson Park “L” has been cut back to Cottage Grove and, in a reversal of sorts, part of the abandonment involved a local group who argued that removing the “L” would actually stimulate economic growth. Usually, it’s the opposite.

The first cutback of this branch involved the bridge over the Illinois Central, which was not as well built as some others. It was declared unsafe and the first cutback was supposed to be just west of the IC, where there was to be a transfer point with what is now the Metra Electric.

Some work was done on this station, using federal money, but ultimately it was never used as the line was cut back even further. Not sure whether CTA had to pay back the government for this.

So, no, the large retail building in the picture, which took up a square block, is gone. Besides the Greyhound station there was a golf shop (still in business, but elsewhere) and I think a bowling alley among other things.  A YMCA now occupies the site.

64th and Stony Island today. Jackson Park, site of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, is east of here. The "L", which once ran here, has been cut back to Cottage Grove. If anything is still here, it's probably the tracks under the pavement.

64th and Stony Island today. Jackson Park, site of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, is east of here. The “L”, which once ran here, has been cut back to Cottage Grove. If anything is still here, it’s probably the tracks under the pavement.

It's winter, and CTA 7272 heads south. The local movie theater is showing The King and I, a musical starring Yul Brynner that was first released in June 1956. This picture probably dates to the winter of 1956-57, and there is a 1957 Plymouth visible at rear. One of our readers notes: "The movie theater was the CALO THEATER at Clark and Balmoral. It is now occupied by a thrift store called The Brown Elephant. Photo was probably taken in December 1956 because of the Christmas decorations hanging on the line poles. Car is heading south on Clark." You can read more about the Calo Theater here.

It’s winter, and CTA 7272 heads south. The local movie theater is showing The King and I, a musical starring Yul Brynner that was first released in June 1956. This picture probably dates to the winter of 1956-57, and there is a 1957 Plymouth visible at rear. One of our readers notes: “The movie theater was the CALO THEATER at Clark and Balmoral. It is now occupied by a thrift store called The Brown Elephant. Photo was probably taken in December 1956 because of the Christmas decorations hanging on the line poles. Car is heading south on Clark.” You can read more about the Calo Theater here.

Clark and Balmoral today. We are looking north.

Clark and Balmoral today. We are looking north.

CTA PCC 7174 heads south on route 36 at Broadway amd Wilson, with a three-car train of wooden "L" cars up above, probably in Evanston Express service. This historic Uptown "L" station also served the North Shore Line.

CTA PCC 7174 heads south on route 36 at Broadway amd Wilson, with a three-car train of wooden “L” cars up above, probably in Evanston Express service. This historic Uptown “L” station also served the North Shore Line.

Broadway and Wilson today. The CTA station is being completely rebuilt, at substantial cost. To read more about architect Arthur U. Gerber, who designed the original rapid transit station and many others, go here.

Broadway and Wilson today. The CTA station is being completely rebuilt, at substantial cost. To read more about architect Arthur U. Gerber, who designed the original rapid transit station and many others, go here.

CTA prewar PCC 4021, last survivor of its type, in dead storage at South Shops in the late 1950s. This car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CTA prewar PCC 4021, last survivor of its type, in dead storage at South Shops in the late 1950s. This car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

We are looking north on Clark and Devon in 1957, and a southbound route 22 - Clark-Wentworth car heads our way. It's difficult to make out the car number, but this may be 4390.

We are looking north on Clark and Devon in 1957, and a southbound route 22 – Clark-Wentworth car heads our way. It’s difficult to make out the car number, but this may be 4390.

Clark and Devon today, looking north.

Clark and Devon today, looking north.

CTA 7165 at Broadway and Devon, circa 1956-57. (Jay Viena Photo)

CTA 7165 at Broadway and Devon, circa 1956-57. (Jay Viena Photo)

Broadway and Devon today. We are facing south.

Broadway and Devon today. We are facing south.

CTA 7169 at Clark and Schubert. (Jay Viena Photo)

CTA 7169 at Clark and Schubert. (Jay Viena Photo)

CTA 7142 is on a flatcar in August 1958, ready to be pulled by locomotive L-201 to an interchange for its trip to St. Louis for scrapping and parts recycling for rapid transit cars. (Jay Viena Photo)

CTA 7142 is on a flatcar in August 1958, ready to be pulled by locomotive L-201 to an interchange for its trip to St. Louis for scrapping and parts recycling for rapid transit cars. (Jay Viena Photo)

CTA 7189 at the Clark-Howard loop, circa 1956-57, northern terminus of busy route 22. (Jay Viena Photo)

CTA 7189 at the Clark-Howard loop, circa 1956-57, northern terminus of busy route 22. (Jay Viena Photo)

In this fantrip photo, which I believe is from December 1955, PCC 7236 follows red Pullman 225, which has been temporarily renumbered as 144 just for the day, thanks to the Illini Railroad Club. To read more about this fantrip, go here. This location may be on Irving Park just west of Sheridan Road.

In this fantrip photo, which I believe is from December 1955, PCC 7236 follows red Pullman 225, which has been temporarily renumbered as 144 just for the day, thanks to the Illini Railroad Club. To read more about this fantrip, go here. This location may be on Irving Park just west of Sheridan Road.

The St. Petersburg Tram Collection is now producing a very handsome model of the 1934 Chicago Surface Lines experimental pre-PCC car 4001.

The St. Petersburg Tram Collection is now producing a very handsome model of the 1934 Chicago Surface Lines experimental pre-PCC car 4001.

CTA 4377, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is southbound on Clark Street at Harrison in June 1958. (Joe Testagrose Collection)

CTA 4377, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is southbound on Clark Street at Harrison in June 1958. (Joe Testagrose Collection)

Andre Kristopans comments on this 1930s photo: "Look carefully at the shot of 7003 – it is a posed picture. Probably everybody is a CSL engineering department employee. Several things of note: 1) That is not trolley bus overhead. It is two positive wires side by side. Look at the street carefully. That is gauntlet track. Most carbarns had a gauntlet track so there would be fewer switches in the normal running rail. Besides, the TB wire on Pulaski existed as far as Maypole, then turned east into the shops in 1936. 2) Behind is a southbound Kedzie car. 3) Street is way too narrow to be anywhere on Madison. Conclusion – this is on Kedzie in front of Kedzie carhouse, and indeed 7003 is on the yard lead, loading up “dignitaries” for an inspection trip."

Andre Kristopans comments on this 1930s photo: “Look carefully at the shot of 7003 – it is a posed picture. Probably everybody is a CSL engineering department employee. Several things of note:
1) That is not trolley bus overhead. It is two positive wires side by side. Look at the street carefully. That is gauntlet track. Most carbarns had a gauntlet track so there would be fewer switches in the normal running rail. Besides, the TB wire on Pulaski existed as far as Maypole, then turned east into the shops in 1936.
2) Behind is a southbound Kedzie car.
3) Street is way too narrow to be anywhere on Madison.
Conclusion – this is on Kedzie in front of Kedzie carhouse, and indeed 7003 is on the yard lead, loading up “dignitaries” for an inspection trip.”

About the above picture, Bill Shapotkin writes:

This pic of a W/B Madison St car is unidentified. Believe view may be WB at Pulaski (note trolley bus wire overhead). Would this have been for pull-outs on Pulaski (from West Shops?). Do not see a corresponding trackless wire for E/B Madison.

Any such shared wire, between trolley buses and streetcars, does not seem to be noted on the track maps in my possession.  Perhaps one of our readers will know more, thanks.

Stan Nettis adds:

The picture of the pre war PCC is not at Pulaski. It is probably at Cicero as I don’t recognize any of those buildings at Pulaski.

Looks like Andre Kristopans has hit upon the answer (see the revised photo caption above).

CTA rapid transit cars 6199-6200, also known as "flat door" PCCs, were the final pair built with all-new parts before the wholesale recycling of Chicago's PCC streetcar fleet began. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

CTA rapid transit cars 6199-6200, also known as “flat door” PCCs, were the final pair built with all-new parts before the wholesale recycling of Chicago’s PCC streetcar fleet began. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

A St. Louis Car Company photo of CTA 4381. But you can't exactly call this a "builder's photo," since this car was sent to St. Louis in October 1952 to see if it would be feasible to convert streetcars into "L" cars. As it turned out, there were too many differences, in floor height for example. Thus it was decided to simply scrap the cars and reuse as many of the parts as possible, or, in some cases, resell them, as SLCC did with some of the backup controllers, which went to St. Louis Public Service.

A St. Louis Car Company photo of CTA 4381. But you can’t exactly call this a “builder’s photo,” since this car was sent to St. Louis in October 1952 to see if it would be feasible to convert streetcars into “L” cars. As it turned out, there were too many differences, in floor height for example. Thus it was decided to simply scrap the cars and reuse as many of the parts as possible, or, in some cases, resell them, as SLCC did with some of the backup controllers, which went to St. Louis Public Service.

Another shot of CTA 4381 at the St. Louis Car Company plant. This car was not officially retired by CTA until April 15, 1953. Another car was sent to Pullman for similar experiments.

Another shot of CTA 4381 at the St. Louis Car Company plant. This car was not officially retired by CTA until April 15, 1953. Another car was sent to Pullman for similar experiments.

CTA PCC 4094 near downtown. George Foelschow: "Car 4094 is making the turn from northbound Dearborn Street into Kinzie Street. When Clark and Dearborn were made one-way, northbound cars on Dearborn used the former southbound track. I have heard that after both Broadway and Clark were abandoned and only Wentworth remained, CTA briefly considered turning cars on Randolph Street, but the two river crossings persisted until the end."

CTA PCC 4094 near downtown. George Foelschow: “Car 4094 is making the turn from northbound Dearborn Street into Kinzie Street. When Clark and Dearborn were made one-way, northbound cars on Dearborn used the former southbound track. I have heard that after both Broadway and Clark were abandoned and only Wentworth remained, CTA briefly considered turning cars on Randolph Street, but the two river crossings persisted until the end.”

Dearborn and Kinzie today. We are looking south.

Dearborn and Kinzie today. We are looking south.

It's hard to make out the location of this Pullman-built postwar PCC. One of our readers writes: "I believe that this photo was taken on Dearborn Street just north of Adams. The building in the background on the far left looks like the Marquette Building. The front destination sign reads 42 and the side sign reads Halsted-Archer-Clark."

It’s hard to make out the location of this Pullman-built postwar PCC. One of our readers writes: “I believe that this photo was taken on Dearborn Street just north of Adams. The building in the background on the far left looks like the Marquette Building. The front destination sign reads 42 and the side sign reads Halsted-Archer-Clark.”

PCCs and buses share State Street in December 1954. The former State-Lake theater is now used by ABC station WLS-TV to tape live performances.

PCCs and buses share State Street in December 1954. The former State-Lake theater is now used by ABC station WLS-TV to tape live performances.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 4-20-2016

As a shout-out to Joel Salomon of the Rockhill Trolley Museum, here is a picture of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 315 in service on the old Garfield Park "L". 315 is now part of their collection and they are always on the lookout for pictures of that car. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) This picture was taken somewhere west of Paulina Junction, but not as far west as Western Avenue.

As a shout-out to Joel Salomon of the Rockhill Trolley Museum, here is a picture of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 315 in service on the old Garfield Park “L”. 315 is now part of their collection and they are always on the lookout for pictures of that car. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) This picture was taken somewhere west of Paulina Junction, but not as far west as Western Avenue.

This post was delayed when I came down with the flu last week. But we’re back on our feet in a big way today, with lots of interesting photos, which even include a few mysteries, and plenty of reader correspondence. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 134th 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 149,000 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.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.


Hi-res scans of eight more documents have been added to our E-book collection The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available in our Online Store. This includes CSL Service News from April 17 and May 17, 1930, and the CTA Rider's Readers from March 1951, August 1951, January 1952, July 1952, August 1952, and December 1952.

Hi-res scans of eight more documents have been added to our E-book collection The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available in our Online Store. This includes CSL Service News from April 17 and May 17, 1930, and the CTA Rider’s Readers from March 1951, August 1951, January 1952, July 1952, August 1952, and December 1952.

More World’s Fair Buses

Regarding our post Following Up (April 6, 2016), another tidbit of information has come to light regarding the disposition of 60 buses used by Greyhound to transport visitors at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair (A Century of Progress). We previously reported how it appears at least a dozen of these ended up at the Texas Centennial Exhibition in 1936 with slightly different sheetmetal. Now, it seems that at least four of these buses were used in Michigan to bring people to a tourist attraction:

This 1930s postcard shows at least four former Chicago World's Fair buses being used by the House of David in Benton Harbor, Michigan, a religious community that operated a popular zoo and amusement park. I'm not sure of the connection between Enders Greyhound Lines and the parent Greyhound company, which began as a number of separate firms that were eventually consolidated. You will note the buses still say "World's Fair."

This 1930s postcard shows at least four former Chicago World’s Fair buses being used by the House of David in Benton Harbor, Michigan, a religious community that operated a popular zoo and amusement park. I’m not sure of the connection between Enders Greyhound Lines and the parent Greyhound company, which began as a number of separate firms that were eventually consolidated. You will note the buses still say “World’s Fair.”

Looks like new buses were used at the 1935-36 California Pacific Exposition in San Diego.

Looks like new buses were used at the 1935-36 California Pacific Exposition in San Diego.

35exposd

Screen Shot 04-22-16 at 08.04 AM.PNG

Torkel Korling, Renaissance Man

Peter Korling writes:

I was a streetcar operator for the MUNI of SF during the 60’s and I took the streetcar a block off the tracks-which was a long standing record. I have a picture of me departing the car after the incident. The slip-up was attributed to faulty brakes. I could be more specific- for it was an interesting story- streetcar wise.

I lived on the Southside of Chicago as a child so I love the pics of your streetcars. As all Chicagoans I rode them a lot. I also have made paintings and drawings of elevated trains, subways and interurbans. My father was a noted photographer of Chicago-maybe you heard of him: Torkel Korling.

Torkel Korling (1903-1998) was a true renaissance man. He invented the automatic diaphragm mechanism that made the SLR camera practical. He also invented the collapsing “Tiltall” type tripod.

In addition to this, he was one of the leading industrial and commercial photographers from the 1920s to the 1950s, and later in life, an expert nature photographer who published many books. He did at least one cover shot for Life magazine, and convinced them for just that one time only to leave their large logo off the front cover.

I am fortunate to have met your father when he was 85 and trying to market his latest invention, the “Optipivot.” We discussed photography, and he had nothing but disdain for the methods used by contemporary commercial shooters.

The would waste hundreds of pictures in the hopes of finding something usable. His method, he said, was to carefully set up a “master shot,” and then he would take one or two pictures at the most. Once he got what he wanted, there was no need, he felt, to take another picture.

He also complained to me about how the various Japanese camera manufacturers refused to pay him any royalties for his automatic diaphragm patent, which made the 35mm single lens reflex camera practical. Instead, they waited until his patent expired in the 1950s and then they all came out with such cameras.

He applied for this patent in 1933 and it was awarded three years later. He told me the idea came to him when he was photographing children. They moved around so much that he did not have time to focus his camera with the lens wide open, then reset his aperture to take the picture. His invention allowed viewing with the lens wide open, and then the aperture would automatically change back to its preset f/stop once the shutter was pressed to take the picture.

His invention was licensed by Graflex and first used on their Super D model reflex cameras. According to Camerapedia, “The RB Super D, which features a semi-automatic diaphragm, was produced in 3¼×4¼ (1941-1963) and 4 x 5 (1948-1957) formats.”

Photos taken by Torkel Korling are now in the collections of many museums around the world, and have been featured in several exhibitions. Anyone who has ever used an SLR camera owes Mr. Korling a debt of gratitude.

The Graflex RB Super D camera, which was the first to use Torkel Korling’s patented automatic diaphragm invention:

The April 26, 1937 cover of LIFE magazine featured a picture by Torkel Korling.

The April 26, 1937 cover of LIFE magazine featured a picture by Torkel Korling.

optipivot

optipivot2

L. Demery writes:

The blurb for “Chicago Surface Lines: The Big 5 Routes and 5 Others” (published by the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society) begins as follows:

“In 1931, the five largest Chicago Surface Lines routes, in terms of originating revenue passengers, were Ashland, Clark-Wentworth, Halsted, Madison and Milwaukee. The combined riding on these routes was greater than the total riding in many medium-sized American cities. CSL also had some very small routes in terms of ridership and they demonstrate the diversity of CSL’s operations.”

Does anyone have, or know where to find, a list of annual ridership statistics for individual CSL / CTA lines?

CSL (and other streetcar companies) did compile such statistics, no doubt about that. However, much information of this type (for US systems in general) has been lost or destroyed. Any information or “leads” re. CSL would be greatly appreciated.

Perhaps you can look at the yearly reports issued by the Board of Supervising Engineers during the CSL era?  Or, maybe our readers might have some suggestions.

Christopher J Lemm writes:

After reading your January 2015 story on the CTA Westchester Branch, the picture of the train crossing Madison street in Bellwood brought back some great memories, I grew up in that house, my grandfather was Clarence Lemm, track foreman for the Aurora and Elgin Railroad, he died in 1936. My father followed in grandpa’s footsteps, he worked at CTA 43 years, he started as a clerk and retired as the head of insurance and pensions. When my brother and I were very young my dad would take us for rides on the Aurora and Elgin, he used grandpa’s Sunset Lines employee pin and we all road free of charge. Thank you for some great memories!

Thanks for sharing those reminiscences with us. It’s great when we can help people make these sorts of connections.

John Smatlak writes:

David- Enjoyed your coverage of the former Chicago City Railway Building on South Wabash. I remember seeing one of those same CSL cast iron call boxes on the wall at Limits garage (photos attached).

Speaking of former CSL carhouses that survived into the modern era, I’d love to see some photos of the Lincoln-Wrightwood carhouse. I worked nearby around 1978-79 and went inside the building a few times. At the time it was used by the City as a garage for garbage trucks. The tracks were still in the floor and the repair bay for the streetcars was still very much intact (I even found some old CSL requisition paperwork scattered around on the floor). Sadly I never took any pictures of the building, and of course one day it was gone! I have a few images from when it was used as the temporary home for the CTA’s historic collection, but would love to see some more photos.

Keep up the good work.

CTA Limits Carhouse 8-13-86 3

CTA Limits Carhouse 8-13-86 4

Thanks. FYI, Bill Shapotkin has generously shared some photos he took in 2004 showing a 100-year-old substation originally used by the Chicago City Railway Company, which was then still being used for the Chicago Transit Authority’s South Side “L”:

A CTA substation located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Wabash, as it appeared on July 30, 2004. Constructed under authority of the Board of Supervising Engineers, Chicago Traction, it originally fed power to the streetcars. It now services the "L". View looks southwest. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A CTA substation located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Wabash, as it appeared on July 30, 2004. Constructed under authority of the Board of Supervising Engineers, Chicago Traction, it originally fed power to the streetcars. It now services the “L”. View looks southwest. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Another view of the same building looking east/southeast along the south side of 42nd Street at the back end of the building. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Another view of the same building looking east/southeast along the south side of 42nd Street at the back end of the building. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 2004 view, there are street signs still visible on the BOSE-built substation located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Wabash. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 2004 view, there are street signs still visible on the BOSE-built substation located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Wabash. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 2004 view, we see a Chicago Transit Authority manhole cover, located along the south side of 42nd Street between State and Wabash, in front of a still-in-service BOSE-built substation. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 2004 view, we see a Chicago Transit Authority manhole cover, located along the south side of 42nd Street between State and Wabash, in front of a still-in-service BOSE-built substation. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This century-old manhole cover, in the same general area as the previous pictire, still reads Chicago City Railway Company. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This century-old manhole cover, in the same general area as the previous pictire, still reads Chicago City Railway Company. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Scott Greig adds a postscript:

The pictured substation building at 42nd and Wabash is no longer an active substation. I was in there maybe 7-8 years ago, and there was no substation equipment left except the empty shells of some newer equipment. At the time it was being used for storage by CTA’s Power & Way department.


Interesting Photos

Here is a rare color shot of Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 15, after it had been modernized in 1942. According to CERA Bulletin 41, the car had a red roof, but it looks more purple in this picture. I think the photo shows the accurate color, since a red roof would not have provided contrast with the maroon car body. I'm not sure what date the car was repainted to the much more familiar South Shore Line traction orange, but it may have been shortly after World War II. The car was originally built by Pullman in 1926.

Here is a rare color shot of Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 15, after it had been modernized in 1942. According to CERA Bulletin 41, the car had a red roof, but it looks more purple in this picture. I think the photo shows the accurate color, since a red roof would not have provided contrast with the maroon car body. I’m not sure what date the car was repainted to the much more familiar South Shore Line traction orange, but it may have been shortly after World War II. The car was originally built by Pullman in 1926.

This rare photo of South Shore Line car 1126, signed "To Chicago, the Boulevardier," is dated February 14, 1939, although I do not know whether that is the date the picture was taken, or when it was printed. Incredibly, this car survives. As Don's Rail Photos notes, "1126 was a work motor built by Niles in 1908 as CLS&SB 73. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005..." According to a 2015 Chicago Tribune article, the car is now in Murphysboro, Illinois, and is 80% restored.

This rare photo of South Shore Line car 1126, signed “To Chicago, the Boulevardier,” is dated February 14, 1939, although I do not know whether that is the date the picture was taken, or when it was printed. Incredibly, this car survives. As Don’s Rail Photos notes, “1126 was a work motor built by Niles in 1908 as CLS&SB 73. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005…” According to a 2015 Chicago Tribune article, the car is now in Murphysboro, Illinois, and is 80% restored.

The coming of summer also means more construction and demolition projects. A four-car CA&E train is seen on the old CTA Garfield Park "L" at Ogden on October 19, 1952. Demolition of buildings for the Congress Expressway is well underway.

The coming of summer also means more construction and demolition projects. A four-car CA&E train is seen on the old CTA Garfield Park “L” at Ogden on October 19, 1952. Demolition of buildings for the Congress Expressway is well underway.

CTA red Pullman 144, long a mainstay at the Illinois Railway Museum, is shown on the Wentworth line on a May 25, 1958 CERA fantrip, less than a month before the end of all streetcar service on Chicago. (Homer G. Benton Photo) That's a 1956 Oldsmobile at left. M. E. writes, "This picture faces northwest and was taken at about 16th and Clark. The rail embankment on the left is the main line into LaSalle St. Station, at that time used by the New York Central, Nickel Plate and Rock Island. Today that line is the Metra Rock Island. The railroad viaduct crossing Clark St. behind car 144 is the Saint. Charles Air Line of the Illinois Central, which ran due west from the IC main line near the lake. Just north of that viaduct is the viaduct for the main line into Dearborn Station, which crossed Clark St. on a southwest / northeast angle before turning due north into the station. The streetcar tracks went under both viaducts on private right-of-way adjacent to the west side of Clark St. Car 144's destination sign says Vincennes - 77th, where the South Shops were then and still are today."

CTA red Pullman 144, long a mainstay at the Illinois Railway Museum, is shown on the Wentworth line on a May 25, 1958 CERA fantrip, less than a month before the end of all streetcar service on Chicago. (Homer G. Benton Photo) That’s a 1956 Oldsmobile at left. M. E. writes, “This picture faces northwest and was taken at about 16th and Clark. The rail embankment on the left is the main line into LaSalle St. Station, at that time used by the New York Central, Nickel Plate and Rock Island. Today that line is the Metra Rock Island. The railroad viaduct crossing Clark St. behind car 144 is the Saint. Charles Air Line of the Illinois Central, which ran due west from the IC main line near the lake. Just north of that viaduct is the viaduct for the main line into Dearborn Station, which crossed Clark St. on a southwest / northeast angle before turning due north into the station. The streetcar tracks went under both viaducts on private right-of-way adjacent to the west side of Clark St. Car 144’s destination sign says Vincennes – 77th, where the South Shops were then and still are today.”

Summer is coming, and along with it, summer music festivals. Here, North Shore Line car 167 is shown at the entrance to Ravinia Park. This was part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. There is a parking lot where the tracks used to be, although you can still ride Metra trains there. Perhaps the festival dates can help determine what year this picture was taken.

Summer is coming, and along with it, summer music festivals. Here, North Shore Line car 167 is shown at the entrance to Ravinia Park. This was part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. There is a parking lot where the tracks used to be, although you can still ride Metra trains there. Perhaps the festival dates can help determine what year this picture was taken.

According to Don's Rail Photos, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 213 "was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964." This photo by the late Bob Selle shows it newly delivered to the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago on August 7, 1955.

According to Don’s Rail Photos, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 213 “was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964.” This photo by the late Bob Selle shows it newly delivered to the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago on August 7, 1955.

The late Bob Selle took this great shot of an outbound Milwaukee Road commuter train leaving Union Station in Chicago on August 8, 1958. These were some of the consists I saw as a child, since I lived very close to what is now the Metra Milwaukee District West Line. Ridership was nothing compared to what it is today, and I believe bi-levels were not introduced here until around 1961-62. That's the Merchandise Mart across the Chicago River. This picture was taken from the Lake Street overpass. That looks like a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible at left.

The late Bob Selle took this great shot of an outbound Milwaukee Road commuter train leaving Union Station in Chicago on August 8, 1958. These were some of the consists I saw as a child, since I lived very close to what is now the Metra Milwaukee District West Line. Ridership was nothing compared to what it is today, and I believe bi-levels were not introduced here until around 1961-62. That’s the Merchandise Mart across the Chicago River. This picture was taken from the Lake Street overpass. That looks like a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible at left.

This photo of a Chicago & North Western train of bi-levels was taken by Al Clum in June 1962. But where? One reader writes, "The descending tracks in the foreground of the photo are leading to the North Shore Line's North Chicago Junction Station. The CNW train is on the CNW embankment between Great Lakes to the south and North Chicago to the north. Since the headlights are not turned on on the locomotive, one would presume that the train is a push-pull heading south."

This photo of a Chicago & North Western train of bi-levels was taken by Al Clum in June 1962. But where? One reader writes, “The descending tracks in the foreground of the photo are leading to the North Shore Line’s North Chicago Junction Station. The CNW train is on the CNW embankment between Great Lakes to the south and North Chicago to the north. Since the headlights are not turned on on the locomotive, one would presume that the train is a push-pull heading south.”

Former Chicago Surface Lines mail car 6, built in 1891, as it looked on May 25, 1958. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. You can see a black-and-white photo of this car, taken at the same time as this one, in our previous post Throwback Thursday (January 7, 2016). To see a picture of West Chicago Street Railway car 4, also taken the same day, there's one in our post Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015).

Former Chicago Surface Lines mail car 6, built in 1891, as it looked on May 25, 1958. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. You can see a black-and-white photo of this car, taken at the same time as this one, in our previous post Throwback Thursday (January 7, 2016). To see a picture of West Chicago Street Railway car 4, also taken the same day, there’s one in our post Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015).

Busy action at an Illinois Terminal station, but where? Perhaps the bus sign might be a clue. This type of scene was once commonplace in American life during the first half of the 20th century. PS- Don Ross says this is Springfield.

Busy action at an Illinois Terminal station, but where? Perhaps the bus sign might be a clue. This type of scene was once commonplace in American life during the first half of the 20th century. PS- Don Ross says this is Springfield.

My guess is that this picture shows the final interurban run on the Illinois Terminal, and this man may be the president of the railroad. If so, the date is March 3, 1956. (Glenn L. Sticken Photo) There is another photo of that same train, taken by the same photographer, in our earlier post Historic Chicago Buses, Part Three (November 23, 2015).

My guess is that this picture shows the final interurban run on the Illinois Terminal, and this man may be the president of the railroad. If so, the date is March 3, 1956. (Glenn L. Sticken Photo) There is another photo of that same train, taken by the same photographer, in our earlier post Historic Chicago Buses, Part Three (November 23, 2015).

Illinois Terminal car 241 at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis in February 1958. Don's Rail Photos says, "241 was built by American Car & Foundry in July 1907, #5080. It went to the National Museum of Transport on July 25, 1950."

Illinois Terminal car 241 at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis in February 1958. Don’s Rail Photos says, “241 was built by American Car & Foundry in July 1907, #5080. It went to the National Museum of Transport on July 25, 1950.”

The last run of the Illinois Terminal interurban, shown here in Carlinville, took place on March 3, 1956. Older equipment like car 284 was used instead of the railroad's relatively new streamliners. The black bunting draped on this car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

The last run of the Illinois Terminal interurban, shown here in Carlinville, took place on March 3, 1956. Older equipment like car 284 was used instead of the railroad’s relatively new streamliners. The black bunting draped on this car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Illinois Terminal 276 and 530 on a 1955 fantrip in Urbana.

Illinois Terminal 276 and 530 on a 1955 fantrip in Urbana.

The final passenger train on the Illinois Terminal Railroad makes a station stop in Girard, March 2, 1956. (Dale Jenkins Collection)

The final passenger train on the Illinois Terminal Railroad makes a station stop in Girard, March 2, 1956. (Dale Jenkins Collection)

This old postcard photo, which shows obvious signs of being retouched, shows the Fifth Avenue station on the AE&C (later CA&E), most likely in the early 1900s when it was new. We are looking west, and it appears the area was not that built up yet. Contrast this with pictures of the same station in the interurban's waning days, in our post A Cold Last Ride (January 25, 2016). The postcard itself was printed by William G. Hoffman of 4340 Jackson Boulevard in Chicago, apparently no relation to the late railfan photographer Bill Hoffman.

This old postcard photo, which shows obvious signs of being retouched, shows the Fifth Avenue station on the AE&C (later CA&E), most likely in the early 1900s when it was new. We are looking west, and it appears the area was not that built up yet. Contrast this with pictures of the same station in the interurban’s waning days, in our post A Cold Last Ride (January 25, 2016). The postcard itself was printed by William G. Hoffman of 4340 Jackson Boulevard in Chicago, apparently no relation to the late railfan photographer Bill Hoffman.

New Site Additions

This picture has been added to our previous post West Towns Streetcars in Black-and-White (August 4, 2015):

Chicago & West Towns 142 at the east end of the Lake Street line at Austin Boulevard on July 4, 1946. The building at right is the old Park Theatre. This is a "sister" car to the 141, now preserved in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Chicago & West Towns 142 at the east end of the Lake Street line at Austin Boulevard on July 4, 1946. The building at right is the old Park Theatre. This is a “sister” car to the 141, now preserved in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

This photo has been added to our post West Towns Streetcars in Color (February 10, 2015):

Chicago & West Towns Railways car 112 heads south at Harlem and Cermak on August 17, 1947.

Chicago & West Towns Railways car 112 heads south at Harlem and Cermak on August 17, 1947.

Lifting the Lid in the Loop

This 44-page brochure, issued by the Chicago Tunnel Co. in 1915, later provided some of the cover art for Bruce Moffat's book Forty Feet Below.

This 44-page brochure, issued by the Chicago Tunnel Co. in 1915, later provided some of the cover art for Bruce Moffat’s book Forty Feet Below.

For more than half a century, the Chicago Tunnel Company operated an extensive network of underground electric freight lines in Chicago’s business district. While their operations were crucial to Chicago’s Loop for much of the 20th century, they are still not widely known or appreciated, since they took place almost entirely out of sight to the average person.

By the 1890s, Chicago’s bustling downtown streets were crowded and congested by horse-drawn carts and wagons, as well as pedestrians, bicyclists, and cable cars. Eventually, much of this traffic was moved to underground tunnels that connected with the sub-basements of many buildings. Some Loop buildings had three levels of basements.

What eventually became 60 miles of tunnels was first authorized as a means of running telephone lines underground in 1899. Tunneling began surreptitiously, with workers digging through Chicago’s blue clay by hand using long knives. Within a few years, the tunnel’s main focus changed to moving freight, including merchandise, coal, and the resulting ashes.

You can read an early description of their operations here.

From photos, we can see that in some respects the tunnel operation was a very dirty affair. Since it hauled a lot of ashes, that should not be too much of a surprise.

One photo shows the sub-basement of the old Mandel Brothers department store, which was part of the rich history of retailing here. Chicago-style department stores eventually spread all over the world, as shown in the British-American television series Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven. The real Harry Gordon Selfridge, Sr. (1858-1947) was Marshall Field‘s right-hand man before he went to London and opened a similar store there in 1909.*

According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago:

This retail enterprise, which would become one of Chicago’s leading department stores, was founded in 1855 by Bavarian immigrants Solomon Mandel and his uncle Simon Klein. Their first store was located on Clark Street. In 1865, after Solomon’s brothers Leon and Emanuel joined the firm, its name became Mandel Bros. Purchasing in New York and Paris and selling in Chicago, the enterprise grew. By the 1880s, its new store on the corner of State and Madison Streets employed about 800 people. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the workforce had grown to over 3,000 people. Rebuilt in 1912 and renovated in 1948, the State Street store continued to operate into the 1970s, when the company folded amid State Street’s demise as a major retail center.

This description fails to mention that Mandel Brothers sold out to competitor Weiboldt’s in 1960. Their stores were converted to Wieboldt’s, which continued in operation until 1986.

Mandel Brothers was also notable as one of the very first American retailers to oppose Adolph Hitler in 1934:

Mandel Bros. Joins Boycott of Nazi Goods
CHICAGO (Apr. 4)

Mandel Brothers, largest Jewish-owned department store outside of New York City, has discontinued the buying of German goods owing to “customer resistance,” Leon Mandel, general manager of the store, announced today.

Mandel Brothers store is one of the six largest in the Chicago Loop district and the announcement created a sensation in retail circles.

“Mandel Brothers store announced today that owing to customer resistance to German goods, the firm has discontinued all purchases of German merchandise,” the statement issued by the concern read. “During the past six months Mandel Brothers placed no orders for merchandise in Germany. In line with the Mandel Brothers policy, every effort has been and is being made to develop successfully and feature American sources of supply of such merchandise.”

Decline and Fall

While never very profitable, the tunnel system managed to survive the Great Depression. But soon enough, forces converged that put it into an irreversible decline.

Chicago had been planning rapid transit and streetcar subways from the earliest days of the “L” in the 1890s. The franchises granted to the freight tunnel system allowed the City to displace them if and when such subways were built.

Work on Chicago’s “Initial System of Subways” began on both State and Dearborn in December 1938, and while many of the tunnels in the system were cut off as a result, in the short run, the system probably benefited as it was used to haul out the clay from excavation– some of which was done, like the freight tunnels themselves, by workers armed with long knives.

The final blow to the tunnel company came in the 1950s, when Chicago homes, apartments and businesses shifted away from using coal for heating and replaced it with cleaner oil and natural gas. It’s hard to imagine now, but Chicago’s neighborhoods were once littered with various coal yards, and you can still see coal chutes on some older apartment buildings.

With the demise of coal, the Chicago Tunnel Company’s operations sputtered to a close in the late 1950s, including bankruptcy in 1956 and outright dissolution in 1959.

After the Fall

Chicago’s freight tunnels have largely remained under downtown streets and have had a very interesting and active “afterlife” following their 1959 abandonment. Here’s where the tunnel system has intersected with my own life.

In the late 1970s, I worked at the Field Museum of Natural History in Grant Park. This massive building opened in 1921 and was a customer of the Chicago Tunnel Company, although the connection was made via an elevator, since the depths of the various tunnels were not the same. The Field Museum building itself was built on landfill and rests on top of wooden pilings.

While nearly all the tunnel company’s locomotives and freight cars were scrapped upon abandonment, one train remained marooned in the Field Museum sub-sub-basement, cut off from the rest of the system. Norman P. Radtke, manager of the physical plant, took me down there in the late 1970s to have a look at the locomotive and its ash cars. It seemed at the time that they would remain there forever.

However, here serendipity played a part. In the early 1980s, FMNH president Willard L. (Sandy) Boyd was helping to plan the museum’s participation in a 1992 Chicago World’s Fair. He lamented to me how the Field Museum was separated from the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium by the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive.

I made an offhand suggestion that there was plenty of room on the other side of the museum to relocate the northbound lanes. I left the museum’s employ in 1983, and as we now know there was no Chicago World’s Fair in 1992. However, due in large part to the efforts of Sandy Boyd, the idea of shifting half of LSD took hold.

The northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were relocated to the east side of Field Museum and the new alignment opened in the late 1990s. As Mr. Boyd has remarked, even though there was no world’s fair, Chicago got its intended legacy anyway, in the form of an unbroken lakefront Museum Campus.

Ironically, work on the relocation project created a unique opportunity to remove the Chicago Tunnel Company locomotive and ash cars from their prison. This involved a tremendous effort put forth by volunteers at the Illinois Railway Museum, which you can read about here. These cars were saved and are now preserved at IRM, where they can be enjoyed by future generations.

Tunnel operations have been well documented by historian Bruce Moffat in two books, Forty Feet Below: The Story of Chicago’s Freight Tunnels (1982) and The Chicago Tunnel Story (2002, Bulletin 135 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association)

In the Spring of 1992, I attended a private slide presentation Bruce gave about the Chicago freight tunnels at a friend’s house. Little did any of us know that less than a week later, the long-forgotten system would suddenly be thrust into the headlines.

On April 13, 1992, what some have called the Great Chicago Flood began, as a contractor inadvertently disturbed the clay surrounding one of the freight tunnels near the Chicago River by the Kinzie Street Bridge. The leak, which was not taken seriously at first, eventually turned into a breach, and eventually hundreds of millions of gallons of water flowed into the tunnel system, and into the sub-basements of many Chicago buildings. Even Chicago’s downtown subways were affected.

Instantly, Bruce Moffat had a well-deserved “15 minutes of fame,” to paraphrase Any Warhol. As the only recognized expert on the tunnel system, Bruce was all over the media in the days following the flood. The great majority of people had no idea such a thing existed, and Bruce was practically the only person who understood it and explain it.

The flood had a negative economic impact on the Chicago area that extended beyond downtown. I was involved in a Lincoln Park photo lab at the time, and our business suffered as a result. Thinking about this period has brought back a flood of memories.

I had an idea for a humorous radio ad to promote our business that would have played off the flood. The press had reported that City inspectors had taken pictures of the area where water was leaking into the tunnel, but instead of sending them to a one hour photo lab, they dropped them off at a store where it took a week to get the film back.

In my radio ad, two city workers would be looking at the tunnel leak, and you would have heard the sound of dripping water. One would have said that he was going to take the film to a place where he would get it back in a week, while the other would have suggested taking it to our lab, where you could get it developed and printed in as little as 30 minutes.

Before they could do so, however, the wall of the tunnel would have burst and both people would have been engulfed by the sound of water rushing in. Then, at the end, the narrator would have used this as a cautionary tale, telling people to bring their film to us “before it’s too late.”

Unfortunately, the radio station refused to make this spot, telling me that the administration of Richard M. Daley would not like it. The Great Chicago Flood, it turns out, was no laughing matter.

Now, Chicago’s old system of freight tunnels continues to benefit the downtown, with various communications cables running through them. On September 1, 2000, Central Electric Railfans’ Association hosted a rare inspection tour of parts of the underground tunnel system. Unfortunately, this is not likely to be repeated any time soon, in the wake of post-9/11 security concerns. The old tunnel system, a vital part of Chicago’s infrastructure even in the 21st century, is now closed off from public access.

-David Sadowski

*There is another Chicago-London connection. The underground freight tunnels here helped inspire the London Post Office Railway, which operated from 1927 to 2003.

PS- This information has been added to one of our E-books, which reproduces a 1928 book put out by the Chicago Tunnel Company:


Now Updated with 46 Pages of New Material:

DVD01Cover

Lifting the Lid in the Loop, 1915
The Chicago Freight Tunnels, 1928
Chicago Elevated Railroads Consolidation of Operations, 1913

The Chicago Tunnel Company (1906-1959) operated an elaborate network of 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge track in 7.5-by-6-foot (2.3 m × 1.8 m) tunnels running under the streets throughout the central business district including and surrounding the Loop, delivering freight, parcels, and coal, and disposed of ash and excavation debris.

Our E-book collection includes two short books issued by the Tunnel Company, detailing their operations. Lifting the Lid in the Loop is 46 pages long, has many great illustrations, and was published in 1915. To this we add a different 32-page illustrated book from 1928.

The third volume in this collection, Chicago Elevated Railroads Consolidation of Operations (60 pages) was published in 1913 to help facilitate the through-routing of the South Side and Northwestern elevated lines. As Britton I. Budd wrote in the introduction, “This book of instructions is issued for the purpose of familiarizing the employees of the South Side Elevated Railroad with the character, service, track arrangement, and general features of the system of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad, and to familiarize the employees of the Northwestern elevated Railroad with the same details of the South Side Elevated Railroad, before through-routed operation of cars is begun.”

Now The Trolley Dodger is making all three of these long-out-of-print works available once again on a single DVD data disc. Includes a Tribute to the late bookseller Owen Davies, who reprinted the “L” book in 1967, a 1966 Chicago Tribune profile of Davies, and reproductions of several Davies flyers. 177 pages in all.

This collection is a tremendous value, since an original copy of Lifting the Lid in the Loop alone recently sold for over $200 on eBay.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95


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This junction of three different freight tunnel lines reminds me a bit of Marshfield on the old Metropolitan "L", where three lines came together.

This junction of three different freight tunnel lines reminds me a bit of Marshfield on the old Metropolitan “L”, where three lines came together.

A 1913 Baldwin builder's photo of locomotive 534, which had 28" wheels, two 25 hp motors, and weighed 14,000 lbs.

A 1913 Baldwin builder’s photo of locomotive 534, which had 28″ wheels, two 25 hp motors, and weighed 14,000 lbs.

Warehouse operations.

Warehouse operations.

In this November 17, 1904 view, we see a four-way intersection with 56 lb. rail, a three-way switch, telephone cable, trolley wire, and a permanent lighting system.

In this November 17, 1904 view, we see a four-way intersection with 56 lb. rail, a three-way switch, telephone cable, trolley wire, and a permanent lighting system.

A train curving around a four-way intersection.

A train curving around a four-way intersection.

A builder's photo of freight loco 207, renumbered to 501 before delivery, built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in 1907. Weight: 5 1/2 tons.

A builder’s photo of freight loco 207, renumbered to 501 before delivery, built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in 1907. Weight: 5 1/2 tons.

Trains at an intersection.

Trains at an intersection.

Cars being shifted on warehouse tracks.

Cars being shifted on warehouse tracks.

Until the 1950s, coal was widely used for heating in Chicago.

Until the 1950s, coal was widely used for heating in Chicago.

Loading and unloading freight in the Murdock Company sub-basement.

Loading and unloading freight in the Murdock Company sub-basement.

A Chicago Tunnel Company steam locomotive and cars at the lakefront, creating landfill.

A Chicago Tunnel Company steam locomotive and cars at the lakefront, creating landfill.

Collecting mail at the Post Office station.

Collecting mail at the Post Office station.

A 1906 Baldwin builder's photo of freight loco 173.

A 1906 Baldwin builder’s photo of freight loco 173.

Merchandise rack car 5000, built by Bettendorf Car Co.

Merchandise rack car 5000, built by Bettendorf Car Co.

An ash car train in the Marshall Field & Co. boiler room on February 16, 1915.

An ash car train in the Marshall Field & Co. boiler room on February 16, 1915.

Coal delivery at the Mandel Brothers department store building.

Coal delivery at the Mandel Brothers department store building.

The entrance to Mandel Brothers department store at State and Madison in downtown Chicago. They were bought out by Wieboldt's in 1960. Wieboldt's went out of business in 1986 but the building is still standing.

The entrance to Mandel Brothers department store at State and Madison in downtown Chicago. They were bought out by Wieboldt’s in 1960. Wieboldt’s went out of business in 1986 but the building is still standing.

Tracks and train cars in Chicago freight tunnel. (Bain News Service photo, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)

Tracks and train cars in Chicago freight tunnel. (Bain News Service photo, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress)

A 1915 map of the very extensive Chicago freight tunnel system.

A 1915 map of the very extensive Chicago freight tunnel system.

Not all was sweetness and light in Chicago's freight tunnels, as this press account of a 1937 sit-down strike indicates.

Not all was sweetness and light in Chicago’s freight tunnels, as this press account of a 1937 sit-down strike indicates.

Chicago Tunnel Company locomotive 508 at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2008. (John McCluskey Photo)

Chicago Tunnel Company locomotive 508 at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2008. (John McCluskey Photo)

chitunnel10

chitunnel9

Following Up

This building, located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, is home (2003) to the Jitney Taxicab Association, a limousine service. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Company. View looks west across Wabash Avenue. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This building, located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, is home (2003) to the Jitney Taxicab Association, a limousine service. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Company. View looks west across Wabash Avenue. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Today, we are following up on three stories from previous Trolley Dodger posts.

First, guest contributor William Shapotkin shares some additional information with us about the former Chicago City Railway building we wrote about in Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 3-20-2016.

The “switch stand” mentioned also figured prominently in the May 25, 1950 catastrophic crash between Chicago PCC 7078 and a gasoline truck, which we wrote about here.  The collision occurred because the operator of 7078 thought he had been cleared to go straight, while the switch was set to divert streetcars into the loop to avoid a flooded viaduct.

CCRy Wreck Wagon Barn

Dave:

It has taken me some time to get around to writing you on this. Believe I can help with answering your questions about the CSL building at 6242 (although my slides indicate the building to be 6238) S. Wabash Ave.

The building, as I understand it, was constructed as a wagon barn — although it was unclear if it was for wreck wagons or those involved in overhead wire work. David Stanley and I visited the building on Oct 18, 2003. At the time, the structure housed vans of the “Jitney Taxicab Association.” We were allowed into the building. An inspection of the interior revealed that there were no rails in the floor and no signs of any overhead installation. The CSL call (telephone) box was still mounted on the outside of the building south of the doorways.

Rails of the one-time streetcar terminal (two tracks, extending east from State almost to Wabash) were still in-place on the north side of the building. Additionally, the rails leading into/out of the former streetcar loop at 62nd/State were still in-place thru the sidewalk along the east side of State St. The switch stand (perhaps not the correct term) for entry off of S/B State St into the 62nd/State loop (I believe) remains in-place under the pavement in State St. David Stanley photographed the switch stand in the 1970s and I recall seeing it in the 1980s.

Bill Shapotkin

Looking north on the east sidewalk if State Street from a point north of what would be 62nd Place. The rails are the northbound exit out of the 62nd Place streetcar loop-- used by PCCs in the post-World War II period. Amazingly, it's been sixty years since streetcars operated down this part of State Street. These rails still survive! (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking north on the east sidewalk if State Street from a point north of what would be 62nd Place. The rails are the northbound exit out of the 62nd Place streetcar loop– used by PCCs in the post-World War II period. Amazingly, it’s been sixty years since streetcars operated down this part of State Street. These rails still survive! (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking west across the east sidewalk of State, from a point north of what would be 62nd Place. The rails here are the northbound route out of the 62nd Place streetcar loop. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking west across the east sidewalk of State, from a point north of what would be 62nd Place. The rails here are the northbound route out of the 62nd Place streetcar loop. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking southeast across an empty lot between State and Wabash from a point south of 62nd Street. The CSL/CTA had a streetcar loop here (installed post-World War II). Prior to installation of the loop, the terminal consisted of a two-track stub facility located just north of the brick building with the smoke stack (center), which had originally been constructed as a Chicago City Railway wreck wagon barn. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking southeast across an empty lot between State and Wabash from a point south of 62nd Street. The CSL/CTA had a streetcar loop here (installed post-World War II). Prior to installation of the loop, the terminal consisted of a two-track stub facility located just north of the brick building with the smoke stack (center), which had originally been constructed as a Chicago City Railway wreck wagon barn. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Showing through the pavement in this 1970s view is a switch stand odd southbound State Street leading to the one-time 62nd Street streetcar loop. View looks south on State Street. (David S. Stanley Photo)

Showing through the pavement in this 1970s view is a switch stand odd southbound State Street leading to the one-time 62nd Street streetcar loop. View looks south on State Street. (David S. Stanley Photo)

CTA PCC car 7144, workign route 36 - Broadway-State, is seen heading southbound on State Street at the 62nd Place Loop in the 1950s. View looks north. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC car 7144, workign route 36 – Broadway-State, is seen heading southbound on State Street at the 62nd Place Loop in the 1950s. View looks north. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC car 7143, working route 36 - Broadway-State, is seen heading southbound on State Street as it passes the 62nd Place Loop in the 1950s. View looks north. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC car 7143, working route 36 – Broadway-State, is seen heading southbound on State Street as it passes the 62nd Place Loop in the 1950s. View looks north. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA bus #6425, working route 29 - State, is seen heading southbound on State Street past one-time site of the infamous streetcar/gasoline truck collision of May 25, 1950. View looks north. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus #6425, working route 29 – State, is seen heading southbound on State Street past one-time site of the infamous streetcar/gasoline truck collision of May 25, 1950. View looks north. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This CSL call box is still standing on the south side of the east end of the building located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, now (2003) home to the Jitney Taxicab Association. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Company. View looks west. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This CSL call box is still standing on the south side of the east end of the building located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, now (2003) home to the Jitney Taxicab Association. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Company. View looks west. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This disturbed portion of the east sidewalk of State Street near what would be 62nd Street represents the entrance to the 62nd Place streetcar loop. View looks northwest. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This disturbed portion of the east sidewalk of State Street near what would be 62nd Street represents the entrance to the 62nd Place streetcar loop. View looks northwest. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 1970s view, we see the switch stand for the turnout into the 62nd Place and State Loop off the southbound track in State Street. View looks east. (David S. Stanley Photo)

In this 1970s view, we see the switch stand for the turnout into the 62nd Place and State Loop off the southbound track in State Street. View looks east. (David S. Stanley Photo)

This building, located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, is home (2003) to the Jitney Taxicab association-- a limousine service. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Company. The one-time 6nd Place streetcar terminal had been located immediately south of the building at right-- in fact, both tracks of that terminal are still intact and surrounded by brick pavement. View looks southwest across Wabash Avenue. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This building, located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, is home (2003) to the Jitney Taxicab association– a limousine service. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Company. The one-time 6nd Place streetcar terminal had been located immediately south of the building at right– in fact, both tracks of that terminal are still intact and surrounded by brick pavement. View looks southwest across Wabash Avenue. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This is the west end of the building located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, now home (2003) to the Jitney Taxicab Association-- a limousine service. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Co. View looks east/southeast. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This is the west end of the building located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, now home (2003) to the Jitney Taxicab Association– a limousine service. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Co. View looks east/southeast. (William Shapotkin Photo)

These rails, located between State Street and Wabash Avenue and north of the building at 6238 S. Wabash (the one-time CCRY Co. wreck wagon barn) had been the 62nd Street streetcar terminal. View looks northwest. (William Shapotkin Photo)

These rails, located between State Street and Wabash Avenue and north of the building at 6238 S. Wabash (the one-time CCRY Co. wreck wagon barn) had been the 62nd Street streetcar terminal. View looks northwest. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This building, located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, is home (2003) to the Jitney Taxicab Association, a limousine service. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Company. View looks west across Wabash Avenue. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This building, located at 6238 S. Wabash Avenue, is home (2003) to the Jitney Taxicab Association, a limousine service. The building was originally constructed as a wreck wagon barn for the Chicago City Railway Company. View looks west across Wabash Avenue. (William Shapotkin Photo)


Next, we have happy news to report on the fate of Chicago Surface Lines car 1137, which was found last year in Wisconsin. We wrote about that car in our posts Lost and Found: Chicago Streetcar #1137 (June 5, 2015) and The Latest Thing in Houses (1946) (June 10, 2015).

CSL 1137 Is Saved

Frank Sirinek (left) and Jay Drouillard watch as preparations continue for moving the trolley out of Sharon and Bill Krapil's backyard in Weyauwega. (Angie Landsverk Photo)

Frank Sirinek (left) and Jay Drouillard watch as preparations continue for moving the trolley out of Sharon and Bill Krapil’s backyard in Weyauwega. (Angie Landsverk Photo)

From the Waupaca County News:

New home for Wega’s trolley

First acquisition for new museum

By Angie Landsverk

The trolley discovered almost a year ago in a Weyauwega backyard is the first acquisition for a museum being developed in a Michigan community.

“I’m so glad it went to something like this. To have something preserved that’s about 110 years old is amazing. I could not see it being destroyed,” said Sharon Krapil.

Last June 2, Krapil and her husband, Bill, watched as the walls of the brown shack in their backyard were removed, revealing a former Chicago electric streetcar behind them.

The couple bought the home at 300 W. South St. in April 2014 and wanted more space in their backyard.

That is why they hired a construction crew to dismantle the shack.

On March 29, they watched as a semi pulled the trolley, covered in shrink wrap as it sat on a trailer, out of their backyard and onto the street for its eight-hour drive to Grass Lake, Michigan.

The trolley, which the Chicago Surface Lines operated around 1905, is now being refurbished for the Lost Railway Museum.

Interurban railway

“The interurban (railway system) was part of the fabric of the country back then,” said Jay Drouillard, who is involved in Grass Lake’s Lost Railway Museum organization.

The system ran within and between cities and villages in the early 1900s.

“They didn’t have automobiles. If they could jump on an interuban car and ride to their destination, that was pretty good,” he said.

This year, a group of people in this Michigan community decided to open such a museum in a historic building in the community, he said.

“We acquired a building and will start transforming it into a museum later this year,” Drouillard said. “This is the first acquisition for the museum.”

The trolley, donated to the organization from the Krapils for $1, is a Chicago trolley car and never was used as an interurban, he said.

The Lost Railway Museum organization does have photographs of a trolley being used as an interurban to go to a nearby casino, Drouillard said.

“The photograph shows a car that was just like this. It is a sister car, part of a series,” he said. “We’re not going to pawn it (the Weyauwega trolley) off as an interurban. It’s a sister car. The only reason it still exists is because a structure was built around it.”

Most of those involved in the development of the new museum are retired, including Drouillard.

The group learned of the trolley and the Krapil’s desire to donate it to someone from Frank Sirinek, who for more than 50 years has been a volunteer at the Illinois Railway Museum, outside of Chicago.

That museum has a restored and operational trolley from the same series as the Krapil’s former trolley.

Trolley history

According to Sirinek, this type of car was the St. Louis Car Company’s first attempt, at the turn of the century, to manufacture a rubber stamp streetcar.

After 1908, other streetcar companies custom produced them on demand as cities ordered them.

The Chicago Surface Lines operated the electric streetcar from the 1100 series until about 1946, which is when cars like it became too small and slow for moving a lot of people, Sirinek said.

After World War II, the trolleys were sold to those wanting a place to live or stay, which is how they ended up throughout the Midwest, including in Weyauwega.

Sirinek became aware of the local trolley about 20 years ago, traveled to Weyauwega and took pictures of the structure built around it.

At that time, no one was living in it.

From about 1946 to 1948, the late Robert and Amanda (Mandy) Husberg lived in it with their three children – Amanda, Bob and William – before moving to Chicago.

News about the trolley being found behind the walls of the structure traveled to Brooklyn, New York, where Amanda saw a story about it on her local ABC newscast.

She recognized the brown siding and knew it was the trolley where she once lived after learning that it was found in the backyard of a small community in Wisconsin.

Last September, she stopped to see it on her way to visit family in the Plover area.

Both she and Krapil hoped a new home would be found for the trolley in Weyauwega, followed by its restoration.

“Weyauwega had a chance, but the city didn’t have the money,” Krapil said. “I was looking for any way to preserve it.”

Several others also expressed interest in it.

“In mid-March, we were contacted by the (Lost Railway) Museum. They said they wanted to come up and look at it,” she said.

Another person who had expressed interested in the trolley told the Krapils if someone wanted it, to give it away.

When representatives from the newly formed museum said they wanted the trolley, Krapil said she expected the move to take place in the summer.

“Then we got the call that they would be here March 28 to 29,” she said.

Sirinek also made the trip back to Weyauwega to watch the process.

A company that specializes in moving heavy items across the country accompanied members of the Lost Railway Museum organization.

“We’re going to restore it. We have a fantastic group of people involved,” Drouillard said. “The museum will be open by mid-year next year. This car will not be done by then.”

He said it will be restored for a static display.

“I’m so happy she’s going to be there with people who will respect her and take care of her,” Krapil said.

The Krapils look forward to visiting the museum in the future.

They have an open invitation to go there, as well as to the Illinois Railway Museum.

The couple plans to go to the Illinois museum this summer, where Sirinek told Krapil she “can even drive the trolley” and they will receive a personal tour.

Krapil said she is happy the trolley has a new home but also a bit sad.

When she looks out her kitchen window, she says, “It’s gone.”

However, she thinks about the many people she met because of the experience.

“They did a wonderful job,” she said.

Those involved in moving the trolley leveled off the backyard as best as they could and left grass seed for the Krapils to plant this spring.

Krapil called the trolley her “Grand Lady,” and said the story ended with a happy ending.

“It was an incredible journey with the trolley car, and I’ll treasure it for the rest of my life,” she said.

They wanted the trolley to be saved, appreciated and enjoyed by many.

“She’s gone to the right place, where she’ll get all of that and more,” she said.

The trolley is just about ready to be moved from Weyauwega to its new home in Grass Lake, Michigan. (Rosie Rowe Photo)

The trolley is just about ready to be moved from Weyauwega to its new home in Grass Lake, Michigan. (Rosie Rowe Photo)

This refurbished trolley from the same series as the one found in a Weyauwega backyard may be seen at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photo courtesy of Frank Sirinek)

This refurbished trolley from the same series as the one found in a Weyauwega backyard may be seen at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photo courtesy of Frank Sirinek)


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World’s Fair Buses

Finally, much new material regarding 1930s World’s Fair buses has been added to Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 3-27-2016. At this point, it is not entirely certain whether the buses used at A Century of Progress here in Chicago eventually made their way to Texas or not. Similar buses were used at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. It’s possible that these were the Chicago buses, repainted and with the additional of some sheet metal. Or, they could just have been similar buses made for the Dallas fair.

-David Sadowski

World’s Fair Memorabilia Show

FYI, the 22nd Annual World’s Fair Memorabilia Show takes place on Sunday, April 17, 2016. The hours are 10am to 4pm and is being held at the Elk Grove Holiday Inn, 1000 Busse Road (Rt. 83 and Landmeier Rd.) in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Admission is $6, $5 for seniors 65+. Early preview admission at 9am is available for $20. Tables are available for $100. ($110 after Feb. 1st) Please e-mail me if you would like a contract for a table.

There will be a special display of 1933 World’s Fair memorabilia. Collectors and dealers will meet to buy, sell and trade items related to World’s Fairs from 1876 to the present. The main focus will be on the 1933 & 1934 Chicago World’s Fair. There will also be items from the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition and other Chicago-related ephemera. There will be some items from other World’s Fairs including: 1904 St. Louis, 1939-40 New York, 1962 Seattle, 1964-65 New York, Expo ’67, etc. There will be over 20 tables of World’s Fair items for sale!

There will be continuous showings of home movies and newsreels on video from the 1933/34 Chicago A Century of Progress. World’s Fair collectors and fans of the fair are invited to come celebrate the 1933-34 Century of Progress and relive one of the brightest moments in Chicago’s history. (Two of the stars on Chicago’s flag commemorate the 1893 and 1933/34 Fairs!)


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 132nd 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 145,000 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.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.


DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty. Your financial contributions help make this possible and are greatly appreciated.


Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Nine

We can be very thankful that enterprising photographers took great pictures like this one. Practically everything we see here is gone now. This picture shows the end of the Normal Park "L" on 69th Street between Parnell and Normal, at about 526 West. CSL 6226 and 6236 are running on the 67-69-71 route. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) As you can see, the Normal Park "L" was built with the intention of extending it south of 69th, but this did not happen. This short and lightly used branch was abandoned in 1954, and "L" service did not go south of 63rd again until the opening of the Dan Ryan line in 1969. This picture looks to have been taken sometime around 1940. Starting in 1949, CTA began to operate the Normal Park branch as a shuttle operation using one or two wood cars. Eventually, the intermediate stations were gutted and conductors collected fares at those stations on the train. By 1954, ridership was so slight that no replacement service was needed.

We can be very thankful that enterprising photographers took great pictures like this one. Practically everything we see here is gone now. This picture shows the end of the Normal Park “L” on 69th Street between Parnell and Normal, at about 526 West. CSL 6226 and 6236 are running on the 67-69-71 route. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) As you can see, the Normal Park “L” was built with the intention of extending it south of 69th, but this did not happen. This short and lightly used branch was abandoned in 1954, and “L” service did not go south of 63rd again until the opening of the Dan Ryan line in 1969. This picture looks to have been taken sometime around 1940. Starting in 1949, CTA began to operate the Normal Park branch as a shuttle operation using one or two wood cars. Eventually, the intermediate stations were gutted and conductors collected fares at those stations on the train. By 1954, ridership was so slight that no replacement service was needed.

Here's how 526 W. 69th Street looks today.

Here’s how 526 W. 69th Street looks today.

Here is another sampling of classic Chicago Surface Lines photos from the collections of George Trapp, who has generously shared them with us. If you would like to see other pictures in this series, please use the search window at the top of this page. Watch this space for more CSL pictures in the near future.

As always, if you know some useful tidbit of information about these images and would like to share them with us, you can either leave a comment on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- We hope you will join us in wishing Jeff Wien, co-author of CERA Bulletin 146, a happy 75th birthday.


Easter Parade in Toronto

Our previous post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 3-27-2016 showed pictures of Toronto Peter Witt car 2766 being readied for the Easter parade. Here are some videos showing five generations of Toronto streetcars in that parade:


Chicago or Philadelphia?

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This 1913 picture was recently sold on eBay, identified as being Chicago. Having our doubts, we asked the members of the Philadelphia Transit discussion group on Yahoo to weigh in with their opinions. Several people identified it as being the west apron of Luzerne Depot.

Michael T. Greene wrote:

It’s Luzerne Depot in Philadelphia. BTW, this isn’t the first time that I’ve seen a Philadelphia photo mislabeled as a Chicago photo. In 2003, there was a photo from the Bob Redden Archives that showed a touring London RT bus in what was billed as “Chicago”…until I noticed a Mack C-41-GT in a 1500-series, signed for a line lettered “C”. In addition, there were streetlights I never knew existed in Chicago, but did see use on Broad Street in Philadelphia. It turned out that the photo was Broad Street, between South Penn Square and Chestnut.

Doing further research, I determined that the photo was taken March 25, 1952, and the London bus was part of a nationwide tour to promote the UK as a tourist destination. Another photo was shown of the RT passing an old-ish building that looked suspiciously similar to Broad Street Station…it was Broad Street Station, taken the same day as the first photo. (We are talking the Bob Redden Archives, so either version of “taken” might apply here.) Now, if we had a skyline shot, we’d be able to determine awfully fast…most US cities have a “signature” tall building where you can tell what city a picture was taken.

Interestingly, since J. G. Brill was located in Philadelphia, many Chicago streetcars were built there, and today’s post includes a few pictures of CSL streetcars at the factory in Philly. Luzerne Depot was used from 1913 to 1997.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 131st 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 143,000 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.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.


DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty. Your financial contributions help make this possible and are greatly appreciated.


CSL Sedan 3342 is southbound on Clark just north of North Avenue, probably in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL Sedan 3342 is southbound on Clark just north of North Avenue, probably in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3341 at South Shops on October 23, 1938. This was the day of a famous Surface Lines fantrip, instrumental in recruiting a lot of new members for Central Electric Railfans' Association, which was just getting on its feet. You can read more about that here (just disregard the error message that might come up). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3341 at South Shops on October 23, 1938. This was the day of a famous Surface Lines fantrip, instrumental in recruiting a lot of new members for Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which was just getting on its feet. You can read more about that here (just disregard the error message that might come up). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The back end of CSL 3341 at Devon Station (car barn). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The back end of CSL 3341 at Devon Station (car barn). (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL Pullman 149 and Sedan 6280 at Devon Station (car barn) in the 1930s. 6280 was built by CSL in 1929. This building was built by the Chicago Union Traction Co. in 1900. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL Pullman 149 and Sedan 6280 at Devon Station (car barn) in the 1930s. 6280 was built by CSL in 1929. This building was built by the Chicago Union Traction Co. in 1900. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3327 is southbound, most likely on route 22 Clark-Wentworth, in this 1930s scene. It's possible this may be north Clark Street just south of Birchwood, where there is a curve. That is just a few blocks south of Howard, which was the end of the line. There is a building at Clark and Howard that resembles the one at right. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3327 is southbound, most likely on route 22 Clark-Wentworth, in this 1930s scene. It’s possible this may be north Clark Street just south of Birchwood, where there is a curve. That is just a few blocks south of Howard, which was the end of the line. There is a building at Clark and Howard that resembles the one at right. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The building at Clark and Howard as it looks today. We are facing north.

The building at Clark and Howard as it looks today. We are facing north.

CSL Sedan 3323 is southbound on Clark at Sheffield. The rather odd building at right is still there. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL Sedan 3323 is southbound on Clark at Sheffield. The rather odd building at right is still there. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Clark and Sheffield today.

Clark and Sheffield today.

A closer up view of that triangular-shaped building. In this photo, it is being renovated. These type of structures were often hamburger stands back in the 1930s.

A closer up view of that triangular-shaped building. In this photo, it is being renovated. These type of structures were often hamburger stands back in the 1930s.

CSL 3322 on route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3322 on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3322, heading southbound on Clark at Lincoln. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 3322, heading southbound on Clark at Lincoln. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Clark and Lincoln today.

Clark and Lincoln today.

CSL 3303 on the 59-61st Street route. Andre Kristopans: "3303 on 59/61 is just east of Western. These days CSX’s big intermodal terminal is overhead where the S2 is." (Joe L. Diaz Photo) 3303 was part of a series known as Multiple Unit cars. According to Don's Rail Photos, "These cars were built by CSL and have the same body style as the 1923 12-window cars, but were built with maximum traction trucks. A number were converted to one man operation as indicated by the white stripe on the ends. 3203 was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt (for) one man service in 1932."

CSL 3303 on the 59-61st Street route. Andre Kristopans: “3303 on 59/61 is just east of Western. These days CSX’s big intermodal terminal is overhead where the S2 is.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo) 3303 was part of a series known as Multiple Unit cars. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “These cars were built by CSL and have the same body style as the 1923 12-window cars, but were built with maximum traction trucks. A number were converted to one man operation as indicated by the white stripe on the ends. 3203 was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt (for) one man service in 1932.”

59th Street just east of Western Avenue today.

59th Street just east of Western Avenue today.

CTA 3321 at Chicago's lakefront in the early 1950s. Andre Kristopans: "3321 is on 67th just west of Oglesby. LSD in background."

CTA 3321 at Chicago’s lakefront in the early 1950s. Andre Kristopans: “3321 is on 67th just west of Oglesby. LSD in background.”

CSL 32XX in a rather contrasty picture. Andre Kristopans: "The 3200 with unknown exact number is EB on Montrose at Lincoln. Welles Park in background."

CSL 32XX in a rather contrasty picture. Andre Kristopans: “The 3200 with unknown exact number is EB on Montrose at Lincoln. Welles Park in background.”

According to Andre Kristopans, CSL 3304 is "EB on Montrose at Elston."

According to Andre Kristopans, CSL 3304 is “EB on Montrose at Elston.”

CTA 6233 on the 67-69-71 route. May Motor Sales had two locations, and this one is 501 E. 69th Street. If so, this is where the Chicago Skyway runs today. (Joe L. Diaz Collection) Andre Kristopans: "6233 is westbound, so indeed this is Keefe/Anthony/69th right were the Skyway now is."

CTA 6233 on the 67-69-71 route. May Motor Sales had two locations, and this one is 501 E. 69th Street. If so, this is where the Chicago Skyway runs today. (Joe L. Diaz Collection) Andre Kristopans: “6233 is westbound, so indeed this is Keefe/Anthony/69th right were the Skyway now is.”

The same location today, where the Chicago Skyway now runs. We are looking east at about 501 W. 69th.

The same location today, where the Chicago Skyway now runs. We are looking east at about 501 W. 69th.

CSL 3311 in a McGuire-Cummings builder's photo, taken at Paris, Illinois. Don's Rail Photos says, "3311 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932."

CSL 3311 in a McGuire-Cummings builder’s photo, taken at Paris, Illinois. Don’s Rail Photos says, “3311 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.”

Another builder's photo of CSL 3311.

Another builder’s photo of CSL 3311.

CSL 3306 is heading west on route 73 - Armitage, and is about ready to turn south on Racine. (Ed Frank, Jr. Photo) We ran a photo taken around the corner from here in our earlier post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Three (November 21, 2015). Andre Kristopans adds, "note that north of Armitage Racine had southbound track only all the way from Webster – that had not seen any regular service since the teens but was retained for emergency use."

CSL 3306 is heading west on route 73 – Armitage, and is about ready to turn south on Racine. (Ed Frank, Jr. Photo) We ran a photo taken around the corner from here in our earlier post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Three (November 21, 2015). Andre Kristopans adds, “note that north of Armitage Racine had southbound track only all the way from Webster – that had not seen any regular service since the teens but was retained for emergency use.”

CSL Multiple Unit cars 6272 and 6270, apparently being operated that way sometime between 1923, when they were built, and 1932, the date they were converted to one-man operation. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL Multiple Unit cars 6272 and 6270, apparently being operated that way sometime between 1923, when they were built, and 1932, the date they were converted to one-man operation. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3320 and 3314 connected for multiple unit operation, most likely in the 1920s. The need for MU disappeared after the 1929 stock market crash. Andre Kristopans adds, "while they are signed for Grand, most likely they are at South Shops."

CSL 3320 and 3314 connected for multiple unit operation, most likely in the 1920s. The need for MU disappeared after the 1929 stock market crash. Andre Kristopans adds, “while they are signed for Grand, most likely they are at South Shops.”

I'm not sure why CSL 3288 is hanging over the edge in this photo, or what building is being constructed behind it. Andre Kristopans: "3288 was built by St Louis Car. It is obviously brand new, so it can be assumed to be at St. Louis’s plant. It would appear the plant is being expanded."

I’m not sure why CSL 3288 is hanging over the edge in this photo, or what building is being constructed behind it. Andre Kristopans: “3288 was built by St Louis Car. It is obviously brand new, so it can be assumed to be at St. Louis’s plant. It would appear the plant is being expanded.”

CSL 6247 at South Shops, signed for Halsted-Archer-Clark. This was another Multiple Unit type car. Don's Rail Photos says, "6247 was built by Brill Car Co in 1926, #22417. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932. It was returned as two man service in 1948 and back to one man in 1949." (Chicago Surface Lines Photo)

CSL 6247 at South Shops, signed for Halsted-Archer-Clark. This was another Multiple Unit type car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “6247 was built by Brill Car Co in 1926, #22417. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932. It was returned as two man service in 1948 and back to one man in 1949.” (Chicago Surface Lines Photo)

Another CSL picture showing 6247 at South Shops.

Another CSL picture showing 6247 at South Shops.

The as-built interior of CSL 3279. Don's Rail Photos says, "3279 was built by Brill Car Co in 1926 #22417. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932. It was returned as two man serive in 1948 and back as one man in 1949." (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection)

The as-built interior of CSL 3279. Don’s Rail Photos says, “3279 was built by Brill Car Co in 1926 #22417. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932. It was returned as two man serive in 1948 and back as one man in 1949.” (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection)

Another 1926 builder's photo of 3279 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Philadelphia Collection)

Another 1926 builder’s photo of 3279 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (J. G. Brill Photo, Historical Society of Philadelphia Collection)

CSL 6222 at Clark and Chicago. (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection) Another Multiple Unit type car, Don's Rail Photos says, "6222 was built by Lightweight Noiseless Streetcar Co in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932."

CSL 6222 at Clark and Chicago. (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection) Another Multiple Unit type car, Don’s Rail Photos says, “6222 was built by Lightweight Noiseless Streetcar Co in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.”