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 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:
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?
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.
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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)
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 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.
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.
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, heading southbound on Clark at Lincoln. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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 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.”
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.
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)
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.”