I was going through my things the other day, and came across some images that were given to me a few years ago by the late John Marton. It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone for two-and-a-half years now.
Anyhow, mostly these are rare color images showing experimental paint schemes tried out by the Chicago Surface Lines on six of their prewar PCCs in late 1945 and early 1946. This helped CSL determine the eventual colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange) used on the 600 postwar PPCCs that were put into service starting in September 1946.
Unfortunately, these images were not of sufficient quality to merit inclusion in Central Electric Railfans’ Association Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958. There are reasons for that.
The pictures were originally taken by John Marton’s uncle. Somehow, John ended up with color prints that had a textured finish. I assume these were made from color negatives. The prints were later damaged in a basement flood. Eventually, John had slides made from the prints.
Although not of the greatest quality, these photos do have historical importance as possibly the only surviving color still pictures taken of the cars in these experimental colors. Fortunately, the late Bill Hoffman took color films, and these are included in the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD that comes with each copy of B-146.
Fortunately, the St. Petersburg Tram Collection includes highly detailed, very accurate scale models of nearly all the various paint schemes and door configurations for the Chicago PCCs (I say nearly all, since there was one postwar car (4132) that had a unique roof treatment and has not so far been modeled. We have a color photo of that car in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Three from October 7, 2015.)
Canadian railfan John F. Bromley owns all six models of the experimental PCCs, and generously provided us with pictures for use in B-146.
Here are reference pictures of models showing the various colors that Chicago PCCs, both prewar and postwar, were decorated in. That should provide you with a frame of reference for the Marton photos that follow.
We present those in tribute to John Marton, a good man who is unfortunately gone, but is certainly not forgotten by those who knew him.
PS- These faded old color photos remind me of a song by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys:
As I look at the letters that you wrote to me
It’s you that I am thinking of
As I read the lines that to me were so sweet
I remember our faded love
I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love
As I think of the past and all the pleasures we had
As I watch the mating of the dove
It was in the springtime when you said goodbye
I remember our faded love
I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love
Andre Kristopans writes:
Sending you two files which were originally researched by George Chaisson in the early 1990’s, one detailing 6000 assignments thru 6/58 and the other 4000 assignments 1949 thru 1958. Put them on your blog.
Thanks very much. I am sure our readers will appreciate having the information.
CTA Rapid Transit Cars 4067-4455 History 1949-58:
07/49 4001-4455 on NS (North-South)
08/52 4251-4262 move NS to LS (Logan Square)
4299-4328 move NS to RV (Ravenswood)
10/52 4001-4051 move NS to LS
4052-4066 move NS to LK (Lake) (trailers off NS)
4261-4298 move NS to LS
4299-4301 move RV to LS
4302-4328 move RV to LK (1st 4000’s on Lake)
4329-4340 move NS to LK
12/52 4037-4051 move LS to NS
4052-4066 move LK to NS (trailers off LK, return to NS)
4302-4322 move LK to LS
4341-4370 move NS to LK
02/53 4101-4136 move NS to LS, coupled to 4001-4036
4137-4166 coupled to 4037-4066 on NS
04/53 4011/4111, 4044/4144 destroyed in fire at Logan Square (note 4044/4144 were NS cars)
05/53 4371-4455 (NS assigned) used on EV (Evanston) on weekends
03/54 4026-4028 move LS to NS
4099-4100 move NS to LS
4126-4136 move LS to NS
4299-4322 move LS to LK
4355-4370 move LK to NS
04/54 4126-4131 move NS to LS
4293-4298 move LS to LK
4335-4336 move NS to LK
05/54 4026-4028 move NS to LK
4037-4039 move NS to LK
4337-4360 move NS to LK
4361-4455 NS (also EV Sat-Sun)
07/54 4066 r# 4044 on NS
4040-4047 move NS to LK
4361-4402 move NS to LK
10/54 4048-4057 move NS to LK
4403-4448 move NS to LK
4455 move NS to LK
01/55 4067-4098 move NS to DP (Douglas Park) (1st 4000’s on DP)
05/55 4019-4025 move LS to LK
4029-4036 move LS to LK
4046-4057 move LK to DP
4067-4098 move DP to LS
4125-4131 move LS to DP
4132-4143 move NS to DP
4145-4194 move NS to DP
4283-4292 move LS to LK
4433-4448 move LK to GP (Garfield park) (1st 4000’s on GP)
4455 move LK to GP
4066 r# 4044
4449-4454 NS (EV Sat-Sun)
07/55 4058-4065 move NS to GP (trailers off NS)
4195-4250 move NS to GP
4449-4454 move NS to GP (4000’s off NS)
4045 move LK to DP
4121-4124 move LS to DP
08/55 4005 off LS for motorization
09/55 4019 move LK to LS
4045 move DP to LK
4055-4058 move GP to DP
4186-4208 move GP to DP
4433-4455 move GP to DP
11/55 4455 move DP to LS
4005 return to service LS as 4456
4121-4126 move DP to LS
02/57 4046-4047 move DP to LK
4048-4049 move DP to LS
4058 move DP to GP
4127-4143 move DP to RV
4195-4208 move DP to GP
4433-4454 move DP to GP
05/57 4060-4065 move GP to RV
4127-4143 move RV to DP
4179-4194 move DP to RV
4195-4220 move GP to RV
06/57 4067-4088 move LS to RV
4127-4143 move DP to LS
4221-4242 move GP to RV
08/57 4058-4059 move GP to RV
4119-4142 move LS to DP
4172-4178 move DP to RV
4243-4250 move GP to RV
4433-4454 move GP to LS
09/57 4119-4142 move LS to DP
4145-4149 move LS to DP
4251-4282 move LS to EV (1st 4000’s assigned to EV)
12/57 4001-4004 move LS to EV
4006 move LS to EV
4050-4057 move DP to RV
4150-4171 move DP to LS
4172-4178 move RV to LS
4433-4455 move LS to EV
(note 4456 recoupled to 4143)
06/58 4007, 4107 retired off LS (fire)
4003-4004 retired off EV
4028-4029, 4032-4033, 4039 retired off LK
4065 retired off RV
4008-4010 LS to WNW (West-Northwest)
4012-4019 LS to WNW
4048-4049 LS to WNW
4089-4106 LS to WNW
4108-4110 LS to WNW
4112-4143 LS to WNW
4145-4178 LS to WNW
4456 LS to WNW
CTA Rapid Transit Cars 6000s 1950-1958:
08-12/50 6001-6084 new to LS (Logan Square)
12/50-03/51 6085-6130 new to RV (Ravenswood)
09-12/51 6131-6200 new to RV
6085-6090 move RV to LS
6091-6110 move RV to DP (Douglas Park)
07/52 6047-6048 move LS to RV
6085-6086 move DP to LS
6131-6134, 6141-6142 move RV to DP
08/52 6069-6086 move LS to RV
6087-6128, 6131-6134, 6141-6142 move DP to RV
10/52 6001-6068 move LS to NS (North-South)
6069-6146 move RV to NS (all 6000’s off LS, DP)
3/54 6201-6228 new to GP (Garfield Park) (1st on route)
03-07/54 6229-6350 new to NS
6201-6228 move GP to NS
6111-6146 move NS to GP
6091-6110, 6177-6200 move NS to DP (6000’s return to DP)
12/54-04/55 6351-6450 new to NS
6041-6090 move NS to DP
6177-6200 move DP to RV
05-07/55 6451-6470 new to NS
6041-6110 move DP to NS
6111-6112 move GP to NS
6127-6130 off GP for modifications
6145-6146 move GP to DP
6147-6168 move RV to DP
07/55 6113-6126, 6131-6144 move GP to NS (6000’s off GP)
09/55 6145-6168 move DP to NS (6000’s off DP)
11/55 6127-6130 reinstated on EV (Evanston) as high-speed cars
03/56 6123-6126 move NS to EV, poles installed
06/56 6159-6168 move NS to RV
10/56-04/57 6471-6550 new to NS
6001-6034 move NS to DP (6000’s return to DP)
04-06/57 6551-6600 new to NS
6035-6066 move NS to GP (6000’s return to GP)
07/57-04/58 6601-6670 new to NS
6067-6092 move NS to GP
6093-6122 move NS to DP
6123-6130 move EV to NS
6131-6144 move NS to DP
06/58 6145-6152 move NS to DP
6153-6158 move NS to RV
6511-6522 move NS to GP
6/22/58 6001-6034 DP to WNW (West-Northwest)
6035-6092 GP to WNW
6093-6122 DP to WNW
6123-6130 on NS
6131-6152 DP to WNW
6153-6200 on RV
6201-6510 on NS
6511-6522 GP to WNW
6523-6670 on NS
On the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group, Dennis McClendon asked:
Did Chicago Motor Coach—or, for that matter, CSL’s bus operations—ever use conductors or onboard collectors in addition to drivers?
CMC certainly did, on the open-top double-decks from 1917 until WW2, when the last were retired. There was no reasonable way to convert them to one-man as they were rear-entrance/exit. The 1930’s Double-deckers were one-man, with a front entrance. The rest of the CMC single-level fleet, from the early 20’s onward, were always one-man, as they were relatively small.
CSL never had two-man buses, as before CTA took over, CSL buses were really rather tiny by comparison to a streetcar, and were used strictly on what would be considered minor and feeder routes. However, in 1950 when the CTA ordered the 5000 Twins, there was some question whether two man buses would be needed to convert the remaining streetcar routes, as some were very heavy, and it was thought a one-man bus would suffer from excessive dwell time at stops loading and unloading, resulting in extremely slow schedules. However, as “luck” would have it, riding fell so dramatically in the early to mid 1950’s that by the time the heaviest main lines were being converted, buses were quite able to handle the loads on a reasonable schedule.
I have seen a picture, taken in the 1950s, showing a CTA employee standing outside a trolley bus, taking fares and letting people in through the back door.
This was a practice that CTA also seems to have done, at least at first, at certain times and certain points along streetcar routes that had recently been converted to one-man.
Chances are the practice did not last too long, for the reasons you mention– surface ridership was in decline, and as a result, there was less crowding on the buses.
The last remnants of this lasted into the 1980’s. Last place I know of was at Belmont/Kimball L stating in the PM rush, mostly on WB Belmont buses. In the 1960’s there were a lot of loaders at L stations (and also at high schools). From what I gather, many of these guys were “medical cases”, drivers who could no longer drive buses for one reason or another, and they were given part-time work to help out with their work-related disability pensions. Towards the last years, there were also regular drivers doing this as overtime.
There is still a very minimal version of this to this day at one location that I know of – Belmont/Sheffield L station, where in the PM rush they send a guy with a portable Ventra reader to help load up westbounds, but as far as I know it is somebody from the office detailed to do this. On Cubs game days they also use this same portable reader at Cubs Park to help load westbound extras.
robyer2000 adds (on Chicagotransit):
CTA used to have collectors at choke points and major events, like the ball parks, to take fares and admit people using the rear doors. I saw it many times.
THE RAILROAD RECORD CLUB & THE 60th ANNIVERSARY CD
By Kenneth Gear
I’ve been a fan of the Railroad Record Club albums ever since I played the first one. That was in the late 1970s when my Uncle, a huge PRR fan, loaned me his copy of RRC # 10. That record contained the sounds of Pennsylvania RR steam and I enjoyed it so much, that I wrote to Hawkins, Wisconsin to find out if I could buy my own copy. I could and did. I was in high school then and funds were rather scarce, and I was only able to buy a few more LPs before the Railroad Record Club ceased to exist.
Just a year or so ago, my interest in these recordings was rekindled. I began bidding on the RRC LPs on eBay, then sending them out to a sound lab to be converted to CD. The resulting CDs were disappointing because the sound lab employees had no idea what to do to improve these sounds, they were used to working with music, not the traction motor sounds of a CSS&SB MU car.
Enter Trolley Dodger Records!
When I found out that David Sadowski was releasing CDs of the old RRC albums I couldn’t wait to buy some. Not only was I now able to get many of the albums that I never bought on vinyl, but David made these recordings sound better than they ever had before! I sent him my entire RRC collection (and searched eBay for more) and he converted them to digital, improved the sound quality, and made those great recordings available again!
Now David has taken the next step and has recorded a brand new Railroad Record Club album, RRC # 37, a 60th anniversary tribute to William A. Steventon and his legacy of preserving the sounds of America’s railroading history.
This new CD was recorded at the Illinois Railway Museum, a place that I’m sure the late Mr. Steventon would have been be very fond of. The Railroad Record Club released many recordings of traction sounds over the years and the new CD pays tribute to that legacy. It contains the sounds of a large assortment of Chicago area trolleys and interurban cars including CTA single car units, CA&E wood and steel cars, a PCC (a favorite track of mine since I rode PCCs in revenue service on the Newark, NJ City subway) and many others. There are even a few cameo appearances from Frisco 2-10-0 #1630!
Some of the tracks on the CD contain a brief history of the cars being ridden as told by the conductor on the train. The inclusion of this bit of narration gives the listener a better appreciation of the equipment and puts a historical context to the sounds that follow.
Tracks 4, 5 & 6 on disc one of the CA&E steel cars making a main line run really invokes the “on train” recordings of the RRC interurban records! The sounds of these wonderful cars come through perfectly, so crisp and clear that you can almost feel the bounce and sway of the cars as they hit each rail joint. It’s not hard to imagine how it felt to ride on the “Roarin’ Elgin” albeit at a slower speed.
Another interesting nod to the original RRC recordings is track 7 of Commonwealth Edison electric locomotive # 4. Just as the train was leaving the station, a gusty wind began to blow and the resulting wind noise is plainly audible. This reminded me instantly of a favorite track on RRC # 10, the PRR album. Track 3 is of PRR # 4249 at Paxinos, PA on a windy day in 1954. Here, as on the PRR LP, the wind is as much a part of the “sound picture” as the locomotive on the train.
Track 9 is a great but much too short “on train” speed run of CTA single unit cars # 22 & 41.
Track 3 on disc 2 is a real treat! It’s another trip on the “Roarin’ Elgin”, this time on board the wood cars. Every little moan, creak, bang, & rattle of these 100 year old cars is splendidly recorded in digital audio. Also of note on this track is a “meet” between the train of CA&E “woods” and Frisco 2-10-0 # 1630. Heard here is the sound of a steam locomotive recorded from inside a transit car. Mr. Steventon did a very similar thing in May of 1954 when he recorded a NYC 4-8-2 in Cleveland, OH from a Shaker Heights Rapid Transit car. This track is on RRC # 20 NYC/C&IM.
Track 4 is also reminiscent of RRC recordings of the past. In this case, CSL red Pullman car 144 departs the depot. The gear noise is plainly heard but the best part is when the sound of the departing transit car mixes with the high pitched excited voices of young children, just as they did on RRC # 18. The first track on RRC # 18 has the sound of CNS&M car 754 at Racine, WI leaving the station to a chorus of children’s shouting.
Another fine recording of CSL car 144 is track 6. This is a complete trolley loop circuit and the gear nose couldn’t come through any clearer.
The last track, number 11, contains another mix of traction and steam. On RRC # 7 the last track is also a traction/steam mix but there IC # 2507, a 4-8-2, is at center stage while a IT interurban is heard in the background. On the new CD the roles are reversed and the traction is in the lead role and the steamer reduced to the background.
These CDs are great modern digital recordings of vintage railroad equipment with more than a little inspiration coming from those wonderful old Railroad Record Club recordings!
Another interesting comparison between the new CDs and the old RRC LPs. These new CDs contain as much audio as five of the original RRC LPs and costs $19.95. According to a 1966 Railroad Record Club catalog, 5 LPs would cost $21.00. What else can be bought today at lower than 1966 prices!
Railroad Record Club
60th Anniversary Tribute
# of Discs – 2
Railroad Record Club #37:
We celebrate the Railroad Record Club with a 60th anniversary tribute containing all new audio of vintage streetcars, interurbans, trolley buses, and even a bit of steam, recorded in 2016 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Electric equipment featured includes CTA PCC 4391, CSL red Pullman 144, CSL “Matchbox” 1374, CTA “L” single car units 22 and 41, CTA trolley bus 9553, and the interurbans of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, and Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (North Shore Line). Steam sounds are provided by Frisco 1630. Recorded with the finest quality digital equipment of today, this is a fitting tribute to the late William Steventon and the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconsin, with all the bells and whistles, dings, and gear sounds we could fit onto a pair of CDs. The material presented here is equivalent in length to about five of the original RRC LPs.
Disc 1- 79:38
Disc 2- 79:55
Editor’s note: This title is no longer available for purchase.
NOW AVAILABLE, DIGITALLY REMASTERED ON COMPACT DISC:
# of Discs – 1
First published in 1959, and long out of print, Steam Echoes captures the unforgettable sound drama of steam engines in action. Like Whistles West, it features the recordings of E. P. Ripley, made in the waning days of steam during the 1950s.
The scenes were selected for listening pleasure as well as to create an historical document. They represent the everyday workings of our old steam friends, selected for the most interest, or the most beauty. The series are purposely kept short to preserve their brilliance. They show the steam engine in all four of the ways it may be heard at work– riding in it, on the train behind it, traveling along beside it, and standing at trackside while it goes by, or stops and takes off again.
Railroads featured include Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Canadian National.
Ghost Train, first issued in 1962 and also long unavailable, is a Hi-Fi stereo sound panorama of haunting memories, highlighting the final days of steam railroading. Railroads featured include the Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk & Western, Nickel Plate Road, Union Pacific, and the Reading Company. A particular highlight is a special whistle recording, demonstrating the famous “Doppler Effect” in true stereophonic sound.
Total time – 79:45
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