Here is CSL 2802 on a July 13, 1941 CERA fantrip alongside the South Chicago branch of the Illinois Central Electric suburban service. That nattily dressed man has been identified as none other than George Krambles (1915-1998). We ran another picture from this trip in an earlier post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six (February 22, 2016). Known as a Robertson Rebuild, Don’s Rail Photos says, “2802 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901 as CCRy 2554. It was sold as C&CS 702 in 1908 and renumbered 2802 in 1913. It became CSL 2802 in 1914.” A circa-1940 Packard prepares to go around the car. (Hochner Photo)
Today, we’ve assembled some of our recent photo finds into this post, which takes us north, south, east, and west around the Chicago area. As always, if you have any interesting tidbits of information to share regarding these pictures, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or contact us directly at:
CSL/CTA Sedan 3327 is shown in the late 1940s at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of route 4. The Illinois Central Electric suburban service is at left on an embankment.
CSL 5197 was a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “5001 thru 5200 were built by Brill in 1905, #14318, for the Chicago City Ry. where they carried the same numbers. They were rebuilt in 1908 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars.” This photo was taken at 31st and Lake Park. On the back of this photo, it notes, “Abandoned 2/28/48.” That’s when route 31 was “bustituted.”
CSL Sedan 3332 is southbound at Lincoln Park on the Clark-Wentworth line, where they ran from 1929 until 1946, when they were replaced by PCCs. As this is a Tom Desnoyers photo, it is probably from the 1940s.
Evanston Railways car #5 after abandonment. Although this picture is undated, streetcar service was replaced by buses in 1935, so chances are this is the late 1930s. To the best of my knowledge, this was part of an order for 12 cars placed with the St. Louis Car Company in late 1913. The late James J. Buckley wrote a short (40 pages) book The Evanston Railway Company, published in 1958 as Bulletin #28 of the Electric Railway Historical Society. This has been long out-of-print, but it is now available as part of The Complete ERHS Collection, an E-book put out by the Central Electric Railfans’ Association in 2014 (which I edited). The Diner Grill (at 1635 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago) is said to be built around the bodies of two Evanston streetcars.
CSL/CTA Pullman 441 on Roosevelt Road, west of the Illinois Central station, circa the 1940s. Not sure what the bus is at rear.
CSL/CTA 5357 at 63rd Place and Oak Park Avenue. As http://www.chicagrailfan.com notes, “The 63rd St. and the Argo streetcar routes were split at Oak Park Ave. And when the Argo streetcar route was replaced with the West 63rd bus route, the split point was relocated east to Narragansett Ave. Narragansett Ave. remained the split point after the main 63rd St. route was converted to buses. After opening of rapid transit line to Midway Airport, 63rd St. service restructured to terminate at Midway Airport terminal, with new route 63W operating west of Cicero Ave.” Therefore, this picture cannot date later than April 11, 1948, when the Argo streetcar route was replaced by the route 63A bus. (Charles Able Photo)
This photo shows CSL work car N5 on December 27, 1940. (Max Miller Photo)
On November 29, 1949 it was reported: “At least 14 persons were reported injured, one critically, when two streetcars crashed at a busy intersection on the south side this afternoon. Several pedestrians were among the injured.” You can just barely see a CTA wrecker in the lower right corner of the picture.
M. E. writes: “The smashup dated 29 November 1949 is at 63rd and Halsted, looking northwest at the Ace department store. About that store, I remember it was rather dowdy and had no air conditioning. It had lots of ceiling fans instead. So it was hot in summer. On the southwest corner was an SS Kresge dime store. In the window was a doughnut-making machine, which was probably 15 feet long, most of which was a chute in which the donuts took shape. The price was 3 cents per doughnut. Kresge was predecessor to K-Mart. On the southeast corner were small stores, the largest of which was a Stineway drug store. Notice the spelling: Stineway rather than Steinway as in pianos. On the northeast corner was a big Sears department store, with a Hillman’s grocery in the basement. I think I heard once that this Sears was the largest in Chicago other than the downtown Sears at State and Van Buren.”
This looks like an even more serious accident. The caption from this November 15, 1954 photo reads, “One person was killed and about 30 others injured here when this streetcar collided with a furniture truck on south Western Avenue. Dead man identified as James K. Siegler, 2534 W. 68th Street, a CTA bus driver who was a passenger in the streetcar.” I do not know which car this was, or whether it was ever repaired.
I have seen similar publicity photos taken in 1948 for the Chicago & West Towns Railways. On the back of this print, it was dated Spring 1954, but one of our regular readers thinks otherwise: “Starting in 1950, CTA only purchased propane buses, most of which were built by Fageol Twin Coach or Flxible Twin Coach. 50 were built by ACF-Brill in 1951 and another 100 by Mack in 1957. The old look GM bus on the right is number 6618 which was built by GM in 1948. It was part of a group of diesel buses ordered by CSL and delivered to the CTA. They were used on the lighter CTA bus lines like 115th, 111th. The photo appears to be at South Shops and the year would seem to be 1948, not 1954.” (Library of Congress Photo) (Editor’s note- 111th and 115th were converted to bus as of 9/23/45.)
CTA 5259 is at Waveland and Broadway, northern end of route 8 – Halsted. This was a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “5251 thru 5300 were built by Brill in 1906, #15365, for CCRy. They were brought up to higher standards in 1909.” This photo was likely taken just prior to PCCs replacing older cars on Halsted. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL Pullman 335 at Jefferson and 14th, probably in the mid-1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Before experimental CSL car 4001, there was this articulated “duplex” car 4000. Don’s Rail Photos says, “4000 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as Chicago Union Traction Co as 4633 and 4634. They were renumbered 1104 and 1105 in 1913 and became CSL 1104 and 1105 in 1914. They were renumbered 1101 and 1102 in 1925. They were rebuilt as an articulated train using a Cincinnatii Car steel vestibule drum between the bodies. It was completed on August 3, 1925, and scrapped on March 30, 1937.” (CSL Photo, car shown on Cicero Avenue.)
CSL/CTA 1142, a Small St. Louis car, as it appeared on April 7, 1946. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1142 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUT 4671. It was renumbered 1142 in 1913 and became CSL 1145 in 1914. It was rebuilt as a salt car in 1930 and renumbered AA27 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on May 17, 1958.” This was a sister car to 1137, which was recently rediscovered after having been converted to housing in Wisconsin. We wrote about that in our post Lost and Found: Chicago Streetcar #1137 (June 3, 2015). (Meyer Photo)
The old Lake Transfer station was unique in that one “L” branch crossed over another. Here, a Met train is at top, passing over the Lake Street “L”, in this circa 1914 postcard view.
Marshfield Junction looking east, from a circa 1909 postcard. Three Metropolitan “L” branches converged here– from left to right, the Logan Square/Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Douglas Park branches. Although an expressway now occupies this site, depressed in an open cut, there is still a track connection here (via a ramp) between the former Douglas branch (today’s Pink Line) and the Blue Line.
Gate car 2705 is signed for both Douglas Park and the old Wells Street terminal, where Chicago, Aurora & Elgin service terminated. That would seem to date this picture to before December 9, 1951, when CTA trains stopped using the Wells terminal, which continued to be used by CA&E until September 1953. Of this class of rapid transit car, Don’s Rail Photos notes, “2701 thru 2756 were built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSER 701 thru 756. In 1913 they were renumbered 2701 thru 2756 and in 1923 they became CRT 2701 thru 2756.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Wooden “L” cars are still in use on the Lake Street “L” in this July 1951 view. The outer 2.5 miles of line ran on the ground, alongside auto traffic next to the Chicago & North Western embankment, where the tracks were relocated in 1962. The last woods ran on this line circa 1955. The distinctive old fashioned street lights and the Brooks Laundry and Dry Cleaning company peg this as Oak Park, but not all the right-of-way through the village was fenced off as we see here. Overhead wire was used. (Subsequent research shows that the Brooks Laundry was located at the corner of North Boulevard and East Avenue, so we are a block or two west of there along South Boulevard.)
Here is a contemporary view, looking east along South Boulevard, just east of Euclid. Note the relative position of the tree at right (quite close to the sidewalk) and compare that to the 1951 picture. Could be the same tree.
Oak Park in Vintage Postcards, by Douglas Deuchler, says: “Designed in 1903, the Vogue Shirt Factory, 600 North Boulevard at East Avenue, cost $18,000 to construct and was one of Oak Park’s few industrial ventures. Later occupied by Brooks Laundry, the E. E. Roberts building was demolished in the 1950s.” The same author, speaking of the early 1900s, “One popular option was sending clothes out to “power laundries,” such as the Brooks Laundry on North Boulevard at East Avenue. Their delivery wagons would pick up your laundry for you. Brooks charged a nickel a pound. Their ads indicated that since the “average family washing weighs 7 pounds, your laundry will cost you but 35 cents.””
A wood CA&E car in the 140-series heads west of the Loop on the four-track section of the Met “L” in the early 1950s. Below the “L”, you see the Union Station train sheds where the Burlington Northern commuter trains run.
Here is a very interesting photograph that could only have been taken in a limited time period. It shows the 4-track Met “L” right-of-way looking east from Marshfield, with a train of newish flat-door 6000s assigned to Douglas. The street at left is Van Buren, and while the area has been cleared out for construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway (I290), work has not yet begun on the temporary right-of-way that would replace the “L” structure in this area starting in September 1953. I believe this work began in late 1951, shortly after streetcar service on Van Buren was replaced by buses. The first 6000s assigned to Douglas were sent there between September and December 1951. Since this is a wintry scene, chances are the date of this photo is circa December 1951. The building protruding at the center is the old Throop Street Shops.
There is only a limited time when this picture could have been shot. It shows the temporary Harlem station on today’s CTA Blue Line in suburban Oak Park, during construction of what is now I290. These are the permanent tracks, still in use today, but the new Harlem station was still under construction, so this temporary one, on the east side of Harlem, was used from March 19 to July 29, 1960. The freight tracks to the right of the CTA belong to the B&OCT. Incredibly, the highway opened in this area on October 12, 1960, just months after this picture was taken. The single car units making up the two-car train were first put in service in 1959, and have provisions for trolley poles. These were intended for use on the Evanston branch, although they did not run there until 1961. The temporary station was built on top of a crossover, which cannot be seen in this view.
This composite photograph shows I290 under construction just east of Oak Park Avenue, circa 1959-60. The permanent CTA station at left does not appear to be in service yet. It opened on March 19, 1960.
A four-car CA&E train gives a nice reflection in the Fox River at the Elgin terminal in the 1950s.
The CA&E yard in Wheaton in the early 1900s, when the railroad was still called the AE&C.
The Chicago & West Towns Railways:
Chicago & West Towns Railways line car #15. I believe this is crossing the DesPlaines River, possibly on a 1948 fantrip just prior to abandonment, and the buildings shown are on the east bank. Don Ross: “15 was built by Pullman Car in 1897 as Suburban RR 512. It was renumbered 515 and rebuilt as 15 in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1940 and scrapped in 1948.” (Charles Able Photo)
C&WT 101 on the Madison line. Don Ross: “101 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948.” Our reader mdfranklinnascar writes: “This is looking north on 19th St across the C&NW tracks in Melrose Park, IL.”
C&WT 106, signed for the Brookfield Zoo. Don Ross: “106 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915. It was dismantled in 1943.”
C&WT 111 at the Harlem and 22nd car barn. Don Ross: “111 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1912. It was scrapped in 1948.”
C&WT 157 was built by Cummings Car Co. in 1927 and I assume it was scrapped in 1948. It is shown here on the LaGrange line.
C&WT 106 again, at the same location.
FYI, this photo has been added to Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016), joining two other pictures of the same car:
Here is Johnstown 311 on June 30, 1957.
A Fare Exchange
We had some recent discussion about Chicago Surface Lines (and Chicago Transit Authority) fares recently on the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group. I’ll reproduce some of that here. It also prompted some reminiscences from one of our regular readers.
Someone has written me, regarding how her aged mother, who can no longer answer such questions, would have used transit in Chicago in 1932. I still don’t know where she lived, or where she was going.
But how much was the CSL fare back then? Was it a nickel? And how much for a transfer?
(The transfer would only have worked on the Surface Lines, since transfers to the “L” only began in 1935. I think the date was even later if you include the Chicago Motor Coach company.)
I have a question too. When did the L stop using fare tickets?
The only fare tickets I have seen pictures of were from the World War I era…
I know there were CRT tickets because I saw images of them in the L book that came out several years ago and I know they used tickets at Howard street because it operated with open platforms, perhaps into the CTA era. I have a duplex ticket of unknown vintage but issued by cRT, one coupon valid In the inner zone and the other valid in the outer zone. I believe the company was already in receivership when the form was printed.
Surface Lines fare was 7 cents from 1919 to 1942. See Bill Vandervoort’s website http://www.chicagorailfan.com/fares.html
A more detailed history of CTA transit fares was on Andre Kristopans’s now-defunct WebTV website. Luckily, it is preserved at
Thanks… there are still some things missing in the information provided on these two comprehensive sites.
For example, when did reduced fares for students begin? I am sure they would have started in the CSL era.
(Those proponents of privatized transit ought to know that the private operators were often bitterly opposed to such things as reduced fares for students.)
Transfer regulations are also not fully sketched out. I get the impression that at one time, by reading these articles, that at one time CSL transfers did not cost anything? Andre mentions that they cost a nickel starting in 1961. Nothing before that?
When I was growing up, a paper transfer could be used twice within two hours, and each time it would be punched by the operator on the new vehicle. Reverse riding was prohibited, meaning you generally had to pay a second full fare for your return trip, unless there was a creative way of doing it.
For example, someone could head south to downtown on route 22 (Clark) and head north on 36 (Broadway), since as long as you were going only as far as Diversey, they were going over much the same route. This you could do with a paper transfer.
There was also a thing called a “Supertransfer” for a while, that allowed unlimited rides (but cost more money).
Reverse riding on the same route is permitted today under transfer regulations.
Andre’s article does not mention that at some point in the early CTA era, when they were trying to put pressure on the Chicago Motor Coach company, you had to pay a fare differential when transferring from CMC to the CTA.
I think the CMC fare was 15c, CTA 20c. So if you went from CMC to CTA, you had to pay an additional 5c. (CTA and CMC sued each other over stuff like this, and both lawsuits were dropped when CMC sold out.)
This went away, of course, as of 10-1-1952, when CTA purchased the CMC assets (but not the name, which is why there is a different Chicago Motor Coach bus operation today). At that point, all former CMC routes began charging CTA fares, which must have been quite a jolt for regular riders.
CTA had tried to soften the blow by selling tokens in packs of 10 at a discount.
Before 1961 transfers were free. I don’t know about transfers to the CRT from CSL where there was a fare differential as that was before my time on this earth.
I would think that CSL-CRT transfers (which started in 1935) were free. This was a step in the City of Chicago’s path towards transit unification. To some extent, the two systems competed with each other, and it was realized that eventually, they were going to be joined and would have to operate in a more rational and cooperative fashion.
Transfers to CMC came later (1943?).
In the late CSL/CRT and into the CTA era, the principle followed was “one city – one fare”. I don’t recall a maximum number of rides on one transfer. You could go from the far Northwest Side at the border with Park Ridge to the Indiana state line on one fare. A trip starting on the surface (white paper) permitted more than one ride, punched each time, a transfer to rapid transit, changing routes if needed within the paid area, and transfer back to surface lines for one or more rides, punching the time when leaving the rapid transit system. A trip starting on rapid transit (blue paper) was valid for the surface after a time punch, and back to rapid transit, but not again on the surface.
I would do this by boarding a Garfield Park train at Desplaines after a CA&E ride from Elgin, transfer to a trolley bus on Central, Cicero, Pulaski, or Kedzie, and board a Lake Street train for the Loop, avoiding the slow trip on VanBuren Street, in the same amount of time. I remember passengers form a Central Avenue bus literally throwing pennies at the “L” agent and running for the train.
Reverse riding could be successful with advance planning. I recall taking the Milwaukee Avenue subway from downtown to Division and transferring to a eastbound 70-Division bus for the return trip downtown.
M. E. adds:
Regarding your recent discussion on Yahoo groups about CSL and CRT, and some of the replies:
I confirm that a free CSL transfer could be used on three conveyances maximum. That includes either three CSL lines; or CSL + CRT + another CSL. Using free connections on the CRT, it was indeed possible to go from the northwest corner of Chicago to the Indiana state line on a single transfer. I think, though, there were extra fares on the CRT Evanston and Niles Center lines because they entered suburbs. I don’t know whether there were extra fares outside Chicago on the Lake St., Garfield Park or Douglas Park CRT lines.
CRT transfers were also free, issued at the start of a trip. But as I recall, they were not blue, they were dark green. Sorry, I don’t remember whether a station agent had to punch a CRT transfer before issuing it.
To transfer from CRT to CSL, the user had to insert the left side of a CRT transfer into a time validation machine at the conclusion of the CRT trip. The validation machine was located at ground level just before exiting the pay area. I’m not certain whether in the three-conveyance scenario (CSL then CRT then CSL), the CSL transfer had to be time-stamped before exiting the CRT. I don’t recall seeing any space for a time validation on a CSL transfer. The left side of a CSL transfer was where a clock was printed; the CSL bus driver or streetcar conductor punched that clock before issuing the transfer at the start of the first CSL trip.
I never did a trip CRT then CSL then CRT, so I don’t know how the CRT transfers worked in that situation. Your other responders who did this kind of trip may know.
In the early 1950s, I wasn’t yet age 12, so I traveled using kids’ fares. I think the kids’ fare on the CRT was 10 cents cash, but 8 cents with a ticket. I distinctly remember buying five tickets for 40 cents. The tickets were orange, with black print.
As for reverse-direction travel on a single fare, the L system made it easy. oarding at 63rd and Halsted, I could travel either to Lawrence and Kimball, cross the platform, and board the next departure south; or I could travel as far north as Jarvis, cross the platform, and return. During my lifetime, the Englewood L first ran to Ravenswood, while the Jackson Park L ran to Howard. Later, both the Englewood and Jackson Park ran to Howard.
Off-topic somewhat: BART in San Francisco told people they could board at one
station, travel the system, and return to the original station for a fixed price. It wasn’t cheap. But, where stations were close together, it was much cheaper to board at one station, travel the system, and return to a station close to, but not, the original. The fare software calculated all this travel as just a short trip between the original and final stations. This was a long time ago. Maybe by now BART has caught on and eliminated this possibility.
Another off-topic: Using Wikipedia, I see that the date was January 1, 1952 when the Post Office raised the price of postcards 100%, from 1 to 2 cents. People used postcards a lot back then. Compounding the price increase, the Post Office began charging $1.10 for 50 postcards pre-wrapped. People quickly caught on and asked for 49. The Post Office didn’t take long to rescind the premium charge.
Thanks! Since you mention the 1950s, I assume you are writing about the Chicago Transit Authority, even though you refer to CSL and CRT.
Andre Kristopans adds:
Child fares (7-11 years old) apparently date back to at least 1908. Rate was 3 cents, two kids for 5 cents. High school students were added to the half-fare rate September 1956.
CMC-CSL transfers started 10/1/43. CSL to CMC were salmon, CMC to CSL were green. I believe CMC-CRT started at the same time.
Supertransfers were indeed Sundays (and holidays) only. Started June 1974. Ended about 1996.
Transfers were free until 7/23/61, then a 5 cent rate was started. Increased to 10 cents 7/8/70.
Paper transfers as we knew them were replaced by magnetic transfer cards 6-15-97, when magnetic fare cards went into general use.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
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