This remarkable very early color picture shows NSL Birney car 332 and a variety of interurban cars in Milwaukee. In back, that’s car 300 in fantrip service. It was used by CERA as a club car circa 1939-42, which helps date the photo. Don’s Rail Photos: “332 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948… 300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans’ Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.” CERA bulletins of the time say that fantrips, being non-essential travel were not allowed for much of the war, starting in 1942. By the time the war ended, car 300 had been stripped of some parts in order to keep other wood cars running. Several were sold to the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in 1946. The North Shore Line had decided it no longer wanted to run wood cars in passenger service. Then, the 300 was vandalized and some windows were smashed. It was scrapped by CNS&M.
Today, we continue our look at the great Chicago interurbans* by featuring the North Shore Line. The Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee last ran on January 21, 1963, just over 54 years ago.
This is widely considered the end of the Interurban Era.
But wait, there’s much more on offer in this, our 175th post. All of today’s black-and-white photos are scanned from the original negatives. This includes an original medium format neg taken by Edward Frank, Jr., which he traded with another collector. I don’t know what became of the rest of his negatives.
See our last post (January 28, 2017) for part one.
North Shore Line
<img class="size-large wp-image-9191" src="https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/dave588.jpg?w=665" alt="On a June 17, 1962 CERA fantrip, we see NSL car 744 posing for pictures on a section of track that was once part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. Don's Rail Photos: "744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940." We previously featured another picture taken at this location in our post More Color Restorations
(August 9, 2016).” width=”665″ height=”407″ /> On a June 17, 1962 CERA fantrip, we see NSL car 744 posing for pictures on a section of track that was once part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940.” We previously featured another picture taken at this location in our post More Color Restorations
(August 9, 2016).
CNS&M wooden interurban car 303 in its days as a sleet cutter. Don’s Rail Photos: “303 thru 305 were built by American Car in 1910 and were almost identical. In 1939 they became sleet cutters and were retired and scrapped in 1940.”
CNS&M 704 getting washed at the Milwaukee terminal. Don’s Rail Photos: “704 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in May 1923, #2635.” (Walter Broschart Photo)
The information I received with this negative says that CNS&M 169 is a Special on the Shore Line Route in Wilmette in 1954. On the other hand, one of our long-time readers says this is actually Mundelein terminal on that branch line. Since this is apparently a fantrip car, the Shore Line Route sign may be incorrect. Don’s Rail Photos: “169 was built by Jewett in 1917.”
A not too sharp picture of a southbound train on the Shore Line Route at Wilmette.
Richard H. Young took this picture on June 2, 1960 from the back of a moving North Shore car somewhere near Mundelein. We see a line car at work on the other track. One of our regular readers says that we are looking east toward South Upton tower, with Rt. 176 at left (north).
A close-up of the line car. Not sure whether this is the 604 or the 606.
The same location today.
CNS&M 774 at the Milwaukee terminal. Don’s Rail Photos: “774 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930, It was rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on May 9, 1950.” This photo appears to predate that.
CNS&M 761 at the Milwaukee terminal on May 29, 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “761 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1949 and rebuilt as Silverliner in October 11, 1957.”
One of the two Electroliners passes a train of older cars in this wintry scene. Not sure of the exact location. The Electroliners entered service in 1941. Don Ross: “The Electroliner in the snow was at North Chicago. I have one similar from a different angle and no snow.” Jerry Wiatrowski: “The picture of the Southbound Electroliner is entering the curve to North Chicago Junction. The photographer is looking Northwest from North Chicago Junction. The bypass line continues South to the left.”
The same location today. We are looking north at about 2225 Commonwealth Avenue in North Chicago, IL. The cross-street, which was 22nd Street, is now Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr.
North Shore steeple cab 459 looks like it is backing up to connect with a couple of stalled cars. The information I got with this negative says this is Cudahy, Wisconsin in April 1954. That is just south of Milwaukee. However, it’s been pointed out to me that this municipality was a couple miles west of the right-of-way and the station in the picture looks more like Waukegan. Don’s Rail Photos: “459 was built by the SP&S in August 1941 as OERy 51. It was purchased by the North Shore in December 1947 and was completed as 459 on November 22, 1948.”
North Shore Birney car 335 in July 1947. Don’s Rail Photos: “335 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948.” The car is signed for Oklahoma Avenue in Milwaukee.
Car 409 on an early CERA fantrip, which may have been on June 4, 1939. It appears to be coupled to 716. The car at left may be 168. Car 255 is also supposed to have been used on that 1939 fantrip, but at that time, it was a full-length baggage car that had no seats and was often used to move musician’s instruments to and from Ravinia Park. The seats were not put in again until 1942. Don’s Rail Photos: “409 was built by Cincinnati Car in May 1923, #2465, as a dining car motor. In 1942 it was rebuilt as a coach and rebuilt as a Silverliner on March 30, 1955. Since it had no bulkhead between smoking and non-smoking sections, it was our favorite car to be used for meetings of the Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association in Milwaukee. The North Shore was very cooperative in making sure that the car was in the location shown on meeting nights.”
I received no information with this negative, but this may show a bunch of North Shore Line cars in dead storage after the 1963 abandonment. Notice the destination sign is missing from combine 254. This car was not saved. Don’s Rail Photos: “254 was built by Jewett in 1917. The seating was changed to 28 on August 26, 1955.”
CNS&M 759 and train at South Upton on June 15, 1947. Don’s Rail Photos: “759 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1949.”
CNS&M 737 at Highwood in 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “737 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940 and rebuilt as Silverliner on June 30, 1950.” (Richard S. Short Photo)
CNS&M 739 near Glencoe. The date given is June 21, 1941; however, there was a CERA fantrip the following day, so the date may actually be June 22. The car is signed for charter service on the Shore Line Route. June 22, 1941 was also the day that Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Don’s Rail Photos: “739 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on August 31, 1950.”
CNS&M 155 is a Skokie Valley Route Special at North Chicago on April 17, 1952. Don’s Rail Photos: “155 was built by Brill in 1915, #19605. It was damaged by fire at Highwood on August 11, 1955, and scrapped. One end from it was used to repair 735.”
South Shore Line
The other great Chicago interurban, of course, is the South Shore Line, which continues to operate between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. We have just a couple vintage photos to show you today, but are sure to have more soon.
CSS&SB car 1 heads up a train at Randolph Street in downtown Chicago in 1946. Don’s Rail Photos: “1 was built by Pullman in 1926. It was later air-conditioned. It went to National Park Service in 1983 and (was) loaned to (the) Southern Michigan RR.” Spence Ziegler says, “The photo of CSS&SB #1 was more likely 1950-52; I have a slide from the Interurbans Slide set from 1983 showing #1 leaving Kensington in 1949 (on the rear of a train) still with the destination sign and train number sign on it’s end, though both were disused. Bill Wasik: “The CSS&SB car 1 at Randolph Street in downtown Chicago photo dated 1946 instead likely was taken between July 1952, when the giant Pabst sign on Randolph was dismantled, and mid-1953, when steel going up for the Prudential Building would have been visible in this view.”
CSS&SB freight motor 903 at Michigan City on July 17, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos: “903 was built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in September 1929, #61047, as IC 10001. It became CSS&SB 903 in July 1941.”
Chicago & West Towns Railways
The Chicago & West Towns Railways operated streetcars in Chicago’s western suburbs. But a 1942 Chicago guidebook referred to it as an “interurban,” probably referring to its longest and busiest line, which ran from Cicero to LaGrange and had sections of private right-of-way. Starting in 1934, it went to the Brookfield Zoo.
C&WT 163 at the Oak Park car barn on April 23, 1939. There was a CERA fantrip on the West Towns on this date. 163 was built by the Cummings Car Company in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)
C&WT line car 15 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn. Don’s Rail Photos: “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.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Edward Frank, Jr.’s famous bicycle, which appears in many of his pictures.
C&WT 146 at Lake and Austin, east end of the line. Riders could change across the street for a Chicago car. The Park Theater, at right, was showing Sutter’s Gold, starring Edward Arnold. That film was released in 1936, which may be the date of this photo. This car was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924.
C&WT 105, described as being tan in color, in front of the North Riverside car barn on April 28, 1939. (However, if the date was actually the 23rd, there was a CERA fantrip.) Don’s Rail Photos: “105 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.” (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) Gordon E. Lloyd grew up in the Chicago area and would have been 14 years old at the time. He later became a well-known railfan photographer and authored some books. He died aged 81 in 2006. Pretty good picture for a teenager!
C&WT 105 at Cermak and Kenton, probably in the late 1930s. This was the east end of the long LaGrange line and this car is signed for the Brookfield Zoo. Note the CSL car at rear. Riders could change here to go east on route 21 – Cermak. Don’s Rail Photos: “105 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.”
The Angel’s Flight Railway is a narrow gauge funicular in the Bunker Hill neighborhood in Los Angeles. A funicular is somewhat like an elevator that goes up the side of a hill; when one car goes up, the other goes down. I’ve been on three of these myself– two in Pittsburgh and one in Dubuque, Iowa.
Most of these have operated for over a century without major incidents, but Angel’s Flight has been plagued by bad luck for a long time. First, starting in the early 1960s, the area around it was slated for redevelopment, and the surrounding buildings were torn down. The hill it was on was partly leveled.
Fortunately, Angel’s Flight was disassembled after it stopped running in 1969, and put into storage. It was moved a half block south and reopened in 1996.
Unfortunately, there were some problems with how the thing was engineered as reconstructed, which led to some accidents. While Angel’s Flight has not run for a few years, these safety concerns have been addressed one by one, and now all that stands in the way of its reopening is the installation of an emergency walkway in case the thing breaks down on its 298-foot journey. Meanwhile, the not-for-profit group that operates it has to pay thousands of dollars each month for insurance.
Still, Angel’s Flight is an LA landmark and we hope that it will operate once again, and safely.
In the meantime, I was surprised to find it featured in a brief scene in the film La La Land. The two leads (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) are shown riding and kissing on the funicular.
Although Angel’s Flight is closed to the public, the operators thought it would be OK to use it in a film, and I’m sure they benefit a great deal from the publicity. But while they have been reprimanded (right now, no one is supposed to ride except employees), I am glad it appears in the film.
Angel’s Flight has been appearing in movies for nearly 100 years now. You can read an article about this here.
Angel’s Flight at its original location (3rd and Hill Streets) on July 5, 1962, before nearby buildings were torn down. (Leo Callos Photo)
A view of Angel’s Flight in 1964, showing the building at left demolished.
A side view of Angel’s Flight in 1964, after nearby buildings were being demolished. (Leo Callos Photo)
The Angel’s Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)
Jack Bejna writes:
I enjoy the Trolley Dodger immensely, especially anything CA&E! I grew up in Broadview and walked to Proviso High School every day along the CA&E right of way from 9th avenue to 5th Avenue. This month’s CA&E images are some that I haven’t seen before and are great, especially since they’re medium format images. I have a request….I would like to see a good image of the old dispatcher’s office (before it was repainted and the upper windows covered over. I’m sure someone took pictures of the office but I’ve never seen one.
Thanks for all you do; it sure makes my day!
I post these images practically as soon as I can buy them, but I can put this request in my next post, in hopes that someone might be able to help.
Glad you enjoy the blog.
Thanks David, I’ll be looking and hoping for a good shot. Again, thanks for all you do for us CA&E fanatics!
Bill Shapotkin writes:
Dave — in your January 2015 posting, this photo was included:
CTA 78 is shown at the east end of the Madison-Fifth shuttle in February, 1954. But wait– wouldn’t car 78 be on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago? According to Alan R. Lind’s CSL book, the CTA renumbered car 1780 to 78 in the waning days of red car service, in order to free up numbers in the 1780s for some buses. This was the only time a CSL streetcar was given a two-digit number, except for work cars.
That’s one school of thought. On the other hand, the number on the side of this car looks like 1781, and according to Andre Kristopans, it was still 1781 when scrapped. It may in fact not be a renumbering at all, just a case where either the car’s paint got touched up and obscured part of the number, or part of the number fell off and did not get replaced, since red car service was ending in a few months anyway.
At left in the background you can see Fohrman Motors, a Chicago car dealer from 1912 to 1979. Three people were killed at the dealership by a disgruntled customer on January 7, 1966. The neighborhood, not far from the construction site for the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway, is already showing signs of urban decay. We discuss this in our post Some Thoughts on “Displaced” (August 30, 2016).
Your caption read (in part):
“CTA 78 is shown at the east end of the Madison-Fifth shuttle in February, 1954. But wait– wouldn’t car 78 be on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago? In actuality, I think this is car 1781. Perhaps part of the number has fallen off”
Well, I have an explanation (courtesy of Roy Benedict — who seems to recall that he heard this from Glen Anderson). It JUST SO HAPPENED, both car #1781 AND bus #1781 were assigned to Kedzie station at the time. To avoid confusion, the decals for the digit”1″ were removed off the streetcar — thus avoiding any confusion. Roy had ridden car #78 on the Fifth Ave Shuttle on at least two occasions (and noticed the strange two-digit car number) — only to find out years later (again, he recalls that it was via Glen) as to the reason.
That’s great to know, thanks. I recently bought another copy of the Lind book, and while it does mention the renumbering, offers no explanation. (I have owned several copies of Chicago Surface Lines, An Illustrated History over the years, but have given some of them away, and other copies are in storage.)
The only thing that would need to be double-checked is whether there really was a bus 1781 working out of the Kedzie car house. I suppose Andre would know that.
Andre Kristopans writes:
There was a bus 1781 in 1954, but not at Kedzie. 1700’s at the time were at North Av, North Park, and Limits. Best explanation I can give is that when 1781 was last repainted, they didn’t have any “1” decals, and so out it went as “78”, and the problem was never corrected. Note it does appear the side number is 78 also! However, CTA’s streetcar retirements documentation show 1781, both in the AFR and the scrap ledger.
Gina Sammis wrote us a while back, looking for information on Gustav Johnson, a longtime Chicago Surface Lines employee (born June 23, 1855 – died November 23, 1946). He retired around 1925, after having worked on streetcars for 35 years.
As it happens, I recently purchased a copy of the December 1946 Surface Service, the CSL employee magazine. These do not often come up for sale, in comparison with the later CTA Transit News.
Mr. Johnson is mentioned in two places. There is the one you already know about on page 15, in a section titled In Memoriam.
But there are also reports from individual car houses (barns), and on page 8 it says,”Retired Motorman Gus Johnson passed away November 24.”
So, at least that tells you that he was driving the streetcars, and not just the conductor taking fares.
I took the liberty of writing to George Trapp, in order to find out just what streetcar lines would have been operating out of Devon Station (car house) in the early 1900s. Here is his reply:
I would guess the Evanston cars before 1913 or so before the barn on Central Street in Evanston was built and after 1901 when the Devon barn was built. The North Shore & Western dinkey may also have been stored there in the Winter when the golf club was closed. The Devon shuttle and the Lawrence Avenue lines as well and possibly the North Western line before being through routed with Western which also used the barn for part of the service from sometime in the 1930’s and half the service in the PCC era.
His answer needs a bit of further explaining. I did some additional research, From 1901, when the Devon car house opened, until 1913, Evanston streetcars would have used the facility. After that, they had their own barn.
You need to consider that this area was just getting built up around this time. So, there were a lot of changes. In general, the dates of the changes will give you a clue to about when development was happening.
Here is what the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society says about the North Shore and Western Railway:
The North Shore & Western Railway Company was formed and owned by the members of the Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois. It comprised two pieces of equipment, one streetcar and a snow plow. There were two employees, a motorman and conductor. The hours of operation were set for the convenience of the members of the golf club.
It operated from the golf club through a portion of Harms Woods crossing the North Branch of the Chicago River in the woods and ran straight east on what is now known as Old Orchard Road to Evanston, where the street becomes Harrison Street. It was nicknamed the Toonerville Trolley and a piece of a rail is on display at the Skokie Historical Society.
The membership tired of the trolley’s ownership and sold the line to the Evanston Railway Company.
George Trapp refers to their sole streetcar as a “dinky,” meaning it was small.
The “Devon Avenue Shuttle” would have run east-west. According to Alan R. Lind on page 254 of Chicago Surface Lines, An Illustrated History (Third Edition):
This short North Side shuttle started operation May 20, 1917 from Clark to Western. One-man cars took over the service March 13, 1921. A west extension opened December 14, 1925 from Western to Kedzie, and an east extension opened from Clark to Magnolia January 30, 1928. When Broadway cars began to run to Devon and Kedzie on July 10, 1932, the Devon shuttle car was discontinued.”
North Western Avenue is covered in the same book on page 312:
This extension of the regular Western route began October 18, 1915 between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr. Extensions brought the line to Devon on December 11, 1915, and to Howard on December 16, 1916. The line was through-routed with Western on May 1, 1923.
The busiest route working out of Devon station would have always been Clark, which started running downtown (from Howard) on October 21, 1906. It was through-routed with the south side Wentworth line on March 17, 1908.
Here is what Lind says about the Broadway route on page 231:
In 1906 this North Side trunk route ran from Clark and Howard at the city limits to a loop in downtown Chicago via Cark, Devon, Broadway, Clark, Randolph, LaSalle, Monroe, Dearborn, and Randolph. At this time streetcars to north suburban Evanston also ran on the Broadway route from the old Limits carbarn at Drummond and Clark to Central and Bennett in Evanston. The route was the same as the Broadway cars to Howard, then via Chicago, Dempster, Sherman, and Central to Bennett.
On July 24, 1907 the Evanston line was extended west from Bennett to Lincolnwood Dr. On the same day a single track extension line known as the North Shore & Western Railway began service via Lincolnwood and Harrison to the Glenview Golf Club west of the Chicago River.
The local Broadway cars and the Evanston service to Lincolnwood Dr. were operated by the Chicago Union Traction Company, a Yerkes property. The track north of Irving Park was owned by the Chicago Consolidated Traction Company. (The North Shore & Western was owned by some men with a stake in the golf club.) On February 25, 1908 CUT was reorganized as Chicago Railways Company. On December 27, 1910 Chicago Railways sold its suburban lines to the County Traction Company. At midnight on that date the track connection between the Broadway line, still under CRYs, and the Evanston line was cut at Clark and Howard. Through passengers had to walk across a 30-foot gap in the track from the Evanston cars, now in local Evanston service only under County Traction, to the Broadway cars, still under Chicago Railways.
Because of a franchise requirement of one of the underlying companies,, free transfers from Evanston to Broadway cars were issued starting December 31, 1910. County Traction was split into two companies on August 5, 1913: Evanston Traction and Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. Evanston Traction became (the Evanston Railways Company and in 1936) Evanston Bus Company.
In sum, if your relative worked at Devon station in the early 1900s, chances are most of his work would have been on the Clark and Broadway lines. On my blog, if you do a search on the words Clark or Broadway, you will turn up lots of photos showing service on those lines.
You have been so helpful and I am very appreciative. Thank you David.
We have added a complete scan of the December 1946 Surface Service to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. But better yet, why not write us at:
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