An Easter Parade of Traction

The throngs of people in this June 1926 photograph were attending the Catholic Church's 28th International Eucharistic Congress in Mundelein. Note the variety of rail cars being used to move the masses. After the Congress ended, ridership on the North Shore Line's Mundelein-Libertyville branch was sparse enough that service was provided by a single city streetcar.

The throngs of people in this June 1926 photograph were attending the Catholic Church’s 28th International Eucharistic Congress in Mundelein. Note the variety of rail cars being used to move the masses. After the Congress ended, ridership on the North Shore Line’s Mundelein-Libertyville branch was sparse enough that service was provided by a single city streetcar.

As this is Easter weekend, here is a veritable “Easter Parade” of Illinois traction pictures for your enjoyment. No matter what your religious preference may be, we hope that you will not pass over them.

-David Sadowski

CTA 1767, signed for Route 58 - Ogden, is actually heading east on Randolph at Green Street in this early 1950s view.

CTA 1767, signed for Route 58 – Ogden, is actually heading east on Randolph at Green Street in this early 1950s view.

Randolph and Green Streets today.

Randolph and Green Streets today.

CSL 5644 is on Lincoln Avenue and signed to go to both Riverview Park and Harrison and State. 5644 was known as a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. Don's Rail Photos says, "5622 thru 5650 were built by Brill in 1909, #16952, for Southern Street Ry which was a subsidiary." (Southern Street Railway was one of the underlying companies that formed CSL.) Jim Huffman adds, "Probably a Riverview-Larrabee or aka Lincoln-Riverview car. Route Western & Roscoe crossover (later a loop west side of Western), EB to Damen, SB to Belmont, EB to Lincoln, SB to Larrabee thence into Downtown. Ended Sept 1947. A shuttle bus service on Roscoe to the Lincoln Ravenswood station remained for many years. Clybourn was another route that also at times that loop on Western, Clybourn’s actual crossover was at Western, but tracks continued north onto Western with switches into that loop. Western NB short turn cars also used that loop. At times there were cars from three routes in that loop. There were not that many turn-around loops with that many routes." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5644 is on Lincoln Avenue and signed to go to both Riverview Park and Harrison and State. 5644 was known as a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “5622 thru 5650 were built by Brill in 1909, #16952, for Southern Street Ry which was a subsidiary.” (Southern Street Railway was one of the underlying companies that formed CSL.) Jim Huffman adds, “Probably a Riverview-Larrabee or aka Lincoln-Riverview car. Route Western & Roscoe crossover (later a loop west side of Western), EB to Damen, SB to Belmont, EB to Lincoln, SB to Larrabee thence into Downtown. Ended Sept 1947. A shuttle bus service on Roscoe to the Lincoln Ravenswood station remained for many years. Clybourn was another route that also at times that loop on Western, Clybourn’s actual crossover was at Western, but tracks continued north onto Western with switches into that loop. Western NB short turn cars also used that loop. At times there were cars from three routes in that loop. There were not that many turn-around loops with that many routes.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 7005, still looking shiny, at the Madison-Austin loop. I would date this picture to circa 1937 as the paint has not yet dulled on the car.

CSL 7005, still looking shiny, at the Madison-Austin loop. I would date this picture to circa 1937 as the paint has not yet dulled on the car.

The same buildings are across the street from the east side of the Madison-Austin loop even today. But the flow of vehicles through the loop has been reversed, compared to how it was in streetcar days.

The same buildings are across the street from the east side of the Madison-Austin loop even today. But the flow of vehicles through the loop has been reversed, compared to how it was in streetcar days.

CTA Pullman 691 at Belmont and Central in November 1948. (Jack Gervais Photo)

CTA Pullman 691 at Belmont and Central in November 1948. (Jack Gervais Photo)

CSL 6200 on the Windsor Park line. This was a Multiple-Unit car. Don's Rail Photos adds, "6200 was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932." Andre Kristopans adds, "One funny thing about this location, when the CTA started the automated stop announcements on the buses, the southbound stop, which is where the B&O crossing was a bit south of 83rd Place, is announced as “Commercial Avenue at Railroad crossing”, even though the tracks have been gone since the 1970’s sometime!" (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 6200 on the Windsor Park line. This was a Multiple-Unit car. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “6200 was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.” Andre Kristopans adds, “One funny thing about this location, when the CTA started the automated stop announcements on the buses, the southbound stop, which is where the B&O crossing was a bit south of 83rd Place, is announced as “Commercial Avenue at Railroad crossing”, even though the tracks have been gone since the 1970’s sometime!” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Here, CSL 2811 is outbound on the Riverdale line private right-of-way, headed for Michigan and 119th. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Here, CSL 2811 is outbound on the Riverdale line private right-of-way, headed for Michigan and 119th. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 6238 on the 67-69-71 line. This was known as a Multiple-Unit car. Don's Rail Photos adds, "6238 was built by Lightweight Noiseless Streetcar Co in 1924. It was rebuilt (for) one man service in 1932."

CSL 6238 on the 67-69-71 line. This was known as a Multiple-Unit car. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “6238 was built by Lightweight Noiseless Streetcar Co in 1924. It was rebuilt (for) one man service in 1932.”

CTA Marmon trolley buses 9586 and 9594 at the North Avenue garage.

CTA Marmon trolley buses 9586 and 9594 at the North Avenue garage.

CTA Marmon trolley bus on North Avenue.

CTA Marmon trolley bus on North Avenue.

CTA trolley bus 9462 at the Cicero and Montrose loop. The McDonald's at rear says 9 billion hamburgers have been sold, which would help date this photo to perhaps the mid-1960s. I believe this was the first McDonald's in the City of Chicago.

CTA trolley bus 9462 at the Cicero and Montrose loop. The McDonald’s at rear says 9 billion hamburgers have been sold, which would help date this photo to perhaps the mid-1960s. I believe this was the first McDonald’s in the City of Chicago.

CTA trolley bus 9631 is westbound on Belmont at Cicero circa 1970.

CTA trolley bus 9631 is westbound on Belmont at Cicero circa 1970.

9462 at the Cicero and Montrose loop.

9462 at the Cicero and Montrose loop.

Illinois Central electric suburban cars 1125 and 1226 in downtown Chicago on July 17, 1965.

Illinois Central electric suburban cars 1125 and 1226 in downtown Chicago on July 17, 1965.

Don's Rail Photos says: "415 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1924, #1324, as CO&P (Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria) 64. It became C&IV (Chicago & Illinois Valley) 64 in 1929. It was rebuilt as IT (Illinois Terminal) 415 on September 16, 1934. and sold to Illinois Electric Railway Museum on October 19, 1956."

Don’s Rail Photos says: “415 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1924, #1324, as CO&P (Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria) 64. It became C&IV (Chicago & Illinois Valley) 64 in 1929. It was rebuilt as IT (Illinois Terminal) 415 on September 16, 1934. and sold to Illinois Electric Railway Museum on October 19, 1956.”

Chicago and Joliet Electric car 242, known as the "Ottawa," after the 1934 abandonment.

Chicago and Joliet Electric car 242, known as the “Ottawa,” after the 1934 abandonment.

When I received this picture, it was identified only as being on the Wells Street leg of the Loop "L". However, the construction work shown identifies it as Quincy and Wells, circa 1926-27. The "L" platforms are being extended with metal canopies, while work at left is underway on the Wells Street Terminal, which had an impressive three-story facade designed by Chicago Rapid Transit Company staff architect Arthur U. Gerber. We are facing north.

When I received this picture, it was identified only as being on the Wells Street leg of the Loop “L”. However, the construction work shown identifies it as Quincy and Wells, circa 1926-27. The “L” platforms are being extended with metal canopies, while work at left is underway on the Wells Street Terminal, which had an impressive three-story facade designed by Chicago Rapid Transit Company staff architect Arthur U. Gerber. We are facing north.

Here, we are looking north on Wabash at Van Buren, near Tower 12, circa the 1940s.

Here, we are looking north on Wabash at Van Buren, near Tower 12, circa the 1940s.

This is the old State and Van Buren station on the Loop "L", looking east towards Tower 12. This station was closed in 1972 and demolished. It has since been replaced, due to its proximity to the Harold Washington Library.

This is the old State and Van Buren station on the Loop “L”, looking east towards Tower 12. This station was closed in 1972 and demolished. It has since been replaced, due to its proximity to the Harold Washington Library.

A snowy scene at Wabash and Lake, site of the tightest curve on the "L".

A snowy scene at Wabash and Lake, site of the tightest curve on the “L”.

CTA gate car 1050 at Howard on the Evanston shuttle.

CTA gate car 1050 at Howard on the Evanston shuttle.

We originally ran another version of this photo in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Five (Spetember 26, 2016), where it was identified as Noyes Street in Evanston looking south. This version of the photo has less cropping and is dated August 10, 1928. Work is underway on elevating this portion of the Evanston "L".

We originally ran another version of this photo in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Five (Spetember 26, 2016), where it was identified as Noyes Street in Evanston looking south. This version of the photo has less cropping and is dated August 10, 1928. Work is underway on elevating this portion of the Evanston “L”.

This is an inspection train at the Lake Street Transfer "L" station, which provided connections between the Lake Street "L", on the lower level, and the Metropolitan above. The higher level station was closed in February 1951, when the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened.

This is an inspection train at the Lake Street Transfer “L” station, which provided connections between the Lake Street “L”, on the lower level, and the Metropolitan above. The higher level station was closed in February 1951, when the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened.

CRT 1715 at Marion Street in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L". It is signed as a local and is about to head east. This car was originally built by St. Louis Car Conpany in 1903 for the Northwestern Elevated Railway as car 715 and was renumbered to 1715 in 1913.

CRT 1715 at Marion Street in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”. It is signed as a local and is about to head east. This car was originally built by St. Louis Car Conpany in 1903 for the Northwestern Elevated Railway as car 715 and was renumbered to 1715 in 1913.

CTA 1780 heads up an "A" train at Marion Street in Oak Park. The ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture was probably taken between 1948 and 1955.

CTA 1780 heads up an “A” train at Marion Street in Oak Park. The ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture was probably taken between 1948 and 1955.

A CRT gate car on the Stock Yards branch of the "L".

A CRT gate car on the Stock Yards branch of the “L”.

This picture, taken on May 21, 1934, shows how the CRT Stock Yards "L" branch was extensively damaged by fire two days earlier. Service west of Halsted did not resume until January 16, 1935.

This picture, taken on May 21, 1934, shows how the CRT Stock Yards “L” branch was extensively damaged by fire two days earlier. Service west of Halsted did not resume until January 16, 1935.

The single-track Stock Yards loop.

The single-track Stock Yards loop.

CRT 4318 at one of the ground-level stations on the west end of the Garfield Park line, headed for Westchester. The fencing at left may be related to construction work on the Congress Expressway, which resulted in this line being relocated.

CRT 4318 at one of the ground-level stations on the west end of the Garfield Park line, headed for Westchester. The fencing at left may be related to construction work on the Congress Expressway, which resulted in this line being relocated.

CA&E 46 on the west end of a six-car train at Laramie Yards.

CA&E 46 on the west end of a six-car train at Laramie Yards.

CA&E 424 loops at DesPlaines Avenue circa 1953-57, with a Chicago Great Western freight train in the background. We are looking north.

CA&E 424 loops at DesPlaines Avenue circa 1953-57, with a Chicago Great Western freight train in the background. We are looking north.

The CA&E off-street terminal at Aurora. There is a sign indicating this is the new terminal, opening on December 31st (1939). Since there are trains in the station,I would date this picture to circa 1940. Previously, trains ran on city streets in downtown Aurora.

The CA&E off-street terminal at Aurora. There is a sign indicating this is the new terminal, opening on December 31st (1939). Since there are trains in the station,I would date this picture to circa 1940. Previously, trains ran on city streets in downtown Aurora.

This view of the CA&E Aurora terminal is from the early 1950s.

This view of the CA&E Aurora terminal is from the early 1950s.

The CA&E Wheaton station in the early 1950s.

The CA&E Wheaton station in the early 1950s.

A view of the CA&E Wheaton Yards.

A view of the CA&E Wheaton Yards.

This picture shows CA&E car 425 at Glen Oak on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. The date was September 2, 1940.

This picture shows CA&E car 425 at Glen Oak on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. The date was September 2, 1940.

CA&E wood car 318, at right, is making a photo stop at Clintonville on the Elgin branch, during an early Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. Presumably the 415 at left is a regular service car.

CA&E wood car 318, at right, is making a photo stop at Clintonville on the Elgin branch, during an early Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. Presumably the 415 at left is a regular service car.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

Not-So-Recent Correspondence

We recently acquired a letter and some photographs that were sent by the late William E. Robertson (1920-2003) of Wilmette, Illinois to George (Krambles?):

Sep/22/1951

Dear George,

Here are a few photographs taken on the North Shore Line some years ago, hope they will be of general interest. Regret delay in posting them to you, after your promptness in (sending) Fort Dodge photos to me!

In two weeks I am taking a big eastern trip through Canada and New England where I hope to get many electric railway pictures. Will not be home until the opening of November, but still look for(ward to) your visit here. No other news for now.

Sincerely, Bill

Bill Robertson was part of the “Greatest Generation” of early railfans.  The letter does not say whether Mr. Robertson took these photos, but that’s a good inference.

Among other things, Bill Robertson was an inventor, and had a few patents in his name, including one for a “High-Speed Transportation System.” This must have had some utility, as it has been cited by several other later patents.

Chances are, Bill Robertson took all six pictures. The captions shown are his:

#1 Sweeper on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette, Ill., Shore Line Route. Jan/31/1940.

#1 Sweeper on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette, Ill., Shore Line Route. Jan/31/1940.

#2 Waukegan city car barn, North Chicago, Ill. This car long since scrapped, photo taken in September 1939.

#2 Waukegan city car barn, North Chicago, Ill. This car long since scrapped, photo taken in September 1939.

#3 Shore Line train, Greenleaf Avenue, Wilmette, Ill. Taken about 1944. Southbound.

#3 Shore Line train, Greenleaf Avenue, Wilmette, Ill. Taken about 1944. Southbound.

#4 North Chicago barns, Birney car that later went to Milwaukee, Wis. Scrapped in 1947. Photo taken in September 1939. Car shown in 2 at left.

#4 North Chicago barns, Birney car that later went to Milwaukee, Wis. Scrapped in 1947. Photo taken in September 1939. Car shown in 2 at left.

#5 Chicago Limited in Milwaukee, date unknown, but after 1939.

#5 Chicago Limited in Milwaukee, date unknown, but after 1939.

#6 Worst North Shore wreck, at Burlington Road, Kenosha, Wis. Sunday night, Feb. 23, 1930. 11 killed, 100 injured and one car so smashed it was never returned to service (No. 745).

#6 Worst North Shore wreck, at Burlington Road, Kenosha, Wis. Sunday night, Feb. 23, 1930. 11 killed, 100 injured and one car so smashed it was never returned to service (No. 745).

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave,

Another great post! I can’t imagine how you find the time to put these excellent posts together; I’m just glad you do! If your readers haven’t sat in front of a computer Photoshopping for hours on end to improve a single image they can’t possibly know how much work goes into your posts. I’m sending along some images of the Wheaton depot and shop areas.

Thanks for all the wonderful photos you have shared with our readers. You do a fantastic job! I appreciate your kind words.

North Shore Line Abandonment Petition

In 1962, the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railway petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the entire interurban. The railroad convinced the ICC that there was no hope to restore profitability in this era before government subsidies. The last trains ran in the early hours of January 21, 1963.

There were various groups trying to save the railroad. This document, published by the North Shore Line, tends to undercut various arguments made by these outside groups. An impression is conveyed that operations were already quite lean, and that further significant cost savings were not realistic.

In sum, the only thing that could have saved the interurban at this stage would have been subsidies. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The Chicago Transit Authority had reached the same conclusion in the late 1950s, and it is only due to such subsidies, staring in the mid-1960s, that we have any public transit to speak of in this country today.

At any rate, this makes fascinating reading for North Shore Line fans.

-David Sadowski

Finally, Tom Morrow writes:

An Electric Transit Easter Parade cannot be complete without Pullman 441 from Dayton. Circa 1962.

Photo by Cliff Scholes.

Take care.

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. Lots of work has been done on the text, and the final selection of photos has been made. We will keep you advised as things progress.

street-railwayreview1895-002

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10 thoughts on “An Easter Parade of Traction

  1. Bill Robertson’s North Shore Line picture #5 Chicago Limited in Milwaukee, date unknown, but after 1939
    .
    On it’s way south from the North Shore’s Milwaukee terminal at N. 6th and W. Michigan streets, the North Shore crossed three trackless trolley routes. These crossings were at W. National* Ave. & S. 6th St., W. Greenfield* Ave and W. Mitchell* St. & S. 5th St., these three intersections were also station stops for the convenience of boarding southbound trains and alighting from Milwaukee bound trains at the presence of awaiting passengers curbside or onboard passengers notifying the conductor of their intent to alight.
    .
    * National Ave. received trolley buses in 1955, Greenfield Ave. in 1948 and Mitchell St. in 1938 (another elimination factor)
    .
    In examining the photo, the trackless-trolley overhead is a clue and from my memory the location looks nothing like the National Ave. or the Mitchell St. crossings. The view looks south determined from from the long shadows from a late afternoon sun to the right. On examining the street signs it seems to be south 5th st., the cross street name, although difficult to read, seems to end in an LD as in Greenfield.
    I’d say this afternoon train is on its way to downtown Milwaukee and is at W. Greenfield Ave and S. 5th St. in 1949 or later.

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  2. Photo #5 car 7005 the location given is Madison/Austin loop
    I am reasonably sure that this is not correct.
    I am unable to identify the location.

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    • I too doubted this was the Madison-Austin loop– at first. But after studying various photographs, I became convinced that this is the east side of the loop. It seems like 90% or more of the pictures fans took show the west side of the loop. But everything here matches other photos.

      A very similar Mobil sign is visible, just where you would expect it to be, in this 1940 view:

      https://thetrolleydodger.com/2015/10/12/more-chicago-pcc-photos-part-four/misc615/#main

      My guess is the sign was repainted sometime between 1937 and 1940. If you took a picture at the east end of the loop in 1937, the picture would look just like the one in this post.

      The same buildings are across the street on the south side of Madison even today. In fact, the same building to the east of the loop is still there too.

      Could be that when PCCs entered the loop, they generally did not stop at the east end, but continued to the middle or west end, which would explain why there are so many more photos of that side.

      Like

  3. Photo #259.
    Probably a Riverview-Larrabee or aka Lincoln-Riverview car. Route Western & Roscoe crossover (later a loop west side of Western), EB to Damen, SB to Belmont, EB to Lincoln, SB to Larrabee thence into Downtown. Ended Sept 1947. A shuttle bus service on Roscoe to the Lincoln Ravenswood station remained for many years.
    One other route also at times could have used that loop on Western, its actual crossover was at Western, but tracks continued north on Western with switches into that loop.
    Short turn NB Western cars were able to use that loop.
    Clybourn was bused in May 1947.
    Good Job!

    Like

      • I should have wrote:
        Probably a Riverview-Larrabee or aka Lincoln-Riverview car. Route Western & Roscoe crossover (later a loop west side of Western), EB to Damen, SB to Belmont, EB to Lincoln, SB to Larrabee thence into Downtown. Ended Sept 1947. A shuttle bus service on Roscoe to the Lincoln Ravenswood station remained for many years.
        Clybourn was another route that also at times that loop on Western, Clybourn’s actual crossover was at Western, but tracks continued north onto Western with switches into that loop.
        Western NB short turn cars also used that loop.
        At times there were cars from three routes in that loop. There were not that many turn-around loops with that many routes.

        Like

  4. CSL 6200 shown running on the Windsor Park line is crossing the B&O Brookdale Branch at 84th and Commercial Ave. The Brookdale Branch was B&O’s original entry into Chicago.

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  5. One funny thing about this location, when the CTA started the automated stop announcements on the buses, the southbound stop, which is where the B&O crossing was a bit south of 83rd Place, is announced as “Commercial Avenue at Railroad crossing”, even though the tracks have been gone since the 1970’s sometime!

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