Surface Service

FYI, we recently acquired 41 more copies of Surface Service, the Chicago Surface Lines employee magazine that was published from 1923 to 1947. Here are the front and back covers from these issues. (Back covers are missing from two issues. We will eventually find replacements.)

Surface Service is full of interesting tidbits of information on CSL operations. Many individual employees are mentioned, especially old-timers and retirees. They frequently ran old photos sent in by current or former employees. Back in CSL days, there was no mandatory retirement age, and some employees worked well into their 70s.

There are perhaps 700 pages of material in these 41 issues, and all this is being added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store. This joins 34 issues of Surface Service that we had previously scanned.

In addition, this post features more recent photo finds, and another great batch of classic Chicago Aurora & Elgin pictures courtesy of Jack Bejna.

-Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

We ran this photo some time ago in Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Seven (February 26, 2016):

CTA 5565 on September 10, 1949. This was known as a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. M. E. writes, "Methinks this photo is at Root St. (4130 South) and Halsted. Under that assumption, the view faces north, the L is the Stock Yards L, and the streetcar is on the 44 Wallace-Racine line, heading from westbound on Root to southbound on Halsted."

CTA 5565 on September 10, 1949. This was known as a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. M. E. writes, “Methinks this photo is at Root St. (4130 South) and Halsted. Under that assumption, the view faces north, the L is the Stock Yards L, and the streetcar is on the 44 Wallace-Racine line, heading from westbound on Root to southbound on Halsted.”

Now we have another picture, taken at the same location:

CSL 5094 is clearly a Wallce-Racine car in this picture, which supports the idea that this is Root and Halsted, with the Stock Yards "L" in the background. Note the old Bowman dailry milk truck at right. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5094 is clearly a Wallce-Racine car in this picture, which supports the idea that this is Root and Halsted, with the Stock Yards “L” in the background. Note the old Bowman dailry milk truck at right. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

I would say this photo of prewar PCC 4047 was taken circa 1948, when the loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett was brand new. Formerly, double-ended cars ran to Oak Park Avenue a half-mile west of here.

I would say this photo of prewar PCC 4047 was taken circa 1948, when the loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett was brand new. Formerly, double-ended cars ran to Oak Park Avenue a half-mile west of here.

CTA 4019 is westbound on private right-of-way on 63rd Place, near the Narragansett loop. You would hardly recognize the location today, as it is in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood. This prewar PCC, in "tiger stripes," still has a CSL logo on it.

CTA 4019 is westbound on private right-of-way on 63rd Place, near the Narragansett loop. You would hardly recognize the location today, as it is in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood. This prewar PCC, in “tiger stripes,” still has a CSL logo on it.

CTA 4023 at 63rd and Narragansett.

CTA 4023 at 63rd and Narragansett.

CTA postwar PCC 7261 at the west end of the 63rd Street line (63rd Place and Narragansett).

CTA postwar PCC 7261 at the west end of the 63rd Street line (63rd Place and Narragansett).

This picture (and the previous one) appears to have been taken in the latter days of streetcar service on 63rd. By then, most service was provided by red Pullmans, but some two-man postwar PCC cars were there too (such as 7261, seen here). The prewar PCCs had by this time been converted to one-man and were moved over to Cottage Grove.

This picture (and the previous one) appears to have been taken in the latter days of streetcar service on 63rd. By then, most service was provided by red Pullmans, but some two-man postwar PCC cars were there too (such as 7261, seen here). The prewar PCCs had by this time been converted to one-man and were moved over to Cottage Grove.

This picture of South Shore Line cars 25 and 38 at Randolph Street is dated 1954, but an earlier date seems likely as there is no sign of the Prudential Building. Construction began on August 12, 1952, and the building was topped off on November 16, 1954. There was also a large sign advertising Pabst beer, not visible in this picture. Perhaps it had already been removed by the time this picture was taken. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

This picture of South Shore Line cars 25 and 38 at Randolph Street is dated 1954, but an earlier date seems likely as there is no sign of the Prudential Building. Construction began on August 12, 1952, and the building was topped off on November 16, 1954. There was also a large sign advertising Pabst beer, not visible in this picture. Perhaps it had already been removed by the time this picture was taken. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Here’s the latest, The Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railway ordered 10 cars to be built by the Niles Car Company in 1906, numbered 300-308 plus a parlor-buffet to be named Florence. CA&E 305 was rebuilt as parlor-buffet 600 in 1929, later rebuilt again and renumbered 436 Florence Florence was rebuilt into parlor car 601 in 1923 no image found. Florence was rebuilt again in 1929 and renumbered 435. Thanks again for your website and all of the interesting stories within.

We are very appreciative of all the great pictures that Mr. Bejna shares with out readers.

Car 600 (ex-305).

Car 600 (ex-305).

Car 436 at the Wheaton Shops (ex-car 600).

Car 436 at the Wheaton Shops (ex-car 600).

Car 435 at Wheaton Shops (ex-parlor car 601).

Car 435 at Wheaton Shops (ex-parlor car 601).

Car 308 (Niles, 1906). This picture looks like it was taken near Laramie on Chicago's west side.

Car 308 (Niles, 1906). This picture looks like it was taken near Laramie on Chicago’s west side.

Car 307 (Niles, 1906).

Car 307 (Niles, 1906).

Car 306 (Niles, 1906) at the Elgin terminal.

Car 306 (Niles, 1906) at the Elgin terminal.

Car 304 (Niles, 1906).

Car 304 (Niles, 1906).

Car 303 (Niles, 1906).

Car 303 (Niles, 1906).

Car 302 (Niles, 1906).

Car 302 (Niles, 1906).

Car 301 (Niles, 1906).

Car 301 (Niles, 1906).

Car 300 (Niles, 1906).

Car 300 (Niles, 1906).

Car 32 (Stephenson, 1902) at Glen Ellyn.

Car 32 (Stephenson, 1902) at Glen Ellyn.

Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 221 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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6 thoughts on “Surface Service

  1. Regarding the Surface Lines magazine: This is a treasure trove of now rare pictures of Chicago in the late thirties and into the forties. What a pleasure it is to take it all in. The very sharp photos of CA&E cars are likewise prime.

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  2. Something very odd about the picture #6 in January 1936. Location is at 47th and Ashland. Extension bus ran from Kedzie to Kostner. Why have celebration miles away? Also, note bus is signed “47” and “Chartered”. Bus route was 47A.
    Picture 7 is at 71st and Yates, looking west. ICRR on right.

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  3. A question for someone who might know: the headlight/signboard on some of those CA&E cars, was the headlight actually usable?

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  4. Yes. The destination signs were painted on hinged metal plates centered over the headlight. Each plate had a semi-circular opening centered over the headlight, permitting it to shine at night (or in fog).

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