Some of you have a device called a Magic Jack to make telephone calls using your home computer. But as many of our readers know, this blog also has a “Magic Jack” all of its own.
Today’s post features the work of Jack Bejna, whose pictures have been featured here many times previously. He loves finding old photographs and works his own brand of magic on them, making them look better using Photoshop.
We thank him for sharing these great images with our readers. The comments that follow, in this section, are Jack’s. Just to keep a hand in, we also have a few additional photos of our own that follow.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin at Laramie Avenue
Here are a few shots of the yard at Laramie Avenue. The first shows the yard looking east with the freight shed at the right, and at the left a CTA train heads west. The second shot features a CA&E train heading west (not sure but looks like a motorman in the front window). The third shot is at the freight house looking west. The tracks in the foreground were used to store CA&E trains when not needed, and many photographs of CA&E cars were taken at this location through the years. The fourth shot shows a CA&E freight at Flournoy Street heading west. In the background can be seen the mid-day storage tracks for CA&E cars.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin Wheaton Yards
Detroit Jackson & Chicago
I believe that all of these pictures were taken in or near Jackson, Michigan. The Jackson depot is lettered Michigan United Railways in one picture, Michigan United Traction Comapny in another, and the cars are lettered Michigan Railway Lines, all as a result of several changes of ownership of the Detroit Jackson and Chicago lines. Also included is a map of downtown Jackson.
Detroit United Railway
Some years ago a friend of mine told me that her uncle had died and left a lot of railroadiana behind, and I could have a look and take anything I wanted. Most of the stuff was not worth anything but I did come across two small (4”x 6”) two ring binders that were full of Detroit United Railways and Michigan Interurban equipment photos. The DUR photos had in-depth tech specs on the photo back for the particular car pictured. The pre-printed tech spec info form was dated: Rep cost 10-1-1921. I believe these photos were part of an audit for an upcoming fare increase request. I therefore believe that the photos were taken circa 1921.
I kept the binders and several years ago I started scanning them and Photoshopping them when I had time to spare. The quality of the pictures (i.e., exposure, lighting, etc.) varies but there are a number that are fine following a lot of Photoshop work.
Most of the photos don’t include the location where the photo were taken, and, since I’m not familiar with Michigan towns and cities, I don’t have any idea where the pictures were taken, with some exceptions.
I hope that readers of your fine blog may help to identify locations of some of the photographs.
More about the Hoffmans from Jeff Wien:
Dorothy and Bill were twins. They were born on May 15, 1910. Bill was 78 when he died (July 5, 1988) and Dorothy was 88 when she died. Dorothy died on May 10, 1999, five days short of her 89th birthday.
Dorothy was a wonderful person. Very generous in her donations to the Illinois Railway Museum in Bill’s memory. She funded the Hoffman Garage and other motor bus related projects. Dorothy donated over $800,000 to IRM, mostly motor bus related.
I have seen the attached photo in various sites on the internet. The photo shows a Lake Street train which apparently failed to stop at the Market Street terminal at Madison Street and ran through the bumper at the end of the line, derailing the first car which hangs over the edge of the structure. I thought the purpose of the bumper was to prevent a train from running beyond the end of the line, but it apparently didn’t work too well in this case.
The date would appear to be the late 1930s or 1940s (pre-CTA), but I have not found any information or newspaper articles describing what happened. I assume that means there were no deaths or injuries. It could even have been an empty train. Do you have any information about this?
I continue to enjoy your blog — keep it up!
I reached out to Andre Kristopans, who replied:
Not seeing the photo in question makes it harder, but this is what I can say. In wood car days, a wood car could take a pretty bad hit and survive to see service again. CRT was so broke that they were forced to fix anything that wasn’t totally destroyed as they could not afford to replace anything. That said, this is a possible list of candidates it the car in question was totaled:
3055 (trailer) 1929
Other early retirements are all shown as “fire”, so not likely. However, there were about a dozen cars that CTA retired in 1948 which were apparently in wrecked or burned condition before 10/1/47 but still on the books that were simply written off without any actual scrapping dates recorded. Lake St cars on this list were trailers trailers, so not likely.
As far as Market St service, it was thought that three AM trains circled the loop and then backed into Market St. This is not correct. Three trains left Austin at 656, 709, 727AM making all stops to Hamlin, then Oakley and all stops to Madison/Market and laid up. There might have been additional layups coming off the loop, however. Then they left between 507 and 613PM (6.5 to 12 min headway, so more than three trains) making all stops to Oakley, then Hamlin and all stops to Forest Park.
Sorry, I thought the photo would come across. At any rate, it does look like a trailer, and the number is 3053, although it desn’t appear to be wrecked, really.
The picture certainly does look like the 1940s, though.
Well, this explains a lot. 3053 lasted until 4/51, so it certainly survived. Also, it was not a control trailer, so the motorman was at the other end of the train, backing in, and overshot his stopping point.
Pittsburgh Mystery Photo
Jeff Wien recently obtained this photo processed in September 1965, but without any other information, noting, “The photo was taken after route 55 was converted to motor bus, so it is not route 55 streetcars that we see in the photo.”
Jeff contacted James B. Holland, who writes:
It is at the Flood Control Barrier (one can see track goes single immediately right of PCCs) on the 55 line and within ‘eye+sight’ of E. Pittsburgh, except for the curve in the road!!! It is worked by an extended 65-line: Lincoln Place (loop on 56) to Homestead Loop on 8th. The 65-line loop in Homestead (also shared by former 60-line shuttle to East Liberty) was just west of Rankin Bridge. The 55-line shared track with 65 thru Homestead on 8th between Amity and 60/65 Loop and beyond to Rankin Bridge which 55 crossed to East Pittsburgh. Thus, with demise of 55, the 65 was extended from Homestead to E. Pittsburgh for ‘some time.’ The 60/65 line loop in Homestead was used by the 55A, a rush Hour tripper To/From downtown Pittsburgh.
The Carlson PCC book Coast To Coast lists both 65 and 55 as ending on the same date, 5 September 1965. A note in the table (Pgs168-169) indicates: “ Hays to Pittsburgh (including 57) abandoned 04 Jul 1964 balance [worked by extended 65 abandoned] by PAT modernization on [09 Sep] 1965.” Thus It Seems the 65 line was extended for 1 year plus two months. Many are not aware of this. I have pictures distinctly signed 65 also distinctly working the 55.
With Glenwood Car House closed in 1961 and routes operated from South Hills, several years before PAT, and with Glenwood Bridge banned to trolleys, 65 line left South Hills and probably used Forbes and Braddock to Rankin Jct and ‘to extended route’ from there. (Interesting to note: 55 Owl terminal was Rankin Bridge, at least post-rebuild.)
I do not know if the extended 65 used the old dedicated loop in East Pittsburgh which was not quite in “downtown E. Pittsburgh”. The 65 line may have looped in E. Pittsburgh proper on Braddock to Electric, Linden, Beech and Braddock.
In case any of our readers have additional information, Jeff is still trying to find out the name of the steel mill shown in the photo. (Editor’s note: John Suhayda adds, “The Pittsburgh Mystery Photo shows the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, east of Pittsburgh, along the Monongahela River.”)
Richard Wilke writes:
What a wonderful website! Thank you for all the information I was able locate about the CA&E! I am looking for any photo of the last stop at Mannheim & 22nd Street on the Westchester branch. My uncle lived in Wheaton on Electric Avenue. He somehow acquired the station signage from that last stop, and I have yet to confirm that the sign that I now have, as being from that end of line stop! Is there someone in your organization that might be able to confirm its existence with a picture of said sign? It’s a 14″ x 7′, deep blue with white block lettering, reading, MANNHEIM-22nd. Would appreciate any information to find its true history!
I found a picture of that station on Graham Garfield’s excellent web site. It is dated 1951, which was when service ended, and although it is not very sharp, you can see two signs. The photo is credited to Bernard L. Stone:
On the other hand, Mitch Markovitz writes:
I saw the photo of the sign that reads “MANNHEIM 22nd STREET” in the latest Dodger. I don’t think it’s authentic at all. The type is way too contemporary, and doesn’t match anything else the “L” did as far as signs. Including the photos with the two signs at the platform. The blue is way too light as well.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
Finally, Jack Bejna writes:
Thanks for the kind comments and the forum to share my photographic efforts with the interurban/streetcar community. It’s nice to know that someday when I’m gone my collection will have been shared with the electric railroad enthusiasts that remain.
There are more Detroit United Railway photos to be posted as well as photographs from the Michigan interurbans that vanished long ago so stay tuned to this great blog!
Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways
There are three subway anniversaries this year in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.
While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:
For Shipping to Canada:
For Shipping Elsewhere:
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 217th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 428,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
We thank you for your support.
In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.
Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.
14 thoughts on “The Magic of Jack Bejna”
Referring to the photo of the PTC Brilliner 2023, the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, predecessor to PTC, purchased three Brilliners (2021-2023) in 1939. Thus, PRT/PTC owned more than one Brilliner.
Brilliner 2021-2023 3 Brill *1939 **1956 GE 1198G1
* Date Acquired **Date Retired
They were unpopular with operators because they were not PCC cars and there were only 3 of them in the fleet. They looked like PCC cars to the naked eye, which the riding public probably assumed they were.
Thanks for the correction.
When I see photos of CA&E cars stored at Laramie Yards, I think of Joe Reuter and how frustrated he became in regard to how the CA&E moved their cars in and out of the Laramie Yards. I hope that he will read your blog.
What a stunning collection of photographs! A very big !Thank You! to everybody concerned. As an aside, I never fail to be astonished at how alike the streets of Glasgow (Scotland) and Chicago look. Stone built tenements (apartment blocks) lining the streets, and setted streets, with crossovers and double ended cars — wonderful! At almost 78, I fear its too late to think about visiting Chicago, so I hope there are still more photos. Thanks again!
There will always be more pictures.
Amazing! I visited Glasgow in the mid-eighties and fell in love with the city. It reminded me of Chicago in the forties (yes, I am that old), the era of red streetcars, wood elevated trains, and distinctive urban architecture. The fifties brought expressway construction and the resulting toxic pollution from rampant automobile use. I would certainly like to visit Glasgow again.
The Pittsburgh Mystery Photo shows the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, east of Pittsburgh, along the Monongahela River.
Thanks! That answer’s Jeff’s question.
A terminology addition – on CRT the conductor was the man between the first and second cars. The rest were Guards. Motorman and conductor worked together all day but guards were assigned according to train length that trip.
Pre-war Pullman3238 parked at the Mattapan terminal of the Mattapan-Ashmont high speed line. There is talk that the âTâ wants to do away with the line which is meeting protest. Photo taken September, 2009. I do have tons of MBTA photos of most of the lines: both the Green Line and the three L lines on my website: http://www.umcycling.com . This a very large website but click on the photo of the Green Line LRT and enjoy. Photo is copyright 2009 and may not be duplicated for use on any other media without my express permission. Nikon Ftn â 55mm lens. I also have a lot of CTA photos primarily from the 1950âs (I was a kid) with the PCC cars and more.
I don’t think it’s possible to add an attachment to these comments….
The railroads in the Pittsburgh picture belong mostly to the Union Railroad, The bridge on the lower right side is over the Pennsy passenger mainline between Pittsburgh and Altoona. The tracks can be seen twisting up the hill to the west. Picture was taken from the Westinghouse Bridge in E. Pittsburgh. The mill in the picture and the Union Railroad serving it are still in business.
Photo #365? 3-car train of CTA 4000s standing at the 38th St station. I differ with your explanation of the conductors door work.
1. When the CTA took over they made all the doors on the 4000s one-man operated, allowing for trains with odd number of cars . Thus, 8-cars, 4-cars, 3-cars, 1-car= only 1-conductor per train.
2. Way prior to that, the CRT used a conductor between @ two cars, doing the doors as you described. 8-cars=8-conductors, etc.
3. But later, prior to the CTA, the CRT re-wired (air?) the 4000s so that a conductor between every two cars could operate all the doors on two cars. 8-cars=4-conductors etc.
4. On multi conductor trains, there was only one signal used and that was by the front conductor, not by the other conductors. Nor were there differing sounds or number of bells or buzzers! The front conductor monitored the rear conductors doors, when all were closed, then he would signal the Motorman. There usually was not much of any delay, the reason for less men was to lower labor costs, not to speed up the train.
This is from my memory & further info from conductors back then.
You are referring to the explanation of how door controls worked on the 4000s, given by one of our readers (M. E.) in the caption for the photo called proofs365.jpg.
We had previously reproduced a CTA training brochure dated March 1950 in our post Reader Showcase, 12-11-17. By this time, the 4000s had been retrofitted into semi-permanent married pairs, so a three-car train, as shown in the June 1949 picture, no longer would have been possible.
The 1950 training brochure does mention using a buzzer to notify the next train man in one direction.
This is how Graham Garfield’s excellent web site describes the retrofit:
This does not of course explain door operation prior to 1950, but I will need to do further research.
PS- in addition to this, in a previous comment on this post, Andre Kristopans wrote, “On CRT the conductor was the man between the first and second cars. The rest were Guards. Motorman and conductor worked together all day but guards were assigned according to train length that trip.”