Milwaukee’s first streetcar line since 1958 (“The Hop”) opened last November. While I had been on a car, prior to the opening, and took a few pictures of them in operation about a month ago, yesterday was my first opportunity to actually ride them. I hopped on and off the free (free for the first year, at any rate) cars several times, as did many other riders of all ages. I would say this line, which will be followed by a lakefront extension next year, is a success.
One of the more important stops is the Milwaukee Public Market in the Historic Third Ward. The streetcar is a good way to get there, as parking in the area is at a premium. I have included some pictures taken inside the Public Market, to give you some of the flavor of the place.
The sun was shining, and the weather was beautiful. While taking these pictures, I was reminded of similar trips I had made many years ago to places like Philadelphia and Boston. Some of what I photographed in those cities does not run anymore, so it is especially gratifying to know that streetcars appear to have a bright future in Milwaukee. The public has accepted them, and they are now a part of the everyday scene.
PS- Some of our keen-eyed readers have noticed that parts of the line operate on battery power, without overhead wires.
Now Available On Compact Disc
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03
The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways
There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 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 is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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8 thoughts on “Milwaukee Renaissance”
Good News and Superb Article !
Thanks very much!
Great photo essay of the Hop and Public Market. We rode it on the first week of operations and definitely a lot more crowded. A fun ride and the Market is a good stop.Thanks Jack
This is an interesting photo essay. It seems some of the track is without overhead. Are cars equipped with battery power? I’ve read this is true in France in some cases.
Also, it seems that an extension from the Amtrak (“intermodal”) station to the casino would be a no-brainer and would enhance casino patronage. Philadelphia’s Route 15 Girard has direct service to the SugarHouse Casino on Delaware Avenue.
I wasn’t aware of the Public Market despite numerous visits to Milwaukee over the years.
Yes, part of the line uses battery power without overhead. Perhaps an extension such as you suggest may happen eventually. It is not too far.
Thank you for these pictures, they are great! Growing up in Milwaukee I recall our streetcars, not a one of them built after 1929. TMER&Lco did however keep the last of them running without breaking down for well over 30 years, they were indeed beyond being fully depreciated.
TM was among those traction companies supporting the ERPCC, however it was said their interest was not in the resultant PCC car but in innovations such as the resilient wheels that TM thought may be adaptable for use on their older rolling-stock.
My first ride on a PCC was during my frequent trips to Chicago via the North Shore Line. I rode the Rt. 22 Wentworth line and I was impressed how smooth and quiet they were and how free of metallic clatter they were as the trucks passed over special track work. As it came to pass the PCC would finally come to Wisconsin as the Kenosha streetcar of choice.
Thanks for sharing your memories.
Thanks David! Beautiful photos and so good to see trolleys back in Milwaukee! Free for a whole year?? Wow! Worth a trip there just to ride a bunch! Thanks again. Dan Frizane
On Sat, Jun 8, 2019 at 3:06 AM The Trolley Dodger wrote:
> David Sadowski posted: ” Milwaukee’s first streetcar line since 1958 (“The > Hop”) opened last November. While I had been on a car, prior to the > opening, and took a few pictures of them in operation about a month ago, > yesterday was my first opportunity to actually ride them. ” >