We are back, after working 16 straight days as an election judge here in suburban Cook County, Illinois, just in time to shelter in place during a quarantine. We apologize for the length of time since our last post, but as always, much work has been going on behind the scenes.
We are happy to report that we have a new book project that we are very excited about. More details will be forthcoming in the future, but we are hard at work already and have been for some time.
We have to compete with everyone else when purchasing traction photos, and our finances do not permit us the luxury of winning all the auctions that interest us (and could interest you). For every excellent photo we win, there are many others that slip through our fingers.
We have collected some of these here, and present them for your consideration, along with some explanations of why our luck and finances fell short. It’s always possible that the winning bidders may choose to share some of these fine images with our readers in the future.
Prices on individual images may run as high, in some cases, as $100 for a single 35mm Red Border Kodachrome slide, depending on its quality, subject matter, and rarity.
In future posts, we will go back to showing more photos that we did actually win.
Click this link for a complete rundown on Stereo Realist cameras.
Our resident South side expert M. E. writes:
I suspect you will find your answer (which interurban line is it?) in this map:
My two cents is that this is the Chicago and Interurban Traction Co. See
which is the red line in the shore-line.org map.
I certainly remember the building that housed the barn at 88th and Vincennes. There was still trackage leading into it.
The sign says Ravenswood. The maximum length of Ravenswood trains was 6 cars.
Thanks… the sign I meant in picture 52 is the one hanging from the chain. I assume this was a Sunday fantrip, during the time when the Rave only ran to Belmont. So they would have been the only train on this part of the line, with photo stops galore.
Tricia Parker writes:
I was writing with a quick inquiry about a recent found beach object, which I believe is a streetcar badge. (Attached) Awhile back, before I found the badge, a friend directed me to your IG page, which I much enjoy!
I am seeking any information, and would be willing to pay for research time. The badge reads (all caps) “S. Haehlen’s 117 Express.” I believe it might be a 1933 World’s Fair route, but it’s a guess.
I am looking to make a brief video about it for educational purposes, and would welcome any knowledge. Happy to give you credit for any information. Thanks so much!
Thank you for your kind words. Let’s see what our readers can make of this.
Glad you like the photos I post on IG, even though I hardly ever put any train pictures there (look for @thetrolleydodger).
Vernon Glover writes:
As a now aging kid from Chicago, I enjoy your efforts a lot. And have purchased some items. Today, however, I am fully engaged in southwestern rail and industrial history, especially the El Paso & Southwestern System, an arm of Phelps Dodge. I have a number of M. D. McCarter prints and I would like to ask properly for permissions in publication for a forthcoming book with the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society (SPH&TS).
Anything you have on the current status and address of the McCarter photo collection would be appreciated.
I am not sure what happened to his collection. Unfortunately, he died a few years ago. At one time, I tried calling the phone number listed for him, and there was no answer. I too had purchased some photos from him.
Sorry I can’t be of more assistance. Perhaps someone out there might know?
Todd Liebenauer writes:
Hello – Reaching out to see if you can help with a project I’m working on. My name is Todd Liebenauer, grandson of Karel Liebenauer. I think you may have used some of his pictures in your publications.
My father Karl and I both model O scale trolley cars and we both have a model of the Cleveland 5000 streetcar.
I’ve been researching the internet for every picture I can find of these cars to determine what equipment was on the underbodies of these cars. I have found a number pictures but none have given me a clear enough image of the left sides of the front and rear cars. What I have determined is not all the cars were the same. The pictures I found prove that. Would you happen to have anything you can share about these trolleys?
Attached is a picture of the model I have.
Thanks for any help you might be able to provide.
Another question I can’t answer… but maybe one of our readers might know? Thanks.
Allen Zagel writes:
I found your site while doing a search. Very interesting site.
Anyway, I seem to remember that a series of old Red CSL streetcars had unusual trucks featuring two different size wheels. In searching my Shore Line dispatches, especially #9, page 88, it appears that possibly it was High Side Brill #6063 but I can’t be sure.
Would there be any info or photos or drawings around?
Hopefully you might be able to help?
Thanks for writing. While I don’t know the answer to your question offhand, it’s likely that someone who reads my blog might.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!
Now Available On Compact Disc
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
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 in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
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.
For Shipping to US Addresses:
For Shipping to Canada:
For Shipping Elsewhere:
Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 248th 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 605,000 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.
19 thoughts on “Ones That Got Away”
On your Chicago Heights question: there are two possibilities. The Chicago & Southern, later Chicago & Interurban, ran through Chicago Heights en route from 63rd and Halsted to Kankakee. The Joliet & Eastern connected Chicago Heights and Joliet.
Thanks… the car in picture 10 looks a lot like the one in 54, doesn’t it?
So many to comment on Dave. First I.C. pic with curve in distance is 31st Street, then 43rd Street. Mystery “L” pic with bank in distance is on 63rd Street on Jackson Park Line. Stop before Cottage. 4000 fan trip at “L” station with missing roof on canopy is at Dodge Avenue.
Photo 12.jpg could be the Fullerton station. The elevated right of way beyond the platform looks like four tracks, and the area (tennis courts and buildings) resembles the DePaul University neighborhood.
Could the L platform with the tower be Damon on the Met line? Humboldt Park branch splits here?
Also the Illinois Traction unknown location might be Bloomington IL, looking north on Main Street a block south of the Courthouse. Turreted building looks like the old Corn Belt Bank. Tall white building could be the Livingston Building. Both still standing. Give a couple hours and I’ll take a “today” photo.
Photo 2020/03/31 – IT 284 at the Danville, IL Traction Depot on South Vermilion St., looking north-northwest. The tall building in center is still there and the turreted building just to the right of 284 is still there, although heavily modernized. Everything south of Route 136 (this side of these 2 buildings) in the photo went away with “urban renewal”.
The top two unidentified B&W photos may show a platform along the Kenwood branch. The Elmstrom Coal yard in the background was at 1116 E. 42nd St.
That photo in the ones that got away showing a train on the Chicago Great western appear to be some M of W bunk cars used to hold sleeping quarters for the employees. Another giveaway is the orange paint as M of Way cars are generally painted different colors than the standard freight equipment.
I believe the North Shore picture (2020/03/11.jpg) shows the northbound three car train just minutes out of the the first Milwaukee station stop at Harrison Ave. The picture is at the northeast corner at Harrison & S. 5th St., Google views the house with a couple changes in structural detail.
I believe the photo with CTA 144 is on the Dearborn Street bridge, since the ornate building in the background is on the southeast corner of Dearborn and Kinzie, and today is the location of Harry Caray’s Steakhouse.
Regarding your questioning about the bag over the coupler on the CTA PCC rapid train:
Coupler bags were not at all uncommon on streetcar systems that had MU operation. Shaker Heights used them religiously as did Toronto (which had maroon bags if I recall correctly to match their paint scheme). The purpose was to keep the couplers protected from the weather and dirt which might have a negative effect on the electrical contacts. Not every system used them – I don’t believe Boston did and I can’t recall (prior to the photo you displayed) seeing a bag on a rapid-transit train.
In regards to the question from Allen Zagel in your correspondence regarding the trucks with two different size wheels, I have no information specific to Chicago, but what he describes seems to be a Brill “maximum-traction” truck. This truck would be used on a two-motor car with the motor being next to (geared to) the larger wheel resulting in more weight on the driving wheel and therefore better traction. The smaller “pony” wheels would serve to balance the truck but carry less weight. I believe the truck was also mounted slightly off-center to give even more of the weight load to the driving axle.
Thanks for the information.