This is a beautiful shot, showing a six-car CTA train of 6000s heading northwest on the Logan Square “L” at Damen Avenue on August 21, 1970. The photographer identified the first four cars as 6629-30 and 6657-58. Sometimes the angles work out just right.
It’s the time of year when we all take stock of all the good things in our lives, the things we are thankful for, and share our abundance of good fortune with our loved ones. The Trolley Dodger is no exception to this, and we have a plateful of classic traction photos for you, a feast for the eyes. We are very thankful for our readers, and hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday.
This is our first post in a while, but we have been very busy the whole time. First, I worked 25 straight days as an election judge during the recent presidential contest, 16 days at polling places, and an additional 9 days processing mail ballots.
Second, proofs were ready to go over for our next book, Chicago’s Lost “L”s. This is our third traction book as sole author, and a tremendous amount of work goes into making each one as factual, informative, and entertaining as possible. When I post pictures here, and get something wrong, the error can be corrected later, but once a book is published, it’s done. We strive for 100% accuracy.
Furthermore, in our books we always strive to include pictures that our readers have not seen before. During the course of working on this book, we made numerous photo substitutions. Even after we had chosen what we thought were the right pictures, we ended up swapping out about one-third of these later, for even better ones.
A great deal of time and resources are involved. For example, during the proofing stage, we changed out seven photos. These, combined, cost us nearly $500. Naturally we have drawn largely from our own collections, and from those kindly shared with the permission of our contributors. But even so, we often have to seek our those missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is a book such as this, and have to compete for those images in the marketplace, along with everyone else.
At any rate, we are very pleased with how Chicago’s Lost “L”s is turning out, and we look forward to seeing it in print sometime next year. Now we are on to the stage where our changes and corrections are incorporated into the layout, and we expect to soon have the final proofs to look over.
Thirdly, since we find there is often much more to talk about than can be shared in these occasional blog posts, we have started a Facebook auxiliary for The Trolley Dodger. This is an add-on, and takes nothing away from what you see here. It’s a private group, meaning the posts are not public and can only be seen by those who join the group. But if Facebook is not your thing, it can be safely ignored.
Some of the discussions we have had on Facebook have actually been beneficial to this post, and to my new book.
For this post, we have lots of recent photo finds, plus some more pictures that escaped our grasp.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!
Posted on Facebook:
It is with great sadness that I pass along information about the death of our friend, Melvin Bernero.
Melvin had been a director of Omnibus Society of America for decades, and has played a key role in keeping the organization going as the editor and publisher of the newsletter and the annual calendar… there will not be a funeral. Maybe there will be a memorial service in a few months.
Apparently this was Covid-related. He thought that he had the flu, and had picked something up while waiting in line for early voting. His neighbors brought him coffee, and discovered that he had passed away at home. That is all the information I have.
Mel was an excellent photographer, and posted over 34,000 pictures to Flickr. He leaves a rich and remarkable legacy and will be truly missed.
North Shore Line combine car 256 in Milwaukee in November 1962. Don’s Rail Photos: “256 was built by Jewett in 1917. It seems to be the only one which retained its original configuration.” There is a very similar photo on Don Ross’s web site attributed to Joe Testagrose, but it doesn’t seem quite identical to this one. If not taken by him, it was probably someone standing next to him, which happens more often than you might think.
This is an improved version of an image we previously posted with the following caption: CSL 1786 under the Lake Street “L” on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC’s assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location.”
The former Ridge station on what had been the Niles Center “L” branch, as it appeared in July 1970. The station entrances to both Ridge and Asbury looked nearly identical, but as J. J. Sedelmaier points out, Asbury was being used as a convenience store during this time. This is along the current path (in Evanston) of the CTA Yellow Line, which began life as part of the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route in the mid-1920s. Both stations have long since been removed, except for a few traces at track level.
We have featured the work of photographer Richard H. Young before, going back to some of our earliest posts in 2015. Here, on June 2, 1960, we see a four-car North Shore Line train, headed up by car 175, at the Mundelein station. He notes, “Train just arrived and standing on departure track but poles not reversed yet.”
North Shore Line Electroliner set 801-802 has just pulled out from the Milwaukee terminal at 6th and Clybourn on October 31, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo)
Chicago, Aurora & Elgin express motor 7 at the Wheaton shops. I was going to speculate that this might have been after abandonment, but apparently not, as the car was later repainted with stripes. So this could be circa 1950. Don’s Rail Photos; “7 was built by Jewett Car in 1906. In 1941 it was rebuilt as a tool car.”
Illinois Terminal electric loco 1596, a Class “C”, at Granite City on September 12, 1955. Note car 101 is next to it, now at the Illinois Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos: “1596, Class C, was built at Decatur in December 1929. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels on March 25, 1956.” (Bob Selle Photo)
From left to right, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum on October 25, 1958, we see Illinois Terminal line car 1702, CRT/CTA “L” car 1024, and Milwaukee streetcar 972. This is when the museum was at North Chicago. Don’s Rail Photos: “1702 was built by Danville Ry & Light Co in 1903 as 1507, a pull car. It was rebuilt as a line car in 1922 and renumbered 1702 in August 1925. It was purchased by Illinois Electric Ry Museum on October 11, 1958. 1024 was built by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 24. It was renumbered 1024 in 1913 and became CRT 1024 in 1923. It was rebuilt as 1st S-111 on March 19, 1955, and sold to Illinois Railway Museum as 1024 in 1958. 972 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1927, #1466. It was purchased by IRM in 1958 and was operated frequently.” (Bob Selle Photo)
Another view at IERM on October 25, 1958. Illinois Terminal line car 1702 is in front of TM 1129, with CRT/CTA gate car 1024 at right. (Bob Selle Photo)
CTA red Pullman 440 is southbound at Kedzie and Van Buren on July 1, 1953, passing by Kedzie Station. (Bob Selle Photo)
This appears to be an Omnibus Society of America trolley bus fantrip, using CTA 9193, on March 2, 1958. I think part of the idea was to use this bus on parts of the system where this type of bus had not previously been in use. I have posted three other pictures from this same trip in the past on my blog. One shows the TB at the back of Kedzie garage, another at Kedzie and the Congress Expressway, and the third at Kedzie and 33rd. This being a fantrip would help explain why the TB is on Homer, a short-turn path for the Armitage route. It was billed as the first-ever trackless fantrip in Chicago. Looks like the photographer got lucky, and there just happened to be a work train overhead on the Logan Square “L”. That could be S-337. If so, Don’s Rail Photos notes, “S-337 was a trailer built by American Car & Foundry in 1907 as NWERy 273. It was renumbered 1273 in 1913 and because CRT 1273. It was rebuilt as 1812 and rebuilt as S-337. It was scrapped in November 1968.” The street in the background is Milwaukee Avenue.
The same location today. Homer is located a block south of Armitage.
CTA gate car 1024 and an unidentified work car are heading south at Isabella in Evanston, on an April 1958 fantrip sponsored by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By then, wood cars were no longer being used in regular passenger service. The museum purchased the 1024 and it headed up to North Chicago once this fantrip was over. The lightly-used station at Isabella closed in 1973, and all traces of it were removed shortly after.
This is a view I recall seeing many times growing up. A two-car train of CTA 2000s prepares to depart the Lake Street “L” terminal at Harlem Avenue on November 11, 1966. We are looking mainly to the east. The street at right is South Boulevard in Oak Park. These “L” cars were but two years old at this point, having replaced 4000s.
CTA work car S-200 at Homan Avenue (Lake Street “L”) in March 1962. Don’s Rail Photos: “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923.”
A rare view looking north along the Wilson Avenue Lower Yard in August 1956. Perhaps the final use for these tracks, which were apparently removed in the late 1950s, was to store some old wood cars prior to scrapping. Note some of the cars have broken windows. The back of the McJunkin Building is visible at right. The tracks ended at Wilson Avenue.
North Shore Line 253 at the Milwaukee Terminal. Don’s Rail Photos: “253 was built by Jewett in 1917. It dropped seating to 28 on June 17, 1924, and was acquired by IRM in 1963.”
Red Arrow (Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company) Bullet car 207 at 69th Street on June 7, 1964.
CTA 2332 and train at Laramie on the Douglas Park “L” (now the CTA Pink Line) on February 8, 1991. (Peter Ehrlich Photo, © 2020 Peter Ehrlich)
A two-car train of North Shore Line Silverliners at 6th and Walker in Milwaukee (probably in the late 1950s). We are apparently looking south.
The same location today, looking south. The direction was partly determined by where the manhole cover is in the older picture. An expressway is now just to the right, truncating the cross street.
CA&E 433 and 426 at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, sometime between 1953 and 1957.
More That Got Away
We can’t buy all the nice pictures, but we can still share some of them with you.
A nice view of CTA Historic cars 4271-4272 by the old Wilson Shops.
The Loop “L” in 1900, looking north from Adams and Wabash. In the distance, you can see Madison and Wabash in the distance, and what appears to be a direct entrance into a building. Graham Garfield adds, “Yup—it’s the Louis Sullivan-designed bridge to the Schlesinger and Mayer (later Carson Pirie Scott) department store!”
According to this 1924 ad, the platform canopies on all 207 Chicago “L” stations were being re-roofed with Armco Ingot Iron.
A westbound CTA trolley bus passes the Luna theatre, which was located at 4743 W. Belmont, circa 1968.
Recently, there were nine rare postcard photos up for auction, all relating to the Metropolitan West Side “L”. We were fortunate to win four of these, which will appear in our upcoming book Chicago’s Lost “L”s. Here are the others we did not win:
This shows where the Met crossed over the Lake Street “L”. This picture was taken prior to the construction of the Lake Street Transfer station in 1913, made possible once the four competing “L” companies came under joint operation.
A close-up view of part of the last picture, with somewhat better resolution.
It’s been suggested this view may look west from the Kedzie station on the Humboldt Park branch.
A two-car CTA train of 6000s at Kedzie on the new Congress median line in 1958.
Along the Douglas Park “L” in July 1963.
Looking north from Granville in 1966.
CSL 5041, signed for Archer Downtown.
Chicago & North Western EMD E7A #5012B with passenger train at the Oak Park station in September 1965. The view looks west, and a two-car CTA Lake Street “L” train is visible.
Andre Kristopans says this is the north end of the Western station on the CTA Logan Square “L”, looking north.
CTA single-car unit 26 is southbound at Niles Center Road on March 6, 1965.
A CA&E train order from March 13, 1945. Freight locomotive 3003 was directed to run extra to Aurora.
CTA trolley bus 9698 is westbound on Roosevelt Road in 1972, just west of the South Side “L”.
Capital Transit (aka DC Transit) 1055 in the 1940s. This was a pre-PCC car built in 1935, and represented an important step in the development of PCCs, introduced the following year. Car 1053 was the last survivor of this car type, but was unfortunately later destroyed in a museum fire.
The Third Avenue El in 1955.
New York’s Third Avenue El at 34th Street in 1955, shortly before abandonment.
New Steam Audio CD:
FYI, we have digitally remastered another classic steam railroad audio LP to Compact Disc. Many additional titles, including the complete output of the Railroad Record Club, in our Online Store.
Rio Grande to Silverton:
A Sound Portrait of Mountain Railroading
These are vintage 1960 narrow gauge steam train recordings, in true stereo, and originally released on LP in 1961. It is long out of print.
01. Riding The Train To Silverton
02. Photo Run At Elk Park
03. Arriving At Silverton
04. Train Time At La Jara
05. Illini Special At Cumbres Pass
06. Doubleheader Starting At Monero
07. Eastbound Freight
08. Arriving At Chama
09. Whistles At Coxo
10. Freight With Pusher At Coxo
Gone are the nostalgic sounds of steam echoes and thundering exhausts, but the memory is immortal. May they live on in the locomotive lexicon, as a monument to the era when trains were pulled by STEAM POWER.
As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.
Total time – 45:49
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.
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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)
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