Gary Railways, Part One

An early railfan photographer (probably armed with a folding or box camera) captures Gary Railways cars 9 and 17 passing each other, probably circa 1938-39. According to Mitch Markovitz, this is "45th on the Crown Point Line."

An early railfan photographer (probably armed with a folding or box camera) captures Gary Railways cars 9 and 17 passing each other, probably circa 1938-39. According to Mitch Markovitz, this is “45th on the Crown Point Line.”

This post features many classic railfan pictures of Gary Railways in the Hoosier State, generously shared from the collections of William Shapotkin.

While it only existed as electric transit from 1906 to 1948, what eventually got reorganized under the name Gary Railways had some interesting characteristics that were of great interest to some of the earliest railfans. The area around Gary developed rapidly into an industrial powerhouse as soon as U.S. Steel built the Gary Works steel mill there. A vibrant and growing city rapidly emerged, but there were many surrounding areas that were kept vacant for future industrial development.

Therefore, Gary Railways had both urban and interurban characteristics. It also had quite a variety of equipment. The system was part of the Samuel Insull empire during the 1920s, and various generations of lightweight, modern cars were purchased.

As with many other electric railways, the system went into a decline during the Great Depression. There was a gradual abandonment and bus substitution, starting with the interurban portions. This, in turn, attracted the attention of many Chicago area railfans who wanted to ride and photograph these lines before they faded into oblivion.

Gary was easily reachable by car and via the South Shore Line. Fans chartered a trip on Gary Railways on May 1, 1938, which was later regarded as the beginning date of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (CERA). The group wasn’t organized much until later, but that came to be regarded as the start of it all.

The Gary system also had an interesting connection to what was envisioned as the Chicago–New York Electric Air Line Railroad. This “air line” did not involve airplanes, but was meant to be high-speed rail that would travel in a straight line between Chicago and New York City.

Ultimately, only about twenty miles of this Air Line were ever built, before the entire scheme collapsed due to the tremendous cost of actually building it. Portions of what did get built were used by Gary Railways up until 1942.

John F. Humiston (1913-2003) was one of the early railfans photographers whose excellent work is featured here, along with other luminaries as Malcolm D. McCarter, Robert V. Mehlenbeck, Gordon E. Lloyd, Donald Idarius, William C. Janssen, and Edward Frank, Jr.

We will feature more photos from Gary Railways in a future post. In addition, as usual, we have some interesting recent photo finds for your enjoyment.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 658 members.

Our friend Kenneth Gear now has a Facebook group for the Railroad Record Club. If you enjoy listening to audio recordings of classic railroad trains, whether steam, electric, or diesel, you might consider joining.

Our Annual Fundraiser

Since we started this blog in 2015, we have posted over 13,500 images. This is our 283rd post.

In just about three week’s time, we will need to renew our WordPress subscription, our domain registration, and pay other bills associated with maintaining this site, so it is time for our Annual Fundraiser.

The Trolley Dodger blog can only be kept going with the help of our devoted readers. Perhaps you count yourself among them.

If you have already contributed in the past, we thank you very much for your help. Meanwhile, our goal for this fundraiser is just $700, which is only a fraction of what it costs us each year. The rest is made up from either the profits from the items we sell, which are not large, or out of our own pocket, which is not very large either.

There are links at the top and bottom of this page, where you can click and make a donation that will help us meet our goal again for this coming year, so we can continue to offer you more classic images in the future, and keep this good thing we have going.

We thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

-David Sadowski

Gary Railways

Gary Railways snow sweeper 4 on November 21, 1927. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways snow sweeper 4 on November 21, 1927. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways Valparaiso Division train 12, car #1, at the Pine Street Siding alongside Central Avenue in East Gary, Indiana on July 24, 1938. Don's Rail Photos: "1 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in May 1924, (order) #825, as Gary & Valparaiso Ry 1. It became GRy 1 in 1925 and retired in 1947." (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways Valparaiso Division train 12, car #1, at the Pine Street Siding alongside Central Avenue in East Gary, Indiana on July 24, 1938. Don’s Rail Photos: “1 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in May 1924, (order) #825, as Gary & Valparaiso Ry 1. It became GRy 1 in 1925 and retired in 1947.” (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 11, going eastward, meets car 14 heading in the opposite direction, on the Hammond Division at Kennedy Siding along 165th Street in Hammond. This picture was taken at 11:40 am on Friday, May 6, 1938. Don's Rail Photos: "14 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946." (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 11, going eastward, meets car 14 heading in the opposite direction, on the Hammond Division at Kennedy Siding along 165th Street in Hammond. This picture was taken at 11:40 am on Friday, May 6, 1938. Don’s Rail Photos: “14 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946.” (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 11 at Sibley and Oakley at the Hammond city street terminal in 1942. The view looks west from Oakley. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 11 at Sibley and Oakley at the Hammond city street terminal in 1942. The view looks west from Oakley. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 9 is on 11th Avenue, just west of Rutledge Street on the Hammond line on July 7, 1946. Don's Rail Photos: "1st 9 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was wrecked on 5th Avenue on April 28, 1927, colliding with 201. It was scrapped. 2nd 9 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It replaced 1st 9 and retired in 1946." (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 9 is on 11th Avenue, just west of Rutledge Street on the Hammond line on July 7, 1946. Don’s Rail Photos: “1st 9 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was wrecked on 5th Avenue on April 28, 1927, colliding with 201. It was scrapped. 2nd 9 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It replaced 1st 9 and retired in 1946.” (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 on an early CERA fantrip. This date might be March 19, 1939. The well-known CERA drumhead is not yet in evidence. According to the late John Marton, it was first used on a June 25, 1939 sojourn. Don's Rail Photos: "19 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was retired in 1946 and the body was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1989." (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 on an early CERA fantrip. This date might be March 19, 1939. The well-known CERA drumhead is not yet in evidence. According to the late John Marton, it was first used on a June 25, 1939 sojourn. Don’s Rail Photos: “19 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was retired in 1946 and the body was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1989.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 8 in storage in the yard east of the Gary car barn, on January 18, 1941. Don's Rail Photos: "8 was built by by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was retired in 1946." (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 8 in storage in the yard east of the Gary car barn, on January 18, 1941. Don’s Rail Photos: “8 was built by by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was retired in 1946.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 6 is heading west on 5th Avenue at Clarke Siding in Gary, IN on March 18, 1939. This was the last day of service on the Indiana Harbor Division. Don's Rail Photos: "6 was built by by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was retired in 1946." (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 6 is heading west on 5th Avenue at Clarke Siding in Gary, IN on March 18, 1939. This was the last day of service on the Indiana Harbor Division. Don’s Rail Photos: “6 was built by by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was retired in 1946.” (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

It's a bit blurred, but this looks like Gary Railways 12. Don's Rail Photos: "12 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946." (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

It’s a bit blurred, but this looks like Gary Railways 12. Don’s Rail Photos: “12 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

(Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, William Shapotkin Collection) Mike Franklin: "This is looking west on Sibley St. across Oakley Ave. Oakley Hotel is on the corner to the right."

(Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, William Shapotkin Collection) Mike Franklin: “This is looking west on Sibley St. across Oakley Ave. Oakley Hotel is on the corner to the right.”

The interior of Gary Railways car 18. Don's Rail Photos: "18 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was scrapped in 1946." (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The interior of Gary Railways car 18. Don’s Rail Photos: “18 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was scrapped in 1946.” (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 at 145th and Main in Indiana Harbor on Sunday, March 19, 1939 (the day after this line was abandoned). The view looks northwest, with St. Catherine's Hospital in the distance. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 at 145th and Main in Indiana Harbor on Sunday, March 19, 1939 (the day after this line was abandoned). The view looks northwest, with St. Catherine’s Hospital in the distance. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Broadway looking north from 9th Avenue in Gary on July 8, 1909. This was the "state of the art" in streetcar and roadway construction at that time. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Broadway looking north from 9th Avenue in Gary on July 8, 1909. This was the “state of the art” in streetcar and roadway construction at that time. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 18 is on Bridge Street in Gary, IN, crossing the South Shore Line, on Sunday, June 5, 1938. (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 18 is on Bridge Street in Gary, IN, crossing the South Shore Line, on Sunday, June 5, 1938. (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 207 exiting the gate at the Tube Works onto 2nd Avenue in Gary on Saturday, June 18, 1938. Don's Rail Photos: "207 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1918, #681, as GSRy 207. It was rebuilt by Cummings Car Co in 1927 and scrapped in 1946." (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 207 exiting the gate at the Tube Works onto 2nd Avenue in Gary on Saturday, June 18, 1938. Don’s Rail Photos: “207 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1918, #681, as GSRy 207. It was rebuilt by Cummings Car Co in 1927 and scrapped in 1946.” (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 19, as a Glen Park local. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 19, as a Glen Park local. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 120 at the Gary carbarn on May 1, 1938. I assume it was built by the McGuire-Cummins Manufacturing Company in 1911. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 120 at the Gary carbarn on May 1, 1938. I assume it was built by the McGuire-Cummins Manufacturing Company in 1911. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 8 at 5th Avenue and Broadway on May 8, 1932. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 8 at 5th Avenue and Broadway on May 8, 1932. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 14 at the Mill Gate in Gary, working the Hammond route, on August 18, 1946. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 14 at the Mill Gate in Gary, working the Hammond route, on August 18, 1946. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 16 in Hammond on August 18, 1946. Don's Rail Photos: "16 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946." (William C. Janssen Photo, William Shapotkin Collection) Mike Franklin adds: "This is looking east on Sibley St toward Oakley Ave. Oakley Hotel on the corner, the Labor Temple next to the east, and the First Baptist Church (larger dome) further down. All is gone except for the white building, once the Federal Building of Hammond, in front of the car located on NE corner of State St & Oakley Ave."

Gary Railways car 16 in Hammond on August 18, 1946. Don’s Rail Photos: “16 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946.” (William C. Janssen Photo, William Shapotkin Collection) Mike Franklin adds: “This is looking east on Sibley St toward Oakley Ave. Oakley Hotel on the corner, the Labor Temple next to the east, and the First Baptist Church (larger dome) further down. All is gone except for the white building, once the Federal Building of Hammond, in front of the car located on NE corner of State St & Oakley Ave.”

Gary Railways 17 at Mill Gate on March 19, 1939. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 17 at Mill Gate on March 19, 1939. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 121. Don's Rail Photos: "121 was built by McGuire-Cummings Mfg Co in 1911 as G&IRy 121. It got a new roof in 1922 and retired in 1940." (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 121. Don’s Rail Photos: “121 was built by McGuire-Cummings Mfg Co in 1911 as G&IRy 121. It got a new roof in 1922 and retired in 1940.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

West 5th Avenue in Gary in 1924. That looks like Gary Railways car 206. If so, it was was built by Kuhlman Car Company in 1918. (William Shapotkin Collection)

West 5th Avenue in Gary in 1924. That looks like Gary Railways car 206. If so, it was was built by Kuhlman Car Company in 1918. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 203. Don's Rail Photos: "203 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1918, #681, as Gary Street Ry 203. It was rebuilt by Cummings Car Co in 1927 and scrapped in 1946." (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 203. Don’s Rail Photos: “203 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1918, #681, as Gary Street Ry 203. It was rebuilt by Cummings Car Co in 1927 and scrapped in 1946.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 1 is turning into the carbarn off of 22nd Avenue on October 24, 1940. The view looks north from the apron of the car barn. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 1 is turning into the carbarn off of 22nd Avenue on October 24, 1940. The view looks north from the apron of the car barn. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19, likely on one of those early late 1930s fantrips. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19, likely on one of those early late 1930s fantrips. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 15 in storage at the Gary car barn on January 18, 1941. This car was likely built by Cummings Car Company in 1926. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 15 in storage at the Gary car barn on January 18, 1941. This car was likely built by Cummings Car Company in 1926. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The former Gary Railways car 50 in service as a diner at 63rd Street and Central Avenue in Chicago on March 8, 1947. Don's Rail Photos: "50 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1929. It was scrapped in 1946." (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The former Gary Railways car 50 in service as a diner at 63rd Street and Central Avenue in Chicago on March 8, 1947. Don’s Rail Photos: “50 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1929. It was scrapped in 1946.” (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary, IN. The Central Electric Railfans' Association day-after abandonment fantrip on March 19, 1939. The view looks west on 37th Street at Michigan Central Crossing (Mississippi Street). (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary, IN. The Central Electric Railfans’ Association day-after abandonment fantrip on March 19, 1939. The view looks west on 37th Street at Michigan Central Crossing (Mississippi Street). (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 3 at Mill Gate on May 1, 1938. Don's Rail Photos: "3 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in February 1925, #851 as Gary & Hobart Traction Co 3. It became GRy 3 in 1925 and scrapped in 1947." (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 3 at Mill Gate on May 1, 1938. Don’s Rail Photos: “3 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in February 1925, #851 as Gary & Hobart Traction Co 3. It became GRy 3 in 1925 and scrapped in 1947.” (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 5 is on a CERA fantrip, in front of the Hobart car barn on March 19, 1939, the day after regular service here ended. The Nickel Plate's tracks are visible at rear. Don's Rail Photos: "5 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in February 1925, #851, as G&HT 5. It became GRy 5 in 1925 and scrapped in 1947." (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 5 is on a CERA fantrip, in front of the Hobart car barn on March 19, 1939, the day after regular service here ended. The Nickel Plate’s tracks are visible at rear. Don’s Rail Photos: “5 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in February 1925, #851, as G&HT 5. It became GRy 5 in 1925 and scrapped in 1947.” (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 12 at Mill Gate (Gary) on May 1, 1938. The EJ&E embankment is visible at rear. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 12 at Mill Gate (Gary) on May 1, 1938. The EJ&E embankment is visible at rear. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 9 at Mill Gate terminal in 1942, about to pull a trip to Tolleston. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 9 at Mill Gate terminal in 1942, about to pull a trip to Tolleston. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 213 at 45th and Grand on July 21, 1946. Don's Rail Photos: "213 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1919, #658, as Buffalo & Lake Erie Traction Co 231. It was sold as G&I 213 in 1923 and rebuilt by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was scrapped in 1947." (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 213 at 45th and Grand on July 21, 1946. Don’s Rail Photos: “213 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1919, #658, as Buffalo & Lake Erie Traction Co 231. It was sold as G&I 213 in 1923 and rebuilt by Cummings Car Co in 1927. It was scrapped in 1947.” (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19. According to Bob Lalich, the location is Cline Avenue at the Grand Calumet River. He adds, "Photo 889 is looking south. The railroad crossing in the distance is the South Shore." I assume this photo was taken on the same day as Shapotkin875, also in this post, on March 19, 1939. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19. According to Bob Lalich, the location is Cline Avenue at the Grand Calumet River. He adds, “Photo 889 is looking south. The railroad crossing in the distance is the South Shore.” I assume this photo was taken on the same day as Shapotkin875, also in this post, on March 19, 1939. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The idea behind the "New York Air Line" was simple-- build a track in a straight path between Chicago and New York, reducing the distance traveled by a considerable amount, and use electric vehicles to compete with the steam railroads. It would have been an early form of high-speed rail. But engineering and fundraising challenges proved insurmountable, and the venture collapsed after only about 20 miles of track were built in the vicinity of Gary. Parts were incorporated into the Gary streetcar system. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The idea behind the “New York Air Line” was simple– build a track in a straight path between Chicago and New York, reducing the distance traveled by a considerable amount, and use electric vehicles to compete with the steam railroads. It would have been an early form of high-speed rail. But engineering and fundraising challenges proved insurmountable, and the venture collapsed after only about 20 miles of track were built in the vicinity of Gary. Parts were incorporated into the Gary streetcar system. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary in the early 1900s. I believe this is a part of the New York Air Line. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary in the early 1900s. I believe this is a part of the New York Air Line. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary was a boom town that sprung up practically overnight in the early 1900s. New roads and streetcar lines sprung up along with it. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary was a boom town that sprung up practically overnight in the early 1900s. New roads and streetcar lines sprung up along with it. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A streetcar line under construction in Gary in the early 1900s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A streetcar line under construction in Gary in the early 1900s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 6 on the Indiana Harbor Division, west on Fifth Avenue at Colfax Siding in Gary, IN on Saturday, March 18, 1939. (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 6 on the Indiana Harbor Division, west on Fifth Avenue at Colfax Siding in Gary, IN on Saturday, March 18, 1939. (John F. Humiston Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Breaking ground for grading at East Gary, five miles from Gary, on June 16, 1909. From the Air Line News, July 1909. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Breaking ground for grading at East Gary, five miles from Gary, on June 16, 1909. From the Air Line News, July 1909. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Union Atation. Chris Cole says this "the former NYC/AMTRAK station in Gary. It still stands although in a derelict condition between the railroad tracks and the Indiana Toll Road."(William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Union Atation. Chris Cole says this “the former NYC/AMTRAK station in Gary. It still stands although in a derelict condition between the railroad tracks and the Indiana Toll Road.”(William Shapotkin Collection)

(William Shapotkin Collection)

(William Shapotkin Collection)

Railroad dignitaries at Air Line Park. From the Air Line News, July 1909. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Railroad dignitaries at Air Line Park. From the Air Line News, July 1909. (William Shapotkin Collection)

(William Shapotkin Collection)

(William Shapotkin Collection)

The Lake Shore Depot in Gary in the early 1900s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The Lake Shore Depot in Gary in the early 1900s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

(William Shapotkin Collection)

(William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 109 in storage at the Gary car barn in September 1938. Don's Rail Photos: "109 was built by McGuire-Cummins Mfg Co in 1910 as G&I Ry 109. It was made one man in 1927 and scrapped in 1939." (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways 109 in storage at the Gary car barn in September 1938. Don’s Rail Photos: “109 was built by McGuire-Cummins Mfg Co in 1910 as G&I Ry 109. It was made one man in 1927 and scrapped in 1939.” (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 102. According to the caption, street railway service in Gary was inaugurated with this car. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 102. According to the caption, street railway service in Gary was inaugurated with this car. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 17 at the Pennsylvania Railroad crossing in Tolleston on July 21, 1946. Don's Rail Photos: "17 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946." (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 17 at the Pennsylvania Railroad crossing in Tolleston on July 21, 1946. Don’s Rail Photos: “17 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was scrapped in 1946.” (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 on a trestle along a highway. This was a CERA Railfan Special on March 13, 1939 (IMHO, this date may actually have been the 19th, in which case the late Mr. McCarter had a typo in his photo database). According to Bob Lalich, the location is Cline Avenue at the Grand Calumet River. He continues, "Photo 875 is looking north. The factory on the left was a Cudahy soap plant that made Old Dutch Cleanser. I believe there was a car shop located there as well to service Cudahy’s refrigerator fleet. The first railroad crossing near the factory is the EJ&E line between Shearson and Cavanaugh. The distant crossing is the B&OCT/SLIC joint line." (M. D. McCarter Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 on a trestle along a highway. This was a CERA Railfan Special on March 13, 1939 (IMHO, this date may actually have been the 19th, in which case the late Mr. McCarter had a typo in his photo database). According to Bob Lalich, the location is Cline Avenue at the Grand Calumet River. He continues, “Photo 875 is looking north. The factory on the left was a Cudahy soap plant that made Old Dutch Cleanser. I believe there was a car shop located there as well to service Cudahy’s refrigerator fleet. The first railroad crossing near the factory is the EJ&E line between Shearson and Cavanaugh. The distant crossing is the B&OCT/SLIC joint line.” (M. D. McCarter Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Air Line car 102. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Air Line car 102. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Looking west along the Air Line toward Monon Crossing on October 17, 1908. From the Air Line News, November 1908. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Looking west along the Air Line toward Monon Crossing on October 17, 1908. From the Air Line News, November 1908. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Laying track west of the Monon Railroad crossing on July 22, 1908. From the Air Line News, August 1908. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Laying track west of the Monon Railroad crossing on July 22, 1908. From the Air Line News, August 1908. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 in downtown Gary, on one of those early fantrips, circa 1939. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 in downtown Gary, on one of those early fantrips, circa 1939. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 128 at the Gary car barn on May 1, 1938. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 128 at the Gary car barn on May 1, 1938. (Donald Idarius Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 22 at the Mill Gate terminal in Gary on May 1, 1938. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 22 at the Mill Gate terminal in Gary on May 1, 1938. (Malcolm D. McCarter Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 on a fantrip, circa 1939. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19 on a fantrip, circa 1939. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19, likely also on a 1939 CERA fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Gary Railways car 19, likely also on a 1939 CERA fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Recent Finds

South Side Elevated locomotive #22 on April 17, 1898, just as this "L" was converting from steam to electricity (note the third rail). This was scanned from a second-generation negative. The original was a 5x7 glass plate neg, and I believe this one was contact printed from that. Now, I took out some of the most obvious imperfections with Photoshop, and the result is probably the best you could hope for, from an image that is 123 years old. (Ralph D. Cleveland Photo)

South Side Elevated locomotive #22 on April 17, 1898, just as this “L” was converting from steam to electricity (note the third rail). This was scanned from a second-generation negative. The original was a 5×7 glass plate neg, and I believe this one was contact printed from that. Now, I took out some of the most obvious imperfections with Photoshop, and the result is probably the best you could hope for, from an image that is 123 years old. (Ralph D. Cleveland Photo)

The North Shore Line's massive Zion station, as it looked in the early 1960s.  The elders in what started out as a religious community insisted that the railroad build a station this size, anticipating rapid growth in their community that did not materialize.  The station was torn down within a few years of the interurban's 1963 abandonment.  The current population is about 23,500.

The North Shore Line’s massive Zion station, as it looked in the early 1960s. The elders in what started out as a religious community insisted that the railroad build a station this size, anticipating rapid growth in their community that did not materialize. The station was torn down within a few years of the interurban’s 1963 abandonment. The current population is about 23,500.

An early postcard view of the Chicago Stock Yards and the "L" branch by the same name.

An early postcard view of the Chicago Stock Yards and the “L” branch by the same name.

Did Not Win

Our resources are always limited, and therefore we do not win the auctions for everything we think will interest our readers. Still, these items we did not win are definitely worth a second look:

This early image of Chicago Aurora and Elgin cars 24, 10, and 20 recently sold for $100.99. It was described as being the original 4x5" negative, not a copy.

This early image of Chicago Aurora and Elgin cars 24, 10, and 20 recently sold for $100.99. It was described as being the original 4×5″ negative, not a copy.

A North Shore Line blueprint recently sold for $122.50 on eBay. Don's Rail Photos: "410 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923, #2640. It was out of service in 1932. It was rebuilt on December 31, 1942, as a two motor coach by closing in the open platform and changing the seating."

A North Shore Line blueprint recently sold for $122.50 on eBay. Don’s Rail Photos: “410 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923, #2640. It was out of service in 1932. It was rebuilt on December 31, 1942, as a two motor coach by closing in the open platform and changing the seating.”

Here is a really nice slide that I unfortunately did not win. Lehigh Valley Transit's Liberty Bell Limited, picking up passengers in Allentown, PA. This interurban quit in 1951.

Here is a really nice slide that I unfortunately did not win. Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Limited, picking up passengers in Allentown, PA. This interurban quit in 1951.

A Guide to the Railroad Record Club E-Book

William A. Steventon recording the sounds of the North Shore Line in April 1956. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

William A. Steventon recording the sounds of the North Shore Line in April 1956. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

Our good friend Ken Gear has been hard at work on collecting all things related to the late William Steventon’s railroad audio recordings and releases. The result is a new book on disc, A Guide To the Railroad Record Club. This was quite a project and labor of love on Ken’s part!

Kenneth Gear has written and compiled a complete history of William Steventon‘s Railroad Record Club, which issued 42 different LPs of steam, electric, and diesel railroad audio, beginning with its origins in 1953.

This “book on disc” format allows us to present not only a detailed history of the club and an updated account of Kenneth Gear’s purchase of the William Steventon estate, but it also includes audio files, photo scans and movie files. Virtually all the Railroad Record Club archive is gathered in one place!

Price: $19.99

$10 from the sale of each RRC E-Book will go to Kenneth Gear to repay him for some of his costs in saving this important history.

Now Available on Compact Disc:

RRC08D
Railroad Record Club #08 Deluxe Edition: Canadian National: Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam, Recorded by Elwin Purington
The Complete Recording From the Original Master Tapes
Price: $15.99

Kenneth Gear‘s doggedness and determination resulted in his tracking down and purchasing the surviving RRC master tapes a few years back, and he has been hard at work having them digitized, at considerable personal expense, so that you and many others can enjoy them with today’s technology. We have already released a few RRC Rarities CDs from Ken’s collection.

When Ken heard the digitized version of RRC LP #08, Canadian National: Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam, recorded by the late Elwin Purington, he was surprised to find the original tapes were more than twice the length of the 10″ LP. The resulting LP had been considerably edited down to the limited space available, 15 minutes per side.

The scenes were the same, but each was greatly shortened. Now, on compact disc, it is possible to present the full length recordings of this classic LP, which was one of Steventon’s best sellers and an all-around favorite, for the very first time.

Canadian National. Steaming giants pound high iron on mountain trails, rumble over trestles, hit torpedos and whistle for many road crossings. Mountain railroading with heavy power and lingering whistles! Includes locomotives 3566, 4301, 6013, 3560.

Total time – 72:57

$5 from the sale of RRC08D CD will go to Kenneth Gear to repay him for some of his costs in saving this important history.

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

We recently gave an online presentation about our book Chicago’s Lost “L”s for the Chicago Public Library, as part of their One Book, One Chicago series. You can watch it online by following this link.

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio on July 16, 2021, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time. The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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8 thoughts on “Gary Railways, Part One

  1. Shapotkin photos 875 and 889 are both of car #19. Note that there is a sign on the car which says “RR Fans Special”. The location of both photos is Cline Ave at the Grand Calumet River.

    Photo 875 is looking north. The factory on the left was a Cudahy soap plant that made Dutch Boy Cleanser. I believe there was a car shop located there as well to service Cudahy’s refrigerator fleet. The first railroad crossing near the factory is the EJ&E line between Shearson and Cavanaugh. The distant crossing is the B&OCT/SLIC joint line.

    Photo 889 is looking south. The railroad crossing in the distance is the South Shore.

  2. Photo 877 is the former NYC/AMTRAK station in Gary. It still stands although in a derelict condition between the railroad tracks and the Indiana Toll Road.

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