CTA 566 is on Ashland at 95th on July 14, 1953. This was the south end of Route 9 – Ashland. The car is about to change ends and head back north. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Today’s post features many classic pictures from the collections of longtime friend William Shapotkin. Most feature Chicago streetcars, and there are others from the “L”. Even if we have shared a few of these before, they are well worth seeing again. Most are here for the first time, and we put in many, many hours working these images over in Photoshop to make them look their best.
This is “Part Five” because we made four previous posts in the Chicago Streetcars in Color series. Here are the links to parts One, Two, Three, and Four. It’s been a while, though– the last such post was in 2016.
We also recently paid a visit to the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, Illinois, where Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 458 has been put into service after a 13-year-long restoration.
We hope that you will enjoy them. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 1,288 members.
Our friend Kenneth Gear 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.
FYI, the Hoosier Traction Facebook Group celebrates electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest. It also supports the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).
From the Collections of William Shapotkin
CTA 473 is at Devon and Ravenswood on a May 16, 1954 fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A CTA two-car train of 4000s is running on the Garfield Park “L” (actually, the Met main line) on August 10, 1956. The huge parking lot is actually where the Northwest (now Kennedy) expressway would soon be built, opening in 1960. The “L” continued to run here until June 1958, when the new median line opened in the Congress expressway, just to the south of here. This view looks to the northeast from the Halsted “L” station. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA Pullman-built PCC 4180 is southbound on south State Street in May 1950. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 479 is on Irving Park Road during the May 16, 1954 “farewell to red cars” fantrip, just east of the north-south “L”. (William Shapotkin Collection)
The same location today.
CTA red Pullmans 479 and 473 make a photo stop on Irving Park Road, just west of the north-south “L”, on a May 16, 1954 fantrip.
This was a convenient place to stop, as there were no streetcars in regular service on Irving Park Road by this time, although the tracks and wire were still in place connecting some of the remaining lines. Two weeks later, red cars were retired, and only a few were used for charters after that. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 473 on Irving Park Road, May 16, 1954.
This is just a few blocks north of Wrigley Field. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 4390 at Vincennes and 77th on May 14, 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 7182 is southbound on State Street approaching Van Buren, circa 1955-57.
(William Shapotkin Collection)
This and the next two images: CTA work car Y-303 is at the Halsted and 39th Street materials handling yard on January 20, 1952. A Chicago Surface Lines trailer from the 1920s is behind it, used as a storage shed. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Two CTA streetcars pass on Cermak Road, near the city limits end of the line in the early 1950s. One 1700-series car has been repainted into CTA green. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA salt car AA-54 is on Kedzie Avenue on December 25, 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA PCC 4375 is at Vincennes and 78th on May 14, 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 7256 is southbound on State Street at Van Buren on December 2, 1950. This picture was taken from the Loop “L” station there. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA L-203 at South Shops in the 1950s. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA work car AA-73 is at the 69th and Ashland yard on November 8, 1953. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA PCC 4136 is on “shoo-fly” trackage on Madison at Wacker Drive in June 1952, during construction of the Wacker Drive extension on the former Market Street. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA AA98 was trotted out one last time on May 25, 1958, shortly before the end of streetcar service in Chicago. It started life in 1907, built by the South Chicago City Railway. It eventually became Chicago Surface Lines 2846, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA crane S-342 is at the 61st Street Lower Yard on May 26, 1963. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6221-6222, at Skokie Shops on March 25, 1954, presumably when just delivered from the St. Louis Car Company. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A new CTA 2200-series “L” car, leaving the Brooklyn Army Terminal (presumably in 1969-70). (William Shapotkin Collection)
A four-car CTA Douglas Park “L” train descends the ramp to the Congress expressway median line in August 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Nick Jenkins: “The (North Shore Line) train is northbound at North Chicago Junction. I also think that it is later than 1955. The track to the East Line (Waukegan) was removed in 1956.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
The interior of the CTA “L” station at Damen and North Avenues (today’s Blue Line to O’Hare) in February 1986. (William Shapotkin Photo)
The CTA North/Damen Tower, located at the north end (southbound platform) of the Damen and North Avenue station, which at one time controlled the movements of Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains, as it appeared in February 1986. (William Shapotkin Photo)
The view looking west from the Damen and North Avenue station, showing the former right-of-way of the old Humboldt Park “L”, as it appeared in February 1986. (William Shapotkin Photo)
CTA 6151 is southbound at Halsted and 38th on February 22, 1954. Towards the end of streetcar service on Halsted, older red cars replaced newer PCCs. Halsted had operated mainly Pullman-built postwar PCCs, which the CTA retired early and sent off to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping and parts recycling into new rapid transit cars. The track going off to the left led to a materials handling yard. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA sand car AA-29 is at the car barn at 69th and Ashland in 1950. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 7065 is on State Street, having crossed the Chicago River, in March 1951. The bridge here opened in 1949, ten years after the previous one was removed during construction of Chicago’s first subways.
(William Shapotkin Collection)
We are just north of the intersection of Armitage and California Avenues on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Car #6133, working a southbound trip on CTA Route #52 — KEDZIE/CALIFORNIA, is seen heading southbound in California approaching Armitage. The year is 1949 and in less than five years, transit service on this line would be converted to trolley buses. The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)
In May 1952, car #369, working a southbound trip on CTA Route #52 — KEDZIE/CALIFORNIA, was photographed as it headed southbound in California at Shakespeare Ave on Chicago’s Northwest Side. The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)
We are on Chicago’s South Side as cars #652 and 678, both working CTA Rt #8 — HALSTED, pass in Halsted at 74th Street. The view looks north from platform of Halsted suburban station on the WABASH. Photo dated Feb 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
We are at the Connecticut Trolley Museum at Warehouse Point– where CTA ‘L’ car #4436 was caught in this undated photo. (Our thanks to Bruce Moffat in identifying the car number and location.) According to their on-line roster, this car is still with us. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Car #2622 is seen working a westbound trip on CSL (i.e.: pre-CTA) Rt #75 — 74th/75th, heading west in 75th Street passing beneath the Illinois Central overcrossing of 75th near Woodlawn Avenue on Chicago’s South Side. Buses of successor CTA Rt #75 — 74th/75th continue operating through here for some 19 hours every day. Our thanks to Andre Kristopans for his assistance in identifying the photo location. (William Shapotkin Collection)
In October 1951, car #586 was caught working a northbound trip on CTA Rt #56 — MILWAUKEE. The car is heading northwest in Milwaukee Avenue as it crosses over the MILW/PRR (PCCStL) tracks, located just south of Kinzie Street in Chicago. (The MILW/PRR tracks led to the north approach to Union Station and are still in-use by Amtrak and Metra passenger trains today.) Today the Milwaukee Avenue bridge over these tracks is history, and buses of the successor bus route (still #56 — MILWAUKEE) cross these tracks on Des Plaines Street — located approximately 1-1/2 blocks west of this location. The view looks southeast. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Car #430, working a southbound trip on CTA Route #52– Kedzie/California, is southbound in Kedzie Avenue, crossing the Sanitary and Ship Canal near 34th Street on April 19, 1951.
(William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red Pullman 563 is at Ashland and 95th (south terminus of Route 9 – Ashland) on July 14, 1953. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red streetcar 6141 is at Navy Pier on July 4, 1951. This was, among other things, the eastern terminus of Route 65 – Grand Avenue, but that had already been converted to buses as of April 1, 1951. It appears the streetcar is signed for Route 28 – Stony Island, which was converted to buses as of June 29, 1951, so perhaps the date given here is wrong. CTA bus 3632 is operating on Route 15 – Canal-Archer. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 1581 is at 16th and Kenton on May 22, 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA snow plow/sweeper E-54 (still lettered for the Chicago Surface Lines) is at the Ashland car barn on September 29, 1952.
(William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man streetcar 1725, signed for Route 58 – Ogden, is on Randolph at Halsted on March 13, 1951. We are looking to the northeast. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6150 is on Halsted at 78th Street on February 22, 1954, operating on Route 42 – Halsted-Downtown, which was a variant of the regular Route 8 – Halsted. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red Pullman 677 is on State Street at Roosevelt Road on March 13, 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red Pullman 786 is on Van Buren Street near the Chicago River on April 1952.
(William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red Pullman 706 is southbound on Wabash Avenue just north of the Chicago River on January 26, 1952, passing by the Silver Frolics nightclub. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red Pullman 602 emerges from the Washington Street Tunnel in April 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This car, marked as Chicago City Railway cable car trailer 209, is actually a recreation made by the Chicago Surface Lines in the 1930s, possibly using some original parts.
Here, we see it when it was part of the CTA Historical Collection. It is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Gerald H. Landau Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red Pullman 483 is on 79th Street at Wallace Avenue on February 22, 1954. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red Pullman 200 is on Halsted in April 1952, crossing the construction site of the Congress expressway. The streetcar is on a “shoo-fly” track, going around where the new bridge is under construction. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 585 is on Des Plaines Avenue near Milwaukee Avenue in April 1951, running on Route 56 – Milwaukee. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA red Pullman 410 is on Kedzie Avenue in January 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)
We are at the Indiana Avenue station on Chicago’s South Side for this going-away view of a northbound JACKSON PARK/HOWARD train of 6000-series cars. From the vantage point of the photo, the overhead transfer bridge (allowing passengers to transfer between Subway trains and the already-abandoned Kenwood and Stock Yards lines) was still in place. The view looks west (timetable northbound) in this June 3, 1960 photo by C. G. Parsons. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CA&E 458 Restored
I visited the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin on Saturday, June 17th. Before I got there, they had unveiled newly restored Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 458, built in 1945. After the CA&E was abandoned, it went to Trolleyville USA in Ohio, where it was used as a parts car. But once it came back to Illinois, the Fox River people found it was surprisingly complete, and it underwent a complete restoration. Now, the car looks and runs great and can carry passengers for the first time in 66 years. The volunteers here are very dedicated and do excellent work. Someone also had a circa 1958-60 Lincoln on hand, with a power rear window.
A North Shore Line Electroliner approaches Adams and Wabash on July 17, 1959.
Our Latest Book, Now Available:
The North Shore Line
FYI, my new Arcadia Publishing book The North Shore Line is now available for immediate shipment. My publisher decided to expand it to 160 pages, instead of the usual 128. That’s a 25% increase, without any change to the $23.99 price. I am quite pleased with how this turned out.
From the back cover:
As late as 1963, it was possible to board high-speed electric trains on Chicago’s famous Loop “L” that ran 90 miles north to Milwaukee. This was the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, commonly known as the North Shore Line. It rose from humble origins in the 1890s as a local streetcar line in Waukegan to eventually become America’s fastest interurban under the visionary management of Midwest utilities tycoon Samuel Insull. The North Shore Line, under Insull, became a worthy competitor to the established steam railroads. Hobbled by the Great Depression, the road fought back in 1941 with two streamlined, air-conditioned, articulated trains called Electroliners, which included dining service. It regained its popularity during World War II, when gasoline and tires were rationed, but eventually, it fell victim to highways and the automobile. The North Shore Line had intercity rail, commuter rail, electric freight, city streetcars, and even buses. It has been gone for nearly 60 years, but it will always remain the Road of Service.
Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus North Shore Line map. Books will ship by USPS Media Mail.
02. The Milwaukee Division
03. The Shore Line Route
04. The Skokie Valley Route
05. The Mundelein Branch
06. On the “L”
07. City Streetcars
08. Trolley Freight
09. The Long Goodbye
10. The Legacy
Title The North Shore Line
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2023
ISBN 1467108960, 978-1467108966
Length 160 pages
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:
New Compact Disc, Now Available:
The Last Chicago Streetcars 1958
# of Discs – 1
Until now, it seemed as though audio recordings of Chicago streetcars were practically non-existent. For whatever reason, the late William A. Steventon does not appear to have made any for his Railroad Record Club, even though he did make other recordings in the Chicago area in 1956.
Now, audio recordings of the last runs of Chicago streetcars have been found, in the collections of the late Jeffrey L. Wien (who was one of the riders on that last car). We do not know who made these recordings, but this must have been done using a portable reel-to-reel machine.
These important recordings will finally fill a gap in transit history. The last Chicago Transit Authority streetcar finished its run in the early hours of June 21, 1958. Now you can experience these events just as Chicagoans did.
As a bonus, we have included Keeping Pace, a 1939 Chicago Surface Lines employee training program. This was digitally transferred from an original 16” transcription disc. These recordings were unheard for 80 years.
Total time – 74:38
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