About Us

The Trolley Dodger features musings on transit, past, present, and future by David Sadowski.  Mr. Sadowski is currently moderator of the Yahoo CHICAGOTRANSIT discussion group, and edited the CERA Members Blog from February 2013 until December 2014.  He is also co-author of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Car Era 1936-1958, published by Central Electric Railfans’ Association in June 2015.*

Arcadia Publishing Books

Chicago Trolleys  (2017)

Building Chicago’s Subways (2018)

Chicago’s Lost “L”s (2021)

The North Shore Line (2023)

Mr. Sadowski is editor of the following E-books:

For Trolley Dodger Press

The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973 (2015)

Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story (2015)

For Central Electric Railfans’ Association*

CERA’s “Spirit of 76” (The First 76 CERA Bulletins, 1938-1947) (2014)

The Complete ERHS Collection: Bulletins 1-49 of the Electric Railway Historical Society (2014)

Reach us by e-mail:


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 possible and are greatly appreciated.


It's an uphill climb, keeping this thing going. But we can do it with your help.

It’s an uphill climb, keeping this thing going. But we can do it with your help.

*Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

We try harder.

We try harder.



65 thoughts on “About Us

  1. The website name caught my attention–here in the Los Angeles area many of us are fans of the baseball team that was once known as the “Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers”. During their first few years, they played in the Los Angeles Coliseum, which, up until 1963 was served by the narrow-gauge Yellow Cars. The Dodgers built their own park, and as might be expected in Southern California, it’s accessible only by automobile or bus. Not sure if it’s going to happen again this year, but last year there was shuttle-bus service to LA Union Station, where light rail, subway and Metrolink service is available.

    • Although I am from the Chicago area, I have always had a fondness for Brooklyn and “Dem Bums.” So the title does pay tribute to that heritage. Besides which, trolleys are such a large topic that I hope I don’t let myself get run over by them.

  2. I had happened to come across the “transportblog.co.nz” while searching for more information on the impending closure of the Wellington, NZ trackless trolley network. I noticed they also use the WordPress.com system as the CERA blog as well as this one uses. On leaving a couple of messages I noticed on first posting them they allowed for a five minute countdown window during which one could go back and correct an error or add something in that five minute window. After the 5 minute period, there was no more editing. Question: is it possible to have that feature here? I suspect it is either a newer version or an available option with a higher cost perhaps. Thank you.

    • As the administrator of this blog, I have a “control panel” area where I can choose different options. However, none of them involve this, and we are already a “premium” blog, in the sense that it costs money and is not free. But nowhere do I see any option that would accomplish what you want.

      However, as I have written to you before, as the admin I can edit people’s comments later, so if there is anything you would like to change, I can do that for you.

      Other than that,I suggest you direct your inquiries directly to WordPress. Perhaps they can give you a better answer than I can.


  3. David, Thank you for your time and effort in putting out The Trolley Dodger. I have greatly enjoyed the photos and have learned a lot from you and your contributors, and also appreciate your moderation of the Chicago Transit group. Keep up the great work!

  4. After reading your January 2015 story on the CTA Westchester Branch, the picture of the train crossing Madison street in Bellwood brought back some great memories, I grew up in that house, my grandfather was Clarence Lemm, track foreman for the Aurora and Elgin Railroad, he died in 1936. My father followed in grandpa’s footsteps, he worked at CTA 43 years, he started as a clerk and retired as the head of insurance and pensions. When my brother and I were very young my dad would take us for rides on the Aurora and Elgin, he used grandpa’s Sunset Lines employee pin and we all road free of charge. Thank you for some great memories!

  5. I was a streetcar operator for the MUNI of SF during the 60’s and I took the streetcar a block off the tracks-which was a long standing record. I have a picture of me departing the car after the incident. The slip-up was attributed to faulty brakes. I could be more specific- for it was an interesting story- streetcar wise.

    I lived on the Southside of Chicago as a child so I love the pics of your streetcars. As all Chicagoans I rode them a lot. I also have made paintings and drawings of elevated trains, subways and interurbans. My father was a noted photographer of Chicago-maybe you heard of him: Torkel Korling.

    • Torkel Korling (1903-1998) was a true renaissance man. He invented the automatic diaphragm mechanism that made the SLR camera practical. He also invented the collapsing “Tiltall” type tripod.

      In addition to this, he was one of the leading industrial photographers from the 1920s to the 1950s, and later in life, an expert nature photographer who published many books. He did at least one cover shot for Life magazine, and convinced them for just that one time only to leave their large logo off the front cover.

      I am fortunate to have met your father when he was 85 and trying to market his latest invention, the “Optipivot.” We discussed photography, and he had nothing but disdain for the methods used by contemporary commercial shooters.

      The would waste hundreds of pictures in the hopes of finding something usable. His method, he said, was to carefully set up a “master shot,” and then he would take one or two pictures at the most. Once he got what he wanted, there was no need, he felt, to take another picture.

      He also complained to me about how the various Japanese camera manufacturers refused to pay him any royalties for his automatic diaphragm patent, which made the 35mm single lens reflex camera practical. Instead, they waited until his patent expired in the 1950s and then they all came out with such cameras.

      He applied for this patent in 1933 and it was awarded three years later. He told me the idea came to him when he was photographing children. They moved around so much that he did not have time to focus his camera with the lens wide open, then reset his aperture to take the picture. His invention allowed viewing with the lens wide open, and then the aperture would automatically change back to its preset f/stop once the shutter was pressed to take the picture.

      His invention was licensed by Garflex and first used on their Super D model reflex cameras. According to Camerapedia, “The RB Super D, which features a semi-automatic diaphragm, was produced in 3¼×4¼ (1941-1963) and 4 x 5 (1948-1957) formats.”

      Photos taken by Torkel Korling are now in the collections of many museums around the world, and have been featured in several exhibitions. Anyone who has ever used an SLR camera owes Mr. Korling a debt of gratitude.

      • hi looking for pictures of trolleys in Long island city new york. i currently have a group on facebook about old astoria queens. some pictures have found there way to my group.. on the bottom of these picture was this website.. trying to find these photos on here.. but all i find is chicago.. if u can please point me in the direction where these pictures might be found here it would help.. i also emailed u…

  6. I just found your site. What a pleasure’ Wonderful photos and captions. I was so impressed, I sent off a small donation straightaway. Hours of entertainment await!

  7. Hello Trolley Dodger,
    I was wondering if you had any information or photos concerning the Grand Trunk Western Railroad that ran commuter service within Chicago up until at least 1935. My main interest is the Main Line-Illinois, which ran on what has been freight rail lines since then I believe, with limited commuter service until 1971. Here’s a link to where I found out about these trains. These were probably not trolleys but I’m not sure. There is one station building remaining at Chicago Lawn which I’ve seen along with the steps of the station at 59th St. Further along that line there are probably more station buildings standing. Any photos from anywhere on this line would be incredible imo.


  8. Hello, I stumbled across your blog trying to get a sense of the Chicago streetcar scene between the late 1880s and early 1900s. My great grandfather was a streetcar man and many of his sons after him. An Irish immigrant, I just found out that his wife, my great grandmother died from getting hit by a street car. It is family legend that her death had something to do with the installation of “cow catchers” (Fenders) on the street cars for safety. Do you know where I might be able to find out when these features were installed on the cars and what prompted the move to do that?

    • Thanks for writing. Some cities had elaborate devices installed on the fronts of streetcars to try and catch errant pedestrians in a basket, but I do not recall seeing pictures of this in Chicago.

      I can suggest my new book Chicago Trolleys, available via my Online Store, as a great starting point. Then you can move on to other books.

  9. By the way, if you could point me to one or more of your publications that would give me information on the late 19th century and the early 20th, I would love to make the purchase.

  10. David,
    Thank you for lots of great traction photography!

    I see you have mentioned the old Electric Railway Historical Society. I work in the F.M. Smith Library and Archives of the Western Railway Museum. I would like to know if there is a list of all their publichations? We have many; but I think there are more. Also does anyone sell any that are still in print?
    Ted Miles, Western Railway Museum

    • There are 49 ERHS bulletins, as follows:

      #1 – Lightweight Interurban Cars (1952)
      #2 – Chicago City Railway Co. Book of Standard Cars (1952)
      #3 – Chicago & West Towns Railways (Story and Research by Robert W. Gibson) (1952)
      #4 – Brill Magazine, May 1927 (1952)
      #5 – Westinghouse Cars and Car Equipment (1952)
      #6 – The Northern Indiana Railways by George K. Bradley (1953)
      #7 – Brill Magazine, August 1916 (1953)
      #8 – The Hammond Whiting and East Chicago Ry. by James J. Buckley (1953)
      #9 – Car Plans of the Perley A. Thomas Car Company, High Point, N.C. (1953)
      #10 – Cable Railways of Chicago by George W. Hilton (1954)
      #11 – Brill Magazine, July 1915 (1954)
      #12 – A Granite State Interurban: The Story of the Concord and Manchester Electric Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad by O. R. Cummings (1954)
      #13 – Car Plans of the Chicago Railways Company 1911 (1954)
      #14 – Cars of the McGuire-Cummings Mfg. Co. 1911 (1954)
      #15 – Brill Magazine, December 1914 (1954)
      #16 – The St. Joseph Valley Railway by Joseph A. Galloway and James J. Buckley (1955)
      #17 – Interurban Trolley Guide 1915 (Chicago to New York by Trolley) (1955)
      #18 – Cars of the St. Louis Car Company 1927 (1955)
      #19 – The Biddeford and Saco Railroad by O. R. Cummings (1956)
      #20 – Brill Magazine, March 1913 (1956)
      #21 – Cars of the Rockford and Interurban Railway (1956)
      #22 – The Rockford and Interurban Railway by Philip L. Keister (1956)
      #23 – Baldwin Westinghouse Electric Locomotives 1912 (1957)
      #24 – Baldwin Westinghouse Electric Locomotives 1925 (1957)
      #25 – The Blue Hill Street Railway by O. R. Cummings (1957)
      #26 – Brill Magazine, April 1924 (1957)
      #27 – Electric Railway Journal 1912 Convention Issue (1957)
      #28 – The Evanston Railway Co. by James J. Buckley (1958)
      #29 – The Niles Car and Manufacturing Co. 1910 (1958)
      #30 – Niles Cars 1914 (1958)
      #31 – Thomas Built Cars (1959)
      #32 – The Lafayette Street Railway by David W. Chambers (1958)
      #33 – Modern Lightweight Cars (1959)
      #34 – Brill Magazine, September 1911 (1959)
      #35 – The Manchester Street Railway by O. R. Cummings (1960)
      #36 – The Safety Car (1960)
      #37 – Brill Magazine, January 1917 (1961)
      #38 – Car Plans of the Chicago Surface Lines (1962)
      #39 – Railway Equipments and Locomotives in the Far West (1962)
      #40 – The Sterling, Dixon, and Eastern Electric Railway by Philip L. Keister (1963)
      #41 – Brill Magazine, May 1925 (1963)
      #42 – The Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Railway by George W. Hilton (1964)
      #43 – Brill Magazine, October 1912 (1964)
      #44 – St. Louis Cable Railways by Berl Katz (1965)
      #45 – Historic Trolley Guide to Suburban Electric Lines of the New York Metropolitan Area, within a 50-mile radius of New York City, as of 1914 (1965)
      #46 – 76 Years of Peoria Street Cars by Paul Stringham (1965)
      #47 – Light-Weight Cars (1965)
      #48 – The Lee County Central Electric Railway by Philip L. Keister (1967)
      #49 – Metropolitan Subway and Elevated Systems (1967)

      I believe two bulletins were reprinted, #42 and 46. The latter was expanded somewhat. None are currently in print, except in digital form.

      In 2014, I scanned all 49 bulletins, plus the reprinted version of #46, and collected them on in PDF form on a data disc issued by Central Electric Railfans’ Association. You should be able to purchase it from CERA.

      Otherwise, used copies of ERHS bulletins are available on the used market. Some titles are more difficult to find than others.


      • I found his name on several photos he took in HERSHEY, CUBA. A town, rail road and sugar mill Mr. W. HERSHEY built. I wanted to buy some photos for my Father, 96 yrs and worked DRIVING the Trains.

  11. Looking for winner in 1948 of Chicago Railroad Fair, Miss South Side…have picture but no winners name

  12. Stumbled across you site yesterday, sent in $10 today, am an old geezer lived in Chicago from 1940 until 1967, rode the old Red Street Cars as a kid all over town. Remember that some of the old red cars on 63 rd street going westbound would turn around at Central Park right next to the elevated Grand Trunk Western Line..Thanks for the memories—David Antich

  13. I am trying to determine the origins and disposition of the Farnham Third Rail test car that demonstrated at Hawthorne, IL in late 1901.
    A good broadside of the car appeared in Electrical World & Engineer November 1901 vol 38 p.782.
    Charlie Vlk

  14. David
    I have digital JPG files of a many of the Insull posters of CNSM, CA&E, CSSSB, CEL/CRT ETC if you would like me to email them to you?

  15. Dave,
    Happy New Year and once again thank you for all the great pictures and information you bring the Fans.
    My go to webpage,

    Wes Moreland

  16. Hello I’m from Brazil I’m looking for contact with Raymond Degroote who was here in Brazil in the 60’s photographing trams, who was a friend of the late Allen Morrison, if you happen to know send him my message, thank you!
    Zeca Pinheiro

    • Not personally, but I do know other people who must have them. Unfortunately, there is no way I could borrow such slides until the current quarantine ends, sorry.

  17. Hi David,
    I was looking at your blog and it’s wonderful. Thank you for building it. You have two pics of a steeple cab that are listed as unidentified. To let you know, they are of a Washington & Old Dominion Steeple cab and, in the second pic, a W&OD box cab. The location is Rosslyn VA. I’m not sure on the date but the W&OD electrified in 1912 and switched to diesel during WW2. In fact, I think that box cab was sold to the Hagerstown & Frederick in the early 40s and it became H&F #9.

  18. Hi love this site I am currently in rehab so enjoy all of the different subjects in the C&NS, did you know 611 made a run on the south Brooklyn ry? It was a lousy day so only about 30 people were there, here is the bone shot by had in tablet, pass it along I don’t think manynpeoplebknownthis caravan in briiklyn!📷📷🚞🚞

  19. Hi, I just found a 10 year membership awarded to Gerald H. Landau in 1973. This was for the American Vecturist association (organized 1946).

    I wanted to know if this was the same Gerald Landau as I am very much about establishing history to the things that I collect. Thank you

    • Gerald Landry from Brooklyn by was a prolific slide photofrapger! He was a staple at era meetings in my for years I used to trade slides with hin, he suffered a stroke and although I did see him in a wheelchair at one of the Hoboken train shows I understand he has passed away and his wife sold his collection on eb ay..

      • Perhaps you meant to say Gerald Landau? I posted some slides he took in 1967 a while back, but otherwise do not have any information about him. I purchased the slides as a lot on eBay.

  20. Hi David,
    I’m working on the restoration of an old Icehouse building as part of the Foxtown development in Mequon (anchored by the restored 1857 Foxtown Brewing building). The Icehouse is next to the old Milwaukee Railway Interurban line where the 1100 series trolleys used to run. Our owner wants to get a trolley (restored or replica) on site for a historical display that people can tour as he is dedicated to preserving the local heritage of the area as evidenced by his restoration of multiple family homes, Foxtown Brewing and now the Icehouse building. His family owner Fromm Furs and raised silver foxes, hence the name Foxtown. I also sent you an email and hope to speak to you about how to best go about finding a trolley or having a replica built. Thank you.

  21. Greetings, Mr. Sadwoski and friends. I have a question for the community. Does anyone know when grade separation was done at Ogden Avenue in La Grange for the BNSF tracks (formerly BN, formerly CB&Q)? I imagine the grade separation with the Harbor Belt tracks was all part of the same project? Nowadays we have a massive curving bridge over the IHB tracks leading to an oft-flooding viaduct below the Burlington tracks. (We also have a funny little one-way viaduct under the whole mess on Tilden that looks older than the rest of the infrastructure.) Grade separation must have been a massive project. It’s hard to imagine what it all looked life before. Need this info for the novel I’m working on. Any help much appreciated! Thanks.

    • Charles A. Turek writes: “Here’s some speculation: The overpass for Ogden/Rte66 was in place in the late 1950s, when I was first old enough to bicycle that far from 27th & Harvey in Berwyn. The Q was triple track a long time before. I’d first guess the underpass for the Mother Road was built because the Q had more traffic than the IHB when the federal highway system came about, and the road originally crossed IHB at grade. I’m sure Q traffic is what also precipitated the elaborate Ogden overpass in Cicero, now gone. However, it is a not unreasonable second guess to think that both overpasses were built in the same era, probably 1920s, when both suburbs were growing. The current overpass deck (underside views) in La Grange has all the earmarks of a freeway-style bridge of the 1950s through 70s. I’d guess it is a rebuild of an earlier one, as the supporting columns seem of an older style. Otherwise, in my research for my own novels, I have not uncovered any definitive dates for construction. Hope this helps or steers you in the right direction.”

      • Thank you, Mr. Turek! I will keep digging into this, but it is helpful to know at least the underpass was there in the fifties. I have seen a 1942 map showing Ogden with its current curve (presumably the big bridge leading to the underpass), and a 1936 map where there’s no curve and Ogden just buts up to Burlington Ave. at the tracks and it’s unclear how one crossed the tracks. In trying to figure this out, I also had some fun researching about the Congress Park Station (my home station) and how the tracks there rose up from grade level over time, which I figured was necessary to build up to an Ogden overpass. It is funny to imagine, but the lovely old 1895 station apparently stayed in place at grade level until 1979 even as the track level got higher and higher starting in the early 1900s, requiring passengers to walk up steep stairways to the tracks. (Which passengers still do, today, but from a “subway” dug out in 1913 with interior stairs added in 1929.) The fact that the embankment at CP had grown high enough to tunnel a pedestrian subway beneath in 1913 makes you think grade separation at Ogden might have been in place then, but who knows. On a separate note, your mention of the “Q” makes me think you might be able to shed light on another issue that’s been dogging me throughout the novel, which is how long it took for people to stop calling the line “The Q” after it became BN, and did they generally call it “The Burlington” for quite a while thereafter until it became BNSF/Metra. (I do tend to hear the older generation calling it “The Burlington” now and then.) Thanks, again!

      • Mike Franklin writes: “It started in March 1931 and was anticipated to last over a year. As imagined, the two grade level crossings for Ogden Ave were eliminated by the over/under passes.” Perhaps the 1936 map was a bit out of date.

      • Mike Franklin continues: “Not to beat a dead horse, but this area changed many times during the early 1900’s. Just prior to the overpass construction in 1931, if you were coming from Chicago going west down Ogden, at a point several blocks east of the IHB you ran into the CB&Q embankment and onto Burlington Ave. (Ogden Ave was gone at this point for about a 1/3 of a mile most likely due to the elevation of the CB&Q.) There you were forced to run parallel to the CB&Q tracks, cross the IHB at ground level, continue on Burlington Ave to LaGrange Rd, cross the CB&Q tracks (much like today), and then head north and back onto Ogden.”

      • Thank you, Mr. Franklin. Not beating a dead horse at all. It’s very interesting to me on both the creative level and as a resident of the area. I explained the whole thing to my kids as we drove through this morning after I had read your post. We were all able to visualize it. It’s hard to believe that the CB&Q took such precedence over a vehicular thoroughfare like Ogden as to close it off completely there, but that is what I had suspected from older maps. Speaks of a time when visions of transit future were much more rail-oriented. I suppose the original impetus for the embankment through Congress Park was to get the CB&Q up and over the IHB rather than over Ogden. If the two RR’s once intersected at grade level it must’ve been a mess. Thanks again!!!

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