Chicago in the 1950s

You would be forgiven for not recognizing this location, but that's the Western Avenue station on the Humboldt Park "L", just north of North Avenue. The station was closed in 1952, probably just a few months before this picture was taken. If the station was open, there would be a sign advertising this, similar to ones seen in some of the other pictures in this post. You can also see trolley bus wires, used on North Avenue. PCC 7151 is a two-man car, and passengers are boarding at the rear. This portion of the old Humboldt Park line was not demolished for another decade, and the story goes that it would have been used by Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban trains as a midday storage area, if service on that line could have continued after 1957. A cropped version of this photo ran in one of our earlier posts, but this was scanned from the original negative. (Wien-Criss Archive)

You would be forgiven for not recognizing this location, but that’s the Western Avenue station on the Humboldt Park “L”, just north of North Avenue. The station was closed in 1952, probably just a few months before this picture was taken. If the station was open, there would be a sign advertising this, similar to ones seen in some of the other pictures in this post. You can also see trolley bus wires, used on North Avenue. PCC 7151 is a two-man car, and passengers are boarding at the rear. This portion of the old Humboldt Park line was not demolished for another decade, and the story goes that it would have been used by Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban trains as a midday storage area, if service on that line could have continued after 1957. A cropped version of this photo ran in one of our earlier posts, but this was scanned from the original negative. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Today’s photos have two things in common. First, they were all taken in Chicago during the 1950s. Second, they were all shared with our readers by Jeffrey L. Wien of the Wien-Criss Archive.  We thank him for his generosity.

The color pictures were taken by the late Bill Hoffman. The photographer who took the black-and-whites is not known, but it seems possible it was someone who did not live in this area, but came to visit. They were not all taken at the same time, however. All those seem to date between 1952 and 1954.

As always, if you have any information to share about these pictures, or simply have a question or comment, do not hesitate to let us know. We look forward to hearing from you.

-David Sadowski

Black-and-White:

CTA PCC 4144 is southbound on Halsted. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4144 is southbound on Halsted. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4208 is southbound on State Street at 64th, just a few blocks south of where car 7078 was involved in a horrific crash with a truck on May 25, 1950. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4208 is southbound on State Street at 64th, just a few blocks south of where car 7078 was involved in a horrific crash with a truck on May 25, 1950. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA 4096 is westbound on Madison, crossing over the Chicago River. The Civic Opera House is to the left. The sign indicates that this bridge is going to be converted to "one man operation," meaning that it will be operated from only one tower instead of two. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4096 is westbound on Madison, crossing over the Chicago River. The Civic Opera House is to the left. The sign indicates that this bridge is going to be converted to “one man operation,” meaning that it will be operated from only one tower instead of two. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA 4238 is southbound on Wabash, crossing the Chicago River. But this must be a reroute, since it is definitely after 1949 (the car has advertising on the side) and it's running Route 36 - Broadway-State. Perhaps there was a parade on State Street that day (between 1939 and 1949 there was no State Street bridge, and this would have been the regular route for 36 then). (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4238 is southbound on Wabash, crossing the Chicago River. But this must be a reroute, since it is definitely after 1949 (the car has advertising on the side) and it’s running Route 36 – Broadway-State. Perhaps there was a parade on State Street that day (between 1939 and 1949 there was no State Street bridge, and this would have been the regular route for 36 then). (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4227 is on the turnback loop at Clark and Howard, the north end of Route 22. This is now the outdoor seating area for a restaurant. Buses terminate at the nearby Howard "L" station. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4227 is on the turnback loop at Clark and Howard, the north end of Route 22. This is now the outdoor seating area for a restaurant. Buses terminate at the nearby Howard “L” station. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA PCC 7057, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is at Waveland and Halsted, the north end of Route 8. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7057, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is at Waveland and Halsted, the north end of Route 8. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA prewar PCC 4008 is at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of Route 4. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA prewar PCC 4008 is at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of Route 4. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA 4060 is southbound at Wabash and Wacker, running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4060 is southbound at Wabash and Wacker, running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA 4102, a Pullman PCC, is heading west at about 500 W. Madison, operating on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4102, a Pullman PCC, is heading west at about 500 W. Madison, operating on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4389 is southbound on Western near Leland Avenue, having just passed under the Ravenswood "L" (today's Brown Line), where a train of wooden cars are in the station. Note the dark areas where some touch-up painting has been done on the PCC. The light green paint originally used on these cars faded badly and was hard to match. This is one reason why the CTA began repainting these cars with a darker green around 1951-52. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4389 is southbound on Western near Leland Avenue, having just passed under the Ravenswood “L” (today’s Brown Line), where a train of wooden cars are in the station. Note the dark areas where some touch-up painting has been done on the PCC. The light green paint originally used on these cars faded badly and was hard to match. This is one reason why the CTA began repainting these cars with a darker green around 1951-52. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4108 is northbound at Kinzie Street. This was later the end of the line for the Wentworth half of the line, between 1957 and 1958, when buses replaced streetcars north of here. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4108 is northbound at Kinzie Street. This was later the end of the line for the Wentworth half of the line, between 1957 and 1958, when buses replaced streetcars north of here. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The date at which this photo of CTA PCC 4421 could have been taken, southbound on Clark at Van Buren, is a bit of a mystery. It appears that the street has already been made a one-way, which did not happen until November 16, 1953. But by then, the Pullman PCCs were systematically being retired and shipped to St. Louis, where they were scrapped and parts were reused in rapid transit cars. In my book Chicago Trolleys (page 107) there is a picture of track work being done at this location on July 17, 1954. So, my best guess is this picture was taken during the summer of 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The date at which this photo of CTA PCC 4421 could have been taken, southbound on Clark at Van Buren, is a bit of a mystery. It appears that the street has already been made a one-way, which did not happen until November 16, 1953. But by then, the Pullman PCCs were systematically being retired and shipped to St. Louis, where they were scrapped and parts were reused in rapid transit cars. In my book Chicago Trolleys (page 107) there is a picture of track work being done at this location on July 17, 1954. So, my best guess is this picture was taken during the summer of 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today.

The same location today.

CTA PCCs 4103 and 4076 pass each other while crossing the Chicago River on Madison Street. Note the difference in fonts used for the numbers. Nowadays, transit agencies have style manuals, used to maintain consistency, but such was not the case in the early 1950s. Note the circa 1953 Cadillac at left. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCCs 4103 and 4076 pass each other while crossing the Chicago River on Madison Street. Note the difference in fonts used for the numbers. Nowadays, transit agencies have style manuals, used to maintain consistency, but such was not the case in the early 1950s. Note the circa 1953 Cadillac at left. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA prewar PCC 4008 is southbound on Wabash at about 900 South. The YMCA Hotel, seen in the background, opened in 1916 and closed in 1979. It was converted to apartments in 1985. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA prewar PCC 4008 is southbound on Wabash at about 900 South. The YMCA Hotel, seen in the background, opened in 1916 and closed in 1979. It was converted to apartments in 1985. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4201, operating on Route 36 - Broadway-State, has apparently been diverted from State Street, possibly due to a parade, and is northbound on Dearborn at Lake Street. The car at right has a 1953 Illinois license plate, but when this picture was taken, Dearborn was still a two-way street, meaning it is prior to November 16. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4201, operating on Route 36 – Broadway-State, has apparently been diverted from State Street, possibly due to a parade, and is northbound on Dearborn at Lake Street. The car at right has a 1953 Illinois license plate, but when this picture was taken, Dearborn was still a two-way street, meaning it is prior to November 16. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4108 is westbound on Madison at the Chicago River, running on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20. The cars have 1953 license plates. PCCs were taken off Madison on December 13, 1953. For a few months, Madison-Fifth continued as a shuttle operation between Madison and Pulaski, using older red streetcars. The rest of Madison was bussed. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4108 is westbound on Madison at the Chicago River, running on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20. The cars have 1953 license plates. PCCs were taken off Madison on December 13, 1953. For a few months, Madison-Fifth continued as a shuttle operation between Madison and Pulaski, using older red streetcars. The rest of Madison was bussed. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4101 is westbound on Madison, but where did it cross the Chicago & North Western? Andre Kristopans says it is "Crossing under CNW and PRR at Rockwell. The big building on other side is the old Madison carbarn. Burned in 1980's and in what was a real mindblower, the reporter on scene actually called it an "old CTA facility". Not quite - CSL sold it in 1920s, but amazingly close!" Rockwell is 2600 West. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4101 is westbound on Madison, but where did it cross the Chicago & North Western? Andre Kristopans says it is “Crossing under CNW and PRR at Rockwell. The big building on other side is the old Madison carbarn. Burned in 1980’s and in what was a real mindblower, the reporter on scene actually called it an “old CTA facility”. Not quite – CSL sold it in 1920s, but amazingly close!” Rockwell is 2600 West. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4262 is on 77th, by the car barn at 77th and Vincennes. The PCC is going to go northbound on Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4262 is on 77th, by the car barn at 77th and Vincennes. The PCC is going to go northbound on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA prewar PCC 4039 is at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of Route 4. To the left, is an embankment where Illinois Central commuter trains (now Metra Electric) ran. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA prewar PCC 4039 is at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of Route 4. To the left, is an embankment where Illinois Central commuter trains (now Metra Electric) ran. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7271 is northbound on Clark at Roosevelt. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7271 is northbound on Clark at Roosevelt. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, a CTA Pullman PCC is northbound on Clark at Roosevelt Road. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, a CTA Pullman PCC is northbound on Clark at Roosevelt Road. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4154 is at Waveland and Halsted, the north end of Route 8. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 4154 is at Waveland and Halsted, the north end of Route 8. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Color:

CTA 601 at Halsted, Grand, and Milwaukee on May 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 601 at Halsted, Grand, and Milwaukee on May 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 5248 at Vincennes and 105th on November 27, 1949. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 5248 at Vincennes and 105th on November 27, 1949. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6154 is southbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6154 is southbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 153 is northbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 153 is northbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6142 at Clark and Archer on November 9, 1953, running Route 42 - Halsted Downtown. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6142 at Clark and Archer on November 9, 1953, running Route 42 – Halsted Downtown. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 453 and 190 are on Halsted at 63rd Place on May 21, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 453 and 190 are on Halsted at 63rd Place on May 21, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

An unidentified CTA red car is on Halsted at 63rd Street on September 16, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

An unidentified CTA red car is on Halsted at 63rd Street on September 16, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 640 is running under the "L" on Halsted at 63rd Place on May 25, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 640 is running under the “L” on Halsted at 63rd Place on May 25, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 687 is at Division and Larrabee on May 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 687 is at Division and Larrabee on May 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 248 is at Crosby and Larrabee on May 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 248 is at Crosby and Larrabee on May 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A CTA prewar PCC is on Western at Congress on June 11, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A CTA prewar PCC is on Western at Congress on June 11, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7044 is on Western at Leland on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7044 is on Western at Leland on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7253 is on Western at Leland (by the Ravenswood "L", now the Brown Line) on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7253 is on Western at Leland (by the Ravenswood “L”, now the Brown Line) on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7243 is on Western at the Chicago River on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7243 is on Western at the Chicago River on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7037 is on Western at the Chicago River on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7037 is on Western at the Chicago River on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4060 is southbound on Western at 66th on October 9, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4060 is southbound on Western at 66th on October 9, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7118 is southbound on Western at Van Buren on November 3, 1954, with a train of wooden "L" cars about to cross Western on the temporary right of way for the Garfield Park "L" during expressway construction. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7118 is southbound on Western at Van Buren on November 3, 1954, with a train of wooden “L” cars about to cross Western on the temporary right of way for the Garfield Park “L” during expressway construction. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The Western and Berwyn loop on June 10, 1956. Those canopies were short-lived after the end of streetcar service, as buses eventually ran into them. Streetcars were on rails, so they could maintain such clearances. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The Western and Berwyn loop on June 10, 1956. Those canopies were short-lived after the end of streetcar service, as buses eventually ran into them. Streetcars were on rails, so they could maintain such clearances. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4053 at Western and Leland on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4053 at Western and Leland on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4060 is on Western at the Logan Square "L" on June 8, 1956. In the background, you can see the viaduct which is now part of the 606 Trail. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4060 is on Western at the Logan Square “L” on June 8, 1956. In the background, you can see the viaduct which is now part of the 606 Trail. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA prewar PCC 4027 (at left) passes a postwar car on Western at 24th on June 7, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA prewar PCC 4027 (at left) passes a postwar car on Western at 24th on June 7, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4004 is on Western at 26th on June 7, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4004 is on Western at 26th on June 7, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7160, viewed from the Douglas Park "L" (today's Pink Line), is operating on Western at 21st on June 15, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7160, viewed from the Douglas Park “L” (today’s Pink Line), is operating on Western at 21st on June 15, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7284 is on Western at the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on October 8, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7284 is on Western at the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on October 8, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7156, sporting unusual yellow numbers, is on Western at Van Buren on August 13, 1954. A wooden Garfield Park "L" train is nearby, on temporary trackage. At this stage, it appears the Western Avenue bridge over the Congress Expressway was not yet finished, as the streetcar (and auto traffic) are using a shoo-fly. (Wein-Criss Archive)

CTA 7156, sporting unusual yellow numbers, is on Western at Van Buren on August 13, 1954. A wooden Garfield Park “L” train is nearby, on temporary trackage. At this stage, it appears the Western Avenue bridge over the Congress Expressway was not yet finished, as the streetcar (and auto traffic) are using a shoo-fly. (Wein-Criss Archive)

Northbound CTA PCC 7206 is on Western Avenue, passing a two-car train of PCC rapid transit cars on the Garfield Park temporary trackage in Van Buren Street. The date is June 16, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Northbound CTA PCC 7206 is on Western Avenue, passing a two-car train of PCC rapid transit cars on the Garfield Park temporary trackage in Van Buren Street. The date is June 16, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7240 is at 69th and Morgan on October 25, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7240 is at 69th and Morgan on October 25, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7039 is at Western and 71st on August 12, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7039 is at Western and 71st on August 12, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4037 is on Western at the Chicago River on June 10, 1956-- just one week before the end of streetcar service on Route 49. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4037 is on Western at the Chicago River on June 10, 1956– just one week before the end of streetcar service on Route 49. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4375 is at 69th and Hamilton on November 5, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4375 is at 69th and Hamilton on November 5, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7236 is at Archer and Western on November 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7236 is at Archer and Western on November 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The "Streetcar Waiting Room" at Archer and Western on November 15, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The “Streetcar Waiting Room” at Archer and Western on November 15, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7157 is northbound on Western at 67th on June 15, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7157 is northbound on Western at 67th on June 15, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7208 is on Western near 34th on September 3, 1950. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7208 is on Western near 34th on September 3, 1950. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4393 is on Western at 21st on July 6, 1950. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4393 is on Western at 21st on July 6, 1950. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7213, the last streetcar to operate in Chicago, is on Western at 21st on July 16, 1951. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7213, the last streetcar to operate in Chicago, is on Western at 21st on July 16, 1951. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7123 on Western at 66th on July 9, 1950. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7123 on Western at 66th on July 9, 1950. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7123 at Western and 69th on January 28, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7123 at Western and 69th on January 28, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4408 on Western at 66th on July 16, 1951. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4408 on Western at 66th on July 16, 1951. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4373 and others at the Western and 79th loop on November 23, 1952. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4373 and others at the Western and 79th loop on November 23, 1952. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Passengers are getting off northbound CTA 7192 at Western and Van Buren on October 10, 1952. At this time, the temporary Van Buren trackage was still under construction, and this picture was taken from the Garfield Park "L" station, then still in use. There is no shoo-fly yet, meaning construction had not yet started on the Western Avenue bridge that would eventually go over the Congress Expressway. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Passengers are getting off northbound CTA 7192 at Western and Van Buren on October 10, 1952. At this time, the temporary Van Buren trackage was still under construction, and this picture was taken from the Garfield Park “L” station, then still in use. There is no shoo-fly yet, meaning construction had not yet started on the Western Avenue bridge that would eventually go over the Congress Expressway. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7193 has three followers at Western and 69th on October 13, 1953. You can compare the different CTA paint schemes on the first two cars. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7193 has three followers at Western and 69th on October 13, 1953. You can compare the different CTA paint schemes on the first two cars. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7113 is in an area where tracks are being worked on, and is crossing over from one track to another using a temporary switch. The date is June 17, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7113 is in an area where tracks are being worked on, and is crossing over from one track to another using a temporary switch. The date is June 17, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7042, in the distance, is about to clear a temporary switch so that the car on the right can cross over to that side during track work. This picture was taken on June 17, 1955 at Western and 71st. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7042, in the distance, is about to clear a temporary switch so that the car on the right can cross over to that side during track work. This picture was taken on June 17, 1955 at Western and 71st. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The conductor of CTA 7156 is throwing a track switch at Western and Archer on November 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The conductor of CTA 7156 is throwing a track switch at Western and Archer on November 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7189 is passing through an area where tracks are being worked on at Western and Cermak on October 15, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7189 is passing through an area where tracks are being worked on at Western and Cermak on October 15, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7227 is on Western at Bross on October 15, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7227 is on Western at Bross on October 15, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7238 is southbound on Western at the Douglas Park "L" on April 22, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7238 is southbound on Western at the Douglas Park “L” on April 22, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4028 is on Western at 27th on November 20, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4028 is on Western at 27th on November 20, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4059 on Western at 28th on November 20, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4059 on Western at 28th on November 20, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4008 is on Western at 65th on October 2, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4008 is on Western at 65th on October 2, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

PCC meets PCC in this famous Bill Hoffman photo, showing CTA PCC streetcar 4373 on Western Avenue, while a Garfield Park "L" train crosses on Van Buren temporary trackage. The date is June 16, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

PCC meets PCC in this famous Bill Hoffman photo, showing CTA PCC streetcar 4373 on Western Avenue, while a Garfield Park “L” train crosses on Van Buren temporary trackage. The date is June 16, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4373 is on Western near the Douglas Park "L" on October 5, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4373 is on Western near the Douglas Park “L” on October 5, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4020 on Western at 73rd during track work on June 26, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4020 on Western at 73rd during track work on June 26, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4044 is on Western at the Douglas Park "L" on June 22, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4044 is on Western at the Douglas Park “L” on June 22, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Riverview Park at Western and Roscoe on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Riverview Park at Western and Roscoe on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7012 at Western and Congress, crossing over the new expressway, on June 11, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7012 at Western and Congress, crossing over the new expressway, on June 11, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7038 is on Western at Van Buren on June 11, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7038 is on Western at Van Buren on June 11, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7239 is on Western at the Douglas Park "L" on November 11, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7239 is on Western at the Douglas Park “L” on November 11, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4050 is southbound on Western at the Douglas Park "L" on November 11, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4050 is southbound on Western at the Douglas Park “L” on November 11, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The Western-Berwyn loop on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The Western-Berwyn loop on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4402 on Western at 21st on June 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4402 on Western at 21st on June 17, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4053 on Western and 66th on July 31, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4053 on Western and 66th on July 31, 1955. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
[/caption]


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, 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. 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!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 241st post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 559,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

CTA’s 6000s Run Again

The historic train approaches Adams and Wabash.

The historic train approaches Adams and Wabash.

October 1st was the 72nd anniversary of when the Chicago Transit Authority took over operating the elevated and most of the surface transit lines. To celebrate this milestone, the CTA held a Customer Appreciation Day event in the Loop, using newly repatriated historic “L” cars 6711 and 6712. Built in 1959, this pair had been at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis since the 1990s.

This type of “L” car was once synonymous with the CTA, as these are part of a series of all-new rapid transit cars introduced in the 1950s. There were a total of 770 such cars built in various configurations and delivered between 1950 and 1959. They replaced wooden “L” cars, many of which were half a century old upon retirement.

Being metal-bodied, the 6000-series cars were designed to operate in Chicago’s new subways as well as its famous elevated lines. The first batch of such cars finally made it possible to open the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway in 1951. The State Street Subway had opened in 1943, prior to the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, using existing steel cars built in the early 1920s.

While October 1, 1947 is the date when the CTA finally took charge of local transit, its origins naturally go back further than that. The City of Chicago was always intimately involved in local transit matters, even in the era of private ownership which came crashing down into bankruptcy during the Great Depression.

Then-Mayor Edward J. Kelly spearheaded efforts to build Chicago’s first subways, and his “go-to guy” in this regard was Philip Harrington (1886-1949). In the late 1930s, he became head of the City’s Department of Subways and Superhighways, and was also the principal author of a comprehensive transportation plan known locally as the “Green Book”. (One thing that is not certain, is whether there is any connection between the green binding of this book, and the later adoption of green as the more-or-less official CTA color in early days.)

When the Chicago Transit Authority officially came into being on June 28, 1945, Harrington was unanimously chosen as its first Chairman. What followed was a two-year transition period, where the CTA became a functioning entity and prepared for the official takeover which eventually came, after, under the management of the courts, the existing private owners of the Chicago Rapid Transit and Chicago Surface Lines companies were bought out.  (CTA purchased the assets of the Chicago Motor Coach Company five years later, completing the process of transit unification.)

During this time, while CRT and CSL were still in charge, the CTA, operating in an unofficial capacity, was really calling the shots, deciding what new equipment would be ordered, and where it would run once delivered.

Given that Philip Harrington died 70 years ago, it is remarkable that his son Michael is still with us (I believe he is about 84 years old), and took part in the first trip on these historic cars. I spoke briefly with him, and promised to send him copies of my two Arcadia books, which deal with the turbulent times when his father played such an important role. As a child, Michael Harrington was a witness to events such as the opening of Chicago’s first subway in 1943.

You can read an appreciation of Philip Harrington here.

WBEZ, Chicago’s public radio station, was on the scene talking to people who came out to ride this special train. I was interviewed by a reporter for a few minutes and answered various questions.

I was asked what was so special about the 6000-series cars. They were state of the art when new, and had advanced technology for their time, including improved acceleration and braking, and were quieter than what they replaced, even though the old stuff made “all the right noises.”  (The older 4000-series cars have a very distinctive sound, which many people find pleasant and comes from the gearing.)

They had comfortable seats, especially compared to some of today’s equipment, but one thing they did not have was air conditioning. You had to open the windows, and if the weather was right, a nice refreshing breeze wafted through. A trip through the subway, however, was very LOUD with the windows open, an experience that thankfully modern riders don’t get to have.

As light-weight cars, though, the 6000s did “shake, rattle, and roll” and their riding qualities led some fans to dub them “Spam Cans.” But for various reasons, the final cars in this series, of which 6711-6712 are examples, were a bit heavier than the first ones, and hence rode better also.

Andy Warhol famously said that “In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.” But while I did end up on the radio yesterday, I’m not even sure I got 15 seconds out of the segment on these rides, which totaled less than a minute. You can hear it here.

I applaud the CTA for expanding their collection of historic railcars by bringing some of them back from museums. New York City has several entire trains of older cars it can run, and events such as these are very popular and create tremendous goodwill.  It’s important that organizations have a sense of the history that has made them great.

The 6000s were always my favorite “L” cars, and riding them once again brought back many memories. Some people were probably riding them for the first time, based on the looks of various people on our train. I hope you will enjoy our short photo essay, followed by a few of our recent photo finds.

-David Sadowski

PS- We regret to report the recent passing of Father Philip F. Cioffi at age 63. Father Phil, as we all knew him, was widely known as one of the “nice guys” in the railfan field, and had served on the boards of various organizations over the years. He will be missed. You can read his obituary here.

From 11 am to 12:30 pm, tickets were required, along with payment of a regular CTA fare. People were able to register online. We were in group one. From 12:30 until 2, anyone could ride the historic cars.

From 11 am to 12:30 pm, tickets were required, along with payment of a regular CTA fare. People were able to register online. We were in group one. From 12:30 until 2, anyone could ride the historic cars.

The ticketed trips began and ended at Washington and Wabash, CTA's newest Loop station, which replaced two others.

The ticketed trips began and ended at Washington and Wabash, CTA’s newest Loop station, which replaced two others.

There were separate areas for both boarding and leaving the historic train.

There were separate areas for both boarding and leaving the historic train.

Meanwhile, regular service continued on the Loop.

Meanwhile, regular service continued on the Loop.

Michael Harrington, son of the late Philip Harrington (1886-1949), first Chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority from 1945-49, talks to a WBEZ reporter.

Michael Harrington, son of the late Philip Harrington (1886-1949), first Chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority from 1945-49, talks to a WBEZ reporter.

Cameras are out as our train arrives.

Cameras are out as our train arrives.

The view out the back window.

The view out the back window.

The operator's cab, with the controller, which handles both acceleration and braking.

The operator’s cab, with the controller, which handles both acceleration and braking.

I am not sure what the purpose is of this structure, which the CTA has built on part of the platform of a former station at Randolph and Wells.

I am not sure what the purpose is of this structure, which the CTA has built on part of the platform of a former station at Randolph and Wells.

We are looking west along Lake Street at Wells. The structure at right is called Tower 18, which controls this busy intersection, once the busiest of its type in the world. This is the third such tower building at this location.

We are looking west along Lake Street at Wells. The structure at right is called Tower 18, which controls this busy intersection, once the busiest of its type in the world. This is the third such tower building at this location.

Graham Garfield is CTA's General Manager, RPM (Red and Purple Lines Modernization Project) Operations & Communication Coordination. He also serves as the CTA's historian, and was a conductor on this trip. Nowadays, CTA trains are run by only one person, but this trip was handled the old fashioned way, and Graham was outfitted as usual in a period-correct uniform.

Graham Garfield is CTA’s General Manager, RPM (Red and Purple Lines Modernization Project) Operations & Communication Coordination. He also serves as the CTA’s historian, and was a conductor on this trip. Nowadays, CTA trains are run by only one person, but this trip was handled the old fashioned way, and Graham was outfitted as usual in a period-correct uniform.

Having dropped off the riders from trip one, 6711-6712 head down to the end of the platform at Washington and Wabash to pick people up for the second go-round.

Having dropped off the riders from trip one, 6711-6712 head down to the end of the platform at Washington and Wabash to pick people up for the second go-round.

Adams and Wabash.

Adams and Wabash.

Recent Finds

Here is an example of some early "flat door" 6000s running in the 1950s, on the outer portions of the old Garfield Park "L". I am not sure whether this picture was taken in Forest Park, just east of DesPlaines Avenue (near where the "L" crossed the B&OCT), or along the south edge of Columbus Park a few miles further east.

Here is an example of some early “flat door” 6000s running in the 1950s, on the outer portions of the old Garfield Park “L”. I am not sure whether this picture was taken in Forest Park, just east of DesPlaines Avenue (near where the “L” crossed the B&OCT), or along the south edge of Columbus Park a few miles further east.

This picture, taken on June 16, 1947, shows a Birney car owned by the North Shore Line at the Harrison Street shops in Milwaukee. The tiny streetcar was built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922, and was used in city streetcar service on the 5th-6th Streets line by the interurban.

This picture, taken on June 16, 1947, shows a Birney car owned by the North Shore Line at the Harrison Street shops in Milwaukee. The tiny streetcar was built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922, and was used in city streetcar service on the 5th-6th Streets line by the interurban.

Here is Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 406 on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on August 8, 1954. Photographer Bob Selle notes, "View from abandoned power house-- second story. At Glenwood Park station. Photo stop between Batavia and the Junction." (In other words, on the Batavia branch.)

Here is Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 406 on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on August 8, 1954. Photographer Bob Selle notes, “View from abandoned power house– second story. At Glenwood Park station. Photo stop between Batavia and the Junction.” (In other words, on the Batavia branch.)

It's August 8, 1954, again on a CERA fantrip, and CA&E car 406 is making a photo stop on the line between Wheaton and Aurora in this Bob Selle view. The way people are walking about along the tracks, with unprotected electric third rail, would never be allowed today for safety and liability reasons.

It’s August 8, 1954, again on a CERA fantrip, and CA&E car 406 is making a photo stop on the line between Wheaton and Aurora in this Bob Selle view. The way people are walking about along the tracks, with unprotected electric third rail, would never be allowed today for safety and liability reasons.

After passenger service on the CA&E ended abruptly on July 3, 1957, there were still a few fantrips held. Here is one such train on October 26, 1958. We see cars 430, 403(?), and 453 east of First Avenue near Maywood. The conductor in this Bob Selle photo is climbing aboard at a switch. Presumably, this is as far east as CA&E trains could go at the time, since what is now I-290 was under construction where the interurban once crossed the DesPlaines River. The CA&E's bridge was dutifully moved to the north a bit, and new tracks leading to the DesPlaines terminal built by 1959, with no trains ever to run on them.

After passenger service on the CA&E ended abruptly on July 3, 1957, there were still a few fantrips held. Here is one such train on October 26, 1958. We see cars 430, 403(?), and 453 east of First Avenue near Maywood. The conductor in this Bob Selle photo is climbing aboard at a switch. Presumably, this is as far east as CA&E trains could go at the time, since what is now I-290 was under construction where the interurban once crossed the DesPlaines River. The CA&E’s bridge was dutifully moved to the north a bit, and new tracks leading to the DesPlaines terminal built by 1959, with no trains ever to run on them.

Lake and Pine

As the years go by, there are fewer and fewer places where you can see Chicago streetcar tracks. One such place is the viaduct at Lake and Pine. This is where Route 16 streetcars of the Chicago Surface Line (and later, Chicago Transit Authority) crossed over from one side of the Chicago & North Western viaduct to the other. There were many pictures taken at this location, where Lake Street “L” trains also ran on the ground. Streetcar service here ended in May 1954, and the “L” was relocated onto the embankment in October 1962.

We have published numerous pictures taken at this location, and a few years ago, we even went back and shot some pictures of rail. You can see those here.

Recently, the tracks were removed from the eastern half of the viaduct. Here’s how things looked as of September 25th.

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
[/caption]


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, 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. 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!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 240th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 553,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

IRM Showcase

This is Museum Showcase Weekend at the Illinois Railway Museum. It had been some time since our last visit, and this seemed like an opportune time to renew our acquaintance.

The weather couldn’t have been better, with temps in the upper 70s and ample sunshine with very few clouds. There were lots of people there, including many families. Naturally, we took lots of pictures, and even a few videos, which we hope will give you some of the flavor of the event.

If you have not been to the museum, which is located in Union, we encourage you to make the trip. IRM has a fantastic collection, and there were lots of things running, with occasional swaps between sets of equipment in the course of the day.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

The museum ticket booth has been moved close to the new gift shop.

The museum ticket booth has been moved close to the new gift shop.

And the gift shop carries my books, among others.

And the gift shop carries my books, among others.

An old diesel switching engine.

An old diesel switching engine.

Chicago elevated car 1754 was built in 1906 for the Northwestern "L". It was the last wooden motor car used by the CTA and was retired in 1970.

Chicago elevated car 1754 was built in 1906 for the Northwestern “L”. It was the last wooden motor car used by the CTA and was retired in 1970.

IRM's North Shore Line Electroliner is in the process of being restored.

IRM’s North Shore Line Electroliner is in the process of being restored.

The lion sleeps tonight. Actually, this decorative figure came off the old LaSalle Street train station in downtown Chicago. (Thanks to Jeff Wien for sharing that tidbit of information.)

The lion sleeps tonight. Actually, this decorative figure came off the old LaSalle Street train station in downtown Chicago. (Thanks to Jeff Wien for sharing that tidbit of information.)

A three car wooden "L" train, made up of Chicago cars 1268, 1797, and newly restored 24 (formerly 1024).

A three car wooden “L” train, made up of Chicago cars 1268, 1797, and newly restored 24 (formerly 1024).

I assume this is the original sign that was used when fantrips were held using cars such as this on the Chicago "L" system in the 1950s. IERM was the original name of the Illinois Railway Museum, when it was located in North Chicago. It moved to Union in 1964.

I assume this is the original sign that was used when fantrips were held using cars such as this on the Chicago “L” system in the 1950s. IERM was the original name of the Illinois Railway Museum, when it was located in North Chicago. It moved to Union in 1964.

Northwestern "L" car 24 is the only surviving gate car from the Chicago system, and is IRM's latest restoration. I don't have a picture of it, but it has sideways seating, somewhat like the CTA's 5000-series cars. It was built in 1898, and is the museum's oldest operating piece of equipment.

Northwestern “L” car 24 is the only surviving gate car from the Chicago system, and is IRM’s latest restoration. I don’t have a picture of it, but it has sideways seating, somewhat like the CTA’s 5000-series cars. It was built in 1898, and is the museum’s oldest operating piece of equipment.

There was a train made up of cabooses for people to ride, powered by a steam engine that is out of this shot. (Is cabooses the plural of caboose? or is it cabeese?)

There was a train made up of cabooses for people to ride, powered by a steam engine that is out of this shot. (Is cabooses the plural of caboose? or is it cabeese?)

At right, the tail end of the Nebraska Zephyr.

At right, the tail end of the Nebraska Zephyr.

This is Veracruz, Mexico open car 19. It was acquired in 2009 from what had been the Trolleyville USA collection.

This is Veracruz, Mexico open car 19. It was acquired in 2009 from what had been the Trolleyville USA collection.

This classic South Shore Line sign came from the Gary station.

This classic South Shore Line sign came from the Gary station.

Chicago Rapid Transit car 1754 was eventually brought out of the barn.

Chicago Rapid Transit car 1754 was eventually brought out of the barn.

Chicago Surface Lines streetcar 3142 is part of a series known as "169" or Broadway-State cars. Don's Rail Photos adds, "3142 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21686. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949." The white stripe indicated that it was a one-man car, and therefore riders should board at the front, instead of the rear as on a two-man car.

Chicago Surface Lines streetcar 3142 is part of a series known as “169” or Broadway-State cars. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “3142 was built by Brill Car Co in December 1922, #21686. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949.” The white stripe indicated that it was a one-man car, and therefore riders should board at the front, instead of the rear as on a two-man car.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood cars 309 and 319.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood cars 309 and 319.

The interior of 319.

The interior of 319.

Shay steam engine #5, from the J. Neils Lumber Company, was designed to haul heavy freight trains up hills.

Shay steam engine #5, from the J. Neils Lumber Company, was designed to haul heavy freight trains up hills.

Frisco 1630 steam engine at left, and a Burlington Zephyr diesel at right.

Frisco 1630 steam engine at left, and a Burlington Zephyr diesel at right.

The interior of CA&E 319.

The interior of CA&E 319.

The 319 has a "coffee grinder" style controller.

The 319 has a “coffee grinder” style controller.

The CA&E was known as the Sunset Lines, due to its generally east-west path. In the afternoon rush hour, the sun would shine on the front of each westbound car.

The CA&E was known as the Sunset Lines, due to its generally east-west path. In the afternoon rush hour, the sun would shine on the front of each westbound car.

Chicago Transit Authority trolley bus 9553 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1951 and operated until 1973. IRM is one of the few museums that can operate a trolley bus.

Chicago Transit Authority trolley bus 9553 was built by Marmon-Herrington in 1951 and operated until 1973. IRM is one of the few museums that can operate a trolley bus.

The interior of CTA PCC streetcar 4391, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1948. It ran on the streets of Chicago until 1958.

The interior of CTA PCC streetcar 4391, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1948. It ran on the streets of Chicago until 1958.

If these PCC streetcar seats look familiar, it is because they were some of the parts recycled onto 570 CTA rapid transit cars in the 1950s.

If these PCC streetcar seats look familiar, it is because they were some of the parts recycled onto 570 CTA rapid transit cars in the 1950s.

4391 was built as a two-man car, with a conductor at the rear entrance. Riders exited through the front.

4391 was built as a two-man car, with a conductor at the rear entrance. Riders exited through the front.

A strange juxtaposition of transit ads... smoke Pall malls, then get a chest x-ray.

A strange juxtaposition of transit ads… smoke Pall malls, then get a chest x-ray.

The interior of the 50th Avenue (Cicero) "L" station, which was moved from the Douglas Park (today's Pink Line) branch to IRM.

The interior of the 50th Avenue (Cicero) “L” station, which was moved from the Douglas Park (today’s Pink Line) branch to IRM.

Three CTA 4000-series "L" cars, lined up at the 50th Avenue platform.

Three CTA 4000-series “L” cars, lined up at the 50th Avenue platform.

We bid farewell to another beautiful day at the Illinois Railway Museum with one last shot of 3142.

We bid farewell to another beautiful day at the Illinois Railway Museum with one last shot of 3142.

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
[/caption]


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, 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. 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!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) 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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More Chicago Streetcars

CTA 3141 at Franklin and Lake on October 19, 1952.

CTA 3141 at Franklin and Lake on October 19, 1952.

Friday the 13th may be your lucky day, as today’s post features Chicago streetcar pictures taken by the late Bill Hoffman, kindly shared by Jeffrey L. Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive. Mr. Hoffman was an avid photographer, and captured many unique scenes that other photographers missed.

These pictures, nearly all from the early 1950s, reflect a time when streetcars were fast disappearing from Chicago’s streets. We hope that you will enjoy them.

While in many cases, it is not possible to know what sort of equipment photographers used 60 or more years ago, I do know that Bill Hoffman used a 1950s Leica IIIg camera, which used screw-mount lenses. By happenstance, I briefly ended up with the camera after his unfortunate passing in the 1980s.

Bob Selle used Ansco black-and-white size 616 roll film for the shots featured today. This was a Kodak adaptation of 116, where the film was the same size, but the spool was different. That suggests he was using a Kodak folding camera. These are rather large negatives, at least 4x larger than 35mm, which is one reason they are very sharp and detailed.

We also have some previously unpublished North Shore Line photos taken in January 1963 by Robert Ness, and some recent finds of our own. We thank all our contributors.

-David Sadowski

PS- As always, if you have useful information to add, regarding any of these photographs, don’t hesitate to write us. You can contact us directly, using the e-mail address given at the end of this post, or by leaving us a Comment. When referencing individual photos, use the image number, which can be found by hovering your mouse over the picture. For example, the first image in this post is called pic167. We look forward to hearing from you.

Hoffman Photos From the Wien-Criss Archive:

Jeff Wien notes, “Most if not all of these slides were taken by Bill.”

CTA 531 at Clinton and Lake, October 17, 1950.

CTA 531 at Clinton and Lake, October 17, 1950.

CTA one-man car 6217 at 71st and Western on May 28, 1950.

CTA one-man car 6217 at 71st and Western on May 28, 1950.

CTA one-man car 3318 at 71st and California on May 28, 1950.

CTA one-man car 3318 at 71st and California on May 28, 1950.

CTA 7271 at 63rd and Linder on November 7, 1952.

CTA 7271 at 63rd and Linder on November 7, 1952.

CTA 7010 and bus 3677 at 63rd Place and Narragansett on July 1, 1951.

CTA 7010 and bus 3677 at 63rd Place and Narragansett on July 1, 1951.

CTA 141 is at 63rd and Western on May 20, 1953.

CTA 141 is at 63rd and Western on May 20, 1953.

CTA 653 and 685 pass at 63rd and Western on May 20, 1953.

CTA 653 and 685 pass at 63rd and Western on May 20, 1953.

CTA 7011 at 63rd and Western on June 4, 1950.

CTA 7011 at 63rd and Western on June 4, 1950.

CTA 452 at 63rd Place and Narragansett on May 19, 1953.

CTA 452 at 63rd Place and Narragansett on May 19, 1953.

CTA 4023 on 64th and Stony Island on July 1, 1951.

CTA 4023 on 64th and Stony Island on July 1, 1951.

CTA 7016 on 63rd at Maplewood on May 6, 1951.

CTA 7016 on 63rd at Maplewood on May 6, 1951.

CTA 7012 is westbound on private right of way on 63rd Place and Mobile on August 13, 1950.

CTA 7012 is westbound on private right of way on 63rd Place and Mobile on August 13, 1950.

CTA 4021 is at 63rd and Linder on May 6, 1951. This car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CTA 4021 is at 63rd and Linder on May 6, 1951. This car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CTA trolley bus 234 is at 51st and Campbell on June 12, 1950, where it appears streetcar tracks are being removed from the pavement.

CTA trolley bus 234 is at 51st and Campbell on June 12, 1950, where it appears streetcar tracks are being removed from the pavement.

CTA trolley bus 225 at 51st and Calumet on July 3, 1950, on the 51st-55th line.

CTA trolley bus 225 at 51st and Calumet on July 3, 1950, on the 51st-55th line.

CTA 795 at 47th and Halsted on October 31, 1950.

CTA 795 at 47th and Halsted on October 31, 1950.

CTA 695 is eastbound on Roosevelt at State on October 29, 1950.

CTA 695 is eastbound on Roosevelt at State on October 29, 1950.

CTA 337 on the Museum Loop on May 30, 1951. This was an extension of the Roosevelt Road streetcar line, built for the 1933-34 World's Fair, and served the Field Museum and Soldier Field.

CTA 337 on the Museum Loop on May 30, 1951. This was an extension of the Roosevelt Road streetcar line, built for the 1933-34 World’s Fair, and served the Field Museum and Soldier Field.

CTA 187 at Roosevelt and Clinton on May 30, 1950. Note the safety island.

CTA 187 at Roosevelt and Clinton on May 30, 1950. Note the safety island.

CTA one-man car 3200 on the Museum Loop on October 26, 1952.

CTA one-man car 3200 on the Museum Loop on October 26, 1952.

CTA 436 is on Roosevelt east of Wabash on October 29, 1950.

CTA 436 is on Roosevelt east of Wabash on October 29, 1950.

CTA 1724 is on Ogden at Ashland Boulevard on October 29, 1950.

CTA 1724 is on Ogden at Ashland Boulevard on October 29, 1950.

CTA 1743 is descending into the Washington Street tunnel under the Chicago River on June 27, 1950.

CTA 1743 is descending into the Washington Street tunnel under the Chicago River on June 27, 1950.

CTA one-man car 1767 is on Ogden at Van Buren on October 29, 1950.

CTA one-man car 1767 is on Ogden at Van Buren on October 29, 1950.

CTA one-man car 1746 is on Ogden at Van Buren on October 29, 1950.

CTA one-man car 1746 is on Ogden at Van Buren on October 29, 1950.

CSL 949 is southbound, coming out of the LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River on September 6, 1939.

CSL 949 is southbound, coming out of the LaSalle Street tunnel under the Chicago River on September 6, 1939.

The Washington Street river tunnel at Wacker on May 21, 1951.

The Washington Street river tunnel at Wacker on May 21, 1951.

CTA 532 on the Madison Street bridge, on Route 56 - Milwaukee Avenue.

CTA 532 on the Madison Street bridge, on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue.

CTA 786 at Clinton and Van Buren in April 1952.

CTA 786 at Clinton and Van Buren in April 1952.

CTA 567 at Milwaukee and Armitage on October 18, 1950.

CTA 567 at Milwaukee and Armitage on October 18, 1950.

Washington and Wells on October 17, 1950.

Washington and Wells on October 17, 1950.

CTA one-man car 3175 at Randolph and Franklin on October 19, 1952.

CTA one-man car 3175 at Randolph and Franklin on October 19, 1952.

CTA 3163 at Lake and Pine (on the north side of the Chicago & North Western viaduct) on May 9, 1954. My understanding is the tracks are finally being removed under this viaduct, 65 years after the end of streetcar service.

CTA 3163 at Lake and Pine (on the north side of the Chicago & North Western viaduct) on May 9, 1954. My understanding is the tracks are finally being removed under this viaduct, 65 years after the end of streetcar service.

CTA 1627 at Randolph and Franklin on June 30, 1949.

CTA 1627 at Randolph and Franklin on June 30, 1949.

CTA one-man car 1759 at Randolph and Franklin on June 14, 1953.

CTA one-man car 1759 at Randolph and Franklin on June 14, 1953.

CTA 3163 on Lake Street just west of Laramie May 9, 1954. Nearby, the Lake Street "L" descended a ramp, and then ran at ground level all the way to the end of the line in Forest Park, just west of Harlem Avenue.

CTA 3163 on Lake Street just west of Laramie May 9, 1954. Nearby, the Lake Street “L” descended a ramp, and then ran at ground level all the way to the end of the line in Forest Park, just west of Harlem Avenue.

CTA 1724 on Lake Street at Ashland on October 20, 1953, running under the Lake Street "L".

CTA 1724 on Lake Street at Ashland on October 20, 1953, running under the Lake Street “L”.

CTA 422 at Kedzie and 47th on May 13, 1954.

CTA 422 at Kedzie and 47th on May 13, 1954.

CTA 118 on Kedzie at 34th on May 8, 1953, while some track work was being done.

CTA 118 on Kedzie at 34th on May 8, 1953, while some track work was being done.

CTA 205 at Kedzie and Van Buren on May 24, 1954.

CTA 205 at Kedzie and Van Buren on May 24, 1954.

Kedzie and 34th on May 14, 1950.

Kedzie and 34th on May 14, 1950.

CTA 1735 on Kedzie near the Douglas Park "L" (just north of Cermak Road) on May 28, 1954.

CTA 1735 on Kedzie near the Douglas Park “L” (just north of Cermak Road) on May 28, 1954.

CTA 207 is at Kedzie and Jackson on April 19, 1951.

CTA 207 is at Kedzie and Jackson on April 19, 1951.

CTA 128 is on Kedzie at the Garfield Park "L" on August 2, 1953. A couple of trolley buses are also visible.

CTA 128 is on Kedzie at the Garfield Park “L” on August 2, 1953. A couple of trolley buses are also visible.

CTA 330 and others are at the Kedzie and Van Buren car barn (station) on March 13, 1951.

CTA 330 and others are at the Kedzie and Van Buren car barn (station) on March 13, 1951.

CTA 446 at Kedzie and 34th on March 13, 1951.

CTA 446 at Kedzie and 34th on March 13, 1951.

CTA 445 at Kedzie and 35th on June 13, 1950.

CTA 445 at Kedzie and 35th on June 13, 1950.

CTA 397 at Kedzie and 66th Place on May 13, 1954.

CTA 397 at Kedzie and 66th Place on May 13, 1954.

CTA 362 at Kedzie and 34th on October 2, 1953.

CTA 362 at Kedzie and 34th on October 2, 1953.

CTA 876 at Indiana Avenue and 51st Street on September 4, 1950.

CTA 876 at Indiana Avenue and 51st Street on September 4, 1950.

CTA 1001 at Wells and Hubbard on May 14, 1950.

CTA 1001 at Wells and Hubbard on May 14, 1950.

CTA 277 at State and Wacker in March 1951.

CTA 277 at State and Wacker in March 1951.

CTA 1711 at State and Wacker on July 9, 1950.

CTA 1711 at State and Wacker on July 9, 1950.

CTA 1674 on Van Buren at Des Plaines on May 14, 1950.

CTA 1674 on Van Buren at Des Plaines on May 14, 1950.

CTA 338 on the State Street bridge, then just a year old, on November 6, 1950.

CTA 338 on the State Street bridge, then just a year old, on November 6, 1950.

CTA one-man car 1773 on Cermak and Lumber on May 9, 1954.

CTA one-man car 1773 on Cermak and Lumber on May 9, 1954.

CTA 1765 at Cermak and Loomis on May 9, 1954.

CTA 1765 at Cermak and Loomis on May 9, 1954.

CTA 1771 at Cermak and Western on September 24, 1952.

CTA 1771 at Cermak and Western on September 24, 1952.

CSL 473 at Burnham Park and the Lakefront, east end of Route 21 - Cermak, some time prior to 1948.

CSL 473 at Burnham Park and the Lakefront, east end of Route 21 – Cermak, some time prior to 1948.

CTA 1755 on Cermak at the Belt Railway on July 9, 1950.

CTA 1755 on Cermak at the Belt Railway on July 9, 1950.

CTA 1740 at Cermak and Western on September 24, 1952.

CTA 1740 at Cermak and Western on September 24, 1952.

CTA 709 at 26th, Blue Island, and Western on May 16, 1950.

CTA 709 at 26th, Blue Island, and Western on May 16, 1950.

CTA 723 at Clinton and Harrison on July 11, 1950.

CTA 723 at Clinton and Harrison on July 11, 1950.

CTA 720 at Blue Island and Harrison on May 16, 1950.

CTA 720 at Blue Island and Harrison on May 16, 1950.

A Leica IIIg camera,. The last Leica to use screw-mount lenses, this model was introduced in 1957.

A Leica IIIg camera,. The last Leica to use screw-mount lenses, this model was introduced in 1957.

1963 North Shore Line Fantrip

Robert Ness writes:

I took these pictures as a 15 year old on the last North Shore CERA fantrip on Jan 13, 1963, which covered the main line to Milwaukee and the Mundelein branch. The fare was $7.50 which was steep for a teenager. I grew up in Skokie three blocks from the old Oakton Street Rapid Transit station, and spent many hours riding my bike up to Dempster station for the traction action there. I also witnessed many freight movements of coal interchanged from the C&NW Mayfair branch at Oakton Street.

The North Shore Line has always been my favorite railroad and of course, in retrospect, I wish I had taken more pictures.

We thank Mr. Ness for sharing these pictures with our readers. By happenstance, we also found a copy of the itinerary for that trip.

My attempt at a panned shot.

My attempt at a panned shot.

Siding near Northbrook, waiting for a scheduled train.

Siding near Northbrook, waiting for a scheduled train.

Mundelein branch north of the Illinois Tollway.

Mundelein branch north of the Illinois Tollway.

Mundelein station.

Mundelein station.

Lake Forest.

Lake Forest.

North Chicago.

North Chicago.

North of Racine.

North of Racine.

North of Racine.

North of Racine.

5th Street in Milwaukee.

5th Street in Milwaukee.

Between 5th and 6th Streets in Milwaukee.

Between 5th and 6th Streets in Milwaukee.

Recent Finds

We have run various other pictures showing the construction of the bridge at Halsted over what is now the Eisenhower (formerly Congress) Expressway, but not this one. It shows a Pullman-uilt CTA PCC, operating on Route 8, using the shoo-fly around the bridge construction site. The bridge was finished by 1953, so my guess would be this picture is circa 1952. The view looks to the southeast from the nearby Garfield Park "L" station, which was not directly in the expressway footprint, and remained open until 1958.

We have run various other pictures showing the construction of the bridge at Halsted over what is now the Eisenhower (formerly Congress) Expressway, but not this one. It shows a Pullman-uilt CTA PCC, operating on Route 8, using the shoo-fly around the bridge construction site. The bridge was finished by 1953, so my guess would be this picture is circa 1952. The view looks to the southeast from the nearby Garfield Park “L” station, which was not directly in the expressway footprint, and remained open until 1958.

The caption I received with this North Shore Line negative reads, "Single car Skokie (Valley) inbound 1950s Chicago Limited, at a platform on embankment looking up."

The caption I received with this North Shore Line negative reads, “Single car Skokie (Valley) inbound 1950s Chicago Limited, at a platform on embankment looking up.”

The caption on this Bob Selle negative reads, "CERA trip, Sunday morning August 8, 1954. Front view-- Chicago Aurora & Elgin special #310. Secong photo stop on Mt. Carmel branch."

The caption on this Bob Selle negative reads, “CERA trip, Sunday morning August 8, 1954. Front view– Chicago Aurora & Elgin special #310. Secong photo stop on Mt. Carmel branch.”

For this negative, photographer Bob Selle wrote, "CERA fan trip, Sunday afternoon, august 8, 1954. Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars 406 and 418, Aurora, Illinois. (#406 our special.)" The off-street terminal here was put into service at the end of 1939, and was therefore only used for about 18 years.

For this negative, photographer Bob Selle wrote, “CERA fan trip, Sunday afternoon, august 8, 1954. Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars 406 and 418, Aurora, Illinois. (#406 our special.)” The off-street terminal here was put into service at the end of 1939, and was therefore only used for about 18 years.

There were many photos taken over the years at this location, 81st and Halsted, the south end of CTA Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. What's special about this Bob Selle shot is the date-- January 2, 1954. There are not many pictures of Pullman PCCs from 1954, as they were the first casualties of the so-called PCC Conversion Program, whereby a total of 570 out of 600 Chicago PCCs were sent to the St. Louis Car Company, scrapped, and some of their parts were reused on a like number of "L" cars. Oddly enough, all the cars on this heavy line had to make a backup move in traffic. I am not sure why it couldn't have been advantageous to figure out a different arrangement, such as an off-street loop like other lines had.

There were many photos taken over the years at this location, 81st and Halsted, the south end of CTA Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. What’s special about this Bob Selle shot is the date– January 2, 1954. There are not many pictures of Pullman PCCs from 1954, as they were the first casualties of the so-called PCC Conversion Program, whereby a total of 570 out of 600 Chicago PCCs were sent to the St. Louis Car Company, scrapped, and some of their parts were reused on a like number of “L” cars. Oddly enough, all the cars on this heavy line had to make a backup move in traffic. I am not sure why it couldn’t have been advantageous to figure out a different arrangement, such as an off-street loop like other lines had.

This is the Garfield Park "L" in the late 1950s, at the western end where it ran on the ground. The presence of streetcar tracks tells us that this picture was taken at Des Plaines Avenue in Forest Park, and that auto dates the picture to around 1957-58. But I am not sure if we are looking east or west.

This is the Garfield Park “L” in the late 1950s, at the western end where it ran on the ground. The presence of streetcar tracks tells us that this picture was taken at Des Plaines Avenue in Forest Park, and that auto dates the picture to around 1957-58. But I am not sure if we are looking east or west.

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
[/caption]


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, 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. 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!

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) 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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The Sunset Lines

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 453, which will soon find a new home at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 453, which will soon find a new home at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)

It is a shame that only four out of ten postwar interurban cars built in 1945 for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin were saved, after that railroad ceased operations in the late 1950s.

Having only been in service for a dozen years or so, these cars could have been a nice addition to the North Shore Line, but that interurban ceased operations in 1963. There was also an unrealized plan to use them on an extension of the Cleveland rapid transit line to the local airport. The extension was delayed for several years, and ultimately new cars were ordered.

That any of the ten were saved is due to Gerald E. Brookens, who bought them in 1962 for his Trolleyville U.S.A. operation in Ohio. They were cars that could be put into service right away, with minimal effort, on his new line serving a trailer park, where operations began in 1963. There they remained until the Brookens family decided to sell the trailer park. An attempt to use the collection, or parts of it, in Cleveland did not pan out, and the collection was put up for sale in 2009, ultimately dispersed among a consortium of railway museums.

Cars 451 and 460 went to the Illinois Railway Museum. 458 was purchased by the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. The fourth car (453) traveled to Pennsylvania and the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton. They originally planned to restore it as an ersatz Laurel Line interurban, since no cars from that line were saved after it quit in 1952.

Fortunately for us, the folks in Scranton changed their minds, and recently put the 453 up for sale instead. Thanks to a quick fundraiser, it will now be coming to the Illinois Railway Museum. All four surviving cars in the 451-460 series will be back in Illinois for the first time since 1962, with three of the four at IRM.

As the Hicks Car Works blog reported:

We are overjoyed to announce that the fund-raising drive has been successful in raising the money needed to purchase, transport, and store car 453! It will be coming soon to a museum near you!

A large number of people contributed to make this possible, and we thank you all. Two donors in particular gave substantial amounts. One of them came from a long-time member, who wishes to remain anonymous, in celebration of his 45th year since joining the Museum in 1974. The other came from Jeffrey L. Wien. Jeff comments: “I felt that I was playing the role of a White Knight in making my donation…. I donated to the 453 fund because the 450 class were the last interurbans built in the U.S. and to me were very aesthetically attractive. Now we will have 75% of the surviving 450 class! It should also be mentioned that as a former North Shore Line employee, that I have always favored North Shore equipment, but this time I wanted to make sure that a rare piece of CA&E history is preserved. Julie Johnson would be pleased.”

It has often been stated that the ten curved-sided CA&E cars were the “last” interurbans built in the United States. To accept this, some caveats come into play.

First of all, what constitutes an interurban? Depending on how you define this, why wouldn’t the PATCO Speedline, which runs between Philadelphia and Camden County, New Jersey qualify as an “interurban,” even though it did not begin service until 1969?

What about the double-ended cars built by St. Louis Car Company for the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) in 1949? They ran on the line between Philadelphia and West Chester, which is generally considered an interurban. But they resembled PCC cars, although they had conventional motors and were not “offically” considered PCCs.

Actual PCC cars were used in interurban service by Pittsburgh Railways, to Charleroi and Washington, PA until 1953.  Some of these cars were built in 1949.

The Norristown High-Speed Line in suburban Philadelphia has also at times been considered an interurban.  So when rapid transit cars from the Chicago Transit Authority were used there, in the 1980s and 90s, did they become interurban cars?

Perhaps it is fair to say that the CA&E cars were the last classic or conventional interurban cars built in the United States. There have been other interurban cars built since 1945 outside of the US, such as the cars operated on the South Shore Line.

An interurban is as much a sociological concept as anything, and has come to represent a particular era in American history. Pacific Electric ran an interurban between Los Angeles and Long Beach until 1961. But when service between those two cities was restored in 1990, via the Blue Line Metro, it was called light rail, even though much of the line runs in the same alignment that Pacific Electric used.

For that matter, is the South Shore Line, the so-called “last” interurban that survived, still an interurban?  Or would most of its riders today think of it as commuter rail?

To celebrate the return of car 453, we present many classic black-and-white views of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin from the collections of William Shapotkin, and as always, we thank him for his generosity in sharing them with our readers. These were scanned from small prints of the type once sold by the late Barney Neuberger and others, most of which did not have any information along with them.

There are a few things we can do know, however. The two pictures of crossings on the ground-level tracks west of Laramie, at Oak Park Avenue and Ridgeland in suburban Oak Park, were taken in 1935. The pictures of street running are most likely in Aurora. In 1939, the Aurora terminal was relocated to off-street trackage. The pictures of two wood cars while it is snowing were most likely taken during the final passenger fantrip in December 1958.

There are a couple wreck pictures. We don’t know the circumstances, or even if they are from the same incident. Someone on Facebook was recently wondering if the CA&E had any fatal accidents. We know that the employees were very conscientious, and had an admirable safety record, but I am sure there were some.

There was only a brief period of time (1953) when the picture showing CA&E cars on the Met main line at Halsted, next to the newly completed bridge over the Congress Expressway construction site, could have been taken.

When we scanned these prints, there were a few duplicates. If we did not weed out all of these, we hope you will forgive us.

If you do have useful information to add, you can make a Comment on this post. Be sure to refer to the pictures by their file names, which can be found by hovering your mouse over the image. For example, the fist picture in this post is img989. That will be more helpful to us than just saying, “the third picture down,” or some such.

As you enjoy your Labor Day holiday weekend, we hope you will appreciate all the labor that has gone into preserving the memory of the Sunset Lines, as the CA&E was once fondly named.  Thanks to the work of many dedicated volunteers, we hope the sun will never truly set on the Sunset Lines.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

From the Collections of William Shapotkin: