Five Years (Part One)

You've probably seen "first day of issue" stamp covers before, but this is kind of the opposite. Some railfans mailed these commemorative envelopes to themselves on January 21, 1963, the day the North Shore Line finally passed into history.

You’ve probably seen “first day of issue” stamp covers before, but this is kind of the opposite. Some railfans mailed these commemorative envelopes to themselves on January 21, 1963, the day the North Shore Line finally passed into history.

January 21 has long been a sad day for railfans, as this was when the fabled North Shore Line ran its last interurban train between Chicago and Milwaukee in 1963, truly the end of an era in American transportation history.  To make things worse, that was a bitterly cold day.

But it is also the date when, five years ago, we started this blog.

As we celebrate that event, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a retrospective of some of our favorite images from our first 245 posts. That’s a lot to choose from, so we’re doing this in two installments. If you are a regular reader, no doubt you have your own favorites.  Today’s post covers 2015 and 2016.

We are currently in the middle of our annual fundraiser. Right now, we are only part way to our goal of raising $400 to cover our fees for the coming year. We have already received several contributions, and we thank everyone who has helped to date.

If you would like to see the Trolley Dodger continue for another year, I hope you will consider making a contribution (if you have not yet already done so). There are links at the bottom of this post you can follow, in addition to our usual Online Store.

Any additional funds received, beyond those needed for our goal, will be used to purchase more images for future blog posts.

It’s been a great five years. Thanks for being a part of it. We will be back in a few days with an all-new post.  Part Two of our “Best of” will appear early next month.

-David Sadowski

From 52 Years Ago Today… (January 21, 2015):

Electroliner 801-802 passes Tower 18 on Chicago's Loop.

Electroliner 801-802 passes Tower 18 on Chicago’s Loop.

Line car 606 at the Milwaukee terminal. According to Don's Rail Photos, "606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, (order) #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum."

Line car 606 at the Milwaukee terminal. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, (order) #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.”

From Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White (January 23, 2015):

CSL 7001 northbound at State and Washington, 1934. This experimental pre-PCC car transported visitors back and forth to A Century of Progress. Note that there are only three stars on the Chicago flag. The fourth star, symbolizing Fort Dearborn, was added in 1939. (CSL Photo)

CSL 7001 northbound at State and Washington, 1934. This experimental pre-PCC car transported visitors back and forth to A Century of Progress. Note that there are only three stars on the Chicago flag. The fourth star, symbolizing Fort Dearborn, was added in 1939. (CSL Photo)

From CTA’s Westchester Branch – What Might Have Been (January 26, 2015):

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the Garfield Park line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the Garfield Park line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

From The CTA, the CA&E, and “Political Influence” (February 18, 2015):

Brand-new “flat door” cars 6003-6004 are shown to good advantage at the North Water Terminal in 1950. (Clark Equipment Co. Photo)

From Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015):

Postwar PCC 7142 pulls into the Clark-Howard loop in the mid-1950s. The white line indicates the swing of the car.

Postwar PCC 7142 pulls into the Clark-Howard loop in the mid-1950s. The white line indicates the swing of the car.

West Chicago Street Railway #4 was pulled out for pictures on May 25, 1958, the occasion of the final fantrip on Chicago's streetcar system.

West Chicago Street Railway #4 was pulled out for pictures on May 25, 1958, the occasion of the final fantrip on Chicago’s streetcar system.

From Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 2 (February 28, 2015):

Car 1821 passing under the Sacramento station on the old Garfield Park "L". The curve in the tracks is quite apparent here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Car 1821 passing under the Sacramento station on the old Garfield Park “L”. The curve in the tracks is quite apparent here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

From Chicago Streetcars in Color, Part 2 (March 9, 2015):

CTA 4168, on diversion trackage, heads west on Chicago Avenue, near the landmark Montgomery Wards Company Complex.

CTA 4168, on diversion trackage, heads west on Chicago Avenue, near the landmark Montgomery Wards Company Complex.

From Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 4 (April 1, 2015):

George Foelschow writes, CSL 2811 "is on page 29 of the Lind book, identified as 134th Street (where it ducks under the Illinois Central tracks)." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

George Foelschow writes, CSL 2811 “is on page 29 of the Lind book, identified as 134th Street (where it ducks under the Illinois Central tracks).” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

From Chicago Rapid Transit Mystery Photos – Solved (April 28, 2015):

Image #811, according to Andre Kristopans, shows a "Normal Park shuttle between Harvard Englewood and Stewart Jct – appears inbound." Edward Maurath notes that car "223 was made by Jewett in 1902 for the South Side Line, then known as the ”alley L’."

Image #811, according to Andre Kristopans, shows a “Normal Park shuttle between Harvard Englewood and Stewart Jct – appears inbound.” Edward Maurath notes that car “223 was made by Jewett in 1902 for the South Side Line, then known as the ”alley L’.”

Image #818 shows CTA 6066-6067 at Logan Square terminal, most likely in the early 1950s. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

Image #818 shows CTA 6066-6067 at Logan Square terminal, most likely in the early 1950s. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo)

From Electroliner Restoration Update (May 31, 2015):

An Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal in 1949. (Trolley Dodger Collection - Photographer Unknown)

An Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal in 1949. (Trolley Dodger Collection – Photographer Unknown)

From Chicago PCC Mystery Photos – Part 1 (June 20, 2015):

M. E. writes, "I am quite surprised that no one identified the location of photo #44. The photographer was on the westbound Englewood L platform at 63rd Place and Halsted, looking north to the heart of Englewood, 63rd and Halsted. The old red car on 63rd St. indicates that this photo was taken before the pre-war PCCs were transferred from Madison to 63rd. When this photo was taken, Englewood was almost certainly the largest commercial district outside the Loop. 63rd and Halsted was the center, but the Halsted business district ran from about 59th to 69th, and the 63rd business district ran from Wentworth west to Ashland. Things that are in this photo: -- The big building on the northeast corner is Sears Roebuck. In the basement was a Hillman's Pure Food grocery store. -- The three-story building on the northwest corner is the Ace department store. As I recall, it was rather dumpy. I distinctly remember all the ceiling fans that provided the only summertime ventilation -- NOT! -- On the southwest corner is S S Kresge, the forerunner of K Mart. Kresge and Woolworth's were 5-and-10-cent (a.k.a. dime) stores. The Kresge store had a doughnut manufacturing line in the windows along 63rd St. They made fresh doughnuts and sold them for 3 cents each. I also remember seeing a lot of store employees, unlike the ensuing K Mart and its ilk. -- See the small newsstand on the southeast corner? I helped an older man sell newspapers there. We sold the morning Tribune and Sun-Times for 4 cents, and the evening Daily News and Herald American for 5 cents. I think the Sunday Sun-Times and Herald American cost 15 cents, and the Trib was 20 cents. The Trib was so much fatter than the other two, it was worth the difference. (The Daily News published its weekend edition on Saturday.) We also sold the Southtown Economist, which today is the Southtown Star. Their printing plant was on Union Ave. (700 West) south of 65th St., not far from 63rd and Halsted. -- North of 63rd along Halsted are two movie theaters. On the east side of Halsted around Englewood Ave. (a.k.a. 62nd Place) is the Ace theater, a small old place. Across the street from the Ace is the Empress, a nicer newer place. Heading east on 63rd from Halsted, there were four more movie theaters. The easternmost was the Southtown Theater, which had a tall spire and an ornate lobby with a pond inhabited by swans. Its parking lot was surrounded by a cement Art Deco-style fence that was about a foot wide and easy to walk atop." Bill Wasik adds, "This appears to be the Christmas shopping season on S. Halsted, going by the display in the Sears/Hillman’s window at the right. If this was taken in 1952, the photo sadly was made only days or weeks before six persons were killed in a fire that destroyed the General Furniture store at 6155 S. Halsted. The huge General Furniture sign can be seen in the distance at the right of this photo." Jeff Wien adds, "Circa 1953, after pre-War PCCs were sent to Cottage Grove and post War PCCs were being sent to SLCC. Red Cars ran the last runs on 63rd Street."

M. E. writes, “I am quite surprised that no one identified the location of photo #44. The photographer was on the westbound Englewood L platform at 63rd Place and Halsted, looking north to the heart of Englewood, 63rd and Halsted. The old red car on 63rd St. indicates that this photo was taken before the pre-war PCCs were transferred from Madison to 63rd.
When this photo was taken, Englewood was almost certainly the largest commercial district outside the Loop. 63rd and Halsted was the center, but the Halsted business district ran from about 59th to 69th, and the 63rd business district ran from Wentworth west to Ashland.
Things that are in this photo:
— The big building on the northeast corner is Sears Roebuck. In the basement was a Hillman’s Pure Food grocery store.
— The three-story building on the northwest corner is the Ace department store. As I recall, it was rather dumpy. I distinctly remember all the ceiling fans that provided the only summertime ventilation — NOT!
— On the southwest corner is S S Kresge, the forerunner of K Mart. Kresge and Woolworth’s were 5-and-10-cent (a.k.a. dime) stores. The Kresge store had a doughnut manufacturing line in the windows along 63rd St. They made fresh doughnuts and sold them for 3 cents each. I also remember seeing a lot of
store employees, unlike the ensuing K Mart and its ilk.
— See the small newsstand on the southeast corner? I helped an older man sell newspapers there. We sold the morning Tribune and Sun-Times for 4 cents, and the evening Daily News and Herald American for 5 cents. I think the Sunday Sun-Times and Herald American cost 15 cents, and the Trib was 20 cents. The Trib was so much fatter than the other two, it was worth the difference. (The Daily News published its weekend edition on Saturday.) We also sold the Southtown
Economist, which today is the Southtown Star. Their printing plant was on Union
Ave. (700 West) south of 65th St., not far from 63rd and Halsted.
— North of 63rd along Halsted are two movie theaters. On the east side of Halsted around Englewood Ave. (a.k.a. 62nd Place) is the Ace theater, a small old place. Across the street from the Ace is the Empress, a nicer newer place. Heading east on 63rd from Halsted, there were four more movie theaters. The easternmost
was the Southtown Theater, which had a tall spire and an ornate lobby with a pond inhabited by swans. Its parking lot was surrounded by a cement Art Deco-style fence that was about a foot wide and easy to walk atop.” Bill Wasik adds, “This appears to be the Christmas shopping season on S. Halsted, going by the display in the Sears/Hillman’s window at the right. If this was taken in 1952, the photo sadly was made only days or weeks before six persons were killed in a fire that destroyed the General Furniture store at 6155 S. Halsted. The huge General Furniture sign can be seen in the distance at the right of this photo.”
Jeff Wien adds, “Circa 1953, after pre-War PCCs were sent to Cottage Grove and post War PCCs were being sent to SLCC. Red Cars ran the last runs on 63rd Street.”

#43 - Len Marcus says, "Westbound on Chicago Avenue turning south onto Halsted Street during Halsted Street reroute for bridge reconstruction on Halsted, north of Chicago Avenue." Bill Wasik adds, "This was a favorite spot for the tin sign brigade, with some rarities on display, especially the one for Nectar Beer." Bill Shapotkin: "A S/B Halsted car turning from W/B Chicago into S/B Halsted. Cars are being detoured due to bridgework on Halsted St. (Approx 40 years later, the Halsted busses would do the same detour for the same work on the same bridge -- damn, some things never change.)"

#43 – Len Marcus says, “Westbound on Chicago Avenue turning south onto Halsted Street during Halsted Street reroute for bridge reconstruction on Halsted, north of Chicago Avenue.” Bill Wasik adds, “This was a favorite spot for the tin sign brigade, with some rarities on display, especially the one for Nectar Beer.” Bill Shapotkin: “A S/B Halsted car turning from W/B Chicago into S/B Halsted. Cars are being detoured due to bridgework on Halsted St. (Approx 40 years later, the Halsted busses would do the same detour for the same work on the same bridge — damn, some things never change.)”

From CA&E Mystery Photos – Part 1 (July 14, 2015):

This picture was taken prior to September 20, 1953, looking east from the old DesPlaines Avenue station. The eastbound CA&E train is about to cross the B&O, a source of many delays. Due to expressway construction in the city, the CA&E stopped running east of here, and a new terminal facility was constructed to the west of this one, where riders could switch to CTA trains for the trip downtown. (Truman Hefner Photo)

This picture was taken prior to September 20, 1953, looking east from the old DesPlaines Avenue station. The eastbound CA&E train is about to cross the B&O, a source of many delays. Due to expressway construction in the city, the CA&E stopped running east of here, and a new terminal facility was constructed to the west of this one, where riders could switch to CTA trains for the trip downtown. (Truman Hefner Photo)

From The CA&E in Black-and-White (July 31, 2015):

#16 - CA&E 453 at Des Plaines Avenue terminal in August 1955. Cars 451-460 were ordered in 1941 but delayed by war. They were built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1945-46 and are considered the last "standard" interurban cars built in the US, although this is a somewhat debatable point.

#16 – CA&E 453 at Des Plaines Avenue terminal in August 1955. Cars 451-460 were ordered in 1941 More LVT Photos & Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 12-14-2015but delayed by war. They were built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1945-46 and are considered the last “standard” interurban cars built in the US, although this is a somewhat debatable point.

From Chicago PCC Updates (August 30, 2015):

A two-car train of "flat door" 6000-series cars at the ground-level Oak Park Avenue station on the Garfield Park "L" in the 1950s. These used PCC technology and were built with all new parts, unlike the later curved door cars that were partly built with parts salvaged from PCC streetcars. The building at rear, located at approximately 814 Harrison Street, is still standing in Oak Park. Sean Hunnicutt adds, "That's 6053-54."

A two-car train of “flat door” 6000-series cars at the ground-level Oak Park Avenue station on the Garfield Park “L” in the 1950s. These used PCC technology and were built with all new parts, unlike the later curved door cars that were partly built with parts salvaged from PCC streetcars. The building at rear, located at approximately 814 Harrison Street, is still standing in Oak Park. Sean Hunnicutt adds, “That’s 6053-54.”

From A North Shore Line Potpourri, Part Two (August 22, 2015):

A two-car (170-709) North Shore Line Chicago Express "at speed" (although most likely moving very slowly) at Fifth and Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette on the Shore Line Route, October 24, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo)

A two-car (170-709) North Shore Line Chicago Express “at speed” (although most likely moving very slowly) at Fifth and Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette on the Shore Line Route, October 24, 1948. (Richard H. Young Photo)

From More Hoosier Traction (September 2, 2015):

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 63 at Bluffton in 1936. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo) Car 65, a sister to this one, is preserved in operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed interurban car 63 at Bluffton in 1936. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo) Car 65, a sister to this one, is preserved in operable condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

From Traction in Milwaukee (September 16, 2015):

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 and an Electroliner near Racine on the 1949 North Shore Line fantrip. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1121 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1927. It was equipped with GE-207B motors to allow it to pull trailers. In 1949 it was found to have the best wheels, and thus it was selected for the fantrip on the North Shore Line to Green Bay Junction near Rondout. It was also used as a freight motor after the last regular freight motor was wrecked in 1950."

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 and an Electroliner near Racine on the 1949 North Shore Line fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1121 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1927. It was equipped with GE-207B motors to allow it to pull trailers. In 1949 it was found to have the best wheels, and thus it was selected for the fantrip on the North Shore Line to Green Bay Junction near Rondout. It was also used as a freight motor after the last regular freight motor was wrecked in 1950.”

From More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Four (October 12, 2015):

CSL 7001 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania Photo)

CSL 7001 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania Photo)

From More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Six (November 30, 2015):

CSL 7034 eastbound at Madison and Hamlin in July 1937. The tall building at rear is still there. (CSL Photo) Marty Robinson adds, "The tall building is the Midwest Hotel, which housed the studio of WNIB in the attic. I was a program host there in 1957."

CSL 7034 eastbound at Madison and Hamlin in July 1937. The tall building at rear is still there. (CSL Photo) Marty Robinson adds, “The tall building is the Midwest Hotel, which housed the studio of WNIB in the attic. I was a program host there in 1957.”

From More LVT Photos & Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 12-14-2015 (December 14, 2015):

The final meet between two Liberty Bell Limited cars (1006 and 702), late in the night on September 6, 1951. The operators are F. Enters and C. Kistler. This was a press photo and appeared in newspapers. (Gerhard Solomon Photo)

The final meet between two Liberty Bell Limited cars (1006 and 702), late in the night on September 6, 1951. The operators are F. Enters and C. Kistler. This was a press photo and appeared in newspapers. (Gerhard Solomon Photo)

From Attention, Juice Fans! (January 22, 2016):

CA&E Car no. 20 meets a 450 series car at Geneva Junction on June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

CA&E Car no. 20 meets a 450 series car at Geneva Junction on June 9, 1957. (William Barber Collection)

Another picture from the December 7, 1958 CA&E fantrip. Here, the snow has started falling and we are at the Elgin end of the line. (Mark LLanuza Collection)

Another picture from the December 7, 1958 CA&E fantrip. Here, the snow has started falling and we are at the Elgin end of the line. (Mark LLanuza Collection)

From Lost and Found (February 12, 2016):

CNS&M 150 in a night scene at Waukegan on January 26, 1962.

CNS&M 150 in a night scene at Waukegan on January 26, 1962.

A snowy view of the 144 in February 1960, less than two years after this car last ran on the streets of Chicago (in a May 1958 fantrip).

A snowy view of the 144 in February 1960, less than two years after this car last ran on the streets of Chicago (in a May 1958 fantrip).

The view looking south towards the Wilmette station on the CNS&M Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955. For a view from the other end of the same station, look here. Northbound trains began street running on Greenleaf Avenue here.

The view looking south towards the Wilmette station on the CNS&M Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955. For a view from the other end of the same station, look here. Northbound trains began street running on Greenleaf Avenue here.

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016):

The first train of new 6000s on display at the North Water Street terminal on August 17, 1950. This terminal provided a convenient place to display a train without interfering with regular service.

The first train of new 6000s on display at the North Water Street terminal on August 17, 1950. This terminal provided a convenient place to display a train without interfering with regular service.

CTA 5003 on the Met "L" near Throop Street Shops in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

CTA 5003 on the Met “L” near Throop Street Shops in 1948. (St. Louis Car Company Photo)

From More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Eight (April 28, 2016):

Andre Kristopans comments on this 1930s photo: "Look carefully at the shot of 7003 – it is a posed picture. Probably everybody is a CSL engineering department employee. Several things of note: 1) That is not trolley bus overhead. It is two positive wires side by side. Look at the street carefully. That is gauntlet track. Most carbarns had a gauntlet track so there would be fewer switches in the normal running rail. Besides, the TB wire on Pulaski existed as far as Maypole, then turned east into the shops in 1936. 2) Behind is a southbound Kedzie car. 3) Street is way too narrow to be anywhere on Madison. Conclusion – this is on Kedzie in front of Kedzie carhouse, and indeed 7003 is on the yard lead, loading up “dignitaries” for an inspection trip."

Andre Kristopans comments on this 1930s photo: “Look carefully at the shot of 7003 – it is a posed picture. Probably everybody is a CSL engineering department employee. Several things of note:
1) That is not trolley bus overhead. It is two positive wires side by side. Look at the street carefully. That is gauntlet track. Most carbarns had a gauntlet track so there would be fewer switches in the normal running rail. Besides, the TB wire on Pulaski existed as far as Maypole, then turned east into the shops in 1936.
2) Behind is a southbound Kedzie car.
3) Street is way too narrow to be anywhere on Madison.
Conclusion – this is on Kedzie in front of Kedzie carhouse, and indeed 7003 is on the yard lead, loading up “dignitaries” for an inspection trip.”

From Spring Cleaning (May 16, 2016):

A couple of CA&E woods (including 308) head east, approaching the Des Plaines Avenue terminal in April 1957, a few months before abandonment of passenger service. Another CA&E train is in the terminal, while a train of CTA 4000s, including a "baldy" with the blocked-off center door, turns around on a wooden trestle. This arrangement began when the CA&E stopped running downtown in September 1953.

A couple of CA&E woods (including 308) head east, approaching the Des Plaines Avenue terminal in April 1957, a few months before abandonment of passenger service. Another CA&E train is in the terminal, while a train of CTA 4000s, including a “baldy” with the blocked-off center door, turns around on a wooden trestle. This arrangement began when the CA&E stopped running downtown in September 1953.

From Night Beat (June 21, 2016):

Feel the Birn(ey)! After service in Fort Collins ended in 1951, car 26 was sold to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. But prior to being put on static display, it operated in a Detroit parade of street railway equipment in August 1953. Don's Rail Photos: "26 was built by American Car Co. in November 1922, #1324 as CERy 7. It was sold as FCM 26 it in 1924. It was sold to Henry Ford Museum and moved to Michigan in 1953 where it is on static display. It was operated several times on the trackage of the Department of Street Railways." (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) To read more about 26's Michigan sojourn, click here.

Feel the Birn(ey)! After service in Fort Collins ended in 1951, car 26 was sold to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. But prior to being put on static display, it operated in a Detroit parade of street railway equipment in August 1953. Don’s Rail Photos: “26 was built by American Car Co. in November 1922, #1324 as CERy 7. It was sold as FCM 26 it in 1924. It was sold to Henry Ford Museum and moved to Michigan in 1953 where it is on static display. It was operated several times on the trackage of the Department of Street Railways.” (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo) To read more about 26’s Michigan sojourn, click here.

In this classic July 1963 shot, South Shore Line car 25 is parked at the east end of the line in downtown South Bend, across from the Hotel LaSalle. Service was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town in 1970, and later extended to the local airport. Don's Rail Photos adds, "25 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947."

In this classic July 1963 shot, South Shore Line car 25 is parked at the east end of the line in downtown South Bend, across from the Hotel LaSalle. Service was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town in 1970, and later extended to the local airport. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “25 was built by Pullman in 1927. It was lengthened and air conditioned, and got picture windows in 1947.”

From More Mystery Photos (July 29, 2016):

MBTA (Boston) PCC 3147 at an unidentified location in October 1966. Could this be the old Braves Field loop? Tunnelstation writes:"The Boston PCC picture is located at the end of the “C” line near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir off Beacon Street. The scene is the exit from the Reservoir Car yard out to the street which also serves as the end of the line return loop going to Downtown Boston. That is one of the oldest continuous running trolley lines in America and is still in service today using cars built in Japan." Beacon Street is the MBTA Green Line "C" branch.

MBTA (Boston) PCC 3147 at an unidentified location in October 1966. Could this be the old Braves Field loop? Tunnelstation writes:”The Boston PCC picture is located at the end of the “C” line near the Chestnut Hill Reservoir off Beacon Street. The scene is the exit from the Reservoir Car yard out to the street which also serves as the end of the line return loop going to Downtown Boston. That is one of the oldest continuous running trolley lines in America and is still in service today using cars built in Japan.” Beacon Street is the MBTA Green Line “C” branch.

From Some Thoughts on “Displaced” (August 30, 2016):

Originally, I thought this early 1960s night shot showed a CTA single-car unit in the 1-50 series, and those cars were used on the Congress-Douglas-Milwaukee line. But as Andre Kristopans has pointed out, the doors on those cars were closer to the ends than this one, which he identifies as being part of the 6511-6720 series. It just looks like there's one car, since the other "married pair" behind it is not illuminated. This picture was most likely taken at the end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue.

Originally, I thought this early 1960s night shot showed a CTA single-car unit in the 1-50 series, and those cars were used on the Congress-Douglas-Milwaukee line. But as Andre Kristopans has pointed out, the doors on those cars were closer to the ends than this one, which he identifies as being part of the 6511-6720 series. It just looks like there’s one car, since the other “married pair” behind it is not illuminated. This picture was most likely taken at the end of the line at DesPlaines Avenue.

From Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016):

Red Arrow Cars 14 and 15 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

Red Arrow Cars 14 and 15 at the West Chester end of the line on June 6, 1954.

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016):

Here is an example where even the CTA got it wrong with this caption, taken from a 1950s employee publication. This is not the center median strip for the Congress Expressway. It actually shows the CTA temporary right-of-way on Van Buren under construction circa 1952. The grade level had to be lowered at this point in order to clear the C&NW/PRR tracks, and this was done in the middle of the street, leaving only a small lane for other traffic to the north. There was also a small lane to the south, presumably to provide easy access to the construction site on both sides of the tracks. The railroad bridge was retained and is still in use today, but new supports were built under the south portion, as you will see in contemporary pictures. The actual expressway median at this point is located right where the Garfield Park "L" structure is at left. That is why it was necessary to build a temporary alignment for about 2.5 miles of the route. We are looking west.

Here is an example where even the CTA got it wrong with this caption, taken from a 1950s employee publication. This is not the center median strip for the Congress Expressway. It actually shows the CTA temporary right-of-way on Van Buren under construction circa 1952. The grade level had to be lowered at this point in order to clear the C&NW/PRR tracks, and this was done in the middle of the street, leaving only a small lane for other traffic to the north. There was also a small lane to the south, presumably to provide easy access to the construction site on both sides of the tracks. The railroad bridge was retained and is still in use today, but new supports were built under the south portion, as you will see in contemporary pictures. The actual expressway median at this point is located right where the Garfield Park “L” structure is at left. That is why it was necessary to build a temporary alignment for about 2.5 miles of the route. We are looking west.

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Five (September 26, 2016):

Here, we have a difference of opinion. George Trapp: "2 car train on single track is probably circa 1938-1943 as the 4000 series is in Brown/Orange. Believe location is Emerson St. and bridge is being installed where none existed before." On the other hand, Brian M. Hicks says that this view "is from Central St. looking North. The 2700 Hampton Pkwy apartments can be seen in the background (1930-31)." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) Andre Kristopans: "The shot at Central Street shows construction of the North Shore Channel underway. The embankment is being dug away and the big bridge will soon be going in."

Here, we have a difference of opinion. George Trapp: “2 car train on single track is probably circa 1938-1943 as the 4000 series is in Brown/Orange. Believe location is Emerson St. and bridge is being installed where none existed before.” On the other hand, Brian M. Hicks says that this view “is from Central St. looking North. The 2700 Hampton Pkwy apartments can be seen in the background (1930-31).” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) Andre Kristopans: “The shot at Central Street shows construction of the North Shore Channel underway. The embankment is being dug away and the big bridge will soon be going in.”

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Six (October 3, 2016):

This picture was taken at Wells and Van Buren, and shows the old connection between the Met lines and the Loop. The Insurance Exchange building is at right. In 1955, this connection was replaced by one that went right through the old Wells Street Terminal, last used by CA&E trains in 1953 (and CTA in 1951). The terminal can be seen in this picture on the left hand side, where there is a walkway connecting it to the Quincy and Wells station. Once the Congress median line opened in 1958, no such connections were needed, and they were removed by 1964. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This picture was taken at Wells and Van Buren, and shows the old connection between the Met lines and the Loop. The Insurance Exchange building is at right. In 1955, this connection was replaced by one that went right through the old Wells Street Terminal, last used by CA&E trains in 1953 (and CTA in 1951). The terminal can be seen in this picture on the left hand side, where there is a walkway connecting it to the Quincy and Wells station. Once the Congress median line opened in 1958, no such connections were needed, and they were removed by 1964. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

From Chicago Streetcars in Color, Part Four (October 26, 2016):

CSL 1786 under the Lake Street "L" on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC's assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location."

CSL 1786 under the Lake Street “L” on November 23, 1952. Note the Chicago Motor Coach yard at right. CMC’s assets had been purchased by CTA a few months earlier, and were gradually being integrated into regular CTA operations. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This pic is actually at Lake/Kenton (not Cicero). The car is E/B. This is the only such photo I have ever seen at this location.”

From Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Eight (November 16, 2016):

CTA high-speeds 3 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA high-speeds 3 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)

From Recent Finds (December 2, 2016):

The experimental CSL Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

The experimental CSL Brill-built pre-PCC 7001 as it appeared at 77th and Vincennes on September 10, 1959, shortly before it was scrapped. (Clark Frazier Photo)

From Under Our Tree (December 27, 2016):

I have wondered for some time where this picture of CTA 4389 was taken. I had a gut feeling it was somewhere on the south side. Turns out, this is Wentworth and 59th. There is a picture taken at this location on page 217 of CERA B-146. All the buildings on the left are gone now, as this is where the Dan Ryan expressway now runs. As for the date, that truck appears to have a 1955 Illinois license plate. M. E. writes: "When compared with the photo on p. 217 of B-146, this is indeed 59th and Wentworth. What confuses me is the trackage turning from westbound 59th onto southbound Wentworth. Lind says the 59th St. streetcar line converted to bus in 1948. So my guess is that the CTA wanted to keep trackage open on 59th between Wentworth and State St., and the CTA built the turning trackage at Wentworth after 59th went to bus."

I have wondered for some time where this picture of CTA 4389 was taken. I had a gut feeling it was somewhere on the south side. Turns out, this is Wentworth and 59th. There is a picture taken at this location on page 217 of CERA B-146. All the buildings on the left are gone now, as this is where the Dan Ryan expressway now runs. As for the date, that truck appears to have a 1955 Illinois license plate. M. E. writes: “When compared with the photo on p. 217 of B-146, this is indeed 59th and Wentworth. What confuses me is the trackage turning from westbound 59th onto southbound Wentworth. Lind says the 59th St. streetcar line converted to bus in 1948. So my guess is that the CTA wanted to keep trackage open on 59th between Wentworth and State St., and the CTA built the turning trackage at Wentworth after 59th went to bus.”

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 in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. 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

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This is our 246th 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 584,000 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.

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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.

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Happy New Year

NSL 187 at Pettibone Yard on June 21, 1963, months after abandonment. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 187 at Pettibone Yard on June 21, 1963, months after abandonment. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

We have lots of great, classic photos in this, our first post for 2020. We thank William Shapotkin for sharing these with our readers.

As always, we thank our readers, who add their thoughts and ideas to the various photographs we show. Thanks to you, many mysteries have been solved, with various locations identified, and we have gained invaluable insights as a result, as we share information with each other.  It’s a collaborative effort, and you are an essential part of that.

The Trolley Dodger blog will celebrate its five-year anniversary in just a few days. It takes a lot of hard work to scan and restore all the images that we show here, which now number in the thousands. Some of our posts have over 100 images apiece, and this is our 245th post.  That’s a lot of blood, sweat, toil, and tears.

The Trolley Dodger blog started off as very much a money-losing venture, and over the last five years, the loss has probably totaled at least $30k. But I tend to think of this as an investment in you, the reader, and in the cause of historic preservation, which I hope we all believe in. We have worked to make The Trolley Dodger into a self-sustaining venture, or at least one that only loses a small amount of money overall.

January is the one time of year when we make a direct fundraising appeal for help defraying the annual fees and expenses it takes to keep this blog going. As in the past, we have a goal of just $400, which represents only a bit more than $1 per day for the year.

We hope that you will consider helping us with a financial contribution, however small. When you consider that each year, we receive over 100,000 page views, it’s a bargain. If you want to help, there are links towards the end of this post.

With your assistance, we can assure that the Trolley Dodger will keep on running for another year.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

On July 26, 1955, a high pressure jet of water is used during cleaning of the CTA State Street Subway tube walls at the Roosevelt Road station. Virgil Gunlock (left) and H. L. Howell are inspecting the work.

On July 26, 1955, a high pressure jet of water is used during cleaning of the CTA State Street Subway tube walls at the Roosevelt Road station. Virgil Gunlock (left) and H. L. Howell are inspecting the work.

This line art drawing of the CTA's Congress rapid transit line, aka the "West Side Subway," appeared on a June 1958 track map.

This line art drawing of the CTA’s Congress rapid transit line, aka the “West Side Subway,” appeared on a June 1958 track map.

April 29, 1954: Anna Daltin, 69, of Chicago, shortly after being hit in the face by the edge of a Chicago streetcar, receives aid from police stretcher crew. she was taken to (the) hospital with a possible fractured nose and facial abrasions.

April 29, 1954: Anna Daltin, 69, of Chicago, shortly after being hit in the face by the edge of a Chicago streetcar, receives aid from police stretcher crew. she was taken to (the) hospital with a possible fractured nose and facial abrasions.

May 25, 1950: Firemen shoot (a) stream of water over burned-out streetcar into blazing building set afire by flaming gasoline, after the streetcar and tank truck (between streetcar and building) collided here.

May 25, 1950: Firemen shoot (a) stream of water over burned-out streetcar into blazing building set afire by flaming gasoline, after the streetcar and tank truck (between streetcar and building) collided here.

By April 11, 1954, when this picture was taken by the late Bill Hoffman, the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel had already been closed for about 15 years. It fell victim to subway construction in 1939. But as you can see, the north approach had not yet been filled in. In the background, you can see a different ramp, a block south, which leads to Carroll Avenue. That had been built in 1928 and is often mistaken for the streetcar tunnel entrance. You can find a picture similar to this, taken in 1953 by the late Bob Selle, in my book Building Chicago's Subways. (Wien-Criss Archive)

By April 11, 1954, when this picture was taken by the late Bill Hoffman, the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel had already been closed for about 15 years. It fell victim to subway construction in 1939. But as you can see, the north approach had not yet been filled in. In the background, you can see a different ramp, a block south, which leads to Carroll Avenue. That had been built in 1928 and is often mistaken for the streetcar tunnel entrance. You can find a picture similar to this, taken in 1953 by the late Bob Selle, in my book Building Chicago’s Subways. (Wien-Criss Archive)

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA bus 5262 is at the end of Route 91 - Austin Boulevard. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA bus 5262 is at the end of Route 91 – Austin Boulevard. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines bus 3502 is on 59th at Wentworth on 1946. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines bus 3502 is on 59th at Wentworth on 1946. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9431, working a westbound trip on Route 74 - Fullerton, crosses Milwaukee Avenue on May 11, 1968. The view looks east. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9431, working a westbound trip on Route 74 – Fullerton, crosses Milwaukee Avenue on May 11, 1968. The view looks east. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9440, working an eastbound on Route 74 - Fullerton, is crossing Milwaukee Avenue on November 12, 1967. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9440, working an eastbound on Route 74 – Fullerton, is crossing Milwaukee Avenue on November 12, 1967. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9444 is eastbound on Fullerton at Milwaukee on August 19, 1972. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9444 is eastbound on Fullerton at Milwaukee on August 19, 1972. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9553, on an Omnibus Society of america fantrip, is eastbound on Fullerton, crossing the Milwaukee Road at Lakewood Avenue on April 1, 1973, final day of TB service in Chicago. The view looks southwest. (Robert Barth Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9553, on an Omnibus Society of america fantrip, is eastbound on Fullerton, crossing the Milwaukee Road at Lakewood Avenue on April 1, 1973, final day of TB service in Chicago. The view looks southwest. (Robert Barth Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA bus 5483 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park in August 1963. This has since been completely rebuilt, and is now the terminus of the Blue Line (formerly called the Congress). (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA bus 5483 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park in August 1963. This has since been completely rebuilt, and is now the terminus of the Blue Line (formerly called the Congress). (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago & North Western commuter trains at Clinton Street Tower in September 1978. (Robert Janz Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago & North Western commuter trains at Clinton Street Tower in September 1978. (Robert Janz Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore Line car 108 (train 11) approaches Cook Road at speed, a mile east of the Shops, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore Line car 108 (train 11) approaches Cook Road at speed, a mile east of the Shops, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 111 (train 11) is 24 miles from South Bend, between Lalumiere and Bishop on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 111 (train 11) is 24 miles from South Bend, between Lalumiere and Bishop on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Car 100 (train 18) is 22 miles from South Bend at Smith on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Car 100 (train 18) is 22 miles from South Bend at Smith on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 197 (train 15) has just gone through the underpass at Emery Road at Hicks, which had once been a flag stop, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 197 (train 15) has just gone through the underpass at Emery Road at Hicks, which had once been a flag stop, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 109 (train 26) heads west at Lydick at Quince Road, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shpotkin Collection)

South Shore car 109 (train 26) heads west at Lydick at Quince Road, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shpotkin Collection)

A westbound two-car South Shore Line train is on the 130th Street curve, two miles east of Kensington, in October 1966. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A westbound two-car South Shore Line train is on the 130th Street curve, two miles east of Kensington, in October 1966. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Here, an SSL conductor is hand-throwing a switch to put a railfan train onto a siding at Shops in April 1975. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Here, an SSL conductor is hand-throwing a switch to put a railfan train onto a siding at Shops in April 1975. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 109, running east, enters 11th Street in Michigan City. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 109, running east, enters 11th Street in Michigan City. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A two-car SSL train heads west at 130th Street in October 1966. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A two-car SSL train heads west at 130th Street in October 1966. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 111 (eastbound train 7) takes the Ford City curve at Chicago's Torrence Avenue on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 111 (eastbound train 7) takes the Ford City curve at Chicago’s Torrence Avenue on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 111 and 106, making up train 16, at Midwest, a new stop for a steel plant, on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 111 and 106, making up train 16, at Midwest, a new stop for a steel plant, on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 16 (cars 111 and 106) departs Wilson siding and enters single-track territory as it heads west towards Chicago on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 16 (cars 111 and 106) departs Wilson siding and enters single-track territory as it heads west towards Chicago on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 110 (train 15) is on the bridge at Burns Ditch on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 110 (train 15) is on the bridge at Burns Ditch on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 111, 353, 7, and 9 (train 8) at Miller at dawn on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 111, 353, 7, and 9 (train 8) at Miller at dawn on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Train 8 approaching Miller, where it won't stop, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Train 8 approaching Miller, where it won’t stop, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 24 and 39 (train 204) at Ogden Dunes on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horacheck Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 24 and 39 (train 204) at Ogden Dunes on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horacheck Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 10, made up of cars 17, 12, 202, and 22, at speed on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 10, made up of cars 17, 12, 202, and 22, at speed on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 100 (train 9) is eastbound at the Lake Park Avenue crossing in the Lake Shore community just west of Michigan City on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 100 (train 9) is eastbound at the Lake Park Avenue crossing in the Lake Shore community just west of Michigan City on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 9 is near the county line between Porter and La Porte at US 12 just west of Michigan City on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 9 is near the county line between Porter and La Porte at US 12 just west of Michigan City on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 107 and 40 (train 12) near Lake Shore at speed on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 107 and 40 (train 12) near Lake Shore at speed on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL baggage car 504 is in the coach yard on the north side of Shops on December 26, 1963. Don's Rail Photos: "377 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as ISC 377. It was assigned to IRR as 377 in 1932 and rebuilt as a combine in 1935. It was sold to CSS&SB as 504 in 1941 and used in 1942 as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1955 with windows removed and doors changed." (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL baggage car 504 is in the coach yard on the north side of Shops on December 26, 1963. Don’s Rail Photos: “377 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as ISC 377. It was assigned to IRR as 377 in 1932 and rebuilt as a combine in 1935. It was sold to CSS&SB as 504 in 1941 and used in 1942 as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1955 with windows removed and doors changed.” (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 802, with Electroliner 803-804, goes onto private right-of-way at 5th and Harrison Streets in Milwaukee on December 31, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 802, with Electroliner 803-804, goes onto private right-of-way at 5th and Harrison Streets in Milwaukee on December 31, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 181, 180, 704, 727, and 167 are lined up at the Milwaukee Terminal on March 4, 1962. Car 251 is at left. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 181, 180, 704, 727, and 167 are lined up at the Milwaukee Terminal on March 4, 1962. Car 251 is at left. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 409 with cars 775 and 757 on 5th Street at Becher Street in Milwaukee on December 31, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 409 with cars 775 and 757 on 5th Street at Becher Street in Milwaukee on December 31, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

In January 1963, NSL train 420, comprising cars 775, 737, and 750, heads south on 5th near Lincoln in Milwaukee. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

In January 1963, NSL train 420, comprising cars 775, 737, and 750, heads south on 5th near Lincoln in Milwaukee. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 417, with cars 720, 738, and 759, heads north approaching Dempster Street on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 417, with cars 720, 738, and 759, heads north approaching Dempster Street on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 216, with cars 731, 703, 733, and 700 at Edison Court on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 216, with cars 731, 703, 733, and 700 at Edison Court on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

In January 1962, NSL car 252 is on track 2 at the Milwaukee Terminal. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

In January 1962, NSL car 252 is on track 2 at the Milwaukee Terminal. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On February 2, 1962, NSL train 417, made up of cars 250 and 763, is northbound at College Avenue in Milwuakee. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On February 2, 1962, NSL train 417, made up of cars 250 and 763, is northbound at College Avenue in Milwuakee. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 216, with cars 731, 703, 733, and 700 at 22nd Street in North Chicago on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 216, with cars 731, 703, 733, and 700 at 22nd Street in North Chicago on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On January 19, 1963, two days before abandonment, NSL train 216, made up of cars 731, 703, 733, and 700, are shown at Edison Court in Waukegan. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On January 19, 1963, two days before abandonment, NSL train 216, made up of cars 731, 703, 733, and 700, are shown at Edison Court in Waukegan. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 414 (car 746), is southbound at Piper's Road, the county line between Racine and Kenosha on February 10, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 414 (car 746), is southbound at Piper’s Road, the county line between Racine and Kenosha on February 10, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 414 leaves Dempster station in Skokie on a snowy January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 414 leaves Dempster station in Skokie on a snowy January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 172, 163, 415, and 763 are parked on the pit track at Waukegan on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 172, 163, 415, and 763 are parked on the pit track at Waukegan on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 410, made up of cars 750, 741, and 757 head uphill towards the Skokie Valley Route on December 9, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 410, made up of cars 750, 741, and 757 head uphill towards the Skokie Valley Route on December 9, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 410 leaves North Chicago Junction, where the tracks at right, which were formerly part of the Shore Line Route, but were only used for the Highwood Shops when this picture was taken on December 9, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 410 leaves North Chicago Junction, where the tracks at right, which were formerly part of the Shore Line Route, but were only used for the Highwood Shops when this picture was taken on December 9, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On a snowy December 31, 1962, train 409, with cars 775 and 757, prepares to climb the 5th Street hill from Becher Street. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On a snowy December 31, 1962, train 409, with cars 775 and 757, prepares to climb the 5th Street hill from Becher Street. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On the left at the NSL Milwaukee Terminal, train 422, with cars 755, 753, 726, and 252, is departing. The train at right, with cars 762 and 409, will remain for about an hour, before leaving as train 424. Meanwhile, one of the two Electroliners is scheduled to go out between them, but has not yet arrived. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On the left at the NSL Milwaukee Terminal, train 422, with cars 755, 753, 726, and 252, is departing. The train at right, with cars 762 and 409, will remain for about an hour, before leaving as train 424. Meanwhile, one of the two Electroliners is scheduled to go out between them, but has not yet arrived. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 404, with cars 764, 775, 768, and 761 approaches North Chicago Junction on October 6, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 404, with cars 764, 775, 768, and 761 approaches North Chicago Junction on October 6, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

October 6, 1962 was one foggy morning on the NSL, as train 404 prepares to take a switch off Commonwealth Avenue at Valley junction in North Chicago. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

October 6, 1962 was one foggy morning on the NSL, as train 404 prepares to take a switch off Commonwealth Avenue at Valley junction in North Chicago. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A freight loco meets a southbound passenger train at Green Bay Junction. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A freight loco meets a southbound passenger train at Green Bay Junction. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 776 (train 409) passes train 409 at speed north of Racine on January 16, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 776 (train 409) passes train 409 at speed north of Racine on January 16, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Here, we see NSL 165 through the rear door of 703 at Edison Court in Waukegan on January 16, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Here, we see NSL 165 through the rear door of 703 at Edison Court in Waukegan on January 16, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view from the rear end of southbound train 420 at North Chicago Junction, where we see northbound train 421 and its rear car 151, in August 1959. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view from the rear end of southbound train 420 at North Chicago Junction, where we see northbound train 421 and its rear car 151, in August 1959. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The crossing gates are down on August 18, 1959, as eastbound NSL train 220, made up of cars 725 and 719, prepares to cross East Prairie Road in Skokie (while passing a former rapid transit station). (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The crossing gates are down on August 18, 1959, as eastbound NSL train 220, made up of cars 725 and 719, prepares to cross East Prairie Road in Skokie (while passing a former rapid transit station). (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The same location today, as part of the CTA Yellow Line.

The same location today, as part of the CTA Yellow Line.

NSL merchandise dispatch cars 237 and 218 at Pettibone Yard on June 21, 1963, post-abandonment. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL merchandise dispatch cars 237 and 218 at Pettibone Yard on June 21, 1963, post-abandonment. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 412, 154, and 767 at Roosevelt Roard on Chicago's "L" system on October 24, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 412, 154, and 767 at Roosevelt Roard on Chicago’s “L” system on October 24, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 6 (car 726), has just left the Milwaukee terminal on January 16, 1963. Howard Odinius is at the controls. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 6 (car 726), has just left the Milwaukee terminal on January 16, 1963. Howard Odinius is at the controls. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL car 761 (train 6) prepares to depart the Milwaukee Terminal from track 3 on January 15, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL car 761 (train 6) prepares to depart the Milwaukee Terminal from track 3 on January 15, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 703 and 725 at Edison Court in Waukegan on August 16, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 703 and 725 at Edison Court in Waukegan on August 16, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Recent Correspondence

Kenneth Gear writes:

Mike Konopka, who did the restoration work on much of the Steventon tape collection, wrote a blog entry about it. Here is the link should you like to read it.

Over the last five years, Ken and I have worked together to digitize, restore, and make available once again the entire output of the former Railroad Record Club, which totaled about 42 LPs. During that time, through good fortune and Ken’s generosity, he was able to purchase the original master tapes and many other items relating to the RRC.

I count this as one of our most significant accomplishments to date. These classic recordings, and much more, are available in our Online Store.

-David Sadowski

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 in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. 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

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This is our 245th 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 581,000 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.

Bill Hoffman’s Black-and-Whites

This is, for me, a very interesting photo. It shows construction of the new Halsted Street bridge that will eventually go over the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway under construction on May 20, 1951. As you can see, the bridges were built first, before the area around them was excavated. That way, traffic could be diverted around the construction site as it is here. There was a shoo-fly for streetcars and a temporary roadway for other traffic. The view looks north. The nearby "L" station remained in service until 1958, although two of the four tracks were removed. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This is, for me, a very interesting photo. It shows construction of the new Halsted Street bridge that will eventually go over the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway under construction on May 20, 1951. As you can see, the bridges were built first, before the area around them was excavated. That way, traffic could be diverted around the construction site as it is here. There was a shoo-fly for streetcars and a temporary roadway for other traffic. The view looks north. The nearby “L” station remained in service until 1958, although two of the four tracks were removed. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

For our last post of 2019, we thought we would “ring out the old” by featuring some classic black-and-white views of Chicago streetcars (plus a few others) taken by the late William C. Hoffman (1910-1988), or from his collection. All appear courtesy of the Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive.

Bill Hoffman usually shot color slides, but according to Jeff, he sometimes shot black-and-white, typically if the local store happened to be out of color film. Mr. Hoffman deserves a ton of credit for traveling around the city with his camera. He got many shots that others failed to document.

This is our 20th post this year, about the same as last year. We again achieved over 100,000 page views, for the fifth straight year, as we look forward to 2020 and celebrating the fifth anniversary of this blog on January 21st.

We thank all our readers and contributors for their help in making this another very successful year here at the Trolley Dodger. As always, if you have questions, comments, or have information to share on any of what you see here, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We have a very interesting batch of pictures this time, including some very rare shots.

Happy New Year!

-David Sadowski

From the Wien-Criss Archive:

CSL 9001 was an unpowered trailer, built by the Surface Lines in 1921. Photos showing such trailers in use are quite rare, as they were only in service during the 1920s. After this, they were used as storage sheds at various CSL locations. (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 9001 was an unpowered trailer, built by the Surface Lines in 1921. Photos showing such trailers in use are quite rare, as they were only in service during the 1920s. After this, they were used as storage sheds at various CSL locations. (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive)

Other cities have used two-car streetcar trains extensively, notably Boston, but such use was short-lived in Chicago. Here, we see multiple-unit CSL 3208, built by the Chicago Surface Lines in 1924, operating a two-car train on Milwaukee Avenue. With a severe drop in ridership during the Great Depression, such use was no longer necessary. (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive)

Other cities have used two-car streetcar trains extensively, notably Boston, but such use was short-lived in Chicago. Here, we see multiple-unit CSL 3208, built by the Chicago Surface Lines in 1924, operating a two-car train on Milwaukee Avenue. With a severe drop in ridership during the Great Depression, such use was no longer necessary. (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6116 on the Kedzie Avenue line. This car was built by Brill in July 1914. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6116 on the Kedzie Avenue line. This car was built by Brill in July 1914. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1774, signed for Ogden-Downtown. Don's Rail Photos notes, "1774 was built by CSL in 1923. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949." (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1774, signed for Ogden-Downtown. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “1774 was built by CSL in 1923. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949.” (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Westbound CTA Pullman 132 is on Van Buren crossing Western Avenue on November 13, 1950. Streetcar service ended on this route in 1951, and the CTA used the south half of Van Buren as a temporary right-of-way for Garfield Park "L" cars between 1953 and 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Westbound CTA Pullman 132 is on Van Buren crossing Western Avenue on November 13, 1950. Streetcar service ended on this route in 1951, and the CTA used the south half of Van Buren as a temporary right-of-way for Garfield Park “L” cars between 1953 and 1958. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On August 15, 1953 there was an old CSL 2501-2625 series car at the Clark-Schreiber car barn. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On August 15, 1953 there was an old CSL 2501-2625 series car at the Clark-Schreiber car barn. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA salt car AA91 is at the car barn at Clark and Schreiber on August 15, 1953. Dpn's Rail Photos adds, "AA91, salt car, was built by Chicago Rys in 1912 as 1545. It became CSL 1545 in 1914 and retired on November 19, 1947. It was rebuilt as salt car AA91 in 1948 and retired on September 8, 1955." (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA salt car AA91 is at the car barn at Clark and Schreiber on August 15, 1953. Dpn’s Rail Photos adds, “AA91, salt car, was built by Chicago Rys in 1912 as 1545. It became CSL 1545 in 1914 and retired on November 19, 1947. It was rebuilt as salt car AA91 in 1948 and retired on September 8, 1955.” (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On June 25, 1951, CTA 6140 is heading southbound on Stony Island, while waiting for an Illinois Central Electric commuter train to pass, before crossing 71st Street. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On June 25, 1951, CTA 6140 is heading southbound on Stony Island, while waiting for an Illinois Central Electric commuter train to pass, before crossing 71st Street. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 5722, a single-ended "nearside" car, is crossing the Illinois Central tracks. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 5722, a single-ended “nearside” car, is crossing the Illinois Central tracks. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On October 15, 1948, the conductor of CTA 1643 (running on the Van Buren Street route) is holding a switch lever at the southwest corner of Van Buren and Clinton. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On October 15, 1948, the conductor of CTA 1643 (running on the Van Buren Street route) is holding a switch lever at the southwest corner of Van Buren and Clinton. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On February 16, 1957, CTA 7201 was the last streetcar to run on Route 36. Here it is seen at State and Madison. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On February 16, 1957, CTA 7201 was the last streetcar to run on Route 36. Here it is seen at State and Madison. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On February 16, 1957, CTA 7201 was the last streetcar to run on Route 36. Here it is seen at Clark and Devon. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On February 16, 1957, CTA 7201 was the last streetcar to run on Route 36. Here it is seen at Clark and Devon. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On November 13, 1950 a northbound Ashland Avenue car, running here on Paulina, crosses Van Buren. The view is from the nearby Marshfield "L" station. On September 20, 1953 the CTA put Garfield Park "L" trains onto temporary trackage in Van Buren for about 2 1/2 miles, while the Congress Expressway was being built. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On November 13, 1950 a northbound Ashland Avenue car, running here on Paulina, crosses Van Buren. The view is from the nearby Marshfield “L” station. On September 20, 1953 the CTA put Garfield Park “L” trains onto temporary trackage in Van Buren for about 2 1/2 miles, while the Congress Expressway was being built. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 542 is a Milwaukee Avenue car, at the north end of the line near Devon on March 25, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 542 is a Milwaukee Avenue car, at the north end of the line near Devon on March 25, 1951. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1721 is an eastbound Ogden Avenue car on Randolph Street in 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1721 is an eastbound Ogden Avenue car on Randolph Street in 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The view looking west across Halsted into Root Street terminal. Streetcar service on this line was abandoned two days after this picture was taken on August 7, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The view looking west across Halsted into Root Street terminal. Streetcar service on this line was abandoned two days after this picture was taken on August 7, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

What looks like a CTA car in the 1700-series is eastbound on Randolph on March 28, 1948. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

What looks like a CTA car in the 1700-series is eastbound on Randolph on March 28, 1948. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6261 is at the end of the line at Stony Island and 93rd on November 7, 1948. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6261 is at the end of the line at Stony Island and 93rd on November 7, 1948. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

In the 1920s, CSL experimented with an articulated streetcar, here numbered 4000, made from two other cars. The experiment did not catch on. Don's Rail Photos adds, "4000 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as Chicago Union Traction Co as 4633 and 4634. They were renumbered 1104 and 1105 in 1913 and became CSL 1104 and 1105 in 1914. They were renumbered 1101 and 1102 in 1925. They were rebuilt as an articulated train using a Cincinnatii Car steel vestibule drum between the bodies. It was completed on August 3, 1925, and scrapped on March 30, 1937." (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive)

In the 1920s, CSL experimented with an articulated streetcar, here numbered 4000, made from two other cars. The experiment did not catch on. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “4000 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as Chicago Union Traction Co as 4633 and 4634. They were renumbered 1104 and 1105 in 1913 and became CSL 1104 and 1105 in 1914. They were renumbered 1101 and 1102 in 1925. They were rebuilt as an articulated train using a Cincinnatii Car steel vestibule drum between the bodies. It was completed on August 3, 1925, and scrapped on March 30, 1937.” (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive)

This picture of CTA 4022 appears to show it set up for one-man service on 63rd Street, although this was not implemented, after two public hearings were held. These cars were instead used on Cottage Grove. Red streetcars were temporarily returned to 63rd, and then buses were substituted in 1953. (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive) On the other hand, Tony Waller writes, "Hi, I have a few comments/corrections for the latest set of photos: Pic.736 shows a two-man pre-war PCC operating on 63rd St. In the middle of the car you can see two center doors, one was removed as part of the one-man conversion process. Also CTA would not be operating a one man car in the middle of an otherwise two-man route. In the recent CERA color-photo PCC book, as well as several of the Shore Line Interurban Society publications, there are photos of pre-war PCCs painted in the new Evergreen and Cream color scheme operating on 63rd St. The paint job was done as part of the advance work for the one-man process to keep the PCCs operating on 63rd as long as possible. The conversion process would require that the whole fleet to be removed from service; removing one of the center doors and the conductor’s station and replacing them with additional seats, relocating all door controls to the motorman’s position, removing Chicago’s unique hand operating controls and replacing them with the standard (i.e., nationwide) foot operating controls. The CTA’s new “big wings” around the headlight denoting front entrance, one-man operation would not affect a repainted car in temporary two-man service as the pre-war PCCs were always front entrance anyway. Those post-war PCCs converted to one-man and those “Sedans” so converted (but never used) also got the “big wings.”"

This picture of CTA 4022 appears to show it set up for one-man service on 63rd Street, although this was not implemented, after two public hearings were held. These cars were instead used on Cottage Grove. Red streetcars were temporarily returned to 63rd, and then buses were substituted in 1953. (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive) On the other hand, Tony Waller writes, “Hi, I have a few comments/corrections for the latest set of photos: Pic.736 shows a two-man pre-war PCC operating on 63rd St. In the middle of the car you can see two center doors, one was removed as part of the one-man conversion process. Also CTA would not be operating a one man car in the middle of an otherwise two-man route. In the recent CERA color-photo PCC book, as well as several of the Shore Line Interurban Society publications, there are photos of pre-war PCCs painted in the new Evergreen and Cream color scheme operating on 63rd St. The paint job was done as part of the advance work for the one-man process to keep the PCCs operating on 63rd as long as possible. The conversion process would require that the whole fleet to be removed from service; removing one of the center doors and the conductor’s station and replacing them with additional seats, relocating all door controls to the motorman’s position, removing Chicago’s unique hand operating controls and replacing them with the standard (i.e., nationwide) foot operating controls. The CTA’s new “big wings” around the headlight denoting front entrance, one-man operation would not affect a repainted car in temporary two-man service as the pre-war PCCs were always front entrance anyway. Those post-war PCCs converted to one-man and those “Sedans” so converted (but never used) also got the “big wings.””

CTA 7254 at Clark and Kinzie. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7254 at Clark and Kinzie. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4332 southbound at Clark and Wacker. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4332 southbound at Clark and Wacker. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On March 21, 1954, CTA PCC 4025 heads north on Cottage Grove at 98th. Here, streetcars were on open track west of the roadway. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On March 21, 1954, CTA PCC 4025 heads north on Cottage Grove at 98th. Here, streetcars were on open track west of the roadway. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 661 is westbound at Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue, returning from the Museum Loop built for the 1933-34 Century of Progress World's Fair. (William C. Hoffman Photo. Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 661 is westbound at Roosevelt Road and Michigan Avenue, returning from the Museum Loop built for the 1933-34 Century of Progress World’s Fair. (William C. Hoffman Photo. Wien-Criss Archive)

On May 1, 1953, PCC 4070 is westbound on Madison Street, looking west from Wacker Drive with the Civic Opera House at right. The streetcar is about to cross the Chicago River. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On May 1, 1953, PCC 4070 is westbound on Madison Street, looking west from Wacker Drive with the Civic Opera House at right. The streetcar is about to cross the Chicago River. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA electric locomotive L202, coupled to a railroad gondola in the 39th and Halsted yards. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA electric locomotive L202, coupled to a railroad gondola in the 39th and Halsted yards. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL prewar PCC 4017 at Madison and Austin, another favorite spot for railfan photographers in this era. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL prewar PCC 4017 at Madison and Austin, another favorite spot for railfan photographers in this era. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 1308, built by St. Louis Car Company circa 1904, here shown in use as a salt car for Chicago's wintry weather. The 1374, now restored to operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum, is an example of this type of car, now nicknamed a "Matchbox." (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 1308, built by St. Louis Car Company circa 1904, here shown in use as a salt car for Chicago’s wintry weather. The 1374, now restored to operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum, is an example of this type of car, now nicknamed a “Matchbox.” (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 7002, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1936. This was part of a series of 83 cars that ran for just short of 20 years. Why 83 cars? I recall there was a concurrent order for 17 trolley buses. The overall order was for 100 new vehicles, with 5/6th being streetcars. (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 7002, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1936. This was part of a series of 83 cars that ran for just short of 20 years. Why 83 cars? I recall there was a concurrent order for 17 trolley buses. The overall order was for 100 new vehicles, with 5/6th being streetcars. (William C. Hoffman Collection, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 1474 (built circa 1900 for Chicago Union Traction, rebuilt 1913). (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 1474 (built circa 1900 for Chicago Union Traction, rebuilt 1913). (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A CTA Peter Witt, aka a "Sedan," in this case 3330, signed for Cottage Grove. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A CTA Peter Witt, aka a “Sedan,” in this case 3330, signed for Cottage Grove. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 5492, signed for 79th and Brandon. This car was built by Brill in 1907. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 5492, signed for 79th and Brandon. This car was built by Brill in 1907. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7228 is northbound on State at Roosevelt Road. This overpass was a favorite spot for photographers. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7228 is northbound on State at Roosevelt Road. This overpass was a favorite spot for photographers. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullmans at North and Cicero. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullmans at North and Cicero. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 783. Not sure of the location. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 783. Not sure of the location. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 459 and one other streetcar are on the Museum Loop, at around 13th Street near Lake Shore Drive. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 459 and one other streetcar are on the Museum Loop, at around 13th Street near Lake Shore Drive. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 235, a Pullman, heads west on Roosevelt Road. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 235, a Pullman, heads west on Roosevelt Road. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4302 is southbound on State at Roosevelt. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4302 is southbound on State at Roosevelt. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

One-man CTA streetcar 1737 enters the Washington Street tunnel from Franklin Street in 1950. As you can see, the bridge over the Chicago River is up. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

One-man CTA streetcar 1737 enters the Washington Street tunnel from Franklin Street in 1950. As you can see, the bridge over the Chicago River is up. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA snow plow D304, a former tank car. Don's Rail Photos adds, "D304, sprinkler, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1909, as C&SC CE-4. It was renumbered D304 in 1913 and became CSL D302 in 1914. It was converted as a snow plow and retired on March 19, 1956." (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA snow plow D304, a former tank car. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “D304, sprinkler, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1909, as C&SC CE-4. It was renumbered D304 in 1913 and became CSL D302 in 1914. It was converted as a snow plow and retired on March 19, 1956.” (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 6158 is on temporary trackage at State and 13th around 1940, when construction of the State Street Subway was underway. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 6158 is on temporary trackage at State and 13th around 1940, when construction of the State Street Subway was underway. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Some old CSL streetcars, including mail car 6, are shown at 11th and State in 1948 as part of a parade. The mail car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Some old CSL streetcars, including mail car 6, are shown at 11th and State in 1948 as part of a parade. The mail car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This photo of CTA 1736, at the west end of Route 16 Lake Street at Austin Boulevard, must be circa 1952-54, as the nearby Park Theater appears to have permanently closed (I think the sign says "closed goodbye"). (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This photo of CTA 1736, at the west end of Route 16 Lake Street at Austin Boulevard, must be circa 1952-54, as the nearby Park Theater appears to have permanently closed (I think the sign says “closed goodbye”). (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The CSL car is promoting the Illinois Reserve Militia on State Street during World War II. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The CSL car is promoting the Illinois Reserve Militia on State Street during World War II. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 1740 and 1731 are displaying what the photographer called "wartime ads" in September 1943 at Montrose and Cicero. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 1740 and 1731 are displaying what the photographer called “wartime ads” in September 1943 at Montrose and Cicero. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On September 14, 1942, construction was well underway for Chicago's first subway at State and Washington (the tunnels were already finished, and here they were building the station using the cut-and-cover method). Work car W212 is being used to promote the patriotic film Wake Island. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On September 14, 1942, construction was well underway for Chicago’s first subway at State and Washington (the tunnels were already finished, and here they were building the station using the cut-and-cover method). Work car W212 is being used to promote the patriotic film Wake Island. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The interior of car 6150, a Brill built circa 1914-15, as it appeared on August 3, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The interior of car 6150, a Brill built circa 1914-15, as it appeared on August 3, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 1821 on North Avenue. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 1821 on North Avenue. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 279 on Roosevelt Road open track in 1952. The photographer noted that "vibration disintegrated the concrete." (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 279 on Roosevelt Road open track in 1952. The photographer noted that “vibration disintegrated the concrete.” (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 2598 on 111th Street at Cottage Grove. Don's Rail Photos notes, "2598 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901. It was retired on August 1, 1947." (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 2598 on 111th Street at Cottage Grove. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “2598 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901. It was retired on August 1, 1947.” (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 618 and 5543 meet at 111th and Western on July 11, 1948. Looks like some riders are changing from one line to the other. The view looks north. (William c. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 618 and 5543 meet at 111th and Western on July 11, 1948. Looks like some riders are changing from one line to the other. The view looks north. (William c. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The notes on this rather fuzzy photo say this is CTA 520 at the intersection of Milwaukee, Paulina, and Ogden. On the other hand, Daniel Joseph says that this is a "physical impossibility," and that this is actually Paulina, Ogden and Adams. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The notes on this rather fuzzy photo say this is CTA 520 at the intersection of Milwaukee, Paulina, and Ogden. On the other hand, Daniel Joseph says that this is a “physical impossibility,” and that this is actually Paulina, Ogden and Adams. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The operator of one-man car 2908 is changing ends on 39th Street on March 28, 1948. At the moment, both poles are up. Not sure of the exact location. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The operator of one-man car 2908 is changing ends on 39th Street on March 28, 1948. At the moment, both poles are up. Not sure of the exact location. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A view of the North and Cicero car barn (aka "station, in CSL parlance) , looking northwest from 1500 N. Cicero on March 28, 1948. (William c. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A view of the North and Cicero car barn (aka “station, in CSL parlance) , looking northwest from 1500 N. Cicero on March 28, 1948. (William c. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 119 on the transfer table at West Shops, June 1, 1947. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 119 on the transfer table at West Shops, June 1, 1947. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The interior of a CTA 600-series Pullman on March 22, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The interior of a CTA 600-series Pullman on March 22, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 3229 looks to be at that portion of the car barn at Devon and Clark that was once damaged by fire. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CSL 3229 looks to be at that portion of the car barn at Devon and Clark that was once damaged by fire. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1783 is on Lake Street just east of Austin, probably circa 1950-52. Here, the Park theater is "closed temporarily." It would be permanently shuttered before the end of streetcar service in 1954, most likely a victim of television. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1783 is on Lake Street just east of Austin, probably circa 1950-52. Here, the Park theater is “closed temporarily.” It would be permanently shuttered before the end of streetcar service in 1954, most likely a victim of television. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman PCC 4240 is on State Street at 8th, operating on Route 36. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman PCC 4240 is on State Street at 8th, operating on Route 36. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Eastbound prewar PCC 4030, in "tiger stripes," crosses Western Avenue on 63rd Street on November 26, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Eastbound prewar PCC 4030, in “tiger stripes,” crosses Western Avenue on 63rd Street on November 26, 1950. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA work car W205 coupled to a Baltimore and Ohio box car at 39th and Halsted on March 11, 1951. This was the location of a materials handling yard for the CTA in the streetcar era. Don's Rail Photos notes: :W205, work car, was built by Chicago City Ry in 1907 as CCRY C11. It was renumbered W205 in 1913 and became CSL W205 in 1914. It was retired on May 17, 1958." (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA work car W205 coupled to a Baltimore and Ohio box car at 39th and Halsted on March 11, 1951. This was the location of a materials handling yard for the CTA in the streetcar era. Don’s Rail Photos notes: :W205, work car, was built by Chicago City Ry in 1907 as CCRY C11. It was renumbered W205 in 1913 and became CSL W205 in 1914. It was retired on May 17, 1958.” (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA work car W205 coupled to a Baltimore and Ohio box car at 39th and Halsted on March 11, 1951. This was the location of a materials handling yard for the CTA in the streetcar era. Don's Rail Photos notes: :W205, work car, was built by Chicago City Ry in 1907 as CCRY C11. It was renumbered W205 in 1913 and became CSL W205 in 1914. It was retired on May 17, 1958." (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA work car W205 coupled to a Baltimore and Ohio box car at 39th and Halsted on March 11, 1951. This was the location of a materials handling yard for the CTA in the streetcar era. Don’s Rail Photos notes: :W205, work car, was built by Chicago City Ry in 1907 as CCRY C11. It was renumbered W205 in 1913 and became CSL W205 in 1914. It was retired on May 17, 1958.” (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This is how the CTA work car coupled to a box car-- with a bar. March 11, 1951 at 39th and Halsted. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This is how the CTA work car coupled to a box car– with a bar. March 11, 1951 at 39th and Halsted. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The West End of Route 63

Between Central Avenue and Harlem, a distance of two miles, Chicago Surface Lines streetcars did not operate on 63rd Street, as they did further east. They ran instead on a private right-of-way in what was then a largely undeveloped area called Clearing, which is now a residential neighborhood.  This is now the location of 63rd Place.

The question came up several month ago on the Chicagotransit Yahoo group (posed by Dennis McClendon) about why this was so. The answer was provided by our resident South Side expert M. E., who provided a link to a book that details this early history.

Basically, there were those who wanted to develop the area in the nearby suburb of Summit for industry, however, they needed a way to transport workers there. It was quicker and easier to simply lay tracks on private property than it would have been to do so in a public street such as 63rd Street, where the City ‘council would have had to weigh in on it. The streetcar companies had some responsibility for paving streets and plowing snow and such.

A factory was established in Summit in the early 1900s, making Argo corn starch. To this day, that portion of Summit is commonly known as Argo. Eventually, the trackage on what is now 63rd Place became part of the regular 63rd Street streetcar route. The portion west of Oak Park Avenue was operated as a shuttle until 1948, when PCC cars were introduced. At that point, a turnaround loop was built at Narragansett, and service west of there operated by bus.

Buses replaced streetcars on the rest of Route 63 in 1953, and service was then shifted to 63rd Street, although the same turnback loop was used. This loop was rather large and I believe in recent years it was made somewhat smaller to accommodate a new location for a Chicago Public Library branch.

As for the old Argo shuttle streetcar, subsequent research shows it went as far as 63rd and Archer (see the pictures below).

-David Sadowski

Looking east from Narragansett along the 63rd Place private right-of-way on May 19, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Looking east from Narragansett along the 63rd Place private right-of-way on May 19, 1953. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On August 10, 1947 we see the CSL terminal for 63rd Street cars at Oak Park Avenue and 63rd Place. An Argo shuttle car (5337) is on single track ahead. This would continue about another half-mile to Archer Avenue, in suburban Summit. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On August 10, 1947 we see the CSL terminal for 63rd Street cars at Oak Park Avenue and 63rd Place. An Argo shuttle car (5337) is on single track ahead. This would continue about another half-mile to Archer Avenue, in suburban Summit. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today, in Chicago's Clearing neighborhood.

The same location today, in Chicago’s Clearing neighborhood.

On August 10, 1947, we are looking east along 63rd Place at Oak Park Avenue. A Chicago Surface Lines Pullman streetcar is switching onto single track at the west end of Route 63. There was a shuttle operation west of here, perhaps  a mile of single track, to Archer Avenue and the area of suburban Summit widely known as "Argo," although there is no such municipality. That is the name of a large factory there that makes Argo cornstarch. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On August 10, 1947, we are looking east along 63rd Place at Oak Park Avenue. A Chicago Surface Lines Pullman streetcar is switching onto single track at the west end of Route 63. There was a shuttle operation west of here, perhaps a mile of single track, to Archer Avenue and the area of suburban Summit widely known as “Argo,” although there is no such municipality. That is the name of a large factory there that makes Argo cornstarch. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Again on August 10, 1947, CSL 5337 is operating as the Argo shuttle car, and is shown here at the west end of the route at 63rd and Archer. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Again on August 10, 1947, CSL 5337 is operating as the Argo shuttle car, and is shown here at the west end of the route at 63rd and Archer. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The buildings here match the ones seen in the previous photo. The area where the Argo shuttle ended was practically in front of those, and is now a parking lot.

The buildings here match the ones seen in the previous photo. The area where the Argo shuttle ended was practically in front of those, and is now a parking lot.

Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes, "I thought some more about this photo. The Argo streetcar line had a single track. I think it had one track because of the crowded situation at the western terminal at Archer. The Argo car ran from Oak Park Ave. (6800 W.) to Archer Ave. (7700 W. at 63rd St.). Let's say the Argo car carried people who worked at Argo Starch. During rush hours, the bigger crowds may imply that the Chicago Surface Lines ran two cars on the Argo line. Now, let's say one of those cars was at Oak Park Ave., the other at Archer Ave., and they started at the same time. Where would they pass? Answer: Look at the shape of the raised area in the cited photo. This area looks suspiciously like a passing area for two streetcars on a single track. And it's at Harlem (7200 W.), roughly halfway between Oak Park Ave. and Archer Ave.  Voila!"

Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes, “I thought some more about this photo. The Argo streetcar line had a single track. I think it had one track because of the crowded situation at the western terminal at Archer. The Argo car ran from Oak Park Ave. (6800 W.) to Archer Ave. (7700 W. at 63rd St.). Let’s say the Argo car carried people who worked at Argo Starch. During rush hours, the bigger crowds may imply that the Chicago Surface Lines ran two cars on the Argo line. Now, let’s say one of those cars was at Oak Park Ave., the other at Archer Ave., and they started at the same time. Where would they pass? Answer: Look at the shape of the raised area in the cited photo. This area looks suspiciously like a passing area for two streetcars on a single track. And it’s at Harlem (7200 W.), roughly halfway between Oak Park Ave. and Archer Ave. Voila!”

There is a bus loop at 63rd Street and Archer, but not in the same location as where the streetcar ended.

There is a bus loop at 63rd Street and Archer, but not in the same location as where the streetcar ended.

CTA work car X-201 is heading west on 63rd Street on April 18, 1948, to take up rail from the Argo line, where streetcar service ended a week earlier. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA work car X-201 is heading west on 63rd Street on April 18, 1948, to take up rail from the Argo line, where streetcar service ended a week earlier. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The turnback loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett was built in 1948 to accomodate PCC cars, which were single-ended. But towards the end of streetcar service on Route 63, PCCs were removed and red cars were, for a short time, returned, as this May 19, 1953 view shows. Buses replaced streetcars five days later, and began running on 63rd Street between Narragansett and Central, instead of on 63rd Place, as streetcars had. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The turnback loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett was built in 1948 to accomodate PCC cars, which were single-ended. But towards the end of streetcar service on Route 63, PCCs were removed and red cars were, for a short time, returned, as this May 19, 1953 view shows. Buses replaced streetcars five days later, and began running on 63rd Street between Narragansett and Central, instead of on 63rd Place, as streetcars had. (William C. Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The CTA turnback loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett as it looks today, with the Clearing branch of the Chicago Public Library at rear.

The CTA turnback loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett as it looks today, with the Clearing branch of the Chicago Public Library at rear.

The track arrangement on 63rd Place prior to 1948, taken from the 1941 CSL track map. There were two tracks to Oak Park Avenue, and single track west of there. Since the Argo shuttle had to cross a railroad, that means it had to have a two-man crew. It appears the shuttle crossed Harlem into nearby Summit (the area known as Argo) for its western terminal.

The track arrangement on 63rd Place prior to 1948, taken from the 1941 CSL track map. There were two tracks to Oak Park Avenue, and single track west of there. Since the Argo shuttle had to cross a railroad, that means it had to have a two-man crew. It appears the shuttle crossed Harlem into nearby Summit (the area known as Argo) for its western terminal.

The 1939 shows the locations of two crossovers on the 63rd Place section; one at Meade, and another just east of Austin.

The 1939 shows the locations of two crossovers on the 63rd Place section; one at Meade, and another just east of Austin.

This portion of the 1952 CTA track map shows the arrangement used between 1948 and 1953. The dotted line indicates the bus route used west of Narragansett.

This portion of the 1952 CTA track map shows the arrangement used between 1948 and 1953. The dotted line indicates the bus route used west of Narragansett.

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 in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. 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.
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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) 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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A Tribute to John F. Bromley

The Bromley holiday card from 2017.

The Bromley holiday card from 2017.

As we once again celebrate the holiday season, we all have many reasons to be thankful, including each other. I regret to inform you, if you have not already heard, of the recent passing of noted Canadian railfan historian and photographer John F. Bromley, who died on December 1st after a short illness. I believe he was about 80.

Mr. Bromley was a giant among Canadian railfans, and it is fair to say he was the preeminent historian of Toronto traction, for perhaps the last 50 years.

He authored TTC ’28: The Electric Railway Services of the Toronto Transportation Commission in 1928, published by Upper Canada Railway Society, Toronto (1979), and Fifty Years of Progressive Transit – A History of the Toronto Transit Commission, (with Jack May), published by the Electric Railroaders’ Association (1978). While these are both long out of print, you should have no difficulty in finding them on the used market.

In addition to being a friend of this blog, Mr. Bromley contributed to the various railfan books that I have worked on, including Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-58 (CERA Bulletin 146), Chicago Trolleys, and Building Chicago’s Subways. Besides his own photographs, which are excellent, he had an extensive collection of many others, including some rare original 1942 Kodachrome slides of the Chicago Surface Lines. Those would be, as far as I know, among the very earliest color CSL images of any kind. Unfortunately, the name of the photographer is not known.

John Bromley specialized in night photography, as you will see in the tribute below, created by Bill Volkmer. This was oriiginally made as a PDF slideshow, and if you want, you can still view it that way here, but since not everyone would be able to see it, I have separated it out into images. We thank Mr. Volkmer for making this tribute, and for sharing it with our readers.

We follow after that with a selection of images from the John F. Bromley Collection that have previously appeared here.

We also have additional contributions from noted Milwaukee historian Larry Sakar, William Shapotkin, and a few recent finds of our own. We thank all our contributors.

Happy Holidays!

-David Sadowski

PS- You can see more pictures by John F. Bromley, or from his collection, here and here. If you ike his style of night shots, we have more in our previous posts Night Beat and Night Beat, Jersey Style.

CSL 4010 and 4035 in experimental paint at the Madison-Austin loop on November 24, 1945. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 4010 and 4035 in experimental paint at the Madison-Austin loop on November 24, 1945. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 7027 is southbound at Dearborn and Monroe, the east end of route 20 Madison, in June 1946. (Ohio Brass Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 7027 is southbound at Dearborn and Monroe, the east end of route 20 Madison, in June 1946. (Ohio Brass Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 4400 southbound on Clark at Arthur, August 15, 1956. (John F. Bromley Photo, M. D. McCarter Collection)

CTA 4400 southbound on Clark at Arthur, August 15, 1956. (John F. Bromley Photo, M. D. McCarter Collection)

CTA 7208 southbound on Clark at Van Buren, a view from the Loop "L", on August 15, 1956. (John F. Bromley Photo, M. D. McCarter Collection)

CTA 7208 southbound on Clark at Van Buren, a view from the Loop “L”, on August 15, 1956. (John F. Bromley Photo, M. D. McCarter Collection)

CTA 4218 at State and 95th on April 4, 1948 (route 36 - Broadway-State). (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 4218 at State and 95th on April 4, 1948 (route 36 – Broadway-State). (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 4039 at Madison and Austin on June 30, 1946. (Barney Neuburger Collection, Courtesy of John F. Bromley)

CSL 4039 at Madison and Austin on June 30, 1946. (Barney Neuburger Collection, Courtesy of John F. Bromley)

CSL 4051 at the Madison and Austin loop on February 22, 1942. This car had previously been modified with an experimental door arrangement later used on the 600 postwar Chicago PCCs. By the time this picture was taken, it had been partially returned to its original configuration. As John Bromley notes, "The car is not yet fully restored after the rear entrance experiment. It’s missing one front door and is thus in a hybrid state." (James J. Buckley Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 4051 at the Madison and Austin loop on February 22, 1942. This car had previously been modified with an experimental door arrangement later used on the 600 postwar Chicago PCCs. By the time this picture was taken, it had been partially returned to its original configuration. As John Bromley notes, “The car is not yet fully restored after the rear entrance experiment. It’s missing one front door and is thus in a hybrid state.” (James J. Buckley Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CTA 818 by the Park Theatre at Lake and Austin on August 13, 1948. I don't believe the movie theatre stayed open much later than this. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 818 by the Park Theatre at Lake and Austin on August 13, 1948. I don’t believe the movie theatre stayed open much later than this. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 155 on private right-of-way west of the Brookfield Zoo on April 11, 1948, on the CERA "day after abandonment" fantrip. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 155 on private right-of-way west of the Brookfield Zoo on April 11, 1948, on the CERA “day after abandonment” fantrip. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT at 52nd and 36th on February 28, 1938. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT at 52nd and 36th on February 28, 1938. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 119 on August 19, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 119 on August 19, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 138 at the Brookfield Zoo on July 22, 1938, on the busy LaGrange line. The zoo first opened in 1934. Within a year or two, all West Towns streetcars would be repainted blue. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 138 at the Brookfield Zoo on July 22, 1938, on the busy LaGrange line. The zoo first opened in 1934. Within a year or two, all West Towns streetcars would be repainted blue. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 15 on DesPlaines Avenue on April 11, 1948. The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip, held the day after West Towns streetcar service came to an end. Note one of the distinctive C&WT shelters at rear. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT 15 on DesPlaines Avenue on April 11, 1948. The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip, held the day after West Towns streetcar service came to an end. Note one of the distinctive C&WT shelters at rear. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT line car 15 at Harlem and Cermak on August 19, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

C&WT line car 15 at Harlem and Cermak on August 19, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 1933 at Chicago Avenue and Lake Shore Drive on May 12, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 1933 at Chicago Avenue and Lake Shore Drive on May 12, 1947. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 6034 is at Kedzie and Bryn Mawr, the north end of route 17, on April 16, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 6034 is at Kedzie and Bryn Mawr, the north end of route 17, on April 16, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 3217 is on route 73 - Armitage on July 1, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection) Andre Kristopans: "EB passing Mozart Park at Armitage and Avers."

CSL 3217 is on route 73 – Armitage on July 1, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection) Andre Kristopans: “EB passing Mozart Park at Armitage and Avers.”

CSL 3212 heads up the line-up at Archer Station (car house) on October 16, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 3212 heads up the line-up at Archer Station (car house) on October 16, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL 2802 is on Anthony Avenue at Commercial Avenue in this July 13, 1941 photo. Note the Pennsylvania Railroad station at rear. (John F. Bromley Collection) Bob Laich: "The building immediately behind CSL 2802 on Anthony Avenue was PRR’s South Chicago freight station, which was built at street level. The platform for the South Chicago passenger station can be seen on the elevation in the right background." Andre Kristopans adds, "something odd here – note “Special” sign in front window. Appears to be a charter waiting for its party off the PRR." This must be Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip #35, which used this car on that date.

CSL 2802 is on Anthony Avenue at Commercial Avenue in this July 13, 1941 photo. Note the Pennsylvania Railroad station at rear. (John F. Bromley Collection) Bob Laich: “The building immediately behind CSL 2802 on Anthony Avenue was PRR’s South Chicago freight station, which was built at street level. The platform for the South Chicago passenger station can be seen on the elevation in the right background.” Andre Kristopans adds, “something odd here – note “Special” sign in front window. Appears to be a charter waiting for its party off the PRR.” This must be Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip #35, which used this car on that date.

CTA 3266 at 71st and California on the 67-69-71 route on May 29, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 3266 at 71st and California on the 67-69-71 route on May 29, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 6236 at 71st and California on the 67-69-71 route on May 29, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 6236 at 71st and California on the 67-69-71 route on May 29, 1949. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 5508 at 79th and Western on May 29, 1949. That looks like a 1948-50 Packard at left, which some have nicknamed the "pregnant elephant" styling. We can catch a glimpse of the nearby CTA turnback loop for route 49 - Western at right. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 5508 at 79th and Western on May 29, 1949. That looks like a 1948-50 Packard at left, which some have nicknamed the “pregnant elephant” styling. We can catch a glimpse of the nearby CTA turnback loop for route 49 – Western at right. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL Pullman 677 on the outer end of Milwaukee Avenue on March 4, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection) Andre Kristopans: "677 – Most likely on Milwaukee north of Central where many cars turned back. Originally turnback point was Gale St, right where Jefferson Park terminal now is, but later was moved to Central."

CSL Pullman 677 on the outer end of Milwaukee Avenue on March 4, 1946. (John F. Bromley Collection) Andre Kristopans: “677 – Most likely on Milwaukee north of Central where many cars turned back. Originally turnback point was Gale St, right where Jefferson Park terminal now is, but later was moved to Central.”

CSL Pullman 696 at the Museum Loop in Grant Park in April 1940. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL Pullman 696 at the Museum Loop in Grant Park in April 1940. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL Pullman 431 on Cicero Avenue, February 22, 1940. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CSL Pullman 431 on Cicero Avenue, February 22, 1940. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedan 3377, showing the original door configuration, southbound on Cottage Grove at 95th Street on May 6, 1951. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedan 3377, showing the original door configuration, southbound on Cottage Grove at 95th Street on May 6, 1951. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedans (Peter Witts) 3360 and 3347 are shown here at south Shops in 1952, having been converted to one-man with the removal of some center doors. There were 25 cars so modified, but as far as I know, only one ran in service in this setup. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA Sedans (Peter Witts) 3360 and 3347 are shown here at south Shops in 1952, having been converted to one-man with the removal of some center doors. There were 25 cars so modified, but as far as I know, only one ran in service in this setup. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

Prewar CTA PCC 7020, now converted to one-man operation, is southbound at Western and Maypole in May 1956, about a month before the end of streetcar service on route 49. The prewar cars were used for 364 days on this line. In the back, that is the Lake Street "L", which, oddly enough, does not have a stop on this busy street. (John F. Bromley Collection)

Prewar CTA PCC 7020, now converted to one-man operation, is southbound at Western and Maypole in May 1956, about a month before the end of streetcar service on route 49. The prewar cars were used for 364 days on this line. In the back, that is the Lake Street “L”, which, oddly enough, does not have a stop on this busy street. (John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 4409 and 4390 at the beautifully landscaped Western-Berwyn loop on May 13, 1950. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

CTA 4409 and 4390 at the beautifully landscaped Western-Berwyn loop on May 13, 1950. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

Pullman-built CTA PCC 4148 southbound at Clark and Thome on May 13, 1950. That is a safety island at right, to protect passengers from errant vehicles. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

Pullman-built CTA PCC 4148 southbound at Clark and Thome on May 13, 1950. That is a safety island at right, to protect passengers from errant vehicles. (John D. Koschwanez Photo, John F. Bromley Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines Brill car 6072 at Kedzie Station on January 28, 1942. (John F. Bromley Collection) I believe this car was built in 1914. You can see part of a Sedan in the background. These were used for fill-in service on Madison along with the prewar PCCs.

Chicago Surface Lines Brill car 6072 at Kedzie Station on January 28, 1942. (John F. Bromley Collection) I believe this car was built in 1914. You can see part of a Sedan in the background. These were used for fill-in service on Madison along with the prewar PCCs.

Chicago Surface Lines 5241 on 111th Street near Vincennes on August 3, 1947. The sign on the front of the car indicates this was on through route 8. According to www.chicagrailfan.com, "Various Through Route combinations existed throughout the early history of this route. Original Through Route operated between Grace/Halsted and 63rd/Stony Island via Halsted and 63rd St. Beginning in 1912, some Halsted service, mainly route 42 Halsted-Downtown service, began operating south of 79th St. via Vincennes and 111th St. to Sacramento, over what now is the 112 route. While for most of through service continuing north on Halsted, the south terminal remained 79th St. Effective 5/24/31, the through Halsted service generally turned around at 111th/Sacramento, with the downtown service generally turning at 79th St. Through service south of 79th St. discontinued 12/4/49, when segment south of 79th St. was converted to buses." (John F. Bromley Collection) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, "The caption begins: "Chicago Surface Lines 5241 on 111th Street near Vincennes on August 3, 1947." Not quite. 111th St. approaches Vincennes Ave. only from the east. The car line on 111th St. was not route 8. Instead, route 8 was on Vincennes. Vincennes Ave. continued south of 111th one block to Monterey Ave., whereupon route 8 cars turned right onto Monterey, then about three blocks later, onto 111th St. heading west. (To see all this on a map, use maps.google.com and plug in '60643 post office'.) As for the photo, I'd say this car is on Vincennes, heading south, anywhere between 109th and Monterey. I say 109th because route 8 left its private right-of-way (which started at 89th St.) at 107th St. and ran south from 107th on the street."

Chicago Surface Lines 5241 on 111th Street near Vincennes on August 3, 1947. The sign on the front of the car indicates this was on through route 8. According to http://www.chicagrailfan.com, “Various Through Route combinations existed throughout the early history of this route. Original Through Route operated between Grace/Halsted and 63rd/Stony Island via Halsted and 63rd St. Beginning in 1912, some Halsted service, mainly route 42 Halsted-Downtown service, began operating south of 79th St. via Vincennes and 111th St. to Sacramento, over what now is the 112 route. While for most of through service continuing north on Halsted, the south terminal remained 79th St. Effective 5/24/31, the through Halsted service generally turned around at 111th/Sacramento, with the downtown service generally turning at 79th St. Through service south of 79th St. discontinued 12/4/49, when segment south of 79th St. was converted to buses.” (John F. Bromley Collection) Our resident South Side expert M. E. adds, “The caption begins: “Chicago Surface Lines 5241 on 111th Street near Vincennes on August 3, 1947.” Not quite. 111th St. approaches Vincennes Ave. only from the east. The car line on 111th St. was not route 8. Instead, route 8 was on Vincennes. Vincennes Ave. continued south of 111th one block to Monterey Ave., whereupon route 8 cars turned right onto Monterey, then about three blocks later, onto 111th St. heading west. (To see all this on a map, use maps.google.com and plug in ‘60643 post office’.) As for the photo, I’d say this car is on Vincennes, heading south, anywhere between 109th and Monterey. I say 109th because route 8 left its private right-of-way (which started at 89th St.) at 107th St. and ran south from 107th on the street.”

The picture above has sparked some controversy over where it was taken. Here is some additional correspondence from John Habermaas:

Merry Christmas… thanks for posting another treasure trove of Surface Lines photos. I am reasonably sure the photo of the Halsted car shown at 111th and Vincennes is on 111th east of Vincennes. Surface Lines parked trippers on 111th to operate to Sacramento to accommodate (the) rush of students from nearby Morgan Park High’s afternoon dismissal. Since the east 111th route was an early abandonment, I suspect the tracks east of that point were no longer used.

Often saw cars parked on this short section laying over until they were needed…often as trippers intended to run westbound to Sacramento. It was a long time ago so I could wrong about this car. The route on 111th between Cottage Grove and Vincennes was discontinued by the Surface Lines in SEP ’45 very likely because much of it was single track and though (it) had light usage, required a two man crew due the many RR grade crossings.

When I was in elementary school I often went to watch the cars climb the 111th street hill. Once in which awhile a HS prankster would reach out the rear window if was opened and pull the trolley rope to de-wire the pole stalling the car on the hill. Most of the Brills apparently could not restart the ascent up the hill, and would have to back down the hill to Longwood Drive for a fresh start, with I suspect the conductor guarding the window.

David took a closer look at picture, this car is definitely parked on the short section of active track between Vincennes and the Rock Island mainline. If you look closely you can see the gates at the crossing for the Rock Island mainline (not to be confused with the Rock Island suburban branch which the route 8 cars cross Hale… looks much different as the line made a jog from Monterey to W 111th).

Most of M. E.’s comments about the Halsted route are correct, except for his guess about the location of the streetcar. It is on 111th Street east of Vincennes. He may not be aware of the Surfaces Line’s practice using portion of the abandoned 111th Street line as layover point. I do remember seeing streetcars positioned there. The line on Vincennes was originally built by the C&IT (Chicago and Interurban Traction) which had (a) carbarn at 88th and Vincennes. That early traction ordinance made them divest their property within the city. The CSL used the 88th street carbarn for dead storage, until streetcar service on Halsted was abandoned south of 79th. The portion of the line west of Vincennes on Monterey and 111th was a branch line built to serve the cemeteries at 111th and Sacranento.

I am impressed with John Bromley’s photos. You can see, from these blow ups, the quality of his photos and how detailed it is. The one photo shows that the car is just standing with no motorman at the controls. The second shoes the stretch behind the car and you can clearly make out the Rock Island RR crossing gates. The location is definitely 111th east of Vincennes as John captioned it.

Thank you for sharing your excellent insights.

This picture of CTA one-man car 3236, taken on January 14, 1950 shows it crossing Maplewood Avenue on what is obviously an east-west trolley line. John F. Bromley, who sold me this negative, was unsure of the location. Jeff Wien writes, "I would guess that it is at 71st & Maplewood. Bill Hoffman lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood which was a half mile north. Maplewood is a block or two west of Western. Route 67 covered 67th, 69th and 71st as far west as California (2800). Maplewood is around 2600 West. Check out the streets to see if I am correct. The one man cars were used on route 67." Looks like Jeff is correct, as further research shows that the house at left is still standing at 7053 S. Maplewood.

This picture of CTA one-man car 3236, taken on January 14, 1950 shows it crossing Maplewood Avenue on what is obviously an east-west trolley line. John F. Bromley, who sold me this negative, was unsure of the location. Jeff Wien writes, “I would guess that it is at 71st & Maplewood. Bill Hoffman lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood which was a half mile north. Maplewood is a block or two west of Western. Route 67 covered 67th, 69th and 71st as far west as California (2800). Maplewood is around 2600 West. Check out the streets to see if I am correct. The one man cars were used on route 67.” Looks like Jeff is correct, as further research shows that the house at left is still standing at 7053 S. Maplewood.

John sent me this picture last year, but I didn’t get around to using it until now.

You might be interested in this, pulled off the Internet. Original caption noted this as ”Bronzeville”. CSL April 1941 47th ST looking west.

Cheers
John

Recent Correspondence

Larry Sakar writes:

Here’s a little bit of a mix of things for The Trolley Dodger if you’re interested. First, in keeping with the season here is a picture taken at the corner of N. 4th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. ca. Xmas 1927. The photographer is facing northeast. The letters “RA” at the bottom of that large sign across the street (NE corner of 4th & Wisconsin) are the last two in the name “Alhambra”. The Alhambra was a movie theater that stood until about 1960 on the northeast corner of 4th & Wisconsin. Directly across the street as you can see was the Boston Store Dept. store. The building is still there but Boston Store went out of business either late last year or earlier this year. For anyone who ever shopped at Carson’s in Chicago, Boston Store was identical. At one time both were owned by P.A. Bergner Co. Note the TM 600 series car westbound on Wisconsin Ave. running on Rt. 12w – 12th St. Brouwer’s next door to the theater was a shoe company one of many shoe stores in downtown like Thom Mc Cann and Packard-Rellin. To the best of my knowledge they, like the movie theaters are now gone.

We know this has to be 1927 or later because of the movie playing at the Alhambra. “Swim Girl Swim” starring Bebe Daniels (1901-1971) was released in 1927. It was a silent movie. Ms.. Daniels was both a star of silent films and talkies. Her biography says she even made a few television appearances. The “Center” destination on the 600 is a bit curious. Rt. 12 streetcars ran all the way to N. Holton & E. Richards Sts. Perhaps it was short turning for some reason. The decorations atop the Boston Store marquee tell us this is Christmas season. Today, the Henry Reuss Federal Plaza occupies the entire north side of Wisconsin Ave. from N. 3rd to N. 4th Sts. Its blue exterior has earned it the nickname “Blue Whale.”

Now for two photographs I call “Foolers.” They’re not where their destination sign says they are. Both of these were real head-scratchers, until I finally determined where they are. The photo of car 651 with TM shorthand of WAU co BLDGS” and a route 10 in the route sign box made me think this was somewhere near the Muirdale Sanitorium (for patients with TB) which was served by Rt. 10 streetcars continuing west from the Harwood Ave. terminal in the heart of the Wauwatosa Village to the Sanitorium in Muirdale. This was out on Watertown Plank Rd. Service west of Harwood Ave. was converted to buses in 1937. WAU CO BLDGS meant Wauwatosa County Buildings. The former Sanitorium still stands today on Research Drive in the Milwaukee County Research Park adjacent to the massive Froedtert Hospital Campus. It is presently used as an office building. Dave Stanley helped me figure out where this really is. The car is laying over at S. 84th & W. Lapham Ave., the west end of RT 19. In all probability the photographer (unknown) talked the motorman into rolling up that sign which hadn’t been used in years. The last 600s ended service in early 1949 except for 607, which was saved by the Railroad Historical Foundation also known as the “607 Gang.” It is often seen in photographs amid the surplus ex TM 1100s stored on the tracks leading into the never completed Rapid Transit subway ca.1949-51 In 1952, The RHF received notice from Hyman-Michaels Scrap Co. that the car had to be removed from the Speedrail property or it would be scrapped. With all of the RHF members save one having been drafted (Korean War) there was nowhere to go with the streetcar, so it was sold to HM for scrap.

When I received the photo of car 943 I couldn’t figure out where the car was on 35th St. Rt 35 was the 35th St route. The 35th St. destination in the sign below the roof route sign made zero sense. If it was a northbound car the destination would say either Burleigh or Fond du lac as the tri-intersection of N. 35th , W. Burleigh St. and W. Fond du lac Ave. was the northern terminus (the west side of Fond du lac car station). If it was southbound the destination would be Mt. Vernon Ave. (the last street before heading across the 35th St. viaduct which streetcars never crossed). Upon closer examination I realized just where this is and what it is. It’s a TM publicity photo. Car 943 is westbound on W. Michigan St. between N. 3rd and N. 4th Sts. The “crowd” waiting to board are TM employees doubtlessly recruited from the Public Service Building out of the picture to the right of 943 . Now take a closer look between the “Front Entrance Safety Car” sign on 943’s right front dash and the “crowd”. This was obviously a time exposure. You see a “ghosted” 1100 series interurban probably headed into the PSB from Sheboygan. or perhaps headed the opposite way. It’s hard to tell.

Recently, I sent you a picture of Al Buetschle, who saved TM 978, holding up pieces from the shattered car 39 . This was at the site of the 9-2-50 fatal head-on collision post abandonment. Here are two more photos. In the first one Al holds up a roof ventilator and another piece of the shattered lightweight duplex. Car 1192 (duplex 1192-93) plowed thru 3/4ths of car 39 before stopping. Duplex 39-40 was so badly damaged that both were shoved off the r.o.w. into the drainage ditch along the east side of the r.o.w. The late Lew Martin, a member of the RHF, snapped this photo of people milling around in the wreckage of car 39. This is followed by a shot of duplex 45-46 enroute Hales Corners at the accident site some time later. I believe Lew Martin also took this photo. In addition to Al with the roof ventilator we see his friend Lee Bremer holding up one of the door panels from car 39. Neither of them owned a car in 1952 so taking the door home with them was not an option. It would have been a bit clumsy to haul on a Transport Co. bus!

I also recently sent a photo of the Port Washington station as it looked in service and in 1983. Here is a much better photo showing KMCL D3 (formerly D23) on the loop with the station at the left. The photo is from the Don Ross collection. In 1983 the QWIK Cement Co. and just about everything else that surrounded the loop was gone replaced by a Wisconsin Telephone Co. bldg. The former station did not appear to be in use.

Unfortunately, it appears that Al Buetschle passed away sometime in 2018. He was probably in his mid-80s.

Larry continues:

Here are two more photos of the 978. The first one is an Ed Wilson photo. I am guessing this is sometime in the 1940s. The location is East Wisconsin Ave near N. Van Buren St. The building with the tall columns rising above 978 is the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. headquarters. The C&NW lakefront depot would be behind the photographer photo left one block east. Unfortunately, Milwaukee could not see fit to save it, just as they couldn’t with the Milwaukee Road Everett St. station and the North Shore station. I believe it was author Jim Scribbins who said in one of his books, “Milwaukee does not practice urban renewal. In Milwaukee it’s urban removal!”

One thing seen in this photo is rather odd. Rt. 13-Clybourn-Michigan never ran 900 series cars. The ex-Racine city cars renumbered into the 750 series and the 800s were the cars that saw service on Rt. 13. Rt. 13 was an early victim of bustitution as I like to call it being converted to trolley bus on 9-14-41. The route was discontinued by MCTS several years ago due to lack of riders.

The second photo of the 978 was taken by the late Ernie Maragos of Racine, WI in the summer of 1957. Among newsworthy events that year the then Milwaukee Braves won the World Series. It would be the last summer for Milwaukee streetcars. In Ernie’s picture 978 has just crossed the Wells St. bridge over the Milwaukee River, and will soon stop for N. Water St. If Ernie had turned to his right you would be seeing the Oneida St. WEPCO power plant and the west end of the famous Pabst Theatre. Oneida St. was the original name of Wells St. and was named for the Native American tribe that lived in the area before Milwaukee became a city in 1850. The Power Plant was decommissioned some time ago and is now a theatre, like the Pabst next door presenting live stage performances. I believe they call it the “Powerhouse Theatre.”

When it comes to colossal mistakes the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Company (which bought out TMER&T in late 1952) decided to move a group of surplus streetcars to the stadium spur in Calvary Cemetery cut in the winter of 1955-56. The cars were surplus, because by this time only two or three streetcar lines remained. Space needed to be created for new incoming GM Diesel buses. This was not a scrap line. The cars were stored here for lack of someplace better The photo of car 925 taken by TM interurban motorman Ed Wilson shows what happened. Vandals took full advantage. Note the holes in 925’s front window made by rocks probably taken from track ballast on the streetcar tracks. The spur had been laid on the abandoned Rapid Transit Line r.o.w. in 1953.

Al Buetschle, who saved car 978, recalled that one day while riding a RT. 10 Wells-West Allis streetcar through the cut he saw Transport Company employees laying ballast and rails where the Rapid Transit tracks had been just a year earlier. As he tells it, he immediately got off at the Hawley Rd. station (seen in back of the 925) and walked down the r.o.w. to where the construction crew was working. He thought that the Rapid Transit might be coming back but no such luck. The crew informed him that this was to be a new storage track for streetcars serving County Stadium about one-half mile east. When streetcar service ended on March 1, 1958 the spur was no longer needed and the tracks were taken up in May.

One other thing of note in Ed Wilson’s picture. The covered stairs leading up to the Hawley Rd. overpass were unique to this stop. The Calvary Cemetery cut was part of Phase 3 of the city of Milwaukee Rapid Transit project. This phase was known as the Fairview Ave. grade separation project, which removed streetcar and interurbans from street running on Fairview Ave. between 60th and 68th Sts. and placed them on a magnificent 4-track private right-of-way parallel to Fairview Ave. Streetcars stopped at Hawley Rd. 60th St., 62nd St., 65th St. and then descended to street level approaching 68th St. Rapid Transit trains stopped only at 68th St. Streetcars continued across 68th and turned south beneath the 68th St. station overpass, which was actually closer to 69th St. Upon going under the bridge they once again turned west for 1-1/2 blocs to S. 70th St. which they paralleled on a private right-of-way next to S. 70th St. The Wells-West Allis branch terminated at the intersection of S. 70th St. and W. Greenfield Ave. adjacent to the Allis Chalmers Co. Today both the streetcars and the Allis Chalmers Co. plant are gone.

TM 978 at N. Van Buren St. & E. Wisconsin Ave. Ed Wilson photo

TM 978 at N. Van Buren St. & E. Wisconsin Ave. Ed Wilson photo

M&STC 978 EB on Wells St. between Milw. River and N. Water St. Summer, '57 Ernie Maragos photo

M&STC 978 EB on Wells St. between Milw. River and N. Water St. Summer, ’57 Ernie Maragos photo

M&STC 933 et al stored on Stadium spur 1-56 Don Ross photo

M&STC 933 et al stored on Stadium spur 1-56 Don Ross photo

M&STC 925 stored at west of Stadium spur Winter 1955-56 Ed Wilson photo

M&STC 925 stored at west of Stadium spur Winter 1955-56 Ed Wilson photo

More from Larry:

Here are a few additional items I think Trolley Dodger readers might enjoy. In one of your recent posts you featured a photo of a TM 1100 near the 68th St. station. 68th was a major stop both westbound and eastbound. For westbound passengers this was the first point where they could transfer to continue to West Allis. In this case, you walked down the station stairs and waited for a RT 10-Wells-West Allis streetcar which stopped beneath the Rapid Transit overpass. It would take you all the way to S. 70th St. & W. Greenfield Ave., adjacent to the Allis Chalmers Co. plant. During State Fair week, streetcars turned west on Greenfield and continued to State Fair Park at S. 82nd St. The other West Allis transfer point was S. 84th St., where you boarded a Transport Co. Rt 67 bus to get to West Allis. West Allis car station was in the heart of West Allis at S. 84th & W. Lapham Ave. All trains stopped at 68th St.

The bridge over Brookdale Dr. on the Hales Corners line seemed to be a favorite spot for fans to take pictures of trains headed for Hales Corners, or in earlier years Burlington (until 1938 and West Troy (until 1939). The inaugural Speedrail fan trip of October 16, 1949 using car 60 was no exception. The car was posed on the Brookdale bridge, and it seems that almost every fan aboard it took almost the same picture. Brookdale siding, which stretched all the way from Brookdale Dr. siding to W. Layton Ave., was the point where the line built to carry workmen who were building the suburb of Greendale left the mainline and followed a single track r.o.w., built solely for that purpose. Once construction of Greendale was completed the tracks and wire came down. It was never intended to be a permanent, passenger carrying line.

In 2016, my colleague Chris Barney took these two photos showing what was left of the abandoned r.o.w. at Brookdale Dr. The r.o.w. was graded down some years ago, but the fancy stone bridge over the nearby culvert remains to this day. Look below the Rapid Transit bridge and to the left to see it in Speedrail’s day. Other bits and pieces of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line can still be found. West of the Red Star Yeast Plant at about N. 28th St. the r.o.w. was built to accommodate four tracks, though only two were ever built. When I-94, the East-West Expressway, was built through here in the mid-to-late 1960’s, it was built over what had been the Rapid Transit line though at a much higher elevation. That was probably done to reduce the length of the on and off ramps. The abandoned r.o.w. was bought by the city of Milwaukee (the initial phase of the East-West Freeway was a city and not Milwaukee County project). In 1953, then WEPCO sold the abandoned r.o.w. between N. 8th St and W. Hibernia St 4-1/2 miles west to Soldiers Home (52nd St.) for $1,000,800, supposedly the price they paid for it in 1925. The high tension electric transmission towers, like the one seen in the background (that’s the 35th St. viaduct in back of it) of my photo, were moved over to the never used portion of the r.o.w., costing the City of Milwaukee and additional $500,000. Consider that according to trustee Bruno V. Bitker, Speedrail needed at least $250,000 to be successfully reorganized. In the 68-1/2 years since abandonment of the Rapid Transit, time has amply demonstrated which of the two was better (hint; it’s not the East-West Freeway.) In February 1951, when Speedrail VP of Operations Ed Tennyson and Metropolitan Transit Committee Chairman Al Kalmbach met with Milwaukee city officials, they were turned down by the aldermen who claimed that the city could not show favoritism to just the two wards through which The Rapid Transit operated. Yet, they didn’t seem one bit concerned about it when the expressway was built on the Rapid Transit line r.o.w. through those same two wards!

The black and white 8×10 photo of the 68th St. station is from a book later placed on microfilm called “Subways Along Milwaukee Rapid Transit Lines.” No, not the never completed subway. In this case “subways” referred to streets over which the Rapid Transit crossed on a bridge. Its purpose was apparently to measure the clearances, so that the info could be placed on the bridge for cars and trucks passing beneath. Every bridge between Hibernia St. and 84th St. was photographed in all four directions. Also checked for clearances was the North Shore Line from Oklahoma Avenue south to Howell and Rawson Aves. in Oak Creek. Today, all traces of the Rapid Transit line west of the west end of Calvary Cemetery cut have vanished. The embankments from S. 70th St. west were all removed in the mid-1960s, and power lines similar to the ones that now occupy the former NSL Skokie Valley Route placed in the middle of the abandoned r.o.w. The recent rebuilding of the Zoo Interchange has obliterated all traces of West Jct. Widening of Highway 100 (S. 108th St. between W. Forest Home Ave. and W. Edgerton Ave. in Hales Corners has eliminated what remained of the abandoned Hales Corners line r.o.w.

Here’s a great “Then and Now” Speedrail photo for you. The small b&w shows car 60 on the Brookdale Dr. bridge. The date is 10-16-49, and this is the inaugural fan trip introducing the 60 series curved side cars. I think just about every fan on that trip snapped a picture of the car sitting on that bridge. Fast forward to 2016. My colleague, Chris Barney took these photos at Brookdale Dr.
(this is on the Hales Corners line by the way). First, look beneath the bridge on the left hand side. You’ll see a stone barrier in front of a culvert that ran alongside the r.o.w. Now look at the bottom photo. In the center of the picture you see that same stone bridge. The abandoned r.o.w. has been completely removed. The “bridge” to which Chris was referring was the one over the Root River built by the Milwaukee Light Heat & Traction Co. in 1905. WEnergies removed it in 2017 because it was deteriorated to the point where it was going to fall into the river. They could access the power lines on either side of the river so the bridge was no longer needed.

I drew an arrow to the stone bridge in the 1949 photo. It can be kind of hard to make out in the 1949 photo. This entire area is part of Root River Parkway and yes, this is the same Root River crossed by the NSL near 4 1/2 Mile Rd. just north of Racine.

Aband Rapid Transit r.o.w. @ 32nd St. lkg west in 2003 by Larry Sakar

Aband Rapid Transit r.o.w. @ 32nd St. lkg west in 2003 by Larry Sakar

SR 60 posed on Brookdale Bridge from Brookdale Dr. 10-16-49

SR 60 posed on Brookdale Bridge from Brookdale Dr. 10-16-49

SR 60 on Brookdale Dr. bridge 10-16-49 inaugural fan trip. Herb Danneman coll.

SR 60 on Brookdale Dr. bridge 10-16-49 inaugural fan trip. Herb Danneman coll.

Brookdale Dr. xing in 2016 by Chris Barney

Brookdale Dr. xing in 2016 by Chris Barney

Showing culvert bridge in 1949 photo

Showing culvert bridge in 1949 photo

Speedrail 60 WB at 68th St. ca. Summer, 1950. L. Sakar coll.

Speedrail 60 WB at 68th St. ca. Summer, 1950. L. Sakar coll.

68th St. sta. lkg NE in 1937 City of MKE. Survey

68th St. sta. lkg NE in 1937 City of MKE. Survey

Charles Kronenwetter comments:

Love the latest set of photos, especially those from Milwaukee. One comment though, I believe that the photo of the 943 shows it Southbound on 3rd St right in front of PSB. (You can see the tracks heading into the building just to the right of the 943.) The park to the left is the one that sat in front of the Milwaukee Road depot. The building to the rear of the car is, I think the Medford Hotel and the white building to the left is the Boston Store. I’ve seen this photo somewhere else and you are correct, it was a staged photo using volunteers from the PSB.

The photo showing the fan holding up the door from the wrecked 39 appears to have been taken after the tracks had been pulled up. I never did hear what became of the ties after that although I do recall seeing a bulldozer with some sort of plow on the front, maybe out around the gravel pit.

I did salvage and still have a seat cushion from one of the last 1100s being scrapped which my dad picked up for me. I don’t know what to do with it but hate to see it tossed after all those years 🙂

Thanks for the great photos, keep up the good work 🙂

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA trolley bus 9509, heading south on Route 52 - Kedzie, is at Kedzie and 51st . (Charles E. Keevil Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9509, heading south on Route 52 – Kedzie, is at Kedzie and 51st . (Charles E. Keevil Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

This early postcard shows the Chicago "L" at a time, in the 1890s, when steam provided the power. I would presume this view is of Lake Street, with Wolf Point in the distance. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This early postcard shows the Chicago “L” at a time, in the 1890s, when steam provided the power. I would presume this view is of Lake Street, with Wolf Point in the distance. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture was taken on November 24, 1955, at Western Avenue and 75th, with a PCC heading north, about to go under the Belt Railway of Chicago. A mid-50s Ford heads south. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture was taken on November 24, 1955, at Western Avenue and 75th, with a PCC heading north, about to go under the Belt Railway of Chicago. A mid-50s Ford heads south. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA prewar PCC cars 4041, 4028, and others are on what appears to be the brand new turnaround loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett, which became the west end of Route 63 in 1948. The bus at left offered connecting service west of here. Previously, red streetcars ran to Oak Park Avenue, where they could easily turn back using a crossover, as they were double-ended. There is still a bus loop, although smaller, on this location. The first PCC is wearing "tiger stripes," intended to improve motorist visibility, while its follower has the colors applied by CSL in 1941. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA prewar PCC cars 4041, 4028, and others are on what appears to be the brand new turnaround loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett, which became the west end of Route 63 in 1948. The bus at left offered connecting service west of here. Previously, red streetcars ran to Oak Park Avenue, where they could easily turn back using a crossover, as they were double-ended. There is still a bus loop, although smaller, on this location. The first PCC is wearing “tiger stripes,” intended to improve motorist visibility, while its follower has the colors applied by CSL in 1941. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines "Matchbox" 1423 is heading towards Fulton and Western. The notation on the back of the photograph says Fulton-21st-Canal. (William Shapotkin Collection) Andre Kristopans adds, "The Fulton-21 shot looks to be 21st and Sangamon, crossing the Burlington branch that came off the main at 16th and followed Sangamon down to the Lumber District line at Cermak. Mostly ripped up maybe 10 years ago. Lumber District line itself is barely alive with only one or two customers left."

Chicago Surface Lines “Matchbox” 1423 is heading towards Fulton and Western. The notation on the back of the photograph says Fulton-21st-Canal. (William Shapotkin Collection) Andre Kristopans adds, “The Fulton-21 shot looks to be 21st and Sangamon, crossing the Burlington branch that came off the main at 16th and followed Sangamon down to the Lumber District line at Cermak. Mostly ripped up maybe 10 years ago. Lumber District line itself is barely alive with only one or two customers left.”

I believe we may have run a similar picture before. This shows the North Shore Line station adjacent to the CTA "L" station at Adams and Wabash. (William Shapotkin Collection)

I believe we may have run a similar picture before. This shows the North Shore Line station adjacent to the CTA “L” station at Adams and Wabash. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A westbound CTA Route 58 - Ogden streetcar descends into the Washington Street tunnel circa 1950, about to head under the Chicago River. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A westbound CTA Route 58 – Ogden streetcar descends into the Washington Street tunnel circa 1950, about to head under the Chicago River. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Roosevelt Road and Wabash Avenue in the late 1940s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Roosevelt Road and Wabash Avenue in the late 1940s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Recent Finds

This April 1975 view of Chicago's Loop "L" is notable, for three things in particular that are no longer there. The 2200-series railcars have been retired, the Sun-Times/Daily News building has been replaced by Trump Tower, and even the station where this photo was taken (Randolph and Wabash) is now gone.

This April 1975 view of Chicago’s Loop “L” is notable, for three things in particular that are no longer there. The 2200-series railcars have been retired, the Sun-Times/Daily News building has been replaced by Trump Tower, and even the station where this photo was taken (Randolph and Wabash) is now gone.

According to the notes the late Robert Selle made for this photograph, taken on October 26, 1958, this is the start of a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. This was more than a year after passenger service had been abandoned on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban. The location is a crossover just east of First Avenue in Maywood, and we are looking mainly to the east. Due to construction of the nearby Eisenhower Expressway, this would have been about as far east as CA&E trains could have gone at this time. Here, the line curved off to the right and headed southeast before crossing the DesPlaines River. Building the highway through that spot meant the CA&E tracks, and bridge, had to be moved slightly north of where they had been. This was all put back in place by 1959, but was never used since the interurban was abandoned. The fantrip train included cars 453 and 430. Mr. Selle did not identify the middle car in his notes, but no doubt it can be determined from other pictures taken on the same trip.

According to the notes the late Robert Selle made for this photograph, taken on October 26, 1958, this is the start of a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. This was more than a year after passenger service had been abandoned on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban. The location is a crossover just east of First Avenue in Maywood, and we are looking mainly to the east. Due to construction of the nearby Eisenhower Expressway, this would have been about as far east as CA&E trains could have gone at this time. Here, the line curved off to the right and headed southeast before crossing the DesPlaines River. Building the highway through that spot meant the CA&E tracks, and bridge, had to be moved slightly north of where they had been. This was all put back in place by 1959, but was never used since the interurban was abandoned. The fantrip train included cars 453 and 430. Mr. Selle did not identify the middle car in his notes, but no doubt it can be determined from other pictures taken on the same trip.

Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954, during a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban, using wood car 310. This was a photo stop on the freight-only Mt. Carmel branch, which ran alongside Mannheim Road. Mr. Selle identified this location as a quarry, but it would be interesting to know just how far south this was. It may be possible to determine this from the location of the houses at right, assuming they are still there. As far as I know, tracks at this time ended just south of Roosevelt Road and had once served the cemetery there.

Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954, during a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban, using wood car 310. This was a photo stop on the freight-only Mt. Carmel branch, which ran alongside Mannheim Road. Mr. Selle identified this location as a quarry, but it would be interesting to know just how far south this was. It may be possible to determine this from the location of the houses at right, assuming they are still there. As far as I know, tracks at this time ended just south of Roosevelt Road and had once served the cemetery there.

Recent Correspondence

Jeff Haertlein wanted to share this video with you that he found on YouTube, showing the extensive model train layout called a Minirama that was on display in the Wisconsin Dells for many years:

Graham Titley writes:

Firstly can I say how much I have enjoyed reading through many of the posts and how informative they are!

I am part of a Facebook group that have been ‘challenged’ to identify a photo of a interurban/streetcar/tram accident.

I have found several images of nearly similar trams (for simplicity I’ll only type this term), some in Chicago and Milwaukee in your posts, as well as early trams in Adelaide and Melbourne, Australia – without finding what I consider an exact match. The main issue is the low placement of the light on the front and the style of the ride board/bumper. The tram is clearly aluminium or steel as the frontage under the windows is a single curve.

There appears to be no identification numbers or names on the front.

It is possible that the image is of a crash in Northern Europe – however, I think the single arm connector makes it more likely that the location is North America.

I would be grateful for any thoughts that you may have.

In my gut I think the locale is North America, possibly Illinois, Connecticut or New England, or perhaps Canada – rather than being Europe.

I have found similarities with cars built by American Car Co, Brill Hicks, Cincinnati Car Co, Jewett and Wason – but nothing I consider an exact match to the configuration of the windows, bumper, horn/light at centre front, and the ‘railroad’ roof with clerestory windows.

I think the car may be more suburban and does not look as if there are any couplings for multi-car use. Due to the perspective it is difficult to estimate the length but the impression given is that it is a short car. I also wondered of it could be a freight trolley.

Unfortunately what I think is the destination board (which has fallen down in the left side window) cannot be enhanced sufficiently to become legible.

I have exhausted the sources, books, images and museum collection rosters that I can think of or find.

If you don’t have any thoughts this image will have to remain unidentified – for now!

Cheers

Graham (in UK).

Perhaps our readers may have some ideas, thanks.

Holiday Greetings

From Bill Volkmer:

From Eric Bronsky:

Eric writes:

This photo was taken in 1936. The USA was deep in the doldrums of the Great Depression. President Roosevelt was elected to a second term, Art Deco and Streamline Moderne were in fashion, the RMS Queen Mary made her maiden voyage, and a loaf of bread cost 8 cents.

On this snowy day, we’re shivering on a windswept ‘L’ platform, watching a Jackson Park-bound 4-car train of Chicago Rapid Transit Co. 4000-series “Baldies” grind out of the University station above 63rd Street. Completed in 1893, this station served South Siders until the mid-1990s, when the line was rebuilt and cut back to Cottage Grove. Express trains used the center track in the old days.

Photographed by Frank Butts, this image is now in the Bruce Moffat Collection. Though it’s spectacular in B&W, I thought that color would truly bring it to life. Bruce graciously provided a high-res scan of the B&W print for this purpose and I colorized it using Adobe Photoshop CS6.

But this scene still looked rather dreary for a Holiday card, so I decided to add a bit of cheer by making a few modifications. Some are fairly obvious but you might need to examine the image more closely to spot others (transit “purists” will note that the brown & orange paint scheme did not appear until 1938).

That’s all for now, folks. We will round out 2019 with one more post next week, featuring all new material.

-David Sadowski

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
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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 in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. 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.
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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) 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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Reader Showcase

On this Thanksgiving Day weekend, we here at the Trolley Dodger have many things to be thankful for… chiefly among them, our readers. This seems like a good time to feature recent correspondence with our very knowledgeable and astute readers.  We thank all our contributors.

I wish you the best in this upcoming holiday season.

-David Sadowski

Kim Bolan writes:

Just came across The Trolley Dodger and what a great and detailed work. It reminds me of my youth in Milwaukee riding No. 10 Line in Tosa (Wauwautosa) and also Speedrail. I have a question regarding #978. I lived in San Francisco but never saw this car in operation. Is it part of Muni’s heritage collection?

Just received this 35mm transparency (Kodak film and processing) from an unknown photographer taken September 1984 of car 978 at San Francisco, CA (see above).

Car 978 was loaned to San Francisco in the mid-1980s, intended for use in the SF Trolley Festival, but my understanding is it was damaged somehow and never operated there. As far as I know, the car is now at the East Troy Electric Railroad in Wisconsin, where it is stored inoperable.

There is a picture of it in SF in this post.

Here is the full story on what happened to 978, thanks to Larry Sakar:

Regarding the question about TM streetcar 978 in San Francisco, I know all about it. MUNI and TWERHS* worked out a deal whereby 978 was to be sent to San Francisco to participate in the very first Historic Streetcar Festival in 1983. It was not in the best of condition to begin with. En route, one of the truck bolsters (the 900’s were notorious for having bad bolsters) gave way and came through the floor (it was being trucked out there.) It was unloaded and brought to Geneva upper yard where it was parked in among some Boeing LRV’s. It made its way back to East Troy probably at the end of the festival in September and was never a part of the historic fleet. Now, here’s some additional info about it.

The 978 was saved by Mr. Al Buetschle, then of Milwaukee but since 1960 or 61 a resident of Oakley, CA. Oakley is in Contra Costa County about 60 miles NE of San Francisco. Oakley is a little “one-horse town” in what is known as the Tri-Delta region.

The streetcar was initially saved on behalf of the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club who gave Al the money to buy it. It would take pages for me to provide all of the details of the day he bought it. Frederick J. Johnson head of M&STC personally handled the sale. Al had told them he wanted a 900 and one from that group of 10 because they were the only ones with that metal sun shade over the center window.

When he got to Col Spring shops sure enough they had an 800 waiting. He refused to accept it. The car he really wanted was the 975 but it was too far back in the scrap line in lower Cold Spring yard. To get the 978 meant moving 3 cars ahead of it. Johnson was plenty mad about having to do that. So they get on the first car to be moved. Johnson puts a fuse in the fuse box. But then he stupidly cranks up the controller and blows the fuse.

This happens a second time so Al says, “Here, I’ll show you what to do!” Johnson immediately wants to know, “How do you know how to operate a streetcar?” Al tells him he was friendly with a motorman who taught him to run a car on the Rt. 10 West Allis branch between Calvary Cemetery cut and 67th St. Murray, the motorman would then take it from there since it involved descending from the former Rapid Transit line and making a safety stop before crossing 68th St.

Well, Dave, Johnson has an absolute fit!! *&%%^( (expletives deleted) I want his name.” Al says, “No. He has retired now that streetcars are gone so it doesn’t matter “In the end he got the 978 and Johnson even gave him his money back admiring him for his tenacity. Al had a friend who had access to a flatbed truck. Johnson let him drive 978 up from lower Cold Spring. The car was loaded onto the flatbed truck and taken to a piece of track adjacent to the C&NW and a lumber company at North 91st Street and West Flag Avenue on Milwaukee’s northwest side.

By this time the Kiwanis Club decided they didn’t want it so Al now owned it. He took out all the seats and repainted the interior before putting them back. He would work on 978 as his time permitted. The Kiwanis Club had the “brainy” idea of displaying the car in Hart Park in Wauwatosa. Hart Park is just down the private right-of-way (now a driveway) parallel to West State Street, east of the Harwood Avenue streetcar terminal at Harwood and State Streets (long gone).

In 1961, Al got a job as a controller for a company and moved to the Bay Area. No, he didn’t take 978 with him. It then ended up at the Mid-Continent Railway museum in North Freedom. In the mid to late ’60’s the group that is now TWERHS was formed and the car went with them to their first home in North Lake, WI. In 1972 they opened the East Troy Trolley Museum which is now under a different organization.

None of us are really sure where 978 is. It is in need of major restoration. At one time the rumor was that it was going to be sent to Brookville Equipment out east. They’re the company that does all the refurbishing of MUNI’s historic PCC fleet.

Did Al see it when it was in San Francisco? Yes he did. He has a fantastic picture he took with 978 and his red sports car (convertible). He is putting the trolley pole on the wire. I f I recall correctly his red car was a T-Bird. It was totaled about 10 years ago when he was hit by a group of teenagers out joy riding and who as you can probably guess were not insured.

I snapped a picture of it sitting in among the Boeing cars in 1983. I had to climb up on a narrow cement ledge and shot thru the openings in a cyclone fence. I’ll have to see if I still have it and if I do I will scan it and send it.

By the way, as a little boy of maybe 9 or 10 my grandparents came over one day. They said they were taking me to see something but wouldn’t tell me what. It was a surprise. Yes, it was the 978 at the lumber company. The Milwaukee Journal had run a small story about it with a picture. It had to be when Al was doing the repainting because I remember looking thru the glass in the door (I came up about as far as the bottom of the glass in the door. All of the seats were piled at that end of the car and I thought they were going to junk it.

My grandmother who had taken me on my streetcar rides on RT. 10 between about 1955 and 3-1-58 said she didn’t know. Who could ever have imagined that 30 years later I would meet the person who saved 978. One other coincidence, David. From 1978 to 1997 I worked for Security Savings & Loan Association on 2nd and Wisconsin downtown. The Corporate Secretary was a man named Walter Bruno. As it happens he was Al’s Godfather!

Thanks, Larry, for sharing the complete story.  There is a database of saved North American electric railcars, last updated in 2014, and that is my source for saying that, as far as I know, the 978 is at East Troy.

*The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society

Here’s more from Larry Sakar:

Here is the photo of 978 I took in September, 1983. The picture that follows was the Geneva car house which suffered severe damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. I think I took this in 1987 because that is a train with MUNI’s then new BREDA cars. Now they have new ones which I’ve only seen in pictures in Trains and Railfan & Railroad. The Market Street subway for MUNI was closed when I was there in 2017 because they were testing the new cars. If you look at the right hand side of the picture there’s that concrete wall I mentioned having to climb on top of and the fence I had to shoot thru.

The most popular cars during the Trolley Festival and in the event they hold for one day in September of every year (forgot its name) are the two Blackpool, England boat trams #’s 228 and 232. Here are some shots I took while riding it in 1983. Last, here is an Al Buetschle shot. It was taken at the site of the Speedrail 9-2-50 accident post Speedrail abandonment. Those are remnants from duplex 39-40 that was demolished by 1192-93.