CTA at 75 Celebration

CTA Historic cars 4271-4272, built in 1923, ran special trips around Chicago's Loop "L" on October 1, 2022, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Chicago Transit Authority.

CTA Historic cars 4271-4272, built in 1923, ran special trips around Chicago’s Loop “L” on October 1, 2022, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Chicago Transit Authority.

By 1932, with the onset of the Great Depression, it was no longer possible for private companies to make a reasonable profit operating public transit in Chicago. Revenues were insufficient to cover the expenses of offering convenient and frequent service to the public, especially when fares were kept artificially low through government regulation.

That the Chicago Surface Lines and Chicago Rapid Transit Company competed with each other, to some extent, only made the situation worse. Unifying the two companies became a civic priority, but several attempts to create a privately owned Chicago Transit Company failed in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Meanwhile, the City of Chicago built our first rapid transit subway between 1938 and 1943, with 45% funded by the Federal Government as a jobs program. With the end of World War II looming, Illinois politicians created the Chicago Transit Authority in 1945 as a semi-independent governmental body to operate local transit in nearly all of Cook County. This was approved by voters in a referendum.

The fledgling CTA started out as an offshoot of the City’s Department of Subways and Superhighways. The transition period between 1945 and 1947 saw the City, via the CTA, stage-manage transit matters while CSL and CRT continued to operate under the supervision of the bankruptcy courts.

The CTA was charged with streamlining and modernizing local transit, which was long overdue. While given no taxing authority, it could sell bonds backed by future transit revenues.

October 1, 2022 marks 75 years since the CTA took over the operations of CSL and CRT. By any standard, it has done a remarkable job and continues to do so. To celebrate this anniversary, the CTA brought several pieces of historic equipment to the Loop to give the public a taste of how transit ran in the past.

We were there to record these events in pictures and videos for your enjoyment. Cars 4271-4272 were built in 1923 and have been on the property for nearly a century now. They were last used in regular service in 1973 on the Evanston Express. Cars 6711-6712 date to 1959 and were used in regular service until 1992. They spent several years at a musdeum in St. Louis before returning to the CTA a few years ago.

-David Sadowski

New Book Update

FYI we recently turned in a second draft of our upcoming book The North Shore Line to Arcadia Publishing. I am pleased to report that the book has been expanded to 160 pages (from 128), a 25% increase. A publication date of February 20, 2023 has been announced, and we will begin our pre-sale on November 20 of this year.

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 974 members.

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

CTA at 75 Celebration

CTA Historic bus 3706 on display at Daley Plaza.

CTA Historic bus 3706 on display at Daley Plaza.

CTA Historic bus 8499 on Washington Boulevard at Daley Plaza.

CTA Historic bus 8499 on Washington Boulevard at Daley Plaza.

The CTA had several historical buses and "L" cars downtown for the 75th anniversary celebration.

The CTA had several historical buses and “L” cars downtown for the 75th anniversary celebration.

The booth where tickets and posters were handed out in Daley Plaza.

The booth where tickets and posters were handed out in Daley Plaza.

Tickets were available for the first three rides of the day on cars 4271-4272 and 6711-6712.

Tickets were available for the first three rides of the day on cars 4271-4272 and 6711-6712.

Three different free posters were available.

Three different free posters were available.

4271-4272 at Clark and Lake.

4271-4272 at Clark and Lake.

Inside CTA 4272.

Inside CTA 4272.

Inside CTA 4272.

Inside CTA 4272.

Clearances are tight, and these warning labels are a necessity on "L" cars without air conditioning, where the windows can open.

Clearances are tight, and these warning labels are a necessity on “L” cars without air conditioning, where the windows can open.

Inside CTA 4272.

Inside CTA 4272.

The interior of 4272.

The interior of 4272.

The interior of 4272.

The interior of 4272.

CTA 6711-6712 arriving at Clark and Lake.

CTA 6711-6712 arriving at Clark and Lake.

CTA 6711-6712 at Clark and Lake.

CTA 6711-6712 at Clark and Lake.

The interior of CTA 6711.

The interior of CTA 6711.

Some CTA employees have gone to great lengths to put together historically accurate period uniforms.

Some CTA employees have gone to great lengths to put together historically accurate period uniforms.

The interior of CTA 6711.

The interior of CTA 6711.

The interior of CTA 6711.

The interior of CTA 6711.

Videos

CTA at 75 Posters

New Compact Disc, Now Available:

CTA-1
The Last Chicago Streetcars 1958
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Until now, it seemed as though audio recordings of Chicago streetcars were practically non-existent. For whatever reason, the late William A. Steventon does not appear to have made any for his Railroad Record Club, even though he did make other recordings in the Chicago area in 1956.

Now, audio recordings of the last runs of Chicago streetcars have been found, in the collections of the late Jeffrey L. Wien (who was one of the riders on that last car). We do not know who made these recordings, but this must have been done using a portable reel-to-reel machine.

These important recordings will finally fill a gap in transit history. The last Chicago Transit Authority streetcar finished its run in the early hours of June 21, 1958. Now you can experience these events just as Chicagoans did.

As a bonus, we have included Keeping Pace, a 1939 Chicago Surface Lines employee training program. This was digitally transferred from an original 16” transcription disc. These recordings were unheard for 80 years.

Total time – 74:38

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

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

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 293rd 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 915,000 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.


Autumn Leaves

North Shore Line Silverliner 737 (at left) and "Greenliner" 767 (at right) prepare to leave the Milwaukee Terminal on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line Silverliner 737 (at left) and “Greenliner” 767 (at right) prepare to leave the Milwaukee Terminal on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Seasons change and Fall is here. Today’s post features classic images from two excellent photographers, Robert A. Selle (1929-2013) and Charles L. Tauscher (1940-2017). Selle was a master of black-and-white photography, while Tauscher shot Kodachrome slides in his prime.

We spent a lot of time working these slides over in Photoshop, making them look their best for you. Some required a lot of cleaning.

Lastly, we have some interesting historical CTA documents to share. Going back to the original source can often shed light on past events.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

New Book Update

FYI we recently turned in a second draft of our upcoming book The North Shore Line to Arcadia Publishing. I am pleased to report that the book has been expanded to 160 pages (from 128), a 25% increase. A publication date of February 20, 2023 has been announced, and we will begin our pre-sale on November 20 of this year.

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 974 members.

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

Indiana Railroad cars 446, 737, and 68 in Indianapolis, IN on June 3, 1938.

Indiana Railroad cars 446, 737, and 68 in Indianapolis, IN on June 3, 1938.

FYI, we are in the process of assisting with the creation of a new Facebook group called Hoosier Traction, which will be formally announced in the near future.

The Hoosier Traction Facebook Group will celebrate electric transit in Indiana and the Midwest, and also support the activities of the annual Hoosier Traction Meet in Dayton, OH (although not affiliated with the North American Transit Historical Society, which organizes that event).

The North Shore Line (nearly all by Robert A. Selle)

North Shore Line car 162 is at the rear of a northbound train at Chicago Avenue on June 30, 1958. This car is now the oldest survivor of the fleet, and recently arrived at East Troy, where it will be restored. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 162 is at the rear of a northbound train at Chicago Avenue on June 30, 1958. This car is now the oldest survivor of the fleet, and recently arrived at East Troy, where it will be restored. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line tool car 234 (a former Merchandise Despatch car) at Edison Court in Waukegan on August 2, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line tool car 234 (a former Merchandise Despatch car) at Edison Court in Waukegan on August 2, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)

A view of the abandoned Shore Line Route and the crossover to the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in North Chicago in April 1956. (Robert Selle Photo)

A view of the abandoned Shore Line Route and the crossover to the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in North Chicago in April 1956. (Robert Selle Photo)

A view of the abandoned Shore Line Route in North Chicago in April 1956. (Robert Selle Photo)

A view of the abandoned Shore Line Route in North Chicago in April 1956. (Robert Selle Photo)

A view of the abandoned Shore Line Route in North Chicago in April 1956. (Robert Selle Photo)

A view of the abandoned Shore Line Route in North Chicago in April 1956. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line caboose 1005 at North Chicago in June, 1939. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)

North Shore Line caboose 1005 at North Chicago in June, 1939. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)

North Shore Line caboose 1004 at North Chicago on September 17, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line caboose 1004 at North Chicago on September 17, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

Former North Shore Line Merchandise Despatch car 213 at North Chicago (Chicago Hardware Foundry Company) on August 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

Former North Shore Line Merchandise Despatch car 213 at North Chicago (Chicago Hardware Foundry Company) on August 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

Newly painted North Shore Line caboose 1003 at North Chicago on January 19, 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)

Newly painted North Shore Line caboose 1003 at North Chicago on January 19, 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line caboose 1002 at North Chicago on January 19, 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line caboose 1002 at North Chicago on January 19, 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 419 is at the Highwood Shops on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 419 is at the Highwood Shops on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 444 at the Highwood Shops on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 444 at the Highwood Shops on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 169 in Mundelein on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 169 in Mundelein on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 735 is at the Mundelein Yards on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 735 is at the Mundelein Yards on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 150 is on the rear end of a northbound train at Chicago Avenue on June 3, 1959. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 150 is on the rear end of a northbound train at Chicago Avenue on June 3, 1959. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line diner/lounge car 417 is at the Highwood Shops on February 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line diner/lounge car 417 is at the Highwood Shops on February 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line Silverliner 764 is on a side track at Edison Court in Waukegan on July 26, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line Silverliner 764 is on a side track at Edison Court in Waukegan on July 26, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 169 is on a side track at Edison Court in Waukegan on July 9, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 169 is on a side track at Edison Court in Waukegan on July 9, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 190, which had recently been damaged by fire, at the Highwood Shops on August 27, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 190, which had recently been damaged by fire, at the Highwood Shops on August 27, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line steeple cab loco 452 (with 453 at left) at Great Lakes Naval Station, on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line steeple cab loco 452 (with 453 at left) at Great Lakes Naval Station, on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line loco 459 at the Pettibone Shops in North Chicago on October 23, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line loco 459 at the Pettibone Shops in North Chicago on October 23, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line tool car 234 at the Highwood Shops on February 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line tool car 234 at the Highwood Shops on February 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line line car 606 at the Highwood Shops on February 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line line car 606 at the Highwood Shops on February 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line line car 604 at the Highwood Shops on February 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line line car 604 at the Highwood Shops on February 20, 1955. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Transit Authority Buses by Charles L. Tauscher

CTA trolley bus 9410 is westbound on Montrose Avenue in June 1961. Note the late 1940s Jeepster at left, and the mid-50s Chevy at right. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9410 is westbound on Montrose Avenue in June 1961. Note the late 1940s Jeepster at left, and the mid-50s Chevy at right. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9341 is southbound on Central Avenue at North Avenue in August 1965, at a time when a White Castle hamburger cost just 12 cents. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9341 is southbound on Central Avenue at North Avenue in August 1965, at a time when a White Castle hamburger cost just 12 cents. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

The same location in 2019. There is still a White Castle on the corner, off to the left, but the building in the previous photo has been replaced by a newer one just out of view.

The same location in 2019. There is still a White Castle on the corner, off to the left, but the building in the previous photo has been replaced by a newer one just out of view.

CTA trolley bus 9287 is turning from North Avenue onto Narragansett Avenue in September 1962, so it can go into the off-street loop. It's possible that the man on the corner looking down may be the late William C. Hoffman. The Terminal Grill is long gone, but this loop is still used by CTA buses. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9287 is turning from North Avenue onto Narragansett Avenue in September 1962, so it can go into the off-street loop. It’s possible that the man on the corner looking down may be the late William C. Hoffman. The Terminal Grill is long gone, but this loop is still used by CTA buses.
(Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

The same location in 2021. A Dunkin Donuts has replaced the diner grill. Midas Muffler is still there, down the street at the corner of North Avenue and Ridgeland Avenue in Oak Park. The off-street loop is in Chicago.

The same location in 2021. A Dunkin Donuts has replaced the diner grill. Midas Muffler is still there, down the street at the corner of North Avenue and Ridgeland Avenue in Oak Park. The off-street loop is in Chicago.

CTA 9746 at an unidentified location in April 1963. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9746 at an unidentified location in April 1963. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9502 is southbound on Central Avenue at Bloomingdale (1800 N.) in 1969. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9502 is southbound on Central Avenue at Bloomingdale (1800 N.) in 1969. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

The same location today. The bridge has been replaced since the previous photo.

The same location today. The bridge has been replaced since the previous photo.

This is most likely CTA trolley bus 9631 on the April 1, 1973 Omnibus Society of America fantrip that closed out trolley bus service in Chicago. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

This is most likely CTA trolley bus 9631 on the April 1, 1973 Omnibus Society of America fantrip that closed out trolley bus service in Chicago. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9761 in 1973. This may be on a fantrip. I'm thinking the location may be at Belmont and Kimball, but the side sign says Montrose. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9761 in 1973. This may be on a fantrip. I’m thinking the location may be at Belmont and Kimball, but the side sign says Montrose. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9761 on a 1973 fantrip. Can this be somewhere along Belmont Avenue? (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9761 on a 1973 fantrip. Can this be somewhere along Belmont Avenue? (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9761 at an unidentified location on a 1973 fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9761 at an unidentified location on a 1973 fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley buses in dead storage some time after the end of service in 1973. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley buses in dead storage some time after the end of service in 1973. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9325 is westbound on Irving Park Road in September 1968. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9325 is westbound on Irving Park Road in September 1968. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9708 at an unidentified location in August 1965. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9708 at an unidentified location in August 1965. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9708 at an unidentified location in August 1965. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9708 at an unidentified location in August 1965. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9761 is signed for Route 80 - Irving Park Road in 1969, but the actual location seems to be Central Avenue not far south from Fullerton, so this may be a fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9761 is signed for Route 80 – Irving Park Road in 1969, but the actual location seems to be Central Avenue not far south from Fullerton, so this may be a fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9545 is signed for 47th Street in August 1965. Not sure of the actual location, however. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9545 is signed for 47th Street in August 1965. Not sure of the actual location, however. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9308 has just crossed over the Chicago River on North Avenue on May 15, 1962. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9308 has just crossed over the Chicago River on North Avenue on May 15, 1962. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 2583 is westbound on 103rd Street at Vincennes Avenue in May 1960. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 2583 is westbound on 103rd Street at Vincennes Avenue in May 1960. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9300 is southbound on Central Avenue in July 1969. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA trolley bus 9300 is southbound on Central Avenue in July 1969. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

We can infer from this July 1968 photo that CTA trolley bus 9537 could not go through the northbound side of the viaduct under the Chicago and North Western tracks on Central Avenue at Lake Street. There must have been some sort of obstruction. The bus is being pushed so that it can get back to the northbound side of the street where it can be re-wired. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

We can infer from this July 1968 photo that CTA trolley bus 9537 could not go through the northbound side of the viaduct under the Chicago and North Western tracks on Central Avenue at Lake Street. There must have been some sort of obstruction. The bus is being pushed so that it can get back to the northbound side of the street where it can be re-wired. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9761 is northbound at Central Avenue at North Avenue on a 1973 fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9761 is northbound at Central Avenue at North Avenue on a 1973 fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9761 is northbound at Central Avenue at North Avenue on a 1973 fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9761 is northbound at Central Avenue at North Avenue on a 1973 fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9670 and 3534 are at an unidentified location in June 1961. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9670 and 3534 are at an unidentified location in June 1961. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9670 and 3534 are at an unidentified location in June 1961. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 9670 and 3534 are at an unidentified location in June 1961. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 3534 and 9389 are at Irving Park Road and Neenah in June 1961. This off-street loop was as far west as trolley buses went on Irving Park. This loop was later decommissioned and part of it is now used as a private driveway. 3534 is on a fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 3534 and 9389 are at Irving Park Road and Neenah in June 1961. This off-street loop was as far west as trolley buses went on Irving Park. This loop was later decommissioned and part of it is now used as a private driveway. 3534 is on a fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 3534 and 9389 are at Irving Park Road and Neenah in June 1961. This off-street loop was as far west as trolley buses went on Irving Park. This loop was later decommissioned and part of it is now used as a private driveway. 3534 is on a fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

CTA 3534 and 9389 are at Irving Park Road and Neenah in June 1961. This off-street loop was as far west as trolley buses went on Irving Park. This loop was later decommissioned and part of it is now used as a private driveway. 3534 is on a fantrip. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

\

Historical CTA Documents

Who can say why some things are kept, while others are destroyed? These historical documents form a paper trail that helps inform our understanding of the past.

Mystery CERA Document

In 2014, I compiled a data disc made up of the first 76 Central Electric Railfans’ Association Bulletins from 1938-47. I recently came across an early document that I had not seen before. Curiously, it is not one of the numbered bulletins, but is called “Circular 115.” Which gives rise to the question, were there really 114 previous circulars issued in the three years prior to this one? And if so, where are they and what happened to them?

Please note that the Trolley Dodger is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

New Compact Disc, Now Available:

CTA-1
The Last Chicago Streetcars 1958
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Until now, it seemed as though audio recordings of Chicago streetcars were practically non-existent. For whatever reason, the late William A. Steventon does not appear to have made any for his Railroad Record Club, even though he did make other recordings in the Chicago area in 1956.

Now, audio recordings of the last runs of Chicago streetcars have been found, in the collections of the late Jeffrey L. Wien (who was one of the riders on that last car). We do not know who made these recordings, but this must have been done using a portable reel-to-reel machine.

These important recordings will finally fill a gap in transit history. The last Chicago Transit Authority streetcar finished its run in the early hours of June 21, 1958. Now you can experience these events just as Chicagoans did.

As a bonus, we have included Keeping Pace, a 1939 Chicago Surface Lines employee training program. This was digitally transferred from an original 16” transcription disc. These recordings were unheard for 80 years.

Total time – 74:38

Chicago’s Lost “L”s Online Presentation

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

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 292nd 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 915,000 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.

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Shine a Light

Over the years, I have seen many poor quality duplicate slides with this view, looking to the northwest, with a Garfield Park "L" train crossing the Met bridge over the Chicago River, with Union Station in the background. However, this was scanned from an original red border Kodachrome slide, circa 1955-58. The name of the photographer is not known. This must be a Garfield train, and the results are stunning. Douglas cars were re-routed over the Lake Street "L" in 1954. Logan Square trains began running via the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway in 1951.

Over the years, I have seen many poor quality duplicate slides with this view, looking to the northwest, with a Garfield Park “L” train crossing the Met bridge over the Chicago River, with Union Station in the background. However, this was scanned from an original red border Kodachrome slide, circa 1955-58. The name of the photographer is not known. This must be a Garfield train, and the results are stunning. Douglas cars were re-routed over the Lake Street “L” in 1954. Logan Square trains began running via the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway in 1951.

Here we have another bevy of classic traction photos for your enjoyment. All are from our collections, and nearly all were scanned from the original slides and negatives. Then, they were painstakingly worked over in Photoshop to make them look their best.

These views shine a light on the past, but also help illuminate our present and our future. We chose these images because we think they are important. They show some things that still exist, and other things that don’t.

By studying the past, we can learn from it, and the lessons we learn will help us make the decisions that will determine what gets preserved and improved in the future– and what goes by the wayside, into the dustbin of history.

When faced with the darkness of the present times, we could all use more light.

We have an exciting new Compact Disc available now, with audio recorded on the last Chicago Streetcar in 1958. There is additional information about this towards the end of this post, and also in our Online Store.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 931 members.

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

Work on our North Shore Line book is ongoing. Donations are needed in order to bring this to a successful conclusion. You will find donation links at the top and bottom of each post. We thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Recent Finds

A North Shore Line Electroliner stops on a curve during the early 1950s, while a woman wearing a long skirt and heels departs. This looks like North Chicago Junction.

A North Shore Line Electroliner stops on a curve during the early 1950s, while a woman wearing a long skirt and heels departs. This looks like North Chicago Junction.

Don's Rail Photos: (Caboose) "1003 was built by American Car & Foundry Co in 1926. It was rebuilt without a cupola but restored when it was acquired IRM." Here is how part of it looked in the early 1950s.

Don’s Rail Photos: (Caboose) “1003 was built by American Car & Foundry Co in 1926. It was rebuilt without a cupola but restored when it was acquired IRM.” Here is how part of it looked in the early 1950s.

One of the two ex-North Shore Line Electroliners is shown in Philadelphia in December 1963, prior to being repainted as a Red Arrow Liberty Liner.

One of the two ex-North Shore Line Electroliners is shown in Philadelphia in December 1963, prior to being repainted as a Red Arrow Liberty Liner.

Although this was scanned from a duplicate slide, this is an excellent and well known shot, showing the last day fantrip on the North Shore Line's Shore Line Route in July 1955. The location is Kenilworth, and we are looking mainly to the south, and a bit towards the west. The town's famous fountain, paid for by the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric, the NSL's predecessor, is at left. It was designed by noted architect George W. Maher (1864-1926), who lived in the area. The Chicago and North Western's tracks are at right (now Union Pacific).

Although this was scanned from a duplicate slide, this is an excellent and well known shot, showing the last day fantrip on the North Shore Line’s Shore Line Route in July 1955. The location is Kenilworth, and we are looking mainly to the south, and a bit towards the west. The town’s famous fountain, paid for by the Chicago and Milwaukee Electric, the NSL’s predecessor, is at left. It was designed by noted architect George W. Maher (1864-1926), who lived in the area. The Chicago and North Western’s tracks are at right (now Union Pacific).

A northbound Electroliner, just outside of Milwaukee in July 1962. (Jim Martin Photo)

A northbound Electroliner, just outside of Milwaukee in July 1962. (Jim Martin Photo)

Car 170 is an NSL Lake Bluff local at the east end of the line on December 23, 1962. The tracks going off to the right connected to what was left of the old Shore Line Route. After the 1955 abandonment, a single track was retained for freight and for access to the Highwood Shops. (Jim Martin Photo)

Car 170 is an NSL Lake Bluff local at the east end of the line on December 23, 1962. The tracks going off to the right connected to what was left of the old Shore Line Route. After the 1955 abandonment, a single track was retained for freight and for access to the Highwood Shops. (Jim Martin Photo)

Once the NSL abandonment was formally approved, in May 1962, there was a flurry of fantrip activity soon after. In June 1962, this trip was popular enough that two trains were used. Here they are on the Mundelein branch, posed side by side. One of the Liners made a rare appearance here. (Jim Martin Photo)

Once the NSL abandonment was formally approved, in May 1962, there was a flurry of fantrip activity soon after. In June 1962, this trip was popular enough that two trains were used. Here they are on the Mundelein branch, posed side by side. One of the Liners made a rare appearance here. (Jim Martin Photo)

An Electroliner has gone past the east end of the Mundelein branch on a June 1962 fantrip, and is now on the single remaining track of the old Shore Line Route, which continued to Highwood (and ended in Highland Park). (Jim Martin Photo)

An Electroliner has gone past the east end of the Mundelein branch on a June 1962 fantrip, and is now on the single remaining track of the old Shore Line Route, which continued to Highwood (and ended in Highland Park). (Jim Martin Photo)

A three-car North Shore Line train in Lake Bluff on a snowy day on December 23, 1962. (Jim Martin Photo)

A three-car North Shore Line train in Lake Bluff on a snowy day on December 23, 1962. (Jim Martin Photo)

North Shore Line car 714, freshly painted, is at the Milwaukee Terminal on June 16, 1962. (Richard H. Young Photo)

North Shore Line car 714, freshly painted, is at the Milwaukee Terminal on June 16, 1962. (Richard H. Young Photo)

The North Shore Line's Mundelein Terminal on September 7, 1959.

The North Shore Line’s Mundelein Terminal on September 7, 1959.

David A. Myers recently sent me this picture, which shows him making an audio recording during the last run of the North Shore Line, in the early morning hours of January 21, 1963. He still has the tape and I hope someday he will have it digitized.

David A. Myers recently sent me this picture, which shows him making an audio recording during the last run of the North Shore Line, in the early morning hours of January 21, 1963. He still has the tape and I hope someday he will have it digitized.

No information came with this black and white negative, but the location is Highwood. Diners 415 and 419 are present. 419 was out of service by 1949, and 415 was converted to a Silverliner the following year, so that helps date the picture. Car 150, built in 1915, is at the right, along with a Merchandise Despatch car. This picture could be from 1947 or even earlier.

No information came with this black and white negative, but the location is Highwood. Diners 415 and 419 are present. 419 was out of service by 1949, and 415 was converted to a Silverliner the following year, so that helps date the picture. Car 150, built in 1915, is at the right, along with a Merchandise Despatch car. This picture could be from 1947 or even earlier.

Jim Martin caught this meet between both Electroliners at North Chicago Junction in May 1962.

Jim Martin caught this meet between both Electroliners at North Chicago Junction in May 1962.

An Electroliner in Lake Bluff in January 1963. This and the following image were consecutive shots taken by the same (unknown) photographer.

An Electroliner in Lake Bluff in January 1963. This and the following image were consecutive shots taken by the same (unknown) photographer.

The photographer (possibly Emery Gulash) had but one chance to press the shutter button at precisely the right moment, and he nailed it with this classic view of westbound Electroliner train 803 at Lake Bluff in January 1963. This is what noted photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson had in mind when he wrote about the "decisive moment." Douglas Noble: "Northbound crossing Rockland Road / IL 176 in Lake Bluff."

The photographer (possibly Emery Gulash) had but one chance to press the shutter button at precisely the right moment, and he nailed it with this classic view of westbound Electroliner train 803 at Lake Bluff in January 1963. This is what noted photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson had in mind when he wrote about the “decisive moment.” Douglas Noble: “Northbound crossing Rockland Road / IL 176 in Lake Bluff.”

CTA 53 (originally 5003), seen here at Skokie Shops in July 1971, was one of four such articulated sets ordered by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company and delivered in 1947-48. They were the first tangible evidence of the postwar modernization yet to come, under the management of the new Chicago Transit Authority. They were important cars, as the bridge between the 4000 and 6000 series, but were not that successful operationally on their own, even though they were the first Chicago "L" cars to utilize PCC technology. As it turned out, articulation was more of a dead end than a new beginning here, but these cars did pave the way for further refinements that were realized in the 6000s. As oddball equipment, they were eventually relegated to the Skokie Swift, where they lived out their lives until their mid-1980s retirement.

CTA 53 (originally 5003), seen here at Skokie Shops in July 1971, was one of four such articulated sets ordered by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company and delivered in 1947-48. They were the first tangible evidence of the postwar modernization yet to come, under the management of the new Chicago Transit Authority. They were important cars, as the bridge between the 4000 and 6000 series, but were not that successful operationally on their own, even though they were the first Chicago “L” cars to utilize PCC technology. As it turned out, articulation was more of a dead end than a new beginning here, but these cars did pave the way for further refinements that were realized in the 6000s. As oddball equipment, they were eventually relegated to the Skokie Swift, where they lived out their lives until their mid-1980s retirement.

CTA trolleybus 9510 heads west on Roosevelt Road at Ogden Avenue at 6:50 pm on June 16, 1966.

CTA trolleybus 9510 heads west on Roosevelt Road at Ogden Avenue at 6:50 pm on June 16, 1966.

CTA trolleybus 9499 is southbound on Kedzie at 59th Street on September 10, 1963.

CTA trolleybus 9499 is southbound on Kedzie at 59th Street on September 10, 1963.

CTA 3311, a one-man car, is at the east end of one of the south side routes in the early 1950s. Andre Kristopans: "3311 is at 67th and South Shore on 67th/69th route."

CTA 3311, a one-man car, is at the east end of one of the south side routes in the early 1950s. Andre Kristopans: “3311 is at 67th and South Shore on 67th/69th route.”

A CTA single car unit heads north at Isabella Avenue in Evanston in September 1965. This station, closed in 1973, was a short distance from the end of the Evanston branch (Linden Avenue, Wilmette).

A CTA single car unit heads north at Isabella Avenue in Evanston in September 1965. This station, closed in 1973, was a short distance from the end of the Evanston branch (Linden Avenue, Wilmette).

CTA PCC 7101, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on September 2, 1955. Not sure of the exact location. Our resident south side expert M.E. adds: "As for where this location is, I can more likely tell you where it isn't. It isn't on route 49, Western Ave., which was built up everywhere. It isn't on route 22, Clark-Wentworth, which was also built up everywhere. I thought it might be on route 4, Cottage Grove, just south of 95th, where the streetcar tracks ran in the street for a few blocks before entering private right-of-way. However, I see no sign of the Illinois Central railroad embankment that ran next to Cottage Grove Ave. So that leaves one possibility: Route 36, Broadway-State. Some of that route ran through sparse areas, particularly along 119th St. between Michigan Ave. and Morgan St. My best guess is that this view is on 119th St., looking east from east of Halsted St. Notice the building shadow at the bottom, which means the sun was behind the building, to the south. Ergo, the streetcar is going east. Another reason I think this is 119th St. is the presence of exactly one motor vehicle. 119th St. was far out in those days; buildings were few in number, not just along 119th St. but also route 8A South Halsted (bus). The only "bustling" area that far out was around 119th and Halsted (and west to Morgan), where there were industries like foundries, mills, etc. In fact, I think the only reasons the streetcar line continued to run that far south were (1) to accommodate the people who worked in those industries, and (2) to service the Roseland business district at 111th and Michigan."