CTA’s 6000s Run Again

The historic train approaches Adams and Wabash.

The historic train approaches Adams and Wabash.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read an appreciation of Philip Harrington here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-David Sadowski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, regular service continued on the Loop.

Meanwhile, regular service continued on the Loop.

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

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

Cameras are out as our train arrives.

Cameras are out as our train arrives.

The view out the back window.

The view out the back window.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adams and Wabash.

Adams and Wabash.

Recent Finds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lake and Pine

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

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

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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The Sunset Lines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As the Hicks Car Works blog reported:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

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

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


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

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


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

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

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



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

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

In 1938, a visitor to Chicago from the Soviet Union snapped this picture of Chicago PCC 4032 running on route 20 - Madison downtown, and brought it home. Now, more than 80 years later, it has returned to Chicago.

In 1938, a visitor to Chicago from the Soviet Union snapped this picture of Chicago PCC 4032 running on route 20 – Madison downtown, and brought it home. Now, more than 80 years later, it has returned to Chicago.

They say you can never go home again. But no matter how far we may wander from home, there is something, almost like an unseen force, that calls us back to the places we lived in, grew up in, or love the most. And while we often feature transit photos from other cities, Chicago remains our home and will always be our favorite. So today, we are featuring Chicago-area streetcars, rapid transit, interurbans, and buses.

We do have a couple examples of things that, improbably, did find their way home. First, a picture of a Chicago PCC streetcar that has come back “from Russia with love.” Second, prints and negatives of Chicago transit, taken in 1952, that have been reunited after who knows how many years.

We also have some recent photo finds of our own, including a news report from Miles Beitler on the new Pulse bus rapid transit operation in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, and more classic photos shared by Bill Shapotkin and Jeff Wien of the Wien-Criss Archive.  Finally, there is some correspondence with Andre Kristopans.

We thank all our contributors.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- If you have comments on individual photos, and I am sure you will, please refer to them by their image number, which you can find by hovering your mouse over the photo (for example, the picture at the top of this post is img882). That is more helpful to me than just saying something was the seventh photo down, etc. We always appreciate hearing from you if you have useful information to contribute regarding locations and other details. Thanks in advance.

We also should not let the opportunity pass to wish Raymond DeGroote, Jr. a happy belated 89th birthday. Ray is a world traveler, a raconteur, and the Dean of Chicago railfans.

Recent Finds

CSL "Matchbox" 1412 is on the Morgan-Racine-Sangamon route in this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1412 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4641. It was renumbered 1412 in 1913 and became CSL 1412 in 1914. It was retired on March 30, 1948... These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. Two were used for an experimental articulated train. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers." Car 1374 in this series has been lovingly restored to operating condition, at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CSL “Matchbox” 1412 is on the Morgan-Racine-Sangamon route in this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1412 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4641. It was renumbered 1412 in 1913 and became CSL 1412 in 1914. It was retired on March 30, 1948… These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. Two were used for an experimental articulated train. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers.” Car 1374 in this series has been lovingly restored to operating condition, at the Illinois Railway Museum.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train, headed up by 433, is just west of the Canal Street station on the Metropolitan four-track main line in August 1953, a month before CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train, headed up by 433, is just west of the Canal Street station on the Metropolitan four-track main line in August 1953, a month before CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park. (John Szwajkart Photo)

CTA 4060 is at the front of a two-car Ravenswood "L" train approaching Kimball and Lawrence in this undated photo (1950s-60s).

CTA 4060 is at the front of a two-car Ravenswood “L” train approaching Kimball and Lawrence in this undated photo (1950s-60s).

CTA Pullman 460 is on either Route 8 - Halsted or 9 - Ashland in the early 1950s, you can't quite make it out on the roll sign. However, I am leaning towards Halsted, as Ashland got bussed in 1951, and the auto at left looks more like 1953 vintage. This streetcar was saved by the CTA, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is one of only three red Pullmans saved, the others being 144 (also at IRM) and 225 (at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine). Charles F. Amstein adds that 460 is "on Ashland, just north of 95th Street, looking north-northwet. I grew up in this area and spent much of my time at Beverly Bowling Lanes, seen in the distance at right."

CTA Pullman 460 is on either Route 8 – Halsted or 9 – Ashland in the early 1950s, you can’t quite make it out on the roll sign. However, I am leaning towards Halsted, as Ashland got bussed in 1951, and the auto at left looks more like 1953 vintage. This streetcar was saved by the CTA, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is one of only three red Pullmans saved, the others being 144 (also at IRM) and 225 (at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine). Charles F. Amstein adds that 460 is “on Ashland, just north of 95th Street, looking north-northwet. I grew up in this area and spent much of my time at Beverly Bowling Lanes, seen in the distance at right.”

CTA 4374 is southbound on Clark Street, just south of Diversey, on September 6, 1957, the last day for the north half of Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. Ricketts (no relation to the current Cubs ownership) was a popular restaurant. At left, down the street, you can just make out the marquee of the Parkway Theater. Autos visible include several Chevys, a Studebaker, and (at left) a 1957 Ford. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo) The tracks curving off to the left went into the CTA's Limits car barn (station), which was located at 2684 N. Clark. It got its name because, a long time earlier, this had been the city limits. There were facilities for cable cars at this location dating back to 1888. Limits car house opened in 1909, and was last used by streetcars in 1954 (the end of the Red Car era). It was used by buses until 1994, and the building was torn down in 1998.

CTA 4374 is southbound on Clark Street, just south of Diversey, on September 6, 1957, the last day for the north half of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. Ricketts (no relation to the current Cubs ownership) was a popular restaurant. At left, down the street, you can just make out the marquee of the Parkway Theater. Autos visible include several Chevys, a Studebaker, and (at left) a 1957 Ford. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo) The tracks curving off to the left went into the CTA’s Limits car barn (station), which was located at 2684 N. Clark. It got its name because, a long time earlier, this had been the city limits. There were facilities for cable cars at this location dating back to 1888. Limits car house opened in 1909, and was last used by streetcars in 1954 (the end of the Red Car era). It was used by buses until 1994, and the building was torn down in 1998.

CTA Met car 2907 is at Indiana Avenue, running the Kenwood shuttle on the last day of service, November 30, 1957 (also the last day for regular passenger service for wooden "L" cars).

CTA Met car 2907 is at Indiana Avenue, running the Kenwood shuttle on the last day of service, November 30, 1957 (also the last day for regular passenger service for wooden “L” cars).

CTA one-man car 1769 (here painted green, not red) is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16. The date of this Bob Selle photo is December 19, 1953, one year to the day before I was born. The Park Theater at right appears to already be closed.

CTA one-man car 1769 (here painted green, not red) is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16. The date of this Bob Selle photo is December 19, 1953, one year to the day before I was born. The Park Theater at right appears to already be closed.

CTA one-man car 1732, in red, heads southwest on Fifth Avenue at Harrison on July 5, 1953. Madison-Fifth was part of Route 20, but as of May 11, 1952, buses were substituted for streetcars on weekends– except for the Fifth Avenue branch, which used streetcars. That must be a Harrison bus in the background. (Robert Selle Photo)

On June 19, 1953 CTA PCC 7070 heads south on Roue 8 - Halsted, passing by the Congress Expressway construction site. PCCs were soon taken off Halsted, which ended streetcar service the following year using older equipment. This photo was taken from the nearby Halsted "L" station, which was not in the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo)

On June 19, 1953 CTA PCC 7070 heads south on Roue 8 – Halsted, passing by the Congress Expressway construction site. PCCs were soon taken off Halsted, which ended streetcar service the following year using older equipment. This photo was taken from the nearby Halsted “L” station, which was not in the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 12, 1954, Bob Selle took this picture of CTA Pullman 600, southbound on Route 8 - Halsted. This was less than three weeks before the end of streetcar service on this line. We are just south of the Metropolitan "L" station at Halsted, and crossing over the Congress Expressway construction. That looks like a Studebaker at left.

On May 12, 1954, Bob Selle took this picture of CTA Pullman 600, southbound on Route 8 – Halsted. This was less than three weeks before the end of streetcar service on this line. We are just south of the Metropolitan “L” station at Halsted, and crossing over the Congress Expressway construction. That looks like a Studebaker at left.

In this undated (probably late 1960s) photo taken on the Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia, Brilliner 10 appears to be changing ends. It is signed for the Media route, although this is not the end of that line. Perhaps there was track work going on. Matthew Nawn adds, "The photo of Red Arrow Lines #10 was taken at the Penn Street stop in Clifton Heights, PA. This is a stop on the Sharon Hill Line."

In this undated (probably late 1960s) photo taken on the Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia, Brilliner 10 appears to be changing ends. It is signed for the Media route, although this is not the end of that line. Perhaps there was track work going on. Matthew Nawn adds, “The photo of Red Arrow Lines #10 was taken at the Penn Street stop in Clifton Heights, PA. This is a stop on the Sharon Hill Line.”

This is how the interior of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 301 looked on August 8, 1954, the date of a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans' Association. Don's Rail Photos: "301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940." (Robert Selle Photo)

This is how the interior of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 301 looked on August 8, 1954, the date of a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans’ Association. Don’s Rail Photos: “301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940.” (Robert Selle Photo)

CA&E car 434 at an unidentified terminal. possibly Elgin.

CA&E car 434 at an unidentified terminal. possibly Elgin.

Once CA&E service stopped running to downtown Chicago, less equipment was needed. Here, wooden cars 137 and 141 are on the scrap track at the Wheaton Shops. Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954. These cars were purchased from the North Shore Line in 1946.

Once CA&E service stopped running to downtown Chicago, less equipment was needed. Here, wooden cars 137 and 141 are on the scrap track at the Wheaton Shops. Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954. These cars were purchased from the North Shore Line in 1946.

CA&E car 701, ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. Don's Rail Photos: "701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938." Don also notes, "In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937."

CA&E car 701, ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. Don’s Rail Photos: “701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938.”
Don also notes, “In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937.”

CA&E 401 at the end of the line in Elgin.

CA&E 401 at the end of the line in Elgin.

CA&E 452 at either Elgin or Aurora.

CA&E 452 at either Elgin or Aurora.

CA&E 457 at the front of a two-car train near the end of either the Aurora or Elgin terminals, as it is operating with overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 457 at the front of a two-car train near the end of either the Aurora or Elgin terminals, as it is operating with overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 429 at the head of a two-car train.

CA&E 429 at the head of a two-car train.

CA&E 451 heads up a two-car limited heading towards Chicago.

CA&E 451 heads up a two-car limited heading towards Chicago.

Speedrail (Milwaukee) car 63, a curved-sided product of Cincinnati Car Company, is operating as a local on the turnback track in Waukesha, on June 28 1951, two days before abandonment. (Photo by R. H. Adams, Jr.)

Speedrail (Milwaukee) car 63, a curved-sided product of Cincinnati Car Company, is operating as a local on the turnback track in Waukesha, on June 28 1951, two days before abandonment. (Photo by R. H. Adams, Jr.)

Six years ago, I purchased a couple strips of 35mm Super-XX black-and-white negatives and ran the photos on the blog I had at that time. There was no way to tell the exact date the pictures were taken, but they did contain various clues that helped narrow down the date. I posted the images, and several people guessed as to when they were shot. The consensus that eventually emerged was they were taken between Fall 1952 and Spring 1953. Well, in an act of serendipity, Jeff Wien (by way of Mr. Edward Springer) donated a set of snapshots to me that were made from these same negatives. They are dated December 1952, which is a better answer than we had before. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Six years ago, I purchased a couple strips of 35mm Super-XX black-and-white negatives and ran the photos on the blog I had at that time. There was no way to tell the exact date the pictures were taken, but they did contain various clues that helped narrow down the date. I posted the images, and several people guessed as to when they were shot. The consensus that eventually emerged was they were taken between Fall 1952 and Spring 1953. Well, in an act of serendipity, Jeff Wien (by way of Mr. Edward Springer) donated a set of snapshots to me that were made from these same negatives. They are dated December 1952, which is a better answer than we had before. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Pulse Bus Rapid Transit Celebration

Pace launched its Pulse bus rapid transit this week with the Pulse Milwaukee line which runs between Golf Mill in Niles and the Jefferson Park transit center in Chicago. Pace held a celebration event earlier today (August 15th) at Milwaukee and Touhy in Niles featuring speeches by various politicians, agency bureaucrats, and public transit advocates. A new Pulse bus was parked at the event and was available for public inspection, as well as a Pulse bus station with its passenger amenities.
Since you include bus photos on your blog, I have attached several photos of the event. Feel free to post any or all of them. The Pace website has detailed information about the Pulse service.
Ironically, Richmond (VA) has operated a bus rapid transit line for over a year which is very similar, and it’s also called “Pulse”. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or if there is some connection between them. However, the Richmond line has dedicated bus-only lanes for part of its length, while our line runs in mixed traffic along Milwaukee Avenue.
-Miles Beitler

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

On June 21, 1958 an eastbound CTA train is in the station at Pulaski Road on the new Congress rapid transit line, then also known as the West Side Subway. Notice how little fencing there was separating the right-of-way from the highway. Eventually, this was replaced by concrete Jersey barriers after numerous vehicle crashes that impacted the "L". That way, when something hits the fence, it can take a "Jersey bounce."

On June 21, 1958 an eastbound CTA train is in the station at Pulaski Road on the new Congress rapid transit line, then also known as the West Side Subway. Notice how little fencing there was separating the right-of-way from the highway. Eventually, this was replaced by concrete Jersey barriers after numerous vehicle crashes that impacted the “L”. That way, when something hits the fence, it can take a “Jersey bounce.”

On June 21, 1958 a woman enters the new CTA rapid transit station at Pulaski Road on the Congress line, which replaced the Garfield Park "L" the following day. On this day, free rides were given out between Halsted and Cicero Avenues. The fiberglass panels on the sides of the entrance ramp were eventually cut down to allow for better visibility from outside.

On June 21, 1958 a woman enters the new CTA rapid transit station at Pulaski Road on the Congress line, which replaced the Garfield Park “L” the following day. On this day, free rides were given out between Halsted and Cicero Avenues. The fiberglass panels on the sides of the entrance ramp were eventually cut down to allow for better visibility from outside.

A North Shore Line Electroliner on December 28, 1962, less than a month before the end of the line for this interurban.

A North Shore Line Electroliner on December 28, 1962, less than a month before the end of the line for this interurban.

A new 2000-series CTA train at (I am guessing) the Douglas Park yards at 54th Avenue in Cicero on October 25, 1964.

A new 2000-series CTA train at (I am guessing) the Douglas Park yards at 54th Avenue in Cicero on October 25, 1964.

What I presume is the Douglas Park yard on October 25, 1964.

What I presume is the Douglas Park yard on October 25, 1964.

CTA articulated car set 51 (formerly 5001) found new life on the Skokie Swift after being oddball equipment on other lines, along with its three mates. Here, they are seen on the Swift on October 25, 1964, where they helped provide much-needed capacity in the face of unexpectedly large ridership several months after the new branch line began service.

CTA articulated car set 51 (formerly 5001) found new life on the Skokie Swift after being oddball equipment on other lines, along with its three mates. Here, they are seen on the Swift on October 25, 1964, where they helped provide much-needed capacity in the face of unexpectedly large ridership several months after the new branch line began service.

The date stamped on this slide is April 18, 1964, when demonstration rides were given out on the new CTA Skokie Swift branch line. However, that date may be incorrect, as my understanding is on that day, single car units 1-4 were coupled together and operated as a unit to provide demonstration rides, Regular service began on April 20, 1964. So either the units were uncoupled, or the date is wrong. Here, one of the high-speed cars is lowering its pan trolley, at the point where the line changed from overhead wire to third rail "on the fly."

The date stamped on this slide is April 18, 1964, when demonstration rides were given out on the new CTA Skokie Swift branch line. However, that date may be incorrect, as my understanding is on that day, single car units 1-4 were coupled together and operated as a unit to provide demonstration rides, Regular service began on April 20, 1964. So either the units were uncoupled, or the date is wrong. Here, one of the high-speed cars is lowering its pan trolley, at the point where the line changed from overhead wire to third rail “on the fly.”

On October 25, 1964 a pair of 4000-series "L" cars are seen at the Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift, presumably on a fantrip.

On October 25, 1964 a pair of 4000-series “L” cars are seen at the Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift, presumably on a fantrip.

This picture of the Dempster terminal is dated April 18, 1964, which would have been the very first day people could ride the Skokie Swift.

This picture of the Dempster terminal is dated April 18, 1964, which would have been the very first day people could ride the Skokie Swift.

Line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal on October 25, 1964. Don's Rail Photos adds, "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." Since the museum was evicted from its home, whatever portion of the car that survives has been taken on by another preservation group, in hopes that it can eventually be rebuilt or restored.

Line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal on October 25, 1964. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” Since the museum was evicted from its home, whatever portion of the car that survives has been taken on by another preservation group, in hopes that it can eventually be rebuilt or restored.

The following South Shore Line photos, again courtesy of William Shapotkin, are all dated October 1965 and are from a fantrip.

Here are some classic postcard views, again from the collections of William Shapotkin:

From Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive:

These pictures of the Illinois Terminal Railroad were taken on July 4, 1950:

Don's Rail Photos: "1565, Class B, was built at Decatur in 1910. It was sold to Illinois Power & Light Co at Campaign on April 10, 1955. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1960."

Don’s Rail Photos: “1565, Class B, was built at Decatur in 1910. It was sold to Illinois Power & Light Co at Campaign on April 10, 1955. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1960.”

IT 270.

IT 270.

IT 273.

IT 273.

Don's Rail Photos: "276 was built by St Louis Car in 1913. It was air conditioned and the arch windows were covered. It was sold for scrap to Compressed Steel Co on March 13, 1956."

Don’s Rail Photos: “276 was built by St Louis Car in 1913. It was air conditioned and the arch windows were covered. It was sold for scrap to Compressed Steel Co on March 13, 1956.”

IT 281.

IT 281.

IT 284.

IT 284.

Don's Rail Photos: "1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin."

Don’s Rail Photos: “1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin.”

IT 052. This looks like a sleeping car or bunk car and is unpowered.

IT 052. This looks like a sleeping car or bunk car and is unpowered.

Again from the Wien-Criss Archive, here are a series of photos taken at the Chicago Aurora & Elgin’s Wheaton Yards, in August 1959 after the line had stopped running even freight service. Several cars were sold to museum interests and moved off the property in early 1962. Everything else was scrapped. It’s possible that these pictures may have been taken by the late Joseph Saitta of New York.

Looking somewhat worse for wear, here is CA&E car 321 as it looked at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on June 9, 1962. This and the other cars that were saved from the line had been stored outdoors for a few years, and exposure to the elements took their toll. The museum, now just IRM, moved to Union in 1964. (Wien-Criss Archive Photo)

Looking somewhat worse for wear, here is CA&E car 321 as it looked at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on June 9, 1962. This and the other cars that were saved from the line had been stored outdoors for a few years, and exposure to the elements took their toll. The museum, now just IRM, moved to Union in 1964. (Wien-Criss Archive Photo)

The following pictures, also from the Wien-Criss Archive, are not very sharp, but do show Chicago transit vehicles in September 1953 and May 1954. There are several shots of the temporary ground-level trackage used from 1953 to 1958 by the Garfield Park “L”, during construction of the Congress Expressway. Those pictures were taken at Van Buren and Western. Some of the PCC photos were snapped in the vicinity of Roosevelt Road, which is also where the Greyhound bus picture was probably taken.

Recent Correspondence

We recently asked Andre Kristopans about which Chicago streetcars, including PCCs, were converted to one-man operation in the CTA era.  Here’s what he reports:

In 1951, all 83 prewar PCCs to OMC on AFE S14000. At same time, 21 Sedans to OMC (3325,3347-3349,3351-3352,3354-3355,3357,3360-3363,3368,3372,3378-3379,6303,6305,6310,6319) on AFE S14001

However almost immediately 20 postwars 4052-4061,7035-7044 to OMC on S14011

155 older cars 1721-1785,3119-3178,6155-6198 to convertible OMC 1948 on S11381

Some additional info. Of the 169 cars in the three groups listed for one-manning, the following were already gone when the plan was announced:

6 under CSL 1945-47 1738,1754,1770,3133,3170,3176
8 under CTA 1948 1727,1763,3130,3150,3152,3155,3159,6197

169 minus above 14 leaves 155 for conversion in 1949

Me: Thanks… and none of the Peter Witts were used in one-man service, right?

Andre: Redone then scrapped replaced by postwars?

Me: Didn’t this have to do with the decision not to one-man 63rd Street? Or was it simply that mixing the Sedans with PCCs would have slowed things down?

Andre: Supposedly one of the aldermen along 63rd pitched a bitch about the sedans after he saw one. Thought they would be “unsafe”. Not sure on what grounds, suspect had to do with center door arrangement. But plan was dropped and sedans scrapped.

Me: Thanks!

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

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


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

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


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

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

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



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

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

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 236th 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 539,000 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.

Roy G. Benedict

Some very sad news via Eric Bronsky:

We rail preservationists and historians have lost an important member of our community. Roy G. Benedict, prolific writer and historian active with several rail organizations over the course of 60+ years, passed away unexpectedly. He was 78.

Among other activities, Roy was long involved with CERA publications and also served a term as editor of First & Fastest, published by the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society. His historic research and writings were meticulous, thorough and accurate. A native of Chicago’s South Side, he was considered a ‘walking encyclopedia’ of Chicago Surface Lines routes and operations.

Roy was a bachelor who lived alone on Chicago’s Northwest Side. He was employed as a schoolteacher. After retiring, he started Roy G Benedict Publisher’s Services as a sole proprietorship. He did not own a car and used public transportation to get wherever he needed to go, traveling frequently to Indiana to observe NICTD board meetings or to distant libraries to research electric railways. When invited to ride with others to railroad museums, model meets, and other events not accessible by bus or train, Roy was always grateful for the opportunity to tag along.

Roy would occasionally join me, Dan Joseph, and others on day trips. The photo below shows Roy enjoying Bob Olson’s South Bend Electric Railway in October of 2016. Dan spoke with Roy only last Wednesday, inviting him to join us Sunday to visit the Illinois Railway Museum. Our pickup point was the CTA Belmont Blue Line station. Roy, normally punctual, was not there when we arrived. We tried calling his home and mobile phone but there was no answer. Growing concerned, we made several phone calls in an attempt to find someone who could check on Roy. Our worst fears were confirmed on Monday.

There will be no funeral service. Roy bequeathed his collection to the Illinois Railway Museum’s Strahorn Library. I have no other information.

— Eric

Jeff Wien notes:

Roy was one of the most intelligent people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Roy G. Benedict started out as a mapmaker as a teenager in the 1950s. An early example of his work, a mimeographed track map of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, is reproduced below.

He was the co-author, along with James R. MacFarlane, of Not Only Passengers: How the Electric Railways Carried Freight, Express, and Baggage, Bulletin 129 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (1992).

Roy was very helpful to Carl Bajema, offering helpful advice on the book that became The Street Railways of Grand Rapids (co-author: Tom Maas), Bulletin 148 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association (2017). He was a stickler for getting details correct, and did not suffer fools gladly. If you disagreed with Roy, you had better have the facts at hand to make your case.

Mr. Benedict was interviewed on-camera for the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD produced by Jeff Wien and the late Bradley Criss for Chicago Transport Memories. He was also a contributor to Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, by Jeffrey L. Wien and myself, (Bradley Criss Photo Editor), published in 2015 by Central Electric Railfans’ Association as Bulletin 146.

In recent years, Roy had also been very active in the yearly Hoosier Traction Meet that takes place in Indianapolis each September.

This is a great loss to the railfan community. He will be missed.

-David Sadowski

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 234th 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 527,000 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.

An Artist’s Impressions

-our Charter

-our Charter

Having been on lots of fantrips myself over the years, I have come to learn that sometimes numerous people on such trips end up with, essentially, the same pictures. Such is surely not the case for today’s guest contributor, photographer Laura Hedien, who promotes her work under the moniker Storm Clouds Photography.

The occasion was a recent fantrip to raise money for the Fox River Trolley Museum, which suffered a tremendous amount of damage earlier this year, due to the vandalism caused by two teenagers. While many people have already donated to help restore the museum’s priceless collection, the need is still great and ongoing. You can donate through their web page, linked above.

An artist can see things that most of us would pass by. Sometimes, we can all benefit by looking at the “same old, same old,” through another person’s eyes.

We are very grateful to Laura for sharing her great images with our readers. I regret that I could not attend the trip myself, as we were recently in the middle of moving. If you haven’t moved in several years, I am sure you can appreciate how much work that can be.

Laura is very active on Facebook, and when presenting her work, did not arrange these images in a chronological order. They are more like a succession of fleeting images than a standard narrative.  The captions are hers.

We hope that you will enjoy them as much as we have. After seeing Laura’s work, I will never look at fantrip photos the same way again, but will instead try to find something new and different to photograph, as she has so ably done. She looked at it as more than just an opportunity to photograph some railcars, but instead viewed the entire “L” in the context of the great city it passes through.

-David Sadowski

PS- Thanks to all of those who came out to meet us at last week’s event at Centuries and Sleuths bookstore in Forest Park.

-train tunnel just north of Linden Av Wilmette

-train tunnel just north of Linden Av Wilmette

sweeping into the City...

sweeping into the City…

-coming around the bend! heads up!

-coming around the bend! heads up!

-LOL.. now that I know how to shoot sun flares.. this won't happen again....

-LOL.. now that I know how to shoot sun flares.. this won’t happen again….

-steel of the city Not sure which wins out... a little of the wild and the city is a good mix I guess...

-steel of the city
Not sure which wins out… a little of the wild and the city is a good mix I guess…

-right behind us!

-right behind us!

-not just ANY fire escape.... but a RED one!!! LOL...

-not just ANY fire escape…. but a RED one!!! LOL…

-a shapely pic... all sorts of triangles...

-a shapely pic… all sorts of triangles…

Cityscape...

Cityscape…

-Howard Yard near Evanston -- at Chicago, Illinois

-Howard Yard near Evanston — at Chicago, Illinois

-stop near Evanston

-stop near Evanston

-we used eight of the 2400s cars....

-we used eight of the 2400s cars….

north Howard Yard

north Howard Yard

-Howard Yard

-Howard Yard

-Tom had more fun than the picture tells.. honest! LOL...

-Tom had more fun than the picture tells.. honest! LOL…

-CTA Yellow Line out of Howard St...

-CTA Yellow Line out of Howard St…

-more Howard Yard. Looks like the trains are charging but held in check by the curve... LOL...

-more Howard Yard. Looks like the trains are charging but held in check by the curve… LOL…

-oh no!! Not those again!

-oh no!! Not those again!

-Wilson Av stop... supposed to be redone in the old style of the '20s....

-Wilson Av stop… supposed to be redone in the old style of the ’20s….

-big curve

-big curve

-couple sweeping curves

-couple sweeping curves

-cemetery coming into the city..

-cemetery coming into the city..

Go Cubbies!!

Go Cubbies!!

-nothing special... just repeating forms, shapes....

-nothing special… just repeating forms, shapes….

-yikes

-yikes

-so many shapes... triangles, cures, squares, circles....

-so many shapes… triangles, cures, squares, circles….

-street view from the L

-street view from the L

-a curve on the L in the Loop...

-a curve on the L in the Loop…

-curve coming into the city...

-curve coming into the city…

-repeating lines, shapes.....

-repeating lines, shapes…..

-big sweeping arch.. and train tracks!!!

-big sweeping arch.. and train tracks!!!

-a people pic! And a child no less!!! LOL...

-a people pic! And a child no less!!! LOL…

-a lot of space in the front of this pic.... a lot going on in the back...

-a lot of space in the front of this pic…. a lot going on in the back…

-L train bridge... so happy to be able to take pics on the train without the third degree.... These fan trips are fun!

-L train bridge… so happy to be able to take pics on the train without the third degree…. These fan trips are fun!

-our Special comin' round the bend! They let us catch a train ahead of us so we could get off to shoot our train...

-our Special comin’ round the bend!
They let us catch a train ahead of us so we could get off to shoot our train…

-perspective is different... moody...

-perspective is different… moody…

-another long, sweeping curve....

-another long, sweeping curve….

-Chicago River on the L bridge

-Chicago River on the L bridge

-AUGH! Those damn fire escapes!!!!

-AUGH! Those damn fire escapes!!!!

-large walkway, concrete arch... angles....

-large walkway, concrete arch… angles….

-was trying to get pics of the motorman but the reflection was too strong... sometimes accidents are good.

-was trying to get pics of the motorman but the reflection was too strong… sometimes accidents are good.

-backwards shot in the Loop

-backwards shot in the Loop

-strange perspective with this.... wide angle lenses do that...

-strange perspective with this…. wide angle lenses do that…

-cityscape... never the same... be that good or bad...

-cityscape… never the same… be that good or bad…

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We were recently asked by WGN radio here in Chicago to discuss our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 224th 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 466,000 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.

Giving Thanks

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden "L" cars on the CTA's temporary Garfield Park "L" trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden “L” cars on the CTA’s temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This year, in this holiday season, we give thanks for many things… among them, our health, our friends, and our family. And on behalf of this blog, I am thankful for you, our readers, for it is due to your generous support that we can continue to share these fine, old photos with you here.

Today, we have a 1959 CTA commemorative booklet, shared by Miles Beitler, plus some interesting recent finds of our own. Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We were recently asked by WGN radio here in Chicago to discuss our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Meet the Author

FYI, I will be at Centuries and Sleuths bookstore in suburban Forest Park, Illinois from 3 to 5 pm on Saturday, November 24th, to discuss and sign copies of my new book Building Chicago’s Subways. We hope to see you there.

Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore
7419 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130
(708)771-7243

1959 CTA Commemorative Brochure

Miles Beitler writes:

In 1959, a commemorative booklet was issued by the CTA as the new Congress line (referred to at the times as the “West Side Subway”) was being completed. I have had the booklet since that time.

The entire booklet is 23 pages (page 2 was omitted as it is blank), and although it features the West-Northwest route, it also covers the other CTA rail lines in operation at that time, along with bus lines, streetcar service which had just ended, Chicago transit history, and future plans for Chicago area transit. There are numerous photos as well.

Thanks!


Recent Finds

CSL 4081 and 7074 are heading northbound on Clark Street near Wacker Drive on June 13, 1947.

CSL 4081 and 7074 are heading northbound on Clark Street near Wacker Drive on June 13, 1947.

CSL 5814 is southbound on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. In the background, you can see how Roosevelt Road streetcars crossed over the Illinois Central tracks (and around Central Station) to reach the Field Museum and Soldier Field. This extension was built for the 1933-34 A Century of Progress world's fair.

CSL 5814 is southbound on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. In the background, you can see how Roosevelt Road streetcars crossed over the Illinois Central tracks (and around Central Station) to reach the Field Museum and Soldier Field. This extension was built for the 1933-34 A Century of Progress world’s fair.

CSL 5960 is westbound on Grand Avenue at Wabash on August 21, 1947.

CSL 5960 is westbound on Grand Avenue at Wabash on August 21, 1947.

CSL 5395 is westbound on 6rd Street at the Illinois Central underpass, east of Dorchester, on June 13, 1947. The "L" has since been cut back to a point west of here at Cottage Grove. Its eventual destination will be Oak Park Avenue.

CSL 5395 is westbound on 6rd Street at the Illinois Central underpass, east of Dorchester, on June 13, 1947. The “L” has since been cut back to a point west of here at Cottage Grove. Its eventual destination will be Oak Park Avenue.

Philadelphia Transportation Company Birney car #1, signed for a fantrip sponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Philadelphia Transportation Company Birney car #1, signed for a fantrip sponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) "Master Unit" car 83 is at the end of the line in West Chester, PA. Service on this interurban was replaced by bus in 1954, to facilitate the widening of West Chester Pike.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) “Master Unit” car 83 is at the end of the line in West Chester, PA. Service on this interurban was replaced by bus in 1954, to facilitate the widening of West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow cars 82 and 80 are on the West Chester line, at a passing siding. This interurban was mostly single track, operating alongside West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow cars 82 and 80 are on the West Chester line, at a passing siding. This interurban was mostly single track, operating alongside West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow car 78, built by Brill in 1932, is at Newtown Siding in Newtown Square, PA on May 30, 1949 (on the West Chester route).

Red Arrow car 78, built by Brill in 1932, is at Newtown Siding in Newtown Square, PA on May 30, 1949 (on the West Chester route).

Red Arrow car 22, a double-ended 1949 product of St. Louis Car Company, is presumably at the west end of the Media interurban line. These cars, which closely resemble PCCs, are not classified as such as they used standard interurban undergear.

Red Arrow car 22, a double-ended 1949 product of St. Louis Car Company, is presumably at the west end of the Media interurban line. These cars, which closely resemble PCCs, are not classified as such as they used standard interurban undergear.

CTA gate cars and Met cars are on display at Laramie Yard in this August 1948 view (on the Garfield Park "L").

CTA gate cars and Met cars are on display at Laramie Yard in this August 1948 view (on the Garfield Park “L”).

North Shore Line 715 is on the Mundelein branch in July 1950.

North Shore Line 715 is on the Mundelein branch in July 1950.

On August 17, 1966, Pittsburgh Railways PCC 1542 is on Route 71 - Highland Park. (Richard S. Short Photo)

On August 17, 1966, Pittsburgh Railways PCC 1542 is on Route 71 – Highland Park. (Richard S. Short Photo)

Chicago Rapid Transit Company 2731 is at Laramie Yard (on the Garfield Park "L") in September 1936.

Chicago Rapid Transit Company 2731 is at Laramie Yard (on the Garfield Park “L”) in September 1936.

CRT 2881 is at Gunderson Avenue (in suburban Oak Park), one of the ground-level stations on the Garfield Park "L", on September 19, 1934. This location is now the site of I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway.

CRT 2881 is at Gunderson Avenue (in suburban Oak Park), one of the ground-level stations on the Garfield Park “L”, on September 19, 1934. This location is now the site of I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway.

CTA 3164 is at the Hamlin station on the Lake Street "L" in August 1948.

CTA 3164 is at the Hamlin station on the Lake Street “L” in August 1948.

CA&E 421 is at Wheaton Yard in September 1936.

CA&E 421 is at Wheaton Yard in September 1936.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E express motor 5 "was built by Cincinnati Car in 1921 to replace 1st 5 which was built by American Car in 1909 and wrecked in 1920. It was retired in 1953." Here, we see it in Wheaton in August 1948.

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E express motor 5 “was built by Cincinnati Car in 1921 to replace 1st 5 which was built by American Car in 1909 and wrecked in 1920. It was retired in 1953.” Here, we see it in Wheaton in August 1948.

CTA PCC 4390 is presumably northbound at 95th Street, heading towards Broadway and Devon on Route 36 in August 1955. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA PCC 4390 is presumably northbound at 95th Street, heading towards Broadway and Devon on Route 36 in August 1955. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

Building Chicago's Subways is dedicated to the late Charlie Petzold. His widow Beverly sent us this newspaper clipping, showing him with various family members in 1984, when the "L" was extended to O'Hare airport.

Building Chicago’s Subways is dedicated to the late Charlie Petzold. His widow Beverly sent us this newspaper clipping, showing him with various family members in 1984, when the “L” was extended to O’Hare airport.

An early 1900s view of Chicago's Union Stock Yards. The Stock Yards "L" branch can be seen at left. It closed in 1957.

An early 1900s view of Chicago’s Union Stock Yards. The Stock Yards “L” branch can be seen at left. It closed in 1957.

CTA 6565 is eastbound on the Congress rapid transit line at Morgan on July 16, 1971.

CTA 6565 is eastbound on the Congress rapid transit line at Morgan on July 16, 1971.

A train of CTA 6000s waits for the signal to leave the terminal at Lawrence and Kimball on April 21, 1965. The Ravenswood "L" is now the Brown Line.

A train of CTA 6000s waits for the signal to leave the terminal at Lawrence and Kimball on April 21, 1965. The Ravenswood “L” is now the Brown Line.

CTA prewar PCC 4023 is northbound on Route 4 - Cottage Grove circa 1952-55, having just crossed under the Illinois Central tracks.

CTA prewar PCC 4023 is northbound on Route 4 – Cottage Grove circa 1952-55, having just crossed under the Illinois Central tracks.

CTA 4054 is on private right-of-way on the south end of the Cottage Grove line, running parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service.

CTA 4054 is on private right-of-way on the south end of the Cottage Grove line, running parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service.

The date on this slide mount is March 1964. If so, this two-car train on the CTA Skokie Swift must be a test train, prior to the beginning of regular service in April.

The date on this slide mount is March 1964. If so, this two-car train on the CTA Skokie Swift must be a test train, prior to the beginning of regular service in April.

CTA "Peter Witt" car 6287 is on the Cottage Grove private right-of-way on June 10, 1951.

CTA “Peter Witt” car 6287 is on the Cottage Grove private right-of-way on June 10, 1951.

North Shore Line freight motor 456 is running on battery power on a siding, as there are no overhead wires present.

North Shore Line freight motor 456 is running on battery power on a siding, as there are no overhead wires present.

On June 27, 1964, a two-car train of CTA 4000s is inbound running local service at Isabella. This station closed in the early 1970s and was quickly removed.

On June 27, 1964, a two-car train of CTA 4000s is inbound running local service at Isabella. This station closed in the early 1970s and was quickly removed.

CTA red Pullman 238 is on Kedzie Avenue on a snowy January 17, 1951.

CTA red Pullman 238 is on Kedzie Avenue on a snowy January 17, 1951.

CTA PCC 4405 is southbound on Western Avenue on August 5, 1949.

CTA PCC 4405 is southbound on Western Avenue on August 5, 1949.

CTA 6205, a one-man car, is on 87th Street in April 1951.

CTA 6205, a one-man car, is on 87th Street in April 1951.

CTA 6203, another one-man car, is on the 93rd Street line in March 1951.

CTA 6203, another one-man car, is on the 93rd Street line in March 1951.

Since CTA 4406 is on a charter, this is most likely the fantrip that took place on October 21, 1956.

Since CTA 4406 is on a charter, this is most likely the fantrip that took place on October 21, 1956.

MBTA (Boston) double-end PCC 3335 (ex-Dallas) is at Milton on the Ashmont-Mattapan line in the 1960s (Photo by Frederick F. Marder)

MBTA (Boston) double-end PCC 3335 (ex-Dallas) is at Milton on the Ashmont-Mattapan line in the 1960s (Photo by Frederick F. Marder)

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden "L" cars on the CTA's temporary Garfield Park "L" trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden “L” cars on the CTA’s temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

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75 Years of Chicago’s Subways

Mayor Kelly celebrates the first ceremonial trips (using one track and only two of the stations) on the State Street Subway in April 1943, just prior to a mayoral election.

Mayor Kelly celebrates the first ceremonial trips (using one track and only two of the stations) on the State Street Subway in April 1943, just prior to a mayoral election.

Chicago’s first subway opened 75 years ago today, on October 17, 1943. To help commemorate this milestone in Chicago history, we wrote the book Building Chicago’s Subways, which is now available from us and wherever Arcadia Publishing books are sold. More information can be found at the end of this post, or via our Online Store.

Today, we are featuring over 100 images that were considered for use in our new book, but for various reasons did not make the cut. We hope you will enjoy them.

The story of Chicago’s subways is a long an convoluted one, beginning 150 years ago with the first transportation tunnels under the Chicago River, and continuing with the extensive system of freight tunnels built in the early 1900s downtown.

Wrangling over what type of subways to build, where to build them, and how to pay for them, continued for 40 years and divided Chicagoans. Then, in 1938, the City of Chicago and the FDR Administration agreed on plans to build the State Street and Dearborn-Milwaukee Subways, which opened in 1943 and 1951.

In turn, this was all part of a larger plan which included Chicago’s first true expressway in Congress Street (now the I-290 Eisenhower). Construction for the highway began in 1949 and ultimately relocated the entire Garfield Park “L” into the Congress rapid transit line, also known as the West Side Subway.

Construction of Chicago’s first subways began in 1938, and the Congress line was not 100% complete until 1960, so this was a huge construction project that lasted for more than 20 years and transformed the city forever.

The story of how this came to be is detailed in my new book.

David Sadowski

PS- I salute those Chicagoans old enough to remember the opening of the Chicago Subway. Those first-day riders included Raymond DeGroote Jr., the dean of Chicago railfans, and my two uncles Robert and Raymond Wakefield, all still going strong at age 88.

A Review of Building Chicago’s Subways by Kenneth Gear

Readers of the Trolley Dodger will certainly enjoy reading David’s new book BUILDING CHICAGO’S SUBWAYS.

I’ve visited Chicago about a dozen times in my railfanning pursuits and my interests were always confined to the yards, mainlines, and junctions of the freight railroads. I was only vaguely aware that Chicago even had a subway system. After reading this book, my next trip to the windy city will definitely include a ride on the subway.

As David has done with his previous book CHICAGO TROLLEYS, he has taken a very complex subject, spanning many decades and personalities, and whittled it down to the essential facts. He then presents these facts in a clear, understandable, and entertaining manner. The photographs are all of excellent quality, properly exposed and in razor sharp focus. David is apparently very particular and extremely selective when it comes to the photos in his books. The photographs don’t only showcase the transit equipment and property, but also include many photos of the people involved with the story of the subways. He has also included scenes of Chicago’s neighborhoods, buildings, and streets that were affected by the subways.

These are historical photos that will be of interest to any Chicagoans who have an eye for the past. The book tells the interesting story of the subway’s part in hastening the demise of the Chicago Aurora, and Elgin and the impact subways had on the famous “L”. Also much insight is given on the building of the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower Expressway). I was also very interested in the chapter about the freight tunnels under the city. I recently watched the 1950 movie UNION STATION with William Holden and the climax of the film takes place in those tunnels.

The photographic efforts and concise writing go a long way to making David’s Arcadia books among the best the publisher has to offer.

How Chicago Kept its Subway Plan on Track

I wrote to Ron Grossman at the Chicago Tribune several months ago, suggesting they do an article for the 75th anniversary of the Chicago subway. Here is that article.

Cable cars in the LaSalle tunnel.

Cable cars in the LaSalle tunnel.

A river tunnel entrance during cable car days. This is either the Washington or LaSalle tunnel.

A river tunnel entrance during cable car days. This is either the Washington or LaSalle tunnel.

I believe this shows the Van Buren river tunnel during cable car days, prior to its lowering for use by streetcars.

I believe this shows the Van Buren river tunnel during cable car days, prior to its lowering for use by streetcars.

The Van Buren Street river tunnel in streetcar days.

The Van Buren Street river tunnel in streetcar days.

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The steel tubes used to lower the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel in 1911-1912. This same method was used in 1939 for the State Street Subway.

The steel tubes used to lower the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel in 1911-1912. This same method was used in 1939 for the State Street Subway.

Chicago Tunnel Company trains hauling ashes away from the freight tunnels, probably for use as landfill.

Chicago Tunnel Company trains hauling ashes away from the freight tunnels, probably for use as landfill.

The freight tunnels were used to haul merchandise as well as coal and ashes beneath Chicago's downtown.

The freight tunnels were used to haul merchandise as well as coal and ashes beneath Chicago’s downtown.

The freight tunnels used electric locomotives and overhead power.

The freight tunnels used electric locomotives and overhead power.

A freight tunnel intersection.

A freight tunnel intersection.

Chicago's freight tunnels.

Chicago’s freight tunnels.

Chicago badly needed subways to help reduce congestion on the Loop "L", here shown in the early 1900s at Lake and Wells.

Chicago badly needed subways to help reduce congestion on the Loop “L”, here shown in the early 1900s at Lake and Wells.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, approved federal funding for Chicago's first subways.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, approved federal funding for Chicago’s first subways.

Indirect lighting was used in the newe Moscow Subway, shown here in 1936, and would also feature in Chicago's tube.

Indirect lighting was used in the newe Moscow Subway, shown here in 1936, and would also feature in Chicago’s tube.

A New York subway passage in 1937, showing the widespread use of subway tile. Chicago's subways were in turn influenced by New York's far more extensive system.

A New York subway passage in 1937, showing the widespread use of subway tile. Chicago’s subways were in turn influenced by New York’s far more extensive system.

The results of a fire that destroyed several wooden el cars on New York's system.. Wooden cars were banned from use in the Chicago subways for safety reasons.

The results of a fire that destroyed several wooden el cars on New York’s system.. Wooden cars were banned from use in the Chicago subways for safety reasons.

Wooden "L" cars were also less safe in crashes.

Wooden “L” cars were also less safe in crashes.

Subway plans from the late 1930s, showing new railcars similar to contemporary ones used in New York.

Subway plans from the late 1930s, showing new railcars similar to contemporary ones used in New York.

The BMT Bluebirds in New York.

The BMT Bluebirds in New York.

The Chicago Rapid Transit Company ordered four sets of articulated rapid transit trainsets, which were delivered in 1947-48 and largely patterned after the Bluebirds used by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT).

The Chicago Rapid Transit Company ordered four sets of articulated rapid transit trainsets, which were delivered in 1947-48 and largely patterned after the Bluebirds used by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT).

Chicago's subways were opened using 1920s-era steel rapid transit cars, where the conductors had to stand between cars to open and close the doors.

Chicago’s subways were opened using 1920s-era steel rapid transit cars, where the conductors had to stand between cars to open and close the doors.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.