Two Anniversaries

Here is a photo taken by the late William C. Hoffman on July 1, 1957, from the 7th floor of the Builder's Building in downtown Chicago. A southbound NSL train, led by car 178, crosses the Chicago River as it approaches the Loop, having just passed by the Merchandise Mart. This is one of those early Ektachromes that turned out to have unstable dyes-- a problem that Kodak corrected by about 1964. I had to do a lot of restoration work to make it look like this. I will post the original as well for comparison.

Here is a photo taken by the late William C. Hoffman on July 1, 1957, from the 7th floor of the Builder’s Building in downtown Chicago. A southbound NSL train, led by car 178, crosses the Chicago River as it approaches the Loop, having just passed by the Merchandise Mart. This is one of those early Ektachromes that turned out to have unstable dyes– a problem that Kodak corrected by about 1964. I had to do a lot of restoration work to make it look like this. I will post the original as well for comparison.

As the song says, “What a difference a day makes… 24 little hours.” For fans of the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee Railroad, aka the North Shore Line, January 21, 1963 is a date that will live in infamy, as that was the time of the final abandonment.

January 21 is also the eighth anniversary of the Trolley Dodger blog. I thought it was important to have new beginnings associated with that date as well as endings. We are now starting our ninth year.

Over the years, this date has also become a celebration the North Shore Line, especially at the Illinois Railway Museum, which has by far the most extensive collection of NSL equipment anywhere. This year, the museum (normally closed in the winter) held a special event, and brought out nearly everything they could muster to let visitors ride, or see.

We were glad to take part, and our photo essay follows a few classic images of this legendary interurban.  As the years go by, IRM just gets better and better and is already the largest railway museum in the entire country.  You could not ask for more dedicated stewards for much of the North Shore Line’s legacy.

January is traditionally the month when we ask our readers for donations to keep this site going. If you enjoy what you see here, we hope you will consider making a contribution via the link at the end of this post. The expenses we incur, in order to bring you the finest and most interesting traction pictures, are considerable and ongoing. Our research costs a lot, but you see the results here and in our four Arcadia Publishing books, which we hope make a modest contribution to society. If you have contributed to our efforts, we are most appreciative, and if you have not, we hope you will consider it.

To date, we have received $215 in contributions via our fundraiser.

We are pleased to report that our latest book The North Shore Line is now 100% complete and has gone to press. The publication date is February 20, 2023, and we are now taking pre-orders. You will find more information about that at the end of this post (and our Online Store).  To date, we have received orders for 114 copies.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 1,053 members.

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

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

A very early Leica M3.

A very early Leica M3.

Charles Fretzin sent me these amazing North Shore Line pictures he took 60 years ago. Some are from the final night. I spoke with him on the phone the other day.

While working on my book, I had been trying to find out who took the picture of the sailor and his girlfriend at the terminal without success. Imagine my surprise when the photographer contacted me, asking if I could post it to my blog!
He says that picture was taken with a Leica M3 and a 35mm f/2 lens, and he has another picture showing the same couple embracing in front of a juke box. It was his impression that he had just given her an engagement ring.

These pictures were shot on Kodak Tri-X film that was push-developed to 1200 ISO using either Acufine or Diafine developer.

One of the two Electroliners prepares to leave Milwaukee on the final trip to Chicago. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

One of the two Electroliners prepares to leave Milwaukee on the final trip to Chicago.
(Charles Fretzin Photo)

The North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal on the final night. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

The North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal on the final night. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

The lunch counter at the Milwaukee Terminal on the final night. Note the Electroliner image stenciled on the mirror. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

The lunch counter at the Milwaukee Terminal on the final night. Note the Electroliner image stenciled on the mirror. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

An NSL conductor punches a ticket. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

An NSL conductor punches a ticket. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

An Electroliner motorman in the cab of the 802 end. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

An Electroliner motorman in the cab of the 802 end. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

One of the Electroliners at the Highwood Shops after the abandonment in 1963. (Charles Fretzin Photo)

One of the Electroliners at the Highwood Shops after the abandonment in 1963.
(Charles Fretzin Photo)

A northbound North Shore Line Electroliner has just left Howard Street on June 10, 1956, descending into an open cut now used by CTA Yellow Line (Skokie Swift) trains. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

A northbound North Shore Line Electroliner has just left Howard Street on June 10, 1956, descending into an open cut now used by CTA Yellow Line (Skokie Swift) trains. (William C. Hoffman Photo)

This looks red because the other dye layers have faded so badly... a process that will unfortunately continue as the years go by. But thanks to modern tools such as Photoshop, it was still possible to bring the colors back to normal.

This looks red because the other dye layers have faded so badly… a process that will unfortunately continue as the years go by. But thanks to modern tools such as Photoshop, it was still possible to bring the colors back to normal.

North Shore Line Day 2023 at the Illinois Railway Museum

The Electroliner was the first thing visitors saw upon arriving at the museum.

The Electroliner was the first thing visitors saw upon arriving at the museum.

Electroliner 801-802 was on display at the 50th Avenue "L" station, which was moved here from the Douglas Park branch in the late 1970s. The Liner has been undergoing a complete restoration that will ultimately cost more than a million dollars. Part of the interior is not finished, but there is still much work to be done. Visitors to the museum had an opportunity to see the remarkable progress that has been made.

Electroliner 801-802 was on display at the 50th Avenue “L” station, which was moved here from the Douglas Park branch in the late 1970s. The Liner has been undergoing a complete restoration that will ultimately cost more than a million dollars. Part of the interior is not finished, but there is still much work to be done. Visitors to the museum had an opportunity to see the remarkable progress that has been made.

Electroliner interior.

Electroliner interior.

Electroliner interior.

Electroliner interior.

The way these seats have been reupholstered is truly beautiful.

The way these seats have been reupholstered is truly beautiful.

The cab at the 802 end of the Electroliner. Compare this to the picture of the same cab taken in 1963 by Charles Fretzin, found elsewhere in this post.

The cab at the 802 end of the Electroliner. Compare this to the picture of the same cab taken in 1963 by Charles Fretzin, found elsewhere in this post.

Electroliner interior.

Electroliner interior.

Electroliner interior.

Electroliner interior.

There are still a few vestiges left of the Electroliner's second career as a Liberty Liner on the Red Arrow's Norristown High-Speed Line.

There are still a few vestiges left of the Electroliner’s second career as a Liberty Liner on the Red Arrow’s Norristown High-Speed Line.

The interior of 354.

The interior of 354.

The interior of 354. Note the sign lit indicating riders can exit at both ends of the car.

The interior of 354. Note the sign lit indicating riders can exit at both ends of the car.

City streetcar 354 first ran in Waukegan, and later Milwaukee. It was once operated frequently at IRM, but this was my first chance to ride it in many years. Note the sign lit on the car, indicating that riders should board via the front entrance.

City streetcar 354 first ran in Waukegan, and later Milwaukee. It was once operated frequently at IRM, but this was my first chance to ride it in many years. Note the sign lit on the car, indicating that riders should board via the front entrance.

Line car 604.

Line car 604.

IRM has by far the largest and most extensive collection of North Shore Line coaches, and these were operated in various combinations on the museum's main line.

IRM has by far the largest and most extensive collection of North Shore Line coaches, and these were operated in various combinations on the museum’s main line.

Numerically speaking car 160 has the lowest number of any that have survived, but car 162, now undergoing restoration in East Troy, WI was actually delivered slightly earlier in 1915. 154 managed to survive the 1963 abandonment, but eventually fell victim to many years of outdoor storage and neglect at another railway museum that has struggled over the years.

Numerically speaking car 160 has the lowest number of any that have survived, but car 162, now undergoing restoration in East Troy, WI was actually delivered slightly earlier in 1915. 154 managed to survive the 1963 abandonment, but eventually fell victim to many years of outdoor storage and neglect at another railway museum that has struggled over the years.

It was a chilly day, but fortunately there was plenty of heat available in the cars that were running.

It was a chilly day, but fortunately there was plenty of heat available in the cars that were running.

The motorman's cab in 749.

The motorman’s cab in 749.

IRM has been gradually developing a main street with several new buildings.

IRM has been gradually developing a main street with several new buildings.

You can purchase North Shore Line coffee, a recreation of the blend once used on the Electroliners.

You can purchase North Shore Line coffee, a recreation of the blend once used on the Electroliners.

This is a transfer stamp machine, once found at CTA "L" and subway stations. When leaving the station, you would stamp your paper transfer with the time, which would allow you to get on another bus or train without paying a full fare. With today's electronic payment system, this is no longer needed.

This is a transfer stamp machine, once found at CTA “L” and subway stations. When leaving the station, you would stamp your paper transfer with the time, which would allow you to get on another bus or train without paying a full fare. With today’s electronic payment system, this is no longer needed.

The North Shore Commuters Association was a last-ditch effort to save the railroad. It failed, but did postpone the abandonment by four years. It also paved the way for later, more successful efforts to save much of Chicago's commuter rail system.

The North Shore Commuters Association was a last-ditch effort to save the railroad. It failed, but did postpone the abandonment by four years. It also paved the way for later, more successful efforts to save much of Chicago’s commuter rail system.

Signs like this were once commonplace on CTA "L" and subway stations in off-peak hours. Conductors collected fares on many lines. Starting in 1961, off-peak Evanston branch trains used a single operator who drove the train and collected fares.

Signs like this were once commonplace on CTA “L” and subway stations in off-peak hours. Conductors collected fares on many lines. Starting in 1961, off-peak Evanston branch trains used a single operator who drove the train and collected fares.

I spotted one of my books in the IRM gift shop.

I spotted one of my books in the IRM gift shop.

The sun will never set on the North Shore Line, if the Illinois Railway Museum has anything to say about it.

The sun will never set on the North Shore Line, if the Illinois Railway Museum has anything to say about it.

IRM Souvenir Brochure

Our Latest Book, Now Available for Pre-Order:

The North Shore Line

Publication Date: February 20, 2023

FYI, my new Arcadia Publishing book The North Shore Line is now finished and has gone to press. My publisher decided to expand it to 160 pages, instead of the usual 128. That’s a 25% increase, without any change to the $23.99 price. I am quite pleased with how this turned out.

From the back cover:

As late as 1963, it was possible to board high-speed electric trains on Chicago’s famous Loop “L” that ran 90 miles north to Milwaukee. This was the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad, commonly known as the North Shore Line. It rose from humble origins in the 1890s as a local streetcar line in Waukegan to eventually become America’s fastest interurban under the visionary management of Midwest utilities tycoon Samuel Insull. The North Shore Line, under Insull, became a worthy competitor to the established steam railroads. Hobbled by the Great Depression, the road fought back in 1941 with two streamlined, air-conditioned, articulated trains called Electroliners, which included dining service. It regained its popularity during World War II, when gasoline and tires were rationed, but eventually, it fell victim to highways and the automobile. The North Shore Line had intercity rail, commuter rail, electric freight, city streetcars, and even buses. It has been gone for nearly 60 years, but it will always remain the Road of Service.

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus North Shore Line map.  Books will ship by USPS Media Mail as soon as we receive them, on or before February 20, 2023.

Chapters:
01. Beginnings
02. The Milwaukee Division
03. The Shore Line Route
04. The Skokie Valley Route
05. The Mundelein Branch
06. On the “L”
07. City Streetcars
08. Trolley Freight
09. The Long Goodbye
10. The Legacy

Title The North Shore Line
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2023
ISBN 1467108960, 978-1467108966
Length 160 pages

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

New Compact Disc, Now Available:

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

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

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

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

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

Total time – 74:38

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 296th 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 948,000 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.


Elevation

An eastbound six-car Lake Street "L" A train approaches Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park on March 23, 1955. Trains ran adjacent to South Boulevard until October 28, 1962, when they were relocated to the Chicago and North Western embankment. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

An eastbound six-car Lake Street “L” A train approaches Oak Park Avenue in suburban Oak Park on March 23, 1955. Trains ran adjacent to South Boulevard until October 28, 1962, when they were relocated to the Chicago and North Western embankment. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

October 28, 2022 was the 60th anniversary of the elevation of the outer 2.5 miles of the Lake Street “L” (now the CTA Green Line). This was an important event in the history of suburban Oak Park and the Austin neighborhood in Chicago.

The steel Lake Street “L” structure, first opened in 1893, was only built as far west as Laramie Avenue (5200 W). Once the main “L” lines were built by the four original private companies, they extended service out to less populated areas at a greatly reduced cost by putting the tracks at ground level. The idea was to establish service, then wait until the surrounding area developed, and then elevate the tracks.

In some cases, this elevation never happened. To this day, portions of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Brown, Pink, Yellow, and Purple lines continue to run at ground level.

The Lake Street “L”‘s ground level extension opened in 1901. The Chicago and North Western’s tracks, which were adjacent to the “L”, were elevated circa 1909-1910, with extremely tight clearances the result. The ground level “L” operated much like a streetcar, using overhead wire instead of third rail, and used high-level platforms.

By the 1930s, the City of Chicago, under the influence of New York City, wanted to build subways to replace the Loop elevated. The subways that eventually were built (State Street, Milwaukee-Dearborn, and West Side) were very ambitious and costly projects which helped alleviate overcrowding on the Loop, but could not replace it outright.

City planners had ideas for putting portions of the Lake line into various subways, so portions of the elevated structure could be torn down. But once the Chicago Transit Authority took over operations in 1947, it was quickly determined that the outer portion of the line, the ground-level section, was the real difficulty.

There were 22 grade crossings in this section, all manually operated by a gateman 24 hours a day. In a similar situation, the City of Berwyn was uncooperative with the CTA’s plans to reduce the number of grade crossings and install automatic gates. As a result, service on the Douglas Park “L” was cut back from Oak Park Avenue (6800 W) to 54th Avenue (5400 W), where it remains today.

Faced with the possible truncation of the Lake Street “L” to Laramie Avenue, the Village of Oak Park took a different approach, working cooperatively with all the interested parties (the City of Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority, and the Chicago and North Western), and a plan came about that benefitted everyone.

The C&NW embankment had enough extra space on it to accommodate the CTA tracks, which permitted the Lake Street “L” to be elevated at last. Removing the tracks from the street eliminated all 22 grade crossings, reducing the CTA’s payroll.

“L” operations were speeded up, offering better service, and the North Western received new revenue from renting out the space. The railroad was allowed to close some lightly used commuter rail stations, ceding these customers to the CTA, which speeded up service for riders farther out.

Removing the ground-level tracks widened the street, reducing traffic congestion and increasing the amount of parking spaces available. It was a win-win for all.

Plans were finalized around 1958, but construction does not seem to have begun until 1961. Service was changed over to the embankment at 6:00pm on October 28, 1962 (see the newspaper article below).

I was seven years old when this transition took place, and rode the ground-level “L” many times. It was always a bit tense, as all 22 cross streets were blind crossings. Cars might come darting out from under a viaduct at the last second, and there were some collisions between “L” cars and autos.

The tight clearances also prevented the use of the CTA’s 6000-series “L” cars in the 1950s, as they had curved sides that stuck out farther than previous equipment. Once the line began running on the embankment, it was possible to use newer equipment, and the CTA assigned many of their new 2000-series rapid transit cars to the Lake line starting in 1964.

Now, the “L” has been running on the embankment for nearly the same length of time as the ground-level operation had. And practically every trace of that surface trackage and stations is long gone.

People who have grown up in the area since 1962 might not have any idea that the “L” ever ran anywhere but on the embankment, but this is an important part of Oak Park’s history, and it deserves to be remembered.

Fortunately, we recently collected various images showing both the construction work, and many taken on the very day of the ground-level operation, October 28, 1962. In addition to this, we have an excellent selection of other classic traction photos from around the country.

We are pleased to report that our latest book The North Shore Line is now 100% complete and has gone to press. The publication date is February 20, 2023, and we are now taking pre-orders. You will find more information about that at the end of this post (and our Online Store).

-David Sadowski

PS- You might also like our Trolley Dodger Facebook auxiliary, a private group that now has 1,016 members.

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

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

The Lake Street “L” in Transition

In this July 16, 1961 view, work has just started on connecting the "L" with the nearby Chicago and North Western embankment. But the changeover point between overhead wire and third rail has already been moved to the Central Avenue ground-level station. This would otherwise have been a complicating factor in the transition process, as both routes would need to be operational for a short time simultaneously.

In this July 16, 1961 view, work has just started on connecting the “L” with the nearby Chicago and North Western embankment. But the changeover point between overhead wire and third rail has already been moved to the Central Avenue ground-level station. This would otherwise have been a complicating factor in the transition process, as both routes would need to be operational for a short time simultaneously.

The view looking west from Laramie Avenue on August 27, 1961. A new temporary track has been built at left, supported by wooden pilings, to allow the ground-level operation to continue while the new "L" connection is being built. Note the Chicago and North Western freight train at right.

The view looking west from Laramie Avenue on August 27, 1961. A new temporary track has been built at left, supported by wooden pilings, to allow the ground-level operation to continue while the new “L” connection is being built. Note the Chicago and North Western freight train at right.

This picture, taken on August 27, 1961, shows how the "L" was shored up during construction of the new connection to the nearby railroad embankment.

This picture, taken on August 27, 1961, shows how the “L” was shored up during construction of the new connection to the nearby railroad embankment.

On August 27, 1961, new steel has been added to the "L" structure at Laramie Avenue. This section of "L" was eventually rebuilt in the 1990s, when the line was shut down for about two years.

On August 27, 1961, new steel has been added to the “L” structure at Laramie Avenue. This section of “L” was eventually rebuilt in the 1990s, when the line was shut down for about two years.

On September 10, 1961, new streel is being added to the "L" to support the additional tracks needed for the realignment.

On September 10, 1961, new streel is being added to the “L” to support the additional tracks needed for the realignment.

Looking west from the Laramie Avenue "L" station on September 17, 1961. New tracks will be added to create a junction between the old and new alignments.

Looking west from the Laramie Avenue “L” station on September 17, 1961. New tracks will be added to create a junction between the old and new alignments.

Third rail (here referred to as "trolley rail") was installed between Laramie and Parkside Avenues on the Lake Street "L" as of May 8, 1961. This was one of the first actions taken in the project to move the "L" onto the nearby railroad embankment.

Third rail (here referred to as “trolley rail”) was installed between Laramie and Parkside Avenues on the Lake Street “L” as of May 8, 1961. This was one of the first actions taken in the project to move the “L” onto the nearby railroad embankment.

Work on the CTA's new Congress "L" branch was finishing up just as work began on realigning the outer portion of the Lake Street "L". Once these projects were finished, all the CTA grade crossings in Oak Park and Forest Park were eliminated.

Work on the CTA’s new Congress “L” branch was finishing up just as work began on realigning the outer portion of the Lake Street “L”. Once these projects were finished, all the CTA grade crossings in Oak Park and Forest Park were eliminated.

The changeover point from third rail to overhead wire on the Lake Street "L" was moved from Laramie to Central Avenue on May 22, 1961, at the beginning of the relocation project.

The changeover point from third rail to overhead wire on the Lake Street “L” was moved from Laramie to Central Avenue on May 22, 1961, at the beginning of the relocation project.

Overhead wire was removed from the eastbound Lake Street "L" track between Central and Laramie on May 24, 1961.

Overhead wire was removed from the eastbound Lake Street “L” track between Central and Laramie on May 24, 1961.

Central Avenue and Lake Street on October 28, 1962. This was the only place on the "L" system where trains under wire crossed a trolley bus line. Motor buses replaced trolley buses on Central on January 17, 1970. This portion of Lake Street was renamed Corcoran Place a few years after this picture was taken, to honor a local alderman who had recently died.

Central Avenue and Lake Street on October 28, 1962. This was the only place on the “L” system where trains under wire crossed a trolley bus line. Motor buses replaced trolley buses on Central on January 17, 1970. This portion of Lake Street was renamed Corcoran Place a few years after this picture was taken, to honor a local alderman who had recently died.

We are looking east along what was then Lake Street at Mayfield Avenue on October 28, 1962. We are just east of where the dedication ceremony took place. The new Central Avenue "L" station can be seen in the distance.

We are looking east along what was then Lake Street at Mayfield Avenue on October 28, 1962. We are just east of where the dedication ceremony took place. The new Central Avenue “L” station can be seen in the distance.

We are looking to the northeast along what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place) just east of Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962.

We are looking to the northeast along what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place) just east of Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962.

Chicago's dedication ceremony for the new "L" alignment took place on what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), between Austin Boulevard and Mason Avenue. Mayor Richard J, Daley and CTA chairman Virgil Gunlock presided. A similar ceremony was held in Oak Park.

Chicago’s dedication ceremony for the new “L” alignment took place on what was then Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), between Austin Boulevard and Mason Avenue. Mayor Richard J, Daley and CTA chairman Virgil Gunlock presided. A similar ceremony was held in Oak Park.

CTA "L" car 4407 appears to have been decorated for the dedication event near the Austin stop on October 28, 1962.

CTA “L” car 4407 appears to have been decorated for the dedication event near the Austin stop on October 28, 1962.

I believe we are just west of the Austin Boulevard "L" station on October 28, 1962.

I believe we are just west of the Austin Boulevard “L” station on October 28, 1962.

Clearances were extremely narrow on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", and therefore, when the line was elevated, temporary entrances were used. Once the old "L" had been cleared away, construction of the permanent entrances continued.

Clearances were extremely narrow on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, and therefore, when the line was elevated, temporary entrances were used. Once the old “L” had been cleared away, construction of the permanent entrances continued.

Again, near Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962. We are looking to the northeast.

Again, near Austin Boulevard on October 28, 1962. We are looking to the northeast.

An eastbound Lake Street "A" train is just east of Ridgeland Avenue on October 28, 1962.

An eastbound Lake Street “A” train is just east of Ridgeland Avenue on October 28, 1962.

We are looking west, just east of the Ridgeland Avenue "L" station on October 28, 1962. The building at left with the sign on it advertising a dry cleaner is now occupied by the Tayloe Glass Company.

We are looking west, just east of the Ridgeland Avenue “L” station on October 28, 1962. The building at left with the sign on it advertising a dry cleaner is now occupied by the Tayloe Glass Company.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street in suburban Oak Park on October 28, 1962. A two-tone mid-50s Ford heads north on Marion, while an early 1960s Corvair is eastbound on South Boulevard. This is a rare opportunity to see "L" cars on both levels.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street in suburban Oak Park on October 28, 1962. A two-tone mid-50s Ford heads north on Marion, while an early 1960s Corvair is eastbound on South Boulevard. This is a rare opportunity to see “L” cars on both levels.

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. The sign at left advertises Blue Cab, and there is a cab waiting there to serve people getting off the "L".

We are looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. The sign at left advertises Blue Cab, and there is a cab waiting there to serve people getting off the “L”.

Looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. Due to the narrow width of South Boulevard in this area, it was a one-way street going east. This section is now a two-way street, although there is still a section that is one way westbound, between Oak Park Avenue and Home Avenue.

Looking west along South Boulevard at Marion Street on October 28, 1962. Due to the narrow width of South Boulevard in this area, it was a one-way street going east. This section is now a two-way street, although there is still a section that is one way westbound, between Oak Park Avenue and Home Avenue.

A closer view of the new and old "L" stations. The sign above the entrance advertises the all metal "L" cars the CTA had operated on Lake since the last wood cars were taken off this line in 1954.

A closer view of the new and old “L” stations. The sign above the entrance advertises the all metal “L” cars the CTA had operated on Lake since the last wood cars were taken off this line in 1954.

At one time, Blue Cab had their headquarters on South Boulevard, but I don't recall offhand whether they were located here. The Lake Street "L" ground-level trackage extended across Harlem Avenue a short distance west of here. In the distance, you can see construction is already underway on expanding the railroad embankment to create a new yard for Lake Street trains. It opened in 1964.

At one time, Blue Cab had their headquarters on South Boulevard, but I don’t recall offhand whether they were located here. The Lake Street “L” ground-level trackage extended across Harlem Avenue a short distance west of here. In the distance, you can see construction is already underway on expanding the railroad embankment to create a new yard for Lake Street trains. It opened in 1964.

This slide, taken by the same photographer, has a processing date of May 1963. Lake Street trains are running on the embankment, with their trolley poles removed. The old tracks are still in place but will soon be ripped up. The adjacent street was widened and parking spaces added.

This slide, taken by the same photographer, has a processing date of May 1963. Lake Street trains are running on the embankment, with their trolley poles removed. The old tracks are still in place but will soon be ripped up. The adjacent street was widened and parking spaces added.

The Congress Expressway is under construction at Homan Avenue on October 9, 1955, and would soon open as far west as Laramie Avenue. Tracks are already being laid for the new CTA Congress "L" line, which opened on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park "L". Note the very flimsy barrier separating the "L" and highway. This soon proved completely inadequate and was eventually replaced by concrete barriers. Mayor Richard J. Daley drove the first spike for the new rails on July 8, 1955 near Pulaski Road. We are looking east. The entire story of the transition from the Garfield Park "L" to the Congress median line is told in my 2018 book Building Chicago's Subways.

The Congress Expressway is under construction at Homan Avenue on October 9, 1955, and would soon open as far west as Laramie Avenue. Tracks are already being laid for the new CTA Congress “L” line, which opened on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park “L”. Note the very flimsy barrier separating the “L” and highway. This soon proved completely inadequate and was eventually replaced by concrete barriers. Mayor Richard J. Daley drove the first spike for the new rails on July 8, 1955 near Pulaski Road. We are looking east. The entire story of the transition from the Garfield Park “L” to the Congress median line is told in my 2018 book Building Chicago’s Subways.

We were fortunately to recently purchase this original early red border Kodachrome slide, taken on September 7, 1941. It shows a fan taking a picture of Connecticut Company car 500, built in 1904 and described as the pride of the fleet, equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and dining tables. It was acquired by the Shore Line Trolley Museum in 1948.

We were fortunately to recently purchase this original early red border Kodachrome slide, taken on September 7, 1941. It shows a fan taking a picture of Connecticut Company car 500, built in 1904 and described as the pride of the fleet, equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and dining tables. It was acquired by the Shore Line Trolley Museum in 1948.

A view of the Chicago Transit Authority's Stock Yards branch on September 16, 1956. Service was discontinued the following year, and it has now been 65 years since the last wooden "L" car ran in regular service in Chicago.

A view of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Stock Yards branch on September 16, 1956. Service was discontinued the following year, and it has now been 65 years since the last wooden “L” car ran in regular service in Chicago.

Some Milwaukee Electric interurban trains ran past the North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal, although there does not seem to have been a track connection here. This picture dates to the 1940s. A TM interurban car did operate on a North Shore Line fantrip in 1949, so there must have been a track connection somewhere. An Electroliner is berthed at the terminal.

Some Milwaukee Electric interurban trains ran past the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal, although there does not seem to have been a track connection here. This picture dates to the 1940s. A TM interurban car did operate on a North Shore Line fantrip in 1949, so there must have been a track connection somewhere. An Electroliner is berthed at the terminal.

The Logan Square “L” Terminal, right around the end of service in late January 1970. Service was extended on this line via the new Kimball Subway and a median line in the Kennedy Expressway. Service went only to Jefferson Park at first, but now continues all the way to O’Hare Airport.

Another view of the old Logan Square "L" station near the end of service.

Another view of the old Logan Square “L” station near the end of service.

On December 6, 1958, CTA salt car AA98 was still on a trailer at the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS) location in Downers Grove. It was formerly Chicago Surface Lines car 2846 and was built in 1908 by the South Chicago City Railway. It went to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1973. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

On December 6, 1958, CTA salt car AA98 was still on a trailer at the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS) location in Downers Grove. It was formerly Chicago Surface Lines car 2846 and was built in 1908 by the South Chicago City Railway. It went to the Illinois Railway Museum in 1973. (Robert A. Selle Photo)

The CTA Congress Expressway median line was not the first of its type, that distinction having been taken by the Pacific Electric in 1940. Here, we see a 600-series "Hollywood" car in Cahuenga Pass at Barham Boulevard. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. PE service here ended in 1952 (this was part of the Van Nuys line) and the right-of-way was taken up by additional traffic lanes. (Stuart A. Liebman Photo)

The CTA Congress Expressway median line was not the first of its type, that distinction having been taken by the Pacific Electric in 1940. Here, we see a 600-series “Hollywood” car in Cahuenga Pass at Barham Boulevard. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. PE service here ended in 1952 (this was part of the Van Nuys line) and the right-of-way was taken up by additional traffic lanes. (Stuart A. Liebman Photo)

Don's Rail Photos: "(North Shore Line) 420 was was built by Pullman in 1928 as an observation. It was out of service by 1932. On July 21, 1943, it reentered service as a motorized coach. It was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1963." Here we see it prior to conversion.

Don’s Rail Photos: “(North Shore Line) 420 was was built by Pullman in 1928 as an observation. It was out of service by 1932. On July 21, 1943, it reentered service as a motorized coach. It was sold to Seashore Trolley Museum in 1963.” Here we see it prior to conversion.

North Shore Line diner 418 at the Milwaukee Terminal, when it was still in service as a diner. This print was made in 1945 but could have been taken earlier. Dining car service on the CNS&M ended in 1947, except for the Electroliners, and car 415, which was used in the "substitute Liner" and for charters.

North Shore Line diner 418 at the Milwaukee Terminal, when it was still in service as a diner. This print was made in 1945 but could have been taken earlier. Dining car service on the CNS&M ended in 1947, except for the Electroliners, and car 415, which was used in the “substitute Liner” and for charters.

A five-car train of Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood cars, including 312, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A five-car train of Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood cars, including 312, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 24 in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 24 in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 431, which was built by Pullman, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 431, which was built by Pullman, in Wheaton. This print was made in 1945, but the picture was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora and Elgin train, with 414 at the rear, heads west at Laramie Avenue as an Elgin Express. This picture was printed in 1945 but was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora and Elgin train, with 414 at the rear, heads west at Laramie Avenue as an Elgin Express. This picture was printed in 1945 but was probably taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines pre-war PCC 7020 heads west on Madison Street at Central Park Avenue. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. There is another picture taken at this location in my 2017 book Chicago Trolleys, showing a postwar PCC. (Ken Kidder Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines pre-war PCC 7020 heads west on Madison Street at Central Park Avenue. This print was made in 1946 but could have been taken earlier. There is another picture taken at this location in my 2017 book Chicago Trolleys, showing a postwar PCC. (Ken Kidder Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 140, formerly from the North Shore Line. Don's Rail Photos: "138 thru 141 were built by American Car in 1910. They were rebuilt for Elevated compatibility in 1919. They were also leased to the CA&E in 1936, returned to the CNS&M in 1945, and sold to the CA&E in 1946." This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin wood car 140, formerly from the North Shore Line. Don’s Rail Photos: “138 thru 141 were built by American Car in 1910. They were rebuilt for Elevated compatibility in 1919. They were also leased to the CA&E in 1936, returned to the CNS&M in 1945, and sold to the CA&E in 1946.” This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 417 heads up a Chicago Express at Laramie Avenue. This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin steel car 417 heads up a Chicago Express at Laramie Avenue. This print was made in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Don's Rail Photos: "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. The following year, three more cars were acquired. 80 thru 82 were combines built by Cincinnati in 1913. On the CA&E, they were rebuilt in much the same manner as the 600s. The baggage compartment was fitted with seats and the cars were operated as full coaches numbered 700 thru 702. 700 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 80. It was sold as CA&E 700 in 1938." This picture was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. The location is the Wheaton Shops. (E. Dale Photo)

Don’s Rail Photos: “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. The following year, three more cars were acquired. 80 thru 82 were combines built by Cincinnati in 1913. On the CA&E, they were rebuilt in much the same manner as the 600s. The baggage compartment was fitted with seats and the cars were operated as full coaches numbered 700 thru 702. 700 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 80. It was sold as CA&E 700 in 1938.” This picture was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. The location is the Wheaton Shops. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 435 is westbound at Laramie Avenue on an Aurora Express. This photo was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 435 is westbound at Laramie Avenue on an Aurora Express. This photo was printed in 1945, but could have been taken earlier. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 423 is running on the streets of Aurora as an express. The terminal was relocated off the street at the end of 1939, and the license plate on the car at left is from 1934 or 1936 (probably the former). This print was made in 1945. (E. Dale Photo)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin 423 is running on the streets of Aurora as an express. The terminal was relocated off the street at the end of 1939, and the license plate on the car at left is from 1934 or 1936 (probably the former). This print was made in 1945. (E. Dale Photo)

Birney car 1501 is in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1947. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

Birney car 1501 is in Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1947. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

This is the West Penn Railway in Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, which is 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

This is the West Penn Railway in Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, which is 30 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

North Shore Line 714 heads up a southbound Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago in 1947. This car was built in 1926 by the Cincinnati Car Company. After the North Shore Line was abandoned in 1963, 714 went to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is today. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

North Shore Line 714 heads up a southbound Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago in 1947. This car was built in 1926 by the Cincinnati Car Company. After the North Shore Line was abandoned in 1963, 714 went to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is today. (Victor G. Wagner Photo)

A view of the Metropolitan "L" crossing the Chicago River on July 10, 1949. We are looking to the northwest.

A view of the Metropolitan “L” crossing the Chicago River on July 10, 1949. We are looking to the northwest.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 32 in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1940. (G. Pilkington Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 32 in Wildwood, New Jersey in 1940. (G. Pilkington Photo)

CTA 2712 leads a two-car Douglas Park "L" train in the early 1950s. The train is headed towards Marshfield Junction, where Douglas Park, Garfield Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park lines converged into the Met "L" main line at Paulina. Construction is underway here for the Congress Expressway. A new north-south connection was built soon after this picture was taken, so that Douglas Park trains could be re-routed downtown via the former Logan Square tracks to a new connection with the Lake Street "L". This allowed the Met main line to be removed east of here in 1954, where the "L" was in the way of the new highway.

CTA 2712 leads a two-car Douglas Park “L” train in the early 1950s. The train is headed towards Marshfield Junction, where Douglas Park, Garfield Park, Logan Square, and Humboldt Park lines converged into the Met “L” main line at Paulina. Construction is underway here for the Congress Expressway. A new north-south connection was built soon after this picture was taken, so that Douglas Park trains could be re-routed downtown via the former Logan Square tracks to a new connection with the Lake Street “L”. This allowed the Met main line to be removed east of here in 1954, where the “L” was in the way of the new highway.

A four-car train of CTA 4000s is (I presume) near Howard in the 1950s. Miles Beitler adds, "Photo aad702a looks like a train of 4000s leaving Howard Street southbound on track 1. If I’m correct that that the overhead wire has been removed and the trolley poles on the 4000s are down, this must be after third rail was installed on track 1, which would date the photo to around 1964 or later."

A four-car train of CTA 4000s is (I presume) near Howard in the 1950s. Miles Beitler adds, “Photo aad702a looks like a train of 4000s leaving Howard Street southbound on track 1. If I’m correct that that the overhead wire has been removed and the trolley poles on the 4000s are down, this must be after third rail was installed on track 1, which would date the photo to around 1964 or later.”

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 69 is at Indianapolis on August 11, 1940.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 69 is at Indianapolis on August 11, 1940.

A North Shore Line freight train is at the Rondout weigh station in January 1963.

A North Shore Line freight train is at the Rondout weigh station in January 1963.

North Shore Line combine 256 is at the front of a three-car train of "Greenliners" (a fan term) in a slide processed in June 1961.

North Shore Line combine 256 is at the front of a three-car train of “Greenliners” (a fan term) in a slide processed in June 1961.

The Ravinia Park Casino was built in 1904 and demolished in 1985. Ravinia Park was built by the Chicago and Milwaukee electric, which became the North Shore Line in 1916.

The Ravinia Park Casino was built in 1904 and demolished in 1985. Ravinia Park was built by the Chicago and Milwaukee electric, which became the North Shore Line in 1916.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 59 is at Indianapolis on August 11, 1940.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 59 is at Indianapolis on August 11, 1940.

A Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric loco in Wheaton, where the lines diverged to go to either Aurora (shown here) or Elgin.

A Chicago Aurora and Elgin electric loco in Wheaton, where the lines diverged to go to either Aurora (shown here) or Elgin.

When I posted this circa 1954-55 Garfield Park "L" image to our Facebook group, it generated a lot of discussion as to whether or not this 4000-series "L" car was still in CRT brown paint. The CTA repainted these cars into green and cream starting around 1952. But after much consideration, my conclusion is that this is just a trick of the light, and the car is actually painted in the later CTA colors. It is in shadow and not in direct sunlight. By this time, all such cars should have been repainted and put into married pairs with various modifications (which are visible on this car). The car behind it, which is presumably its mate, is painted green and cream. We are at the east end of the Van Bure Street temporary trackage, which was used from 1953 to 1958. The photographer was apparently looking out the front end of a westbound train, and there was a ramp behind the photographer leading up to the old "L" structure heading to the Loop. The cross street here is Racine Avenue (1200 W).

When I posted this circa 1954-55 Garfield Park “L” image to our Facebook group, it generated a lot of discussion as to whether or not this 4000-series “L” car was still in CRT brown paint. The CTA repainted these cars into green and cream starting around 1952. But after much consideration, my conclusion is that this is just a trick of the light, and the car is actually painted in the later CTA colors. It is in shadow and not in direct sunlight. By this time, all such cars should have been repainted and put into married pairs with various modifications (which are visible on this car). The car behind it, which is presumably its mate, is painted green and cream. We are at the east end of the Van Bure Street temporary trackage, which was used from 1953 to 1958. The photographer was apparently looking out the front end of a westbound train, and there was a ramp behind the photographer leading up to the old “L” structure heading to the Loop. The cross street here is Racine Avenue (1200 W).

I assume this picture of Chicago Surface Lines Peter Witt car 6311 was taken at Devon station. The date given with the negative was January 6, 1941 but this hardly seems likely, given the foliage and the open door. Perhaps month and date were reversed, and a date of June 1, 1941 is correct.

I assume this picture of Chicago Surface Lines Peter Witt car 6311 was taken at Devon station. The date given with the negative was January 6, 1941 but this hardly seems likely, given the foliage and the open door. Perhaps month and date were reversed, and a date of June 1, 1941 is correct.

A view of the Indiana Railroad's Muncie Terminal on August 10, 1940. The photo is by WVK, although I don't know what those initials stand for.

A view of the Indiana Railroad’s Muncie Terminal on August 10, 1940. The photo is by WVK, although I don’t know what those initials stand for.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 78 in Indianapolis in the late 1930s.

Indiana Railroad high-speed car 78 in Indianapolis in the late 1930s.