This “red border” Kodachrome shows CTA salt car AA-104 at South Shops on January 4, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos says, “AA104, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 339. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy (Calumet and South Chicago Railway) 838 in 1908. It was renumbered 2853 in 1913 and became CSL 2853 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA104 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956.” This was one of the few railroad-roof cars on the Chicago system. The main color here is Pullman Green. (James J. Buckley Photo)
After our recent forays to the East Coast, part of a series by guest contributor Kenneth Gear, we are back in Sweet Home Chicago for this one. Watch this space for additional posts in Ken’s series.
Although we are a few days late for Valentine’s Day, we nonetheless have many photographic gifts for Chicago-area traction fans in today’s post, that constitute a virtual Valentine to our readers. First, we have some recent finds. Next, a few color slides courtesy of William Shapotkin. Then, a bevy of classic black-and-white images taken by the late Robert Selle, one of the greatest railfan photographers.
We also have a book review, and there are two new audio CD collections in our ongoing efforts to digitize 1950s steam railroad audio for the 21st Century.
When the CTA opened the five-mile long Skokie Swift branch in April 1964 (over a small portion of the former North Shore Line) ridership far exceeded expectations. So the four articulated 5000-series cars were quickly renovated and adapted for Swift service. These were experimental when built in 1947-48 and became “oddballs” on the CTA system. Here, we see car 51 (renumbered from 5001) in October 1964 at Kostner. These cars continued to run into the 1980s. Two of the four sets were saved, and this set is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Color correction by J. J. Sedelmaier)
Three CTA trains of 6000-series “L”/Subway cars are lined up by the old Tower 18 in the early 1950s. As you can see, with the tower in the middle of the junction, not all moves could be made. For example, eastbound trains coming from Lake Street could not go straight east, but had to turn south. At this time, traffic on both the inner and outer Loop tracks went in the same direction (counter-clockwise). This arrangement was changed in 1969 when the CTA wanted to through-route Lake with the new Dan Ryan line. The tower was moved and replaced with a new one, and new eastbound trackage was built where the old tower was. That was also the beginning of bi-directional operations on the Loop, which continue to this day.
One-man CSL 3117 is eastbound on 18th Street at Carpenter (approx. 1100 West) in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos: “3117 was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948.” This was part of a series known as CSL Safety Cars, aka “Sewing Machines.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
The same location today.
Two CTA PCCs (4064 and 4115) and red car 368, all Pullmans, at Kedzie Station (Fifth and Kedzie) on August 22, 1953. The main portion of Route 20 – Madison was converted to bus on December 13 of that year, and the Fifth Avenue branch continued for a few more months as a shuttle operation. The PCC at left is in its original colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream and Swamp Holly Orange), while the one in the center has been repainted in Everglade Green and Alpine White. (Robert Selle Photo)
CTA Postwar PCC 7200, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at 81st and Halsted on January 2, 1954. This was the south end of Route 22, Clark-Wentworth. It’s been pointed out to me that fans took a lot of pictures at this location, but here we had the opportunity to purchase the original medium-format neg, and not just a print. Notice the dents on the front of 7200. (Robert Selle Photo)
“One-man PCC 4021, now northbound on the (private right-of-way) portion of the South Cottage Grove line.” This was on May 30, 1955. 4021 is now the only preserved prewar PCC, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo)
Color Slides, Courtesy of William Shapotkin:
“Looking westbound on (North) Lake Street toward Austin Boulevard., cars 3153 and 1757, woring CTA Lake Street line, lay over at west end-of-line. In distance (SW corner of Lake and Austin in Oak Park), a bus working the Chicago & West Towns Lake Street line takes its layover. May 15, 1954.” (About two weeks before the end of streetcar service on Route 16).
“Chicago, IL. CTA car #3153, working an eastbound trip on Route 16 – Lake, is eastbound in (North) Lake Street, having just crossed over Central Avenue. View looks west/northwest from the Chicago & North Western embankment. May 15, 1954.”
CTA 1812 at Lake and Pine in February 1953, heading west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, which was elevated onto the adjacent embankment in 1962. Pine is where Route 16 streetcars crossed the “L” to go from what was then called South Lake Street to North Lake Street. In 1964, the South Lake Street portion in this area was renamed Corcoran Place, after the death of the local alderman. (Thanks to J. J. Sedelmaier for twerking, er “tweaking” this one to make it look better.)
The same location today (Lake and Pine). This is where Lake Street takes a jog to the north side of the former Chicago & North Western embankment, and the CSL/CTA Route 16 streetcar went along with it. Since Lake Street pretty much split in two at this point, the section west of here (behind the photographer) was referred to as either North Lake or South Lake, depending on which side of the embankment you were on. This was a reasonable system, since there were no duplicate street numbers. But in 1964, the south portion between Pine and Austin (a distance of just over half a mile) was renamed Corcoran Place, after the local alderman, an ally of then-Mayor Richard J. Daley’s, who died suddenly from a heart attack. The “L” was relocated onto the embankment in 1962 and the street it was in (either Lake Street, South Lake Street aka Corcoan Place, or South Boulevard in Oak Park) made wider, or made into parking lots.
“Chicago, IL. CTA car #4333 brings up the rear of an eastbound Lake Street “L” train. View looks east from Lake/Laramie station. Note pull-offs for overhead trolley wire, used west from Laramie station. June 23, 1959,”
“Chicago, IL. Looking westbound on CTA’s Lake Street “L” at (South) Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), at Menard Avenue. Line car #S200 is seen doing wire work. In distance is the Austin/Lake “L” station. At right (on embankment) is one-time “Boulevard” Chicago & North Western station (located at Austin Boulevard). May 27, 1960.” Don Ross: “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1924.”
“Oak Park, IL. A pair of 4000s, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Lake Street “L”, are on South Boulevard at Kenilworth Avenue. Visible in distance (on embankment) is one-time “Avenue” Chicago & North Western passenger station, located at Oak Park Avenue. View looks east on January 18, 1962.”
In the center, we see the portal at the north end of the State Street subway, just south of Armitage. The two middle “L” tracks were moved to the outer edge of the structure when the subway was built. The “L” continued south from this point with four tracks to Chicago Avenue. In recent years, the two outer tracks have been removed, and just a siding remains at this point.
Chicago, Burlington & Qunict locomotive 4978 in Mendota, IL on September 2, 2010 with a Metra Electric (ex-Illinois Central “Highliner” at left. Both are at the Union Depot Railroad Museum. (Mike Sosalla Photo)
Classic Bob Selle Images
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know that the late Robert Selle (1929-2013) was an excellent photographer who specialized in black-and-white. As with many other railfan photographers, his extensive collection of images got scattered after his death.
Now and again, some of them pop up on eBay, but not always identified as his work in the auction listings. Fortunately, Selle is one of those few photographers whose work can be recognized at a glance, as it is often a cut above the rest.
Over the years, we have purchased a few Bob Selle negatives, which have been featured on this blog (including three in today’s post).
In 2011, Jeff Wien and the late Bradley Criss visited Mr. Selle in Florida, and he generously allowed them to scan some of his negatives. Tragically, Bradley Criss passed away in 2016 (you can read an appreciation of him here). He would have been 55 years old on February 4th.
As a tribute to both Bob Selle and Bradley Criss, here is a selection from the images they scanned, courtesy of Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive.
CTA Pullman 495 at Limits Station (car barn), so named because it was once at the north end of the city limits when first built. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 581 at Milwaukee and Clinton, in front of Chicago & North Western steam loco 1564. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 4200 northbound on Clark near Montrose. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA postwar PCC 4224 (a Pullman) at the Limits car barn. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
The group photo from the last Chicago streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. This was less than a month before the end of streetcar service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 6136 on the Museum Loop in Grant Park, just east of the Illinois Central Electric. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA snow sweeper E223 was saved from destruction by Dick Lukin, and it is shown here in 1958, on its way to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum site in North Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A young (and shiirtless) Nick Kallas at the ERHS (Electric Railway Historical Society) site in Downers Grove, where streetcars such as Chicago & West Towns 141, shown here, were stored between 1959 and 1973, when the collection went to the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago Aurora & Elgin 433, built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927. The tower, just barely visible at rear, was part of Wheaton Yard. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CA&E 453, a 1945 product of St. Louis Car Company, at the Wheaton station. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A six-car CA&E train westbound at the Halsted curve. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CA&E 458 heads a three-car train westbound at Western Avenue. The CTA bus on Van Buren indicates that this picture was taken no earlier than August 12, 1951. The Van Buren Street temporary trackage appears to be in place already, but testing has not started yet, as there are barriers in place. “L” service shifted to the temporary trackage in September 1953 and the CA&E cut back service to Forest Park. At left you can see the imposing structure of Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School, otherwise known as Crane Tech. We are looking to the east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Two North Shore Line trains pass at Ravinia on a 1953 Shore Line Route fantrip. This is not the same stop as Ravinia Park, which is some distance away. The area taken up by the NSL tracks is now a parking lot for the Metra station (former Chicago & North Western), whose tracks are at left. We are looking southeast. Presumably the Silverliner at right is the fantrip train as the other train is not flying flags. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
The building just visible in the previous picture, located at 514 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park.
Chicago & North Western loco 505 heads up at train at Kinzie Street. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
C&NW loco 531 and train at Edison Park. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
C&NW 545 and train in Edison Park on Chicago’s northwest side. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 291 at 63rd and Narragansett, possibly during the period just before Route 63 was converted to bus on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 475, running on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue, emerges from the east portal of the Washington streetcar tunnel at Franklin Street, having traveled under the Chicago River. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 384 at Roosevelt and Paulina. Cars on Route 9 – Ashland took a jog here, as streetcars were not allowed to run on boulevards. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 124 at Division and Wells on Route 6 – Van Buren. The latest this photo could have been taken is 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 265 is northbound at State and Archer on Route 45 (Ashland-Downtown). At left, we see a Route 44 CTA bus. This helps date the picture to between July 7, 1951 (when 44 converted to bus) and February 14, 1954 (when routes 9 and 45 were converted). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 276 is eastbound at 63rd and Paulina on Route 63, probably in 1953 near the end of streetcar service on this line. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 377, also at 63rd and Paulina. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 289 is eastbound on Grand near Milwaukee on Route 65. This route was converted to bus on April 1, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 452 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 453 is heading west on diversion trackage on Route 8 – Halsted at Chicago Avenue in 1953. I believe the PCC at the rear is 7228, a product of the St. Louis Car Company. The diversion was between Division and Chicago, and was used when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. The two streetcars are about to turn from eastbound Chicago Avenue onto southbound Halsted. PCCs were being phased out on Halsted during this period, as CTA had begun shipping the 310 Pullmans to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping and parts reuse on a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars. By the time streetcar service ended on Halsted in 1954, service was being provided entirely by the older red cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
The note that came with this image of CTA Pullman 469 says it is on Kedzie near Chicago Avenue. But the sign on the streetcar says route 66, which is Chicago and not Kedzie. So perhaps we are on Chicago Avenue near Kedzie. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Patrick Cunningham adds: “The Pullman 469 photo is on Chicago Ave. looking east from the CNW viaduct towards Sacramento. The building in the far background still exists.”
The view looking east from about 3037 West Chicago Avenue, which is probably just a bit east of where the above photo was taken. You can see that the same building is at rear on Sacramento Boulevard.
CTA Pullman 381 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, the west end of Route 63. This picture may have been taken early in 1953, after PCCs had been replaced by older cars on this line, shortly before it was converted to bus. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 409 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman n 504 exiting the Washington Street tunnel, operating on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 523 at the same location. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 540 at Southport and Clark, ready to head south on another trip on Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 610, an Ashland car, heads south on Clark at School Street. There is a similar photo on page 104 in my book Chicago Trolleys, showing car 144 at the same location. That picture is dated May 7, 1953 which may be when this picture was taken. That car was a pull-in to the Limits car barn, which may also be the case here. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 669 at 63rd and Paulina, probably in early 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 675 is westbound on Chicago Avenue at Grand Avenue on Route 66. Note the cool Bowman Dairy truck. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 839 is on Ashland at Chicago on Route 9. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Ther motorman of CTA Pullman 879 waves at the photographer as he rounds the turn from Wells onto Division, running Through Route 3 – Lincoln-Indiana, which was discontinued on March 11, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
The same location today. Things have sure changed a lot!
CTA 171 on Ogden at Ashland, operating on Route 58. The white stripe indicates that this is a one-man car. 1721 was part of a series known as “169” or Broadway-State cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 173 is on Chicago Avenue near Ashland, on Route 66. Note the Goldblatt’s nearby. Goldblatt’s was a local department store chain that operated from 1914 until 2000. In 1946, they had 15 local stores, with annual sales of $62m. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 1765 is at the west end of Route 16 – Lake, at Austin Boulevard, the city limits, in 1952. The old Park Theater is behind the streetcar. It closed around this time, although it may still have been open when this picture was taken. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Another view, a “roster shot,” showing 1765 by the Park Theater. Note the movie theater is not boarded up, which probably means it was still open when this picture was taken in 1952. Chances are, it fell victim to competition from television. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 17778 is on Route 66 – Chicago Avenue at Ashland, passing by a Woolworth’s dime store. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 1781 at the same location. The white stripe on the front let riders know that this was a one-man car, and therefore they should enter at the front, instead of the rear, as they would on a two-man car. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Book Review: Chicago Streetcar Memories
Chicago Streetcar Memories
By Kenneth C. Springirth
Publisher: ???? (2018)
Softcover, 128 pages
A new Chicago streetcar book is always a welcome addition to one’s library. Someone recently gave me a copy of Chicago Streetcar Memories by Kenneth C. Springirth, which came out last month.
As the author of Chicago Trolleys (see below), and co-author of a Chicago PCC book, I probably have a different perspective on this type of work than many people who will read it. I’ll put in my two cents for what it’s worth, but feel free to make up your own mind on these matters.
Mr. Springirth, who is about 78 years old and lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, has written numerous traction picture books over the years. Looking him up on Amazon, I found at least two dozen titles going back to 1968, although, for whatever reason, I did not see this new one listed there. Another source credits him with 35 books.
This new volume does not have any ISBN information, and no publisher is listed. So, in the absence of knowledge to the contrary, I am going to assume that it is a self-published work. In recent years, Springirth has been prolific, putting out a few such picture books per year.
Usually an author collects a royalty, if he or she is lucky, from a publisher who is willing to take a chance on their work. This generally involves an editor, who works with the author. There is back-and-forth until both parties are satisfied they have done their best, and then the book is published. It is a partnership.
Self-publishing, by my way of looking at it, is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, for those authors with deep enough pockets to finance the production costs, there is the chance to keep a lot more of the profits– as long as you can find a way to sell your books in sufficient quantities to create a profit.
Having absolute creative control over your book can be the ideal situation. On the other hand, an editor is a useful sounding board, and can also elevate the quality of your writing by asking you to revise your work and do better. An editor tries to get your best work out of you. The goal of a publisher should be to take what the author has done and improve it, to make a better book.
Whether by coincidence or otherwise, this book has the same name as a DVD put out some years back by Chicago Transport Memories, LLC. However, titles cannot be copyrighted (although sometimes they may be trademarked), and any way you look at it, this is a good title. The same author also has a recent book out called Baltimore Streetcar Memories, so perhaps he envisions this as part of a series.
It is worth noting that there is no connection between the DVD put out by Chicago Transport Memories, LLC and this new book, even though they have the same exact title. Complicating matters even further, the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD was included along with copies of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, Bulletin 146 from the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which I co-authored.
All the pictures in this new book, except for the cover, are black-and-white. The overall effect, at 128 pages, is somewhat like an oversized Arcadia book in their Images of Rail series, perhaps not surprising as Mr. Springirth has written a few of those also.
Unfortunately, the larger format was not put to best use, as the images in general are not very sharp and a few are downright fuzzy. I do not know if this is due to the choice of dpi (dots per inch) when the original images were scanned, or whether this somehow relates to the printing process used, or both. In general, it would be fair to say that the images in Chicago Trolleys are sharper and more detailed than those in the Chicago Streetcar Memories book, even though our book is somewhat smaller in overall dimensions.
I don’t know why this should be the case, but it is true.
Except for a few pictures taken by the author, the bulk of images between the covers come from a single source– the collections of the late Clifford R. Scholes (1927-2018), who died less than a month ago. For that reason, it practically makes Scholes a co-author of the book, although he is not named as such, for the book inevitably reflects Scholes’ viewpoint as much as Springirth’s.
Getting all your images from a single source makes writing such a book a lot more convenient, I am sure, but it is a practice that I do not subscribe to for my own book projects. My philosophy is to leave no stone unturned, making a thorough and exhaustive search for images that will provide the reader with enough variety to make things interesting.
I keep digging into a subject until I feel I have a foundation for a book, and then I keep digging deeper. There is always the chance that if you dig deep enough, you will reach a deeper understanding of your subject than you started with.
There is a danger in using photos from a single source, and that is they reflect a singular point of view. You run the risk of having too many similar-looking types of pictures, and miss out on different perspectives.
Having such a large collection to draw upon may be useful to an author who is trying to put out several books a year. But everyone is different, and as an author, it is not the path I have chosen for myself.
When you stop searching for new material, you run the risk that you also stop learning. And there is a temptation to stop looking when you say, “I have enough material to make a book,” even though there still might be better information out there.
I notice that in this book, there is not one picture showing the interior of a streetcar. My own book Chicago Trolleys has several such interior shots. I based my own work on the idea that history is the story of people, so I made it a point to show the motormen, conductors and riders in various situations, including paying their fares on a two-man PCC.
Although the title would tell you this is a streetcar book, the final chapter features Chicago trolley buses (although, inexplicably, they are referred to as “trackless trolleys,” a term that may have been popular in other places, but was never commonly used by Chicagoans).
One of the first rules of writing is to write what you know. I know Chicago, having lived my entire life here. Therefore, I wouldn’t dream of writing a book about Erie, Pennsylvania or some other city, because that is not what I know the best. But that is just me.
Perhaps inspired by some recent Dispatches from the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, this book goes into some detail on various streetcar routes. But since this is mainly a picture book, a single page of text at the start of several chapters is not sufficient space to cover seven routes apiece, as the author tries to do. The overall effect here is confusing, as the author tries to do too much in the limited amount of space available.
Personally, I found the maps in this book to be somewhat amateurish. They are hand-drawn, and scanned in such a way as to not be very sharp. In fact, you could say they are downright pixilated.
I chose not to use maps in Chicago Trolleys, since there were so many streetcar lines at one time that a Surface Lines map would look like a plate of spaghetti. My book did not try to be a route history per se. But there are several maps in the book project I am working on now, and I had to look long and hard to find ones that will be easy to read, and convey the information I want the reader to have. It is not easy to do.
In my humble opinion, the text in such books should be more than a mere recitation of facts. There are numerous sources for transit facts, such as how the Chicago Transit Authority took over operations of the “L” and surface systems on October 1, 1947 or that the last Chicago streetcar ran on June 21, 1958. It is an author’s responsibility to provide insight as well as facts. Yes, these things happened, but why did they happen? What were the circumstances and influences that made this so?
Whether by sheer coincidence, or otherwise, the last two pictures in Chicago Streeetcar Memories are very similar to the ones that conclude Chicago Trolleys, and show a Chicago PCC and a Chicago trolley bus at the Illinois Railway Museum.
All in all, I was somewhat disappointed in the Chicago Streetcar Memories book. But far be it from me to discourage anyone from buying it, since a book about Chicago streetcars is better than no book at all. Reading is always something to be encouraged, and authors applauded for their efforts at preserving history for the benefit of future generations.
If you are looking for detailed Chicago route histories, I would suggest getting a copy of the third edition of the late Alan R. Lind’s Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History, which will probably remain for all time the best-ever Chicago streetcar book, and the standard by which all others are judged. Since it was published four decades ago, important contributions have been made to route histories by some of the Shore Line Dispatches.
If you are interested in Chicago PCC cars, CERA B-146 is the ne plus ultra, and our intention in writing it was to provide, at least for this aspect, a kind of updated color descendant of the Lind book, which is only black-and-white.
Chicago’s streetcar system was once so vast that no single book could do full justice to it, but we authors must continue to try.
That being said, my own recent work Chicago Trolleys provides an overview, which in my case was anything electric that ran in the Chicago area and used overhead wire instead of third rail. I also cover horsecars and cable cars, which preceded electric streetcars. My intention was to introduce the novice to the subject, while at the same time provide enough new material and previously unseen photographs to entertain even the most diehard railfan. We will leave it to our readers to tell us whether we succeeded.
Whatever my own reservations might be about it, the fact remains that you may still enjoy this new book.
While Chicago Streetcar Memories is not available (yet) on Amazon, you can purchase a copy from either Ron’s Books or the Seashore Trolley Museum. Expect to pay about 50% more for a copy, compared to Chicago Trolleys.
New 1950s Steam Train Audio CDs:
The Howard Fogg Steam Train Collection
# of Discs- 3
The Howard Fogg Steam Train Collection
Howard Fogg (1917-1996) was a renaissance man, the dean of American railroad illustrators. But it is not as well-known that he recorded the sounds of steam trains in their waning mainline days starting in 1954.
These recordings were released on four LPs by the long-defunct Owl Records label between 1959 and 1969. They have since become collector’s items.
They are excellent recordings. Fogg knew everybody in the railroad industry, so he had access to railroad towers and places ordinary folks could not get to. In addition, he did his own narration, and had a great voice for it.
The four Fogg LPs are widely regarded as being classics, and the equal of anything put out by the Railroad Record Club. The titles were Power of the Past!, The Talking Giants, All Steamed Up! and The Big Steam…, Union Pacific.
These “orphan works” have been digitally remastered for the 21st century and are now available on a three-CD set for your listening pleasure. Railroads covered include the Baltimore & Ohio, Grand Trunk Western, Nickel Plate, Detroit Toledo & Ironton, Illinois Central, New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Colorado & Southern, Rio Grande, and Union Pacific.
Total time – 174:59
# of Discs- 1
Highball, narrated by Jim Ameche (Don Ameche’s brother), was originally issued in 1959 on LP by a long-defunct record label. Railroads featured include Colorado & Southern, Great Western, Santa Maria Valley, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific. Bonus tracks feature the Denver and Rio Grande Western, Canadian Pacific, and Pennsylvania Railroad.
Total time: 77:08
On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)
Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.
This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.
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This remarkable very early color picture shows NSL Birney car 332 and a variety of interurban cars in Milwaukee. In back, that’s car 300 in fantrip service. It was used by CERA as a club car circa 1939-42, which helps date the photo. Don’s Rail Photos: “332 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948… 300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans’ Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.” CERA bulletins of the time say that fantrips, being non-essential travel were not allowed for much of the war, starting in 1942. By the time the war ended, car 300 had been stripped of some parts in order to keep other wood cars running. Several were sold to the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin in 1946. The North Shore Line had decided it no longer wanted to run wood cars in passenger service. Then, the 300 was vandalized and some windows were smashed. It was scrapped by CNS&M.
Today, we continue our look at the great Chicago interurbans* by featuring the North Shore Line. The Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee last ran on January 21, 1963, just over 54 years ago.
This is widely considered the end of the Interurban Era.
But wait, there’s much more on offer in this, our 175th post. All of today’s black-and-white photos are scanned from the original negatives. This includes an original medium format neg taken by Edward Frank, Jr., which he traded with another collector. I don’t know what became of the rest of his negatives.
CNS&M wooden interurban car 303 in its days as a sleet cutter. Don’s Rail Photos: “303 thru 305 were built by American Car in 1910 and were almost identical. In 1939 they became sleet cutters and were retired and scrapped in 1940.”
CNS&M 704 getting washed at the Milwaukee terminal. Don’s Rail Photos: “704 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in May 1923, #2635.” (Walter Broschart Photo)
The information I received with this negative says that CNS&M 169 is a Special on the Shore Line Route in Wilmette in 1954. On the other hand, one of our long-time readers says this is actually Mundelein terminal on that branch line. Since this is apparently a fantrip car, the Shore Line Route sign may be incorrect. Don’s Rail Photos: “169 was built by Jewett in 1917.”
A not too sharp picture of a southbound train on the Shore Line Route at Wilmette.
Richard H. Young took this picture on June 2, 1960 from the back of a moving North Shore car somewhere near Mundelein. We see a line car at work on the other track. One of our regular readers says that we are looking east toward South Upton tower, with Rt. 176 at left (north).
A close-up of the line car. Not sure whether this is the 604 or the 606.
The same location today.
CNS&M 774 at the Milwaukee terminal. Don’s Rail Photos: “774 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930, It was rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on May 9, 1950.” This photo appears to predate that.
CNS&M 761 at the Milwaukee terminal on May 29, 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “761 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1949 and rebuilt as Silverliner in October 11, 1957.”
One of the two Electroliners passes a train of older cars in this wintry scene. Not sure of the exact location. The Electroliners entered service in 1941. Don Ross: “The Electroliner in the snow was at North Chicago. I have one similar from a different angle and no snow.” Jerry Wiatrowski: “The picture of the Southbound Electroliner is entering the curve to North Chicago Junction. The photographer is looking Northwest from North Chicago Junction. The bypass line continues South to the left.”
The same location today. We are looking north at about 2225 Commonwealth Avenue in North Chicago, IL. The cross-street, which was 22nd Street, is now Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr.
North Shore steeple cab 459 looks like it is backing up to connect with a couple of stalled cars. The information I got with this negative says this is Cudahy, Wisconsin in April 1954. That is just south of Milwaukee. However, it’s been pointed out to me that this municipality was a couple miles west of the right-of-way and the station in the picture looks more like Waukegan. Don’s Rail Photos: “459 was built by the SP&S in August 1941 as OERy 51. It was purchased by the North Shore in December 1947 and was completed as 459 on November 22, 1948.”
North Shore Birney car 335 in July 1947. Don’s Rail Photos: “335 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in December 1922, #2625. It was retired in 1947 and scrapped in April 1948.” The car is signed for Oklahoma Avenue in Milwaukee.
Car 409 on an early CERA fantrip, which may have been on June 4, 1939. It appears to be coupled to 716. The car at left may be 168. Car 255 is also supposed to have been used on that 1939 fantrip, but at that time, it was a full-length baggage car that had no seats and was often used to move musician’s instruments to and from Ravinia Park. The seats were not put in again until 1942. Don’s Rail Photos: “409 was built by Cincinnati Car in May 1923, #2465, as a dining car motor. In 1942 it was rebuilt as a coach and rebuilt as a Silverliner on March 30, 1955. Since it had no bulkhead between smoking and non-smoking sections, it was our favorite car to be used for meetings of the Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association in Milwaukee. The North Shore was very cooperative in making sure that the car was in the location shown on meeting nights.”
I received no information with this negative, but this may show a bunch of North Shore Line cars in dead storage after the 1963 abandonment. Notice the destination sign is missing from combine 254. This car was not saved. Don’s Rail Photos: “254 was built by Jewett in 1917. The seating was changed to 28 on August 26, 1955.”
CNS&M 759 and train at South Upton on June 15, 1947. Don’s Rail Photos: “759 was built by Standard Steel Car Co in 1930. It was modernized in 1949.”
CNS&M 737 at Highwood in 1950. Don’s Rail Photos: “737 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940 and rebuilt as Silverliner on June 30, 1950.” (Richard S. Short Photo)
CNS&M 739 near Glencoe. The date given is June 21, 1941; however, there was a CERA fantrip the following day, so the date may actually be June 22. The car is signed for charter service on the Shore Line Route. June 22, 1941 was also the day that Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Don’s Rail Photos: “739 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940 and rebuilt as (a) Silverliner on August 31, 1950.”
CNS&M 155 is a Skokie Valley Route Special at North Chicago on April 17, 1952. Don’s Rail Photos: “155 was built by Brill in 1915, #19605. It was damaged by fire at Highwood on August 11, 1955, and scrapped. One end from it was used to repair 735.”
South Shore Line
The other great Chicago interurban, of course, is the South Shore Line, which continues to operate between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. We have just a couple vintage photos to show you today, but are sure to have more soon.
CSS&SB car 1 heads up a train at Randolph Street in downtown Chicago in 1946. Don’s Rail Photos: “1 was built by Pullman in 1926. It was later air-conditioned. It went to National Park Service in 1983 and (was) loaned to (the) Southern Michigan RR.” Spence Ziegler says, “The photo of CSS&SB #1 was more likely 1950-52; I have a slide from the Interurbans Slide set from 1983 showing #1 leaving Kensington in 1949 (on the rear of a train) still with the destination sign and train number sign on it’s end, though both were disused. Bill Wasik: “The CSS&SB car 1 at Randolph Street in downtown Chicago photo dated 1946 instead likely was taken between July 1952, when the giant Pabst sign on Randolph was dismantled, and mid-1953, when steel going up for the Prudential Building would have been visible in this view.”
CSS&SB freight motor 903 at Michigan City on July 17, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos: “903 was built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in September 1929, #61047, as IC 10001. It became CSS&SB 903 in July 1941.”
Chicago & West Towns Railways
The Chicago & West Towns Railways operated streetcars in Chicago’s western suburbs. But a 1942 Chicago guidebook referred to it as an “interurban,” probably referring to its longest and busiest line, which ran from Cicero to LaGrange and had sections of private right-of-way. Starting in 1934, it went to the Brookfield Zoo.
C&WT 163 at the Oak Park car barn on April 23, 1939. There was a CERA fantrip on the West Towns on this date. 163 was built by the Cummings Car Company in 1927. (LaMar M. Kelley Photo)
C&WT line car 15 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn. Don’s Rail Photos: “15 was built by Pullman Car in 1897 as Suburban RR 512. It was renumbered 515 and rebuilt as 15 in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1940 and scrapped in 1948.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Edward Frank, Jr.’s famous bicycle, which appears in many of his pictures.
C&WT 146 at Lake and Austin, east end of the line. Riders could change across the street for a Chicago car. The Park Theater, at right, was showing Sutter’s Gold, starring Edward Arnold. That film was released in 1936, which may be the date of this photo. This car was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924.
C&WT 105, described as being tan in color, in front of the North Riverside car barn on April 28, 1939. (However, if the date was actually the 23rd, there was a CERA fantrip.) Don’s Rail Photos: “105 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.” (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) Gordon E. Lloyd grew up in the Chicago area and would have been 14 years old at the time. He later became a well-known railfan photographer and authored some books. He died aged 81 in 2006. Pretty good picture for a teenager!
C&WT 105 at Cermak and Kenton, probably in the late 1930s. This was the east end of the long LaGrange line and this car is signed for the Brookfield Zoo. Note the CSL car at rear. Riders could change here to go east on route 21 – Cermak. Don’s Rail Photos: “105 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.”
The Angel’s Flight Railway is a narrow gauge funicular in the Bunker Hill neighborhood in Los Angeles. A funicular is somewhat like an elevator that goes up the side of a hill; when one car goes up, the other goes down. I’ve been on three of these myself– two in Pittsburgh and one in Dubuque, Iowa.
Most of these have operated for over a century without major incidents, but Angel’s Flight has been plagued by bad luck for a long time. First, starting in the early 1960s, the area around it was slated for redevelopment, and the surrounding buildings were torn down. The hill it was on was partly leveled.
Fortunately, Angel’s Flight was disassembled after it stopped running in 1969, and put into storage. It was moved a half block south and reopened in 1996.
Unfortunately, there were some problems with how the thing was engineered as reconstructed, which led to some accidents. While Angel’s Flight has not run for a few years, these safety concerns have been addressed one by one, and now all that stands in the way of its reopening is the installation of an emergency walkway in case the thing breaks down on its 298-foot journey. Meanwhile, the not-for-profit group that operates it has to pay thousands of dollars each month for insurance.
Still, Angel’s Flight is an LA landmark and we hope that it will operate once again, and safely.
In the meantime, I was surprised to find it featured in a brief scene in the film La La Land. The two leads (Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone) are shown riding and kissing on the funicular.
Although Angel’s Flight is closed to the public, the operators thought it would be OK to use it in a film, and I’m sure they benefit a great deal from the publicity. But while they have been reprimanded (right now, no one is supposed to ride except employees), I am glad it appears in the film.
Angel’s Flight has been appearing in movies for nearly 100 years now. You can read an article about this here.
Angel’s Flight at its original location (3rd and Hill Streets) on July 5, 1962, before nearby buildings were torn down. (Leo Callos Photo)
A view of Angel’s Flight in 1964, showing the building at left demolished.
A side view of Angel’s Flight in 1964, after nearby buildings were being demolished. (Leo Callos Photo)
The Angel’s Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)
Jack Bejna writes:
I enjoy the Trolley Dodger immensely, especially anything CA&E! I grew up in Broadview and walked to Proviso High School every day along the CA&E right of way from 9th avenue to 5th Avenue. This month’s CA&E images are some that I haven’t seen before and are great, especially since they’re medium format images. I have a request….I would like to see a good image of the old dispatcher’s office (before it was repainted and the upper windows covered over. I’m sure someone took pictures of the office but I’ve never seen one.
Thanks for all you do; it sure makes my day!
I post these images practically as soon as I can buy them, but I can put this request in my next post, in hopes that someone might be able to help.
Glad you enjoy the blog.
Thanks David, I’ll be looking and hoping for a good shot. Again, thanks for all you do for us CA&E fanatics!
Bill Shapotkin writes:
Dave — in your January 2015 posting, this photo was included:
CTA 78 is shown at the east end of the Madison-Fifth shuttle in February, 1954. But wait– wouldn’t car 78 be on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago? According to Alan R. Lind’s CSL book, the CTA renumbered car 1780 to 78 in the waning days of red car service, in order to free up numbers in the 1780s for some buses. This was the only time a CSL streetcar was given a two-digit number, except for work cars. That’s one school of thought. On the other hand, the number on the side of this car looks like 1781, and according to Andre Kristopans, it was still 1781 when scrapped. It may in fact not be a renumbering at all, just a case where either the car’s paint got touched up and obscured part of the number, or part of the number fell off and did not get replaced, since red car service was ending in a few months anyway. At left in the background you can see Fohrman Motors, a Chicago car dealer from 1912 to 1979. Three people were killed at the dealership by a disgruntled customer on January 7, 1966. The neighborhood, not far from the construction site for the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway, is already showing signs of urban decay. We discuss this in our post Some Thoughts on “Displaced” (August 30, 2016).
Your caption read (in part):
“CTA 78 is shown at the east end of the Madison-Fifth shuttle in February, 1954. But wait– wouldn’t car 78 be on the Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago? In actuality, I think this is car 1781. Perhaps part of the number has fallen off”
Well, I have an explanation (courtesy of Roy Benedict — who seems to recall that he heard this from Glen Anderson). It JUST SO HAPPENED, both car #1781 AND bus #1781 were assigned to Kedzie station at the time. To avoid confusion, the decals for the digit”1″ were removed off the streetcar — thus avoiding any confusion. Roy had ridden car #78 on the Fifth Ave Shuttle on at least two occasions (and noticed the strange two-digit car number) — only to find out years later (again, he recalls that it was via Glen) as to the reason.
That’s great to know, thanks. I recently bought another copy of the Lind book, and while it does mention the renumbering, offers no explanation. (I have owned several copies of Chicago Surface Lines, An Illustrated History over the years, but have given some of them away, and other copies are in storage.)
The only thing that would need to be double-checked is whether there really was a bus 1781 working out of the Kedzie car house. I suppose Andre would know that.
Andre Kristopans writes:
There was a bus 1781 in 1954, but not at Kedzie. 1700’s at the time were at North Av, North Park, and Limits. Best explanation I can give is that when 1781 was last repainted, they didn’t have any “1” decals, and so out it went as “78”, and the problem was never corrected. Note it does appear the side number is 78 also! However, CTA’s streetcar retirements documentation show 1781, both in the AFR and the scrap ledger.
Gina Sammis wrote us a while back, looking for information on Gustav Johnson, a longtime Chicago Surface Lines employee (born June 23, 1855 – died November 23, 1946). He retired around 1925, after having worked on streetcars for 35 years.
As it happens, I recently purchased a copy of the December 1946 Surface Service, the CSL employee magazine. These do not often come up for sale, in comparison with the later CTA Transit News.
Mr. Johnson is mentioned in two places. There is the one you already know about on page 15, in a section titled In Memoriam.
But there are also reports from individual car houses (barns), and on page 8 it says,”Retired Motorman Gus Johnson passed away November 24.”
So, at least that tells you that he was driving the streetcars, and not just the conductor taking fares.
I took the liberty of writing to George Trapp, in order to find out just what streetcar lines would have been operating out of Devon Station (car house) in the early 1900s. Here is his reply:
I would guess the Evanston cars before 1913 or so before the barn on Central Street in Evanston was built and after 1901 when the Devon barn was built. The North Shore & Western dinkey may also have been stored there in the Winter when the golf club was closed. The Devon shuttle and the Lawrence Avenue lines as well and possibly the North Western line before being through routed with Western which also used the barn for part of the service from sometime in the 1930’s and half the service in the PCC era.
His answer needs a bit of further explaining. I did some additional research, From 1901, when the Devon car house opened, until 1913, Evanston streetcars would have used the facility. After that, they had their own barn.
You need to consider that this area was just getting built up around this time. So, there were a lot of changes. In general, the dates of the changes will give you a clue to about when development was happening.
The North Shore & Western Railway Company was formed and owned by the members of the Glen View Club in Golf, Illinois. It comprised two pieces of equipment, one streetcar and a snow plow. There were two employees, a motorman and conductor. The hours of operation were set for the convenience of the members of the golf club.
It operated from the golf club through a portion of Harms Woods crossing the North Branch of the Chicago River in the woods and ran straight east on what is now known as Old Orchard Road to Evanston, where the street becomes Harrison Street. It was nicknamed the Toonerville Trolley and a piece of a rail is on display at the Skokie Historical Society.
George Trapp refers to their sole streetcar as a “dinky,” meaning it was small.
The “Devon Avenue Shuttle” would have run east-west. According to Alan R. Lind on page 254 of Chicago Surface Lines, An Illustrated History (Third Edition):
This short North Side shuttle started operation May 20, 1917 from Clark to Western. One-man cars took over the service March 13, 1921. A west extension opened December 14, 1925 from Western to Kedzie, and an east extension opened from Clark to Magnolia January 30, 1928. When Broadway cars began to run to Devon and Kedzie on July 10, 1932, the Devon shuttle car was discontinued.”
North Western Avenue is covered in the same book on page 312:
This extension of the regular Western route began October 18, 1915 between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr. Extensions brought the line to Devon on December 11, 1915, and to Howard on December 16, 1916. The line was through-routed with Western on May 1, 1923.
The busiest route working out of Devon station would have always been Clark, which started running downtown (from Howard) on October 21, 1906. It was through-routed with the south side Wentworth line on March 17, 1908.
Here is what Lind says about the Broadway route on page 231:
In 1906 this North Side trunk route ran from Clark and Howard at the city limits to a loop in downtown Chicago via Cark, Devon, Broadway, Clark, Randolph, LaSalle, Monroe, Dearborn, and Randolph. At this time streetcars to north suburban Evanston also ran on the Broadway route from the old Limits carbarn at Drummond and Clark to Central and Bennett in Evanston. The route was the same as the Broadway cars to Howard, then via Chicago, Dempster, Sherman, and Central to Bennett.
On July 24, 1907 the Evanston line was extended west from Bennett to Lincolnwood Dr. On the same day a single track extension line known as the North Shore & Western Railway began service via Lincolnwood and Harrison to the Glenview Golf Club west of the Chicago River.
The local Broadway cars and the Evanston service to Lincolnwood Dr. were operated by the Chicago Union Traction Company, a Yerkes property. The track north of Irving Park was owned by the Chicago Consolidated Traction Company. (The North Shore & Western was owned by some men with a stake in the golf club.) On February 25, 1908 CUT was reorganized as Chicago Railways Company. On December 27, 1910 Chicago Railways sold its suburban lines to the County Traction Company. At midnight on that date the track connection between the Broadway line, still under CRYs, and the Evanston line was cut at Clark and Howard. Through passengers had to walk across a 30-foot gap in the track from the Evanston cars, now in local Evanston service only under County Traction, to the Broadway cars, still under Chicago Railways.
Because of a franchise requirement of one of the underlying companies,, free transfers from Evanston to Broadway cars were issued starting December 31, 1910. County Traction was split into two companies on August 5, 1913: Evanston Traction and Chicago & West Towns Railway Co. Evanston Traction became (the Evanston Railways Company and in 1936) Evanston Bus Company.
In sum, if your relative worked at Devon station in the early 1900s, chances are most of his work would have been on the Clark and Broadway lines. On my blog, if you do a search on the words Clark or Broadway, you will turn up lots of photos showing service on those lines.
You have been so helpful and I am very appreciative. Thank you David.
We have added a complete scan of the December 1946 Surface Service to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store.
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Our new e-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story is finally 100% finished. The discs are being made, and all current orders will be shipped within the next couple of days. (Editor’s note: all orders have now been shipped as of July 12th.)
We know that many of our devoted readers have been patiently awaiting this new work. We kept finding more new things to add, in our quest to give you, the reader, the maximum value for your $19.95 investment.
Several important photographs recently came to light, and these have been added to the book. Some are reproduced here in this post, and they are significant additions.
These include a rare photo of experimental CSL car 4001 in revenue service. There are very few such pictures, since this streetcar (now at the Illinois Railway Museum) was, in the words of Frank Hicks, a “hangar queen.” Since this car was different than any other that CSL had, a dedicated crew was assigned to it, and apparently proved rather temperamental to operate.
By comparison, car 7001, built by J. G. Brill, saw more use and was much closer to the eventual design used for the PCC streetcar starting in 1936. It is somehow ironic that Brill never built any PCCs. The firm had a policy of not paying royalties to other companies, and their “Brilliner” was a failure in the marketplace. Few were sold.
Another last-minute addition is a photo showing CSL prewar PCC 4021 in service. This is the only survivor from the prewar fleet, and 4021 is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.
Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story includes my 59-page essay of 18,571 words, covering various Chicago PCC topics, including the mysterious 1937 “Green Book” that some claimed formed the blueprint for the Chicago Transit Authority; the CTA’s 10-year modernization program; transit unification; the red ink of the the CTA’s early years; an important 1951 consultant report that recommended keeping the PCCs, converted to one-man operation; how the 1952 purchase of the Motor Coach Company seems to have played a role in the decision to get rid of the PCCs; how the math of the PCC Conversion Program just doesn’t add up; and much more.
There are special sections with more than 325 rare high-quality images, none of which appear in the recently published CERA Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958. We urge everyone to purchase a copy of this important book, the most important book about Chicago streetcars to be published in the last 40 years, if you have not already secured your copy. You can purchase it online directly from CERA.*
Our new e-book comes on a single DVD data disc and is playable on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is a free download.
In addition to the text and pictures, there is more than 3,500 pages of bonus material, including 176 different historical newspaper and magazine articles, and several entire complete research books. You can read all the CTA Annual Reports from 1945 to 1976, the entire 12-volume Metropolitan Transit Research series by Chicago Transit Board member Werner W. Schroeder, various other 1950s CTA publications, the CTA 10-Year Modernization Plan, the 1941, 1948, 1952 and 1954 track maps, and much more.
This e-book should appeal to anyone interested in Chicago’s PCC streetcars. It gives what the late Paul Harvey used to call the “rest of the story.”
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CTA 7267 heads southbound on route 36 in August 1954. The location is around 1100 N. State Street, and we are looking north.
1100 N. State Street as it looks today.
CTA 4016 pulls into the terminal at Western and 79th on route 49.
CTA 4015 near the south end of the Cottage Grove line.
CTA 4011 northbound on private right-of-way around Cottage Grove near 99th Street on route 4.
Cottage Grove and 99th Street today. We are looking north.
Union Street Railway 610, an Osgood-Bradley “Electromobile,” built in 1929, shown in New Bedford, MA.
A New York “Bluebird” articulated compartment car in service in 1949.
CTA articulated set 5002 in April 1949, in Garfield-Westchester service. George Foelschow says, “5002 is shown eastbound on CA&E owned track between Austin and Central with the wilds of Columbus Park in the background. The track map indicates a crossover and the interchange track with the B&OCT. Note the switch stands.”
CTA trolley bus 9754 at the west end of the Irving Park route.
CTA 4006 in the turnaround loop at 63rd Place and Narragansett.
The current CTA bus loop at 63rd Place and Armon Schmidt Road (Narragansett).
A CTA handout from 1948. These were put on transit vehicles in a holder marked “read as you ride.”
CSL 4021 at Madison and Canal in the 1940s. The only prewar Chicago PCC that survives, this car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (B. H. Nichols Photo)
CTA 4409 heads north on State near Harrison on route 36, July 22, 1955.
CTA 4035 heads south at Clark and Harrison on route 22 in the mid-1950s.
I can’t say that I knew the man personally, but I think anyone who ever read a copy of the CSL book probably feels as if they have lost a close friend. It’s hard to imagine now, because times have changed, but when I first spotted a copy of the “Lind book,” as people tend to call it, I could hardly believe it was possible. This was a crucial event in my gradual discovery of what Ray DeGroote refers to as the “intelligence network” of railfanning.
To a young man such as myself, in the basement of the legendary Kroch’s and Brentano’s bookstore on Wabash Avenue in Chicago, Lind’s CSL book looked like something that had come from another planet— a planet where people actually appreciated streetcars, instead of wanting simply to get rid of them and replace them with rubber-tired buses.
The late James D. Johnson (later known as Julie Johnson) had published A Century Of Chicago Streetcars, 1858-1958 in 1964, just six years after the last Chicago streetcar ran. This was a good start, although nowhere near as voluminous or comprehensive as Lind’s singular achievement.
Both Johnson and Lind helped to rescue the Chicago streetcar from the “dustbin of history,” where it had been consigned to oblivion effective June 21, 1958. The Lind book set a standard against which all such later books had to be judged, and it has been a classic for more than 40 years now.
Using the technology of its time, the author was unable to include any color photographs in this handsome volume. Recent improvements in technology have finally made it possible to create an all-color Chicago streetcar book. This has at last been realized with the publication earlier this month of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, as Bulletin 146 by the Central Electric Railfans’ Association. I am proud to say that I am a co-author of B-146.
During the course of our research, I wrote Mr. Lind a letter, letting him know what we were trying to accomplish, and asking if he had any useful information he might have learned since the publication of his book that he might want to share with us. Unfortunately, he never wrote back.
So while I am fairly certain he did know that such a book was in the works, he did not live quite long enough to see it come to fruition. I regret he will not be able to give us his opinion about it.
Sir Issac Newton once said that “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Anyone who presumes to write a book about Chicago streetcars can hardly do otherwise.
And of these various giants, there is no one who looms larger in his chosen field than the late Alan R. Lind.