Reader Showcase, 12-11-17

Here's a mystery photo, showing a Birney car (#512) being worked on, signed for Fruitridge Avenue. My guess is this may be the Terre Haute Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company in Indiana. If so, Don's Rail Photos says that Birneys 490 thru 514 were "built by American Car Co in December 1919, (order) #1228 as THI&E 490 thru 514." There is a Fruitridge Avenue in Terre Haute. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

Here’s a mystery photo, showing a Birney car (#512) being worked on, signed for Fruitridge Avenue. My guess is this may be the Terre Haute Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company in Indiana. If so, Don’s Rail Photos says that Birneys 490 thru 514 were “built by American Car Co in December 1919, (order) #1228 as THI&E 490 thru 514.” There is a Fruitridge Avenue in Terre Haute. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

Here we are again, just in time for the holiday season, bringing many gifts. Like our last post (Reader Showcase, 11-30-17) we are featuring contributions recently sent in by our readers. These include some rare traction shots.

Again, our thanks go out to Jack Bejna, Kenneth Gear, and Larry Sakar for their great contributions and hard work.

In addition, just to keep a hand in, I have added some of our own recent finds that you may enjoy.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Kenneth Gear shared some additional photos from the collections of the late William A. Steventon of the Railroad Record Club:

Salt Lake, Garfield and Western 401 was former Salt Lake and Utah 104. It changed hands in 1946, and is seen here in December 1952.

Salt Lake, Garfield and Western 401 was former Salt Lake and Utah 104. It changed hands in 1946, and is seen here in December 1952.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway locos 14 and 18.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway locos 14 and 18.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway 130.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway 130.

Altoona & Logan Valley Railway sweeper 50a in Altoona.

Altoona & Logan Valley Railway sweeper 50a in Altoona.

A North Shore Line Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal.

A North Shore Line Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight locos 2001 and 2002.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight locos 2001 and 2002.

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave,

I got back to work on my CA&E project and here are some shots of the final order of steel cars. In many cases I have more than one shot of individual cars so if you need any more images I may be able to help. This group of cars completes my coverage of CA&E’s fleet of passenger cars. I’ll move on to the freight motors and other miscellaneous cars that the railroad owned.

In 1941, CA&E ordered 10 new cars (451-460) from the St. Louis Car Company. This final order was not delivered until October 1945, after World War II ended. The new cars were compatible (and could train) with the Pullman and Cincinnati cars, and were used for all types of service. These cars were lighter and included many improvements.

I know our readers appreciate your fine work, and we will be glad to share any and all images you want to share with us.  Thanks again.

CA&E 451.

CA&E 451.

CA&E 452 as new.

CA&E 452 as new.

CA&E 453 plus one on a CERA inspection trip.

CA&E 453 plus one on a CERA inspection trip.

CA&E 454.

CA&E 454.

CA&E 455.

CA&E 455.

CA&E 456, eastbound at Lombard.

CA&E 456, eastbound at Lombard.

CA&E 457 and three more cars at Wheaton.

CA&E 457 and three more cars at Wheaton.

CA&E 457.

CA&E 457.

(See Comments section) Jack Bejna: "Here's the image that I started with, as found on one of my searches of the internet. As you can see, I just Photoshopped the end of the car so as to present a nice ¾ view. I never noticed the lettering was unusual and didn't do any work on it. In future posts, if I change/modify an image I will clearly label it as such!"

(See Comments section) Jack Bejna: “Here’s the image that I started with, as found on one of my searches of the internet. As you can see, I just Photoshopped the end of the car so as to present a nice ¾ view. I never noticed the lettering was unusual and didn’t do any work on it. In future posts, if I change/modify an image I will clearly label it as such!”

CA&E 458.

CA&E 458.

CA&E 459, eastbound at Wheaton.

CA&E 459, eastbound at Wheaton.

CA&E 460 at Collingbourne.

CA&E 460 at Collingbourne.

Larry Sakar writes:

TM 978 at San Francisco Muni's Geneva Yard in September 1983.

TM 978 at San Francisco Muni’s Geneva Yard in September 1983.

I was going thru my Milwaukee streetcar photos and ran across the one and only shot I got of the 978 in San Francisco. I had to climb on to this concrete wall in front of the yard and hold on to the cyclone fence with one hand and snap the picture with the other. The ledge was quite narrow.

Here is some valuable background for the Los Angeles streetcar and Pacific Electric Railway material. (Editor’s Note: See our previous post Reader Showcase, 11-30-17.

The Los Angeles Railway company operated a large network of streetcar Ines covering every part of Los Angeles. Los Angeles’ streetcar system was a cable railway in its early beginnings, which accounts for the fact that it was narrow gauge for its entire existence. On a number of streets in downtown LA, both the Pacific Electric and LARY operated on the same tracks. In those instances, there were three versus the standard two rails. Both lines shared the outer rail, but LA Railway cars had their own second rail “farther in”.

By the turnoff the 20th Century, the LA system was acquired by the great Henry Huntington. Huntington was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington, one of the big four involved in the creation of the transcontinental railway along with other eventual luminaries like Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford, and Theodore Judah. Huntington headed the Central Pacific RR which ultimately became the Southern Pacific RR. The Pacific Electric RR was a wholly owned subsidiary of the SP, as were the Interurban Electric RR and Northwestern Pacific RR in the San Francisco Bay area. Henry Huntington transformed the former cable railway into the magnificent Los Angeles Railways Co. He was also the President and CEO of the Pacific Electric Railway, often referred to as “the interurban that helped build southern California.”

As was the case in so many cities, the rise of the private automobile began to take a toll on the streetcar lines, until the outbreak of WWII on December 7, 1941. Every available car was pressed into service. By the war’s end in 1945, the LA streetcar system was in need of renovation. Although both LARY and PE purchased new PCC cars, they could not overcome the post war turn towards freeways. PE’s right-of-way was beset with numerous additional grade crossings thus making the cars slower than competing automobiles and buses. By 1950 the LA Freeway system was knocking at PE’s door. there was little doubt of the eventual outcome. It remained only a matter of when PE would finally be killed off by the highway interests and one other well known menace, National City Lines.

First to succumb to the rail-destroying conglomerate (NCL) was LARY sold by Henry Huntington’s heirs in 1945. The company was renamed Los Angeles Transit Lines and equipment wore the well-known NCL “fruit salad” colors of yellow, green and white. Remarkably the LA system outlasted both Chicago and Milwaukee, abandoning the final five streetcar lines in March 1963. Some of the older equipment, like the sow bellies and Huntington Standard streetcars, were acquired by museums and one was “preserved” at the Travel Town Museum in LA’s Griffith Park. Several LARY PCCs also went to the Orange Empire Trolley Museum in Perris, CA. The remaining and newest PCCs were sold to Cairo, Egypt in 1963.

PE fared no better. Interurban lines on each of the four operating districts, as PE called them, (designated by direction) were abandoned even before the company was sold to bus operator Metropolitan Coach lines in 1953. Supposedly, MCL owner Jesse Haugh, a former officer with Pacific City lines (an NCL company), nearly had a heart attack when he saw the MCL emblem on the PE Interurban cars.

In 1958, both LATL and PE became part of the newly created Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. But the MTA was, in reality, nothing more than a continuation of the pro-bus MCL/LATL managements. The two-tone green colors of the MTA were the colors of Metropolitan Coach Lines. The last PE line (to Long Beach) went to its grave in April 1961.

As stated previously, streetcar service under the MTA continued until March of 1963. Some of PE’s older 1200-series interurbans and all 20 of the Pullman built PCCs were sold to the General Urguiza Railway in 1959. Four years of storage in the damp, abandoned Hollywood subway brought an early end to their second lives in Argentina.

But the worst insult to transit came next. In 1963, the LAMTA became the SCRTD, Southern California Rapid Transit District. Never has a bus system been so misnamed. There was absolutely nothing “rapid transit” about it!

But when all hoped for California to wake up and return to its past, a transit revolution took place down the California Coast. A brand new light rail line was opened in San Diego in 1980. Known as the San Diego Trolley, it would start a transit revolution that rocked California. True, BART started up in the San Francisco Bay area in 1972, but San Francisco never lost touch with the streetcar the way LA did.

By 1990, LA was beginning to rise out of the dense smog that blanketed the area on a daily basis. It was then that the newly formed Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Commission opened its first light rail line, the Blue Line running between downtown LA and Long Beach via the right of way once used by the PE red cars. The line begins in a subway that one connects with via the LA METRO Red Line subway from LAUPT, Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (Amtrak and Metrolink Commuter Rail).

Since then, two additional former PE lines to Pasadena and Santa Monica have been rebuilt and placed in service. Diesel commuter rail service, operated by Metrolink, serves other points once served by PE such as Glendale and Burbank. The service extends all the way up the California Coast to San Luis Obispo and south to Oceanside. Here, one can take the frequent trains on Amtrak’s San Diego Surfliner route or the commuter train from Oceanside to San Diego known as the Coaster. The Coaster operates equipment that resembles Toronto’s GO Transit system. Perhaps they are the same type of cars. Somebody familiar with both systems will undoubtedly know.

I went into my timetables and documents collection and found the 1983 San Francisco Historic Streetcar Festival brochure which pictured the cars that were going to operate. You’ll see that TM 978 was one of them. I had to scan it in part and then move it slightly to get the rest of it scanned as it was too long for my screen. I found some interesting things in my timetables and transfers that you are welcome to post if you wish.

Thanks!

San Francisco MUNI Part 3 by Larry Sakar

(Editor’s note: Parts 1 and 2 appeared in our last post, referenced above.)

SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL RAILWAY STREETCAR LINES

The San Francisco Municipal Railway operates 8 streetcar lines. Although that may seem like a substantial number of streetcar lines, it is a fraction of the streetcar lines that once operated in the city by the Golden Gate. The 8 lines serve nearly every part of San Francisco. Within the last few years MUNI was reorganized into the SFMTA –San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency. The Market Street Railway which owns the historic streetcars is not a part of MUNI and receives no transit funding.

The Municipal Railway or MUNI for short uses letters rather than route numbers to identify the streetcar lines. Of course with the exception of the F-Line all of the other routes used modern Light Rail Vehicles with brand new cars now arriving and undergoing testing. The 8 lines are as follows:

E-Embarcadero (south of Market to Cal Train station)
F-Market St. & Wharves
J-Church St.
K-Ingleside
L-Taraval
M-Ocean View
N-Judah
T-Third St.

All trains entering the “downtown” area operate in the Market Street subway (with the exception of the E, F & T lines) to the end of the MUNI subway at Embarcadero station. The Market Street subway is a two-level tube. MUNI streetcars operate on the upper level with BART trains running in the lower tube. The MUNI subway ends at Embarcadero station but BART continues across the bay in a subway laid on the floor of the bay. The tube runs relatively close to the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.

In the opposite direction BART turns off toward Daly City and eventually Milbrae and the line to San Francisco International Airport. However, they are still in close proximity at the BART Balboa Park station which is near the Curtis Green Light Rail facility. Let’s take a ride on MUNI:

Before the Market St. subway was built, streetcars operated down the center of Market St. from 1st to Duboce, where they turned off and entered the Twin Peaks tunnel. It is one of two streetcar tunnels, the other being the Sunset tunnel.

THE PHOTOS

1-3. I took the first three photos in late December 1973. If it looks like the car is running the wrong way that’s because it is. Long before passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, protestors decided to call attention to their plight by blocking the tracks on Market Street. PCCs put up their rear poles and ran the wrong way back down Market Street. At least two of the cars seen here were the 1006 thru 1015, which were double ended cars. Note the differing paint schemes between the PCCs.

4. We have operated thru the Twin Peaks tunnel and have arrived at West Portal station. This was the point where the various routes diverged and remains so today. The station was completely rebuilt when the LRVs took over from the PCCs and no longer looks like this.

5. This is the interior of one of the double ended PCCs.

6-7: By 1983 when I took these next two pictures the PCCs had been replaced by new Boeing-Vertol LRVs. The Boeing cars had many problems. When the new F-Market surface line opened in 1995, commuters flocked to the surface cars to avoid the delays caused by malfunctioning Boeing cars in the subway.

8. An interior view of one of the Boeing LRVs, which were articulated. Unlike TMER&L, who assigned numbers to each car of their articulated streetcars and interurbans, MUNI LRVs carried the same car number on each end, with one designated as “A” and the other “B”.

9-10: The Boeing LRVs were replaced by new LRVs built by BREDA. I don’t especially like the boxy looking front end of these cars. When I was in San Francisco on August 5th & 6th of this year (2017), MUNI was testing brand new LRVs which will replace the BREDA cars.

11-13: Three interior views of the BREDA LRVs. Like the Boeing cars before them, these cars have a unique but necessary feature. While operating thru the Market Street subway, steps are not needed as the floors are at platform height. As the cars depart West Portal station a warning bell goes off and a red light begins to flash. The floor then descends to reveal the steps needed to enter the cars from the city streets over which they operate. The door in the rear car has permitted fare cheaters to escape paying a fare. I saw school kids at various stops watch for that door to open. One would then jump in, thus blocking it from closing, while his cohorts scrambled aboard without paying a fare. The motorman was probably well aware of it, but knew better than to challenge the cheaters and risk potential assault. It surprises me that MUNI does not assign undercover personnel to catch these brats in the act.

14-17: This is the Curtis Green Light Rail Center near Balboa Park.

18. A BREDA two-car train lays over in front of the old Geneva car house. Look between the UPS truck and the train, and you’ll see that the old car house is fenced off. The building suffered extensive damage in the 1989 earthquake. MUNI plans to restore it when funding permits. The M-Ocean View, K-Ingleside and J-Church light rail lines all meet here.

19-22: Without question is MUNI’s most scenic streetcar line is the J-Church. A portion of the line operates on private right-of-way along the western edge of Mission Dolores park providing a spectacular view of San Francisco.

Recent Finds

Postwar PCC 4300, heading northbound on Route 42 (which was an offshoot of the Halsted line), has just passed under the New York Central on its way towards Clark and Illinois Streets. That's a Rock Island train passing by, with a Railway Express car.

Postwar PCC 4300, heading northbound on Route 42 (which was an offshoot of the Halsted line), has just passed under the New York Central on its way towards Clark and Illinois Streets. That’s a Rock Island train passing by, with a Railway Express car.

Four CTA prewar PCCs, led by 7033, are lined up on Cottage Grove at 115th in the early 1950s.

Four CTA prewar PCCs, led by 7033, are lined up on Cottage Grove at 115th in the early 1950s.

This one is probably late 1960s, as buildings around the funicular have already been cleared away as part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill area.

This one is probably late 1960s, as buildings around the funicular have already been cleared away as part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill area.

This view of the Angel's Flight Railway looks more like the early 1950s.

This view of the Angel’s Flight Railway looks more like the early 1950s.

Angel's Flight in the mid-1960s.

Angel’s Flight in the mid-1960s.

Don's Rail Photos says, "707 was built by Alco-General Electric in June 1931, #68270, 11193, as NYC 1242, Class R-2. It was renumbered 342 in August 1936. In July 1967 it was rebuilt as CSS&SB 707. It was scrapped in April 1976." Here, we see it prior to the 1967 rebuilding.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “707 was built by Alco-General Electric in June 1931, #68270, 11193, as NYC 1242, Class R-2. It was renumbered 342 in August 1936. In July 1967 it was rebuilt as CSS&SB 707. It was scrapped in April 1976.” Here, we see it prior to the 1967 rebuilding.

South Shore Line 108 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 108 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 111 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 111 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 211.

South Shore Line 211.

South Shore Line 111 in the mid-1960s. Not sure if this is in Michigan City or South Bend.

South Shore Line 111 in the mid-1960s. Not sure if this is in Michigan City or South Bend.

To me, this looks like the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it appeared on April 4, 1959. Work was underway to both reconfigure the terminal and build the adjacent Congress expressway. We are looking east.

To me, this looks like the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it appeared on April 4, 1959. Work was underway to both reconfigure the terminal and build the adjacent Congress expressway. We are looking east.

North Shore Line 714 on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment. 714 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

North Shore Line 714 on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment. 714 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

North Shore Line cars 715 and 748 at the Milwaukee terminal on January 20, 1963. 715 is now preserved at the Fox River Trolley Museum.

North Shore Line cars 715 and 748 at the Milwaukee terminal on January 20, 1963. 715 is now preserved at the Fox River Trolley Museum.

CTA PCC 7215 on July 9, 1957. Notice the large dent on the front of the car. In our previous post One Good Turn (January 20, 2017), we ran another picture of this car taken on August 21, 1956 showing the same dent. Chances are, CTA chose not to repair this, as streetcar service was being phased out. This car was retired about two weeks before the Wentworth line was converted to bus on June 21, 1958.

CTA PCC 7215 on July 9, 1957. Notice the large dent on the front of the car. In our previous post One Good Turn (January 20, 2017), we ran another picture of this car taken on August 21, 1956 showing the same dent. Chances are, CTA chose not to repair this, as streetcar service was being phased out. This car was retired about two weeks before the Wentworth line was converted to bus on June 21, 1958.

CTA PCC 7184 is southbound on Clark Street on July 9, 1957. I realize that some people might not like this photo, since it is not perfect and part of the streetcar is blocked by a moving vehicle. But such pictures do give you a sense that these were vehicles in motion.

CTA PCC 7184 is southbound on Clark Street on July 9, 1957. I realize that some people might not like this photo, since it is not perfect and part of the streetcar is blocked by a moving vehicle. But such pictures do give you a sense that these were vehicles in motion.

This view of two Garfield Park "L" trains is somewhere west of the Loop and was taken on April 13, 1957.

This view of two Garfield Park “L” trains is somewhere west of the Loop and was taken on April 13, 1957.

Indiana Railroad 375, probably on a 1938-40 fantrip. Don's Rail Photos: "375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed."

Indiana Railroad 375, probably on a 1938-40 fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos: “375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed.”

From the picture, it's hard to tell, but this is either Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 35 or 55. If it is 55, that later went to Lehigh Valley Transit and became their car 1030, which is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum. Again, this appears to be a late 1930s fantrip.

From the picture, it’s hard to tell, but this is either Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 35 or 55. If it is 55, that later went to Lehigh Valley Transit and became their car 1030, which is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum. Again, this appears to be a late 1930s fantrip.

Indiana Railroad 375. This car has been preserved as South Shore Line baggage car 503 since 1996 in Scottsburg, Indiana.

Indiana Railroad 375. This car has been preserved as South Shore Line baggage car 503 since 1996 in Scottsburg, Indiana.

Chicago Rapid Transit Door Control on 4000s

As late as 1950, the Chicago Transit Authority, which took over the Chicago Rapid Transit Company in 1947, was still using a very old-fashioned and labor-intensive method of door control on its 4000-series “L” cars, which were built between 1913 and 1924.

CRT had been unable to invest in more modern methods, which had been introduced in New York in the early 1920s, due to its lack of capital. Ironically, such an investment in multiple-unit door control (with a starting signal supplied to the motorman) would have saved CRT a great deal in labor costs.

If you’ve ever wondered how the old system worked, here is a detailed explanation from a rare 1950 CTA training brochure.  Conductors rode outside between cars, even on some of the newer post-World War II rapid transit cars, before the conductor’s position was moved to a greater place of comfort and safety inside the new “married pairs” of cars.

This brochure suggests that as of March 1950, all 4000-series rapid transit cars had been made into semi-married pairs.  As built, they were all single-car units.  The last single car units (the 1-50 series) were built for the CTA in 1960.

Knittin’ Pretty

Here is a real curiosity. Reading this 1954 brochure through, you might at first think it is simply encouraging people to ride the CTA in order to save a few pennies.

However, as the text goes on, it becomes an argument in favor of the CTA’s “PCC Conversion Program,” whereby 570 fairly new postwar PCC streetcars were scrapped, and some of their parts were used to build a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars.

The cost of a rapid transit car with all new parts is quoted as $50-60k, while St. Louis Car Company offered to build them for just $32,332 each. Thus a savings between $17-27k per car is implied.

After doing some research, I eventually found a CTA document that gives the actual costs incurred. The first 250 curved-door 6000s, with some recycled parts, actually cost the CTA $54,727.64 apiece.

From this, two conclusions can be drawn. First, that the contract between CTA and SLCC allowed for price adjustments that increased costs by more than 67% over the bid price.

Second, that the PCC Conversion Program did not actually save the CTA between $17-27k as was implied in this brochure (and similar figures claimed elsewhere). Since the cost of the previous order for one hundred 6000s with all new parts was $40,904.01, somehow the cost per car actually increased by nearly $14k per unit.

The difference can be explained in how the program worked. Over time, CTA sold 570 PCCs to SLCC for $14k each. This figure is confirmed on page 13 of the 1961 CTA Annual Report. Meanwhile, the cost for each new rapid transit car ordered appears to have increased by approximately the same amount, at least for the first 250 cars ordered under this arrangement.

The cost per car for subsequent rapid transit car orders, in general, shows a gradual increase. 120 cars purchased in 1957 had a cost of $59,368.84 per car, or $4,600 higher than the first 250.

Perhaps part of this increase is due to inflation, but it is likely that the age and condition of the parts being recycled was another factor.

In light of this, a case can be made that, from a materials standpoint in constructing 570 rapid transit cars, this program did not save any money at all, compared to what it would have cost to build the same number of vehicles with all new parts. In fact, since the recycled parts were not new, chances are the program was a disadvantage, as old parts cannot last as long, or serve as well, compared to new.

The actual goal, it would seem, of the PCC Conversion Program, was to get rid of the PCC streetcars in such a way as to take them off the books without showing a loss compared to their depreciated value. The 570 cars involved were between five and ten years old when scrapped. As we know, there are PCCs that are still being used in regular service by a few transit systems. The newest of these were built 65 years ago.

The CTA had other reasons for wanting to eliminate even the modern PCC streetcars. Curiously, the costs of maintaining track and wire were not cited in any of the various documents I have seen.

On the other hand, the 1951 DeLeuw, Cather consultant’s report recommended that CTA not buy any additional electric vehicles, streetcar or trolley bus, due to the supposed high cost of electricity purchased from Commonwealth Edison. As it turned out, no additional electric vehicles were purchased for the surface system until the recent experiments with battery powered buses.

CTA saved money by eliminating two-man streetcars, through reduced labor costs, but the CTA Board was told in 1954 not to expect any further savings in this regard (after the elimination of red car service). The reasons may be two-fold: in some cases, on the heaviest lines, it was likely advantageous to use two-man PCCs, and some PCCs had been converted to one-man operation, or could be used either way.

The Chicago Transit Authority had an decade-long flirtation with propane buses during the 1950s. Propane was then quite cheap, but the buses so used were severely under-powered and had difficulty maintaining schedules. The service thus provided on the surface system by such buses was of lower quality than the PCC streetcars and may have contributed to continued ridership losses on the surface system in the late 1950s.

One can argue that it might have actually worked to CTA’s advantage to continue operating the PCCs instead of scrapping them.

-David Sadowski

FYI, the above graph shows the costs for various rapid transit car orders placed between 1947 and 1958. A couple things are worth noting. The first four cars were the experimental articulated 5001-5004 units, which were each approximately equivalent in length to two standard "L" cars. This, and their experimental nature, helps explain the relatively high per-unit cost. The 1958 total includes the 50 single car units (#1-50), but does not break down the cost relative to the final 50 married-pair units it is lumped in with.

FYI, the above graph shows the costs for various rapid transit car orders placed between 1947 and 1958. A couple things are worth noting. The first four cars were the experimental articulated 5001-5004 units, which were each approximately equivalent in length to two standard “L” cars. This, and their experimental nature, helps explain the relatively high per-unit cost. The 1958 total includes the 50 single car units (#1-50), but does not break down the cost relative to the final 50 married-pair units it is lumped in with.

Railroad Record Club News

Additional tracks have been added to two of our Railroad Record Club CD releases, which are available through our Online Store.

An additional 11:24 has been added to this disc, which now has a running time of 75:41. Source: The Silverton Train (Your Sound of Steam Souvenir #2, 1964).

We recently obtained another handmade Railroad Record Club acetate disc with some new material on it, which has been added to our RRC Steam Rarities CD. One more track from the East Broad Top has been added, and the Illinois Central track has been improved. The new running time for this disc is 76:34.

Chicago Trolleys

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.)

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.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL! This book makes an excellent gift. For a limited time only, we have reduced the price to just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the regular price.

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Back in Boston

This August marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston. This picture of MBTA 3295 was taken on Beacon Street on August 31, 1967, and shows the PCCs just as I remember them from that time. (Frederick F. Marder Photo)

This August marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston. This picture of MBTA 3295 was taken on Beacon Street on August 31, 1967, and shows the PCCs just as I remember them from that time. (Frederick F. Marder Photo)

This summer marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston, which quickly became one of my favorite cities. I came there as a 12-year-old, to attend my uncle Robert’s wedding along with my mother.

I was astonished to find that Boston still had PCC streetcars, of a type very similar to those Chicago had retired nearly a decade earlier. While my relatives were out making merry, I went off to ride all the various lines.

I have returned to Boston numerous times since then. Recently, I spent a few days there to help my uncle celebrate his 87th birthday.

While PCCs are long gone from the MBTA Green Line, a few still soldier on between Ashmont and Mattapan. This “high-speed trolley” has been running in an old railroad right-of-way since the 1920s, on private right-of-way with just a couple of grade crossings. Along with the MBTA’s Riverside line, which began service in 1959, it is considered a forerunner of modern light rail.

Although I did not have time to do as much railfanning as I might have hoped, here are some pictures from that trip.

-David Sadowski

PS- We expect to receive our shipment of Chicago Trolleys books by September 22nd, which should allow us to ship all copies that have been pre-ordered by the release date on the 25th. More information is at the end of this post.

This giant steaming teakettle has been a Boston landmark since 1873.

This giant steaming teakettle has been a Boston landmark since 1873.

The subway station at Government Center was closed for renovations when I last visited Boston three years ago, but has since reopened.

The subway station at Government Center was closed for renovations when I last visited Boston three years ago, but has since reopened.

The Green Line subway, oldest in the United States, first opened in 1897. I believe this is Government Center.

The Green Line subway, oldest in the United States, first opened in 1897. I believe this is Government Center.

The Red Line subway.

The Red Line subway.

It's incredible that this PCC is still in service. According to Don's Rail Photos, "3087 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6710A. It was rebuilt in 2000 for service." Here, we see it pulling in to the Ashmont Terminal, where riders can switch to the Red Line subway. Unlike the other light rail lines, the Ashmont-Mattapan line is considered part of the Red Line. When we were there, it was operating as a free shuttle, although the trains had fare boxes.

It’s incredible that this PCC is still in service. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “3087 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6710A. It was rebuilt in 2000 for service.” Here, we see it pulling in to the Ashmont Terminal, where riders can switch to the Red Line subway. Unlike the other light rail lines, the Ashmont-Mattapan line is considered part of the Red Line. When we were there, it was operating as a free shuttle, although the trains had fare boxes.

3087 at Mattapan.

3087 at Mattapan.

The turnaround loop at Mattapan.

The turnaround loop at Mattapan.

The PCCs are not air conditioned, but have forced-air ventilation and sealed windows.

The PCCs are not air conditioned, but have forced-air ventilation and sealed windows.

3087 at Ashmont.

3087 at Ashmont.

The Red Line at Ashmont.

The Red Line at Ashmont.

Out of Town News, which occupies the famed former Harvard Square subway kiosk built in 1928, may eventually be forced out as part of a redevelopment scheme.

Out of Town News, which occupies the famed former Harvard Square subway kiosk built in 1928, may eventually be forced out as part of a redevelopment scheme.

A trip to Harvard Square would not be complete without visiting Leavitt & Peirce, which has been there since 1884.

A trip to Harvard Square would not be complete without visiting Leavitt & Peirce, which has been there since 1884.

This "cigar store Indian" princess graces the store's entry way.

This “cigar store Indian” princess graces the store’s entry way.

Besides cigars, they sell chess sets at Leavitt and Peirce.

Besides cigars, they sell chess sets at Leavitt and Peirce.

The Green Line at Park Street, where you can switch between the B, C, D, and E branches or change to the Red Line.

The Green Line at Park Street, where you can switch between the B, C, D, and E branches or change to the Red Line.

Currently, the Green Line's northern end is at Lechmere, although there are plans to extend it another 4.7 miles to Somerville and Medford.

Currently, the Green Line’s northern end is at Lechmere, although there are plans to extend it another 4.7 miles to Somerville and Medford.

These "Type 7" LRVs were built between 1986 and 1997, and have been rehabbed since I was last in Boston three years ago. Now they are all paired in service with the newer Type 8s, which are handicapped accessible.

These “Type 7” LRVs were built between 1986 and 1997, and have been rehabbed since I was last in Boston three years ago. Now they are all paired in service with the newer Type 8s, which are handicapped accessible.

On our way to Logan airport, I had time to take a few shots at the west end of Green Line route "B," which goes to Boston College.

On our way to Logan airport, I had time to take a few shots at the west end of Green Line route “B,” which goes to Boston College.

My final MBTA shots were taken near the west end of Green Line route "C", which is Beacon Street. It is a bit confusing that the B line runs on Commonwealth Avenue, while the C line is on Beacon. But the lines were assigned letters due to their position on maps. Watertown was assigned "A" as it was furthest north, but rail service there was abandoned in 1969, before the letters were used on any roll signs. The best explanation for why Watertown got bussed is that streetcars had to go against traffic on a one-way expressway feeder ramp that became a real bottleneck. It was easier to re-route buses around this, although the tracks and wire remained for many years for access to Watertown Yard.

My final MBTA shots were taken near the west end of Green Line route “C”, which is Beacon Street. It is a bit confusing that the B line runs on Commonwealth Avenue, while the C line is on Beacon. But the lines were assigned letters due to their position on maps. Watertown was assigned “A” as it was furthest north, but rail service there was abandoned in 1969, before the letters were used on any roll signs. The best explanation for why Watertown got bussed is that streetcars had to go against traffic on a one-way expressway feeder ramp that became a real bottleneck. It was easier to re-route buses around this, although the tracks and wire remained for many years for access to Watertown Yard.

There is a station called Fenway on Boston's Green Line, but that's not where you want to go to see a ballgame. Kenmore Square is closer, and three of the four Green Line branches stop there.

There is a station called Fenway on Boston’s Green Line, but that’s not where you want to go to see a ballgame. Kenmore Square is closer, and three of the four Green Line branches stop there.

It's been 40 years since I first visited Fenway Park. On this night, the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-3.

It’s been 40 years since I first visited Fenway Park. On this night, the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-3.

Fenway is one of the most beloved ballparks in Major League Baseball, in part because of its 40-foot "Green Monster" wall in left field.

Fenway is one of the most beloved ballparks in Major League Baseball, in part because of its 40-foot “Green Monster” wall in left field.

Boston double-end PCC 3327, signed for Heath on the MBTA Green Line "E" branch (formerly called Arborway), is heading up the Northeastern Incline from the Huntington Avenue Subway in this March 1974 view.

Boston double-end PCC 3327, signed for Heath on the MBTA Green Line “E” branch (formerly called Arborway), is heading up the Northeastern Incline from the Huntington Avenue Subway in this March 1974 view.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.), see Comments below.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.), see Comments below.

Horsecars in Roxbury

While visting the Simon Willard House and Clock Museum, I was intrigued by this early photograph, which shows a horse car near the First Church of Roxbury. The picture was dated as "circa 1910," but must have been taken many years before that.

While visting the Simon Willard House and Clock Museum, I was intrigued by this early photograph, which shows a horse car near the First Church of Roxbury. The picture was dated as “circa 1910,” but must have been taken many years before that.

A close-up of the photo, showing a horse car on the line to Norfolk House, operated between Boston and Roxbury by the Metropolitan Railroad Co., which operated between 1856 and 1886.

A close-up of the photo, showing a horse car on the line to Norfolk House, operated between Boston and Roxbury by the Metropolitan Railroad Co., which operated between 1856 and 1886.

While researching when the above photograph could have been taken, I learned quite a bit about the early history of public transit in Boston. Roxbury was once its own municipality, but was annexed into Boston in 1868.

Before horse-drawn streetcars, there was the “Omnibus.” This was a large passenger coach, similar to a stagecoach, that ran on a fixed route between Boston and Roxbury, and offered frequent service (hourly, in some places). This ran from 1832 until 1856.

Streetcars offered some advantages, as they ran on tracks laid in city streets, which were frequently unpaved in this era and could be turned to a muddy mess when it rained. Often pedestrians would walk along the middle of the tracks.

One source says horse cars “began at Boylston Market to Norfolk House in Eliot Square, (and a) second line met at Tremont House, traveled over the neck to Norfolk House and then via Center Street over Hogs Bridge to West Roxbury.”

The Metropolitan Railroad Co. continued to operate horsecars until 1886, when it was bought out by the West End Street Railway Co. Thus, the dates when this photo could have been taken are probably between 1856 and 1886.

West End sought to improve service and reduce costs. After looking into the feasibility of building cable car lines, the railroad became aware of a new invention, electric streetcars. After examining Frank J. Sprague’s pioneering operation in Richmond, Virginia, the West End introduced electric streetcars to Boston in 1889.

I was unable to find a definitive date when horsecars stopped running in Boston. The various dates I did find were 1891, 1895, and 1900. But the latter seems unlikely.

During construction of the open-cut MBTA Orange Line in the 1980s, which replaced an elevated, the former site of a Metropolitan R. R. horsecar barn was excavated, and thousands of artifacts recovered. You can read a full report here, in someone’s masters thesis.

Interestingly, the First Church of Roxbury building, which dates to about 1804, is still there, although the steeple had to be replaced after it was damaged by rough weather in 1954.

Norfolk House was built in 1853 and is also still standing. The four-and-a-half story building has now been converted to condos.

-David Sadowski

The Right Here in Roxbury Wiki says: "The Norfolk House has served as a hotel and public house when Roxbury was a prominent stop on the road out of Boston. Later it was converted to a settlement house with a branch of the Boston Public library. Currently the first floor is retail space and the upper floors are condominiums."

The Right Here in Roxbury Wiki says: “The Norfolk House has served as a hotel and public house when Roxbury was a prominent stop on the road out of Boston. Later it was converted to a settlement house with a branch of the Boston Public library. Currently the first floor is retail space and the upper floors are condominiums.”

This early 19th century gallery clock is the original from the First Church of Roxbury, and is on loan to the Willard House. Meanwhile, an exact replica was made and hangs in the church.

This early 19th century gallery clock is the original from the First Church of Roxbury, and is on loan to the Willard House. Meanwhile, an exact replica was made and hangs in the church.

Recent Finds

This January 1962 image shows DC Transit pre-PCC car 1053, just prior to the end of streetcar service in our nation's capitol. Unfortunately, this historically important streetcar was later destroyed in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 2003.

This January 1962 image shows DC Transit pre-PCC car 1053, just prior to the end of streetcar service in our nation’s capitol. Unfortunately, this historically important streetcar was later destroyed in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 2003.

You might be mistaken for thinking this funicular was in a rural location, but this picture (and the next) shows the Angel's Flight Railway in Los Angeles in August 1968. By then, much of the surrounding area in the Bunker Hill neighborhood had been cleared for redevelopment. Angel's Flight itself was dismantled in 1969, as part of the hill was leveled. After being in storage for many years, it was finally relocated and has now once again resumed operations, with important new safety features after a series of accidents.

You might be mistaken for thinking this funicular was in a rural location, but this picture (and the next) shows the Angel’s Flight Railway in Los Angeles in August 1968. By then, much of the surrounding area in the Bunker Hill neighborhood had been cleared for redevelopment. Angel’s Flight itself was dismantled in 1969, as part of the hill was leveled. After being in storage for many years, it was finally relocated and has now once again resumed operations, with important new safety features after a series of accidents.

Sacramento Northern MW-302 on an early 1960s fantrip. Don's Rail Photos: "1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962."

Sacramento Northern MW-302 on an early 1960s fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos: “1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962.”

A postwar Pullman-built PCC prepares to cross the Chicago River on Madison Street, probably in the early 1950s. That's the old Chicago Daily News building in the background.

A postwar Pullman-built PCC prepares to cross the Chicago River on Madison Street, probably in the early 1950s. That’s the old Chicago Daily News building in the background.

Postwar Pullman PCC 4112, signed to go west on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20, turns onto Franklin Street, probably in the early 1950s.

Postwar Pullman PCC 4112, signed to go west on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20, turns onto Franklin Street, probably in the early 1950s.

This picture shows a CTA crane in operation on the old Metropolitan or Garfield Park "L" in the early 1950s. You can see how many nearby buildings have already been cleared away in order to build the Congress Expressway.

This picture shows a CTA crane in operation on the old Metropolitan or Garfield Park “L” in the early 1950s. You can see how many nearby buildings have already been cleared away in order to build the Congress Expressway.

A wooden Met car on the CTA's Kenwood shuttle in August 1957, just a few short moths before this branch line was abandoned. The CTA (and CRT before it) was a tenant and this complicated operation of the line. In addition, the CTA during this period closed several branch lines, in their efforts to consolidate and streamline service.

A wooden Met car on the CTA’s Kenwood shuttle in August 1957, just a few short moths before this branch line was abandoned. The CTA (and CRT before it) was a tenant and this complicated operation of the line. In addition, the CTA during this period closed several branch lines, in their efforts to consolidate and streamline service.

This picture of CTA postwar PCC (built by St. Louis Car Company) at South Shops was probably taken at around the same time (and by the same unknown photographer) as the Kenwood picture, i.e. August 1957. The nearby bus is 3625. If the date is correct, all the postwar Pullmans had been gone from the property for more than two years already.

This picture of CTA postwar PCC (built by St. Louis Car Company) at South Shops was probably taken at around the same time (and by the same unknown photographer) as the Kenwood picture, i.e. August 1957. The nearby bus is 3625. If the date is correct, all the postwar Pullmans had been gone from the property for more than two years already.

Quincy Station Landmarking Recommendation Approved by Commission on Chicago Landmarks

Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) is very pleased to announce that the final recommendation for landmarking the Quincy Elevated Station at 220 S. Wells Street was recently approved at the September 7, 2017 meeting of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Opened for service on October 3, 1897, the Quincy Elevated Station has served generations of Chicagoans and visitors to the City, and remains the best example of an original Loop “‘L’ Station.

More information here.

Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

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.)

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.)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 226 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping.

Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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A Tale of Two Cities

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

This remarkable picture was taken at the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal in January 1963. for all we know, this may be the last night of operation. If so, the temperature was below zero.

Today, we feature color slides taken in Chicago and Philadelphia. Those are the “two cities” in our title, but we also make brief side trips to Los Angeles and Mexico City. Somehow, though A Tale of Four Cities just doesn’t have the same ring.

Come to think of it, some of these pictures were taken in Milwaukee and South Bend, so that’s even more cities.

Chicago’s transit system and Philadelphia’s have shared a few things in common over the years. After the North Shore Line quit in 1963, the two articulated Electroliners (see one in our lead picture) were bought by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, better known as the Red Arrow Lines. Rechristened Liberty Liners, they continued in service from 1964 until about 1976.

Dr. Thomas Conway, Jr., who helped modernize the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban in the 1920s, did the same with the Philadelphia & Western, which later became part of Red Arrow.

In the late 1980s, Red Arrow’s successor SEPTA purchased several pairs of used Chicago Transit Authority rapid transit cars (from the 6001-6200 series) to help keep service going, as their existing equipment (Bullets and Strafford cars) was really showing its age.

While the CA&E’s 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park helped speed its demise but a few years later, the P&W Norristown line, which survives today, has never had direct service to downtown Philly.

The CA&E’s 10 curved-sided cars, built in 1945, are often cited as the last “standard” interurbans built in this country. Depending on how you define the word standard, some double-ended cars built for Red Arrow by St. Louis Car Company (they also built the CA&E cars) in 1949 might take the prize instead. These closely resemble PCC cars but don’t qualify as “true” PCCs because they used standard trucks and motors.

The other contenders for last standard interurban are two series built for the Illinois Terminal in the late 1940s. Double-end PCCs were purchased for the St. Louis to Granite City line, and streamliners for longer inter-city use.

For that matter, Pittsburgh Railways used PCC cars (built in the late 1940s) on their interurban lines to Washington and Charleroi. These cars continued in service in Pittsburgh for many years after the last interurban ran in 1953.

Scanning these images was just a starting point. I put in many hours of work in Photoshop to remove imperfections and improve the color. As always, if you have location information you can give us, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

We salute the many fine photographers, whose names are unfortunately not known to us, who took these exceptional pictures. It is important to give credit where credit is due, but in too many cases, when we receive a slide, negative, or print, there isn’t a name associated with it. We wish it were otherwise, but we are grateful that so many fine images have survived the decades in order to be shared with you. Our intentions are always to give these images, and the people who took them, the respect they deserve. When we have such information, we always give proper credit.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- You can see more great night shots in our previous post Night Beat (June 21, 2016).

Chicago Area

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

South Shore Line car 110 laying over at South Bend, Indiana in July 1963. This was the east end of the line until 1970, when service was cut back to the outskirts of town, and South Bend street running was eliminated. In 1992, service was extended to the South Bend International Airport, 3 miles northwest of downtown South Bend.

Sailors board a North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on June 1, 1962. Car 751 is at rear.

Sailors board a North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on June 1, 1962. Car 751 is at rear.

North Shore Line 731 is at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. We featured another picture at this location, taken in warmer weather, in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016).

North Shore Line 731 is at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. We featured another picture at this location, taken in warmer weather, in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016).

North Shore Line 723 at the front of a three-car train at an unidentified location. Andre Kristopans: "NSL 723 is on the Evanston L, I would say between Central and Noyes." George Trapp: " I believe the train is Northbound on the Evanston "L" somewhere between the Foster Street and Central Street stations, probably closer to the latter on the last section of the line to be elevated starting in 1928."

North Shore Line 723 at the front of a three-car train at an unidentified location. Andre Kristopans: “NSL 723 is on the Evanston L, I would say between Central and Noyes.” George Trapp: ” I believe the train is Northbound on the Evanston “L” somewhere between the Foster Street and Central Street stations, probably closer to the latter on the last section of the line to be elevated starting in 1928.”

North Shore Line car 773 and train on the Loop "L". The car is signed as a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in July 1955.

North Shore Line car 773 and train on the Loop “L”. The car is signed as a Chicago Express on the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in July 1955.

We ran another version of this image in a previous post, but this one is better because there is less cropping. A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

We ran another version of this image in a previous post, but this one is better because there is less cropping. A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

An Illinois Central Electric suburban commuter train in 1963. (Fred Byerly Collection)

An Illinois Central Electric suburban commuter train in 1963. (Fred Byerly Collection)

This picture, taken in September 1958, appears to show the back end of a CTA Congress branch train heading east over temporary trackage just east of DesPlaines Avenue, where there was a crossing at grade. Construction work was underway for I290, and the previous June, the new rapid transit line in the Congress expressway median had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue.

This picture, taken in September 1958, appears to show the back end of a CTA Congress branch train heading east over temporary trackage just east of DesPlaines Avenue, where there was a crossing at grade. Construction work was underway for I290, and the previous June, the new rapid transit line in the Congress expressway median had opened as far west as Cicero Avenue.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4223 on a shoo-fly at Halsted and Congress circa 1952. The Congress expressway was under construction, and the first thing built were the bridges. That is the Garfield Park "L" in the background, which continued to operate until June 1958. The temporary trackage in Van Buren Street was a short distance west of here. We are facing north. Those lines on the car are shadows from nearby telephone wires.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4223 on a shoo-fly at Halsted and Congress circa 1952. The Congress expressway was under construction, and the first thing built were the bridges. That is the Garfield Park “L” in the background, which continued to operate until June 1958. The temporary trackage in Van Buren Street was a short distance west of here. We are facing north. Those lines on the car are shadows from nearby telephone wires.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s goes up the ramp toward the Laramie station on the Lake Street "L" on July 5, 1960. The portion of the line west of here was relocated onto the nearby Chicao & North Western embankment on October 28, 1962. Earlier that year, power on the ramp was changed from overhead wire to third rail, to facilitate the transition.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s goes up the ramp toward the Laramie station on the Lake Street “L” on July 5, 1960. The portion of the line west of here was relocated onto the nearby Chicao & North Western embankment on October 28, 1962. Earlier that year, power on the ramp was changed from overhead wire to third rail, to facilitate the transition.

CTA Red Pullmans 532 and 153 pass each other on Route 8 - Halsted at Chicago. We are looking north.

CTA Red Pullmans 532 and 153 pass each other on Route 8 – Halsted at Chicago. We are looking north.

A train of CTA 4000s on a fantrip on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line). These were last used in regular service in 1973, but this slide is dated March 1975. (Rex K. Nelson Photo)

A train of CTA 4000s on a fantrip on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). These were last used in regular service in 1973, but this slide is dated March 1975. (Rex K. Nelson Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4018 on Cottage Grove at 13th in February 1955. (William C. Janssen Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4018 on Cottage Grove at 113th in February 1955. (William C. Janssen Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 109 is heading westbound on Blue Island at Western.

CTA Red Pullman 109 is heading westbound on Blue Island at Western.

CA&E 422 at the head of a four-car train.

CA&E 422 at the head of a four-car train.

CA&E 317 and 316 on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip in the 1950s.

CA&E 317 and 316 on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip in the 1950s.

CA&E 432 in winter.

CA&E 432 in winter.

CA&E 317.

CA&E 317.

CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 406 at State Road on the Batavia branch.

To me, this looks like CA&E 419 is approaching the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue. CTA Garfield Park "L" trains would loop via the wooden flyover at rear. Construction is underway at the station, which make me wonder if this picture was taken around the time of the September 1953 cutback.

To me, this looks like CA&E 419 is approaching the Forest Park terminal at DesPlaines Avenue. CTA Garfield Park “L” trains would loop via the wooden flyover at rear. Construction is underway at the station, which make me wonder if this picture was taken around the time of the September 1953 cutback.

CA&E 454. Methinks this is Bellwood, near 25th Avenue, where the nearby Chicago Great Western had a freight yard.

CA&E 454. Methinks this is Bellwood, near 25th Avenue, where the nearby Chicago Great Western had a freight yard.

CA&E 430 at Batavia Junction in 1957. (Fred Byerly Collection)

CA&E 430 at Batavia Junction in 1957. (Fred Byerly Collection)

CA&E 319 heads up a train of woods.

CA&E 319 heads up a train of woods.

CA&E 316 and 317 have just departed Forest Park and are heading west in the 1950s. CTA Garfield Park "L" cars would loop using the wooden trestle at rear. This is the approximate location of I290 today.

CA&E 316 and 317 have just departed Forest Park and are heading west in the 1950s. CTA Garfield Park “L” cars would loop using the wooden trestle at rear. This is the approximate location of I290 today.

CA&E 406 on a 1950s fantrip, most likely on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 406 on a 1950s fantrip, most likely on the Batavia branch.

CA&E 314 is at the rear of a two-car train that has just crossed the B&OCT tracks just east of DesPlaines Avenue. The station at left would be DesPlaines Avenue, so we are looking to the west. Note the large gas holder that was a local landmark for years.

CA&E 314 is at the rear of a two-car train that has just crossed the B&OCT tracks just east of DesPlaines Avenue. The station at left would be DesPlaines Avenue, so we are looking to the west. Note the large gas holder that was a local landmark for years.

CA&E 402 and train.

CA&E 402 and train.

CA&E 307 at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 307 at the Wheaton Shops.

If I had to guess, I would say this picture of a CTA wooden "L" car and CA&E 422 was taken at DesPlaines Avenue, shortly before the September 1953 cutback in service. The old station was on the east side of DesPlaines Avenue.

If I had to guess, I would say this picture of a CTA wooden “L” car and CA&E 422 was taken at DesPlaines Avenue, shortly before the September 1953 cutback in service. The old station was on the east side of DesPlaines Avenue.

A short CA&E freight train, complete with caboose. Some other interurbans did not use cabooses.

A short CA&E freight train, complete with caboose. Some other interurbans did not use cabooses.

CA&E 408 heads up a train that appears to be heading eastbound, possibly just west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E 408 heads up a train that appears to be heading eastbound, possibly just west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E 316 and 317, possibly on the same Illini Railroad Club fantrip shown in a few other pictures in this post. The location may perhaps be the Mt. Carmel branch, which operated on overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 316 and 317, possibly on the same Illini Railroad Club fantrip shown in a few other pictures in this post. The location may perhaps be the Mt. Carmel branch, which operated on overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 460 is at Fifth Avenue in Maywood on March 6, 1958. This was one of a handful of fantrips that were run after passenger service was abandoned on July 3, 1957. The second car may be 417. This was about as far east as trains could go at this point, as the CA&E's suspension of service had facilitated construction of what we now know as I290 near the DesPlaines River. The CA&E tracks were relocated slightly north of where they had crossed the river, and were ready for service again in 1959, but by then the railroad had abandoned all service and no trains were run on the new alignment.

CA&E 460 is at Fifth Avenue in Maywood on March 6, 1958. This was one of a handful of fantrips that were run after passenger service was abandoned on July 3, 1957. The second car may be 417. This was about as far east as trains could go at this point, as the CA&E’s suspension of service had facilitated construction of what we now know as I290 near the DesPlaines River. The CA&E tracks were relocated slightly north of where they had crossed the river, and were ready for service again in 1959, but by then the railroad had abandoned all service and no trains were run on the new alignment.

A CA&E freight train. Tom writes: "The Unknown CAE with the two freight motors is an Eastbound Freight at Berkeley under the I 294 / Eisenhower Expressway . I grew up a block away from there in Elmhurst."

A CA&E freight train. Tom writes: “The Unknown CAE with the two freight motors is an Eastbound Freight at Berkeley under the I 294 / Eisenhower Expressway . I grew up a block away from there in Elmhurst.”

A pair of curved-sided CA&E cars, headed up by 452.

A pair of curved-sided CA&E cars, headed up by 452.

CA&E 452 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park, where passengers could transfer to eastbound CTA trains from 1953 to 1957.

CA&E 452 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park, where passengers could transfer to eastbound CTA trains from 1953 to 1957.

CA&E 432 and 459 on the Met "L" just west of the Loop, prior to the September 20, 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park.

CA&E 432 and 459 on the Met “L” just west of the Loop, prior to the September 20, 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park.

This picture may show CA&E 319 and 320 on a December 7, 1958 fantrip. This was the last passenger operation on the railroad. Freight service continued for a few more months before it too was abandoned.

This picture may show CA&E 319 and 320 on a December 7, 1958 fantrip. This was the last passenger operation on the railroad. Freight service continued for a few more months before it too was abandoned.

CA&E electric locos 2001 and 2002 and train.

CA&E electric locos 2001 and 2002 and train.

Looks like CA&E 458 and (I think) 434.

Looks like CA&E 458 and (I think) 434.

A CA&E freight train on the Mt. Carmel branch. I can't quite make out the loco's number (400x).

A CA&E freight train on the Mt. Carmel branch. I can’t quite make out the loco’s number (400x).

Philadelphia Area

SEPTA car 15 picks up a passenger across from the Media Theater (which is showing the film Taxi Driver) in May 1976.

SEPTA car 15 picks up a passenger across from the Media Theater (which is showing the film Taxi Driver) in May 1976.

A close-up of the previous picture. We are facing east.

A close-up of the previous picture. We are facing east.

SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, "SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line is outbound at Drexel Hill Junction."

SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, “SEPTA 19 on the Sharon Hill line is outbound at Drexel Hill Junction.”

SEPTA double-ended car 15, built in 1949, in May 1976. Not sure whether this is the Media or the Sharon Hill line. Kenneth Achtert: "Car 15 is on the Media line at the east end of the Media street-running, crossing Providence Road about to reach Bowling Green station."

SEPTA double-ended car 15, built in 1949, in May 1976. Not sure whether this is the Media or the Sharon Hill line. Kenneth Achtert: “Car 15 is on the Media line at the east end of the Media street-running, crossing Providence Road about to reach Bowling Green station.”

SEPTA 22 near the 69th Street Terminal in May 1976.

SEPTA 22 near the 69th Street Terminal in May 1976.

SEPTA Brilliner 4, signed as an instruction vehicle, in downtown Media in May 1976. These cars continued in service into the early 1980s, when they were replaced by the current fleet of double-ended Kawasaki LRVs.

SEPTA Brilliner 4, signed as an instruction vehicle, in downtown Media in May 1976. These cars continued in service into the early 1980s, when they were replaced by the current fleet of double-ended Kawasaki LRVs.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

SEPTA "Master Unit" 83 (left) and Brilliner 8 meet at Drexel Hill Junction on August 16, 1981. Kenneth Achtert: "The shot of 83 and 8 at Drexel Hill Junction is on a fantrip, with 83 inbound from Media and 8 on the pocket track."

SEPTA “Master Unit” 83 (left) and Brilliner 8 meet at Drexel Hill Junction on August 16, 1981. Kenneth Achtert: “The shot of 83 and 8 at Drexel Hill Junction is on a fantrip, with 83 inbound from Media and 8 on the pocket track.”

SEPTA Strafford car 160 in May 1976. This looks like the Norrsitown Terminal.

SEPTA Strafford car 160 in May 1976. This looks like the Norrsitown Terminal.

One of the Liberty Liners on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

One of the Liberty Liners on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A berthed Liberty Liner in May 1976.

A berthed Liberty Liner in May 1976.

SEPTA Bullet car 7 (207?) in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, "Bullet car 7 in May 1976 is, in fact, #207. The ten bullets were always numbered 200-209, but carried the single last digit on the roof over the ventilation scoop as an aid for the dispatcher located at Bryn Mawr above the track area. (The tracks were in a cut at that location.) The older cars also carried numbers on the roof, but this practice was discontinued on all but the bullets, no doubt since the bullets had no other number visible from the front."

SEPTA Bullet car 7 (207?) in May 1976. Kenneth Achtert adds, “Bullet car 7 in May 1976 is, in fact, #207. The ten bullets were always numbered 200-209, but carried the single last digit on the roof over the ventilation scoop as an aid for the dispatcher located at Bryn Mawr above the track area. (The tracks were in a cut at that location.) The older cars also carried numbers on the roof, but this practice was discontinued on all but the bullets, no doubt since the bullets had no other number visible from the front.”

SEPTA Brill Master Units 82 and 86 in May 1976. This may be the storage tracks near 69th Street Terminal, which are a short vestige of the old West Chester line. Kenneth Achtert: "82 and 86 are indeed on the storage tracks on West Chester Pike west of 69th St. Terminal."

SEPTA Brill Master Units 82 and 86 in May 1976. This may be the storage tracks near 69th Street Terminal, which are a short vestige of the old West Chester line. Kenneth Achtert: “82 and 86 are indeed on the storage tracks on West Chester Pike west of 69th St. Terminal.”

A "railfan seat" view out the front or back window of a Norristown train on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A “railfan seat” view out the front or back window of a Norristown train on the Schuylkill River bridge in May 1976.

A Liberty Liner crosses the Schuylkill River on February 16, 1964, about a month after they were put in service on the Norristown line.

A Liberty Liner crosses the Schuylkill River on February 16, 1964, about a month after they were put in service on the Norristown line.

One of the SEPTA Liberty Liners in February 1972. Kenneth Achtert: "The Liberty Liner in February 1972 appears to be southbound leaving Wynnewood Road."

One of the SEPTA Liberty Liners in February 1972. Kenneth Achtert: “The Liberty Liner in February 1972 appears to be southbound leaving Wynnewood Road.”

Red Arrow car 24 at the 69th Street Terminal in August 1960.

Red Arrow car 24 at the 69th Street Terminal in August 1960.

Red Arrow Bullet car 8 on the Norristown High Speed Line. I'm not sure at what point this car was renumbered to 208. This picture may have been taken shortly after the SEPTA takeover in 1970. Kenneth Achtert: "Bullet car 8 was always 208 (see previous), and the picture was definitely after the SEPTA takeover as evidenced by the blue-backed patches for the logos."

Red Arrow Bullet car 8 on the Norristown High Speed Line. I’m not sure at what point this car was renumbered to 208. This picture may have been taken shortly after the SEPTA takeover in 1970. Kenneth Achtert: “Bullet car 8 was always 208 (see previous), and the picture was definitely after the SEPTA takeover as evidenced by the blue-backed patches for the logos.”

The control cab of one of the two Liberty Liners, as it looked in May 1976, near the end of service.

The control cab of one of the two Liberty Liners, as it looked in May 1976, near the end of service.

The interior of a Liberty Liner in May 1976.

The interior of a Liberty Liner in May 1976.

Bullet car 208 (left) and Strafford car 160 (right) in May 1976. I was fortunate to ride both such cars on this line in 1985.

Bullet car 208 (left) and Strafford car 160 (right) in May 1976. I was fortunate to ride both such cars on this line in 1985.

Red Arrow car 13 in downtown Media in May 1976.

Red Arrow car 13 in downtown Media in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

A SEPTA Bullet car crosses the Schuylkill River in May 1976.

Besides the Brilliners and postwar St. Louis cars, older equipment continued in use on Red Arrow into the early 1980s. Here, we see Brill "Master Unit" 80, built in 1932, in SEPTA colors in May 1976 near the 69th Street Terminal.

Besides the Brilliners and postwar St. Louis cars, older equipment continued in use on Red Arrow into the early 1980s. Here, we see Brill “Master Unit” 80, built in 1932, in SEPTA colors in May 1976 near the 69th Street Terminal.

The next two scenes are from medium format transparancies, which were mounted in oversized mounts as seen here. Standard 35mm slide mounts are 2" x 2", and these are 2.75" x 2.75". I don't know if slide projectors were made that could handle these giants. You wouldn't exactly call these "super slides," since that term refers to size 127 or 828 film (which is larger than 35mm) mounted in 2x2 mounts.

The next two scenes are from medium format transparancies, which were mounted in oversized mounts as seen here. Standard 35mm slide mounts are 2″ x 2″, and these are 2.75″ x 2.75″. I don’t know if slide projectors were made that could handle these giants. You wouldn’t exactly call these “super slides,” since that term refers to size 127 or 828 film (which is larger than 35mm) mounted in 2×2 mounts.

SEPTA Brilliner 5 in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: "Brilliner #5 in the medium format transparency is just past the Naylor’s Run trestle approaching the Congress Ave. stop."

SEPTA Brilliner 5 in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: “Brilliner #5 in the medium format transparency is just past the Naylor’s Run trestle approaching the Congress Ave. stop.”

SEPTA Brilliners 9 and 3 meet in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: "Brilliners 9 and 3 are at Lansdowne Ave. (#9 outbound). The teenagers are students from Monsignor Bonner HS (boys) and Archbishop Prendergast HS (girls), out of view to the left. The schools have since been combined."

SEPTA Brilliners 9 and 3 meet in February 1971. Kenneth Achtert: “Brilliners 9 and 3 are at Lansdowne Ave. (#9 outbound). The teenagers are students from Monsignor Bonner HS (boys) and Archbishop Prendergast HS (girls), out of view to the left. The schools have since been combined.”

A close-up of the previous scene.

A close-up of the previous scene.

Angel’s Flight (Los Angeles)

We have posted several pictures of Angel’s Flight before. To find those, type Angel’s Flight in the search window at the top of this page.

The view looking down the Angel's Flight Railway in August 1966. Nearby buildings had already been torn down as part of the redevelopment of this area, which included leveling part of Bunker Hill.

The view looking down the Angel’s Flight Railway in August 1966. Nearby buildings had already been torn down as part of the redevelopment of this area, which included leveling part of Bunker Hill.

A family rides the Angel's Flight funicular in Los Angeles' Bunker Hill neighborhood in May 1969. Service ended later that year, and Angel's Flight was dismantled and put into storage for many years before being reopened a short distance from here.

A family rides the Angel’s Flight funicular in Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill neighborhood in May 1969. Service ended later that year, and Angel’s Flight was dismantled and put into storage for many years before being reopened a short distance from here.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Angel's Flight, May 1969.

Angel’s Flight, May 1969.

Mexico City

This, and the three pictures that follow, were taken in Mexico City in May 1957, apparently by a pretty good photographer. Mexico's last remaining streetcar line (Tasqueña–Xochimilco) was converted to light rail in 1986. The PCCs were purchased second-hand from North American properties, including Detroit.

This, and the three pictures that follow, were taken in Mexico City in May 1957, apparently by a pretty good photographer. Mexico’s last remaining streetcar line (Tasqueña–Xochimilco) was converted to light rail in 1986. The PCCs were purchased second-hand from North American properties, including Detroit.

2017 Hoosier Traction Meet

Bill Shapotkin writes:

On September 8th-9th, a group of men and women will converge upon Indianapolis, IN for the annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet. Considered by many to be the premier event of its kind, this conference of interested enthusiasts, historians, published authors and rail and transit professions consists of two complete days of audio/visual presentations on the history, operation and technology of electric railway and transit operations throughout the Midwest. In addition to the numerous auditorium events, there is an exhibition of electric rail and transit, where items of interest from transfers and photographs to fare boxes and operating models are for sale.

This year marks the 34th annual Hoosier Traction Meet. Founded by Dr. Howard Blackburn, the Hoosier Traction Meet features, in addition to its auditorium events and exhibition hall, a opportunity for those interested in electric railway and transit to exchange ideas and swap stories with old acquaintances and meet new friends.

Allow me to take this opportunity to cordially invite each and every one of you to this special event — an event which has been the rail and transit highlight of my year for nearly twenty years.

Click here for a Prospectus.

Note that by mailing in your reservation in advance, the admission price is half that paid at the door — now that’s a bargain in anybody’s book! In addition, there are numerous restaurants and shops nearby, allowing plenty of opportunities to and have lunch or supper with your fellow enthusiasts.

Please consider joining us for this year’s event.

Wm Shapotkin
Auditorium Manager
Hoosier Traction Meet

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. Lots of work has been done on the text, and the final selection of photos has been made. We will keep you advised as things progress.

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Tip of the Iceberg

A remarkable photograph, this shows a group of early Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, some displaying the tools of their trade (controller handles and switch irons). I am sure it was a tough job, and they look like a bunch of tough men. While Chicago's population has always been diverse, integration did not come to their ranks until October 1943, thanks in part to wartime manpower shortages. (And I do mean "manpower," since the CTA did not hire its first female bus driver until 1974.) I am wondering if this photo shows employees of the Chicago City Railway. If anyone can shed light on this photo, please let us know.

A remarkable photograph, this shows a group of early Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, some displaying the tools of their trade (controller handles and switch irons). I am sure it was a tough job, and they look like a bunch of tough men. While Chicago’s population has always been diverse, integration did not come to their ranks until October 1943, thanks in part to wartime manpower shortages. (And I do mean “manpower,” since the CTA did not hire its first female bus driver until 1974.) I am wondering if this photo shows employees of the Chicago City Railway. If anyone can shed light on this photo, please let us know.

Lately, we have been hard at work on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys. Meanwhile, new images have been piling up. It’s about time we started sharing them with you. Today’s batch is just the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak.

The group picture above is just such an image. It came to us by way of a very large 11″ x 14″ negative. This in itself is rather remarkable. It was too big to scan all at once, but necessity is the mother of invention.

I scanned the image in quarters, and then discovered free software from Microsoft that flawlessly “stitched” the four back together. As old as this negative seems to be, it may not be the original. I have a feeling this neg was made from a glass plate.

Glass plate negatives are fragile, and there was some damage to the image, which I corrected using Photoshop. This took many hours of work, but the results speak for themselves. Chances are, this picture was taken between 1895 and 1915.

There are eight million stories in Railfan City.

-David Sadowski

Here is how the image originally looked, before I spent several hours eliminating the scratch using Photoshop.

Here is how the image originally looked, before I spent several hours eliminating the scratch using Photoshop.

The man in the middle not only has pointy shoes, but holds a switch iron.

The man in the middle not only has pointy shoes, but holds a switch iron.

Note the controller handle.

Note the controller handle.

Perhaps this badge may offer a clue as to which private operator these men may have worked for. One of our readers thinks the badge might say "C & S C," which could stand for the Calumet and South Chicago Railway Company, which was formed in 1908 through a merger of the South Chicago City Railway Co., and Calumet Electric Street Railway Co. It operated on the far south side of Chicago. In 1914, it became one of the underlying companies that formed the Chicago Surface Lines. Of course, it's pretty hard to make out. On the other hand, James Fahlstedt writes: "My take on the hat badge is that it reads CCSR. For what it is worth, it is put on the hat with and band or strap rather than fastened directly to the hat with split pins or similar device. The thing that I do not understand is that it is a metal badge. My CCR badge is leather. Could it read CGSR? Another thing I noticed is that there is something on the left side of the badge on the same line as the mystery letters that is totally illegible. Is a puzzlement." CCSR probably stands for Chicago City Street Railway. Perhaps the mystery has been solved.

Perhaps this badge may offer a clue as to which private operator these men may have worked for. One of our readers thinks the badge might say “C & S C,” which could stand for the Calumet and South Chicago Railway Company, which was formed in 1908 through a merger of the South Chicago City Railway Co., and Calumet Electric Street Railway Co. It operated on the far south side of Chicago. In 1914, it became one of the underlying companies that formed the Chicago Surface Lines. Of course, it’s pretty hard to make out. On the other hand, James Fahlstedt writes: “My take on the hat badge is that it reads CCSR. For what it is worth, it is put on the hat with and band or strap rather than fastened directly to the hat with split pins or similar device. The thing that I do not understand is that it is a metal badge. My CCR badge is leather. Could it read CGSR? Another thing I noticed is that there is something on the left side of the badge on the same line as the mystery letters that is totally illegible. Is a puzzlement.” CCSR probably stands for Chicago City Street Railway. Perhaps the mystery has been solved.

Recent Finds

CTA PCC 7256 heads south on State Street at Van Buren in the 1950s.

CTA PCC 7256 heads south on State Street at Van Buren in the 1950s.

This mid-1950s view of PCC 4406 is at Clark and Birchwood, it having just left Howard Street, north end of Route 22.

This mid-1950s view of PCC 4406 is at Clark and Birchwood, it having just left Howard Street, north end of Route 22.

CTA trolley bus 9193 on a March 2, 1958 Omnibus Society of America fantrip, at Kedzie Garage. Andre Kristopans: "This is in BACK of Kedzie, facing south. The wire came in off Kedzie between the carhouse and the washhouse, looped around in back and split into the three wired bays."

CTA trolley bus 9193 on a March 2, 1958 Omnibus Society of America fantrip, at Kedzie Garage. Andre Kristopans: “This is in BACK of Kedzie, facing south. The wire came in off Kedzie between the carhouse and the washhouse, looped around in back and split into the three wired bays.”

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 9737 heads east at Lawrence and Austin in August 1969. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 9737 heads east at Lawrence and Austin in August 1969. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

On January 1, 1954, eastbound CTA 1769 turns from Pine onto Lake Street, crossing the Lake Street "L" at grade. Streetcars were replaced by buses on May 30 that same year.

On January 1, 1954, eastbound CTA 1769 turns from Pine onto Lake Street, crossing the Lake Street “L” at grade. Streetcars were replaced by buses on May 30 that same year.

CTA Pullman PCC 4169 at the south end of Route 36 - Broadway-State, near 119th and Morgan, probably in the early 1950s. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA Pullman PCC 4169 at the south end of Route 36 – Broadway-State, near 119th and Morgan, probably in the early 1950s. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

Passengers get off CTA trolley bus 9514, which is heading eastbound on Roosevelt at State in April 1964. The Roosevelt Road station on the South Side "L" was closed as of January 1963, when the North Shore Line quit. From 1949-63, NSL had exclusive use as N-S trains were routed through the State Street subway. These tracks were put back into regular service in 1969, with the opening of the Dan Ryan line, but the station was demolished and was not replaced by a new one until 1993, with the opening of the Orange Line.

Passengers get off CTA trolley bus 9514, which is heading eastbound on Roosevelt at State in April 1964. The Roosevelt Road station on the South Side “L” was closed as of January 1963, when the North Shore Line quit. From 1949-63, NSL had exclusive use as N-S trains were routed through the State Street subway. These tracks were put back into regular service in 1969, with the opening of the Dan Ryan line, but the station was demolished and was not replaced by a new one until 1993, with the opening of the Orange Line.

Roosevelt and State today.

Roosevelt and State today.

This photo shows the Kilbourn station on the Garfield Park "L" around 1954. By then, the station had been closed, and the stairways removed, in order to reduce running time due to the slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage at ground level east of Sacramento. The two-car train of CTA 4000s is about to cross the Congress Expressway, but the highway does not appear to be open yet. The "L" tracks were higher than normal at this location to cross railroad tracks just west of here. The line was relocated into the expressway median in 1958.

This photo shows the Kilbourn station on the Garfield Park “L” around 1954. By then, the station had been closed, and the stairways removed, in order to reduce running time due to the slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage at ground level east of Sacramento. The two-car train of CTA 4000s is about to cross the Congress Expressway, but the highway does not appear to be open yet. The “L” tracks were higher than normal at this location to cross railroad tracks just west of here. The line was relocated into the expressway median in 1958.

The CRT 42nd Place Yard, the end of the line for the Kenwood "L" branch, probably in the late 1920s.

The CRT 42nd Place Yard, the end of the line for the Kenwood “L” branch, probably in the late 1920s.

The Stock Yards "L" branch, looking east to Exchange, as it appeared on June 7, 1927.

The Stock Yards “L” branch, looking east to Exchange, as it appeared on June 7, 1927.

The North Side "L", looking south from Montrose. On the right, you see the ramp leading down to the Buena Yard.

The North Side “L”, looking south from Montrose. On the right, you see the ramp leading down to the Buena Yard.

CRT trailer 3237, possibly at Skokie Shops.

CRT trailer 3237, possibly at Skokie Shops.

CA&E 315 at an unknown location.

CA&E 315 at an unknown location.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars 407 and 432 at the Forest Park terminal in September 1955. CA&E service was cut back to here two years earlier. 407 was a Pullman, built in 1923, while 432 was a 1927 product of the Cincinnati Car Company. Riders could change here "cross platform" for CTA Garfield Park "L" trains.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars 407 and 432 at the Forest Park terminal in September 1955. CA&E service was cut back to here two years earlier. 407 was a Pullman, built in 1923, while 432 was a 1927 product of the Cincinnati Car Company. Riders could change here “cross platform” for CTA Garfield Park “L” trains.

CTA PCC 4265, a Pullman product, heads north on State at Lake circa 1948, while Alfred Hitchcock's film Rope plays at the State-Lake Theater. This has since been converted into production facilities for WLS-TV.

CTA PCC 4265, a Pullman product, heads north on State at Lake circa 1948, while Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rope plays at the State-Lake Theater. This has since been converted into production facilities for WLS-TV.

Here is a nice side view of CSL 4005 at Kedzie Station (car barn). At this time, the 83 Prewar PCCs were assigned to Route 20 - Madison.

Here is a nice side view of CSL 4005 at Kedzie Station (car barn). At this time, the 83 Prewar PCCs were assigned to Route 20 – Madison.

Faced with a manpower shortage during World War II, some transit lines hired female operators (although the Chicago Surface Lines did not). Here, we see Mrs. Cleo Rigby (left) and Mrs. Katherine Tuttle training in North Chicago on June 25, 1943. That would be for the North Shore Line's city streetcar operations, which were mainly in Waukegan.

Faced with a manpower shortage during World War II, some transit lines hired female operators (although the Chicago Surface Lines did not). Here, we see Mrs. Cleo Rigby (left) and Mrs. Katherine Tuttle training in North Chicago on June 25, 1943. That would be for the North Shore Line’s city streetcar operations, which were mainly in Waukegan.

A northbound two-car Evanston shuttle train is held up momentarily at Howard in the 1950s, as track work is going on up ahead. The rear car is 1766. Don's Rail Photos says, "1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as Northwestern Elevated Railway 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923." Wood cars last ran on Evanston in 1957. Notice that the station is also being painted.

A northbound two-car Evanston shuttle train is held up momentarily at Howard in the 1950s, as track work is going on up ahead. The rear car is 1766. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as Northwestern Elevated Railway 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923.” Wood cars last ran on Evanston in 1957. Notice that the station is also being painted.

CTA postwar PCC 4404 is heading south, turning from Archer onto Wentworth on June 20, 1958, the last full day of streetcar service in Chicago. This was the last photo of a Chicago streetcar taken by the late Bob Selle.

CTA postwar PCC 4404 is heading south, turning from Archer onto Wentworth on June 20, 1958, the last full day of streetcar service in Chicago. This was the last photo of a Chicago streetcar taken by the late Bob Selle.

A close-up of the previous photo shows some evidence of Bondo-type patch work on 4404.

A close-up of the previous photo shows some evidence of Bondo-type patch work on 4404.

CTA 7051 is southbound at State and Delaware on route 36 Broadway-State in the early 1950s. We ran another picture taken at this location in our post Recent Finds, Part 2 (December 12, 2016), showing a PCC going the other way. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7051 is southbound at State and Delaware on route 36 Broadway-State in the early 1950s. We ran another picture taken at this location in our post Recent Finds, Part 2 (December 12, 2016), showing a PCC going the other way. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

The controller car of CTA Red Pullman 144, as it looked on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

The controller car of CTA Red Pullman 144, as it looked on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 225 at 77th and Vincennes on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 225 at 77th and Vincennes on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 445 is on Route 21 - Cermak circa 1950. Behind it, you see the Lakeside Diner and Boulevard Buick, the latter located at 230 E. Cermak. Today, this is near the location of McCormick Place.

CTA Red Pullman 445 is on Route 21 – Cermak circa 1950. Behind it, you see the Lakeside Diner and Boulevard Buick, the latter located at 230 E. Cermak. Today, this is near the location of McCormick Place.

CTA Red Pullman 104 is at Cermak and Prairie, east end of Route 21. This was just a few blocks away from Kodak's Prairie Avenue processing plant, located at 1712 S. Prairie Avenue. Many a railfan's Kodachrome slides were developed and mounted there, until the facility closed in the mid-1980s. You can read more about it here. The landmark R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. Calumet Plant, also known as the Lakeside Plant, is at rear. The plant closed in 1993, after Sears discontinued their catalog, and the building is now used as a data center.

CTA Red Pullman 104 is at Cermak and Prairie, east end of Route 21. This was just a few blocks away from Kodak’s Prairie Avenue processing plant, located at 1712 S. Prairie Avenue. Many a railfan’s Kodachrome slides were developed and mounted there, until the facility closed in the mid-1980s. You can read more about it here. The landmark R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. Calumet Plant, also known as the Lakeside Plant, is at rear. The plant closed in 1993, after Sears discontinued their catalog, and the building is now used as a data center.

CSL “Big” Pullman 183 is eastbound on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937, while 5502, an Ashland car, is turning west onto Roosevelt to jog over to Paulina. That’s Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.

CSL “Big” Pullman 183 is eastbound on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937, while 5502, an Ashland car, is turning west onto Roosevelt to jog over to Paulina. That’s Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.

CTA 7238 on State street in the early 1950s. The clock at right belongs to C. D. Peacock jewelers, a Chicago institution since 1837. (Water Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7238 on State street in the early 1950s. The clock at right belongs to C. D. Peacock jewelers, a Chicago institution since 1837. (Water Hulseweder Photo)

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 31 and train at Wilson, Indiana, on an early CERA fantrip (possibly September 20, 1942). Mitch adds, "The photo of the South Shore Line fan trip, 1942 in this episode of “The Trolley Dodger,” appears to be at Power Siding, between Sheridan and the Highway 12 crossing west of Michigan City."

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 31 and train at Wilson, Indiana, on an early CERA fantrip (possibly September 20, 1942). Mitch adds, “The photo of the South Shore Line fan trip, 1942 in this episode of “The Trolley Dodger,” appears to be at Power Siding, between Sheridan and the Highway 12 crossing west of Michigan City.”

Here, we see a rare shot of a CSL trolley bus on North Avenue in 1940. While route 72 - North was not converted to trolley bus until July 3, 1949, there was wire between the garage near Cicero Avenue and Narragansett. TBs ran on Narragansett until 1953, when route 86 was combined with the one-mile extension of North between Narragansett and Harlem. This TB is signed for route 76 (Diversey), which used TBs until 1955. The destination sign also says North-Lamon, site of the garage, but the slope of the street would indicate the bus is actually heading west. There is TB wire special work turning off to the right in the background, perhaps indicating that the bus has just left the garage. Andre Kristopans: "I THINK WB about Lavergne, pulling out." There would be streetcar tracks on this section. Andre again: "There are car tracks. You can barely see a couple of hangers to the right of the bus. North Av is very wide at this point, almost 6 lanes, and TT's did not share wire."

Here, we see a rare shot of a CSL trolley bus on North Avenue in 1940. While route 72 – North was not converted to trolley bus until July 3, 1949, there was wire between the garage near Cicero Avenue and Narragansett. TBs ran on Narragansett until 1953, when route 86 was combined with the one-mile extension of North between Narragansett and Harlem. This TB is signed for route 76 (Diversey), which used TBs until 1955. The destination sign also says North-Lamon, site of the garage, but the slope of the street would indicate the bus is actually heading west. There is TB wire special work turning off to the right in the background, perhaps indicating that the bus has just left the garage. Andre Kristopans: “I THINK WB about Lavergne, pulling out.” There would be streetcar tracks on this section. Andre again: “There are car tracks. You can barely see a couple of hangers to the right of the bus. North Av is very wide at this point, almost 6 lanes, and TT’s did not share wire.”

North Shore Line wood car 300, during its time as the Central Electric Railfans' Association club car, probably circa 1939-40.

North Shore Line wood car 300, during its time as the Central Electric Railfans’ Association club car, probably circa 1939-40.

Don's Rail Photos says, "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."

Don’s Rail Photos says, “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.”

Perhaps someone can help us identify the location of car 300, somewhere along the Shore Line Route.

Perhaps someone can help us identify the location of car 300, somewhere along the Shore Line Route.

New Site Additions

This picture has been added to our post The Great Chicago Interurbans – Part Two (CNS&M) (February 5, 2017):

The Angel's Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

The Angel’s Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

This one’s been added to Night Beat (June 21, 2016):

A South Shore Line train at the old Gary station in August 1970.

A South Shore Line train at the old Gary station in August 1970.

Here’s another one for More LVT Photos & Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 12-14-2015:

A rear view of two Lehigh Valley Transit ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie "Red Devils" shows how their squared-off ends were not designed for multiple-unit operation. By comparison, car 1030, adapted from Indiana Railroad car 55, had a rounded end and was designed for multiple unit operation. Presumably, this is the Fairview car barn in Allentown. Liberty Bell Limited interurban service ended in 1951.

A rear view of two Lehigh Valley Transit ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie “Red Devils” shows how their squared-off ends were not designed for multiple-unit operation. By comparison, car 1030, adapted from Indiana Railroad car 55, had a rounded end and was designed for multiple unit operation. Presumably, this is the Fairview car barn in Allentown. Liberty Bell Limited interurban service ended in 1951.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave, here’s a few more of my CA&E images. All of these shots were cleaned up with Photoshop.

PS: The Julie Johnson collection website is back on line as of this morning (March 2). Great collection and I’m in it all the time.

Thanks very much!

Here's a head-on shot of CA&E cars 48 (Stephenson 1902) & 316 (Jewett 1913).

Here’s a head-on shot of CA&E cars 48 (Stephenson 1902) & 316 (Jewett 1913).

CA&E 30, my shot near the shops circa 1955.

CA&E 30, my shot near the shops circa 1955.

CA&E 18 looking good in this shot.

CA&E 18 looking good in this shot.

A train of the first cars with just the top of the old dispatcher tower in the background.

A train of the first cars with just the top of the old dispatcher tower in the background.

Here is an image of the old tower, just about the only one from this angle.

Here is an image of the old tower, just about the only one from this angle.

This is my shot of the new Dispatchers tower, circa 1955.

This is my shot of the new Dispatchers tower, circa 1955.

Here's one more that I think you'll like. It looks like CA&E 310 (Hicks 1908) just came out of the paint shop, and boy did they do a nice job!

Here’s one more that I think you’ll like. It looks like CA&E 310 (Hicks 1908) just came out of the paint shop, and boy did they do a nice job!

One more for you that I completed this morning. It's CA&E 319 (Jewett 1914) heading a line of cars. I got the original from Hicks Car Works, which is the JJ collection. It was a really bad picture and it took about 4 hours to complete.

One more for you that I completed this morning. It’s CA&E 319 (Jewett 1914) heading a line of cars. I got the original from Hicks Car Works, which is the JJ collection. It was a really bad picture and it took about 4 hours to complete.

James Fahlstedt writes:

I just recently discovered your blog and really enjoy it. First of all, I do not know much regarding Chicago traction, but have always been a fan. I love the city, I loved the interurbans (I was fortunate to have ridden all three of the big ones) and I even love the buses. I have made a small purchase of your books and videos and plan to buy more as my finances allow.

Second, I like the way those who know things seem to be willing to share their knowledge. I firmly believe that knowledge is something to be shared, not hidden.

Third, I like that the photos on the blog are of a sufficient resolution that they can actually be seen and enjoyed.

Anyway, if I know anything appropriate, I will pitch in.

Great, thanks! Glad you like the site.

Eric Miller writes:

I am looking for a photographer named C. Scholes to return some photo prints.

We posted a 1952 photo by a C. R. Scholes in One Good Turn (January 20, 2017).  That’s all the information we have.  Perhaps one of our readers can help further, thanks.

Mr. Miller replies:

That would be great!

Here are some shots of “Betty” making the rounds in Uptown, Dallas for you.

(Editor’s note: This is the the McKinney Avenue trolley, aka the M-Line.)

Scans of several new publications have been added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store. These include:

Surface Service (CSL employee magazine), February 1942, March 1942, July 1943, June 1945, and June 1946

CTA brochure advertising National Transportation Week, May 1960

Hi-res scan of 1957 CTA Annual Report

Gorilla My Dreams

While this isn’t transit related, I figured our readers might enjoy seeing these pictures, which show a publicity float for the 1949 film Mighty Joe Young. This was a sort-of remake of King Kong, which reunited much of the same creative team involved with the 1933 original, including Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Robert Armstrong. Ruth Rose, Marcel Delgado, and Willis O’Brien. If anyone knows where this parade may have taken place, please let me know.

-David Sadowski

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The Great Chicago Interurbans – Part Two (CNS&M)

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.

-David Sadowski

See our last post (January 28, 2017) for part one.

North Shore Line

<img class="size-large wp-image-9191" src="https://thetrolleydodger.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/dave588.jpg?w=665" alt="On a June 17, 1962 CERA fantrip, we see NSL car 744 posing for pictures on a section of track that was once part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. Don's Rail Photos: "744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940." We previously featured another picture taken at this location in our post More Color Restorations (August 9, 2016).” width=”665″ height=”407″ /> On a June 17, 1962 CERA fantrip, we see NSL car 744 posing for pictures on a section of track that was once part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “744 was built by Pullman in 1928. It was modernized in 1940.” We previously featured another picture taken at this location in our post More Color Restorations (August 9, 2016).

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.

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).

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.

A close-up of the line car. Not sure whether this is the 604 or the 606.

The same location today.

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.

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 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.

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 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.”

Angel’s Flight

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.

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Angel's Flight at its original location (3rd and Hill Streets) on July 5, 1962, before nearby buildings were torn down. (Leo Callos Photo)

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 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)

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)

The Angel’s Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

Recent Correspondence

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).

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.

Here is what the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society says about the North Shore and Western Railway:

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.

The membership tired of the trolley’s ownership and sold the line to the Evanston Railway Company.

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.

Gina replied:

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.

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.

dave763

dave771

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. But better yet, why not write us at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

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