Photos by John Engleman

Amtrak GG1 entering B&P Tunnel, Baltimore. (John Engleman Photo)

Amtrak GG1 entering B&P Tunnel, Baltimore. (John Engleman Photo)

We have recently been assisting John Engleman, an excellent photographer, by scanning 35mm color negatives he took, mainly in the Baltimore area, between 1968 and 1974. These include intercity trains, spanning the era before and after the 1971 Amtrak takeover, and much else.

This is our third post with photos by Mr. Engleman. You will find the others in our previous posts Christmas in July (July 27, 2021) and Chasing Sanborn (Our 275th Post) (August 30, 2021).

All the comments on these photos are by Mr. Engleman. We may yet have more of these to share in future posts.

-David Sadowski

Photos by John Engleman

B&O west end of Mt. Clare "A" Yard, Baltimore under Jackson's Bridge. By this time I had become a B&O Engineer and could stop and take pictures wherever I liked providing it was safe. I was always fond of the F7s and having two consecutively numbered ones was rare. By the Engineer's door of the GP30 propped open though, I was running from that end.

B&O west end of Mt. Clare “A” Yard, Baltimore under Jackson’s Bridge. By this time I had become a B&O Engineer and could stop and take pictures wherever I liked providing it was safe. I was always fond of the F7s and having two consecutively numbered ones was rare. By the Engineer’s door of the GP30 propped open though, I was running from that end.

Amtrak E60 with standard NY-Washington Amfleet train coming into Odenton, Md.

Amtrak E60 with standard NY-Washington Amfleet train coming into Odenton, Md.

Metroliner Northbound at Odenton

Metroliner Northbound at Odenton

Texas International DC-9 crossing Amtrak on approach to BWI airport

Texas International DC-9 crossing Amtrak on approach to BWI airport

Fire tower of some BWI tower (I don't know which) on the glide path to BWI at Stoney Run

Fire tower of some BWI tower (I don’t know which) on the glide path to BWI at Stoney Run

Southbound Metroliner at Stoney Run Road crossing

Southbound Metroliner at Stoney Run Road crossing

Amtrak GG1 4905 at Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station

Amtrak GG1 4905 at Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O's Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O’s Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O's Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O’s Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O's Bayview Yard.

Scenes taken from my switching engine at the east end of B&O’s Bayview Yard.

Northbound Amfleet train with the GG1 that wasn't, #4939 at Odenton, Md. This engine is now at IRM with it's correct number, 4927.

Northbound Amfleet train with the GG1 that wasn’t, #4939 at Odenton, Md. This engine is now at IRM with it’s correct number, 4927.

Same train going away

Same train going away

Conrail Pope's Creek coal train waiting to leave CR's Bayview Yard, Baltimore

Conrail Pope’s Creek coal train waiting to leave CR’s Bayview Yard, Baltimore

B&O's Bayview fire track

B&O’s Bayview fire track

B&O's Bayview fire track

B&O’s Bayview fire track

B&O caboose disappearing into the infamous Howard Street tunnel, Baltimore

B&O caboose disappearing into the infamous Howard Street tunnel, Baltimore

GG1 popping out of B&P tunnel

GG1 popping out of B&P tunnel

The Silver Star leaving Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station heading into the B&P tunnel

The Silver Star leaving Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station heading into the B&P tunnel

Conrail E33s (Ex-New Haven, exx-Virginian locomotives) passing around Pennsylvania Station

Conrail E33s (Ex-New Haven, exx-Virginian locomotives) passing around Pennsylvania Station

Northern Central branch of Conrail (ex-Pennsy) passing Woodberry Station enroute to Harrisburg. This is now Baltimore's light rail line, and there is still a Woodberry station, although the handsome old one is no longer with us.

Northern Central branch of Conrail (ex-Pennsy) passing Woodberry Station enroute to Harrisburg. This is now Baltimore’s light rail line, and there is still a Woodberry station, although the handsome old one is no longer with us.

B&O freight trains at NA (North Avenue) tower on the Baltimore Belt Line

B&O freight trains at NA (North Avenue) tower on the Baltimore Belt Line

A view across two railroads looking at Baltimore Streetcar Museum's car 1164

A view across two railroads looking at Baltimore Streetcar Museum’s car 1164

Metroliner going into B&P tunnel

Metroliner going into B&P tunnel

Same Metroliner coming out of Pennsylvania Station

Same Metroliner coming out of Pennsylvania Station

Sperry Rail Service Mack PCC railbus in the coach yard at Pennsylvania Station. 623 also shows a Baldwin switcher. At this time Baltimore still had a full time station switcher

Sperry Rail Service Mack PCC railbus in the coach yard at Pennsylvania Station. 623 also shows a Baldwin switcher. At this time Baltimore still had a full time station switcher

At left, a Baldwin switcher. At this time Baltimore still had a full time station switcher.

At left, a Baldwin switcher. At this time Baltimore still had a full time station switcher.

Amtrak 4905 waiting as a 'protect' engine

Amtrak 4905 waiting as a ‘protect’ engine

Conrail hump power, SD9, #6912. Engine was permanently assigned to Bayview

Conrail hump power, SD9, #6912. Engine was permanently assigned to Bayview

Southbound Amtrak passenger and CR coal train at Bayview, Baltimore.

Southbound Amtrak passenger and CR coal train at Bayview, Baltimore.

View of new rail pile at Baltimore Streetcar Museum looking towards Penn Central

View of new rail pile at Baltimore Streetcar Museum looking towards Penn Central

Interior of BSM car 1164

Interior of BSM car 1164

Two B&O trains passing at NA Tower, Baltimore

Two B&O trains passing at NA Tower, Baltimore

B&O train heading into Howard Street tunnel at Mt. Royal Station

B&O train heading into Howard Street tunnel at Mt. Royal Station

Eastbound B&O at NA, with much missed caboose trailing

Eastbound B&O at NA, with much missed caboose trailing

PRR (PC) MP54s arriving in Baltimore, way prior to today's frequent MARC service

PRR (PC) MP54s arriving in Baltimore, way prior to today’s frequent MARC service

Seaboard Coast Line Florida train (probably Silver Star) at Virginia Avenue Tower, Washington DC

Seaboard Coast Line Florida train (probably Silver Star) at Virginia Avenue Tower, Washington DC

Southern Ry. Southern Crescent passing Virginia Avenue Tower

Southern Ry. Southern Crescent passing Virginia Avenue Tower

SP freight somewhere in Texas or Arizona from the Sunset Limited

SP freight somewhere in Texas or Arizona from the Sunset Limited

SP Sunset Limited, location ? Update: Ken Briers says the SP shots in the most recent batch look like San Antonio. Makes sense to me, as the train would have laid over here long enough for me to get off and take photos. Ken usually knows what he is talking about.

SP Sunset Limited, location ? Update: Ken Briers says the SP shots in the most recent batch look like San Antonio. Makes sense to me, as the train would have laid over here long enough for me to get off and take photos. Ken usually knows what he is talking about.

Penn Central RPO cars in Baltimore. PC still had one or two Baltimore-NY set out mail cars in the late '60s, of various lineage

Penn Central RPO cars in Baltimore. PC still had one or two Baltimore-NY set out mail cars in the late ’60s, of various lineage

Remnants of a C&O train at Virginia Avenue Tower, DC

Remnants of a C&O train at Virginia Avenue Tower, DC

More RPOs in Baltimore

More RPOs in Baltimore

C&O streamlined 490 "Chessie" engine just after arrival at B&O Museum, 1968.

C&O streamlined 490 “Chessie” engine just after arrival at B&O Museum, 1968.

Penn Central freight from Potomac Yard passing Virginia Avenue Tower

Penn Central freight from Potomac Yard passing Virginia Avenue Tower

More C&O at Va. Avenue

More C&O at Va. Avenue

More RPOs

More RPOs

Southern Ry. Southern Crescent from B&P Tower, Baltimore with two coast to coast Pullman cars

Southern Ry. Southern Crescent from B&P Tower, Baltimore with two coast to coast Pullman cars

SP Sunset Limited enroute westbound, location ?

SP Sunset Limited enroute westbound, location ?

More RPOs

More RPOs

More truncated C&O at Va. Avenue

More truncated C&O at Va. Avenue

From vestibule of Southern Crescent somewhere in the "south" (Georgia, Alabama, etc.). No other information remembered

From vestibule of Southern Crescent somewhere in the “south” (Georgia, Alabama, etc.). No other information remembered

More shots of C&O Chessie 490 at B&O Museum

More shots of C&O Chessie 490 at B&O Museum

SP westbound freight somewhere in Arizona from westbound Sunset Limited

SP westbound freight somewhere in Arizona from westbound Sunset Limited

Did Not Win

Try as we might, our resources for purchasing vintage images are limited. Here are two that are very much worth seeing, but still escaped our grasp:

FYI, this 35mm slide recently sold for $263.88. Pittsburgh Railways PCC Electric Streetcar #1470 Original Kodachrome Color Slide Processed by Kodak McKeesport, Pennsylvania 7 September 1959 Photographer Credit: William D. Volkmer Bob Sherwood writes, "This photo was taken during a Photo Stop during the NRHS Convention trip. My Dad, W. G. Sherwood, is on the sidewalk to the right walking toward the cameraman."

FYI, this 35mm slide recently sold for $263.88.
Pittsburgh Railways PCC Electric Streetcar #1470
Original Kodachrome Color Slide Processed by Kodak
McKeesport, Pennsylvania
7 September 1959
Photographer Credit: William D. Volkmer
Bob Sherwood writes, “This photo was taken during a Photo Stop during the NRHS Convention trip. My Dad, W. G. Sherwood, is on the sidewalk to the right walking toward the cameraman.”

FYI, this original slide recently fetched $100.99 on eBay. Chicago Aurora & Elgin 456 and 314 in Wheaton, sometime around 1952-55. We are looking west.

FYI, this original slide recently fetched $100.99 on eBay. Chicago Aurora & Elgin 456 and 314 in Wheaton, sometime around 1952-55. We are looking west.

Recent Correspondence

Our resident south side expert M. E. writes:

My brother sent me this video teaser of Chicago streetcars in 1950.

A bit more than half takes place along Lawrence Ave. But the rest is on the far south side, my turf.

Right near the beginning, you see a streetcar crossing railroad tracks. This is at 111th and Hale. The view looks northeast. The train tracks are the Rock Island suburban line (which still runs). The streetcar is heading westbound on Monterey Ave., crossing the tracks, then continuing westbound on 111th St. Notice the awning on the drugstore on the corner. You’ll see it again soon.

Now go past all the north side stuff, and come to what is obviously a streetcar going up a hill. This view is a little more than a block west of the rail crossing view. It shows a streetcar climbing the 111th St. “hill”. The awning I mentioned in the rail crossing scene is noticeable in the distance in this view.

One of my neighbors at that time was a boy who attended Morgan Park Military Academy, a few blocks west of the “hill” on 111th St. He told me once that, during a rain, he and other boys soaped the streetcar tracks to watch the streetcars struggle to get up the hill. Nasty!

At the bottom of the hill is a traffic signal for Longwood Drive. Longwood Drive runs north and south along the bottom of the geological Blue Island, which is atop the hill. The road runs from 91st St. (just west of a Rock Island suburban line station) all the way to 119th St. (the city limit) and into the city of Blue Island. Along Longwood Dr. on the hilly side are many huge houses, some maybe even considered mansions. One of those houses is a Frank Lloyd Wright house, between 99th and 100th Sts. on Longwood.

After the hill scene are a few more shots taken at 111th and Hale, showing that a conductor has to get off the streetcar, walk to the railroad tracks, look both ways, then signal the motorman to cross the tracks. Many of the streetcar lines on the south side, even those that carried few passengers, required conductors because there were so many ground-level railroad crossings along those streetcar lines.

The final set of shots is taken at the west terminal of the streetcar line, at 111th and Sacramento. There, on both sides of 111th, you see cemeteries. The cemeteries are the reason the streetcar line was built that far out. Just outside the view to the left is the main line of the Grand Trunk railroad, which crosses 111th. This streetcar line was the Halsted/Vincennes/111th St. line, which at that time was route 8.

My brother also sent me this video.

It is a thorough presentation of the North Shore line in 1945, back when movies were rare and expensive.

One nice touch was the system map from Howard St. to just north of Waukegan. And the video nicely explained all the traffic patterns around North Chicago.

I couldn’t help but notice how busy the northbound trains were. The video shows lots of people waiting at stations to board the train. But consider: This video was shot just when World War II ended. Not many people had cars then.

Shore Line stations were much busier than Skokie Valley stations. It was sad that the CNS&M had to stop its Shore Line service in 1955. That was a very picturesque and interesting route. And, along the Skokie Valley route, there was no outdoor entertainment park at Ravinia at that time.

With all the shots of the Electroliners, it would be easy to think that there were a lot more than just two of them.

One observation: At every station there were signs indicating how far to Chicago and how far to Milwaukee. Along the Skokie Valley route, those signs were aligned properly — I mean, the Milwaukee distance was on the north side of the sign and the Chicago distance was on the south side of the sign. But along the Shore Line route, Chicago was north, Milwaukee was south. Tsk tsk.

Thanks very much! The 1945 video was shot by the late Charles Keevil. His nephew Walter worked for the CTA for many years and he has also been active in various railfan organizations.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

Dr. Harold E. Cox – In Memoriam

Sad news… prolific author and historian Dr. Harold E. Cox has passed away, aged 90. He was the author of PCC Cars of North America (1963) and The Fairmount Park Trolley: A Unique Philadelphia Experiment (1970), among many others.

Former Wilkes U. history professor Harold Cox dead at 90

Post Script

M. E. adds:

Comment about your Engleman posting:

See
https://ggwash.org/view/2733/washingtons-rails-part-1-the-network
which contains a nice map at this link:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/39017545@N02/3866497418/sizes/l/in/set-72157621837169293/ .
This article and map give you everything you ever wanted to know about the rail network in Washington DC. (The article also has a similar map of Baltimore.)

There is no electrification south of Washington DC Union Station, so through passenger trains had to switch between electric and diesel engines at the station.

But freight trains changed engines in Virginia. Pennsy electrification crossed the Potomac River into Virginia. Alongside US 1 through what is now Crystal City and south from there another few miles, there was a long freight yard called Potomac Yard. That is where the engine switch took place. Consequently, one could see GG1s in Potomac Yard.

I’ll bet not a whole lot of people know that GG1s ran south of the Potomac River
into Virginia.

Also, the Pennsylvania Railroad reached almost to Norfolk, in southeastern Virginia, via a route south from Wilmington, Delaware, through Delaware, eastern Maryland and the eastern shore of Virginia. If I remember correctly, the train cars were put on ferries to reach Norfolk. (Question: Which railroad’s engines handled the train cars at the Norfolk end?)

M E

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

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

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

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time. The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 277th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 805,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

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Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.


Revisiting the Railroad Record Club

An RRC insert, found inside a vintage 1965 LP.

An RRC insert, found inside a vintage 1965 LP.

Following up on our earlier post about the Railroad Record Club (April 12), we found some interesting documents inside one of the many steam and traction LPs they issued in the 1950s and 60s. These date to late 1965.

The RRC Newsletter shows that record #32 came out late in 1965, and the five “special” pressings were also out by then. There is a mention that the company that pressed their records (RCA) was getting out of the business soon, but this may simply mean that they no longer wanted to make 10″ records, which were going out of favor.

The remaining four RRC tiles #33-36 most likely came out in 1966, since the club had been putting out four records per year. Those were also issued on 10″ LPs, but after that, the Railroad Record Club only put out reissues on 12″ vinyl.

There is also a description of a pressing error, where RCA apparently mismatched some of the two Nickel Plate Road LPs. RRC sold these to the public but unfortunately did not mark them as such.

Some recordings that were never issued are mentioned, including one of the Queensboro Bridge trolley, which last ran on April 7, 1957. Perhaps there is still rare traction audio out there waiting to be rediscovered.

Here is a video of that trolley*:

In response to your requests for more RRC titles on CD, we have added eight more steam titles to our Online Store. Nearly all of these have two RRC titles together on single compact disc.

To give you an idea of the relative value of cost, fifty years ago versus today, we made a comparison using one of those online inflation calculators. Each 10″ LP cost $4.00 in 1965, which is the equivalent of $30.30 now.

By comparison, we are offering two RRC discs in most cases for just $14.95.

The special South Shore Line 3-disc box set cost $12.49 when first issued, which would be nearly $100 in today’s money. We have the same title on two discs for only $19.95.

In addition to the Railroad Record Club recordings, we have also transferred a few other public domain recordings to compact disc.

We are still looking for a copy of RRC #23, which features Pennsylvania traction. There are vintage 1950s recordings of both the Johnstown Traction and the Altoona & Logan Valley streetcars on that disc. If you have a copy of this rare title that you would be willing to share with us, we would be glad to transfer it to compact disc and send you back your original along with a copy.

Thanks.

-Ye Olde Editor

*The narration is by prolific author Vincent F. Seyfried (1918-2012). He does get one thing wrong, however. The trolleys used on the Queensboro Bridge operation in its last days were built in 1930, not 1948.

Car 601, an “Electromobile” built by Osgood-Bradley, survived until 2009. It had been allowed to deteriorate for many years in storage, but at least parts from this car will help restore others.

The RRC Newsletter from late 1965.

The RRC Newsletter from late 1965.

The RRC Order Form from late 1965. LPs cost $4.00, which is the equivalent of $30.30 today. The $12.49 cost of the 3-disc South Shore Line recording would equate to $94.62 now.

The RRC Order Form from late 1965. LPs cost $4.00, which is the equivalent of $30.30 today. The $12.49 cost of the 3-disc South Shore Line recording would equate to $94.62 now.

RRC sold more than just records.

RRC sold more than just records.

There was a pressing error in 1965, and some of the two Nickel Plate LPs got mixed up. RRC sold these errors to the public and left it up to the purchaser to take note of the mistake.

There was a pressing error in 1965, and some of the two Nickel Plate LPs got mixed up. RRC sold these errors to the public and left it up to the purchaser to take note of the mistake.

Several new RRC steam titles are now available in our Online Store.

Several new RRC steam titles are now available in our Online Store.

A Railroad Record Club Discography

Capture81

The Railroad Record Club was started in the early 1950s by William Steventon (1921-1993), a farmer living near Hawkins, Wisconsin.  He issued a total of 37 10″ records (each containing about 30 minutes of audio) in his original series between about 1955 and 1965. In most years, four titles were issued.

One fan reports, “The Railroad Record Club was a hobby operation. Bill would edit tapes either sent to him by his friends, or from his own work, make a master tape, and send it off RCA’s custom record plant.”

Most records featured steam locomotives, but there were some traction recordings as well.  All of these included sounds that were once familiar to all, but were already fast disappearing from the American scene.  The recordings of the Railroad Record Club are an important part of the historical record, and supplement the films and photographs taken at the time.

Eventually, some of the original discs were reissued on 12″.  There were also some samplers made.

Hard information about the RRC seems to be lacking on the Internet, but I did find this article from the March 6, 1958 issue of the Milwaukee Sentinel:

TOWN STILL HEARS TRAIN ‘CHUG-CHUG’

HAWKINS, Wis., March 5 (Special) – The chug-chug of coal burning locomotives pulling up steep grades and the lonesome wail of the steam whistle can still be heard in this Rusk County village.  This is despite the fact that Soo Line train engines running through Hawkins have been dieselized for a number of years.  These sounds, instead, come from some 200,000 feet of tape recording made by William A. Steventon, manager of the Cream Valley Telephone Co. here.

200 CLUB MEMBERS

Steventon is the organizer of the Railroad Record Club, which has some 200 members throughout the United States and in several foreign countries.  During 1957 he sold 1,000 records in America, New Zealand, Australia, England and Canada.

Steventon got into this fascinating sideline in 1953 when his bride-to-be gave him a record of railroad sounds for Christmas.  It was of imitation noises, recorded in a studio.  This sounds like an unusual gift, until you learn that Steventon is the son of a locomotive engineer and climbed up on a chair to watch the trains go past his home in Mt. Carmel, Ill., as soon as he could walk.

TOY TRAINS AT 4

He got his first toy electric train when he was four years old.  As a teenager in the 1930s, he started building scale model electric trains.  Electric trains particularly fascinated Steventon.  He collected pictures of interurban lines throughout the country, also visiting as many of them as he could.

He now has seven complete model train sets and is working on another.  He hopes to get into steam locomotives later.  When he finishes building his new home east of Hawkins, Steventon plans to set up a system of tracks for his train.

When Steventon, working then for the government in Washington, D. C., got the sound recording for Christmas, he decided to record the real McCoy.

VISITED 15 STATES

Since then he has recorded steam and electric trains in 15 states– from New York to California, even in Chicago’s smoky Loop.  As you sit in Steventon’s office listening to the huff and puff of the engine and the clickety-clack of wheels over rail joints, you almost feel the sway of the cars.

Some recordings offered by Steventon to club members include sounds no longer heard on railroads such as the Illinois Terminal, Johnstown Traction, Potomac Edison, Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Denver and Rio Grande Western, New York Central and the Duluth, Mesabi and Iron Range.  Club members are required to buy three of four records offered each year at a reduced rate.

ONE DESCRIBED

Here is his description of one record:

“One side will consist  of locomotive switching at Spooner, Wis.  Did you ever ride a sleeper and stop at some division point in the wee hours and listen to a nearby switch engine doing yeard work in a misting rain?  This is just such a recording.

“The other side will have the last steamer on the Wabash doing yard work at Bluffs, Ill.  This recording was made from the train and captures all the thrilling sounds of the air pump, clanging firebox door, exhaust and whistles.  This steamer has been retired since the spring of 1955, but lives on in this recording.”

Steventon said one woman in Maine wrote him that records her son has purchased “were so realistic that smoke from the trains got my curtains dirty.”

So, it appears Steventon dated the founding of the club to Christmas 1953, although I don’t think any records were issued before 1955.  The first introductory record was unnumbered, and the ones that followed ran from 1-36.  There were at least six special pressings in the early 1970s, and various samplers that presumably gave club members and record dealers some idea of what they could order each year.  Some records were reissued in 12″ format, and the club seems to have kept going until around 1986.

Here is what I assume to be a more or less complete Railroad Record Club discography. As far as I know, this is the first and only such discography that you will find online.

-David Sadowski

RAILROAD RECORD CLUB TITLES
0 Soo Line, Illinois Central (Introductory Record)
1 Wabash Railroad, Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha
2 Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern, Southern Iowa Railway
3 Denver, Rio Grande & Western, East Broad Top
4 Baltimore and Ohio
5 Denver & Rio Grande Western
6 Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick)
7 Norfolk & Western, Illinois Central (Also includes a bit of Illinois Terminal Railroad)
8 Canadian National (aka Canadian Railroading in the Days of Steam)
9 Winston-Salem Southbound
10 Pennsylvania Railroad
11 Shaker Heights Rapid Transit
12 Duluth Missabe & Iron Range
13 Nickel Plate Road
14 Pacific Electric
15 Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
16 Westside Lumber Company
17 Minneapolis & St Paul, Sault Ste Marie Railway
18 Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee
19 Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range
20 Chicago & Illinois Midland – New York Central
21 Duluth & Northeastern
22 Buffalo Creek & Gauley
23 Pennsy Trolleys
24 Canadian Pacific
25 Illinois Terminal Railroad
26 Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (freight)
27 Capital Transit Company
28 Charles City Western – Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern
29 Nickel Plate Road
30 Sound Scrapbook, Traction
31 Sound Scrapbook, Steam
32 New York Central
33 Chicago, South Shore & South Bend (freight)
34 Chicago, South Shore & South Bend (freight)
35 Milwaukee & Suburban Transport, Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (Disc says No. 36)
36 Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, Chicago Transit Authority (Disc says No. 35)

Special Pressings
SP1 The Silverton Train
SP2 Northern Pacific 2626 Memorial Album
SP3 Whistle ‘Round the Bend
SP4 Chicago, South Shore & South Bend Railroad (passenger)
SP5 Soo Line, Illinois Central
SP6 The Milwaukee Road (electric freight)

Samplers
S1 1st & 2nd Years -1-4, 5-8
S2 3rd & 4th Years – 9-12, 13-16
S3 5th Year – 17-20
S4 6th Year – 21-24
S5 7th & 8th Years – 25-28, 29-32
S6 9th year – 33-36

PS- Eric Bronsky writes:

As it turns out, I acquired a bunch of recordings many years ago and still have my copy of that Club’s 1965-1970 catalog. Scans are attached. The detailed description of each record should help you to fill in any gaps. You’re welcome to share these images through your blog.

I recall Bill Steventon’s apology for having to raise the price of all 10″ records to $4.00 (postpaid)! In those days the price increase seemed steep because I was earning only $3.00/hour.

I also saved several Record Club newsletters from various years up to 1986 and a 1971 catalog from Mobile Fidelity Records, which produced the original Interurban Memories album. All-Nation Hobby Shop once had a “record department” which sold RR sound recordings from several sources. “Traction Ted” Seifert was in charge of this.

RRRC 01

RRRC 02

RRRC 03

RRRC 04

RRRC 05

RRRC 06

RRRC 07

Railroad Record Club disc #13.

Railroad Record Club disc #13.

PS- You can now purchase some of these historic recordings on compact disc through our Online Store. We also posted a follow-up article about the RRC that you can read here.