Ravenswood Rarities

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood "A" train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA's historical fleet.

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood “A” train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA’s historical fleet.

This time around, we have lots of classic traction photos for your consideration. For whatever reason, many of them were taken in the vicinity of Lawrence and Kimball, terminus of the CTA Brown Line (formerly known as the Ravenswood “L”).

There was a recent fantrip on the CTA “L” system, using historic cars 4271-4272. This sold out quickly, and unfortunately, we were not able to participate. But it did help raise money for two very worthy causes. Besides helping to keep these early 1920s railcars running on the CTA, funds also went to assist the Fox River Trolley Museum recover from the vandalism they suffered last year. We encourage our readers to help with these efforts by contacting those organizations directly.

We do have several images of 4271-4272 from previous fantrips, however (and one, at the top of this page, from one of the last times they were used in regular service).

Many of these images come courtesy of Bill Shapotkin. We hope that you will support Mr. Shapotkin’s efforts by attending his programs, which include the upcoming Hoosier Traction Meet this September. More about that will be found further down in this post. We also have some additional recent photo finds of our own.

Just to dispel any notion that these images always looked this way, this time we have included some “before” shots that you can contrast with the “after” ones. There is a lot of work that goes into making these images look better.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- A few of our readers have pointed out that in our last couple of posts, clicking on the various images with your mouse would not bring up a larger version of that picture, so you can study it more closely. We have fixed that issue in this new post, and promise we will go back soon and correct it on those two as well.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA "Met" cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA “Met” cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don's Rail Photos: "2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858."

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos: “2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858.”

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

Here, a couple of old CTA "Met" cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

Here, a couple of old CTA “Met” cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today's Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today’s Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA's Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and "Traction Orange."

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and “Traction Orange.”

CTA wooden "L" cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA wooden “L” cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop "L" on September 13, 1976.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop “L” on September 13, 1976.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

At left, CTA's Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

At left, CTA’s Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don's Rail Photos: '5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001."

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don’s Rail Photos: ‘5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001.”

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series "L" cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series “L” cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

A train of CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake Street "L" (today's Green Line) in September 1977.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line) in September 1977.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don's Rail Photos: "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don’s Rail Photos: “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

A CTA 6000-series "L" car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA 6000-series “L” car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

Hoosier Traction 2019

This PDF file explains what’s happening in Indianapolis this September 6-7:

hoosiertractionmeet_2019_05_public

Recent Finds

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: "There's a rather long story behind this. Yes, it's a Steinway car, and yes, it's on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the "Toonerville Trolley" cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony."

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: “There’s a rather long story behind this. Yes, it’s a Steinway car, and yes, it’s on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the “Toonerville Trolley” cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony.”

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 - 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were "tiger stripes," intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 – 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were “tiger stripes,” intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: "It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer." (Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: “It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

CTA 4355 and it's semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", on September 10, 1957.

CTA 4355 and it’s semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, on September 10, 1957.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park "L". The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park “L”. The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park "L" in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train-- it's a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden "L" cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina "L" crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street "L", as the Pink Line does today.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park “L” in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train– it’s a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden “L” cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina “L” crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street “L”, as the Pink Line does today.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

A single CTA wooden "L" car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A single CTA wooden “L” car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in June 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in June 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

Recent Correspondence

Andre Kristopans
writes:

In 1935 CSL and CRT began exchanging transfers. In 1936 CMC and CRT transfers followed.Some time soon, exact date unknown to me, CRT and West Towns transfers followed, but these were gone sometime after 1938. Each transfer type was its own color as follows:

CRT to CSL – yellow (actually “newsprint?”)
CRT to CMC – green
CRT to West Towns – pink
CSL to CRT – blue
CMC to CRT – unknown to me
CWT to CRT – unknown – any ideas what they looked like?

In 1943 CSL and CMC transfers began and colors were revised:

CRT – CSL – blue
CRT – CMC – green
CMC – CSL – pink

Around 1947 CMC to CSL and CRT became orange. Once CTA was formed all L transfers became blue, both to CTA durface system and to CMC, while surface to CMC remained green and CMC to CTA surface or L remained orange. In 1953 orange transfers were eliminated as former CMC routes were put on regular surface transfers. L transfers remained blue until about 1962 when they became green.

If anybody has any additional information or can offer any corrections, they would be very welcomed!

Jon Roma writes:

I can offer the attached color image of CNS&M/C&NW Ryan Tower, given your recent feature on the subject along with the statement that there are few shots of the location. This is digitized from a slide by unknown photographer that resides in my collection; it’s obviously a railfan excursion taken on or about March 1962. Please feel free to use if you’d like.

We thank all our contributors!

TRACTION AUDIO, NOW AVAILABLE ON COMPACT DISC:

CDLayout33p85

RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

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

Total time – 73:14


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

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Recent Finds, 1-12-2018

Lehigh Valley Transit express freight car C7. built by Jewett in 1913, is seen here at the Fairview car barn in the 1940s.

Lehigh Valley Transit express freight car C7. built by Jewett in 1913, is seen here at the Fairview car barn in the 1940s.

Here are some of our recent photographic finds, which include some very rare scenes. In addition, we have some interesting correspondence, and great Chicago Aurora & Elgin pictures courtesy of Jack Bejna.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We note with great regret the passing of Al Reinschmidt, who was an occasional poster on the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group (as “Buslist”), and also left a few comments on this blog. We learned of his passing from the Illinois Railway Museum Facebook page:

We are saddened to report the passing of one of our regular volunteers, Al Reinschmidt. Al was a civil engineer known as one of the foremost experts on rail design and performance and worked on high speed rail projects around the world. At IRM he volunteered in our restoration shop and as a streetcar motorman but he was probably best known to visitors as one of the regular announcers at our Day Out With Thomas event and as the reader of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” during Happy Holiday Railway. His kindness, geniality and vast store of knowledge will be missed.

Our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Annual Fundraiser

In about 20 day’s time, our annual bill to fund this site and its web domain comes due.  That comes to $400, or just over $1 per day for the entire year.  So far, we have collected $60 of the required amount. If you have already contributed, we are particularly grateful.

If you enjoy reading this blog, and want to see it continue, we hope you will consider supporting it via a donation.  You can also purchase items from our Online Store. With your help, we cannot fail.

Recent Finds

Lehigh Valley Transit cars 701 (left) and 812 (right) on a fantrip, some time prior to the 1951 abandonment of interurban service on the Liberty Bell route.

Lehigh Valley Transit cars 701 (left) and 812 (right) on a fantrip, some time prior to the 1951 abandonment of interurban service on the Liberty Bell route.

CSL 6268 is at the east end of the 43rd - Root line (approximately 1146 E. 43rd Street) in the 1940s. In the background, you can see a pedestrian bridge over the nearby Illinois Central Electric tracks. 6268 was known as a Multiple Unit caar. Don's Rail Photos says, "6268 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 6268 is at the east end of the 43rd – Root line (approximately 1146 E. 43rd Street) in the 1940s. In the background, you can see a pedestrian bridge over the nearby Illinois Central Electric tracks. 6268 was known as a Multiple Unit caar. Don’s Rail Photos says, “6268 was built by Cummings Car Co in 1926. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

John Smatlak writes:

I really enjoyed seeing that photo of CSL 6268 is at the east end of the 43rd – Root line. This location was of course just a block away from the terminus of the Kenwood branch of the L. Here is a photo your readers may enjoy taken 11-12-28 of the L terminal and the Chicago Junction freight tracks that passed under the L at that location. Thanks!

"Though still carrying a faded passenger car paint scheme, and sporting a South Chicago - Sheffield route sign, CSL #2828 has long since entered work service to pull cars around the shops." Don's Rail Photos: "2828 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in July 1904, #242, as CERy 123. It became C&SC Ry 813 in 1908 and renumbered 2828 in 1913. It became CSL 2828 in 1914 and scrapped in 1946." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

“Though still carrying a faded passenger car paint scheme, and sporting a South Chicago – Sheffield route sign, CSL #2828 has long since entered work service to pull cars around the shops.” Don’s Rail Photos: “2828 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in July 1904, #242, as CERy 123. It became C&SC Ry 813 in 1908 and renumbered 2828 in 1913. It became CSL 2828 in 1914 and scrapped in 1946.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 7033 at 115th and Cottage Grove, the south end of Route 4, circa 1952-55. In the background, you can see the adjacent Illinois Central Electric embankment.

CTA prewar PCC 7033 at 115th and Cottage Grove, the south end of Route 4, circa 1952-55. In the background, you can see the adjacent Illinois Central Electric embankment.

CTA prewar PCC 4034, presumably at 71st and Ashland.

CTA prewar PCC 4034, presumably at 71st and Ashland.

The old Larrabee "L" station at North Avenue. This station was also called Larrabee and Ogden, after Ogden was extended north between 1926 and 1930. It was closed by the CTA in 1949 as part of a service revision.

The old Larrabee “L” station at North Avenue. This station was also called Larrabee and Ogden, after Ogden was extended north between 1926 and 1930. It was closed by the CTA in 1949 as part of a service revision.

These old wooden "L" cars may be in storage at Skokie Shops, before the facilities were expanded.

These old wooden “L” cars may be in storage at Skokie Shops, before the facilities were expanded.

This view looks north towards the Wilson "L" yard and shops. You can see the interlocking tower, and at left, part of the ramp down to Buena Yard, which was used for freight. Dan Cluley writes, "Looking at the Wilson Shops photo, am I correct that those are some of the piggyback flat cars in between the grass and the L structure?" I asked an expert. Here’s what J. J. Sedelmaier says: “It’s absolutely the NSL Ferry-Truck equipment! That’s the old Wilson Shops building in the background and that’s the north end of Montrose Yards and transfer station.” Bill Shapotkin says this is Montrose Tower.

This view looks north towards the Wilson “L” yard and shops. You can see the interlocking tower, and at left, part of the ramp down to Buena Yard, which was used for freight. Dan Cluley writes, “Looking at the Wilson Shops photo, am I correct that those are some of the piggyback flat cars in between the grass and the L structure?” I asked an expert. Here’s what J. J. Sedelmaier says: “It’s absolutely the NSL Ferry-Truck equipment! That’s the old Wilson Shops building in the background and that’s the north end of Montrose Yards and transfer station.” Bill Shapotkin says this is Montrose Tower.

Wilson Yard and Shops. Note the North Shore Line freight station at lower left. (J. J. Sedelmaier Collection)

Wilson Yard and Shops. Note the North Shore Line freight station at lower left. (J. J. Sedelmaier Collection)

Although this is not the sharpest picture, it does show the Austin Boulevard station on the Garfield park "L", probably circa 1954. We are looking east. To the left, you can see the southern edge of Columbus Park. At the far left, temporary tracks are already being built, which the "L" would shift to in this area on August 29, 1954. This is the present site of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Although this is not the sharpest picture, it does show the Austin Boulevard station on the Garfield park “L”, probably circa 1954. We are looking east. To the left, you can see the southern edge of Columbus Park. At the far left, temporary tracks are already being built, which the “L” would shift to in this area on August 29, 1954. This is the present site of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Here, we are looking east along Van Buren, just west of Paulina. The tracks in the foreground are the temporary Garfield Park "L" right of way. The Congress (later Eisenhower) expressway is under construction to the right, with the Douglas Park "L" in the background. This photo was probably taken in early 1954. The Garfield Park "L" west of Paulina has already been demolished, but the Marshfield station still appears intact. This could not be removed until the Douglas line was re-reouted over the Lake Street "L".

Here, we are looking east along Van Buren, just west of Paulina. The tracks in the foreground are the temporary Garfield Park “L” right of way. The Congress (later Eisenhower) expressway is under construction to the right, with the Douglas Park “L” in the background. This photo was probably taken in early 1954. The Garfield Park “L” west of Paulina has already been demolished, but the Marshfield station still appears intact. This could not be removed until the Douglas line was re-reouted over the Lake Street “L”.

CTA 6123-6124 on the outer end of the Douglas Park line, probably in the early 1950s.

CTA 6123-6124 on the outer end of the Douglas Park line, probably in the early 1950s.

This is an unusual picture, as it shows the Calvary "L" station in Evanston, which was a flag stop in both directions. Located opposite the entrance to Calvary cemetery, this station closed in 1931 and was replaced by South Boulevard a few blocks north. This view looks north from the southern edge of the cemetery. As you can see, the platforms appear relatively short. They were removed in the 1930s, but the rest of the station was not demolished until 1995. This photo probably dates to around 1930.

This is an unusual picture, as it shows the Calvary “L” station in Evanston, which was a flag stop in both directions. Located opposite the entrance to Calvary cemetery, this station closed in 1931 and was replaced by South Boulevard a few blocks north. This view looks north from the southern edge of the cemetery. As you can see, the platforms appear relatively short. They were removed in the 1930s, but the rest of the station was not demolished until 1995. This photo probably dates to around 1930.

A close-up of the Calvary station.

A close-up of the Calvary station.

J.J. Sedelmaier writes:

Does ANYone have shots of the Calvary stop on the “L” while still in service, prior to the opening of South Boulevard in 1930?

I think we may have something (see above).

J.J. replies:

YES !! I saw this last week ! So exciting ! The best shot so far, and I’ve been searching for decades !! Thanks for the heads-up David !!

The funny thing is, the photographer, whoever it was, doesn’t seem to have been trying to take a picture of the Calvary station at all. Otherwise, they surely would have moved in a lot closer first. It is a picture of a largely empty street, that just happens to show the station in the distance, which at the time was probably considered fairly unimportant.

J.J. continues:

Here are the shots I have here. I took the 1970’s pics. Bruce Moffat took the 1994 pics. The 1931 shot is a company photo that I got from Malcolm D. MacCarter in the mid-90s.

This January 12, 1931 photo shows the South Boulevard station under construction. It was in a better location from the standpoint of patronage, and replaced the Calvary station a few blocks away (which you can see in the distance). (Chicago Rapid Transit Company Photo)

This January 12, 1931 photo shows the South Boulevard station under construction. It was in a better location from the standpoint of patronage, and replaced the Calvary station a few blocks away (which you can see in the distance). (Chicago Rapid Transit Company Photo)

A close-up of the previous image, showing the Calvary station in the distance.

A close-up of the previous image, showing the Calvary station in the distance.

The entrance to the former Calvary station, as it appeared in 1970 when it was being used by a monument company. (J. J. Sedelmaier Photo)

The entrance to the former Calvary station, as it appeared in 1970 when it was being used by a monument company. (J. J. Sedelmaier Photo)

A side view of the former Calvary station in 1970. The platforms were removed in the 1930s and hardly any photos exist showing them in service. (J. J. Sedelmaier Photo)

A side view of the former Calvary station in 1970. The platforms were removed in the 1930s and hardly any photos exist showing them in service. (J. J. Sedelmaier Photo)

Bruce Moffat took this picture on February 15, 1994 just before the station entrance was demolished.

Bruce Moffat took this picture on February 15, 1994 just before the station entrance was demolished.

The interior of the former Calvary "L" station as it appeared on February 15, 1994. (Bruce Moffat Photo)

The interior of the former Calvary “L” station as it appeared on February 15, 1994. (Bruce Moffat Photo)

In addition, here is a classic shot that Mr. Sedelmaier shared with us:

On July 23, 1955, John D. Emery, then president of the Evanston Historical Society, purchased the last Shore Line ticket sold at the Church Street station from agent George Kennedy. The ticket window was closed the following day (Sunday), and the last Shore Line train ran in the early hours of July 25 (Monday). The ticket remains in the Historical Society collection. Emery was later (1962-1970) the mayor of Evanston, during which time he vetoed an anti-discrimination housing ordinance. (Evanston Photographic Service/J.J. Sedelmaier Collection Photo)

On July 23, 1955, John D. Emery, then president of the Evanston Historical Society, purchased the last Shore Line ticket sold at the Church Street station from agent George Kennedy. The ticket window was closed the following day (Sunday), and the last Shore Line train ran in the early hours of July 25 (Monday). The ticket remains in the Historical Society collection. Emery was later (1962-1970) the mayor of Evanston, during which time he vetoed an anti-discrimination housing ordinance. (Evanston Photographic Service/J.J. Sedelmaier Collection Photo)

(J.J. Sedelmaier Collection)

(J.J. Sedelmaier Collection)

Chicago & Calumet District Transit Company (aka Hammond, Whiting & East chicago) car 70 in Hammond. In our post More Hoosier Traction (September 2, 2015), we ran another photo that appears to have been taken at the same time as this. If so, the date is February 1939. There is some damage to this old print, in the area around car 70's headlight. Trolley service here ended in 1940. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)

Chicago & Calumet District Transit Company (aka Hammond, Whiting & East chicago) car 70 in Hammond. In our post More Hoosier Traction (September 2, 2015), we ran another photo that appears to have been taken at the same time as this. If so, the date is February 1939. There is some damage to this old print, in the area around car 70’s headlight. Trolley service here ended in 1940. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee wood car 300 on a fantrip on the streets of Waukegan circa 1940. From 1939 until 1942, the North Shore Line allowed Central Electric Railfans' Association to use 300 as their "club car." Here, we see it parked in front of Immaculate Conception school.

Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee wood car 300 on a fantrip on the streets of Waukegan circa 1940. From 1939 until 1942, the North Shore Line allowed Central Electric Railfans’ Association to use 300 as their “club car.” Here, we see it parked in front of Immaculate Conception school.

North Shore Line car 731 (and train) at the Wisconsin State Fair, possibly circa 1930. In order to access the fairgrounds, North Shore Line cars had to get there via the Milwaukee Electric. Incompatibilities between the two interurbans' wheel profiles resulted in wheel damage to the NSL.

North Shore Line car 731 (and train) at the Wisconsin State Fair, possibly circa 1930. In order to access the fairgrounds, North Shore Line cars had to get there via the Milwaukee Electric. Incompatibilities between the two interurbans’ wheel profiles resulted in wheel damage to the NSL.

The North Shore Line in Highland Park, circa 1930. Here, we are looking north along the Shore Line Route, which quit in 1955. NSL tracks ran parallel to the nearby Chicago & North Western commuter line, which would be to the left of this view.

The North Shore Line in Highland Park, circa 1930. Here, we are looking north along the Shore Line Route, which quit in 1955. NSL tracks ran parallel to the nearby Chicago & North Western commuter line, which would be to the left of this view.

The information on the back of this picture says we are looking south from Central Avenue in Highland Park. At right, thiee are North Shore Line tracks on the old Shore Line Route. A small shelter is visible at right. This picture is circa 1930. The area the North Shore Line once occupied is now a parking lot.

The information on the back of this picture says we are looking south from Central Avenue in Highland Park. At right, thiee are North Shore Line tracks on the old Shore Line Route. A small shelter is visible at right. This picture is circa 1930. The area the North Shore Line once occupied is now a parking lot.

The same location today.

The same location today.

These photos have been added to our post The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7, 2017), which included several other photos of the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, New Jersey:

Five Mile Beach electric Railway car 27 at Atlantic and Oak Avenues in Wildwood, on the Angelsea-Crest line, June 1945. A bus is also visible. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway car 27 at Atlantic and Oak Avenues in Wildwood, on the Angelsea-Crest line, June 1945. A bus is also visible. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood carhouse on May 30, 1945, shortly before abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood carhouse on May 30, 1945, shortly before abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 30 in the car barn, circa the mid-1940s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 30 in the car barn, circa the mid-1940s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Recent Correspondence

On June 26, 1960 a pair of CTA single-car units went out on a portion of the Lake Street "L", but apparently did not go on the ground-level portion of the route. Here, we see the train heading westbound at Clinton and Lake. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

On June 26, 1960 a pair of CTA single-car units went out on a portion of the Lake Street “L”, but apparently did not go on the ground-level portion of the route. Here, we see the train heading westbound at Clinton and Lake. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

Miles Beitler writes:

I was doing some online research recently and followed a link to a photo on your blog. The photo was posted under “Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part 6” and included the following in the caption:

“Here’s an interesting streetscape that could not be duplicated today. According to the back of the picture, it shows the view looking east from South Boulevard and Austin, on the eastern edge of Oak Park. The Lake Street “L”, where it ran on the ground, had a very narrow right-of-way that the 6000s, with their bulging sides, could not fit in.”

I have read similar comments posted by others, i.e., that the reason no 6000s were used on the Lake Street “L” is that the cars were too wide. While it’s true that the curved body 6000s were wider than the 4000s and wood cars, the difference was slight — not more than a foot at their widest point. So I don’t think that would explain why they weren’t used. I think a more logical explanation is that the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L” used trolley wire, and none of the original 6000s had trolley poles. (I believe that the only exception was one experimental high performance trainset (6127-6130) that was used in Evanston Express service.) You will note that the original “baldy” 4000s also were not used in Lake Street service for the same reason. The steel roofs of those 4000s made it very difficult to retrofit them with trolley poles.

By the time the western portion of the line was elevated and converted to third rail in 1962, the high performance 2000s were already ordered. So the CTA probably decided to just keep using the older cars until the 2000s arrived. Cars 1-50 did have trolley poles, but those cars were not received until shortly before the elevation of the Lake Street “L” at which time they would not have been needed anyway, so they were used on the Evanston line instead, and later some were used on the Skokie Swift.

Does this make sense, or am I all wet?

Either way, keep up your fantastic blog!

Thanks for writing. You have made an interesting hypothesis, which deserves consideration.

First of all, I have heard enough stories regarding the tight clearances on the ground-level portion of Lake to believe there was some sort of clearance problem that prevented the use of curved-sided rapid transit cars there. The most logical explanation so far is that this involved the gatemen’s shantys.

Having ridden the Lake Street “L” numerous times prior to the October 28, 1962 relocation of the outer portion of the route onto the C&NW embankment, I can assure you that clearances were very tight, as two tracks and platforms were shoehorned into a side street, which continued to have two-way auto traffic.

There was a fantrip on Lake during 1960 using one of the single-car units in the 1-50 series, and while this train did venture down to the lower level of Hamlin Yard, it apparently made no effort to go west of Laramie. You would think they would have done so had this been possible. (See photo above.)

Similar clearance restrictions have existed on other parts of the system. Skokie Swift cars that had pan trolleys fitted were not allowed to go downtown, and cars with poles cannot go into the Kimball subway. (At the moment, this restriction would only apply to 4271-4272.)

That being said, let us take a step back and review how the Lake Street “L” fit in with the strategic thinking of various planners over the decades.

In 1937, the City of Chicago proposed building an aerial highway on the Lake Street “L” structure, and some other “L”s such as Humboldt Park. In theory this would have been something like the West Side Elevated Highway in New York City, which was built between 1929 and 1951 and which partially collapsed in 1973.

Express bus service would have replaced the rapid transit line, as would have a beefed-up Garfield Park “L” in this plan. We can be glad this was not built.

By 1939, this plan was abandoned in favor of the Congress Parkway Expressway that was built starting a decade later, and opened in stages between 1955 and 1960.

The City was proposing various subways all over town, in addition to the State Street and Dearborn-Milwaukee tubes that were built starting in 1938. One goal was to tear down the Loop “L”, starting with the Lake and Wabash legs.

The Lake Street “L” would have been diverted into a subway connection just west of the Loop that of course was never built. Neither was a connection built to divert the Lake “L” into the Congress line via an elevated connection near Kedzie, or Kostner, although the CTA was still intent on doing these things as of 1948.

There is some question whether the entire Lake Street “L” might have been abandoned early in the CTA era, if not for the innovation of A/B “skip stop” service that was begun in 1948. This was so successful that it was gradually used on other parts of the CTA system.

When and how were curved-side “L” cars developed? It seems likely this idea, like many others, came from New York, where some experimental 1930s BMT railcars such as the so-called “Green Hornet” had mildly curved sides.

In Chicago, curved sides appeared on ten interurbans, #451-460 for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, designed in 1941 but not built by St. Louis Car Company until 1945, as well as the two North Shore Line Electroliners.

These were followed by four experimental sets of articulated rapid transit cars $5001-5004, delivered in 1947-48. Except for the curved sides, largely patterned after the BMT “Bluebirds: from 1939-40.

Chicago’s Initial System of Subways was designed to allow for longer and wider cars, closer to New York standards. The City may have hoped these standards could gradually be applied to the entire system, but it was not to be.

When the Chicago Transit Authority took over from the Chicago Rapid Transit Company in 1947, one primary goal was to purchase enough new steel railcars to allow the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway to open. Another goal was to get rid of the wooden “L” cars, which were getting very old and were not permitted in the subways.

When the first 6000s were delivered starting in 1950, they were first used on Douglas, but that was for test purposes. After another year or two, CTA switched things around, so the new 6000s were used in the State Street subway, and the 4000s on the more lightly used Dearborn-Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, the last wood cars were used on Lake around 1955. The last wooden :”L” cars were used in service in 1957, by which time there were enough new 6000s on hand to permit their retirements.

But else what was happening on Lake during the 1950s? By 1951-5, CTA appears to have figured out that the “problem” portion of Lake was the outer end, not the parts east of Laramie. The first suggestion was to truncate the line to Laramie, but this did not go over well in Oak Park, so the various parties got together, and the embankment plan was the result.

These plans were finalized around 1958. The relocation took place in 1962, at which time the CTA probably hoped to have taken delivery on what became the 2000-series. But there were so many changes and innovations in these cars that delivery did not occur until 1964.

So yes, it does not appear that it was ever a high priority for the CTA to use 6000s on the ground-level portion of Lake. Wood cars were replaced by 4000s around 1955, which was considered a service improvement, and within three years from that, plans were afoot to relocate service anyway.

However, if the CTA had really wanted to run 6000s on Lake, I expect changes could have been made in the locations of whatever obstacles prevented it, and additional cars could have been equipped with trolley poles, as was done for Evanston.

I doubt these would have been single-car units, though, since those were intended for “off peak” one-man operation on Evanston, something which I don’t think would have been suitable on Lake.

As it was, I don’t recall seeing 6000s on Lake much before 1979. In the wake of that year’s blizzard, which shut down the line west of Laramie for a week, so many of the newer cars had burned-out motors that it became necessary to use the older 6000s.

I hope this answers your questions.

-David Sadowski

Miles Beitler again:

Dave, you obviously know FAR more about Chicago transit than I do. You could probably give Graham Garfield some stiff competition.

I believe you recently wrote a book about trolleys. I grew up not far from the terminal of the Clark Street car line at Howard Street and I remember riding the Green Hornets to the local branch of the Chicago public library. I also remember visiting my cousins who lived a block away from the Devon car barn and seeing all of the streetcars stored there. However, I’m more interested in the “L” and interurban history. I spent my childhood watching the North Shore Line trains, and I was fortunate enough to ride an Electroliner to Racine, Wisconsin about a year before the NSL folded.

Have you given or considered giving presentations about Chicago transit at schools, libraries, etc.? WTTW channel 11 might also like to use you as a resource on Chicago transit history or for the production of programs on the subject, similar to the ones produced by Geoffrey Baer over the past 25 years.

There are a number of people, several in fact, who qualify as experts on Chicago transit. We all tend to know each other to some extent, as we’re interested in many of the same things.

I don’t feel like I am competing with any of the other “experts.” We have each found our own niche, and have different contributions to make. In fact, this blog is only successful because it is based on sharing and cooperation.

Actually, I have given a number of presentations to various groups over the years.

WTTW actually did feature the Chicago PCC book I co-authored once on Chicago Tonight. You can read about it in our post A Window to the World of Streetcars (June 2, 2016).

Our pictures do get around. Several photos that I posted to the Internet ended up being featured in an article called Displaced, which tried to determine what happened to the people who were living in the path of the Congress expressway when it was built. (See our post Some Thoughts on Displaced, August 30, 2016.)

Who knows when or where our stuff will show up in the future. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Thanks.

Ron Smolen adds:

In your last post this comment was posted in the sections about 6000s on Lake street:

“You will note that the original “baldy” 4000s also were not used in Lake Street service for the same reason. The steel roofs of those 4000s made it very difficult to retrofit them with trolley poles.”

TRUE… however, near the end of the Baldies operations, I do recall seeing LIVE and in photos
some single baldies that were placed in trains with 4000 pole equipped cars that DID operate in regular service to Harlem under wire.

Ron adds that, according to www.chicago-l.org, “baldy” 4000s ran on Lake from 1959 to 1964, paired with pole-equipped “plushies.”

Jack Bejna writes:

A Tale of Two Pictures

A short time ago there was a question raised by a reader about changing original photographs with Photoshop, thereby eliminating the original intent of the image. As an example of what I do, refer to the first image of CA&E 209. From my experience of working with CA&E images, I believe that the image was captured at the Laramie Freight House area, but of course that is only a guess. My goal is to try to improve the original image and enhance the background while preserving the original intent of the photographer when the image was captured. With this image I decided to place Car 209 in a typical situation, that is, on one of the storage tracks behind the freight house. Further, I like the look of the Niles wood cars so I added the front of sister car 207 to present an unblocked image of Car 209. I spent the rest of my efforts on improving the photograph itself with Photoshop. The final result is pretty much the way I think it looked at the time and represents a cleaner roster shot of a classic Niles interurban.

 

Moving right along with the CA&E roster, here are some images of the work cars and locomotives that kept the railroad running.
-Jack

CA&E Express Cars – Line Cars – Locomotives – Tool Cars

CA&E rostered a variety of Motors to fit the job at hand. First, the Newspaper Special, obviously a motor that probably spent time doing whatever job was needed in addition to delivering newspapers. I’ve never found a number for this car or any record of when or how it was retired.

Next, express cars 9, 11, & 15 illustrate the differences in length, configuration, etc., in the CA&E roster. Line cars 11 and 45 are next. Car 45 was purchased from the Chicago & Interurban Traction when the line quit in 1927. When Car 45 was retired it was replaced by car 11, rebuilt as a line car.

Locomotive 3 was built as a double ended plow and was used as a work motor by removing the plows.

Next up are the CA&E locomotives, including 2001-2002 built by GE in 1920, 3003-3004 built by BLW-WH in 1923-4, and 4005-4006 built by Oklahoma Railway in 1929.

Finally, Tool Cars 7 and B are shown. Tool Car B was rebuilt from a boxcar.

Here are a few more CA&E freight motors. First is an image of 5-15 in a winter scene. Before the railroad purchased 2001-2002 these two cars were commonly used as locomotives on the freight trains. Second is tool car in an unusual paint scheme. I’m glad they didn’t paint all the motors like this! Finally, here is a scene of Line Car 45 in action on a line relocation in Aurora.

Here’s a real gem that I came across searching the Internet. CA&E had a fire in the early days that destroyed many of their records, photographs, etc., so much of the early days is lost forever. Somehow this image survived somewhere, and we are able to see what express car 4 looked like, albeit with a lot of Photoshop help. I have no idea who built it or when, and how long it lasted.

Enjoy!

Jack

As always, we thank Jack for sharing these wonderful photos.

Fernandes writes:

Hello. I’m doing some reading about bus history. In 1921, Fageol launched Safety Coach and then, Model 20 and 40. Then the Twin Coach style.

I found it very interesting that they always adopted a design style similar to trains and not cars.

Well, we are the product of our time. Back in 1920 when the Fageols designed their first bus, what style reference did they have? Trains, of course.

But it’s interesting because their first “bus”, the Safety Coach, had a vehicle body. Not related to train. Some years later, they created the Twin Coach with a train looking style.

Would you provide me some info about bus/train design inspiration?

I forwarded this to Andre Kristopans, who knows much more than I ever could about bus history. Here is his reply:

At least part of the deal was that early intercity coaches often replaced branch line trains or directly competed with them. So, why not make something sort of train-like? As for the 40s, they sort of mimic what a “modern” streetcar looked like in the 1920s. Why not? Imitation can be a big compliment. By the 930s some elements of streetcar design such as rear door in very rear were replaced by designs more practical for a bus like a rear door 3/4 way back. But then new streetcars like PCCs started mimicking buses!

Kenneth Gear writes:

Another Railroad Record Club mystery solved!

Remember a year or so ago we saw RRC records for sale on eBay that were stamped “This is an audition set record and is the property of the Railroad Record Club?” We speculated that Steventon may have sent records to radio stations in an attempt to get them played on air. Well, that was not the case.

Along with the RRC catalog I received with the RRC #10 record I recently purchased was a two page notice of an “audition set program” the club was offering. The notice explains the whole program so I won’t go into detail about it since you can read it right from the notice. Interesting stuff and another RRC question answered!

The catalog was the same one that you posted in the Trolley Dodger.

This audition thing couldn’t have worked out very well. For every new order that it generated, there were likely problems with people not returning the records or paying for them.

I can see how Steventon wanted to bend over backwards to get people to hear these things, but this seems like a lot of extra work, with probably not enough reward.

Thanks very much for your detective work.

Frank Kennedy writes:

Thank you so much for the trolley book, David. Not only is it a great gift, it is a work of such devotional power. There looks to be years of searching for appropriate photographs in all of this. I really don’t know what to say except thank you for the hours future spent in great reading.

This is probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me. I didn’t respond right away, because it left me speechless.

Work on the book, from the initial proposal to the book being published, was actually less than a year. But if I think about it, I spent much of my life preparing to write such a book.

-David Sadowski

PS- Frank Kennedy is the founder of the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group.

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.

This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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Milwaukee Rapid Transit

SR 60 laying over @ Waukesha loop Spring, 1950

SR 60 laying over @ Waukesha loop Spring, 1950

With construction well underway on the new Milwaukee streetcar, and Milwaukee Transit Day (October 7th) fast approaching at the Illinois Railway Museum, this seems like an opportune time for guest contributor Larry Sakar to share more of his research with us.

Larry is the author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit? We thank him for his generosity in sharing these pictures and information with our readers.

-David Sadowski

PS- FYI, all copies of Chicago Trolleys that were purchased during the pre-order have been mailed. Yesterday was the official release date for the book, and it is now in stock and autographed copies are available for immediate shipment. We hope that you will enjoy this new work (more information at the end of this post).

Larry Sakar writes:

The Trolley Dodger is getting a lot of notice. A friend of mine who does not have a computer has heard about it, most likely from Bill Shapotkin or Andre Kristopans. When something is well done, people notice, so I’m not surprised.

I promised you some pictures of the former TM station in Kenosha at 8th Ave. & 55th St. These 2 photos were taken by Ray DeGroote in September 1963 probably just days before the building was torn down. The passageway beneath the portico was where TM interurbans pulled in. They then curved to the right in the photo, on their way back to Milwaukee crossed Sheridan Rd. on the long elevated trestle, and then came parallel to the C&NW RR’s mainline between Chicago & Milwaukee. From around 1952 or ’53 to the end in Sept.’63 the former waiting room was a pizza restaurant – Vena’s Pizzeria.

Former TM Kenosha station 9-63 Ray DeGroote

Former TM Kenosha station 9-63 Ray DeGroote

Former TM Kenosha Station 9-63 Ray DeGroote note freight tracks.

Former TM Kenosha Station 9-63 Ray DeGroote note freight tracks.

When Speedrail acquired the 6-60 series curved side lightweight cars from Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in October 1949, they were shipped to Milwaukee via the Nickel Plate Road (CMSTP&STL) to Chicago, where the NKP flat cars were interchanged with the Milwaukee Road. The MILW brought them to The Transport Co.’s. Cold Spring shops where they were unloaded and given a thorough inspection. First to arrive was car 65 on 10-6-49. Shaker Heights had painted it in an experimental green and yellow paint scheme to improve visibility at grade crossings. Sometime between 10-7-49 and 10-23-49 someone repainted the front end of car 65 in an obvious effort to emulate the “Liberty Bell Limited” design on the LVT 1000 series high speed cars. No one knows who did it or when. First we see 65 coming down the Michigan St. hill eastbound on the shakedown runs over both the Waukesha & Hales Corners lines on 10-7-49. In the second shot, note that the front has been repainted white with the quasi-LVT design and air horns placed where they are on an LVT 1000 series car. The second shot is in the 25th St. curve next to the tanks of the Milwaukee Gas Light Co. Today I-94 the East-West Freeway occupies the r.o.w.

SHRT60 arriving from Cleveland 10-49 Lew Martin

SHRT60 arriving from Cleveland 10-49 Lew Martin

SR 65 @ 6th & Michigan on 10-7-49 shakedown trip.

SR 65 @ 6th & Michigan on 10-7-49 shakedown trip.

SR 65 @ 25th St, curve 10-23-49

SR 65 @ 25th St, curve 10-23-49

Harper SR fan trip 10-49 schedule

Harper SR fan trip 10-49 schedule

I believe car 60 was the last to arrive from Shaker Heights. First we see it on the Milwaukee Division ERA fan trip of 10-16-49 crossing Brookdale Dr. In 2016 my friend and colleague Chris Barney took these 2 photos of Brookdale Dr. as it looks today.

SR 60 inaugural fan trip Brookdale 10-16-49

SR 60 inaugural fan trip Brookdale 10-16-49

Brookdale Dr xing on H.C. line in 2016 C.N.Barney

Brookdale Dr xing on H.C. line in 2016 C.N.Barney

Lots of absolutely fantastic material in this collection I just inherited. Look at these 2 documents. Without saying a word, there’s a very clear picture of the way things were being run at Speedrail in April of 1950! Owing $8000+ to TMER&T was definitely not the way to go!

Collection Letter from TMER&T attys against MRT&S 4-5-50

Collection Letter from TMER&T attys against MRT&S 4-5-50

Dunning letter to MRT&S from TMER&T re: overdue payments 3-8-50

Dunning letter to MRT&S from TMER&T re: overdue payments 3-8-50

Talk about valuable information, in this collection I just inherited was a list, no actually there were 2 lists. A railfan but not too likely the friend who gave me the collection walked down the scrap line out at the Waukesha gravel pit on March 1, 1952 and again two weeks later March 16, 1952. He wrote down the number of every car in the scrap line. This info is valuable because a year earlier the trustee sold 13 of the TM 1100 series heavy interurban cars to Afram Brothers Scrap Metal Co. in Milwaukee. Obviously, Speedrail was desperate for money so why not sell off what was no longer being used? $2,000 (approximate figure) went to pay for the transformation of LVT 1102 into Milwaukee Rapid Transit 66, the so-called, “last hope car.”

Notice, I did not say Speedrail 66. Legally, it was still The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company but when Bruno V. Bitker took over as the court-appointed trustee, he ordered the Speedrail name painted out on the curved-side lightweight (60 series) car as well as removed from all timetables and tickets. He made it very clear that the Speedrail name immediately brought to mind the 9-2-50 fatal accident. That is also one of the reasons Jay Maeder was dismissed. From then on everything just said “Rapid Transit 234 W. Everett St.”

You may notice, by the way, that when I write the Speedrail corporate name I always capitalize “THE.” Maeder insisted on it because “The” in TMER&L was always capitalized and anything TM did was what he wanted to do as well. There is no better evidence of that than the first Speedrail timetable dated `10-16-49 which said “TM Speedrail”. Here are the covers of Speedrail’s very first and very last timetables, and for the Waukesha Transit Lines bus which replaced it, a fact you’ll notice they made sure to put on their timetable. Waukesha Transit Lines eventually became Wisconsin Coach Lines. They are still in business but are now part of the Coach USA system.

TM SR Timetable 10-16-49

TM SR Timetable 10-16-49

Rapid Transit TT West Jct. 6-4-51

Rapid Transit TT West Jct. 6-4-51

WTL Replacing the SR 7-1-51

WTL Replacing the SR 7-1-51

WTL Bus schedule 7-1-51

WTL Bus schedule 7-1-51

Here are the pictures I took at both the TM and North Shore stations on 4-5-72. I mentioned in a previous post that for many years after the TM M-R-K – Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha was abandoned in 1947 the freight tracks used by Motor Transport Co. were still embedded in pavement. Here they are on 4-5-72.

TM Kenosha Station looking north 4-5-72

TM Kenosha Station looking north 4-5-72

Motor Transport Co. tracks TM Kenosha Sta. 4-5-72

Motor Transport Co. tracks TM Kenosha Sta. 4-5-72

The next 2 photos at the TM Kenosha station site show the point where the long elevated bridge over Sheridan Rd. began. The large building to the left was the Barr Furniture Co. which has since been torn down. The very last photo I just scanned shows the sign created by Kenosha radio broadcaster Lou Rugani to commemorate where TM’s Kenosha station used to stand at 8th Ave. & 55th St. Just one problem with the sign. The Don Ross photo on the sign shows the Racine, not the Kenosha station.

TM Kenosha Station next to Barr Furniture 4-5-72

TM Kenosha Station next to Barr Furniture 4-5-72

Sign commemorating TM Kenosha station

Sign commemorating TM Kenosha station

From the TM station I walked out to the North Shore Line’s Kenosha station which is on 22nd Ave & 63rd St. if I recall correctly. I knew it was still standing but I didn’t expect it to be behind a stockade fence. I do not know why it was fenced off on 3 sides.

The first photo shows the northbound platform looking northeast. You can see the fence. The track area had been paved with asphalt but other than that the station appeared unchanged in the 9 years since abandonment.

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 northbound platform

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 northbound platform

I then snapped a series of 3 pictures of the southbound platform starting at it’s north end, then the middle of it and last the south end of that southbound platform. All of that changed some years later when the station became a restaurant. They added a banquet room to the north end of the station which ruined its historic Arthur U. Gerber appearance. Then they extended the restaurant over the track area and removed the southbound platform entirely.

NSL Kenosha Station south end southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station south end southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station Southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station Southbound platform 4-5-72

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 Southbound platform

NSL Kenosha Station 4-5-72 Southbound platform

The last NSL picture shows the abandoned NSL r.o.w. just north of Ryan Rd. I had just taken the picture when I noticed a large building in the distance. It turned out to be the Carrollville substation.

Abandoned NSL r.o.w. north of Ryan Road Carrollville substation distant 1971

Abandoned NSL r.o.w. north of Ryan Road Carrollville substation distant 1971

Here is something I think you will enjoy. This picture appeared in a much smaller version in the Speedrail book. This is a much larger, more detailed print. These seats were installed by Shaker Heights when they acquired the curved side cars from Inter City Rapid Transit in 1940. They had purchased some of the very first Cincinnati curved side lightweights built from Kentucky Traction & Terminal but never placed them in service because their small motors made them unable to maintain the speed necessary for the 2 SHRT lines. They were kept on a storage track at Shaker’s Kingsbury Run shops and used for spare parts when the ICT cars arrived. That included these seats.

Interior SR 63

Interior SR 63

But there was one exception. Car 64 had green plush seats according to several people I spoke to who rode these cars on Speedrail. The Speedrail riders did not like these cars. They were glad Jay Maeder had saved the Waukesha line from the impending abandonment being sought by Northland-Greyhound but they wanted the TM 1100’s to remain in service.

Maeder became quite angry when he found out the Waukesha riders were complaining about the 60 series cars and he ran this ad in the Waukesha Freeman. Somebody should have told him you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. You never start off a communication with, “We all know…” Yes, he knew, and the railfans knew, but the average everyday rider thought these were new cars when they first saw them. One look at the interiors told them otherwise.

Maeder response to 60 series cars complaints

Maeder response to 60 series cars complaints

To give you an example of just how much the 60’s were disliked, the late Len Garver told me that one day he and his friend Jerry Fisher were riding a 60-series car to Waukesha. A lady getting off the car near Waukesha East Limits turned to the motorman and said, “Do all of these cars ride this way? I feel like I’ve just ridden over Niagara Falls in a barrel!”

Much of it had to do with car weight and height of the car above the rail. This photo from the collection of Herb Danneman illustrated the problem. Note the height of car 1138 at left with car 60 at right. This photo was taken on the Milwaukee Division ERA fan trip of 10-16-49 and is at 46th St.

TM 1138 & SR 60 meet @ 46thSt. 10-16-49. Herb Danneman coll.

TM 1138 & SR 60 meet @ 46thSt. 10-16-49. Herb Danneman coll.

Two of these pictures are ones I sent previously, but they were not the best quality. Two are ones you might never have seen before. One is pretty dramatic. Lew Martin took a picture as car 39 was rolling down the embankment of the r.o.w. after the 9-2-50 wreck. The other is of 1192 as it looked after the accident. Note how badly the front end was caved in. The photo was taken at the Waukesha Gravel pit. The car was towed out there once the investigation of the crash had been completed.

SR39 rolling off embankment 9-2-50 Lew Martin

SR39 rolling off embankment 9-2-50 Lew Martin

SR 40 after push off embankment 9-2-50

SR 40 after push off embankment 9-2-50

SR 1192 at Wauk. Grvl pit after 9-50 wreck

SR 1192 at Wauk. Grvl pit after 9-50 wreck

Remains of SR 39 dumped off r.o.w. 9-2-50 (color)

Remains of SR 39 dumped off r.o.w. 9-2-50 (color)

The one picture of the Speedrail crash that I did have showed the wreck before the cars were rolled off the right-of-way. How long was it before the tracks were cleared? A few hours, perhaps?

I don’t recall any of the newspapers giving specifics as to how long it took to clear the wreck, much less to cut apart what was left of car 39 and all of car 40. I believe one account did say the tracks had been cleared by late afternoon which to me means about 4:00 or 5:00 pm. The biggest problem they had was trying to get the cars separated. Trip #5, the last one of the day with duplex 1184-85 hooked up to 1193, the rear car of the heavy duplex, attempted to pull them apart but couldn’t. A heavy duty National Guard wrecker was then brought in and it was able to do it. Ironic, isn’t it that when Hyman-Michaels was scrapping the cars at the gravel pit in 1952 they used 1184-85 as their office car. It’s the one with the sign saying attached to its front that said “No Trespassing. Property of Milwaukee Rapid Transit and Speed Rail Co.”  Someone recently asked me why they separated the Speedrail name into two words. I guess only Hyman-Michaels Co. would have known.

Firemen trying to pry wrecked SR cars apart on 9-2-50 from MJ 9-3-50

Firemen trying to pry wrecked SR cars apart on 9-2-50 from MJ 9-3-50

I know they were serious about prosecuting anyone caught trespassing on the property. Al Buetschle, whom I mentioned in a recent post as the person who saved Milwaukee streetcar 978 went out to the gravel pit soon after scrapping began. He tried to get close enough to where the scrappers were working so he could get some good pictures. He tried hiding in the brush and weeds close to the tracks and they caught him. He was warned that if they ever caught him again he would be turned over to the Waukesha County Sheriff. After that, he discovered that walking up the C&NW RR tracks west from Springdale Rd. which were adjacent to the gravel pit was the “safe” way to gain entry without detection. The other was by going out there on Sundays. The scrappers did not work on Sundays and the place was pretty much deserted. It was on one of these “hunts” that he “saved” the roll sign from Car 66 as well as an Ohio Brass trolley retriever. The problem with the retriever was that it was rather cumbersome. He did not drive a car in 1952 so he had to take the replacement for Speedrail “Waukesha Transit Lines” bus to and from. He was afraid if the bus driver saw it he would report him so he hid the retriever under a log. Regrettably, it wasn’t there the next time he came back. When he moved to California in 1961 the roll sign found its way to someone else and from him to the person who owns it today. I have a color slide of it taken at a train show where it was on display back in the ’80’s or ’90’s.

Springdale Road. on Waukesha Line looking east in TM days Ed Wilson

Springdale Road. on Waukesha Line looking east in TM days Ed Wilson

Abandoned TM ROW Looking east to Springdale Rd. 4-14-71 LAS

Abandoned TM ROW Looking east to Springdale Rd. 4-14-71 LAS

We have a new TM/Speedrail mystery on our hands. This is a photo of a TM or Speedrail 1100 series car eastbound on the Waukesha line at Sunny Slope Rd. The date of the photo is unknown as is the photographer. My friend and colleague Chris Barney obtained this from the Waukesha Freeman newspaper. The car is headed east on the eastbound track but look at the car. It’s running backwards!

The "mystery photo." A TM or Speedrail 1100 poss. 1142 is running backwards EB on the eastbound track at Sunny Slope Rd. J.G. Van Holten plant at right. Collection of C.N. Barney.

#1 – The “mystery photo.” A TM or Speedrail 1100 poss. 1142 is running backwards EB on the eastbound track at Sunny Slope Rd. J.G. Van Holten plant at right. Collection of C.N. Barney.

The streamlined modern type building to the right was the J.G. Van Holten Vinegar works along the westbound track. TM had a siding into the plant and delivered a brine car at least once a month. That continued into the Speedrail era. There were 2 crossover tracks both west of the crossing which the grainy quality of the photo makes impossible to see. That was where the Speedrail accident of 2-8-50 took place.

I’d like to ask my fellow TM fans for any information as to why a car would be running backwards. The switch into the plant was from the westbound track so even if the car had been switching a car in or out there would be no reason for it to be running backwards on the eastbound track.

Chris’ and my friend, Herb Danneman came up with what may be the explanation. On 2-29-52 Hyman-Michaels, the scrapper who dismantled Speedrail moved all of the cars in storage in Milwaukee to the Waukesha gravel pit for scrapping. We know for a fact that the cars operated in trains of 2 or 3 cars. TM 1142 which had been Speedrail’s freight motor from 12/50 to the end of service hauled a number of out of service 1100’s to the gravel pit. The “scrap trains” were operated westbound on the eastbound track as demonstrated in this photo by George Gloff. This is car 66 being towed by car 63. 1100’s could not couple onto curved side cars because of the difference in floor heights. That might be what’s going on here. It might have been easier just to run backwards to Milwaukee than wyeing at the gravel pit if they still could. We tried enlarging the photo to 8x`10 to see if the person standing on the rear platform is wearing a uniform which he would if this was some sort of unusual TM or Speedrail move but it only made him a shadow. We can’t tell.

The photo of 66 being towed is at Calhoun Rd. Some present-day photos at Sunny Slope and one I took there in 1971 are also included. J.G. Van Holten moved to Waterloo, Wisconsin in 1956 after a dispute with the then Town of New Berlin (now city). Seems the Van Holten company was disposing of its waste (they made both pickles and sauerkraut) in a retention pond west of the plant. That must have been a smell you’d never forget!

#2 - The Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg. west in 5/71. Former J.G. Van Holten plant @ right. Note: power lines not in same place as #1.

#2 – The Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg. west in 5/71. Former J.G. Van Holten plant @ right. Note: power lines not in same place as #1.

#3 - Speedrail 1142 arr. @ Wauk. Gravel pit poss. 2-29-52. C. N. Barney collection.

#3 – Speedrail 1142 arr. @ Wauk. Gravel pit poss. 2-29-52. C. N. Barney collection.

#4 - SR 66 being towed to Wauk. Gravel Pit passing Kuney's at Calhoun Rd. 2-29-52 George Gloff photo.

#4 – SR 66 being towed to Wauk. Gravel Pit passing Kuney’s at Calhoun Rd. 2-29-52 George Gloff photo.

#5 - Calhoun Rd. xing lkg west. Part of Kuney's bldg. at left. 2013 photo by C.N. Barney

#5 – Calhoun Rd. xing lkg west. Part of Kuney’s bldg. at left. 2013 photo by C.N. Barney

#6 - Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg west 2013. That's me in the photo. C.N. Barney photo

#6 – Sunny Slope Rd. xing lkg west 2013. That’s me in the photo. C.N. Barney photo

#7 - Lkg. east from west of Sunny Slope Rd. xing 2013. C;N. Barney

#7 – Lkg. east from west of Sunny Slope Rd. xing 2013. C;N. Barney

#8 - Ex J.G. Van Holten plant hidden in the brush as seen from the U.P. RR (ex C&NW) r.o.w. 2013 C. N. Barney photo

#8 – Ex J.G. Van Holten plant hidden in the brush as seen from the U.P. RR (ex C&NW) r.o.w. 2013 C. N. Barney photo

#9 - Literal end of track on Lincoln Ave. (Waukesha East Limits), 9-26-52. Note track has been cut. John Schoenknecht collection.

#9 – Literal end of track on Lincoln Ave. (Waukesha East Limits), 9-26-52. Note track has been cut. John Schoenknecht collection.

#10 - Newspaper clipping showing 2-8-50 Speedrail accident at Sunny Slope Rd. Larry Sakar collection.

#10 – Newspaper clipping showing 2-8-50 Speedrail accident at Sunny Slope Rd. Larry Sakar collection.

Have you ever studied a picture and not noticed something obvious? I was thinking of the “mystery” photo I just sent you and that’s when it hit me. This can’t be any kind of normal passenger run. Because the car is running backwards on the eastbound track the entry door is on the wrong side. How would they board or discharge passengers? The left side of the 1100’s didn’t have any doors!

If this car was heading back to 25th St. to pick up more 1100’s for transport to the Waukesha Gravel pit, you’d want it to be backwards so you could couple to another set of cars. Then you’d be position correctly for the reverse trip to Waukesha. Running backwards like that there was absolutely no place to turn the car around except West Junction loop. They’d have run backwards to the switch that took cars from the Waukesha to the Hales Corners line which was a short distance north of the West Jct. station, then switched to the Hales Corners line where they’d now be facing south, gone around the loop and then you’d be facing north frontwards). They could not have gone all the way to the Public Service Building. First, there was no way to turn a car around there and second by Feb. 29 of 1952 the rails had tar put over them and the trolley wire had been removed from the trainshed.

I think Herb Danneman was right. This is 2-29-52 and that is car 1142.

-Larry Sakar

Postscript

Scott Greig (see Comments section below) was wondering if there was any sort of listing of which Speedrail cars went to the Waukesha Gravel Pit for scrapping. He is in luck. Among the many great documents I found in that collection Herb Danneman so generously gave me were 2 lists of cars that were in the scrap line and elsewhere on the Speedrail property on March 1, 1952 and March 16, 1952. The list was written in pencil and hard to read so I typed it up and scanned in both lists

Thanks Scott, Charles and Robert for the great comments and superb information.

-Larry

Recent Finds

CTA PCC 7199, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is eastbound on 120th near Halsted circa 1952-55. This was the south end of Route 36 - Broadway-State. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA PCC 7199, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, is eastbound on 120th near Halsted circa 1952-55. This was the south end of Route 36 – Broadway-State. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA 6148, and "Odd 17" car, was built by the Surface Lines in 1919. Here we see it southbound, turning from Clark onto Halsted.

CTA 6148, and “Odd 17” car, was built by the Surface Lines in 1919. Here we see it southbound, turning from Clark onto Halsted.

CTA 1750 heads west on Randolph Street, signed for Route 16 - Lake Street, circa 1952-54. In the background, we see the Sherman House Hotel, the old Greyhound Bus Terminal, and the Garrick Television Center.

CTA 1750 heads west on Randolph Street, signed for Route 16 – Lake Street, circa 1952-54. In the background, we see the Sherman House Hotel, the old Greyhound Bus Terminal, and the Garrick Television Center.

CTA 1775 heads west on Cermak Road at Kostner circa 1952-54. This photo gives you a good view of a Chicago safety island.

CTA 1775 heads west on Cermak Road at Kostner circa 1952-54. This photo gives you a good view of a Chicago safety island.

CTA 1728 and 3127 on Route 21 - Cermak, just east of Kenton, circa 1952-54.

CTA 1728 and 3127 on Route 21 – Cermak, just east of Kenton, circa 1952-54.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 310 and follower (309?) are on the west side of Mannheim road near Roosevelt Road on a 1950s fantrip.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 310 and follower (309?) are on the west side of Mannheim road near Roosevelt Road on a 1950s fantrip.

CA&E 310 on a 1955 fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch.

CA&E 310 on a 1955 fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch.

Marion (Indiana) Railways Birney car 8. It was probably built by St. Louis Car Company circa 1922-23, and scrapped in 1947.

Marion (Indiana) Railways Birney car 8. It was probably built by St. Louis Car Company circa 1922-23, and scrapped in 1947.

Marion Railways 8 circa World War II.

Marion Railways 8 circa World War II.

New Washington and Wabash “L” Station

The new Chicago Transit Authority “L” station at Washington and Wabash recently opened. It replaces two stations, at Madison and Randolph. Having one station instead of two speeds up service on the Loop. The Madison station was closed at the beginning of the project, while Randolph remained open until the new one was ready.

This new station is very attractive and seems designed well to handle large crowds. The old Randolph station was already being cut up for scrap when I took these pictures. Not sure what happened to the large CTA logo that was added when that station was renovated in 1954.

Washington and Wabash is conveniently located near Millennium Park, and also provides easy transfer to CTA buses heading east and west.

-David Sadowski

Charlie On the M.T.A.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.).

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.).

After purchasing a “Charlie Ticket” on our recent trip to Boston (see Back in Boston, September 15, 2017), that got us to thinking about the song that inspired it, generally known as Charlie On the M.T.A. We spent some time recently looking into the origins of this iconic song.

It all started in 1949, when the late Walter O’Brien ran for Mayor of Boston on the Progressive Party ticket. He had no money for advertising, but he did have some folksinging friends, who recorded several songs for his campaign, including The People’s Choice, The O’Brien Train, We Want Walter A. O’Brien, and The M.T.A. Song.

These had new lyrics set to old melodies that the folksingers, who included Bess Lomax Hawes, Al Katz, Sam Berman, Al Berman, and Jackie Steiner, were already familiar with. The M.T.A. song was set to the tune of The Ship That Never Returned, written in 1865 by Henry Clay Work.

The same song also inspired The Wreck of the Old 97.

Fare hikes were a reason to protest the newly formed M.T.A. The Massachusetts legislature had allowed the Boston Elevated Railway Company to absorb its competitors in 1922, creating a monopoly. When the company went bankrupt in 1947, the legislature bought the company, bailing out the shareholders, and formed the Massachusetts Transportation Authority (now called the MBTA).

As a result, a five cent surcharge was added to the existing ten cent fare. Since it was not easy to adapt existing fare collection equipment, riders had to pay an extra nickel when getting off the train– hence the theme of the song.

Bess Lomax Hawes, who had been in the Almanac Singers, picked the tune, while most of the new lyrics were written by Jackie Steiner. It was Hawes, however, who wrote the memorable verse about how Charlie’s wife brought him a sandwich every day and handed it to him through the window of the train as it rumbled by.

The newly recorded song made its debut on October 24, 1949. O’Brien hired a truck with a PA system and had it drive around the city, playing his campaign songs. Of these, M.T.A. was by far the most popular and enduring.

O’Brien got very few votes, but Charlie gained Boston immortality in the process.

Cut to 1955. Folksinger Richard “Specs” Simmons taught the song to Will Holt, who recorded his own version in 1957. This was on its way toward being a hit when his record company began getting complaints from the Boston area, accusing Holt of promoting a radical.

Not knowing the true origin of the song, Holt had no idea that Walter A. O’Brien was a real person.

An edited version was issued, but the damage was done. It was left to the Kingston Trio to record the best and by far most famous version of the song in 1959. They avoided controversy by changing the name of the mayoral candidate to the fictional George O’Brien.

Reportedly, when Will Holt recorded his version, he cut in Richard “Specs” Simmons for one-third of the publishing, which eventually provided him the cash to purchase a bar in San Francisco’s North Beach area, now known as Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum Cafe. He died at age 86 in October 2016.

Most other people involved with the song are no longer with us. Walter O’Brien has died. Bess Lomax Hawes, sister of Alan Lomax and daughter of John Lomax, passed away in 2009. However, Sam Berman, who sang lead on the original 1949 version, lives in Lexington and is in his early 90s. His brother Arnold, also in his 90s, may still be alive. Lyricist Jackie Steiner is also still with us.

You can listen to several versions of the song, including the 1949 original and Will Holt’s, here.

-David Sadowski

Recent Correspondence

A model of GM&O 1900.

A model of GM&O 1900.

Charles Harris of New Zealand writes:

In 1946 Ingalls Iron Works manufactured the one and only Ingalls 4-S diesel loco, tested on several railroads and then sold to GM&O. Used until 1966 and then scrapped. Used a Superior marine engine, with apparently a distinctive sound.

Do any of your recordings feature the Ingalls 4-S? and or film etc.


Kenneth Gear
replies:

I am unaware of any sound recordings of the Ingalls 4-S diesel locomotive. Since it was a one of a kind loco and surely sought out by fans, and considering it lasted to the mid-sixties, the possibility exists that someone recorded it. I’ll keep an eye (and ear) out for it, I would watch for DVDs of vintage GM&O Diesels, perhaps it was filmed at some point with a sound movie camera. If so, the footage and sound track may have ended up on a DVD release.

You might also contact the Meridian Railroad Museum in Meridian, Mississippi: 1805 Front Street, Meridian, MS 39301, phone: (601) 485-7245.

GM&O was one of the local railroads here and the staff there my know of something.

By the way, on the Yahoo Group RAILROAD RECORD FANCLUB I’ve conversed with a person named Doug Harris who also lives in New Zealand. Any relation?

Our New Book Chicago Trolleys— Now In Stock!

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 was released on September 25, 2017 by Arcadia Publishing. You can order an autographed copy through us (see below). Chicago Trolleys is also 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 230 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.

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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Praise for Chicago Trolleys

Kenneth Gear writes:

I just finished reading your book and I enjoyed it very much. Good, clear, concise, and informative writing.

I must compliment you on the choice and presentation of the photographs. It is obvious that you spent much time and effort to present these wonderful photos as perfectly restored as possible.

So many times the authors of books that are primarily “picture books” seem to have a complete disregard for the condition of the photos reproduced. I’ve often seen photos that are yellowed with age, water stained, ripped, folded, and scratched. Other times a book might contain photos that are not properly exposed, are crooked, out of focus, or the composition could have been easily corrected with a little cropping.

The photos in your book are absolutely fantastic! They are pristine, sharp, and have absolutely no blemishes at all. You also packed a lot of information into the captions as well. It’s a fine book and you should be proud, as I’m sure you are, to have your name on the cover.

NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

Selected images from Chicago Trolleys are now available 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.

Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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For Shipping Elsewhere:

street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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More CA&E in Color

CA&E 410 (plus one), westbound at Fifth Avenue in Maywood.

CA&E 410 (plus one), westbound at Fifth Avenue in Maywood.

A friend recently gave me a stack of Chicago Aurora & Elgin slides, which make up the bulk of today’s post. Some we have run before, but I don’t think too many of you will mind seeing them again, this time from a different source. Others, you haven’t seen.

Scanning an image is just a starting point in this whole process. Mostly, these were dupe slides made using Kodachrome, which is not what commercial labs used for this purpose. A regular lab would have used special low-contrast Ektachrome duplicating film.

Contrast is your enemy when copying things film-to-film, and Kodachrome is contrasty– great for original slides, not as good for dupes. So these were likely homemade dupes, and a lot of them were not color-corrected. I spent a great deal of time working these over in Photoshop, but in some cases, imperfections remain.

I don’t think there is a single image that I didn’t try to improve in some way, and I included a few of the original scans, just to show you how some of them looked before corrections were applied.

As always, if you have location information, or other factual tidbits to share, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- Each image has a unique number. When referring to individual images, please use the image name/number, i.e. pict763. To find this, hover your mouse over the image.

CA&E 456 on a snowy Chicago day. I'm wondering if this is Wells Street Terminal.

CA&E 456 on a snowy Chicago day. I’m wondering if this is Wells Street Terminal.

A CA&E train headed up by one of the ex-North Shore Line woods that CA&E purchased in 1946. This one could be car 141. The train is heading west, crossing over Union Station.

A CA&E train headed up by one of the ex-North Shore Line woods that CA&E purchased in 1946. This one could be car 141. The train is heading west, crossing over Union Station.

A six-car CA&E train at the Halsted curve.

A six-car CA&E train at the Halsted curve.

CA&E 428 plus one at Pulaski Road on the Garfield Park "L".

CA&E 428 plus one at Pulaski Road on the Garfield Park “L”.

A classic view of the CA&E in Elgin, with a beautiful reflection from the Fox River. A sign advertises the Rialto Theatre, which burned down in 1956. The fiim being advertised, The Big Sky starring Kirk Douglas, was released in August 1952, which is most likely when this picture was taken. George Foelschow adds: "Four cars at the Elgin terminal. This must be a fantrip, as single cars were the rule on the Elgin branch, except for weekday rush hours and Sunday afternoons for visitors to the Elgin State Hospital."

A classic view of the CA&E in Elgin, with a beautiful reflection from the Fox River. A sign advertises the Rialto Theatre, which burned down in 1956. The fiim being advertised, The Big Sky starring Kirk Douglas, was released in August 1952, which is most likely when this picture was taken. George Foelschow adds: “Four cars at the Elgin terminal. This must be a fantrip, as single cars were the rule on the Elgin branch, except for weekday rush hours and Sunday afternoons for visitors to the Elgin State Hospital.”

310 on a fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch. I believe the date was 1955.

310 on a fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch. I believe the date was 1955.

A westbound CA&E train crossing over the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell, shortly before sundown.

A westbound CA&E train crossing over the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell, shortly before sundown.

CA&E 426 near West Chicago, on its way to the Aurora terminal. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

CA&E 426 near West Chicago, on its way to the Aurora terminal. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

A CA&E train crossing over Route 83 in 1955. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

A CA&E train crossing over Route 83 in 1955. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

CA&E 403 at the Wheaton station. (Steven P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 403 at the Wheaton station. (Steven P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 415 at Wheaton Yard, in War Bond livery (probably during the Korean War). (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 415 at Wheaton Yard, in War Bond livery (probably during the Korean War). (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 20 at Wheaton Yard. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 20 at Wheaton Yard. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E bus 101 at Wheaton Yard. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E bus 101 at Wheaton Yard. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E loco 2001 in Maywood. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E loco 2001 in Maywood. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 427 at the Aurora Terminal. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 427 at the Aurora Terminal. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 421 at the Wheaton station. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 421 at the Wheaton station. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

A CA&E train at the Sacramento curve on the Garfield Park "L". You can see that construction is already underway at left on a ramp that will connect with the temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58 (but not by the interurban, which cut back service to Forest Park). The area to the right of the ramp is where the new Congress Expressway was to be built. This picture was probably taken circa 1952. George Foelschow: " The view is looking northeast, presumably from the Sacramento station platform, not southeast."

A CA&E train at the Sacramento curve on the Garfield Park “L”. You can see that construction is already underway at left on a ramp that will connect with the temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58 (but not by the interurban, which cut back service to Forest Park). The area to the right of the ramp is where the new Congress Expressway was to be built. This picture was probably taken circa 1952. George Foelschow: ” The view is looking northeast, presumably from the Sacramento station platform, not southeast.”

This looks to be the same train as in the previous picture, taken a few seconds later. CA&E 460 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited.

This looks to be the same train as in the previous picture, taken a few seconds later. CA&E 460 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited.

CA&E 414 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited train at one of the west side Garfield Park "L" stations. This and the next few pictures were all taken at this same location, a station near a curve. The consensus is this is the Kedzie station, which was near a curve. CA&E trains stopped there, which would have given the photographer more time to get a shot of each car. We are looking east, and the Sacramento curve is in the distance about two blocks away.

CA&E 414 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited train at one of the west side Garfield Park “L” stations. This and the next few pictures were all taken at this same location, a station near a curve. The consensus is this is the Kedzie station, which was near a curve. CA&E trains stopped there, which would have given the photographer more time to get a shot of each car. We are looking east, and the Sacramento curve is in the distance about two blocks away.

CA&E wood car 34 heads up this westbound train.

CA&E wood car 34 heads up this westbound train.

CA&E 318 is at the front of a three-car westbound train.

CA&E 318 is at the front of a three-car westbound train.

Two "Roarin' Elgin" trains pass on the Garfield Park "L". Cliff W. says we are "looking east from Pulaski with the single crossover just east of the station visible."

Two “Roarin’ Elgin” trains pass on the Garfield Park “L”. Cliff W. says we are “looking east from Pulaski with the single crossover just east of the station visible.”

CA&E 457 heads a westbound train at Kilbourn.

CA&E 457 heads a westbound train at Kilbourn.

CA&E 458 heads westbound at Laramie, along with two other curved-sided cars, all built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company.

CA&E 458 heads westbound at Laramie, along with two other curved-sided cars, all built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company.

CA&E 459. George Foelschow: "This is the Collingbourne flag stop on a banked curve on the Elgin branch, presumably on a fantrip."

CA&E 459. George Foelschow: “This is the Collingbourne flag stop on a banked curve on the Elgin branch, presumably on a fantrip.”

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957.

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957.

CA&E 451. Mike Schattl: "The location is the bridge over the CNW in Wheaton."

CA&E 451. Mike Schattl: “The location is the bridge over the CNW in Wheaton.”

CA&E 423 (plus one) head east towards Chicago, while a freight is on a nearby spur line. Bill Shaptokin says this and the next two pictures are "at Renwick -- interchange with the MILW south of Elgin."

CA&E 423 (plus one) head east towards Chicago, while a freight is on a nearby spur line. Bill Shaptokin says this and the next two pictures are “at Renwick — interchange with the MILW south of Elgin.”

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

3003 and 3004 again, with a fairly substantial (for the CA&E) freight train.

3003 and 3004 again, with a fairly substantial (for the CA&E) freight train.

CA&E 421. Bill Shapotkin says this is "Dunham Rd on the Elgin Branch. The car is E/B."

CA&E 421. Bill Shapotkin says this is “Dunham Rd on the Elgin Branch. The car is E/B.”

The same picture as it looked before color restoration in Photoshop.

The same picture as it looked before color restoration in Photoshop.

A single CA&E car on a single-track right of way, which could mean the Aurora, Batavia, or Elgin branches west of Wheaton.

A single CA&E car on a single-track right of way, which could mean the Aurora, Batavia, or Elgin branches west of Wheaton.

A single car near the Fox River. Bill Shapotkin: "This pic is in Batavia (NOT Aurora). Shot is between Batavia Station and Glenwood Park." On the other hand, George Foelschow writes, "This is most assuredly on the south side of Elgin, near the point of changeover between trolley and third rail. Not for nothing is Elgin, my hometown, called “The Bluff City”, also the name of the municipal cemetery, served at one time by Grove Avenue streetcars."

A single car near the Fox River. Bill Shapotkin: “This pic is in Batavia (NOT Aurora). Shot is between Batavia Station and Glenwood Park.” On the other hand, George Foelschow writes, “This is most assuredly on the south side of Elgin, near the point of changeover between trolley and third rail. Not for nothing is Elgin, my hometown, called “The Bluff City”, also the name of the municipal cemetery, served at one time by Grove Avenue streetcars.”

Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: "This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west."

Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west.”

CA&E cars at Lockwood Yard, including 48 and 314. Cliff W.: "In the wide shot there are Met cars in the right background. This is the south storage track with Flournoy in the foreground."

CA&E cars at Lockwood Yard, including 48 and 314. Cliff W.: “In the wide shot there are Met cars in the right background. This is the south storage track with Flournoy in the foreground.”

CA&E 48 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 48 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 314 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 314 at Lockwood Yard.

This picture may possibly have been taken just west of Laramie.

This picture may possibly have been taken just west of Laramie.

CA&E 459 and 452 are part of an eastbound train somewhere in either Oak Park or Forest Park, where the B&OCT ran parallel to the interurban.

CA&E 459 and 452 are part of an eastbound train somewhere in either Oak Park or Forest Park, where the B&OCT ran parallel to the interurban.

Here, we are looking west along the CA&E right-of-way at possibly Central or Austin. In the rear, you can see a large gas holder in nearby Forest Park. Andre Kristopans: "Photo on ground level with middle track is at Gunderson station. Middle track was so CAE could pass L trains. Abandoned after Westchester L’s were dropped in 1951." Gunderson is a short distance west of Ridgeland. The street was named after the developer who first built homes in this area. The new (early 1900s) development explains why there was a rapid transit stop on a sidestreet. When the CTA rebuilt this line in the late 1950s, they chose not to put a stop at either Gunderson or Ridgeland. Instead, auxilliary entrances were added to the Oak Park and Austin stops, at East Avenue and Lombard, respectively.

Here, we are looking west along the CA&E right-of-way at possibly Central or Austin. In the rear, you can see a large gas holder in nearby Forest Park. Andre Kristopans: “Photo on ground level with middle track is at Gunderson station. Middle track was so CAE could pass L trains. Abandoned after Westchester L’s were dropped in 1951.” Gunderson is a short distance west of Ridgeland. The street was named after the developer who first built homes in this area. The new (early 1900s) development explains why there was a rapid transit stop on a sidestreet. When the CTA rebuilt this line in the late 1950s, they chose not to put a stop at either Gunderson or Ridgeland. Instead, auxilliary entrances were added to the Oak Park and Austin stops, at East Avenue and Lombard, respectively.

Westbound CA&E car 428 crosses the B&OCT in Forest Park. This was also where the Chicago Great Western, now long abandoned, branched off.

Westbound CA&E car 428 crosses the B&OCT in Forest Park. This was also where the Chicago Great Western, now long abandoned, branched off.

The same location as the previous picture, with the iconic gas holder visible. The crossing was located between Harlem and DesPlaines, at approximately the same location where there is now a flyover eliminating this bottleneck.

The same location as the previous picture, with the iconic gas holder visible. The crossing was located between Harlem and DesPlaines, at approximately the same location where there is now a flyover eliminating this bottleneck.

I believe this is DesPlaines Avenue, and we are looking west. This picture was taken before the station was reconfigured in 1953. At this time, the station was located on the east side of DesPlaines, behind the photographer. The Acme Feeds towers, located at 7715 W. Van Buren are visible at right. These towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

I believe this is DesPlaines Avenue, and we are looking west. This picture was taken before the station was reconfigured in 1953. At this time, the station was located on the east side of DesPlaines, behind the photographer. The Acme Feeds towers, located at 7715 W. Van Buren are visible at right. These towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

CA&E 418 is westbound approaching the DesPlaines River, passing by Concordia Cemetery.

CA&E 418 is westbound approaching the DesPlaines River, passing by Concordia Cemetery.

CA&E 454 is westbound, about to cross First Avenue in Maywood.

CA&E 454 is westbound, about to cross First Avenue in Maywood.

Commonwealth Edison just west of the DesPlaines River. Meanwhile, 452 heads west.

CA&E 429 heads east near the Commonwealth Edison just west of the DesPlaines River. Meanwhile, 452 heads west.

One of the St. Louis-built 1945 cars (454?) crosses First Avenue in Maywood, heading east. We are looking north. There was a Refiner's Pride gas station located between the CA&E and Chicago Great Western tracks, on the west side of First.

One of the St. Louis-built 1945 cars (454?) crosses First Avenue in Maywood, heading east. We are looking north. There was a Refiner’s Pride gas station located between the CA&E and Chicago Great Western tracks, on the west side of First.

Shapotkin: "Yes, this IS Glen Oak. If you look hard enough, you can see the house I grew up in (at right in the distance)."

A westbound six-car train of CA&E woods stops at Glen Oak. Bill
Shapotkin: “Yes, this IS Glen Oak. If you look hard enough, you can see the house I grew up in (at right in the distance).”

CA&E 310 on a fantrip at Glen Oak.

CA&E 310 on a fantrip at Glen Oak.

CA&E 422 and 434 at Wheaton station.

CA&E 422 and 434 at Wheaton station.

Not sure where this curved-sided CA&E car is. Cliff W.: "The single Saint Louis car going over the bridge is passing over Liberty Street in Wheaton directly north of the shops and approaching the bridge over the C&NW on the Elgin branch. If you look very closely at the far right of the picture you can see a CA&E car sitting in the yard." Bill Shapotkin: "This car is x/o Liberty Drive in Wheaton (on the Elgin Branch): (View looks E/B on Liberty)."

Not sure where this curved-sided CA&E car is. Cliff W.: “The single Saint Louis car going over the bridge is passing over Liberty Street in Wheaton directly north of the shops and approaching the bridge over the C&NW on the Elgin branch. If you look very closely at the far right of the picture you can see a CA&E car sitting in the yard.” Bill Shapotkin: “This car is x/o Liberty Drive in Wheaton (on the Elgin Branch): (View looks E/B on Liberty).”

CA&E 454 is westbound at the bridge over Winfield Creek (on the Elgin branch near Lincoln Avenue).

CA&E 454 is westbound at the bridge over Winfield Creek (on the Elgin branch near Lincoln Avenue).

A CA&E train passes a two-car train of CTA Met "L" cars at the Halsted Curve.

A CA&E train passes a two-car train of CTA Met “L” cars at the Halsted Curve.

The CA&E's Lockwood Yard, also known as "The Orchard," was a small storage area just west of Laramie. This view is looking northwest across the main line.

The CA&E’s Lockwood Yard, also known as “The Orchard,” was a small storage area just west of Laramie. This view is looking northwest across the main line.

CA&E 52 pilots a three-car train of woods on the old Met main line near Racine. You can see the new (in 1953) ramp at left, heading down to the Van Buren Street temporary trackage, which would shortly be put into use. It connected with the "L" structure at Aberdeen. Expressway construction is underway at right.

CA&E 52 pilots a three-car train of woods on the old Met main line near Racine. You can see the new (in 1953) ramp at left, heading down to the Van Buren Street temporary trackage, which would shortly be put into use. It connected with the “L” structure at Aberdeen. Expressway construction is underway at right.

Much the same location as the previous picture, but perhaps a year earlier in 1952, as construction of the ramp has just started. This was very late in the afternoon, and it was difficult to correct for the yellowish-reddish late afternoon light. But don't forget, they called it the "Sunset Lines" for a reason!

Much the same location as the previous picture, but perhaps a year earlier in 1952, as construction of the ramp has just started. This was very late in the afternoon, and it was difficult to correct for the yellowish-reddish late afternoon light. But don’t forget, they called it the “Sunset Lines” for a reason!

Racine station on the old Met main line, with the Throop Street Shops in the background. This picture was taken sometime between 1950 and 1953, as there are some "flat door" 6000s present (along with Met car 2880).

Racine station on the old Met main line, with the Throop Street Shops in the background. This picture was taken sometime between 1950 and 1953, as there are some “flat door” 6000s present (along with Met car 2880).

Throop Street Shops in its last days (1953)

Throop Street Shops in its last days (1953)

CA&E 404 eastbound at Marshfield Junction, where three different Met lines (Douglas, Garfield, Logan Square/Humboldt Park) came together. Note the CA&E-only platform at right.

CA&E 404 eastbound at Marshfield Junction, where three different Met lines (Douglas, Garfield, Logan Square/Humboldt Park) came together. Note the CA&E-only platform at right.

A train of CA&E woods, headed up by 302, goes up the ramp to cross over the C&NW/PRR right-of-way at Rockwell. The "L" was raised up when the line it crossed was elevated onto an embankment. That explains why there are brick bases for some of the "L" support columns.

A train of CA&E woods, headed up by 302, goes up the ramp to cross over the C&NW/PRR right-of-way at Rockwell. The “L” was raised up when the line it crossed was elevated onto an embankment. That explains why there are brick bases for some of the “L” support columns.

The CA&E crossing the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell.

The CA&E crossing the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell.

Not sure of this location. Cliff W. says this we are "at Prince Crossing on the Elgin branch looking west." Bill Shapotkin: "View looks N/W."

Not sure of this location. Cliff W. says this we are “at Prince Crossing on the Elgin branch looking west.” Bill Shapotkin: “View looks N/W.”

CA&E 454 is eastbound at Jewell Road in Wheaton on the Elgin branch.

CA&E 454 is eastbound at Jewell Road in Wheaton on the Elgin branch.

A line-up of cars at Wheaton Yard.

A line-up of cars at Wheaton Yard.

Wheaton yard.

Wheaton yard.

From left to right: 430, 315, 425, and 310 at Wheaton Yard.

From left to right: 430, 315, 425, and 310 at Wheaton Yard.

Some ex-North Shore Line woods are in dead storage at the west end of Wheaton Yard, circa 1954, shortly to be scrapped.

Some ex-North Shore Line woods are in dead storage at the west end of Wheaton Yard, circa 1954, shortly to be scrapped.

Cars 435 and 436, possibly in dead storage at the same location as the previous picture, circa 1953-57 when the CA&E no longer needed so many cars.

Cars 435 and 436, possibly in dead storage at the same location as the previous picture, circa 1953-57 when the CA&E no longer needed so many cars.

CA&E electric locos 2002, 2001, 3003 and 3004 in Wheaton.

CA&E electric locos 2002, 2001, 3003 and 3004 in Wheaton.

CA&E 310 on the west side of Mannheim Road near Roosevelt. The occasion was a fantrip.

CA&E 310 on the west side of Mannheim Road near Roosevelt. The occasion was a fantrip.

According to what's written on this slide, CA&E locos 4004 and 4005 are in North Aurora in August 1952. On the other hand, Bill Shapotkin writes: "This pic is Aurora Ave on the Aurora Branch."

According to what’s written on this slide, CA&E locos 4004 and 4005 are in North Aurora in August 1952. On the other hand, Bill Shapotkin writes: “This pic is Aurora Ave on the Aurora Branch.”

The same picture before color restoration in Photoshop.

The same picture before color restoration in Photoshop.

CA&E 310 in 1955 on the Mt. Carmel branch on a fantrip.

CA&E 310 in 1955 on the Mt. Carmel branch on a fantrip.

CA&E 310 on the same fantrip as the previous picture.

CA&E 310 on the same fantrip as the previous picture.

The previous picture as it appeared before color restoration.

The previous picture as it appeared before color restoration.

The 310 running along the west side of Mannheim near Roosevelt Road.

The 310 running along the west side of Mannheim near Roosevelt Road.

CA&E 406 in fantrip service at State Road on the Batavia branch. Due to the width of the crossing, trains switched from third rail to overhead wire at this location.

CA&E 406 in fantrip service at State Road on the Batavia branch. Due to the width of the crossing, trains switched from third rail to overhead wire at this location.

CA&E 406 and 418 at the end of the line in Aurora.

CA&E 406 and 418 at the end of the line in Aurora.

Loco 2001.

Loco 2001.

Locos 2001, 2002 and train.

Locos 2001, 2002 and train.

CA&E 453 is eastbound at Batavia Junction as a Chicago Local.

CA&E 453 is eastbound at Batavia Junction as a Chicago Local.

CA&E 458 eastbound at Warrenville.

CA&E 458 eastbound at Warrenville.

Recent Correspondence

Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.

Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.

Steve DeRose writes:

You have managed to get me in one of your photographs of the 4000s at Clark and Lake (see above).

Here is the shot I got from that image. I did not get a poster. If I had, I would have folded it flat to fit it in my satchel (which you can glimpse hanging from my left shoulder).

I did not ride the 4000s this day. I did ride the 2400s. Most of my photographs (and videos) were shot on the Inner Loop @ Quincy and Wells.

Also, after having a late lunch at Mr. Beef On Orleans, I was walking to the Chicago Brown Line “L” station and espied the 4000s deadheading back to Skokie Shops.

My images are Creative Commons – Noncommercial – Allow Derivative Works – Share Alike. I’m not a copyright czar.

-Steve De Rose 8=)}

My picture originally ran in our post Chicago’s “L” Turns 125 (June 7, 2017). I guess, by looking at your picture, that you are the guy in gray, kneeling behind the person with the white shirt.

Thanks for sharing these pictures with our readers. FYI, the CTA is still selling those same posters through their gift shop, so you still have a chance to get one.

New CD Releases

We are fortunate this time to have two new traction titles to go along with a new steam release:

DC
DC Transit, 1959
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

DC Transit, 1959
Streetcars have now returned to Washington, D.C., but this vintage 1959 hi-fi recording reminds us of the system we once had. This excellent quality recording documents both PCCs and historic car 766 in action, with both trackside sounds and a night ride over private right-of-way to Cabin John. Capital Transit became DC Transit in 1955.

Total time – 49:47


SN
Sacramento Northern Electrics
Pacific Electric
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Sacramento Northern Electrics
The Sacramento Northern Railway (reporting mark SN) was a 183-mile (295 km) electric interurban railway that connected Chico in northern California with Oakland via the California capital, Sacramento. It ran directly on the streets of Oakland, Sacramento, Yuba City, Chico, and Woodland and ran passenger service until 1941 and freight service into the 1960s. Electric operation ceased in 1965.

These recordings, which make up the bulk of this CD, were made on the SN in 1962, and feature both trolley freight operations, mainly in city streets, plus fantrips using passenger combine 1005, which had been saved for use as a maintenance-of-way car. A very rare recording!

Pacific Electric
We hear the distinctive sounds of the Big Red Cars in their final days of operation on the 20-mile LA to Long Beach line in 1961. Who could have known that, 30 years later, this same line would be reincarnated as “light rail,” running in almost the same exact right-of-way? Pacific Electric may be long gone, but it is certainly not forgotten!

Total time – 49:11

Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don's Rail Photos says, "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." (William R. Smith Photo)

Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos says, “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.” (William R. Smith Photo)


NW
Norfolk & Western
Virginia Blue Ridge
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Norfolk & Western
The bulk of this record documents the final days of steam power on the Norfolk and Western in 1959, both freight operations and the final fantrip with the famous J-611 that truly signaled the end of an era. Except for the occasional fantrip now with the 611, steam may be long gone from the N&W, but it certainly went out in great style, as you will hear on these classic recordings.

The N&W did not even begin the transition to diesel until 1955, being the most notable proponent of steam in the 1950s.

Virginia Blue Ridge
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (reporting mark, VBR) was a small, historic short line system tucked away near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because of this, as well as the road’s secluded nature, it received little coverage and often went unnoticed by rail enthusiasts. However, the VBR offered all the things which made short lines fascinating; friendly service, a leisurely schedule, and small power. It also gained recognition for utilizing steam locomotives into the early 1960s. When first conceived the VBR was envisioned as a logging/timber operation. However, this traffic was short-lived and after nearly going under the railroad returned to prosperity beginning in the 1930s by hauling other natural resources. As the years passed, the VBR’s customer base dwindled and service was eventually discontinued in 1980. The recordings heard here were made in 1959.

Total time – 54:11


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. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

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

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

street-railwayreview1895-002

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This is our 192nd 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 314,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

Larry Sakar, TM, and Speedrail

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don's Rail Photos: "1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952." It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don’s Rail Photos: “1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952.” It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Today, we are featuring some recent correspondence with Larry Sakar, author of the 1991 book Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?. This has long been a collector’s item– try finding a copy at a reasonable price, and you will see what I mean.

Larry has continued his research in the 26 years since this book came out, and has a new book in the works. Larry is very outspoken, and doesn’t pull any punches. Perhaps that is because he knows his subject so well.

Meanwhile, this Wednesday, I sent off the corrected proofs of our own book Chicago Trolleys to the publisher. That means our part in it is now pretty much done, except perhaps for answering any questions that the proofreaders might have. Then it will go to press and the publication date is September 25.

If any of you have ever written a book, you may know that it is something akin to wrestling an alligator. However, now I believe I’ve got the alligator wrestled to the ground, and am very happy with the finished product. Chances are, you will be too.

-David Sadowski

Larry A. Sakar writes:

I just discovered your site and saw the 3 color photos of LVT 1100 & 1102 loaded onto flat cars for the trip to Milwaukee (Odds and Ends, May 5, 2017). The Feb., 1948 date is not correct. Speedrail did not exist in 1948. It began on 9/2/49 after Jay Maeder bought the Waukesha line from Northland Greyhound for $110!

I know because I’m Larry Sakar, author of “Speedrail Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?” published by Interurban Press in 1991.

Cars 1100 & 1102 were purchased sometime in late October by Jay Maeder who went to Allentown for the purpose of buying additional Cincinnati Curved side lightweight cars to go with the 6 purchased by Ed Tennyson, Speedrail’s VP of operations in Sept. 1949 from Shaker Heights Rapid Transit (cars 60-65). SHRT sold Tennyson the 6 cars for $500 each and he leased them back to Speedrail. The sale was supposed to be contingent on Mr. Maeder putting up the additional $2300 for spare parts. Whether or not he did I have never been able to find out.

Maeder paid $750 each for 1100 & 1102 which were supposedly the best 2 of the 4 cars (1100-1103). You are absolutely correct about the refurbishing of 1102 into MRT car 66 which premiered on 3/31/51 and served only for 3 months before Speedrail ended all operations on 6/30/51. As part of the rehabilitation it exchanged trucks with car 64 which was wrecked in the collision with e-TM 1121 serving as Speedrail’s freight motor. That happened just 3 days after the terrible and fatal accident on the NMRA fan trip of 9/2/50. The 3 man crew on 1121 finished switching the C&NW Ry. interchange just south of West Jct. early that day and were in a hurry to get home so they ignored the proper procedure for entering the mainline from the C&NW interchange and smacked into car 64 bashing in a significant portion of the front platform. They did not have to worry about getting home early after that. All 3 were terminated. But it caused Travelers Insurance to pull the plug on Speedrail’s liability insurance because of 2 serious accidents in 3 days and also because Maeder was 6 months behind in paying the premiums. He had used money set aside for insurance to buy Shaker Heights cars 300 & 301! As President and sole stockholder he could do what he wanted. The money was used to buy equipment and not for any personal purposes thus making it perfectly legal but also perfectly stupid!

To the best of my knowledge Maeder never intended to use car 1100 for spare parts. That only happened because it was dead on arrival in Milwaukee and would not run period. 1102 blew a motor on arrival and had to be sent to TMER&T’s Cold Spring shops for repair. Cold Spring was marking up costs by 100%! The small shops facility in the Public Service building terminal could not do major repairs.

I don’t know if you would be interested but I have just completed a new manuscript entitled, “The Complete History of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line from TMER&L to Speedrail.” There are 146 pages of text plus an additional 160 pages of photos and documents. Of these there are 37 pages of color photos.

The money to pay for refurbishing 1102 into 66 came from the sale of 14 surplus ex-TM 1100 series cars to Afram Brothers Scrap Metal Company in Milwaukee. This all took place several months after Bruno V. Bitker the federal bankruptcy trustee dismissed Jay Maeder. The seats put in what became car 66 came from some of those 1100’s. It also switched trucks with the damaged car 64.

I think if Maeder had remained in charge he would never have sold those surplus 1100’s. He had a sentimental attachment to TM which he first discovered in 1926 when he attended St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin for his senior year of high school. Delafield was a stop on the Milwaukee-Watertown line.

Thanks and continue the great work. You have a fantastic website.

Thanks for writing, and also for all this wonderful information. As you are well aware I am sure, the information people write on slides, prints, negs, etc. is not always 100% accurate. I appreciate your corrections.

Lehigh Valley Transit purchased four Cincinnati curved-side cars second-hand in 1938 for the Easton Limited interurban line. Unfortunately, these cars were underpowered, and not really up to the task of working this hilly route. They were sharp-looking cars as LVT renovated them, but could not maintain the schedules of the cars they replaced. So it is no great surprise that by the time Speedrail got two of them in 1949, they were in bad shape.

Larry replied:

Yes, I do know that incorrect info often turns up in both pics and books. My 1991 Speedrail book has errors but when I wrote it in 1988 it was based on the best information I had at the time. I never dreamed that after it came out I’d be contacted by Jay Maeder’s daughter Jane and would be the recipient of several boxes of documents her father left behind. She and her late brother Jay Jr. decided that I should have them as they would never do anything with them. Neither of them knew much about Speedrail other than that their father once “owned a railroad”.

That reminds me. I saw the discussion as to whether Jay Maeder ever lived in Texas. No he didn’t but his daughter Jane Maeder Walsh lives in Houston. And Jay Sr. is survived by a lot of grandchildren. I didn’t know Jay Jr. drew that cartoon but I’m not surprised. He was an authority on the Dick Tracy comic strip having authored two books on the subject. I only spoke to him one time while he was working for the New York Daily News and was writing a column called “Lounge Lizard” which reviewed NYC lounge acts. I’ve had a lot of contact with Jane.

I wanted to scream when I got the last shipment of documents in 2012. At the bottom of the box was a scrapbook – the kind with the brown pages like many of us had as kids where we glued things in with Muselix glue. That’s what I expected to see when I opened it but instead found blank pages. Then I looked again. What he did, David, was rip out newspaper clippings related to Speedrail. Then he’d rip out the date and using a nail like the ones you get with picture hooks, would attach it to the clipping. But instead of placing the clippings on the pages he literally shoved them into the spines of each page. Well, after 60 years as I’m sure you know the newsprint deteriorated and the dates fell off as the paper deteriorated. Newsprint is notorious for that. Consequently, I ended up with about 25 clippings where the event could have happened anytime in the 22 months Speedrail existed.

You’re 100% right that the 9-2-50 accident is still controversial. I would say that in terms of blame 80% goes to Maeder and 20% to Tennyson. The Maeder/Tennyson working relationship had been deteriorating ever since the fall of 1949 when Maeder bought the Local Rapid Transit line (Milwaukee-West Junction-Hales Corners) without ever bringing the matter before the Speedrail Board (such as it was). Tennyson was opposed. He told me that when he went to Cleveland on 9/12/49 and met with Maeder’s Cleveland Attorney, Frank Taplin, Taplin told him, “Ed, whatever you do do not let Jay buy that Local Rapid Transit line. He will lose his shirt!” Tennyson was there to buy the 6 Shaker Heights curved side cars. Anyway, according to what he told me, when he found out what Maeder had done he went to the third member of the board, Oliver A. Grootemaat Speedrail’s general counsel and secretary. He said Grootemaat told him, “Maeder owns all the stock. He can do whatever he wants.!”

As for 9-2-50 Tennyson told me Maeder had asked him to draw up a schedule and rules for the 5 NMRA fan trips which he did. On the morning of 9/2 he discovered the trains were running late and that’s when he called the so-called dispatcher, Joe Bellon at the Public Service Building to find out what was going on. It was then that he found out that Maeder and one of the senior motormen, Gerald Greer had spent the night before drawing up “anticipatory train orders” that required every train to call from every siding. Also, the rules were that photo stops were to be made southbound to Hales Corners only. And anyone who did not come when time was up for the photo stop would be left behind. When Maeder’s train got to Hillcrest loop in Hales Corners the fans asked for a photostop going back to Milwaukee. Maeder should have said “NO” but he went along with it. So Tennyson called Bellon and told him to go back to the original orders where trains were to operate by schedule and timetable and only call if they ran into trouble. Maeder had called from Hillcrest to report they’d be stopping for a photostop northbound but from that point on he wasn’t heard from again. In order to allow the regularly scheduled southbound Hales Corners pass Maeder pulled in to Greenwood Jct., a siding never used which was the connection to the Lakeside Belt Line. It was seldom if ever used and once the M-R-K (Milwaukee-Racine Kenosha Line) was abandoned in Dec. of 1947 it was useless.

As a result of the reversal of orders Equitz assumed Maeder would hold at Oklahoma Ave. for him to pass. Maeder, still operating under his revised orders expected the dispatcher would tell Equitz he’d cleared Maeder’s train all the way to West Jct. The end result was that 10 people were killed because two guys didn’t get along. I do think Maeder went thru a red signal. And I also feel he had no business running the train especially since it was discovered he was color blind. If he’d been familiar with the Nachod signals that should not have made a difference. The position of the lights would have shown if the signal was red or white. Maeder was too occupied by all of the railfans gathered around him and he didn’t give the signal more than a quick glance, something you could not do with Nachod signals.

Maeder made an idiot of himself at the Coroner’s inquest. When the DA asked him why his train was running late he objected. the DA asked why he objected to his train being labeled as late and he replied, “My train was an extra train. Extra trains cannot be late. They can only be behind schedule.” HUH?? What’s the difference? Isn’t being behind schedule being late? He also testified that he and the regular motorman George Wolter weren’t relying on the signals. “They were a help but we weren’t relying on them”, is what he testified. Yes, Maeder was exonerated in court but only because the law on 4th Degree Manslaughter required it to be a deliberate act. I seriously doubt if he would be as lucky today not to mention that he personally would face a ton of lawsuits. And though he was exonerated in court he could and did not fare as well in the one court he could do nothing about, the court of public opinion. Bitker clearly didn’t want him around anymore. Tennyson said Bitker banned Maeder from the property but I don’t know if that’s true.

The Rapid Transit book I’ve completed contains photos you’ve never seen before. One of my sources is John Schoenknecht the head of the Waukesha County Historical Society and he has supplied me with some really great photos.

I see Bill Shapotkin comments quite regularly. I’ve known Bill since 1986. Great guy!

This is all great stuff. Who is publishing your book? I see that Interurbans Press put out your Speedrail volume.

Larry:

Interurbans Press did put out the Speedrail book. They published one or two books after that and went out of business. Mac Sebree, the owner retired and sold the company to video producer PENTREX. PENTREX had no interest in selling or publishing books. They bought Interurban Press for one thing and one thing only – their videos. And even if they were still around I’d be extremely reluctant to deal with them again! At the time they accepted the book they had purchased PTJ Publications which was in Waukesha. PTJ as you may know was the original publisher of Passenger Train Journal.

 In 1988 home computers and the Internet did not exist. But since they had the office in Waukesha I begged and pleaded for them to do the book there even though the normally did all books in Glendale, CA. Mike Schaefer was part of PTJ Publications and he was the person I wanted to edit and layout the book. I pointed out that it would be much easier for all concerned should any problems arise. I couldn’t hop a plane to Glendale, CA.  just like that. I was working. But driving out to Waukesha would be no problem. What I didn’t know until later was that “bad blood” existed between Mike and this Paul Hammond who ran things in Glendale. Interurban Press interpreted my request as taking sides. I was trying to do what I felt would be best especially since I knew Mike knew the subject which the California people did not. Interurban Press refused.

The book was to have been published in 1989 but a tragedy at the Waukesha office delayed it by two years. A young staff member was engaged to be married. Something happened and the engagement was called off. He become despondent and went out to Butler and killed himself by stepping in front of an on-coming C&NW train. Horrible! Anyway they resumed work on it and things seemed to go well from there. I don’t know how it works today but back then you received 3 final drafts. The first two showed the space where the photos would be and the caption but not the actual photo. The final proof was called the blue line. So the blue line arrives in the mail and I absolutely exploded. What was supposed to be a photo of the 9-2-50 Speedrail wreck was a photo of the 8-24-49 Soldiers Home wreck. I probably didn’t even need long distance I was so angry. Their excuse: “Well, we just assumed that the wrecks were one and the same.” YOU ASSUMED?? So I had to quickly run out to Waukesha. They had the Milwaukee Journals for the day of and days after the 9-2-50 wreck. With the space already dedicated we had to choose that really bad picture that appears in the book. It was the only one that fit.

There were any number of other things that happened over those 2-3 years (1988-1991). I can’t tell you how many times they told me they “expected to take a loss” on the book and discouraging things like that. Loss nothing! It sold out all of the first printing in 18 months. I had thought about pitching it to Kalmbach but didn’t think I’d stand much of a chance being an unknown at the time. I was right. In 1999 a couple of years after the video, “Rapid Transit in Milwaukee From TMER&L to Speedrail” was put out by TMER&THS of which I was Secretary and Treasurer we decided to write a companion book to the video. Jack Gervais was co-authoring it with me. He was handling everything up to Speedrail and I was writing from Speedrail to the end. When we finished it in 2000 I tried pitching it to Kalmbach now that I had a book published. They turned it down. They were full of compliments about it being well written and all but felt it was too limited as a subject and would not sell the way a book on a more popular subject like the Milwaukee Road would. Gervais then contacted Larry Plachno. I did not want to deal with him as I’d heard a great deal of negative things about him from Bill Shapotkin. Well we did end up driving all the way to Polo, Illinois only to have Plachno open the binder, look at a few pages and go, “Tsk, Tsk, Tsk! I have a problem with you people already” HUH? “All this quoting. Don’t you know a good historian never quotes. He paraphrases.” I politely took the binder, shut it, said, “Thank you for your time, Mr. Plachno. That may be your philosophy for writing books but it isn’t mine!” In the intro to the new book I address that. I don’t believe in paraphrasing because that puts my interpretation on what was said. I quote and I let my readers decide how to interpret what was said. 

So in terms of a publisher I don’t have one and I’ve no idea of who I could give it to. I’m not looking to make money from this. The Maeder family designated me “Keeper of the Flame” where Speedrail is concerned. They entrusted what Jay left behind because they feel I would know best how to make use of it. I take that both as a compliment and a responsibility to preserve this history. That is my goal, here. Norm Carlson is a perfect example of someone who understands that. I have worked with him quite a few times and enjoyed it. He’s a professional and “First & Fastest” is the high quality publication it is because of his dedication. Browsing thru your site I see much the same thing, David. You obviously have a real feel for preserving this history and those are the type of people I like to work with. I really enjoy the Trolley Dodger site.

The Speedrail book was written as a way to promote TMER&THS Inc. I quit the group 14 years ago so this book has absolutely no connection to them or any other group. I am a member of Shore Line. Norm has been very gracious in publishing my articles. I’m also writing for “Landmark,” the publication of the Waukesha County Historical Society. My goal is to leave behind a historical record so that someday someone can come along and view this history. 

I saw your comment that maybe if things had been just a little different Speedrail might still be around today. Actually, David, sad to say, Speedrail was dead before it began. The following chapters from my book and  a page from a city of Milwaukee subcommittee in March, 1945 will show you what Milwaukee thought of the Rapid Transit. Once the city caught what I call “expressway fever” and they decided the Rapid Transit line west from downtown was the place for the East-West Freeway they stopped at nothing to get it. Maeder owned the track, overhead wire, cars and bridges but not the land on which those tracks sat. That remained Wisconsin Electric Power Co. property. Shaker Heights did not have that problem. Maeder wrongly assumed that Milwaukee would rally to support his efforts to save the Rapid Transit as happened in Shaker Heights. It was the Waukesha riders who rallied to support it. Milwaukee could’ve card less except for Mayor Zeidler, of course. More to follow soon.

The photo I sent you earlier today which shows a guy up on a stage addressing a crowd of people goes with the chapter”The First Public Pledge Meeting.” The date is 6-27-51. The place was Kuney’s dance hall in the Town of Calhoun. I think the man on stage is Edwin Knappe but am not sure. You’ll read about him and the Calhoun Farms Riders Group in the chapter about them. Kuney’s is still there today if you think I should put in a present day picture. There’s nothing special about it. Calhoun Farms was to the north and west of the Calhoun Road stop on the Waukesha line. There’s a historical marker which explains about it and the area of Calhoun which is east of Waukesha. It even mentions the Rapid Transit. I have pictures of that too.

One of the people you’ll see quoted in the Speedrail section fairly often is former Speedrail motorman Don Leistikow. I’d say that at least 50% of what I learned about Speedrail over the years came from Don. I’m attaching his famous “Skunk” story. I think you” get a laugh out of it. Don was quite a story teller. He passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 85 and is sorely missed.

While I never actually met Don L. Leistikow, I did correspond with him a bit, and I almost met him once.  I went out to East Troy onetime and took some pictures, and after I posted them to the web, someone identified him in one of the pictures.  What a nice man.

Larry:

NSL fans may be interested to know that after being vacant for the last 47 years the site of the North Shore’s Harrison St. shops at S. 5th St. and W. Harrison Ave. (remember NSL called it “street” but Harrison is actually an avenue) is finally being redeveloped. Sadly, not for traction purposes. A private charter school whose name I can’t remember is building on the property all the way to where it dead-ends above the KK River and Cleveland Ave. and extending west on Harrison Ave. to the southeast corner of S. 6th St. It’s a huge, multi-story facility. Back in 2005 when I visited the site of the shops with Norm Carlson of the Shore Line interurban Historical Society and Walter Keevil of CERA I noticed that the city of Milwaukee had paved S. 5th St. from the point where the private right-of-way began on the south side of the street all the way to the fence and concrete barrier that mark where the NSL’s bridge over the river began. Let’s face it. Vacant lots do not generate property tax revenue. The dilapidated shops building stood until about 1970. I remember a Milwaukee Journal editorial cartoon and article in 1968 urging its demolition because it presented a bad image of Milwaukee to drivers coming in (northbound) on I-94 which sits below the east end of the property. The school is supposed to open for the fall 2018-2019 semester next year.

I’m sure most NSL fans don’t know this. After the 6th and Michigan station in downtown Milwaukee was razed in May or June of 1964 somebody came up with the ideas of building a tourist tower on the south end of the property at about the point where NSL trains entered and left the elevated platforms that were attached to the south end of the terminal. Here is an artists rendering of what it was going to look like from the Milwaukee Journal of 11-22-64. Of course it ever happened. What did happen was this. In the summer of 1965 the church whose denomination I have forgotten that was on the north side of Wisconsin Ave. between N. 10th & N. 11th Sts. was being forced to move. The entire block on both sides of the street was disappearing, literally. The I-43 freeway was and does cross beneath the “Avenue” at this point. So the church spent almost $2 million to buy the entire 4 square blocks where the NSL station had stood. That encompassed W. Michigan St. on the north. W. Clybourn St. on the south. N. 5th St. on the east and N. 6th St. on the west. The plan was to build the church and some sort of shopping area around it. I say the “plan” because that too never happened. I remember a wooden sign erected on the station site facing W. Michigan St. that said, “Future home of…” and it named the congregation. For the next 33 years the property sat vacant. Then in 1998 Time Insurance Co. which had been located on the corner of N. 5th St. and W. Wells St. downtown built their new corporate headquarters on the site. A check of the Milwaukee city directory shows the building there as of 1998. The Wells St. building was sold to make way for Milwaukee’s first downtown convention center which was called “MECCA – the Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena.” It was judged as the boxiest and ugliest building ever built in Milwaukee and it too fell to the wrecking ball when the new, and very underused, downtown convention center was constructed along Wisconsin Ave. between N. 4th & N. 6th Sts. Why the church was never built and how Time Insurance acquired the property (sale, foreclosure??) is something I have been unable to find out. The congregation disappears from the Milwaukee city directory in 1966. Perhaps they moved to one of the suburbs or merged with another congregation. If any of the NSL fans know I’d be very interested in the details. Time Insurance has since been thru all kinds of mergers and the building now says Securant Insurance.

In the summer of 1971 I went to the site of Ryan Tower on the abandoned NSL r.o.w. I didn’t drive back then so it meant to very lengthy bus rides from my home on Milwaukee’s northwest side. and a long walk up Ryan Rd. from the end of the Rt. 66 bus line. I knew I was at the right spot when I got to the crossing with the C&NW’s new line. And that was the only way I knew. The NSL was gone with nary a trace. I had to walk a block or so north before I came across the abandoned NSL r.o.w. As I continued north there much to my surprise was the NSL’s Carrollville substation still standing 8 years after the abandonment. I took this picture of it on 8-17-71 using a Polaroid camera I’d gotten for Christmas the previous year. My ANSCO 8-shot box camera took better pictures than that Polaroid! And then you always had the chore of having to spread this smelly fixer on the photo to keep it from curling up. So please forgive the quality of the pictures.

Larry’s Human Interest Stories

I’ll be glad to write this. There are four of them, all involving people who had they been where they had planned to be might not have lived another day.

What I have found in the 52 years I have been studying and researching the Rapid Transit and Speedrail is that fate and coincidence seem to play a major role. For example, take how I got to know Jane Maeder Walsh, Jay’s daughter. In 1991 when the Speedrail book came out she had a daughter who was a student at Carroll College (now University) in Waukesha. Jane was living in Atlanta at the time but decided to come to Waukesha for a visit. While there she decided to go to the Waukesha Public Library and see what she could find out about “the railroad that my father owned.” At first, all the librarian was able to find was a folder containing a few newspaper clippings from the Waukesha Freeman, Waukesha’s daily newspaper. Then she remembered that the library had just received a new book about Speedrail. She gave it to Jane to browse through there since she obviously would not be able to borrow it.

A short time later, on a Saturday morning my phone rang. The lady on the other end asked if I was the person who wrote the Speedrail book. I said I was. She said, “My name is Jane Walsh. I know that name doesn’t mean anything to you until I tell you my maiden name. It is Maeder and Jay Maeder was my father.” I kind of held my breath for a second thinking the next thing I’d hear was that she didn’t like the things Tennyson said about her father and she was going to sue me. Quite to the contrary she wanted to know where she could go to buy copies of the book. I put her in touch with one of the local hobby shops that I knew was carrying it and she bought half a dozen copies for her family. I didn’t hear from her for quite a while after that until the day she and her brother discovered a box of material relating to Speedrail, long forgotten, left behind by her father. She said that she and her brother had no interest in it and asked if I would want it? Are you kidding? Over the course of the next few years they found other boxes of things. She e-mailed Jay Jr. and asked if he wanted it. He replied, “Are we still in touch with that Sakar guy?” Jane said she had talked to me about it and I’d said I wanted it if her brother didn’t. Jay Jr. then replied, “Let’s face it… neither you nor I will ever make anything out of this stuff. I say, let’s make him keeper of the flame. Larry will know what to do with it.” That was a great honor that they had confidence that I could make use of the material.

We still keep in touch by e-mail from time to time. My friend and colleague Chris Barney and I paid to have copies made of that picture of her father walking alongside car 60 flagging it on the inaugural Speedrail fan trip of 10-16-49. We sent them to her and she was thrilled. It’s the only picture she has of her father with “his railroad.”

You might remember that on the 9-2-50 the motorman of the 1192-93 heavy duplex that collided with Maeder’s train (39-40) was LeRoy Equitz. In the fall of 1971, I got a job as a student library aide at the main library in downtown Milwaukee. One night I was sitting in the lunchroom on break with a brother and sister who also worked there. Terry, the brother struck up a conversation with me. “We hear you like trains.” I said, “Well yes. I do like trains but my main interest is streetcars and interurbans.” They had no clue as to what either of those were. Terry said, “Our uncle was a train engineer.” I said, Oh really, where?” He said, “Right here in Milwaukee.” I asked which railroad he worked for, thinking it had to be either the Milwaukee Road or the C&NW. Terry said neither one sounded like the one their uncle had mentioned. I asked when he worked as an engineer and he said, “In the ’50’s.” Then he continued. “Our uncle was involved in an accident and ended up losing a foot because of it.” Suddenly, my curiosity was on high, so to speak.” So I said, “This accident. Could it have been in 1950 itself?” Terry said, “Come to think of it, yes. He did say 1950.” So I continued, “And this accident, could it possibly have been on Labor Day weekend in 1950?” BINGO! He said that it was. That’s when I said, “Don’t tell me your uncle’s name. Let me guess it. Is it LeRoy Equitz?” The brother and sister sat there for a second in amazement. “Yes. How on earth did you know that?” Of course I explained about Speedrail and told them which newspaper and dates to look at if they wanted more information. As I recall, LeRoy was still living but he had moved away some years earlier. I don’t recall to where so I never had an opportunity to talk to him.

You ask yourself what were the odds that I’d end up working with the niece and nephew of LeRoy Equitz. And I have found that to be the case so often in this hobby. So call it fate, destiny, coincidence. There are times when you can’t help but feel this was meant to be.

Thanks for taking the time to write this and your other reminiscences. I’d like to share these with my readers.

Naturally, I won’t use any of the material you sent me from your upcoming book, but is there anything else that you would not want me to run in my blog?

Larry:

Please feel free to use any of the material I’ve sent you for the Trolley Dodger. Anything and everything I write is for the enjoyment and/or information of others. What’s the point of keeping what I’ve learned over the years to myself? That benefits no one!

I saw the piece in The Trolley Dodger on the late Maury Klebolt. From 1983 to 1987 I went out to SFO every September for the Historic Market Street streetcar festival. I used to see Maury at the Market and Duboce storage facility below the former San Francisco mint. He was very involved with that Market Street Railway group. I seem to recall that he acquired a couple of streetcars for them. I wasn’t acquainted with him but had stories about his fan trips from the late Jack Gervais who apparently knew him. Bill Shapotkin also told me some stories about him.

By the way I kind of chuckle every time I see a Joe L. Diaz photo of a CSL “Sedan”. My good friend Dave Stanley knew Joe very well, along with a number of other well-known Chicago fans like the late Bob Gibson. I met both Dave and Bill Shapotkin in 1986. Both Dave and Bill told me Joe would have a fit when someone called those cars “Sedans.” It would provoke an “Ooh, they weren’t called that” response. I knew him by sight but I didn’t actually know him as such. I remember seeing him at CERA meetings in the back of the room selling books. That was back in the days when CERA met at the old Midland Hotel. I believe that’s now called the Blackhawk Hotel. I was a CERA member in the ’90’s but didn’t keep up my membership. Going to meetings meant having to drive to either Kenosha and take METRA which also meant leaving the meeting early to catch the 9:00pm train back to Kenosha and then an 11:00pm one hour drive back to Milwaukee. I never cared for night driving. Then in 2009 I lost all of the sight in my left eye as a result of diabetic retinopathy, which I didn’t know I had until it was too late. Since then I have been advised not to drive at night or on the highway or expressway. I no longer have the necessary depth perception and bright light, especially headlights coming at me blind me. Amtrak experimented with a late night (first 11:00pm then changed to 10:30pm) train to Milwaukee but they never promoted it so the ridership never materialized. Now the last train to Milwaukee leaves Chicago at 8:45pm.

I knew a lot of really nice guys in Chicago all of whom I have not seen nor spoken with in at least 15 years. Bruce Moffat and Ray DeGroote are two who come to mind. I always called Ray the Rick Steeves of the traction world. In any Ray DeGroote program you could always count on a money lesson, a geography lesson and a culture lesson. When I was the program director for TMER&THS from 1989 to 1995, I used to refer to Ray as “our world traveler”. The last time I saw Bruce was on a CERA fan trip on METRA Electric in the ’90’s. Bill Shapotkin was the trip director. At the first photo stop GK wanted a photo with the other car host and myself. Bruce took the picture but to this day I’ve never seen it.

I haven’t seen all of the issues of The Trolley Dodger but here are some Milwaukee streetcar photos from my collection that I think readers might enjoy.

Every now and then you get a photo that really has you stumped trying to figure out where it was taken. That’s what happened with this photo given to me by Bob Genack. I saw the RT 35 Route sign and stupidly assumed this had to be somewhere on the 35th Street route. But what really threw me a curve was the “35th St.” sign in the destination sign box below the big roof Route sign. If this was a northbound car it should have said “Burleigh,” and if southbound “St. Paul”. After puzzling over it I looked it over with a magnifying glass to see if I could detect any business names. And there in the left background was the solution. This is a time exposure so it’s a “ghosted” image. But if you look closely you will see a TM heavy duplex. OK. Now I see what this was all about. This is a TM posed, company photo. The 943 isn’t on 35th St. It’s on Michigan Street. You can’t see it but the Public Service Building is just out of the right hand side of the picture. The duplex is inbound from Sheboygan on N. 3rd St. It will turn left onto Michigan St. go one block east and then turn right onto N. 2nd St. to enter the PSB terminal. Those aren’t passengers standing waiting for the streetcar. They are TM company employees posing for the picture. The 943 looks brand new so I’m thinking this was taken in about 1928 or 1929. OK TM, you fooled me.

Streetcar advertising was a frequent occurrence on TM. But unlike the buses of today where the advertising is put on mylar sheets and then attached to the bus with a heat gun, and it is simply peeled off when the time is up, in streetcar days the car was actually repainted. Here’s one of the all-time classic examples of a repainted Milwaukee streetcar that is from the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. days. M&STC bought TMER&T at the end of 1952 and took over operation of the system on Jan. 1, 1953. They continued to use “The Transport Company” as their shortened name. M&STC lasted until July, 1975 when Milwaukee finally municipalized its transit system when M&STC was purchased by Milwaukee County. That is when the present-day Milwaukee County Transit System was born. But the “Transport Company” name had become so ingrained in the minds of Milwaukeeans that many continued to call it “The Transport Company” for quite some time after the county took over. Now everyone refers to it as MCTS.

Anyway, in 1955, car 943 was chosen to be repainted with a “safety message” from the Milwaukee Safety Commission. Isn’t it a bit ironic that the car advertising safety was involved in an accident downtown at 4th and Wells Streets in a collision with a city garbage truck? I guess the car didn’t heed its own message! The close-up b&w shot was taken at the Farwell Ave. terminal where Rt. 10 streetcars and Rt. 21-North Ave. trolleybuses laid over. The trolley bus service on Rt. 21 North Ave. lasted until 1961 or 1962 when it was converted to diesel bus operation using the new 1500 series GM new look fishbowl buses M&STC had purchased for that purpose. A portion of Rt. 10 east of Jackson & Wells Sts. downtown was eventually abandoned and most of the route from Jackson & Wells Strees east covered by Rt. 30 Sherman Blvd. buses.

Next up are 2 beautiful color photos of 943 in its “safety commission” paint job taken by Don Ross (Don’s Rail Photos. In the close-up shot, the car is on a fan trip at S. 81st St. and W. Greenfield Ave. which was Route 18-National Ave. That line ended at S. 92nd St. & W. Lapham Ave. Before West Junction was rebuilt Rt. 10 cars ran all the way out there via the private right-of-way which continued all the way out there. Prior to the construction of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 1925 & 1930, interurbans also used that r.o.w. Today the r.o.w. is still there going west from 92nd & Lapham and is used by We Energies vehicles to get to West Jct. so that the power lines can be serviced. In the second, more distant photo 943 is crossing W. Wisconsin Ave. on the p.r.o.w. that paralleled N. 52nd St. from Wells to the entrance to the Calvary Cemetery cut, later the stop for Milwaukee County Stadium from 1953 to 1957. Streetcars were gone by the opening of the baseball season in 1958.

The TM 900-series streetcars were an updated version of the 800-series built in 1920. The earliest 900’s were identical to the 800’s in all respects except one. The center motorman’s window on an 800 is narrower than on a 900. Other than that there was little if any difference. But by the time the group of cars from 976 seen here at Cold Spring shops to 985 were built, the interiors now had leather seats vs. rattan for all previous cars, and this group of 10 was unique in that they had that sort of visor/sun shield over the center window. One car in this group survives today. Car 978 was saved by former Milwaukeean Al Buetschle on behalf of the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club. They wanted a streetcar for outdoor display in Hart Park which is just to the east of the Wauwatosa end of the No. 10 line at Harwood Ave. and State Streets. Al loved the cars with the front visor and that is why he chose the 978. The car is now the property of the East Troy Electric RR and is currently undergoing an extensive rehabilitation. There is a very involved history of how the car was acquired and what happened to it over the years which I wrote for a fan publication in 1998. Al now lives in Oakley, Ca. a city in Contra Costa, County 60 miles northeast of San Francisco.

As I mentioned the 800’s had a narrower center window than the 900’s. You can see that in this photo of car 870 at the end of Rt. 40 at Kinnickinnic & St. Francis Aves. in St. Francis. The area doesn’t look much different today save for the absence of the streetcar. St. Francis is a suburb of Milwaukee on the southeast side.

Here’s a second shot of an 800 seen at the end of Rt. 11 at Howell & Howard Aves. probably in the 1950’s. Rt. 11 was converted to bus operation in 1956 and was Milwaukee’s second to last streetcar line.

At the start I mentioned “mystery” photos, and to close out here is one such example. I know where this is and I think this is probably in the 20’s or 30’s. What I can’t figure out is what a 600 series car (at least that’s what it looks like with that roof destination sign in the middle) is doing on Rt. 12 – 12th St. or why the destination sign says Center. Center is Center St. which was home to the Rt. 22 streetcar line. Rts. 21 & 22 were some of the earliest conversions from streetcar to trackless trolley. I question the destination because Rt. 12 cars usually operated all the way to 27th & Hopkins Streets. In the late 1920’s a transfer station was constructed here. It was a smaller version of the one at Farwell & North Aves. When Rt. 12 was converted to diesel bus operation the building was torn down and became a parking lot for the nearby A.O. Smith Corp. At last report the streetcar tracks are still in the pavement.

Thanks so much for this and your other recent messages. You have given me plenty of material to work with here. I am sure our readers, especially those in the Milwaukee area, will love reading this.

Who knows, it might even help you find a publisher!

This excerpt from a 1945 Milwaukee freeway report shows how even then, planners intended to take the Rapid Transit Line right-of-way for highway use.  The bottom photo, of course, was a composite.

This excerpt from a 1945 Milwaukee freeway report shows how even then, planners intended to take the Rapid Transit Line right-of-way for highway use.The bottom photo, of course, was a composite.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified this photo. Here, M&DSTC car 943 is going eastbound on the famous Wells Street trolley viaduct on a 1955 fantrip.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified this photo. Here, M&DSTC car 943 is going eastbound on the famous Wells Street trolley viaduct on a 1955 fantrip.

Book Review:

The Street Railways of Grand Rapids
By Carl Bajema and Tom Maas
Bulletin 148 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association*
Hardcover with dust jacket, 304 pages

The authors present a fascinating and very thorough account of street railway service in Grand Rapids, Michigan, covering the years up to 1935, when the system was abandoned in favor of buses. There was quite a variety of service in the area, including horse cars, cable cars, steam dummies, streetcars of various types, and interurbans connecting to other cities such as Holland. The authors coverall these ably and thoroughly.

This book has just been issued in a very limited edition, and chances are it will not be reprinted once the first edition has sold out, which I am sure it will. CERA Bulletins have a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and this book does not disappoint.

Having had a few discussions about this book with Mr. Bajema myself, when it was in its early stages, I can attest that it presented a considerable challenge. After all, Grand Rapids streetcar service ended in 1935, and anyone old enough to have ridden one, and remember it, would be close to 90 years old by now.

Color photography was still in its infancy in 1935. Fortunately, there are ways to add color to such a book, including color postcards, yellowed newspaper clippings, and maps. All these are present in abundance.

Another challenge is the lack of corporate records for the operator. And then, there is the matter of a roster, which is pretty much de rigueur for a book such as this.

Complicating matters, the Grand Rapids system used names for their cars instead of numbers, which makes it very difficult to put forward a complete roster.

The names of all such cars as of 1927 are given. Interestingly, though, the one Grand Rapids photo we have posted on this blog is not included in the book. It shows the F. W. Wurtzburg, named after a local department store. Since this photo probably dates to the 1930s, perhaps the name was applied after 1927.

This book should interest anyone who likes streetcars in general, or lives in Michigan in particular. It is available from the publisher. At 304 pages, it is also somewhat larger than the typical 224-page CERA length.

The general approach the authors have taken here could also be applied to other subjects of a similar vintage, such as the Chicago, Ottawa and Peoria, an Illinois interurban which quit in 1934.

It is somewhat ironic that Grand Rapids was at the forefront of innovation in the 1920s, but just a decade later, was also among the first cities of its size to completely replace streetcars with buses.  But there is a connection– the need to innovate was born out of necessity.

Read the book, and you’ll find out why.

-David Sadowski

The "F. W. Wurtzburg," built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

The “F. W. Wurtzburg,” built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

*Please note that The Trolley Dodger is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

Product Review

This picture shows the lightbox with the light turned off.

This picture shows the lightbox with the light turned off.

Tracing Light box Dbmier A4S USB Powered Light Pad Artcraft Tracing LED Light Board for Drawing, Tracing, Sketching, Animation Active Area 8.27″ X 12.20″

Here is a new product that should interest anyone who works with photographic negatives or transparencies. It is a modern version of a lightbox, using LED technology. It is powered by a USB cord that can connect to a computer. I expect you can get an adapter that will allow you to use AC power. Otherwise, you would be limited to using it in the vicinity of your computer.

In years past, there have been various lightboxes on the market. Some had conventional light bulbs, and others used florescent lighting. All were somewhat problematic and all were also bulkier than this ultra-thin model, which has three levels of brightness and puts out white light (which many of the older lightboxes did not).

The old type lightboxes also put out a lot of heat, which this one does not.  It’s a 21st century solution to a 20th century problem, but better late than never!

It is available for a very attractive price. I highly recommend it, and gain nothing financially if anyone does buy one. I only wish a product like this had been available 30 years ago.

-David Sadowski

Recent Correspondence

Bruce Fastow writes:

Perhaps you can guide me. I own a Johnson fare box similar to the one attached. Can you tell me how I can take the top off so I can clean out the hopper? My kids put paper in the unit.

 

Chances are, one of our readers knows the answer and can help, thanks.

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 221 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. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

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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This is our 189th 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 305,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

Reader Mailbag, 6-25-2017

Outbound Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 460 in Aurora on May 19, 1957. Near the terminal, overhead wire was used instead of third rail. Passenger service only lasted another six weeks before abandonment.

Outbound Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 460 in Aurora on May 19, 1957. Near the terminal, overhead wire was used instead of third rail. Passenger service only lasted another six weeks before abandonment.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

The Trolley Dodger mailbag is overflowing this month. We also have some new photographic finds to share with you.

Along with our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, we are pleased to report there will also be a related item– a pack of 15 postcards, showing selected classic images from the book. This is part of Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America series. More information below.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

CA&E 427 (right) at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 427 (right) at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 428, an outbound Elgin Limited, passes over Union Station on the Met "L". Looks like this picture was taken from a passing car heading east.