CTA’s 6000s Run Again

The historic train approaches Adams and Wabash.

The historic train approaches Adams and Wabash.

October 1st was the 72nd anniversary of when the Chicago Transit Authority took over operating the elevated and most of the surface transit lines. To celebrate this milestone, the CTA held a Customer Appreciation Day event in the Loop, using newly repatriated historic “L” cars 6711 and 6712. Built in 1959, this pair had been at the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis since the 1990s.

This type of “L” car was once synonymous with the CTA, as these are part of a series of all-new rapid transit cars introduced in the 1950s. There were a total of 770 such cars built in various configurations and delivered between 1950 and 1959. They replaced wooden “L” cars, many of which were half a century old upon retirement.

Being metal-bodied, the 6000-series cars were designed to operate in Chicago’s new subways as well as its famous elevated lines. The first batch of such cars finally made it possible to open the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway in 1951. The State Street Subway had opened in 1943, prior to the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, using existing steel cars built in the early 1920s.

While October 1, 1947 is the date when the CTA finally took charge of local transit, its origins naturally go back further than that. The City of Chicago was always intimately involved in local transit matters, even in the era of private ownership which came crashing down into bankruptcy during the Great Depression.

Then-Mayor Edward J. Kelly spearheaded efforts to build Chicago’s first subways, and his “go-to guy” in this regard was Philip Harrington (1886-1949). In the late 1930s, he became head of the City’s Department of Subways and Superhighways, and was also the principal author of a comprehensive transportation plan known locally as the “Green Book”. (One thing that is not certain, is whether there is any connection between the green binding of this book, and the later adoption of green as the more-or-less official CTA color in early days.)

When the Chicago Transit Authority officially came into being on June 28, 1945, Harrington was unanimously chosen as its first Chairman. What followed was a two-year transition period, where the CTA became a functioning entity and prepared for the official takeover which eventually came, after, under the management of the courts, the existing private owners of the Chicago Rapid Transit and Chicago Surface Lines companies were bought out.  (CTA purchased the assets of the Chicago Motor Coach Company five years later, completing the process of transit unification.)

During this time, while CRT and CSL were still in charge, the CTA, operating in an unofficial capacity, was really calling the shots, deciding what new equipment would be ordered, and where it would run once delivered.

Given that Philip Harrington died 70 years ago, it is remarkable that his son Michael is still with us (I believe he is about 84 years old), and took part in the first trip on these historic cars. I spoke briefly with him, and promised to send him copies of my two Arcadia books, which deal with the turbulent times when his father played such an important role. As a child, Michael Harrington was a witness to events such as the opening of Chicago’s first subway in 1943.

You can read an appreciation of Philip Harrington here.

WBEZ, Chicago’s public radio station, was on the scene talking to people who came out to ride this special train. I was interviewed by a reporter for a few minutes and answered various questions.

I was asked what was so special about the 6000-series cars. They were state of the art when new, and had advanced technology for their time, including improved acceleration and braking, and were quieter than what they replaced, even though the old stuff made “all the right noises.”  (The older 4000-series cars have a very distinctive sound, which many people find pleasant and comes from the gearing.)

They had comfortable seats, especially compared to some of today’s equipment, but one thing they did not have was air conditioning. You had to open the windows, and if the weather was right, a nice refreshing breeze wafted through. A trip through the subway, however, was very LOUD with the windows open, an experience that thankfully modern riders don’t get to have.

As light-weight cars, though, the 6000s did “shake, rattle, and roll” and their riding qualities led some fans to dub them “Spam Cans.” But for various reasons, the final cars in this series, of which 6711-6712 are examples, were a bit heavier than the first ones, and hence rode better also.

Andy Warhol famously said that “In the future, everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.” But while I did end up on the radio yesterday, I’m not even sure I got 15 seconds out of the segment on these rides, which totaled less than a minute. You can hear it here.

I applaud the CTA for expanding their collection of historic railcars by bringing some of them back from museums. New York City has several entire trains of older cars it can run, and events such as these are very popular and create tremendous goodwill.  It’s important that organizations have a sense of the history that has made them great.

The 6000s were always my favorite “L” cars, and riding them once again brought back many memories. Some people were probably riding them for the first time, based on the looks of various people on our train. I hope you will enjoy our short photo essay, followed by a few of our recent photo finds.

-David Sadowski

PS- We regret to report the recent passing of Father Philip F. Cioffi at age 63. Father Phil, as we all knew him, was widely known as one of the “nice guys” in the railfan field, and had served on the boards of various organizations over the years. He will be missed. You can read his obituary here.

From 11 am to 12:30 pm, tickets were required, along with payment of a regular CTA fare. People were able to register online. We were in group one. From 12:30 until 2, anyone could ride the historic cars.

From 11 am to 12:30 pm, tickets were required, along with payment of a regular CTA fare. People were able to register online. We were in group one. From 12:30 until 2, anyone could ride the historic cars.

The ticketed trips began and ended at Washington and Wabash, CTA's newest Loop station, which replaced two others.

The ticketed trips began and ended at Washington and Wabash, CTA’s newest Loop station, which replaced two others.

There were separate areas for both boarding and leaving the historic train.

There were separate areas for both boarding and leaving the historic train.

Meanwhile, regular service continued on the Loop.

Meanwhile, regular service continued on the Loop.

Michael Harrington, son of the late Philip Harrington (1886-1949), first Chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority from 1945-49, talks to a WBEZ reporter.

Michael Harrington, son of the late Philip Harrington (1886-1949), first Chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority from 1945-49, talks to a WBEZ reporter.

Cameras are out as our train arrives.

Cameras are out as our train arrives.

The view out the back window.

The view out the back window.

The operator's cab, with the controller, which handles both acceleration and braking.

The operator’s cab, with the controller, which handles both acceleration and braking.

I am not sure what the purpose is of this structure, which the CTA has built on part of the platform of a former station at Randolph and Wells.

I am not sure what the purpose is of this structure, which the CTA has built on part of the platform of a former station at Randolph and Wells.

We are looking west along Lake Street at Wells. The structure at right is called Tower 18, which controls this busy intersection, once the busiest of its type in the world. This is the third such tower building at this location.

We are looking west along Lake Street at Wells. The structure at right is called Tower 18, which controls this busy intersection, once the busiest of its type in the world. This is the third such tower building at this location.

Graham Garfield is CTA's General Manager, RPM (Red and Purple Lines Modernization Project) Operations & Communication Coordination. He also serves as the CTA's historian, and was a conductor on this trip. Nowadays, CTA trains are run by only one person, but this trip was handled the old fashioned way, and Graham was outfitted as usual in a period-correct uniform.

Graham Garfield is CTA’s General Manager, RPM (Red and Purple Lines Modernization Project) Operations & Communication Coordination. He also serves as the CTA’s historian, and was a conductor on this trip. Nowadays, CTA trains are run by only one person, but this trip was handled the old fashioned way, and Graham was outfitted as usual in a period-correct uniform.

Having dropped off the riders from trip one, 6711-6712 head down to the end of the platform at Washington and Wabash to pick people up for the second go-round.

Having dropped off the riders from trip one, 6711-6712 head down to the end of the platform at Washington and Wabash to pick people up for the second go-round.

Adams and Wabash.

Adams and Wabash.

Recent Finds

Here is an example of some early "flat door" 6000s running in the 1950s, on the outer portions of the old Garfield Park "L". I am not sure whether this picture was taken in Forest Park, just east of DesPlaines Avenue (near where the "L" crossed the B&OCT), or along the south edge of Columbus Park a few miles further east.

Here is an example of some early “flat door” 6000s running in the 1950s, on the outer portions of the old Garfield Park “L”. I am not sure whether this picture was taken in Forest Park, just east of DesPlaines Avenue (near where the “L” crossed the B&OCT), or along the south edge of Columbus Park a few miles further east.

This picture, taken on June 16, 1947, shows a Birney car owned by the North Shore Line at the Harrison Street shops in Milwaukee. The tiny streetcar was built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922, and was used in city streetcar service on the 5th-6th Streets line by the interurban.

This picture, taken on June 16, 1947, shows a Birney car owned by the North Shore Line at the Harrison Street shops in Milwaukee. The tiny streetcar was built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1922, and was used in city streetcar service on the 5th-6th Streets line by the interurban.

Here is Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 406 on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on August 8, 1954. Photographer Bob Selle notes, "View from abandoned power house-- second story. At Glenwood Park station. Photo stop between Batavia and the Junction." (In other words, on the Batavia branch.)

Here is Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 406 on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on August 8, 1954. Photographer Bob Selle notes, “View from abandoned power house– second story. At Glenwood Park station. Photo stop between Batavia and the Junction.” (In other words, on the Batavia branch.)

It's August 8, 1954, again on a CERA fantrip, and CA&E car 406 is making a photo stop on the line between Wheaton and Aurora in this Bob Selle view. The way people are walking about along the tracks, with unprotected electric third rail, would never be allowed today for safety and liability reasons.

It’s August 8, 1954, again on a CERA fantrip, and CA&E car 406 is making a photo stop on the line between Wheaton and Aurora in this Bob Selle view. The way people are walking about along the tracks, with unprotected electric third rail, would never be allowed today for safety and liability reasons.

After passenger service on the CA&E ended abruptly on July 3, 1957, there were still a few fantrips held. Here is one such train on October 26, 1958. We see cars 430, 403(?), and 453 east of First Avenue near Maywood. The conductor in this Bob Selle photo is climbing aboard at a switch. Presumably, this is as far east as CA&E trains could go at the time, since what is now I-290 was under construction where the interurban once crossed the DesPlaines River. The CA&E's bridge was dutifully moved to the north a bit, and new tracks leading to the DesPlaines terminal built by 1959, with no trains ever to run on them.

After passenger service on the CA&E ended abruptly on July 3, 1957, there were still a few fantrips held. Here is one such train on October 26, 1958. We see cars 430, 403(?), and 453 east of First Avenue near Maywood. The conductor in this Bob Selle photo is climbing aboard at a switch. Presumably, this is as far east as CA&E trains could go at the time, since what is now I-290 was under construction where the interurban once crossed the DesPlaines River. The CA&E’s bridge was dutifully moved to the north a bit, and new tracks leading to the DesPlaines terminal built by 1959, with no trains ever to run on them.

Lake and Pine

As the years go by, there are fewer and fewer places where you can see Chicago streetcar tracks. One such place is the viaduct at Lake and Pine. This is where Route 16 streetcars of the Chicago Surface Line (and later, Chicago Transit Authority) crossed over from one side of the Chicago & North Western viaduct to the other. There were many pictures taken at this location, where Lake Street “L” trains also ran on the ground. Streetcar service here ended in May 1954, and the “L” was relocated onto the embankment in October 1962.

We have published numerous pictures taken at this location, and a few years ago, we even went back and shot some pictures of rail. You can see those here.

Recently, the tracks were removed from the eastern half of the viaduct. Here’s how things looked as of September 25th.

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
[/caption]


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

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



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.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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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Giving Thanks

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden "L" cars on the CTA's temporary Garfield Park "L" trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden “L” cars on the CTA’s temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This year, in this holiday season, we give thanks for many things… among them, our health, our friends, and our family. And on behalf of this blog, I am thankful for you, our readers, for it is due to your generous support that we can continue to share these fine, old photos with you here.

Today, we have a 1959 CTA commemorative booklet, shared by Miles Beitler, plus some interesting recent finds of our own. Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We were recently asked by WGN radio here in Chicago to discuss our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Meet the Author

FYI, I will be at Centuries and Sleuths bookstore in suburban Forest Park, Illinois from 3 to 5 pm on Saturday, November 24th, to discuss and sign copies of my new book Building Chicago’s Subways. We hope to see you there.

Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore
7419 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130
(708)771-7243

1959 CTA Commemorative Brochure

Miles Beitler writes:

In 1959, a commemorative booklet was issued by the CTA as the new Congress line (referred to at the times as the “West Side Subway”) was being completed. I have had the booklet since that time.

The entire booklet is 23 pages (page 2 was omitted as it is blank), and although it features the West-Northwest route, it also covers the other CTA rail lines in operation at that time, along with bus lines, streetcar service which had just ended, Chicago transit history, and future plans for Chicago area transit. There are numerous photos as well.

Thanks!


Recent Finds

CSL 4081 and 7074 are heading northbound on Clark Street near Wacker Drive on June 13, 1947.

CSL 4081 and 7074 are heading northbound on Clark Street near Wacker Drive on June 13, 1947.

CSL 5814 is southbound on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. In the background, you can see how Roosevelt Road streetcars crossed over the Illinois Central tracks (and around Central Station) to reach the Field Museum and Soldier Field. This extension was built for the 1933-34 A Century of Progress world's fair.

CSL 5814 is southbound on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. In the background, you can see how Roosevelt Road streetcars crossed over the Illinois Central tracks (and around Central Station) to reach the Field Museum and Soldier Field. This extension was built for the 1933-34 A Century of Progress world’s fair.

CSL 5960 is westbound on Grand Avenue at Wabash on August 21, 1947.

CSL 5960 is westbound on Grand Avenue at Wabash on August 21, 1947.

CSL 5395 is westbound on 6rd Street at the Illinois Central underpass, east of Dorchester, on June 13, 1947. The "L" has since been cut back to a point west of here at Cottage Grove. Its eventual destination will be Oak Park Avenue.

CSL 5395 is westbound on 6rd Street at the Illinois Central underpass, east of Dorchester, on June 13, 1947. The “L” has since been cut back to a point west of here at Cottage Grove. Its eventual destination will be Oak Park Avenue.

Philadelphia Transportation Company Birney car #1, signed for a fantrip sponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Philadelphia Transportation Company Birney car #1, signed for a fantrip sponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) "Master Unit" car 83 is at the end of the line in West Chester, PA. Service on this interurban was replaced by bus in 1954, to facilitate the widening of West Chester Pike.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) “Master Unit” car 83 is at the end of the line in West Chester, PA. Service on this interurban was replaced by bus in 1954, to facilitate the widening of West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow cars 82 and 80 are on the West Chester line, at a passing siding. This interurban was mostly single track, operating alongside West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow cars 82 and 80 are on the West Chester line, at a passing siding. This interurban was mostly single track, operating alongside West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow car 78, built by Brill in 1932, is at Newtown Siding in Newtown Square, PA on May 30, 1949 (on the West Chester route).

Red Arrow car 78, built by Brill in 1932, is at Newtown Siding in Newtown Square, PA on May 30, 1949 (on the West Chester route).

Red Arrow car 22, a double-ended 1949 product of St. Louis Car Company, is presumably at the west end of the Media interurban line. These cars, which closely resemble PCCs, are not classified as such as they used standard interurban undergear.

Red Arrow car 22, a double-ended 1949 product of St. Louis Car Company, is presumably at the west end of the Media interurban line. These cars, which closely resemble PCCs, are not classified as such as they used standard interurban undergear.

CTA gate cars and Met cars are on display at Laramie Yard in this August 1948 view (on the Garfield Park "L").

CTA gate cars and Met cars are on display at Laramie Yard in this August 1948 view (on the Garfield Park “L”).

North Shore Line 715 is on the Mundelein branch in July 1950.

North Shore Line 715 is on the Mundelein branch in July 1950.

On August 17, 1966, Pittsburgh Railways PCC 1542 is on Route 71 - Highland Park. (Richard S. Short Photo)

On August 17, 1966, Pittsburgh Railways PCC 1542 is on Route 71 – Highland Park. (Richard S. Short Photo)

Chicago Rapid Transit Company 2731 is at Laramie Yard (on the Garfield Park "L") in September 1936.

Chicago Rapid Transit Company 2731 is at Laramie Yard (on the Garfield Park “L”) in September 1936.

CRT 2881 is at Gunderson Avenue (in suburban Oak Park), one of the ground-level stations on the Garfield Park "L", on September 19, 1934. This location is now the site of I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway.

CRT 2881 is at Gunderson Avenue (in suburban Oak Park), one of the ground-level stations on the Garfield Park “L”, on September 19, 1934. This location is now the site of I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway.

CTA 3164 is at the Hamlin station on the Lake Street "L" in August 1948.

CTA 3164 is at the Hamlin station on the Lake Street “L” in August 1948.

CA&E 421 is at Wheaton Yard in September 1936.

CA&E 421 is at Wheaton Yard in September 1936.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E express motor 5 "was built by Cincinnati Car in 1921 to replace 1st 5 which was built by American Car in 1909 and wrecked in 1920. It was retired in 1953." Here, we see it in Wheaton in August 1948.

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E express motor 5 “was built by Cincinnati Car in 1921 to replace 1st 5 which was built by American Car in 1909 and wrecked in 1920. It was retired in 1953.” Here, we see it in Wheaton in August 1948.

CTA PCC 4390 is presumably northbound at 95th Street, heading towards Broadway and Devon on Route 36 in August 1955. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA PCC 4390 is presumably northbound at 95th Street, heading towards Broadway and Devon on Route 36 in August 1955. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

Building Chicago's Subways is dedicated to the late Charlie Petzold. His widow Beverly sent us this newspaper clipping, showing him with various family members in 1984, when the "L" was extended to O'Hare airport.

Building Chicago’s Subways is dedicated to the late Charlie Petzold. His widow Beverly sent us this newspaper clipping, showing him with various family members in 1984, when the “L” was extended to O’Hare airport.

An early 1900s view of Chicago's Union Stock Yards. The Stock Yards "L" branch can be seen at left. It closed in 1957.

An early 1900s view of Chicago’s Union Stock Yards. The Stock Yards “L” branch can be seen at left. It closed in 1957.

CTA 6565 is eastbound on the Congress rapid transit line at Morgan on July 16, 1971.

CTA 6565 is eastbound on the Congress rapid transit line at Morgan on July 16, 1971.

A train of CTA 6000s waits for the signal to leave the terminal at Lawrence and Kimball on April 21, 1965. The Ravenswood "L" is now the Brown Line.

A train of CTA 6000s waits for the signal to leave the terminal at Lawrence and Kimball on April 21, 1965. The Ravenswood “L” is now the Brown Line.

CTA prewar PCC 4023 is northbound on Route 4 - Cottage Grove circa 1952-55, having just crossed under the Illinois Central tracks.

CTA prewar PCC 4023 is northbound on Route 4 – Cottage Grove circa 1952-55, having just crossed under the Illinois Central tracks.

CTA 4054 is on private right-of-way on the south end of the Cottage Grove line, running parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service.

CTA 4054 is on private right-of-way on the south end of the Cottage Grove line, running parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service.

The date on this slide mount is March 1964. If so, this two-car train on the CTA Skokie Swift must be a test train, prior to the beginning of regular service in April.

The date on this slide mount is March 1964. If so, this two-car train on the CTA Skokie Swift must be a test train, prior to the beginning of regular service in April.

CTA "Peter Witt" car 6287 is on the Cottage Grove private right-of-way on June 10, 1951.

CTA “Peter Witt” car 6287 is on the Cottage Grove private right-of-way on June 10, 1951.

North Shore Line freight motor 456 is running on battery power on a siding, as there are no overhead wires present.

North Shore Line freight motor 456 is running on battery power on a siding, as there are no overhead wires present.

On June 27, 1964, a two-car train of CTA 4000s is inbound running local service at Isabella. This station closed in the early 1970s and was quickly removed.

On June 27, 1964, a two-car train of CTA 4000s is inbound running local service at Isabella. This station closed in the early 1970s and was quickly removed.

CTA red Pullman 238 is on Kedzie Avenue on a snowy January 17, 1951.

CTA red Pullman 238 is on Kedzie Avenue on a snowy January 17, 1951.

CTA PCC 4405 is southbound on Western Avenue on August 5, 1949.

CTA PCC 4405 is southbound on Western Avenue on August 5, 1949.

CTA 6205, a one-man car, is on 87th Street in April 1951.

CTA 6205, a one-man car, is on 87th Street in April 1951.

CTA 6203, another one-man car, is on the 93rd Street line in March 1951.

CTA 6203, another one-man car, is on the 93rd Street line in March 1951.

Since CTA 4406 is on a charter, this is most likely the fantrip that took place on October 21, 1956.

Since CTA 4406 is on a charter, this is most likely the fantrip that took place on October 21, 1956.

MBTA (Boston) double-end PCC 3335 (ex-Dallas) is at Milton on the Ashmont-Mattapan line in the 1960s (Photo by Frederick F. Marder)

MBTA (Boston) double-end PCC 3335 (ex-Dallas) is at Milton on the Ashmont-Mattapan line in the 1960s (Photo by Frederick F. Marder)

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden "L" cars on the CTA's temporary Garfield Park "L" trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden “L” cars on the CTA’s temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year 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.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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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A Long Time Gone

Chicago postwar PCC 7216 is shown heading south on Clark at Harrison on March 11, 1958. I was attracted to this shot since the woman and child who are about to board could just as well be me and my mother at that time. (Photo by A. Goddard)

Chicago postwar PCC 7216 is shown heading south on Clark at Harrison on March 11, 1958. I was attracted to this shot since the woman and child who are about to board could just as well be me and my mother at that time. (Photo by A. Goddard)

June 21st marks 60 years since the last Chicago streetcar ran. If you consider that 80 years is, perhaps, about an average lifespan, that means 3/4ths of such a time has now passed since that historic event.

The number of people still living who rode Chicago streetcars is dwindling, and is certainly only a small fraction of the current population. At age 63, I must be among the youngest people who can say they rode a Chicago streetcar on the streets of Chicago, much less remember it.

But the number of people who have taken a ride on a Chicago streetcar does increase, since there are a number of them that are operable at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union. The Seashore Trolley Museum (Kennebunkport, ME) has another car (225) that is operated infrequently.

The experience of riding at a railway museum is, of necessity, somewhat different than what people experienced 60+ years ago on the streets of Chicago. However, as a “streetcar renaissance” is underway across the country in various cities, the number of track miles in city streets has been increasing. In those places, it is possible to experience something more like what Chicago once had.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin will soon join that list, just 90 miles north of Chicago. After a similar 60-year gap in streetcar service, their first new line, aka “The Hop,” is expected to begin service mid-November. (You can read our recent update here. Since our article appeared, the new cars have begun testing out on the streets.)

Interestingly, a heritage trolley recently began service in Rockford, Illinois, which is also about 90 miles from Chicago.

For the past 18 years, Kenosha, Wisconsin (about 65 miles from Chicago) has operated a tourist trolley, which you can even reach using Metra‘s Union Pacific North Line.

Perhaps the streetcar line that would offer a ride closest to what Chicagoans could once experience, however, is the SEPTA #15 Girard Avenue line in Philadelphia, which is operated with modernized PCC cars.

I can also recommend the Muni F-Market and Wharves line in San Francisco, which operates using a variety of historic equipment.

Anyway you look at it, this anniversary is a good excuse to feature some classic Chicago traction photos, which we hope you will enjoy.

But wait– there’s more!

June 22, 1958 is another important date in Chicago transit history. 60 years ago, a new CTA rapid transit line opened in the median of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway. This line, also known as the “West Side Subway,” replaced the Garfield Park “L” and was the culmination of plans made 20 years before.

Another important anniversary is approaching on October 17th– the 75th anniversary of the opening of Chicago’s first subway. In December, it will be 80 years since subway construction began.

For these reasons, and more, we have written a new book called Building Chicago’s Subways, to be released by Arcadia Publishing this October 1st. Information about how to pre-order this book appears further down in this post.

The idea for Building Chicago’s Subways first came to me a few years ago, when I realized these important anniversaries were approaching. A few months after the publication of Chicago Trolleys last fall, I pitched the idea to Arcadia, and that is when the real work began.

Much additional research had to be done. I read everything I could find on the subject. Photos came from my own collections and those of other collectors, who have graciously permitted their use in this project.

Here is a short description of the book:

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!

The story goes back much further than that… before there were rapid transit tunnels, there were tunnels under the Chicago River, used by cable cars and streetcars. In the early 1900s, private enterprise built an extensive system of freight tunnels under the downtown area. And there was about 40 years of wrangling over what kind of subway to build, where to build it, and who should pay for it.

I found it a fascinating tale, and am gratified that I have been able to complete this new book in time for the anniversary, and within the living memory of Chicagoans who were here to witness these events 75 long years ago. The State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee and West Side Subways have changed life for everyday Chicagoans forever.

-David Sadowski

PS- The Chicago Transit Authority posted this excellent video showing the last run of car 7213 in the early morning hours of June 21, 1958 (the June 22 date in the video is not correct):

Jeffrey L. Wien and I, along with the late Bradley Criss, collaborated on the book Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, published in 2015 as Bulletin 146 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

For this anniversary, I asked Mr. Wien, who rode on the last Chicago streetcar, to reminisce for our readers:

Today, June 21, 2018, marks the 60th anniversary of my ride on the Last Chicago Streetcar with my high school friend Greer Nielsen. Thinking back 60 years I recall that it was a very melancholy event, one that remained in my mind for the rest of my life.

Thinking back 60 years can be a challenging task, but I do remember that it was a warm and muggy night on that last ride. CTA PCC 7213 was the last car on the shortened route 22 Wentworth line. The last run south from Clark and Kinzie began around 4am. There were probably at least 100 people crammed into that car so that they could say that they rode the Last Chicago Streetcar. As the car headed south through the Loop headed to 81st and Halsted, the group was quite loud and raucous, but as we went farther and farther south, the crowd quieted down, perhaps because we wanted to hear the sound of the streetcar in the streets of Chicago for the very last time.

When we arrived at 81st and Halsted, everyone got off the car for photos, private and official, and then reboarded the car for the last time for the short trip to Vincennes and 78th where the car pulled off of the street. It was about 6:15am by that point in time, and the Sun was just rising.

As the 7213 pulled away from Vincennes Avenue heading into the Rising Sun, we knew that we had witnessed an historic event in the history of Chicago. 99 years of traction history in Chicago ended at that moment. For me, it was a very sad moment for it was like losing a very good friend.

Jeff Wien

Chicago Area Recent Finds

Chicago's PCCs did not operate in multiple units, but you would be forgiven for thinking so from this photo. Car 4172 and a very close follower are heading south at Clark and Division circa 1950. Note there are not yet any advertising brackets on the sides of the PCCs. At right, there is an entrance to a CTA subway station, which is today part of the Red Line.

Chicago’s PCCs did not operate in multiple units, but you would be forgiven for thinking so from this photo. Car 4172 and a very close follower are heading south at Clark and Division circa 1950. Note there are not yet any advertising brackets on the sides of the PCCs. At right, there is an entrance to a CTA subway station, which is today part of the Red Line.

CTA PCC 4366, a Pullman, heads north on diversion trackage on Halsted at Congress in 1950. This was necessitated by construction of the bridge that would go over the Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower, I290). Bridges that crossed the highway were the first things built, since traffic could be routed around them. Once a bridge was finished, the area around it could be dug out.

CTA PCC 4366, a Pullman, heads north on diversion trackage on Halsted at Congress in 1950. This was necessitated by construction of the bridge that would go over the Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower, I290). Bridges that crossed the highway were the first things built, since traffic could be routed around them. Once a bridge was finished, the area around it could be dug out.

CTA PCC 7148, running northbound on Route 36 - Broadway, turns from Broadway onto westbound Devon in 1955, with the Howard line "L" in the background. The date written on this slide mount was 8-14-56, but the turning car has a 1955 Illinois license plate on it, so perhaps the correct date is 8-14-55. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA PCC 7148, running northbound on Route 36 – Broadway, turns from Broadway onto westbound Devon in 1955, with the Howard line “L” in the background. The date written on this slide mount is 8-14-56, but the turning car has a 1955 Illinois license plate on it, so perhaps the correct date is 8-14-55. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4124 is eastbound on Route 20 - Madison at Cicero Avenue in 1953. The PCC is signed for Kedzie, so it is most likely a tripper, heading back to the barn. Streetcar service on the main portion of Madison ended on December 13, 1953.

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4124 is eastbound on Route 20 – Madison at Cicero Avenue in 1953. The PCC is signed for Kedzie, so it is most likely a tripper, heading back to the barn. Streetcar service on the main portion of Madison ended on December 13, 1953.

The same building as in the previous picture.

The same building as in the previous picture.

Rust never sleeps, as the saying goes, and that is evident in this picture of a Chicago Surface Lines (now CTA, but still sporting a CSL logo) electric loco as it looked in the 1950s. Behind it is one of the CSL trailers that were used during the 1920s, pulled along behind other streetcars. Once ridership dropped during the Great Depression, these were used for storage at various CSL yards.

Rust never sleeps, as the saying goes, and that is evident in this picture of a Chicago Surface Lines (now CTA, but still sporting a CSL logo) electric loco as it looked in the 1950s. Behind it is one of the CSL trailers that were used during the 1920s, pulled along behind other streetcars. Once ridership dropped during the Great Depression, these were used for storage at various CSL yards.

In August 1960, a four-car train of CTA 4000-series cars heads west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L". Since it appears there are passengers waiting for a Chicago & North Western commuter train on the adjacent embankment, I would say it's possible the location is near Marion Street in suburban Oak Park. The outer 2.5 miles of the Lake route were relocated onto the embankment in October 1962.

In August 1960, a four-car train of CTA 4000-series cars heads west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”. Since it appears there are passengers waiting for a Chicago & North Western commuter train on the adjacent embankment, I would say it’s possible the location is near Marion Street in suburban Oak Park. The outer 2.5 miles of the Lake route were relocated onto the embankment in October 1962.

CTA 4295 heads up a train in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" on August 7, 1954. (Photo by Mark D. Meyer)

CTA 4295 heads up a train in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” on August 7, 1954. (Photo by Mark D. Meyer)

Two CTA 4000s go up the ramp on Lake Street, just west of Laramie, to rejoin the steel "L" structure east of here on November 30, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo)

Two CTA 4000s go up the ramp on Lake Street, just west of Laramie, to rejoin the steel “L” structure east of here on November 30, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo)

In September 1959, we see a two-car train of CTA 4000s, preparing to head east. I believe the location is Marion Street in Oak Park and not Marengo Avenue in Forest Park as written on the slide mount. Marengo is a short distance west of Harlem, and although Lake Street trains did go there, the buildings in this picture match Marion. We have another picture in this post showing what the area west of Harlem actually looked like. (William Shapotkin Collection)

In September 1959, we see a two-car train of CTA 4000s, preparing to head east. I believe the location is Marion Street in Oak Park and not Marengo Avenue in Forest Park as written on the slide mount. Marengo is a short distance west of Harlem, and although Lake Street trains did go there, the buildings in this picture match Marion. We have another picture in this post showing what the area west of Harlem actually looked like. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Photographer Bob Selle notes: Two-car "L" train (4420 at right) on Lake Street line just west of Harlem Avenue." In the distance, you can see the actual terminal. Not that many people boarded there, compared to the Marion Street station just east of Harlem Avenue. This picture was taken on May 1, 1955.

Photographer Bob Selle notes: Two-car “L” train (4420 at right) on Lake Street line just west of Harlem Avenue.” In the distance, you can see the actual terminal. Not that many people boarded there, compared to the Marion Street station just east of Harlem Avenue. This picture was taken on May 1, 1955.

A close-up of the previous picture, showing some wavy track and the actual station and bumper post (or is it turned-up rail?) at the west end of the Lake Street "L" prior to 1962. Riders could board trains at the station, which was located about two blocks west of Harlem Avenue.

A close-up of the previous picture, showing some wavy track and the actual station and bumper post (or is it turned-up rail?) at the west end of the Lake Street “L” prior to 1962. Riders could board trains at the station, which was located about two blocks west of Harlem Avenue.

CTA one-man car 3125, heading west on Route 16, is turning north from Lake Street onto Pine Street, where Lake takes a jog. In the process, it crosses the ground-level Lake Street "L". This picture was taken on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA one-man car 3125, heading west on Route 16, is turning north from Lake Street onto Pine Street, where Lake takes a jog. In the process, it crosses the ground-level Lake Street “L”. This picture was taken on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

A two-car train of 4000s is on the Lake Street "L" during construction of the Northwest (now Kennedy) expressway on February 25, 1958. The new highway opened in 1960. Further south, the Garfield Park "L" also crossed the highway footprint and had to be shored up around the same time this photo was taken. But once the new Congress rapid transit line opened on June 22, 1958 the Garfield line was no longer needed and the structure was removed where it crossed the highway, cutting the line off from the rest of the system. The remaining portions of structure west of there were removed in 1959; east of there, parts remained until 1964. The Lake Street "L", on the other hand, rechristened the Green Line, is still here.

A two-car train of 4000s is on the Lake Street “L” during construction of the Northwest (now Kennedy) expressway on February 25, 1958. The new highway opened in 1960. Further south, the Garfield Park “L” also crossed the highway footprint and had to be shored up around the same time this photo was taken. But once the new Congress rapid transit line opened on June 22, 1958 the Garfield line was no longer needed and the structure was removed where it crossed the highway, cutting the line off from the rest of the system. The remaining portions of structure west of there were removed in 1959; east of there, parts remained until 1964. The Lake Street “L”, on the other hand, rechristened the Green Line, is still here.

In this picture, taken in April 1964, we see the back end of a CTA two-car train of 4000s as they head east at Halsted on the Lake Street "L". By this time, the western portion of the line had been relocated onto the C&NW embankment, and therefore there was no further need to use overhead wire. But the new 2000-series "L" cars had not yet replaced the 4000s in this line, which they would do shortly. This station, built in 1892-93, was closed in 1994 for the Green Line rehabilitation project, but never reopened. It was demolished in 1996 and the new Morgan station, two blocks to the west, more or less replaced it when it opened in 2012.

In this picture, taken in April 1964, we see the back end of a CTA two-car train of 4000s as they head east at Halsted on the Lake Street “L”. By this time, the western portion of the line had been relocated onto the C&NW embankment, and therefore there was no further need to use overhead wire. But the new 2000-series “L” cars had not yet replaced the 4000s in this line, which they would do shortly. This station, built in 1892-93, was closed in 1994 for the Green Line rehabilitation project, but never reopened. It was demolished in 1996 and the new Morgan station, two blocks to the west, more or less replaced it when it opened in 2012.

On August 13, 1964 CTA single-car unit 45 prepares to stop at Isabella station on the Evanston line. The car is signed as an Evanston Express, but I do not think it would have operated downtown as a single car. Therefore, it must be in Evanston shuttle service. (August 13, 1964 was a Thursday, so the Evanston Express was running that day, though.) (Photo by Douglas N. Grotjahn)

On August 13, 1964 CTA single-car unit 45 prepares to stop at Isabella station on the Evanston line. The car is signed as an Evanston Express, but I do not think it would have operated downtown as a single car. Therefore, it must be in Evanston shuttle service. (August 13, 1964 was a Thursday, so the Evanston Express was running that day, though.) (Photo by Douglas N. Grotjahn)

CTA red Pullmans 521 (on Ashland) and 640 (on 63rd Street) meet on May 14, 1953. This was near the end of streetcar service on 63rd. By then, PCC cars had been transferred from 63rd to Cottage Grove. The Curtis restaurant, located in this vicinity but behind the photographer, was a favorite of my parents. It is perhaps no coincidence that I have a brother named Curtis. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA red Pullmans 521 (on Ashland) and 640 (on 63rd Street) meet on May 14, 1953. This was near the end of streetcar service on 63rd. By then, PCC cars had been transferred from 63rd to Cottage Grove. The Curtis restaurant, located in this vicinity but behind the photographer, was a favorite of my parents. It is perhaps no coincidence that I have a brother named Curtis. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4095, built by Pullman, has just left the Madison-Austin loop on the west end of Route 20 on June 1, 1953. Buses continue to use this loop today, although it has been somewhat reconfigured. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4095, built by Pullman, has just left the Madison-Austin loop on the west end of Route 20 on June 1, 1953. Buses continue to use this loop today, although it has been somewhat reconfigured. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 head up a northbound Evanston Express train passing through the Chicago Avenue station on June 26, 1958. These two cars, which were originally independent but were converted to semi-permanent "married pairs" in the 1950s, are still on CTA property and within a few years will celebrate their centennial. When the last of the 4000-series "L" cars were retired in 1973, these were chosen for preservation as historic cars. They are occasionally used for special events. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 head up a northbound Evanston Express train passing through the Chicago Avenue station on June 26, 1958. These two cars, which were originally independent but were converted to semi-permanent “married pairs” in the 1950s, are still on CTA property and within a few years will celebrate their centennial. When the last of the 4000-series “L” cars were retired in 1973, these were chosen for preservation as historic cars. They are occasionally used for special events. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA red Pullman 270 is on Cicero at North Avenue, where Cicero took a bit of a jog which has since been somewhat straightened out. The date is July 19, 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA red Pullman 270 is on Cicero at North Avenue, where Cicero took a bit of a jog which has since been somewhat straightened out. The date is July 19, 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolleybus 9219 on Route 77 - Belmont, running eastbound at approximately 952 W. Belmont (near Sheffield). The photographer was up on the north-south "L" platform. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolleybus 9219 on Route 77 – Belmont, running eastbound at approximately 952 W. Belmont (near Sheffield). The photographer was up on the north-south “L” platform. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The building in the previous picture is still there. For several years, there was a club on the second floor, first called the Quiet Knight, later on Tut's. I attended many great concerts there in the 1970s and 80s.

The building in the previous picture is still there. For several years, there was a club on the second floor, first called the Quiet Knight, later on Tut’s. I attended many great concerts there in the 1970s and 80s.

Chicago Surface Lines 1775 crosses the Chicago River at Wabash Avenue on May 30, 1945, promoting the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). The nearby State Street bridge was out of service from 1939 to 1949 due to subway construction and wartime materials shortages.

Chicago Surface Lines 1775 crosses the Chicago River at Wabash Avenue on May 30, 1945, promoting the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service). The nearby State Street bridge was out of service from 1939 to 1949 due to subway construction and wartime materials shortages.

CSL 1775, decorated to promote the SPARS*, is on 119th one block west of Halsted in August 1943. Car 1775 was chosen for patriotic duty because that was the year the Revolutionary War broke out, with the Battles of Lexington and Concord. *The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Women's Reserve, better known as the SPARS, was the World War II women's branch of the USCG Reserve. It was established by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 23 November 1942.

CSL 1775, decorated to promote the SPARS*, is on 119th one block west of Halsted in August 1943. Car 1775 was chosen for patriotic duty because that was the year the Revolutionary War broke out, with the Battles of Lexington and Concord.
*The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Women’s Reserve, better known as the SPARS, was the World War II women’s branch of the USCG Reserve. It was established by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 23 November 1942.

On August 25, 1946 CSL one-man car 3093 is running outbound on private right-of-way between Morgan and Throop on Route 23, Morgan-Racine-Sangamon.

On August 25, 1946 CSL one-man car 3093 is running outbound on private right-of-way between Morgan and Throop on Route 23, Morgan-Racine-Sangamon.

On May 25, 1958 we see CTA two-man PCCs 7206 and 4390 at 78th and Wentworth (South Shops). Both were products of St. Louis Car Company, as all 310 postwar Pullman PCCs had been scrapped by then for the "PCC conversion program" that used some of their parts in new 6000-series rapid transit cars. In spite of the roll signs shown here, Chicago streetcars were limited to running on a single route between downtown and the south side. The last northside car ran in 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 25, 1958 we see CTA two-man PCCs 7206 and 4390 at 78th and Wentworth (South Shops). Both were products of St. Louis Car Company, as all 310 postwar Pullman PCCs had been scrapped by then for the “PCC conversion program” that used some of their parts in new 6000-series rapid transit cars. In spite of the roll signs shown here, Chicago streetcars were limited to running on a single route between downtown and the south side. The last northside car ran in 1957. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 7151, a product of St. Louis Car Company, heads south on Route 49 - Western at North Avenue in 1953. The "L" station behind it was part of the Humboldt Park branch, which was abandoned in 1952. Once the station was closed, signs advertising "L" service were removed although I don't believe this portion of the structure was removed until the early 1960s. Note that riders at this safety island are boarding at the rear, as this is a two-man car.

CTA PCC 7151, a product of St. Louis Car Company, heads south on Route 49 – Western at North Avenue in 1953. The “L” station behind it was part of the Humboldt Park branch, which was abandoned in 1952. Once the station was closed, signs advertising “L” service were removed although I don’t believe this portion of the structure was removed until the early 1960s. Note that riders at this safety island are boarding at the rear, as this is a two-man car.

CTA 4393 is at the 79th and Western loop, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA 4393 is at the 79th and Western loop, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4376 is turning into the loop at 79th and Western, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4376 is turning into the loop at 79th and Western, south end of Route 49, on July 19, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 1, 1955 CERA held a fantrip using 2800-series wooden "L" cars. Here, the train makes a photo stop at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, then the western end of the Garfield Park "L". The terminal had been reconfigured in 1953 when CA&E trains stopped running downtown. It would be reconfigured again in 1959. By 1960, the Congress expressway was extended through this area. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 1, 1955 CERA held a fantrip using 2800-series wooden “L” cars. Here, the train makes a photo stop at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, then the western end of the Garfield Park “L”. The terminal had been reconfigured in 1953 when CA&E trains stopped running downtown. It would be reconfigured again in 1959. By 1960, the Congress expressway was extended through this area. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA two-man arch roof car 3189 is southbound on Halsted Street near the Garfield Park "L" overpass, south of Van Buren Street on September 17, 1953. As had previously happened with 63rd Street, PCCs had been taken off this route and replaced by older red cars for the final few months of service. 3189 is on the bridge that would eventually go over the Congress expressway, which was then under construction. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA two-man arch roof car 3189 is southbound on Halsted Street near the Garfield Park “L” overpass, south of Van Buren Street on September 17, 1953. As had previously happened with 63rd Street, PCCs had been taken off this route and replaced by older red cars for the final few months of service. 3189 is on the bridge that would eventually go over the Congress expressway, which was then under construction. (Robert Selle Photo)

Here's what photographer Bob Selle wrote on this negative envelope: ""L" cars fresh from the paint shops, MU-coupled, for trip to South side "L" lines: deck roofer 2912 and steel car 4224 at Quincy and Wells platform. June 14th, 1955."

Here’s what photographer Bob Selle wrote on this negative envelope: “”L” cars fresh from the paint shops, MU-coupled, for trip to South side “L” lines: deck roofer 2912 and steel car 4224 at Quincy and Wells platform. June 14th, 1955.”

CSL 4062 was the first postwar PCC put into service. It was built by Pullman. Here, we see it as delivered at 78th and Vincennes on September 30, 1946. Note the different paint scheme the first cars had in the "standee" windows area.

CSL 4062 was the first postwar PCC put into service. It was built by Pullman. Here, we see it as delivered at 78th and Vincennes on September 30, 1946. Note the different paint scheme the first cars had in the “standee” windows area.

CSL 298 is on Wabash at Cermak on September 14, 1934.

CSL 298 is on Wabash at Cermak on September 14, 1934.

This picture of CTA one-man car 3236, taken on January 14, 1950 shows it crossing Maplewood Avenue on what is obviously an east-west trolley line. John F. Bromley, who sold me this negative, was unsure of the location. Jeff Wien writes, "I would guess that it is at 71st & Maplewood. Bill Hoffman lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood which was a half mile north. Maplewood is a block or two west of Western. Route 67 covered 67th, 69th and 71st as far west as California (2800). Maplewood is around 2600 West. Check out the streets to see if I am correct. The one man cars were used on route 67." Looks like Jeff is correct, as further research shows that the house at left is still standing at 7053 S. Maplewood.

This picture of CTA one-man car 3236, taken on January 14, 1950 shows it crossing Maplewood Avenue on what is obviously an east-west trolley line. John F. Bromley, who sold me this negative, was unsure of the location. Jeff Wien writes, “I would guess that it is at 71st & Maplewood. Bill Hoffman lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood which was a half mile north. Maplewood is a block or two west of Western. Route 67 covered 67th, 69th and 71st as far west as California (2800). Maplewood is around 2600 West. Check out the streets to see if I am correct. The one man cars were used on route 67.” Looks like Jeff is correct, as further research shows that the house at left is still standing at 7053 S. Maplewood.

Photographer Bob Selle writes, "CTA one-man car 6174 eastbound as it crosses Halsted Street on Root Street (43rd Street line), leaving west end of line. August 1, 1953."

Photographer Bob Selle writes, “CTA one-man car 6174 eastbound as it crosses Halsted Street on Root Street (43rd Street line), leaving west end of line. August 1, 1953.”

Photographer Bob Selle writes, "Car 6177 leaving south end of Kedzie barn for Cermak Road, February 14, 1953."

Photographer Bob Selle writes, “Car 6177 leaving south end of Kedzie barn for Cermak Road, February 14, 1953.”

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4084 leaving the Kedzie Station (car barn) on September 13, 1950. The car at right appears to be either a 1949 or 1950 Ford. My father had a 1949 model, and as cars were very much in demand after the end of World War II, the dealer put him on a waiting list. After being on the list for six months, he found that he had actually gone further down the list than he was at the start! So he wrote a letter complaining about this to Henry Ford II, and the next thing you know, they sold him a car. Presumably the PCC is heading out on Route 20 - Madison. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA Pullman-built PCC 4084 leaving the Kedzie Station (car barn) on September 13, 1950. The car at right appears to be either a 1949 or 1950 Ford. My father had a 1949 model, and as cars were very much in demand after the end of World War II, the dealer put him on a waiting list. After being on the list for six months, he found that he had actually gone further down the list than he was at the start! So he wrote a letter complaining about this to Henry Ford II, and the next thing you know, they sold him a car. Presumably the PCC is heading out on Route 20 – Madison. (Robert Selle Photo)

This negative did not come with any identifying information, but it is obviously from a February 12, 1939 fantrip where the fledgling Central Electric Railfans' Association chartered Chicago Rapid Transit Company "L" cars 4317 and 4401 and took them out on parts of the CA&E including the Mount Carmel branch. However, since that line used overhead wire, that's not where this picture was taken. Instead, it appears to be out near the end of the line at Mannheim and 22nd Street on the CRT's lightly used Westchester line, which was built in anticipation of housing being built in this area (which did not come about until the 1950s). South of Roosevelt Road, the line was single-track, which appears to be the case here. If not for the Great Depression, more housing would have been built here. We have previously run two other pictures from the same fantrip, both taken on the Mt. Carmel branch. The CTA substituted bus service for "L" on the Westchester line in 1951 as it did not want to continue paying rent to the CA&E, which had already announced its intentions to truncate passenger service to Forest Park, which meant similar rent payments to the CTA were about to cease.

This negative did not come with any identifying information, but it is obviously from a February 12, 1939 fantrip where the fledgling Central Electric Railfans’ Association chartered Chicago Rapid Transit Company “L” cars 4317 and 4401 and took them out on parts of the CA&E including the Mount Carmel branch. However, since that line used overhead wire, that’s not where this picture was taken. Instead, it appears to be out near the end of the line at Mannheim and 22nd Street on the CRT’s lightly used Westchester line, which was built in anticipation of housing being built in this area (which did not come about until the 1950s). South of Roosevelt Road, the line was single-track, which appears to be the case here. If not for the Great Depression, more housing would have been built here. We have previously run two other pictures from the same fantrip, both taken on the Mt. Carmel branch. The CTA substituted bus service for “L” on the Westchester line in 1951 as it did not want to continue paying rent to the CA&E, which had already announced its intentions to truncate passenger service to Forest Park, which meant similar rent payments to the CTA were about to cease.

CTA PCC 4087 leaves the Kedzie car barn during the morning rush on July 1, 1953 and is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA PCC 4087 leaves the Kedzie car barn during the morning rush on July 1, 1953 and is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. (Robert Selle Photo)

The end is near for CTA 4402 and the other couple dozen or so PCC cars that remained at the end of service. Ultimately, only car 4391, now at the Illinois Railway Museum, was saved. This picture was taken at 77th Street yards on June 15, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)

The end is near for CTA 4402 and the other couple dozen or so PCC cars that remained at the end of service. Ultimately, only car 4391, now at the Illinois Railway Museum, was saved. This picture was taken at 77th Street yards on June 15, 1958. (Robert Selle Photo)

CSL 5387 is westbound at 63rd and Dorchester, having just gone under the Illinois Central viaduct on June 13, 1947. Even though this neg was lightstruck on the top edge (almost all of which I cropped out), I thought it was an interesting streetscape with the diner and what appears to be some sort of pawn shop or resale shop. The Jackson Park branch of the "L" went over the IC at this point, and has since been cut back.

CSL 5387 is westbound at 63rd and Dorchester, having just gone under the Illinois Central viaduct on June 13, 1947. Even though this neg was lightstruck on the top edge (almost all of which I cropped out), I thought it was an interesting streetscape with the diner and what appears to be some sort of pawn shop or resale shop. The Jackson Park branch of the “L” went over the IC at this point, and has since been cut back.

On August 28, 1955 Illinois Central Electric suburban 1161 and its trailer are crossing Halsted Street at 121st on their way to Blue Island. There was a fantrip that day (hence the fans,), but this was not the fantrip train apparently. (Robert Selle Photo)

On August 28, 1955 Illinois Central Electric suburban 1161 and its trailer are crossing Halsted Street at 121st on their way to Blue Island. There was a fantrip that day (hence the fans,), but this was not the fantrip train apparently. (Robert Selle Photo)

CSL 1872 is on Franklin at Jackson on June 13, 1947.

CSL 1872 is on Franklin at Jackson on June 13, 1947.

CSL red Pullman 293 is at Roosevelt and Wabash on June 13, 1947.

CSL red Pullman 293 is at Roosevelt and Wabash on June 13, 1947.

This Chicago, Aurora & Elgin image is from an original 1950s Kodachrome slide that was not processed by Kodak. I am not quite able to make out the car number, but it looks like it is one of the 420s. The location is downtown Elgin, along the Fox River. The Rialto Theater burned down in 1956.

This Chicago, Aurora & Elgin image is from an original 1950s Kodachrome slide that was not processed by Kodak. I am not quite able to make out the car number, but it looks like it is one of the 420s. The location is downtown Elgin, along the Fox River. The Rialto Theater burned down in 1956.

This picture is somewhat blurred, which makes one wonder why the late Edward Frank, Jr. printed it and sold it. But it does show CSL 1819 and a passing Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train. The curved section of track suggests this may have been taken near the Sacramento curve. That's probably Ed Frank's bicycle in the lower right hand corner.

This picture is somewhat blurred, which makes one wonder why the late Edward Frank, Jr. printed it and sold it. But it does show CSL 1819 and a passing Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train. The curved section of track suggests this may have been taken near the Sacramento curve. That’s probably Ed Frank’s bicycle in the lower right hand corner.

It is not often that individual employees can be identified in an old photo such as this, which shows CA&E express freight car #5 (presumably, the second #5, built by Cincinnati Car Company). But the man at left is Clyde Goodrich, a longtime engineer on the interurban. As far as I know, he was still employed there up to the final 1959 abandonment of service.

It is not often that individual employees can be identified in an old photo such as this, which shows CA&E express freight car #5 (presumably, the second #5, built by Cincinnati Car Company). But the man at left is Clyde Goodrich, a longtime engineer on the interurban. As far as I know, he was still employed there up to the final 1959 abandonment of service.

Clyde B. Goodrich, the man in the left, was born in DeKalb, Illinois on May 17, 1887 and died in Florida on September 1, 1970. His wife's name was Winifred (1882-1955). In 1920, Clyde lived in Aurora and was employed by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. In the 1940 census, he was living in Wheaton and worked as an engineer on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Clyde B. Goodrich and his wife are buried in Wheaton Cemetery.

Clyde B. Goodrich, the man in the left, was born in DeKalb, Illinois on May 17, 1887 and died in Florida on September 1, 1970. His wife’s name was Winifred (1882-1955). In 1920, Clyde lived in Aurora and was employed by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. In the 1940 census, he was living in Wheaton and worked as an engineer on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Clyde B. Goodrich and his wife are buried in Wheaton Cemetery.

The caption here reads, "North Western and electric lines stations, Wheaton." The CA&E is in the foreground. The photo is not dated, but it must be quite early.

The caption here reads, “North Western and electric lines stations, Wheaton.” The CA&E is in the foreground. The photo is not dated, but it must be quite early.

This photo, dated May 1966, shows the CA&E's Wheaton station being torn down.

This photo, dated May 1966, shows the CA&E’s Wheaton station being torn down.

Demolition is nearly complete in this photo, also dated May 1966.

Demolition is nearly complete in this photo, also dated May 1966.

CA&E wooden interurban car 54. Don's Rail Photos: "54 was built by Stephonsin in 1903. It was modernized in July 1946 and retired in 1959."

CA&E wooden interurban car 54. Don’s Rail Photos: “54 was built by Stephonsin in 1903. It was modernized in July 1946 and retired in 1959.”

CA&E wooden freight motor 9. Don's Rail Photos: "9 was built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959."

CA&E wooden freight motor 9. Don’s Rail Photos: “9 was built by Niles Car in 1907. It was scrapped in 1959.”

A crane on a CA&E flat car. This appears to be Wheaton Yard.

A crane on a CA&E flat car. This appears to be Wheaton Yard.

North Shore Line car 182 is southbound on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago, Illinois on June 12, 1954. Don's Rail Photos: "182 was built by Cincinnati Car in September 1920, #2455." (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line car 182 is southbound on the Shore Line Route in North Chicago, Illinois on June 12, 1954. Don’s Rail Photos: “182 was built by Cincinnati Car in September 1920, #2455.” (Robert Selle Photo)

While Chicago's Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower) is rightly considered its first, Lake Shore Drive preceded it as an "almost" expressway. Here. we see construction taking place on December 13, 1940. Until the early 1970s, LSD had lanes that could be reversed in rush hour by raising and lowering these short barriers. Unfortunately, this resulted in a number of head-on collisions, and these were eventually deactivated. The photo caption reads, "Workmen install line of elevating curbs in new express highway on Chicago's lake front. The curbs, placed two lanes apart on the eight lane roadway, give extra lanes to rush hour traffic to ease traffic flow. The elevating jacks shown raise the curb to height of nine inches, exert pressure of 12 tons. The retracting springs, having a 10-ton pressure, pull the curbs down when the hydraulic jacks are released. The entire curb system is operated from one central control station." (Photo by Acme)

While Chicago’s Congress expressway (now the Eisenhower) is rightly considered its first, Lake Shore Drive preceded it as an “almost” expressway. Here. we see construction taking place on December 13, 1940. Until the early 1970s, LSD had lanes that could be reversed in rush hour by raising and lowering these short barriers. Unfortunately, this resulted in a number of head-on collisions, and these were eventually deactivated. The photo caption reads, “Workmen install line of elevating curbs in new express highway on Chicago’s lake front. The curbs, placed two lanes apart on the eight lane roadway, give extra lanes to rush hour traffic to ease traffic flow. The elevating jacks shown raise the curb to height of nine inches, exert pressure of 12 tons. The retracting springs, having a 10-ton pressure, pull the curbs down when the hydraulic jacks are released. The entire curb system is operated from one central control station.” (Photo by Acme)

Chicago’s Loop in 1959

The following ten images are part of a larger batch we recently purchased. Several of the others show various downtown movie theaters (including the Clark and Garrick) and will be posted in the near future on our “sister” Clark Theater blog. By studying the various films that were playing, I have determined these pictures were taken during the summer of 1959.

Here's a rather unique view showing the front of the old Wells Street Terminal, or what was left of it anyway, as it appeared in 1959. This terminal was last used by the CA&E in 1953. Two years later, the upper portion of the attractive facade was removed and a new track connection was built so that Garfield Park trains could connect to the Loop "L". A new connection was needed, since the old one had to give way to construction on Wacker Drive. The remainder of the terminal, and the track connection, were no longer needed after the Congress rapid transit line replaced the Garfield Park "L" in 1958, and they were removed in 1964. Note there is a barber shop occupying part of the building.

Here’s a rather unique view showing the front of the old Wells Street Terminal, or what was left of it anyway, as it appeared in 1959. This terminal was last used by the CA&E in 1953. Two years later, the upper portion of the attractive facade was removed and a new track connection was built so that Garfield Park trains could connect to the Loop “L”. A new connection was needed, since the old one had to give way to construction on Wacker Drive. The remainder of the terminal, and the track connection, were no longer needed after the Congress rapid transit line replaced the Garfield Park “L” in 1958, and they were removed in 1964. Note there is a barber shop occupying part of the building.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s, running on the Lake Street "L", are at Wabash and Van Buren on the Loop. In the background, you can see the Auditorium Theater building.

A two-car train of CTA 4000s, running on the Lake Street “L”, are at Wabash and Van Buren on the Loop. In the background, you can see the Auditorium Theater building.

The old Epicurean restaurant, at left, was located at 316 S. Wabash and served Hugarian cuisine. A CTA Lake Street train rumbles by above.

The old Epicurean restaurant, at left, was located at 316 S. Wabash and served Hugarian cuisine. A CTA Lake Street train rumbles by above.

A street sign is just barely visible in this photo taken under the Loop "L", identifying the cross street as Dearborn. Since that is one way southbound downtown, and the arrow is pointing to the right, that implies we are in Lake Street and are looking to the east.

A street sign is just barely visible in this photo taken under the Loop “L”, identifying the cross street as Dearborn. Since that is one way southbound downtown, and the arrow is pointing to the right, that implies we are in Lake Street and are looking to the east.

The old Metropolitan "L" crossed the Chicago River just south of Union Station (just visible at left) and had four tracks, necessitating two bridges. After these tracks were taken out of service in June 1958, the bridges were permanently raised, and razed in 1964.

The old Metropolitan “L” crossed the Chicago River just south of Union Station (just visible at left) and had four tracks, necessitating two bridges. After these tracks were taken out of service in June 1958, the bridges were permanently raised, and razed in 1964.

Another view of the same two Met "L" bridges in 1959.

Another view of the same two Met “L” bridges in 1959.

Another photo of the two Met "L" bridges.

Another photo of the two Met “L” bridges.

It's not clear where this picture was taken. The two wires that cross the trolley bus wires are, I am told, "feeder span hangers." The last Chicago trolley bus ran in 1973. The CTA currently has two electric buses that run on batteries, and has just placed an order for 20 more.

It’s not clear where this picture was taken. The two wires that cross the trolley bus wires are, I am told, “feeder span hangers.” The last Chicago trolley bus ran in 1973. The CTA currently has two electric buses that run on batteries, and has just placed an order for 20 more.

Another view of the Loop "L" on south Wabash, probably taken near the locations if the other similar photos showing Lake Street trains.

Another view of the Loop “L” on south Wabash, probably taken near the locations if the other similar photos showing Lake Street trains.

This photo shows what State Street, that great street, looked like during the summer of 1959. We are looking north from about 400 S. State. The Goldblatt's department store is at right, and that's a CTA #36 bus heading south. Streetcar tracks on State have either been removed, or paved over. Note the "grasshopper" style street lights that were installed in 1959.

This photo shows what State Street, that great street, looked like during the summer of 1959. We are looking north from about 400 S. State. The Goldblatt’s department store is at right, and that’s a CTA #36 bus heading south. Streetcar tracks on State have either been removed, or paved over. Note the “grasshopper” style street lights that were installed in 1959.

FYI, here is another view from the same location, taken after streetcar tracks were removed, but before the 1959 installation of those unique street lights:

https://portal-ccc.s3.amazonaws.com/media/images/uic/26/j09wx3v.jpg

(See attribution information for this photo via the link provided above.)

Miscellaneous New Finds

This photo purports to show the actual last run on Milwaukee's ill-fated Speedrail interurban on June 30, 1951. However, according to Larry Sakar, author of Speedrail: Milwaukee's Last Rapid Transit?, "The last run to Waukesha which left Milwaukee at a little after 8:00 pm and returned to Milwaukee at 10:08 pm, 2 minutes ahead of schedule, was handled by duplex 37-38. The final round trip to Hales Corners was handled by curved side car 63, not 66. 66 did run on the last day, but it was by no means the final run." Chances are this photo was at least taken on the last day. The line could not survive the repercussions of a terrible head-on collision in 1950, and Milwaukee area officials wanted to use the interurban's right-of-way, which it did not own, for a new highway. Don's Rail Photos: "66 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952." (Photo by George Harris)

This photo purports to show the actual last run on Milwaukee’s ill-fated Speedrail interurban on June 30, 1951. However, according to Larry Sakar, author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?, “The last run to Waukesha which left Milwaukee at a little after 8:00 pm and returned to Milwaukee at 10:08 pm, 2 minutes ahead of schedule, was handled by duplex 37-38. The final round trip to Hales Corners was handled by curved side car 63, not 66. 66 did run on the last day, but it was by no means the final run.” Chances are this photo was at least taken on the last day. The line could not survive the repercussions of a terrible head-on collision in 1950, and Milwaukee area officials wanted to use the interurban’s right-of-way, which it did not own, for a new highway. Don’s Rail Photos: “66 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to Lehigh Valley Transit as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952.” (Photo by George Harris)

Early Kodachrome images such as this are rare. Here, we see a San Francisco cable car (signed for Powell and Mason) in operation during the summer of 1945. When this picture was taken, the war in Europe had ended, but the US was still fighting Japan. According to the Cable Car Museum web site, this car is currently in service as #3: "Built by the Carter Bros. of Newark, California during 1893-1894 for the Market Street Railway's Sacramento-Clay cable car line. The United Railroads transferred it to the Powell Street cable car lines in 1907, after the Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Until 1973, numbered as No. 503. No. 3 is painted in Muni's green and cream paint scheme, which is based on the green and white scheme of the Muni's former rival between 1921-1944, the Market Street Railway. This was the basic paint scheme for Powell Street cable cars from 1947 to 1982. Extensive rebuilding, by Muni 1955."

Early Kodachrome images such as this are rare. Here, we see a San Francisco cable car (signed for Powell and Mason) in operation during the summer of 1945. When this picture was taken, the war in Europe had ended, but the US was still fighting Japan. According to the Cable Car Museum web site, this car is currently in service as #3: “Built by the Carter Bros. of Newark, California during 1893-1894 for the Market Street Railway’s Sacramento-Clay cable car line. The United Railroads transferred it to the Powell Street cable car lines in 1907, after the Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Until 1973, numbered as No. 503. No. 3 is painted in Muni’s green and cream paint scheme, which is based on the green and white scheme of the Muni’s former rival between 1921-1944, the Market Street Railway. This was the basic paint scheme for Powell Street cable cars from 1947 to 1982. Extensive rebuilding, by Muni 1955.”

PTC "Peter Witt" 8057 was built by Brill in 1923. Here it is seen on Route 34 in the 1950s. Michael T. Greene writes: "The picture of the Route 34 Peter Witt was taken at 38th and Locust Streets, on what’s now the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. (An alum now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, but enough of that!). The trolley is using detour trackage onto Locust Street EB, as part of the subway-surface extension of the 1950’s…westbound trackage continued on Locust to 40th Street, where it hung a left turn. Today, 38th Street has been widened to a 2-way street, but still with a trolley track, used as a diversion route for subway-surface Routes 11, 13, 34, and 36. Locust Street was been turned into a pedestrian walkway, and a pedestrian bridge goes over 38th Street these days."

PTC “Peter Witt” 8057 was built by Brill in 1923. Here it is seen on Route 34 in the 1950s. Michael T. Greene writes: “The picture of the Route 34 Peter Witt was taken at 38th and Locust Streets, on what’s now the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. (An alum now resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, in Washington, but enough of that!). The trolley is using detour trackage onto Locust Street EB, as part of the subway-surface extension of the 1950’s…westbound trackage continued on Locust to 40th Street, where it hung a left turn. Today, 38th Street has been widened to a 2-way street, but still with a trolley track, used as a diversion route for subway-surface Routes 11, 13, 34, and 36. Locust Street was been turned into a pedestrian walkway, and a pedestrian bridge goes over 38th Street these days.”

Philadelphia Transportation Company 7266 is on Route 9, sometime in the 1950s during street construction. Micheal T. Greene writes: "The Route 9 car is on 5th Street south of Market Street. At this time, 5th Street was being widened as part of Independence Mall. Independence Hall is out of this picture to the right."

Philadelphia Transportation Company 7266 is on Route 9, sometime in the 1950s during street construction. Micheal T. Greene writes: “The Route 9 car is on 5th Street south of Market Street. At this time, 5th Street was being widened as part of Independence Mall. Independence Hall is out of this picture to the right.”

Indianapolis Railways "Peter Witt" car 181, also known as a "Master Unit," a Brill trademark, is signed for College-Broad Ripple on April 16, 1952. This car was built in March 1934 and was one of the last streetcar orders filled before the PCC era. (Robert Selle Photo)

Indianapolis Railways “Peter Witt” car 181, also known as a “Master Unit,” a Brill trademark, is signed for College-Broad Ripple on April 16, 1952. This car was built in March 1934 and was one of the last streetcar orders filled before the PCC era. (Robert Selle Photo)

Indianapolis Railways 155 was built by Brill in September 1933. On May 21, 1950 it is at the east end of the Washington Street line on a fantrip.

Indianapolis Railways 155 was built by Brill in September 1933. On May 21, 1950 it is at the east end of the Washington Street line on a fantrip.

On August23, 1946, photographer Walter Hulseweder snapped this picture of Indianapolis Railways 131 on Washington Street at Illinois Avenue on the Washington-Sheridan line.

On August23, 1946, photographer Walter Hulseweder snapped this picture of Indianapolis Railways 131 on Washington Street at Illinois Avenue on the Washington-Sheridan line.

By strange coincidence, this photo showing a Rock Island Motor Transit Company bus was taken in June 21, 1958. Bill shapotkin adds, "The photo was taken at the joint CGW/Greyhound/Jefferson bus station in Rochester, MN. This bus provided connections from/to ROCK trains at Owatonna, MN." (William Shapotkin Collection)

By strange coincidence, this photo showing a Rock Island Motor Transit Company bus was taken in June 21, 1958. Bill shapotkin adds, “The photo was taken at the joint CGW/Greyhound/Jefferson bus station in Rochester, MN. This bus provided connections from/to ROCK trains at Owatonna, MN.” (William Shapotkin Collection)

Mystery Photo

This picture, which could be as old as the 1930s, was listed by the seller as being Chicago. However, I have my doubts, as I am unable to think of a location this could be around here, or what the construction project might be. The sign says "Detour to temporary bridge." Jeff Wien thinks this might be Philadelphia.

This picture, which could be as old as the 1930s, was listed by the seller as being Chicago. However, I have my doubts, as I am unable to think of a location this could be around here, or what the construction project might be. The sign says “Detour to temporary bridge.” Jeff Wien thinks this might be Philadelphia.

Updates

We’ve added another image to our previous post The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7. 2017), which includes an extensive section about the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, New Jersey:

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.

These photos were added to our previous post Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016):

A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)

A SEPTA commuter train, ex-PRR, at West Chester in May 1979. SEPTA rail service to this station ended in 1986, but the West Chester Railroad began running a not-for-profit tourist operation of train service on weekends between West Chester and Glen Mills in 1997. (Photo by Paul Kutta)

Red Arrow "Master Unit" 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, "It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line)." (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Red Arrow “Master Unit” 79 is inbound in 1949 on either the Media or Sharon Hill line, in spite of the sign saying Ardmore (thanks to Kenneth Achtert for that correction). He adds, “It was (still is) standard practice for Red Arrow operators, when changing ends at the outer end of their route, to set the sign on what would be the rear of the car for the inbound trip to read their next outbound destination. Thus, when the car arrived at 69th St. Terminal and went around the loop to the boarding platform the rear destination sign was already set. This was actually the more important sign, as most passengers approached the cars from the rear coming from the main terminal (and from the Market-Frankford Elevated line).” (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

Red Arrow "Master Unit" 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Red Arrow “Master Unit” 82 is at the 69th Street Terminal on August 8, 1948. (Walter Broschart Photo)

On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 "Brilliner," is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.

On September 12, 1959, Philadelphia Suburban Transportation 3, a 1941 “Brilliner,” is on Lippincott Avenue north of County Line Road, on the short Ardmore line which was bussed in 1966.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka "Red Arrow") cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka “Red Arrow”) cars 5 and 14 pose at 69th Street Terminal on June 22, 1963. The car at left is a Brilliner, from the last batch of trolleys built by Brill in 1941. The car at right was built by the St. Louis Car Company in 949. Although it looks much like a PCC, it was not considered such as it had standard interurban trucks and motors. Both types of cars were double-ended.

We’ve added this image to our extensive section about the Fort Collins (Colorado) Birney car operation in Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016):

Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 22 in the city park on April 30, 1947.

Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 22 in the city park on April 30, 1947.

Recent Correspondence

Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:

Your latest post has a bunch of good stuff.

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Interesting that you think this picture might be of your mother and you. In the book “In Search of Steam” by Joe Collias (which I do not have), there is a picture taken at Englewood Union Station of a young boy, bundled in winter clothing, watching a New York Central steam engine come into the station. I’d swear that young boy is me.

The movie of the last PCC streetcar almost made me cry. My last ride on a Chicago streetcar occurred in early June when my high-school best friend and I rode one car from 81st and Halsted to 63rd and Wentworth, then another car ack to 81st and Halsted. Also: Probably less than a week after the last streetcar ran, I graduated high school. So this time frame is especially meaningful to me. (Please don’t publish this, it’s just for your information.)

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In this photo, did you notice the swell “woodie” station wagon?

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Your text beneath this picture fascinates me. You say your parents frequented the Curtis restaurant at 63rd and Ashland. Does that mean you grew up around there? I grew up a mile east of this junction.

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The text under this picture says the South Shops was at 78th and Wentworth. Not so. South Shops was at 77th and Vincennes on the east side of Vincennes. And the land it occupied was huge — from 77th and Vincennes east to about Perry (a block west of State St.) and south to 79th. I haven’t been there in a long time, but maybe the CTA still has all that land.

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I’d have to agree that this car is on 71st St. west of Western. Because you say 7053 S. Maplewood is at the left, I contend the streetcar is heading west to 71st and California. One small nit: The caption says “Bill Hoffmann lived all of his life at 6664 S. Maplewood.” Unless there was an extra-long block between 66th and
67th (Marquette Blvd.) on Maplewood, the address would have to be 6654. Normally there are 60 addresses to a block, from 00 to 59.

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This is an interesting picture. As the caption indicates, the car had just left the west end of its line. That west end was west of Halsted between two buildings. It was a dead end, providing only a switch from westbound to eastbound track. Also: You previously published a photo taken here, on Halsted St. south of Root, looking north. In that photo was a 44 Wallace-Racine car turning from west on Root to south on Halsted. (In this current photo you can see the trackage for this turn.) Also in that previous photo was the Halsted St. station of the Stock Yards L.

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This is your mystery photo. I agree that this can’t be a Chicago
scene, for the reason that I know of no elevated trackage in Chicago that was so low to the ground. Also, the elevated train does not look like any Chicago L train I remember.

M E

Thanks very much for your interesting observations!

I don’t think that the woman and boy actually are me, but they certainly resemble us in 1958. My mother dressed like that all the time, and the kid is about my age.

We lived on the west side, in Mont Clare. My mother’s parents lived in Englewood and that’s where she was living when my parents met. So naturally, they frequented restaurants in the neighborhood.

63rd and Ashland was bustling back then.

The June 18, 1958 Southtown Economist gives Dorothy Hoffman’s address as 6622 S. Maplewood.  I believe Bill Hoffman lived with his sister, so perhaps that is the correct address.

If you think 63rd and Ashland was busy, you should have seen 63rd and Halsted, which was the heart of Englewood. Somewhere I once read that 63rd and Halsted was the busiest commercial district in Chicago outside the Loop. It was a great place to grow up because there were three streetcar lines (8, 42, 63), the Englewood L (which I could see from our building), and railroad stations east on 63rd at Wallace and La Salle.

Good point! People tend to forget these things, as certain areas of the city became depopulated to some extent, and urban renewal leveled entire blocks.

We’ll let Jeff Wien have the last word:

Streetcars, streetcars, streetcars. They seem to be popping up all over the country. And who would have thought 60 years ago that there would be such a renaissance! I was called a trolley jolly because I favored streetcars. The Millenials like them.

Pre-Order Building Chicago’s Subways

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 will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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Reader Showcase, 12-11-17

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

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

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

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

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

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

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

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

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

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

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

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway 130.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway 130.

Altoona & Logan Valley Railway sweeper 50a in Altoona.

Altoona & Logan Valley Railway sweeper 50a in Altoona.

A North Shore Line Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal.

A North Shore Line Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight locos 2001 and 2002.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight locos 2001 and 2002.

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave,

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

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

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

CA&E 451.

CA&E 451.

CA&E 452 as new.

CA&E 452 as new.

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

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

CA&E 454.

CA&E 454.

CA&E 455.

CA&E 455.

CA&E 456, eastbound at Lombard.

CA&E 456, eastbound at Lombard.

CA&E 457 and three more cars at Wheaton.

CA&E 457 and three more cars at Wheaton.

CA&E 457.

CA&E 457.

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

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

CA&E 458.

CA&E 458.

CA&E 459, eastbound at Wheaton.

CA&E 459, eastbound at Wheaton.

CA&E 460 at Collingbourne.

CA&E 460 at Collingbourne.

Larry Sakar writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks!

San Francisco MUNI Part 3 by Larry Sakar

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

SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL RAILWAY STREETCAR LINES

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE PHOTOS

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

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

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