Loose Ends

CTA 7156 heads south on Broadway at Lawrence in Uptown on February 15, 1957, the last day of streetcar service on Broadway. The film Giant, starring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, opened in the US on November 24, 1956, and was playing at the Uptown. You can see the Green Mill lounge a bit south of the Uptown. The Riviera Theater would be just out of view to the left here. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 244 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7156 heads south on Broadway at Lawrence in Uptown on February 15, 1957, the last day of streetcar service on Broadway. The film Giant, starring James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Elizabeth Taylor, opened in the US on November 24, 1956, and was playing at the Uptown. You can see the Green Mill lounge a bit south of the Uptown. The Riviera Theater would be just out of view to the left here. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 244 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

Life is full of loose ends, and so is this post.  Let’s see if we can tie a few up.

Most of what you see in this post is a tribute to Robert Heinlein and the late Jeffrey L. Wien.  I spent a lot of time working on these images, because I wanted to give these gentlemen a 100% effort.

There were several slides that I scanned last year for Jeff, that I had not yet had a chance to work over in Photoshop at the time of his passing on January 6th. These were 35mm color slides he had purchased on eBay, to fill in holes in his collection. In his later years, he took great pleasure in buying images that he had not been able to take himself.

Jeff had told me on a number of occasions that I was free to post anything here from his vast collection. So I am sure he would not mind that I share these with you now, after I made them look better. In fact, I think he would be glad I followed through on this. Perhaps the best tribute I can give my friend is to continue the work of historic preservation, which meant so much to him.

Publication of CERA Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958 in 2015 inadvertently created another loose end. Jeff had some duplicate slides he had acquired in 1959, several of which were used in the book. He was certain that these were pictures taken by Charles Tauscher, and this included the photo on the book’s front cover, showing a Clark-Wentworth PCC passing by Wrigley Field.

While we were working on the book, Jeff bought Tauscher’s photo collection, and was disappointed when the originals of these slides did not turn up there (although many other excellent slides did– Tauscher was a great photographer in his own right).

After the book came out, we found out the duplicate slides in question had actually been shot by Bob Heinlein. In 2016, Bob loaned us his original red border Kodachrome slides, so we could set the historical record straight. Now you can see them too, and we can finally give credit where credit is due. It seems an even dozen of these were used in B-146, but the ones that weren’t are every bit as good.

The 24 pictures of Bob’s that are here were all taken between October 1956 and September 1957, and nearly all on the north side of Chicago. By then, the only remaining streetcar lines in the city were Clark-Wentworth and Broadway. Western was replaced by buses a few months before Bob started taking these pictures.

Broadway had been de-coupled from its southerly half (State) in December 1955. Clark and Broadway shared a car barn (Devon) and a portion of their route south of Diversey, so their fates were tied together. By the end of 1957, there were no more north side streetcars, and the last remaining line (Wentworth) only made it until June 21, 1958, when 7213 became the last Chicago streetcar.

In our last post, we featured an extensive article about the Metropolitan West Side Elevated from an 1895 issue of Leslie’s Weekly. After I purchased the magazine, it took 35 days for it to show up. It spent some time, no doubt, buried in a USPS distribution center in December, probably at the bottom of the pile.

Because of the delay, the seller graciously offered to send me an 1894 Leslie’s with another article about the Chicago elevated. He did, but it turns out the article is not about the “L”, but actually details the start of the grade separation movement of steam railroads in the Chicago area, which is another subject I am interested in. You can read it here, from the September 20, 1894 issue of Leslie’s Weekly.

In addition, we have some new recent photo finds of our own. One of these was also a “loose end.” I recently received the negative of CTA streetcar 1743 downtown. I didn’t recall buying this recently. Then, I looked at the postmark on the envelope– June 15, 2020! Turns out I did buy this, and had forgotten all about it. Chances are, the envelope was put into the wrong PO Box by mistake, and whoever owns that box doesn’t regularly check their mail. But all’s well that ends well.

There are a couple of pictures from the collections of John Smatlak. We thank him for sharing these with our readers.

We are grateful for all our contributors. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

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Robert Heinlein’s Chicago PCCs:

Wouldn't you just know it? Without even realizing it I am sure, someone walked right into Bob Heinlein's shot in this September 1957 view of CTA PCC 4390 (which would end up being one of the last cars used in June 1958). What to do, but wait for another car to come along, and take another picture (see Heinlein008).

Wouldn’t you just know it? Without even realizing it I am sure, someone walked right into Bob Heinlein’s shot in this September 1957 view of CTA PCC 4390 (which would end up being one of the last cars used in June 1958). What to do, but wait for another car to come along, and take another picture (see Heinlein008).

Although signed for the south portion of Route 36, which was replaced by buses in December 1955, PCC 4406 is actually on Clark and 16th Streets. Since 4406 was used (along with red car 225) on a fantrip on October 21, 1956, my guess is this picture was taken on that day. It was common practice to put incorrect signs up on trips, although on most of the pictures I have seen from that trip, it says "Chartered." (Robert Heinlein Photo)

Although signed for the south portion of Route 36, which was replaced by buses in December 1955, PCC 4406 is actually on Clark and 16th Streets. Since 4406 was used (along with red car 225) on a fantrip on October 21, 1956, my guess is this picture was taken on that day. It was common practice to put incorrect signs up on trips, although on most of the pictures I have seen from that trip, it says “Chartered.” (Robert Heinlein Photo)

In September 1957, CTA 7160 passes by the Rainbo building at left, located in the 4800 block of north Clark Street. A skating rink opened there that year. To the right, you see St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery. We are looking north. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 162 of B-146, where it was incorrectly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

In September 1957, CTA 7160 passes by the Rainbo building at left, located in the 4800 block of north Clark Street. A skating rink opened there that year. To the right, you see St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery. We are looking north. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 162 of B-146, where it was incorrectly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7211, still in its original paint scheme, heads south at Clark Street and Irving Park Road in September 1957, near the entrance to Graceland Cemetery. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 164 of B-146, where it was incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7211, still in its original paint scheme, heads south at Clark Street and Irving Park Road in September 1957, near the entrance to Graceland Cemetery. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 164 of B-146, where it was incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7149, signed for Clark and Schreiber (Devon Station). Note that the route number is 22 with a red slash through it. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7149, signed for Clark and Schreiber (Devon Station). Note that the route number is 22 with a red slash through it. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7222 by Wrigley Field (Clark and Addison) in July 1957. This picture appears twice in CERA B-146, on the cover and on pages 134 and 167, taken from a duplicate slide. On page 167, it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. This is the original Red Border Kodachrome. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7222 by Wrigley Field (Clark and Addison) in July 1957. This picture appears twice in CERA B-146, on the cover and on pages 134 and 167, taken from a duplicate slide. On page 167, it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. This is the original Red Border Kodachrome. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7164 is northbound on Clark at Addison in July 1957, crossing the Milwaukee Road tracks near Wrigley Field. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 166 of B-146, incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7164 is northbound on Clark at Addison in July 1957, crossing the Milwaukee Road tracks near Wrigley Field. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 166 of B-146, incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

In September 1957, CTA PCCs 7220 and 7211 pass each other on Clark Street at Delaware near the Newberry Library and Washington Square Park, also known locally as "Bughouse Square." A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 181 of B-146, mistakenly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

In September 1957, CTA PCCs 7220 and 7211 pass each other on Clark Street at Delaware near the Newberry Library and Washington Square Park, also known locally as “Bughouse Square.” A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 181 of B-146, mistakenly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7200 is turning south from Devon onto Broadway in 1957. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7200 is turning south from Devon onto Broadway in 1957. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7190 heads south on State Street, crossing the Chicago River. Work on the new Chicago Sun-Times building is well underway. It opened in 1958. The following years, Field Enterprises bought the Daily News, and this building became its headquarters as well. It is now the site of the Trump International Hotel and Tower. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7190 heads south on State Street, crossing the Chicago River. Work on the new Chicago Sun-Times building is well underway. It opened in 1958. The following years, Field Enterprises bought the Daily News, and this building became its headquarters as well. It is now the site of the Trump International Hotel and Tower. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7178 heads south on Clark Street near Wrigley Field in September 1957. The Milwaukee Road railroad tracks running by the ballpark were used for freight and connected with the CTA "L" just north of Irving Park Road. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 166 of B-146, where it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7178 heads south on Clark Street near Wrigley Field in September 1957. The Milwaukee Road railroad tracks running by the ballpark were used for freight and connected with the CTA “L” just north of Irving Park Road. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 166 of B-146, where it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7190 at Clark and Seminary by Wrigley Field in July 1957. The "coke" advertised here wasn't Coca-Cola, but coal, used for heating homes and businesses then, but phased out soon afterwards. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 167 of B-146, incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7190 at Clark and Seminary by Wrigley Field in July 1957. The “coke” advertised here wasn’t Coca-Cola, but coal, used for heating homes and businesses then, but phased out soon afterwards. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 167 of B-146, incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7189 is southbound on Clark Street just south of Irving Park Road in July 1957. The Wunders Cemetery is at right. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 165 of B-146, where it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7189 is southbound on Clark Street just south of Irving Park Road in July 1957. The Wunders Cemetery is at right. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 165 of B-146, where it is incorrectly attributed to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7191 passing by Wrigley Field. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7191 passing by Wrigley Field. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7214 heads south on Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. Since the Cubs were in the middle of a home stand, the date may very well have been September 4, 1957. The Cubbies would lose two of their three next games to the Cincinnati Redlegs ("Reds" was apparently too sensitive a name politically then) on their way to finishing the season with a record of 62 wins, 92 losses, and 2 ties. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7214 heads south on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. Since the Cubs were in the middle of a home stand, the date may very well have been September 4, 1957. The Cubbies would lose two of their three next games to the Cincinnati Redlegs (“Reds” was apparently too sensitive a name politically then) on their way to finishing the season with a record of 62 wins, 92 losses, and 2 ties. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7180 is southbound on Clark Street, passing by the coal company that was once located next to Wrigley Field. You get a good view of the Milwaukee Road freight tracks, since abandoned, that headed north of here. This was once part of a line that offered commuter rail service on the north side. The portion north of Wilson Avenue was taken over by the "L" in the early 1900s. Originally known as the Evanston Extension, it was gradually elevated as well. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7180 is southbound on Clark Street, passing by the coal company that was once located next to Wrigley Field. You get a good view of the Milwaukee Road freight tracks, since abandoned, that headed north of here. This was once part of a line that offered commuter rail service on the north side. The portion north of Wilson Avenue was taken over by the “L” in the early 1900s. Originally known as the Evanston Extension, it was gradually elevated as well. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7151 is southbound at Clark Street and Chicago Avenue, passing by what is now the former Cosmopolitan Bank Building, designed by the firm of Schmidt, Garden & Martin and built in 1920. The northern portion of the building was a 1930 addition, and was redone in 1995, in a style matching the original portion. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7151 is southbound at Clark Street and Chicago Avenue, passing by what is now the former Cosmopolitan Bank Building, designed by the firm of Schmidt, Garden & Martin and built in 1920. The northern portion of the building was a 1930 addition, and was redone in 1995, in a style matching the original portion. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7193 is northbound on Clark, just north of Ridge, at around 5961 N. Clark in July 1957. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, was incorrectly credited to Charles L. Tauscher on page 158 of B-146. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7193 is northbound on Clark, just north of Ridge, at around 5961 N. Clark in July 1957. A version of this image, taken from a duplicate slide, was incorrectly credited to Charles L. Tauscher on page 158 of B-146. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7192 at Kinzie and Dearborn in 1957. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7192 at Kinzie and Dearborn in 1957. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

I was curious about this car, shown in the previous photo, so I posted it to a Facebook group devoted to 1955-56 Packards and asked, "Is this a Packard?" Apparently, it is a 1956 Clipper, produced and sold by Packard. For that year and that year only, it was its own separate brand and not branded as a Packard. But I think you would be forgiven for calling it a 1956 Packard Clipper Constellation.

I was curious about this car, shown in the previous photo, so I posted it to a Facebook group devoted to 1955-56 Packards and asked, “Is this a Packard?” Apparently, it is a 1956 Clipper, produced and sold by Packard. For that year and that year only, it was its own separate brand and not branded as a Packard. But I think you would be forgiven for calling it a 1956 Packard Clipper Constellation.

The 1956 Clipper Constellation, made by Packard. From what I have read, there may only be one place, somewhere on the trunk, that identifies this as a Packard. They tried to make it a brand of its own, just for this one year. Packard merged with Studebaker, and the final two years of Packards (1957-58) were rebranded Studebakers. 1956 was the last year that Packard built its own cars.

The 1956 Clipper Constellation, made by Packard. From what I have read, there may only be one place, somewhere on the trunk, that identifies this as a Packard. They tried to make it a brand of its own, just for this one year. Packard merged with Studebaker, and the final two years of Packards (1957-58) were rebranded Studebakers. 1956 was the last year that Packard built its own cars.

CTA 7138 at Schreiber and Ravenswood, near Devon Station. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7138 at Schreiber and Ravenswood, near Devon Station. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7171 is northbound on Clark Street, passing Wrigley Field. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7171 is northbound on Clark Street, passing Wrigley Field. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7162 is southbound on Clark Street at LaSalle Drive in September 1957. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 177 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7162 is southbound on Clark Street at LaSalle Drive in September 1957. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 177 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7163 is southbound at Clark, Halsted, and Barry in July 1957. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 170 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

CTA 7163 is southbound at Clark, Halsted, and Barry in July 1957. A version of this photo, taken from a duplicate slide, appears on page 170 of B-146, mistakenly credited to Charles L. Tauscher. (Robert Heinlein Photo)

From the Wien-Criss Archive:

The North Shore Line's Libertyville station on the Mundelein branch in January 1963. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The North Shore Line’s Libertyville station on the Mundelein branch in January 1963. (Wien-Criss Archive)

NJ Transit car 6 on the Newark City Subway in July 1975. After the PCCs were replaced in 2001, this car went to the Rockhill Trolley Museum. Sister car #4 (ex-Twin Cities Rapid Transit) is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

NJ Transit car 6 on the Newark City Subway in July 1975. After the PCCs were replaced in 2001, this car went to the Rockhill Trolley Museum. Sister car #4 (ex-Twin Cities Rapid Transit) is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 2554 on a westbound Douglas-Milwaukee B-train between Jefferson Park and Montrose on August 17, 1978. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 2554 on a westbound Douglas-Milwaukee B-train between Jefferson Park and Montrose on August 17, 1978. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 764 heads up a train at North Chicago Junction on January 16, 1960. (William D. Volkmer Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 764 heads up a train at North Chicago Junction on January 16, 1960. (William D. Volkmer Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This is the "before" version of the following slide, the raw scan prior to my working it over in Photoshop.

This is the “before” version of the following slide, the raw scan prior to my working it over in Photoshop.

A North Shore Line employee's shanty at the Milwaukee Terminal on June 17, 1962. "Cream City" is a nickname for Milwaukee. I believe a fantrip was held on that day, which helps explain the photographer at left. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line employee’s shanty at the Milwaukee Terminal on June 17, 1962. “Cream City” is a nickname for Milwaukee. I believe a fantrip was held on that day, which helps explain the photographer at left. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The North Shore Line's Woodridge station in August 1962. This was one of several 1920s-era stations designed in "Insull Spanish." Only two such stations exist today, one of which is Beverly Shores on the South Shore Line. The Woodridge station was demolished after the North Shore Line shut down in 1963. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The North Shore Line’s Woodridge station in August 1962. This was one of several 1920s-era stations designed in “Insull Spanish.” Only two such stations exist today, one of which is Beverly Shores on the South Shore Line. The Woodridge station was demolished after the North Shore Line shut down in 1963. (Wien-Criss Archive)

North Shore Line 714 heads up a northbound train at Loyola on July 13, 1955. Car 714 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

North Shore Line 714 heads up a northbound train at Loyola on July 13, 1955. Car 714 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line train on the Shore Line Route is southbound in Winnetka in September 1954. This section was grade-separated in 1940, along with the adjacent Chicago & North Western tracks, following a series of pedestrian accidents. Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, approved Federal aid that paid for part of this work, in a similar fashion to Chicago's Initial System of Subways. Ickes had lived in the area for many years. The train is moving towards the photographer, and the front is blurred due to the shutter speed that had to be used, in the days when Kodachrome was ISO 10. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line train on the Shore Line Route is southbound in Winnetka in September 1954. This section was grade-separated in 1940, along with the adjacent Chicago & North Western tracks, following a series of pedestrian accidents. Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, approved Federal aid that paid for part of this work, in a similar fashion to Chicago’s Initial System of Subways. Ickes had lived in the area for many years. The train is moving towards the photographer, and the front is blurred due to the shutter speed that had to be used, in the days when Kodachrome was ISO 10. (Wien-Criss Archive)

One of the two Electroliners crosses the North Shore Channel on October 21, 1950. After the abandonment of the North Shore Line in 1963, this became part of the route of the CTA Skokie Swift, today's Yellow Line. This is near the border between Skokie and Evanston. (Wien-Criss Archive)

One of the two Electroliners crosses the North Shore Channel on October 21, 1950. After the abandonment of the North Shore Line in 1963, this became part of the route of the CTA Skokie Swift, today’s Yellow Line. This is near the border between Skokie and Evanston. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The entrance to the South Shore Line platforms at Randolph Street Station on August 4, 1974. This has since been completely modernized, and the neon sign is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Douglas N. Grotjahn Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The entrance to the South Shore Line platforms at Randolph Street Station on August 4, 1974. This has since been completely modernized, and the neon sign is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Douglas N. Grotjahn Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago South Shore and South Bend 23 is at the head of a westbound train at Miller, Indiana on October 1, 1990. (Bill McCoy Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago South Shore and South Bend 23 is at the head of a westbound train at Miller, Indiana on October 1, 1990. (Bill McCoy Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Although this picture was originally identified as Franklin Street, north of the Loop, it's actually at 8th Street, south of the Loop. The clue is the Big 4 Advertising carriers storefront, which was located at 26 E. 8th Street. Thanks to John Suhayda for pointing this out. The head North Shore Line car is 420, and this photo was taken by Robert F. Collins on June 2, 1960. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Although this picture was originally identified as Franklin Street, north of the Loop, it’s actually at 8th Street, south of the Loop. The clue is the Big 4 Advertising carriers storefront, which was located at 26 E. 8th Street. Thanks to John Suhayda for pointing this out. The head North Shore Line car is 420, and this photo was taken by Robert F. Collins on June 2, 1960. (Wien-Criss Archive)

North Shore Line 727 and 729 are northbound at Belmont on the CTA north side "L" on May 20, 1962. Don's Rail Photos: "727 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It was modernized in 1939 and sold to Iowa Chapter, National Railway Historical Society in 1963. It became Iowa Terminal RR 102 in 1967 and acquired by Iowa Trolley Museum in 1987. It was restored to some extent as CNS&M 727 and apparently returned to Iowa Terminal RR." (Wien-Criss Archive) John Nicholson: "Off to the right behind the "L" structure Benty Hobby Supplies was still a going concern. I remember it still being in operation into the early 1980s right around the time I moved into the Lake View neighborhood. Now hobby shops are becoming as scarce as interurbans."

North Shore Line 727 and 729 are northbound at Belmont on the CTA north side “L” on May 20, 1962. Don’s Rail Photos: “727 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It was modernized in 1939 and sold to Iowa Chapter, National Railway Historical Society in 1963. It became Iowa Terminal RR 102 in 1967 and acquired by Iowa Trolley Museum in 1987. It was restored to some extent as CNS&M 727 and apparently returned to Iowa Terminal RR.” (Wien-Criss Archive) John Nicholson: “Off to the right behind the “L” structure Benty Hobby Supplies was still a going concern. I remember it still being in operation into the early 1980s right around the time I moved into the Lake View neighborhood. Now hobby shops are becoming as scarce as interurbans.”

North Shore Line Silverliners 770, 738, and 767 just north of Wilson Avenue on June 2, 1962. This is probably a "substitute Liner," meaning they were temporarily taking the place of an Electroliner when one of that pair was being serviced. (Wien-Criss Archive) John Nicholson adds: "I noticed you referred to the three Silverliners pictured just north of Wilson (taken On Saturday, June 2, 1962) as a possible "substitute Electroliner." The latest ruling from the recently-departed Mr. Horaheck was that "substitute Electroliner" is incorrect. The correct term should be "equipment substituting for a shopped Electroliner." Since the train did not have No. 415 in the consist, it was probably just a three-car train of Silverliners."

North Shore Line Silverliners 770, 738, and 767 just north of Wilson Avenue on June 2, 1962. This is probably a “substitute Liner,” meaning they were temporarily taking the place of an Electroliner when one of that pair was being serviced. (Wien-Criss Archive) John Nicholson adds: “I noticed you referred to the three Silverliners pictured just north of Wilson (taken On Saturday, June 2, 1962) as a possible “substitute Electroliner.” The latest ruling from the recently-departed Mr. Horaheck was that “substitute Electroliner” is incorrect. The correct term should be “equipment substituting for a shopped Electroliner.” Since the train did not have No. 415 in the consist, it was probably just a three-car train of Silverliners.”

North Shore Line car 754 gets a bath at the Milwaukee Terminal on May 14, 1961. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

North Shore Line car 754 gets a bath at the Milwaukee Terminal on May 14, 1961. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

North Shore Line car 758 is at the rear of a northbound train at Dempster Street in Skokie in August 1962. This is now where the CTA Yellow Line ends, and the historic station building has been moved a short distance away, but has been restored. (Wien-Criss Archive)

North Shore Line car 758 is at the rear of a northbound train at Dempster Street in Skokie in August 1962. This is now where the CTA Yellow Line ends, and the historic station building has been moved a short distance away, but has been restored. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This Seabord Coast Line streamlined diesel train #4900 was built in 1936 by St. Louis Car Company, and was an obvious influence on the design of the North Shore Line Electroliners, built five years later, The 4900 was scrapped in 1971 after Amtrak took over intercity passenger rail service. It is shown here in August 1969 and was originally Seaboard Air Line 2028. Like the Electroliners, it was one of a pair. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This Seabord Coast Line streamlined diesel train #4900 was built in 1936 by St. Louis Car Company, and was an obvious influence on the design of the North Shore Line Electroliners, built five years later, The 4900 was scrapped in 1971 after Amtrak took over intercity passenger rail service. It is shown here in August 1969 and was originally Seaboard Air Line 2028. Like the Electroliners, it was one of a pair. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Pennsylvania Railroad steam train 612 at the Parkway overpass, Sea Girt, NJ, October 20, 1957. #612 was a K-4S (4-6-2) "Pacific" built in Juniata during 1917 and retired in April 1958. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Pennsylvania Railroad steam train 612 at the Parkway overpass, Sea Girt, NJ, October 20, 1957. #612 was a K-4S (4-6-2) “Pacific” built in Juniata during 1917 and retired in April 1958. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Atlantic City Brilliner 205 on December 28, 1955. From www.nycsubway.org: "The third electrified service in Atlantic City lasted longer than the others and it was a streetcar line that made its way from a place called The Inlet at the north end of Atlantic City and operated largely along the city's major thoroughfare, Atlantic Avenue, southward and through the communities of Ventnor, Margate and Longport. Owned and operated by the Atlantic City Transportation Company, this service was distinctive, during its final decade-and-a-half, in that its basic fleet of cars consisted in twenty-five streamlined Brilliners, the Philadelphia-based Brill Company's competitive answer to the PCC car. Other properties purchased small fleets of similar Brilliners, but only in Atlantic City did this unique car serve as the basic rolling stock of a transit system. Until the very end of streetcar service in December of 1955, the Brilliners were supplemented by a small number of conventional Hog Island cars." So, this picture was taken just off the Boardwalk at The Inlet, near Captain Starn's Restaurant and Yacht Bar, one of the most famous seafood eateries in America in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. It opened in 1940 and closed in 1979. This was part of a complex offering sailboat rides, speedboats, a fish market, and sea lions. It was featured in the 1972 film The King of Marvin Gardens. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Atlantic City Brilliner 205 on December 28, 1955. From http://www.nycsubway.org: “The third electrified service in Atlantic City lasted longer than the others and it was a streetcar line that made its way from a place called The Inlet at the north end of Atlantic City and operated largely along the city’s major thoroughfare, Atlantic Avenue, southward and through the communities of Ventnor, Margate and Longport. Owned and operated by the Atlantic City Transportation Company, this service was distinctive, during its final decade-and-a-half, in that its basic fleet of cars consisted in twenty-five streamlined Brilliners, the Philadelphia-based Brill Company’s competitive answer to the PCC car. Other properties purchased small fleets of similar Brilliners, but only in Atlantic City did this unique car serve as the basic rolling stock of a transit system. Until the very end of streetcar service in December of 1955, the Brilliners were supplemented by a small number of conventional Hog Island cars.” So, this picture was taken just off the Boardwalk at The Inlet, near Captain Starn’s Restaurant and Yacht Bar, one of the most famous seafood eateries in America in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. It opened in 1940 and closed in 1979. This was part of a complex offering sailboat rides, speedboats, a fish market, and sea lions. It was featured in the 1972 film The King of Marvin Gardens. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Here is a video, with some shots of the Atlantic City Brilliners (built 1938-39), with their distinctive “tavern” doors (starts at about 9:38):

Baltimore Transit Company Brilliner 7501 on the Eastern Avenue route. It was built on December 19, 1938. Jeff was actually in Baltimore on the last day of streetcar service on November 3, 1963. Light rail transit returned to the Baltimore area in 1992. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Baltimore Transit Company Brilliner 7501 on the Eastern Avenue route. It was built on December 19, 1938. Jeff was actually in Baltimore on the last day of streetcar service on November 3, 1963. Light rail transit returned to the Baltimore area in 1992. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Transportation Company Brilliner 2023 is north of Olney Avenue in May 1953, on a fantrip. Don's Rail Photos: "2023 was built by Brill Car Co in April 1939, #23763-006. It was scrapped in August 1956." Brill had been part of the group that developed the PCC car, but refused to pay patent royalties to other companies and dropped out, preferring to go their own way. It was a fatal mistake. By the time Brill introduced their PCC-lookalike, the Brilliner, in 1938, St. Louis Car Company had the PCC market sewed up, and Brill's was viewed as an inferior product in some ways. Hence, few were sold-- one to Philadelphia, one to Baltimore, 24 to Atlantic City, and 10 to Red Arrow. Brill made its last streetcar in 1941. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Transportation Company Brilliner 2023 is north of Olney Avenue in May 1953, on a fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos: “2023 was built by Brill Car Co in April 1939, #23763-006. It was scrapped in August 1956.” Brill had been part of the group that developed the PCC car, but refused to pay patent royalties to other companies and dropped out, preferring to go their own way. It was a fatal mistake. By the time Brill introduced their PCC-lookalike, the Brilliner, in 1938, St. Louis Car Company had the PCC market sewed up, and Brill’s was viewed as an inferior product in some ways. Hence, few were sold– one to Philadelphia, one to Baltimore, 24 to Atlantic City, and 10 to Red Arrow. Brill made its last streetcar in 1941. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Transportation Company 6213 was known as a Nearside Peter Witt car. Here is an explanation from http://www.ectma.org/nearside.html : "The 1500 Nearside Cars represented the largest single group of cars in Philadelphia until 1948. They were aquired in five orders between 1911 and 1913 and were numbered 6000 - 7499. As originally built they had only a single double door in the front and a conductor's booth immediately behind the motorman. A small rear door existed for emergency use only. Previous practice with double end cars was for the car to stop at the far side of intersections so passengers could board the rear platform where the conductor was stationed. The name "Nearside" derives from the fact that these new single end cars stopped for passengers at the near side of each intersection. The double door was arranged with the front leaves opening in for incoming passengers and the rear leaves opening out for exiting passengers. Between 1919 and 1921 to solve the "muzzle loading" problem, 1160 of the 1500 cars were equipped with center doors and the "Peter Witt" fare collection system with the conductor stationed in the middle of the car." 6213 is on Route 15 - Girard Avenue, which still has a streetcar line, which is currently on hiatus while its small fleet of PCC II cars are being rebuilt. This is from a "half frame" slide. Half frame had a brief fad in the 1950s as a way to double the number of pictures on a roll, but it also had half the film area of 35mm, and therefore wasn't as sharp. The slide mount gives the location as "Richmond Street near the Ship Yards." This would be on the eastern portion of the line. This type of streetcar was retired here in 1957. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Transportation Company 6213 was known as a Nearside Peter Witt car. Here is an explanation from http://www.ectma.org/nearside.html : “The 1500 Nearside Cars represented the largest single group of cars in Philadelphia until 1948. They were aquired in five orders between 1911 and 1913 and were numbered 6000 – 7499. As originally built they had only a single double door in the front and a conductor’s booth immediately behind the motorman. A small rear door existed for emergency use only. Previous practice with double end cars was for the car to stop at the far side of intersections so passengers could board the rear platform where the conductor was stationed. The name “Nearside” derives from the fact that these new single end cars stopped for passengers at the near side of each intersection. The double door was arranged with the front leaves opening in for incoming passengers and the rear leaves opening out for exiting passengers. Between 1919 and 1921 to solve the “muzzle loading” problem, 1160 of the 1500 cars were equipped with center doors and the “Peter Witt” fare collection system with the conductor stationed in the middle of the car.” 6213 is on Route 15 – Girard Avenue, which still has a streetcar line, which is currently on hiatus while its small fleet of PCC II cars are being rebuilt. This is from a “half frame” slide. Half frame had a brief fad in the 1950s as a way to double the number of pictures on a roll, but it also had half the film area of 35mm, and therefore wasn’t as sharp. The slide mount gives the location as “Richmond Street near the Ship Yards.” This would be on the eastern portion of the line. This type of streetcar was retired here in 1957. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Atlantic City Brilliner 218. The movie poster advertises Welcome Stranger, a film starring Bing Crosby, John Garfield, and Barry Fitzgerald, released in June 1947, which may help date this photo. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Atlantic City Brilliner 218. The movie poster advertises Welcome Stranger, a film starring Bing Crosby, John Garfield, and Barry Fitzgerald, released in June 1947, which may help date this photo. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Transportation Company Brilliner 2023 is on a charter trip at Chelten and Yorr Roads. There is a notation on this half-frame slide of "Route 52." The Brilliner was scrapped in August 1956, so this must be before then. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Transportation Company Brilliner 2023 is on a charter trip at Chelten and Yorr Roads. There is a notation on this half-frame slide of “Route 52.” The Brilliner was scrapped in August 1956, so this must be before then. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Recent Finds

FYI, someone has based a painting on a picture from my blog: "A dramatic art illustration of a CTA Rapid Transit train on the Logan Square line at Damen in 1970. Illustration ©2021 Glenn Galen" The original photo is from our post Thankful (November 24, 2020). If you are interested in purchasing prints of his work, go here.

FYI, someone has based a painting on a picture from my blog: “A dramatic art illustration of a CTA Rapid Transit train on the Logan Square line at Damen in 1970. Illustration ©2021 Glenn Galen” The original photo is from our post Thankful (November 24, 2020). If you are interested in purchasing prints of his work, go here.

This is a real photo postcard I recently bought. Chicago Surface Lines 6031 was built by Brill in July 1914. The State line was originally numbered 34 by CSL, for internal accounting purposes. When merged with Broadway in 1937, it became Route 36 - Broadway-State. Dewey, I think, was later renamed Schubert Avenue, and is a short street located at 2720 North. So Clark and Dewey would be just south of Diversey. I got rid of some of the scratches via Photoshop.

This is a real photo postcard I recently bought. Chicago Surface Lines 6031 was built by Brill in July 1914. The State line was originally numbered 34 by CSL, for internal accounting purposes. When merged with Broadway in 1937, it became Route 36 – Broadway-State. Dewey, I think, was later renamed Schubert Avenue, and is a short street located at 2720 North. So Clark and Dewey would be just south of Diversey. I got rid of some of the scratches via Photoshop.

A three car train of northbound CTA woods on the Evanston Express in August 1957, just a few short months before the last of the woods was retired from regular service. Since the train is using third rail, and there are four tracks, this is somewhere south of Evanston.

A three car train of northbound CTA woods on the Evanston Express in August 1957, just a few short months before the last of the woods was retired from regular service. Since the train is using third rail, and there are four tracks, this is somewhere south of Evanston.

I can read the sign on the right (Evanston Wilmette via L) but I wonder what the sign in the middle says?

I can read the sign on the right (Evanston Wilmette via L) but I wonder what the sign in the middle says?

The CTA Linden Avenue Yard in Wilmette in July 1957. We see 5000s, 6000s, and wood cars present. To the left is where the North Shore Line's Shore Line Route continued north until the 1955 abandonment.

The CTA Linden Avenue Yard in Wilmette in July 1957. We see 5000s, 6000s, and wood cars present. To the left is where the North Shore Line’s Shore Line Route continued north until the 1955 abandonment.

This photo of a pair of Philadelphia streetcars has to be from the 1940s, since Birney car #1 is present, along with 8471. The occasion was a fantrip. From the original red border Kodachrome. (Charles R. Houser, Sr. Photo)

This photo of a pair of Philadelphia streetcars has to be from the 1940s, since Birney car #1 is present, along with 8471. The occasion was a fantrip. From the original red border Kodachrome. (Charles R. Houser, Sr. Photo)

Chicago & West Towns Railways streetcar 160 on Hillgrove Avenue at Brainard Avenue in the 1940s. This was the end of the long LaGrange line, which also served the Brookfield Zoo and had some private right-of-way.

Chicago & West Towns Railways streetcar 160 on Hillgrove Avenue at Brainard Avenue in the 1940s. This was the end of the long LaGrange line, which also served the Brookfield Zoo and had some private right-of-way.

NSL 725 at the Mundelein Terminal, which resembled the Dempster Street station in Skokie. Don's Rail Photos: "725 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, (order) #2890. It was modernized in 1939."

NSL 725 at the Mundelein Terminal, which resembled the Dempster Street station in Skokie. Don’s Rail Photos: “725 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, (order) #2890. It was modernized in 1939.”

NSL 710 at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. Don's Rail Photos: "710 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1924, (order) #2725. It was purchased by American Museum of Electricity in 1963 and resold to Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1972."

NSL 710 at Libertyville on the Mundelein branch. Don’s Rail Photos: “710 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1924, (order) #2725. It was purchased by American Museum of Electricity in 1963 and resold to Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1972.”

A North Shore Line Electroliner... at North Chicago Junction?

A North Shore Line Electroliner… at North Chicago Junction?

CTA Lake Street car 1743 is turning north at Randolph and Franklin on April 18, 1953.

CTA Lake Street car 1743 is turning north at Randolph and Franklin on April 18, 1953.

A sign on the "L" station at Randolph and Wells, from the previous photo.

A sign on the “L” station at Randolph and Wells, from the previous photo.

Red Arrow (Philadelphia & West Chester Traction) car 78 in Media on December 2, 1935. This car was built circa 1931-32 by Brill and is known as a "Master Unit." It is now at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA.

Red Arrow (Philadelphia & West Chester Traction) car 78 in Media on December 2, 1935. This car was built circa 1931-32 by Brill and is known as a “Master Unit.” It is now at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, PA.

Chicago Rapid Transit "Baldy" 4000's SB at Armitage about to plunge into the subway. No date, but guessing mid-1940's based on the presence of the tower that was built here when the subway opened (you can see the tower roof at left above the platform canopy). (John Smatlak Collection)

Chicago Rapid Transit “Baldy” 4000’s SB at Armitage about to plunge into the subway. No date, but guessing mid-1940’s based on the presence of the tower that was built here when the subway opened (you can see the tower roof at left above the platform canopy). (John Smatlak Collection)

A two-car train of CTA woods makes a fantrip stop in the 1950s at the ground-level Buena Yard, which was an interchange point for freight between the "L" and the Milwaukee Road up until 1973. Under the "L", you can see remnants of the former Buena station, which closed in 1949. In the distance, there is a ramp leading up to the "L". This site is now the location of Challenger Park. (John Smatlak Collection)

A two-car train of CTA woods makes a fantrip stop in the 1950s at the ground-level Buena Yard, which was an interchange point for freight between the “L” and the Milwaukee Road up until 1973. Under the “L”, you can see remnants of the former Buena station, which closed in 1949. In the distance, there is a ramp leading up to the “L”. This site is now the location of Challenger Park. (John Smatlak Collection)

I recently bought this real photo postcard, circa 1910. This is how it looked before restoration. I think the developer was not properly fixed when this was made 110 years ago, so the image has faded and may continue to do so in the future. This is the Metropolitan West Side Elevated crossing the Chicago River, not the Northwestern "L". But perhaps the "N. W." refers to Met trains that went to Humboldt Park and Logan Square.

I recently bought this real photo postcard, circa 1910. This is how it looked before restoration. I think the developer was not properly fixed when this was made 110 years ago, so the image has faded and may continue to do so in the future. This is the Metropolitan West Side Elevated crossing the Chicago River, not the Northwestern “L”. But perhaps the “N. W.” refers to Met trains that went to Humboldt Park and Logan Square.

The same image after restoration in Photoshop.

The same image after restoration in Photoshop.

A close-up shows the train was probably stopped when this picture was taken.

A close-up shows the train was probably stopped when this picture was taken.

I recently purchased a CRT map (current as of July 7, 1925), and this useful bit of history, facts, and figures was on the back.

I recently purchased a CRT map (current as of July 7, 1925), and this useful bit of history, facts, and figures was on the back.

I spent some time cleaning up this map in Photoshop today. I think it's interesting and a bit unusual, in that is also shows the North Shore Line stops on 63rd Street (service was eventually cut back to Roosevelt Road). When my new book Chicago's Lost "L"s comes out, I think I will include a facsimile of this map, and the historical information on the backside, with every copy purchased directly from me.

I spent some time cleaning up this map in Photoshop today. I think it’s interesting and a bit unusual, in that is also shows the North Shore Line stops on 63rd Street (service was eventually cut back to Roosevelt Road). When my new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s comes out, I think I will include a facsimile of this map, and the historical information on the backside, with every copy purchased directly from me.

Someone on Facebook recently asked when the CTA added the “Metropolitan Transit” banner to its logo. The answer, courtesy of the CTA Transit News, is May 1958.

Erie Lackawanna 3442 at Hoboken on September 2, 1964, looking pretty spiffy, and much better than the other car in the next photo, taken 18 years later, near the end of its service life. (Dick Ganger Photo)

Erie Lackawanna 3442 at Hoboken on September 2, 1964, looking pretty spiffy, and much better than the other car in the next photo, taken 18 years later, near the end of its service life. (Dick Ganger Photo)

Erie Lackawanna coach 3515 at Hoboken, NJ on August 7, 1982. It was built by Pullman in 1930.

Erie Lackawanna coach 3515 at Hoboken, NJ on August 7, 1982. It was built by Pullman in 1930.

From the September 20, 1894 Leslie's Weekly. There is a link to the article "Track Elevation in Chicago" in the introduction to this post.

From the September 20, 1894 Leslie’s Weekly. There is a link to the article “Track Elevation in Chicago” in the introduction to this post.

South Shore Line freight loco 707. Don's Rail Photos: "707 was built by Alco-General Electric in June 1931, #68270, 11193, as NYC 1242, Class R-2. It was renumbered 342 in August 1936. In July 1967 it was rebuilt as CSS&SB 707. It was scrapped in April 1976."

South Shore Line freight loco 707. Don’s Rail Photos: “707 was built by Alco-General Electric in June 1931, #68270, 11193, as NYC 1242, Class R-2. It was renumbered 342 in August 1936. In July 1967 it was rebuilt as CSS&SB 707. It was scrapped in April 1976.”

A classic winter scene, with South Shore Line 103 at the helm.

A classic winter scene, with South Shore Line 103 at the helm.

South Shore Line "Little Joe" freight loco 803 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line “Little Joe” freight loco 803 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 108 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 108 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 101 heads up a two-car train in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 101 heads up a two-car train in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 110 and train running on the street in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 110 and train running on the street in Michigan City.

South Shore Line car 100 and freight loco 706 are identifiable in this scene that I assume is Michigan City.

South Shore Line car 100 and freight loco 706 are identifiable in this scene that I assume is Michigan City.

South Shore Line caboose 1056.

South Shore Line caboose 1056.

I assume this is the South Shore yards at Michigan City.

I assume this is the South Shore yards at Michigan City.

South Shore Line car 7 in downtown Chicago.

South Shore Line car 7 in downtown Chicago.

South Shore Line car 38.

South Shore Line car 38.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this picture of South Shore freight running down a busy street could have been taken in East Chicago, Indiana, due to the double track seen here. But comparison with other photos proves this is 11th and Franklin in Michigan City, looking west, with a bit of the South Shore Line depot visible. As for the date, I am going to say this could be 1947, since Indiana license plates were yellow that year, and appear to be a lighter color than some years that followed. There were two tracks for a stretch near the station at that time.

You would be forgiven for thinking that this picture of South Shore freight running down a busy street could have been taken in East Chicago, Indiana, due to the double track seen here. But comparison with other photos proves this is 11th and Franklin in Michigan City, looking west, with a bit of the South Shore Line depot visible. As for the date, I am going to say this could be 1947, since Indiana license plates were yellow that year, and appear to be a lighter color than some years that followed. There were two tracks for a stretch near the station at that time.

It might help date the picture if I can figure out what year and model this car is. It definitely looks postwar, however.

It might help date the picture if I can figure out what year and model this car is. It definitely looks postwar, however.

This picture, from one of our previous posts, was taken at the same location, around the same time:

The way to distinguish South Shore Line street running photos from one city to another usually includes counting the number of tracks. Only East Chicago was double tracked. However, this is Michigan City, as there are two tracks for a short distance near the station seen at rear, since many runs begin and end here. This picture, showing car 105 and train, was taken on August 6, 1948. The station building still exists but is no longer in use.

The way to distinguish South Shore Line street running photos from one city to another usually includes counting the number of tracks. Only East Chicago was double tracked. However, this is Michigan City, as there are two tracks for a short distance near the station seen at rear, since many runs begin and end here. This picture, showing car 105 and train, was taken on August 6, 1948. The station building still exists but is no longer in use.

The same location today.

The same location today.

TMER&L 915.

TMER&L 915.

TMER&L 917.

TMER&L 917.

I unfortunately did not win the auction for this negative from 1961, but it does at least show that steam actually did operate over the new B&OCT tracks that were relocated next to I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway (during an excursion). Who knew? The loco is Grand Trunk Western #5629. The location is in Forest Park, just west of Circle Avenue (the bridge in the distance, with an auxiliary entrance to the CTA Congress median rapid transit line).

I unfortunately did not win the auction for this negative from 1961, but it does at least show that steam actually did operate over the new B&OCT tracks that were relocated next to I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway (during an excursion). Who knew? The loco is Grand Trunk Western #5629. The location is in Forest Park, just west of Circle Avenue (the bridge in the distance, with an auxiliary entrance to the CTA Congress median rapid transit line).

New Steam Audio CD:

FYI, we have digitally remastered another classic steam railroad audio LP to Compact Disc. Many additional titles, including the complete output of the Railroad Record Club, in our Online Store.

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STEAM CDs:

RGTS
Rio Grande to Silverton:
A Sound Portrait of Mountain Railroading
Price: $14.99

These are vintage 1960 narrow gauge steam train recordings, in true stereo, and originally released on LP in 1961.  It is long out of print.
Includes:
01. Riding The Train To Silverton
02. Photo Run At Elk Park
03. Arriving At Silverton
04. Train Time At La Jara
05. Illini Special At Cumbres Pass
06. Doubleheader Starting At Monero
07. Eastbound Freight
08. Arriving At Chama
09. Whistles At Coxo
10. Freight With Pusher At Coxo

Gone are the nostalgic sounds of steam echoes and thundering exhausts, but the memory is immortal. May they live on in the locomotive lexicon, as a monument to the era when trains were pulled by STEAM POWER.

As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.

Total time – 45:49

The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, 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:

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

This is our 263rd post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 724,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
We thank you for your support.
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Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-4-2015, Etc.

Updates

We are pleased to present a previously unknown two-color version of a 1936 Chicago Surface Lines brochure about the new streamlined PCC streetcars. This material has been added to our E-book Chicago’ PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available from our Online Store.

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Milwaukee Electric Railway (The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co.) car 1137, westbound on the Rapid Transit Line, 68th Street Bridge, July 22, 1949.

Milwaukee Electric Railway (The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co.) car 1137, westbound on the Rapid Transit Line, 68th Street Bridge, July 22, 1949.

Photo Updates

FYI, we now have an improved version of the TMER&T photo reproduced above, since we have been fortunate enough to acquire the original 1949 4″ x 5″ negative. This has been added to our recent post Traction In Milwaukee.

Three more photos have been added to our post West Towns Streetcars In Black-and-White. One of them shows a West Towns streetcar making the connection with its Chicago Surface Lines counterpart at Lake and Austin.

Reader Mail

The following question was posted to the Chicagotransit Yahoo Group by robyer2000:

I was looking at the letters in The Trolley Dodger about the construction of the reversing loop in the Howard Yard in 1949. The letter from the man at CTA public affairs indicated that before skip stop service trains that terminated at Howard were usually yard put-ins. That seems unlikely, at least since the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943, after which most Jackson Park trains terminated at Howard, other than during owl hours.

My question is this: before they built the reversing loop, just how did they reverse trains at Howard that weren’t put-ins?‎ In rush hours, they were 8 car trains. Where did they switch ends?

I replied:

You must be referring to our recent post Railfan Ephemera.

There is some circa 1975 correspondence between Tom Buck, then Manager of the CTA’s Public Affairs department, and an individual who had asked about a 1949 photo showing the construction of a turnaround loop in the Howard Yard.

The photo is reproduced, along with a brochure detailing the changes brought about by the adoption of A/B “skip-stop” service on the North-South L in 1949.

Previously, there were many trains that terminated at other places such as Wilson.

As Graham Garfield’s web site notes:

North Side “L” service used to be more commonly through-routed into Evanston, with Evanston trains running through to Jackson Park on what’s now the Green Line, from 1913 to 1949. In 1949, the CTA instituted a North-South service revision, at which time the suburban portion was divorced into its own line, running as a shuttle to meet the new North-South trunk line at Howard. Thus was the modern Evanston Route, with the shuttle service at all times and downtown rush hour express service, born.

Starting in 1949, there were a lot more trains terminating at Howard, both from the north and the south.  Meanwhile, North Shore Line trains continued to pass through via the Skokie Valley and Shore Line Routes.

Around this time, CTA proposed turning over the Evanston/Wilmette service to the North Shore Line, in exchange for having all NSL service terminate at Howard.  As CNS&M already wanted to abandon the Shore Line Route, this proposal went nowhere.

Robyer2000 wrote:

I don’t ever like to doubt Graham, but at least after the State Street Subway opened in 1943, few, if any, day time subway trains went past Howard and‎ fewer still terminated at Wilson unless they were putting in there. Consider there were only 455 steel cars that could operate in the subway and alternate daytime trains ran to Kimball, and assume 10 pct. of the cars were needed for spares, 410 steel cars were available for schedules of which 205 would have been in Howard service.   That would be enough for 25 Howard – Jackson Park trains. If the route took 125 minutes round trip with lay over (remember in one direction it had to make all stops from Indiana to Congress), that would have been a steel train to Howard every 5 minutes, or a total of only 24 trains an hour through the subway. Even if I am wrong with my assumptions or my arithmetic, how wrong can I be?

I have seen many pictures of Howard Street Express Via Subway t:rains over the years, but never one signed Evanston Express via Subway, although I know it was an available route on the sign curtain because I have one.

Additionally, that red brochure the CTA issued on the opening of the subway indicated Jackson Park trains would terminate at Howard, except after midnight.

I know too that after 1943 there were Evanston Express via “L” Loop trains that circled the Loop at least many of which ran express south of Loyola and which presumably had wooden consists.

So the question remains, what was the operation for reversing trains at Howard before the reversing loop was built?

I know that what became the loop track at Howard Yard terminated in a bumping post at the landfill to Evanston before the loop was built by tunneling across the landfill. If they used that track to reverse ends, the trains must have had to go through the yard switches to that track, reverse ends and then return through the yard switches.

I replied:

Hopefully, someone here will know the answer.

If they did in fact use the yard track to change ends, they either would have needed personnel at both ends of the train, ready to reverse course, or the motorman would have had to walk through the train to do so, making it more difficult to maintain tight schedules.

The City realized that operating the subway with the 455 steel cars (there was actually a 456th but it was an older, experimental one, not part of the 4000s fleet) was not the optimal situation, but it was enough to get service going in the State Street subway in 1943.

Of course, they still had the “L” route to the Loop, so there were many additional wood car trains going that way besides.

M. E. answered:

I’m averse to posting in threads, but I want to chime in about the L turnaround at Howard St.

I grew up on Green St. south of 63rd. Between our residence and the L, the city tore down all the houses to make a parking lot for businesses on 63rd St. So I had a bird’s-eye view of the L.

Plus I rode the L a lot, by myself, when I was young. These days that’s a no-no, but back then it was safe.

The timing for all this was the late 1940s, after the State St. subway opened. I don’t remember seeing wooden cars on the Englewood L.

I rode the Englewood/Ravenswood L a lot, all the way to Lawrence and Kimball and back. I don’t think I ever changed to the Jackson Park L to go north past Belmont.

As an aside, I also remember wooden cars on the Kenwood L sharing the track with south side steel cars between Indiana and 18th St.

I distinctly remember that the Jackson Park L went north only to Howard. Not into Evanston.

Also, I remember being surprised one day by seeing that the CTA built a loop north of Howard to reverse direction. I don’t exactly remember when that was, just that I was surprised by it.

Given that the Jackson Park L terminated at Howard, and there was no reversing loop yet, there are several possibilities:

(1) The Rapid Transit system put two crewmen on every Jackson Park train — one at the south end, the other at the north end. This would have made it simple to reverse at Howard (as well as at 63rd and Stony Island). But very expensive to operate. This would also have had to be true of any other stub-ending L line with long trains.

(2) At Howard, trains pulled in from the south, changed crew at the station, and took off again heading south, all within a very short time. This seems not too feasible because it would probably delay Evanston and CNS&M trains from using the station.

(3) Suppose the trains proceeded north of Howard into the yard. Perhaps a new crew boarded the south end of the northbound train (which I want to call Train 1) at the Howard station. Then Train 1 pulled straight into the yard. The new crew at the south end took over and brought Train 1 back into Howard station heading south. Then at Howard the northbound crew got off.

(4) Train 1 arrived from the south at Howard. Its crew got off, and walked to the south end of the platform. Two other crews, assigned only to work at Howard, boarded Train 1 — one crew at the north end of the train, the other crew at the south end. These two crews took the train into the yard, reversed direction, and brought Train 1 south to the Howard station. There, the “road” crew, which had previously walked to the south end of the platform, re-boarded Train 1 and took it south from Howard. After that, the two Howard-only crews repeated to handle subsequently arriving trains from the south.

The more I look at these possibilities, I like #4 the best.

When I use the term “crew”, I mean motorman. That’s because on L trains back then, there were conductors between every car. Yes, really. Apparently there was no central control for opening and closing doors, so one conductor could control only his car’s doors. Also, every conductor from rear to front had to ring a bell twice to indicate all was clear to proceed. Those bells rang in each car, one at a time, from rear to front.

Furthermore, to my recollection, the longest trains through the subway had six cars. Not eight. For six cars there were five conductors. Another reason I say six cars is that station platforms were lengthened to accommodate eight cars. Those longer sections were narrower (not as deep) as the original platforms. In fact, the northmost track at the 63rd and Loomis terminal was extended over Loomis to accommodate eight-car trains. By that time there were no more double-deck buses on Loomis to preclude extending the L structure over the street.

Also, there were no married pairs of steel cars at that time. I remember seeing one-car trains on Sunday mornings. Consider also the Normal Park branch. Before it became a shuttle from 69th to Harvard, the Normal Park car coupled onto the back of an Englewood train. West of Harvard, people on the tracks coupled or uncoupled the Normal Park car, which had its own motorman and conductor. With a maximum of six cars, this means an Englewood train west of Harvard would have had only five cars max, so that the Normal Park car became the sixth car.

I have seen pictures of two-car Normal Park trains, but I never saw that personally.

I concede it’s possible that there were six cars on Englewood trains, plus one Normal Park car, total seven cars. I’m just not sure.

Everything I say here is based on 65-year-old memories. I may have some facts wrong, but I simply don’t know.

Then, robyer2000 wrote:

Thank you for your post. It is fascinating to me to hear your memories.

They in fact used 8 car trains, but due to the door control issues you mentioned, the furthest front and back doors were not used so an 8 car train could berth at a platform which would be a 6 car platform today.

I believe that trains of all 4000 series car only needed what they called a “gateman” every other car because the far doors of a car could be separately controlled at the opposite end of the car. One of the gateman was the conductor, I’m not sure where he stood in a long train. Logically, he would have been at the rear as he had to ascertain the train was properly berthed before opening the doors, but he may have been near the middle if at that time they already had lines drawn on the platform edge to assist the conductor.

Train door control wasn’t instituted until 1952-1954.

Your alternative 2 doesn’t sound possible because of the necessity of moving the train to the Southbound platform at Howard.

And then, M. E. wrote:

Some things I thought of after sending my last note:

Exit doors on 4000-series steel cars were at the ends of the cars. So at any coupled cars, there were exit doors at the rear of the first car and exit doors at the front of the second car. The conductor assigned to that location stood outside, over the coupling, and operated controls for the exit doors immediately to either side of him. The conductor could see the unloading and loading activity at each of the two exit doors, so he knew when all that activity was finished. He then rang the bell twice to indicate that his station was clear. As anyone can imagine, during winter the conductor had a very cold job.

The rearmost conductor was the first to ring the bells twice, then the second rearmost conductor, and so on to the frontmost conductor, who was stationed between cars one and two.

Because there was no conductor at the rear of the train, nor one at the front, passengers could not use the exit doors at the very rear and the very front. At the front, the motorman’s cabin occupied the right-side exit door area. And the motorman did not operate the left-side front exit door.

There was no public address system on those cars. Each conductor had to enter each of the two cars at his station to announce the next stop.

At that time it was permissible to walk between cars. Every car had doors at the ends of the cars that passengers could open to change cars. For safety, over the coupling area there were extended metal plates to walk on, and there were chains at each side of the walkway. (In effect, cars were connected not only with couplers but with chains too.) There were three chains vertically on each side of the walkway, from about knee height up to below chest height.

Unlike in the 6000-series cars, there was no railfan seat at the front opposite the motorman. As I recall, in 4000-series cars the seats closest to the exit doors were side-facing, and there was a solid partition between the seats and the exit door area. The only way to watch the track ahead was to stand at the front, next to the motorman’s cabin, and look through the glass in the end-facing door. Yes, there was a front-facing window in the exit door area, but that window was blocked by the route sign on the front of the train. The sign itself was wooden and was hung onto grillwork that spanned the window.

Earlier I mentioned another cold winter job: Coupling and uncoupling Normal Park cars to the rear of Englewood trains. Not only was it cold, it was also dangerous, because it was close to third rails. I cannot imagine the Environmental Protection Agency ever permitting such work today.

What became of the Normal Park car’s motorman and conductor? After a northbound run from 69th to the Englewood line west of Harvard, the Normal Park motorman likely detrained at Harvard, walked downstairs, across to the other side, and up to the south platform. Then he waited for the next southbound Englewood train, boarded it, and took his position in the last car, the one destined for Normal Park. Meanwhile, the northbound Normal Park conductor would have to stay with the Englewood train to be assigned to the newly coupled cars. In the southbound direction, the conductor assigned between the rearmost two cars on Englewood trains would therefore go to Normal Park after the uncoupling.

CSL Work Car Info

Following up on our earlier series about Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars (Part One here, Part Two there), Andre Kristopans writes:

I am sending you eight scans for your viewing (and distributing) pleasure. Four hand-written ones were copied from Jim Buckley’s notes in Roy Benedict’s possession by me years ago. The two lists of trailers were made from CTA records.You notice it goes back to 1914, and includes cars never r# by CSL.

Here is some more stuff:

Salt Cars
AA1 17266 12/27/55 ex 1430
AA2 17266 12/27/55 ex 1431
AA3 13266 08/02/51 ex 1433
AA4 13266 10/26/51 ex 1435
AA5 13266 07/03/51 ex 1437
AA6 13266 12/17/51 ex 1440
AA7 17266 09/08/55 ex 1441
AA8 19141 05/17/58 ex 1443
AA9 18181 09/27/56 ex 1444
AA10 16283 02/18/55 ex 1445
AA11 13266 10/26/51 ex 1446
AA12 16283 09/09/54 ex 1447
AA13 16283 09/09/54 ex 1448
AA14 16283 10/07/54 ex 1459
AA15 13266 01/07/52 ex 1462
AA16 13266 01/25/52 ex 1474
AA17 13266 10/30/51 ex 1475
AA18 13266 11/06/51 ex 1482
AA19 13266 01/07/52 ex 1483
AA20 16283 10/07/54 ex 1488
AA21 16283 05/26/55 ex 1492
AA22 13266 08/02/51 ex 1493
AA23 16283 09/09/54 ex 1496
AA24 16283 09/09/54 ex 1501
AA25 17266 09/08/55 ex 1502
AA26 19141 05/17/58 ex 1107
AA27 19141 05/17/58 ex 1142
AA28 18181 12/14/56 ex 1145
AA29 18181 12/14/56 ex 1166
AA30 17266 12/27/55 ex 1183
AA31 17266 09/08/55 ex 1198
AA32 18181 12/14/56 ex 1205
AA33 17266 12/27/55 ex 1213
AA34 16283 10/07/54 ex 1215
AA35 12603 02/09/51 ex 1219
AA36 19141 05/17/58 ex 1220
AA37 19141 05/17/58 ex 1224
AA38 18181 09/27/56 ex 1231
AA39 16283 09/23/54 ex 1235
AA40 13266 08/10/51 ex 1239
AA41 13266 11/06/51 ex 1240
AA42 13266 11/21/51 ex 1241
AA43 16283 10/07/54 ex 1243
AA44 13266 10/05/51 ex 1248
AA45 12391 08/24/50 ex 1249
AA46 17266 12/27/55 ex 1250
AA47 13266 10/26/51 ex 1252
AA48 13266 07/20/51 ex 1255
AA49 14175 05/27/52 ex 1259
AA50 17266 12/27/55 ex 1260
AA51 17266 12/27/55 ex 1266
AA52 17266 09/08/55 ex 1277
AA53 19141 05/17/58 ex 1302
AA54 18181 12/14/56 ex 1303
AA55 16283 11/10/54 ex 1304
AA56 17266 12/27/55 ex 1305
AA57 18181 12/14/56 ex 1306
AA58 18181 09/27/56 ex 1307
AA59 18181 09/27/56 ex 1308
AA60 17266 12/27/55 ex 1309
AA61 18181 09/27/56 ex 1310
AA62 18181 09/27/56 ex 1311
AA63 10218 03/11/59 ex 1374 to ERHS
AA64 16283 11/10/54 ex 1451
AA65 15451 04/05/54 ex 1453
AA66 19141 05/17/58 ex 1454
AA67 13266 08/17/51 ex 1455
AA68 13266 12/17/51 ex 1457
AA69 18181 12/14/56 ex 1458
AA70 15451 07/17/54 ex 1463
AA71 13266 08/02/51 ex 1465
AA72 19209 02/28/58 ex 1467 to ERHS
AA73 16283 09/27/56 ex 1468
AA74 16283 11/10/54 ex 1471
AA75 18181 09/27/56 ex 1472
AA76 19141 05/17/58 ex 1477
AA77 18181 09/27/56 ex 1478
AA78 17266 12/27/55 ex 1480
AA79 15451 04/05/54 ex 1481
AA80 16283 09/09/51 ex 1484
AA81 18181 12/14/56 ex 1487
AA82 13266 07/20/51 ex 1489
AA83 16283 10/07/54 ex 1494
AA84 15451 02/17/54 ex 1495
AA85 18181 09/27/56 ex 1497
AA86 18181 12/14/56 ex 1498
AA87 13266 01/25/52 ex 1499
AA88 13266 07/03/51 ex 1500
AA89 16283 09/09/54 ex 1503
AA90 18181 09/27/56 ex 1504
AA91 17266 09/08/55 ex 1545 /48 10143
AA92 17266 12/27/55 ex 2826
AA93 19141 05/17/58 ex 2841
AA94 13266 08/17/51 ex 2842
AA95 10218 06/18/59 ex 2843 to ERHS
AA96 17266 12/27/55 ex 2844
AA97 19141 05/17/58 ex 2845
AA98 10218 12/05/58 ex 2846 to ERHS
AA99 none 08/20/48 ex 2847 (replaced with another retired car from AFR 10412)
AA99 2nd 18181 06/06/56 ex 5031
AA100 13266 07/03/51 ex 2848
AA101 18181 12/14/56 ex 2849
AA102 13266 08/10/51 ex 2851
AA103 15451 02/17/54 ex 2852
AA104 18181 12/14/56 ex 2853
AA105 15451 02/17/54 ex 2854
AA106 13266 10/11/51 ex 2855
AA107 13266 01/25/52 ex 2856
1466 13059 03/09/51
2626 13059 /51
4001 T12 /53 to shed; from Pass 1948 S10143
7001 T12 /53 to shed; from Pass 1948 S10143

AA1-AA52 to salt cars 1930-31, AA53-AA62 01/34, AA6306/33; AA1-AA25 r# 10/1/41, AA26-AA90 r# 04/15/48

additional salt car conversions:
1122 scr 04/23/37
1188 scr 04/30/37
1201 return to passenger 3/6/43
1208 return to passenger 3/4/43
1211 destroyed 1/30/39 111th/Sacramento vs GTW, scr 3/8/39
1212 return to passenger 2/20/43
1223 return to passenger 4/11/43
1225 return to passenger 3/4/43
1226 r# 1357 1937, return to passenger 5/15/43
1228 return to passenger 5/29/43
1229 return to passenger 3/27/43
1234 return to passenger 3/5/43
1238 return to passenger 5/15/43
1244 return to passenger 3/12/43
1245 return to passenger 3/8/43
1251 return to passenger 5/9/43
1253 r# 1257 1937, return to passenger 5/11/43
1254 return to passenger 6/11/43
1257 r# 1253 1937, r# 1385 1937, return to passenger 3/11/43
1280 return to passenger 1/13/44
1286 return to passenger 7/3/43
1466 to instruction car 1/13/13
1486 to instruction car 9/30/12, sold 11/12/17 to Tri-City Ry (IA)

Interestingly, Andre’s information shows that CSL Mail Car H2, pictured as being operable and in its original paint scheme in 1938 (see our post Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars – Part 1), was apparently scrapped in 1942. This explains why H2 was not used in the 1943 parade celebrating the opening of the State Street Subway, or in the one day revival of street railway post office service for a convention in 1946.

Andre also wrote:

You have mentioned several times the B&OCT line that runs along the Eisenhower Xway. A couple of items of note: 1) The B&OCT ownership extends to Madison St, where SOO ownership started. CGW’s started at Desplaines Ave Jct. 2) Note I said B&OCT – this is still the legal owner of all CSX track north and west of Clark Jct in Gary. In fact, B&O still has its own employees, train service and others, and in a really odd twist, is the legal owner of a substantial number of CSX’s new GE locomotives!

Finally, for a while in the late 1950’s, B&OCT used the old L tracks from Desplaines to west of Central while their right-of-way was being dug out. Considering that this was light rail to begin with, and well worn at that, it must have been somewhat frightening to run a freight train thru there!

I replied:

Very interesting information. Wasn’t there some steam train type commuter rail service out to Forest Park along these lines?

I still wonder just why CTA paid the CA&E $1m for their fixed assets between Laramie and DesPlaines Avenue in 1953.

They didn’t buy the land, which I think was bought by the state for the highway project. They didn’t buy the Forest Park terminal, either. CA&E still had at least a partial ownership in this when passenger service was suspended in 1957 (I think Cook County had bought some for the highway project).

So, what did CTA buy other than some worn rail, signals, roadbed, stations, etc. that were all going to be replaced within a few years anyway?

Andre wrote:

Basically they bought the right to continue running to Desplaines after the line was rebuilt. Otherwise, if CA&E still owned it, the state would have been dealing with CA&E, and if CA&E just said “screw it”, the Congress L would have ended at Laramie. Remember, we are dealing with accounting stuff here. What was there then wasn’t worth much, though the ROW was probably CA&E owned, which CTA then bought and sold/traded to the state for where the L is today.

Back in the days of the “primordial ooze” there was service on the B&OCT out to Forest Park. This was part of the Randolph St business and the line out 16th St to Harlem. But it was all gone by early 1900’s, especially after the Met L was built.

SOO did run a more-or-less commuter round trip for many years, actually a local from I think Waukesha that ran at the right time.

We thank all our contributors. Keep those cards and letters coming in.

-David Sadowski

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CTA’s Westchester Branch – What Might Have Been

The "Westchester-Maywood" route, from a 1948 CTA map.

The “Westchester-Maywood” route, from a 1948 CTA map.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

Today’s photo essay features pictures of the former Chicago Rapid Transit/Chicago Transit Authority Westchester branch, which ran from 1926 to 1951. You can find an excellent track map here.  (You can also read our follow-up post, showing what traces of the old line are still visible here.)

It’s always interesting to speculate on what “might have been,” especially in the case of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, whose trains ran from 1902 to 1957 in Chicago’s western suburbs. What could have been saved? What should have been saved?  And, what can we learn today?

As you may know, ultimately nothing was saved, except the portion between DesPlaines Avenue and Laramie, which was taken over by the CTA in the early 1950s. That operates today as the outer portion of the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Forest Park branch of the Blue Line.

Speculation usually centers on whether the entire railroad could have been saved, bought by the State of Illinois, or at least, the portion to Wheaton. But in general, this section, the most viable part of the interurban, ran parallel to the Chicago & North Western‘s West Line, which continues to operate today under the aegis of Metra.

The State of Illinois made an offer to buy CA&E in 1956, and then backed out of the deal for various reasons. The only public entity that could have operated any portion of the railroad would have been the CTA, and yet their operating area was limited to most of Cook County.

Still, the CTA did some engineering studies.* In the short run, the idea was to put third rail shoes on some of the remaining PCC streetcars, and run a shuttle service between Forest Park and Wheaton. Just as with the CA&E operations between 1953-57, this would not have been a “one-seat ride” to the Loop.  (Some say these studies were made to demonstrate the impracticality of CTA actually doing it.)

In the long run, CTA would have ordered more new rapid transit cars, high speed versions of the single car units 1-50 that were built in 1960. These type of cars would also have been used if the CTA had been able to take over larger portions of the North Shore Line than the five miles that became the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) in 1964.

In retrospect, the opening of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway would have depressed ridership, so there is no way of knowing if such a CTA shuttle service would have been successful. But there was no way to pay for it, in the political context of the time, and therefore these plans were unrealized. But, if it had happened, most likely such a service would today be a treasured part of Chicagoland’s transit infrastructure.

But if we go back a little further in time, incredibly, there was rapid transit service operated by the CTA that ran to Mannheim and 22nd Street as late as 1951. This was the 5.6 mile long Westchester branch, a victim of budget cuts and expressway construction.

The Westchester branch was part of an ambitious mid-1920s Insull plan to create a high-speed CA&E bypass, similar to the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route. However, there was less of a need for it, and by the time the Depression hit and Samuel Insull‘s empire collapsed, only 2.2 miles of it had been built off the CA&E main line, and local service was being provided by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company.

The Depression also put a stop to the pace of housing development in Bellwood and Westchester, as it had in Niles Center, where the CRT ran local service in a similar fashion. The “build it, and they will come” strategy was not unusual at the time, and had been successfully followed some years earlier when rapid transit service was extended to the Ravenswood neighborhood.

With the CRT in receivership, things remained “status quo” until the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, which took over operations on October 1, 1947. In these heady early days, it was thought that modernization would reaped quick benefits, and there were efforts by the CTA to improve service to outlying areas, with the creation of extension bus lines and express buses.

Within a few years, however, there was nothing but red ink, and without taxing authority, the cash-strapped CTA had no choice but to cut unprofitable services wherever possible. The lightly-used Westchester branch was an obvious target for elimination, since CTA was a tenant, paying rent to the CA&E, who owned the tracks.

From CTA’s point of view, they saved money by eliminating rapid transit service west of DesPlaines Avenue, and tried to retain whatever ridership was there with replacement bus service, creating the #17 route, which continued to run for decades (and has now been completely replaced by parallel Pace suburban bus service, the #317).

Expressway construction was also a factor. The CA&E and CTA shared each other’s tracks, and compensated each other in turn. By the early 1950’s, these payments totaled about $250,000 per year and largely cancelled each other out. But a 2.5 mile section of the CTA’s Garfield Park/Met “L” would need to be relocated for five years, since it ran smack dab in the middle of where the Congress expressway would be built.

After nearly 50 years of joint operation on Chicago’s west side, coordinating the plethora of daily CTA and CA&E trains was difficult at best, and required near split-second timing. Schedules were complicated and there were various passing sidings, where expresses would be routed ahead of locals.

The CTA (and the City of Chicago’s) original idea for relocating Garfield service was for a wooden “L” structure along Van Buren Street. Presumably this grade separated service would have been fine with the CA&E, but the local alderman objected, and rather than face a lawsuit, which would have delayed the project, the City Council turned to Plan B– grade level rapid transit service, bisected by several cross streets.

This was originally promoted as a “street railway” service, which may be how they justified not using crossing gates. At first, it was thought that overhead wire could be used, but the Met cars did not have trolley poles, and this would have involved shifting around a lot of equipment. So, ultimately, the Van Buren Street temporary trackage used third rail without any more crossing protection than stop lights.

In 1951, CA&E management decided that this plan was unworkable for them, and would cause too many problems for efficient and safe operation. In a letter to their shareholders, CA&E proposed elimination of rail service on the interurban (presumably, freight service would continue), to be replaced by buses that would take riders from the western suburbs to the CTA Lake Street and Douglas Park “L”s.

CTA, for their part, anticipating that CA&E would soon become a bus operator only, began planning for a bus-to-rail transfer point between CA&E and CTA. At first, it was thought this would take place at Central Avenue, a point just west of where CTA’s own rails ended. But by 1953, this transfer point was moved west to DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park.

Meanwhile, existing bus operators in the western suburbs had successfully blocked CA&E’s plans to substitute bus service for rail. Therefore, they had no real alternative to cutting back rail service to DesPlaines Avenue. This is how service was operated from September 1953 to July 1957. By then, CA&E ridership had been decimated, adn the railroad successfully petitioned to “temporarily” abandon rail service.

The abandonment actually helped facilitate expressway construction near the DesPlaines River, since no temporary service would need to be built. The railroad, in a sense, was still “made whole,” since by 1959 new rails were put in place for a connection to the CTA DesPlaines terminal. These are plainly visible in an aerial view in the 1961 CTA Annual Report, but they were never used, and the CA&E did not resume regular passenger service, and was liquidated in 1961. Attempts to save the interurban were too little, too late, and the suburbs that would have benefited from continuing service refused to contribute with tax revenue.

Between 1948 and 1957, the CTA eliminated about 25% of the rapid transit system it had inherited from CRT. This was mainly by slashing lightly-used branch lines (Stockyards, Kenwood, Humboldt Park, Normal Park, Niles Center, and Westchester). At one point, the CTA even proposed turning over the Evanston branch to the North Shore Line, but this did not happen.

By 1964, it seems the CTA had changed its mind about branch lines, for in April of that year, the phenomenally successful Skokie Swift service began running between Dempster and Howard, over five miles of former CNS&M right-of-way. By this time, some federal funding was available through a pilot program. CTA had to buy half of the Swift trackage anyway, just to access Skokie Shops.

Here, the CTA used fast, frequent service and a large park-and-ride lot to attract riders. And although it scarcely seems possible that the Westchester branch could have been saved in 1951, it would really fill a need today.

Imagine a west side corollary to the Skokie Swift.

By the early 50s, Bellwood and Westchester were prime areas for the postwar housing boom. This is especially true since these areas would soon have access to an important new highway. Growth in Westchester was being held back, however, since the same developer that had owned much of the property since the 1920s wanted to build all the housing themselves, thereby limiting construction somewhat.

After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, the CA&E liquidated the property, and the proceeds were distributed to the shareholders, instead of being reinvested in the money-losing railroad. This was the first of CA&E’s large-scale liquidations, where various portions of the railroad were sold to benefit the stockholders.

Getting back to what “might have been,” imagine how well the CTA would be doing today, if it had built a large park-and-ride lot at Mannheim and 22nd Street in the 1950s and kept the Westchester branch. As the area boomed in the mid-1950s, this service would have had tremendous potential.

And while this did not come to pass, the need persists, and something like a replacement for the Westchester branch may still be in CTA’s future. The Illinois Department of Transportation is working on plans for expanding and improving I-290 in the western suburbs, as the Chicago Tribune reported on February 27, 2013:

State transportation officials presented a narrowed list of four proposals that they say will improve travel on the Eisenhower Expressway, all of which include adding a lane to the highway and also extending the CTA Blue Line.

The four proposals, all of which include widening the highway between Austin Boulevard and Mannheim Road, extending the Blue Line to Mannheim and express bus service extending westward from Mannheim, were presented to a community task force. They will be further evaluated by state transportation officials as they study ways to make Interstate Highway 290 more efficient, said a manager of the project, Peter Harmet, bureau chief of programming for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

So, what “might have been,” may still be yet. We shall see.

-David Sadowski

PS- Christopher J. Lemm writes:

After reading your January 2015 story on the CTA Westchester Branch, the picture of the train crossing Madison street in Bellwood brought back some great memories. I grew up in that house, my grandfather was Clarence Lemm, track foreman for the Aurora and Elgin Railroad, he died in 1936. My father followed in grandpa’s footsteps, he worked at CTA 43 years, he started as a clerk and retired as the head of insurance and pensions. When my brother and I were very young my dad would take us for rides on the Aurora and Elgin, he used grandpa’s Sunset Lines employee pin and we all road free of charge. Thank you for some great memories!

According to transit historian Art Peterson:

CTA prepared studies for operation of both the CA&E (from Wheaton to Desplaines Av.) and for the North Shore from the Loop to Waukegan.  The CA&E study was based on use of the pre-War PCCs; for the North Shore it would have been higher-performance rapid transit PCC cars and an A/B service pattern up the Skokie Valley.  Both went no place, for lack of suitable funding sources.  CTA was prepared to accommodate CA&E in the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway (the west side connection to that opened on June 22, 1958, by which time CA&E was freight only.)

Some knowledgeable sources reported that CTA retained a section of the Humboldt Park Branch after the “L” shuttle service quit running in the E50s, to use as a CA&E turnback/layup facility.  Humboldt Park was the “L” line that ran parallel and to the north of North Avenue, joining the Milwaukee Avenue “L” line at the North/Damen station.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

Here the the same crossing, but now we are looking east. This is now where I-290 runs through.

Here the the same crossing, but now we are looking east. This is now where I-290 runs through.

CTA 6051-6052 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in the 1950s. The Acme Feeds (7715 W. Van Buren) towers at are at the background. Among other things, they sold a product called Acme Worm Bouncer. After being abandoned for many years, the towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

CTA 6051-6052 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in the 1950s. The Acme Feeds (7715 W. Van Buren) towers at are at the background. Among other things, they sold a product called Acme Worm Bouncer. After being abandoned for many years, the towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

This is one of my favorite shots. An eastbound single car passes cemeteries in Forest Park, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. This is the approximate location of the Eisenhower expressway today. The train is curving towards the DesPlaines Avenue station. The iconic gas tank was removed many years ago.

This is one of my favorite shots. An eastbound single car passes cemeteries in Forest Park, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. This is the approximate location of the Eisenhower expressway today. The train is curving towards the DesPlaines Avenue station. The iconic gas tank was removed many years ago.

An eastbound Westchester car passes by Concordia Cemetery at right, having just crossed the DesPlaines River. This is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today.

An eastbound Westchester car passes by Concordia Cemetery at right, having just crossed the DesPlaines River. This is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today.

This picture presents somewhat of a mystery. Car 2311, signed for Westchester, is identified as being in Maywood on July 21, 1934, with a 4000-series car behind it. There were some storage tracks east of First Avenue, but I am not sure whether CRT used these. Or perhaps these cars are near DesPlaines Avenue.

This picture presents somewhat of a mystery. Car 2311, signed for Westchester, is identified as being in Maywood on July 21, 1934, with a 4000-series car behind it. There were some storage tracks east of First Avenue, but I am not sure whether CRT used these. Or perhaps these cars are near DesPlaines Avenue.

Here, we are just east of First Avenue, with an eastbound train approaching. You can just make out the sign on the Refiner's Pride gas station behind the car. We are looking northwest. Commonwealth Edison occupies this site today.

Here, we are just east of First Avenue, with an eastbound train approaching. You can just make out the sign on the Refiner’s Pride gas station behind the car. We are looking northwest. Commonwealth Edison occupies this site today.

A westbound Westchester car crosses First Avenue in Maywood. East of here (right), the line ran at an angle before crossing the DesPlaines River. This is where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The "Refiner's Pride" gas station at left was part of a chain run by "Montana Charlie" Reid, who also owned a restaurant in Villa Park. An oil change business now occupies the site of the former gas station. Reid also owned Montana Charlie's Flea Market in Bolingbrook, along historic Route 66, which is still in operation.

A westbound Westchester car crosses First Avenue in Maywood. East of here (right), the line ran at an angle before crossing the DesPlaines River. This is where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The “Refiner’s Pride” gas station at left was part of a chain run by “Montana Charlie” Reid, who also owned a restaurant in Villa Park.  An oil change business now occupies the site of the former gas station. Reid also owned Montana Charlie’s Flea Market in Bolingbrook, along historic Route 66, which is still in operation.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

While I'm not sure of the exact location, we are looking to the northwest along that portion of the CA&E main line, where it ran parallel to the CGW through Bellwood and Maywood.

While I’m not sure of the exact location, we are looking to the northwest along that portion of the CA&E main line, where it ran parallel to the CGW through Bellwood and Maywood.

We are looking west, with the IHB crossing in the background. 25th Avenue would be behind us, and Madison Street is to our left. Here, the CA&E ran parallel to the CGW. The Illinois Prairie Path runs here now.

We are looking west, with the IHB crossing in the background. 25th Avenue would be behind us, and Madison Street is to our left. Here, the CA&E ran parallel to the CGW. The Illinois Prairie Path runs here now.

A westbound Westchester car passing under the Indiana Harbor Belt. The two lines were grade separated in 1930-31. This is now the site of the Illinois Prairie Path.

A westbound Westchester car passing under the Indiana Harbor Belt. The two lines were grade separated in 1930-31. This is now the site of the Illinois Prairie Path.

A southbound Westchester train crosses Madison Street in Bellwood, where Marshall Avenue begins today. The house at right is still standing. The Bellwood station was just north of here, near where the line merged back into the CA&E main line. We are just west of Bellwood Avenue.

A southbound Westchester train crosses Madison Street in Bellwood, where Marshall Avenue begins today. The house at right is still standing. The Bellwood station was just north of here, near where the line merged back into the CA&E main line. We are just west of Bellwood Avenue.

A northbound train at Harrison Street, with new postwar housing in the background. In the foreground, sidewalks that were already about 20 years old go past an empty lot.

A northbound train at Harrison Street, with new postwar housing in the background. In the foreground, sidewalks that were already about 20 years old go past an empty lot.

Westchester car 2814 heading south at Harrison. A small child in blue jeans waits for the train to pass.

Westchester car 2814 heading south at Harrison. A small child in blue jeans waits for the train to pass.

A southbound single car passes storage tracks just north of Roosevelt Road, which was the original terminal before the line was extended in 1930.

A southbound single car passes storage tracks just north of Roosevelt Road, which was the original terminal before the line was extended in 1930.

A single Westchester car passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A single Westchester car passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A two car train passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A two car train passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

Here we see the south end of the Roosevelt Road station.

Here we see the south end of the Roosevelt Road station.

A single car at the Roosevelt Road station.

A single car at the Roosevelt Road station.

Here, we are just south of Roosevelt Road, at the beginning of double track.

Here, we are just south of Roosevelt Road, at the beginning of double track.

We are just south of the Roosevelt Road station looking north. From here to Mannheim and 22nd, it was single track.

We are just south of the Roosevelt Road station looking north. From here to Mannheim and 22nd, it was single track.

The Chicago & West Towns Railways also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

The Chicago & West Towns Railways also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

PS- You can read more about Acme Worm Bouncer here.  You can also see some additional pictures of the Westchester branch here.