All in all, I would have to say this is an amazing photograph. It shows Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 22 on June 30, 1943, in the middle of World War II, and just two years before streetcars were abandoned in this coastal town (Wildwood) in New Jersey. From what I have read, the war and the resulting nightly blackouts negatively affected tourism and contributed to the demise of the streetcars here. With such an early abandonment, color photos of this operation are very rare, indeed, and the colors on this Red Border Kodachrome have held up quite well. A sign on the car advertises Marty Bohn and His Floor Show at the “Nut Club.” The blackouts were not without reason, as German submarines were just offshore, and sometimes crew members would sneak ashore.
I am both humbled and grateful beyond measure that my late friend Jeffrey Wien made me the beneficiary of his extensive photographic collection (except for his motion picture films, which he donated to the Chicago Film Archives).
Naturally, I would rather that he still be around to enjoy his collection, comment on my posts, and point out where I got something wrong, or help identify some locations. But unfortunately, we don’t get to choose in these matters.
I think the best way I can honor his memory is to keep up the work of historic preservation and education that meant so much to him.
While this post may not have an overall theme, it is full of legends and legacies. It is thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of many people, Jeff included, that anything at all has been saved from the electric railways of the past. Some of the photos here were taken after the North Shore Line quit, and show various railcars sitting around, waiting to be saved or scrapped. There are also pictures of the fledgling and somewhat ramshackle early days of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, at its original and temporary home in North Chicago.
You if had told one of the founders of what is now IRM back then all the progress that has been made since at Union, they hardly could have believed it possible. Institutions like IRM are saving this history and preserving it for future generations, while also making it possible to have some of the same experiences riding the equipment in the collection, that people enjoyed in the past.
If we can maintain the same spirit, all this important history will be our legacy to those who come after us. I am intent on doing my part.
PS- We thank Jack Bejna, Andre Kristopans, William Shapotkin, and Colin Wisner for contributing to this post.
We also have a Facebook auxiliary for The Trolley Dodger where you can participate further. It is a private group, so unfortunately you won’t be able to see the content unless you join. It is free. As of this writing, we have 183 members.
From Jeff Wien’s Collection
The North Shore Line ticket cabinet from the Dempster Street station in Skokie. It still has the tickets in it.
I will have to straighten this out, as the tickets were jostled when the cabinet was moved. The balls were apparently placed behind the tickets.
This metal route sign hung on the side of a wooden Metropolitan “L” car, and was of a type in use for a half-century prior to the opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway in 1951. Remarkably, it has survived for 70 years since it last could have been used in service. The sign was reversible, and the other side says Humboldt Park.
A fare counter from a Chicago streetcar. There was a Chicago streetcar 3351, a Peter Witt that was scrapped around 1952, but I am not certain that these didn’t have their own numbers.
This metal sign appears to show the original version of the CTA’s “Metropolitan Transit” logo, first introduced in 1958. By then, the agency wanted the public to know that it served more than just Chicago.
The North Shore Line eventually joined the Insull Empire that, by the mid-1920s, included all three major Chicago interurbans and the “L”. So it should not be too much of a surprise that the North Shore had its own rider publication for a few years, with leaflet holders presumably made by the same firm as the “L”s. The North Shore Line version is said to be rare, as many were melted down for scrap during WWII.
Leaflet holders from 4000-series “L” cars. The Elevated News was published by the Chicago Elevated Railways Collateral Trust, formed in 1913 as a voluntary association by the four independent (or at least they started that way) “L” firms. The 4000-series, which eventually ran to 455 cars, was the first designed for use on all the various “L” lines. The title of their rider publication was changed to Rapid Transit News in 1924, coincident with the formation of the Chicago Rapid Transit Company. The Chicago Transit Authority had its own publication, the Rider’s Reader, for a few years starting in 1948.
This leaflet holder is marked as having come from CTA PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar that ran on June 21, 1958.
Although Chicago had a total of 600 postwar PCC streetcars, this was too much for a single manufacturer to produce in the immediate postwar era, so the order was divided between Pullman (310) and St. Louis Car Company (290). The “Read As You Ride” leaflet holder at left came from a St. Louis PCC (7213), while the one at right may have come from a Pullman. Their interiors were painted different colors.
Jeff’s collection included a leaflet holder from another city. Several cities had “Public Service” in their streetcar operator’s names, so offhand, I am not sure which city this came from. (Frank J. Flörianz Jr. says it is from New Jersey.)
I found this clipping that Jeff cut out of the Chicago Tribune in 1978 inside the “Read As You Ride” leaflet holder from PCC 7213, the last Chicago streetcar.
There were a few cities besides New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia to have some sort of elevated electric railways, and Kansas City was among them. Here, Kansas City Public Service car 785 is descending from the 8th Street “L” at Baltimore Avenue on September 3, 1952. I was fortunate to win this original Red Border Kodachrome slide, because I had lost an auction for it once before when someone sold it. Kansas City abandoned streetcars in 1957, but has since reopened a modern streetcar line. (Edward S. Miller Photo)
A single CRT wooden “L” car is at the Dempster Street terminal in Skokie, probably in the 1940s. This “L” branch was replaced by buses in 1948, but returned in 1964 in the form of the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), a year after the North Shore Line (who owned these tracks) ended all service.
This is one of the experimental “Bluebird” articulated compartment car trains (probably the prototype) being tested on the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit system circa 1939. BMT ordered 50 of these units from the Clark Equipment Company, intended to be “fast locals” to mix with slower express trains on El lines. But when the City of New York purchased BMT in 1940, they cancelled the order, except for five units that had already been built. They lived out the rest of their days as oddball equipment before being scrapped in 1956. But the Bluebirds were the first rapid transit cars to use PCC technology, and were a major influence on the four articulated 5000s that CRT ordered at the end of World War II.
The former Chicago Aurora & Elgin station in Villa Park still exists and is a local landmark. But here we see it under construction in 1929. The Ovaltine plant at left has since been converted to residential.
I spent some time cleaning up this image, which was part of a stereo pair meant to be viewed in 3-D using a handheld device called a “stereopticon.” It shows Chicago’s Loop “L” circa 1905, and this is the original left-hand running, bi-directional configuration, before it was changed in 1913. So the train at right is moving towards us, while the train at left is moving away from us. The view looks west along Van Buren Street, and that is the old Tower 12 at left. A Metropolitan “L” train is on the inner Loop, while a Lake Street train trails a Northwestern “L” train on the outer Loop. At this stage, only the Lake trains would have needed trolley poles. The station at Van Buren and State is visible in the distance.
A Stereopticon viewer.
Chicago Surface Lines car 2802 is on a charter trip on June 12, 1940. This was apparently a fan favorite, as we have previously published a photo of the same car on a 1941 fantrip.
North Shore Line car 709 at the Branford Trolley Museum in Connecticut in October 30, 1966, just three and a half years after the interurban quit. The location given is Farm River Road. Don’s Rail Photos: “709 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1924, #2725. It was sold to Branford Trolley Museum in 1963.”
This is another remarkable photograph, showing Monongahela West Penn car 320 at night in June 1946. Such night shots were very difficult to achieve back then, due to the slow film speed of the time (this is Kodachrome 10, as in ASA/ISO 10). About the only way to take such a picture would have been with a very long exposure, with the camera resting on a tripod. (Dr. H. Blackbunn Photo)
South Shore Line cars 105 and 1 in April 1963.
Another great night shot, this time it’s Illinois Terminal 473 on the line that ran from St. Louis to Granite City in the 1950s. This was IT’s final passenger line and was abandoned in June 1958, on the same weekend that the last Chicago streetcar ran.
CTA PCC 4406, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at Clark and Archer in April 1954. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This is DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park, the end of the CTA Congress rapid transit line. The license plates would indicate a date of 1961, perhaps in the Fall since that is a 1962 Chevy in the parking lot. The various signs on the Leyden Motor Coach bus might confuse you, but on the side, it is marked “OSA” meaning this is a fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection) Bill Shapotkin writes: “Unable to read the bus number, bus OSA operated trips on 06/17/61 (trip #2) using Leyden bus #95 and on 03/18/62 (trip #10) using Leyden buses #90, 157 and 164. If you can identify the fleet number, that would cement down the details.” This is bus #90, so that makes the date March 18, 1962.
CTA 6053 is at the rear of a northbound Ravenswood All-Stop train approaching Armitage in August 1986. The two center tracks lead down to the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A southbound CTA Englewood train (lead car: 2033) has met a northbound Howard train at Armitage station in April 1985, and is descending into the State Street Subway. (William Shapotkin Collection)
North Shore Line former merchandise dispatch car 215 at the Harrison Shops in Milwaukee on July 7, 1953. Don’s Rail Photos: “215 was built by Cincinnati Car in October 1922, #2605. The loading doors (were moved) from the ends to the center. It was demotorized and used as a tool car.”
On May 22, 1944, Illinois Governor Dwight H. Green (1897-1958) poses with officials from the Illinois State Militia, next to a 1700-series Chicago Surface Lines car promoting that branch of the military during World War II. Green served two terms as governor from 1941-49 before his defeat by Democrat Adlai Stevenson.
While I don’t have the negative that goes with this Chicago Sun photo file slip, it does at least identify some of the notables in the negative I do have. The Chicago Sun was a morning newspaper, started in 1941 by the Field family. It bought the Chicago Times in 1948 and the paper has been the Chicago Sun-Times ever since (although no longer owned by Field Enterprises).
North Shore Line cars 192 and 187 at Highwood in September 1963, looking much worse the wear, nine months after abandonment. But in actuality, these cars had been retired some years earlier. Don’s Rail Photos: “187 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, (order) #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964. 192 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1920, #2450. It was retired on December 31, 1955. It was scrapped at Rondout on January 29, 1964.” Apparently these cars were considered surplus after the abandonment of the Shore Line Route in 1955.
This photo is a bit of a mystery. It is dated September 1963, which means these are probably North Shore Line cars in dead storage at Highwood, awaiting disposition. However, that doesn’t explain the Shore Line Route sign, as that portion of the Interurban had been abandoned in 1955. And after the 1963 abandonment, a lot of these signs were scarfed up by fans and were missing from the trains that were scrapped. Don’s Rail Photos: “(Combine) 256 was built by Jewett in 1917. It seems to be the only one which retained its original configuration.” It did not survive. The fate of the Silverliner at right is not known.
On June 16, 1962, the late Maury Klebolt talks to the North Shore Line train crew during a fantrip at Harrison Street in Milwaukee. This must have been an Illini Railroad Club excursion. There were many such trips during the last year of the interurban’s existence. (Richard H. Young Photo)
A close-up of Maury Klebolt (1930-1988). Not sure who is at left.
CTA Pullman PCC 4077 heads southbound at 2600 N. Clark Street in the early 1950s. It may be running on either Route 22 or 36. The Pullmans had almost entirely disappeared from service by the end of 1954, for the so-called “PCC Conversion Program.”
The same location today.
The Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in September 1963, shortly before the collection was moved to its permanent location in Union. From left to right, we see Milwaukee streetcar 966, a Milwaukee Electric interurban car (either 1129 or 1135), and Indiana Railroad car 65.
This September 1963 (or at least, that’s when the film was processed) view of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum is not the sharpest, but it does show, from left to right, CTA snow sweeper E223, Illinois Terminal 101, one of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurbans, and a Milwaukee Electric car.
North Shore Line Silverliner 409 at Roosevelt Road on august 4, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos: “409 was built by Cincinnati Car in May 1923, #2465, as a dining car motor. In 1942 it was rebuilt as a coach and rebuilt as a Silverliner on March 30, 1955. Since it had no bulkhead between smoking and non-smoking sections, it was our favorite car to be used for meetings of the Milwaukee Division of the Electric Railroaders Association in Milwaukee. The North Shore was very cooperative in making sure that the car was in the location shown on meeting nights.” The 409 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (C. G. Parsons Photo)
This amazing real photo postcard sold on eBay for $77.89. I unfortunately was not aware of the auction. It shows the Ridgeland “L” station on South Boulevard in Oak Park. The postcard was mailed in 1909 and hence can’t be any later than that. Work is already underway to elevate the Chicago & North Western tracks at left. The Lake Street “L” itself would join it on the embankment in 1962.
NYCTA Brooklyn PCC 1049 is running on the 72 Smith Line to the Brooklyn Bridge in this undated photo, taken between 1946 and 1956. According to the information on the half frame slide mount, this is on 10th Avenue at 17th Street, at the 9th Avenue Depot. Half frame had a brief vogue in the early 1950s, as a way to double the number of pictures on a 35mm roll, while still maintaining some level of quality. But most photographers back then didn’t need twice as many pictures on a roll. In the long run, it Kodak downsized their film over time, from sizes 126 to 110 and Disc, in order to make bigger profits. But sharpness was reduced in turn, and full-frame 25mm is still with us today. These 1950s Brooklyn PCCs appear to have had about as many dents as their Chicago cousins. (R. Fillman Photo)
The Magic of Clark Frazier
Clark Frazier is an excellent photographer who has been active since around 1956. Among the first 35mm slides that I took home from Jeff’s collection were over 100 that he had purchased from Mr. Frazier over the last few years. Even better, Mr. Frazier did a lot of traveling, so his work covers many different cities. In his retired years, Jeff loved purchasing excellent slides that not only reflected his own type of shooting, but filled in gaps in his collection– views that he was unable to capture himself, or places he couldn’t get to before something ceased operating. For example, in this representative sampling, I am not certain that Jeff was able to visit Washington D.C. prior to the abandonment of streetcars there in 1962, and I don’t think he could get to San Francisco in time to ride the “Iron Monsters” before they were all taken out of service around 1957. So here they are.
DC Transit 1572 on Route 70 at Georgia and Alaska on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit 1566 inbound on Route 82 at Riverdale on September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 77 turn back meets 130 on Geary Boulevard in 1956. Hope that dog made it across the street safely. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit 1322 at the Department of the Interior on Route 82, on September 2, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit 1567 on Route 82 on Rhode Island Avenue, September 1, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
Boston MTA 3311 and 3305 are stuck in the snow at Riverside after a “Noreaster” on March 4, 1960. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 139 turns left from Geary onto 33rd Avenue in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)
St. Louis Public Service PCC 1628 arrives at South Broadway carhouse on August 23, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit 1555 from Cabin John in Brookmont on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 195 on the C Line at Geary and Van Ness in January 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 205 and 1014 at the end of the N Line in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 176 outbound on the N Line to the beach in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit 1469 is on Rhode Island Avenue (Route 82) in Maryland, August 11, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 199 at 46th and Vicente on the L line on September 9, 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)
El Paso 1500 backs up at the Cotton Street Carbarn on June 12, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit 1321 at the Soldier’s Home end of Route 74 on February 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 156 is an inbound J Line car at Market and Duboce in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 178 is heading to the beach on Carl Street (N Line) in 1957. Don’s Rail Photos: “178, K Type, was built by Bethlehem Shipbuilding Co in 1923.” From wrm.org: “The Bay Area Electric Railway Association purchased the 178 from the Muni in February of 1959, and moved it to Marysville, California, for storage on a Sacramento Northern spur for occasional operation on the electrified trackage in the Marysville-Yuba City area. It was moved to Rio Vista Junction in August, 1964 to join the rest of the BAERA collection. 178 returned to San Francisco in 1982 to be part of the Trolley Festival on Market Street while the City rebuilt it’s cable cars lines. In 1983 the 178 returned to the Western Railway Museum and still operates today.” (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 105 on the B (Geary) Line at Leavenworth Street in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit (ex-Capital Traction) 303 at the Mt. Rainier Loop on September 1, 1958. Don’s Rail Photos: “303 was built by American Car Co in 1898 as Capital Traction Co 303. It is now at the Smithsonian (National Museum of American History).” The 303 was retired from regular service in 1913 but was kept for charter use until the end of DC streetcar service in 1962. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 206 is on the C Line at 2nd Avenue and Cornwall in 1956. (Clark Frazier Photo)
SF Muni 188 is running on the K Line on Market Street between 5th and 6th in 1957. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit 1399 on Route 90, at Pennsylvania Avenue SE, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)
DC Transit 1288 at Friendship Heights, running on Route 30, on June 7, 1959. (Clark Frazier Photo)
Chicago Rapid Transit Route Descriptions
“L” operations were rather complex prior to the October 1, 1947 takeover by the Chicago Transit Authority, so much so that Chicago Rapid Transit Company maps typically made no attempt to explain them. There were pocket guides published over the years by third parties that included explanations, but often these were considerably out of date by the time of publication.
Here, courtesy of Andre Kristopans, are the various CRT route descriptions that describe the service in place at the time when CTA assumed control. The dates vary from 1940 to 1946 because service hadn’t been altered on those lines by October 1, 1947.
“L” service “grew like Topsy” in the early years, as the saying goes, reflecting its origins as four separate companies, operating independently. There were expresses and locals, and by 1913, some trains through-routed from the north and south sides, some trains ending or originating at the four downtown stub-end terminals, and the several branch lines. Trains were split at some locations, with one part going one way, the other part a different way.
Powering the Metropolitan West Side Elevated
We recently acquired the August, 1895 edition of Power magazine, which featured a three-page article describing the then-new Metropolitan West Side Elevated‘s Loomis Street power plant. The Met was the first of Chicago’s four “L”s to operate exclusively with electricity. The South Side and Lake Street “L”s began life with steam locomotives. The Met was greatly influenced by the success of the experimental Columbian Intramural Railway at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
In 1895, there was no such thing as commercially available electricity on this kind of scale. You had to make your own.
I spent the morning talking to a friend over zoom and doodling this, Indiana Railroad Car 65. I showed the drawing to him and he was kind of impressed.
Thanks! In case you don’t know him, Colin is a very talented young man who enjoys searching the former Chicago, Aurora & Elgin right-of-way in search of artifacts that have until now been overlooked. He has found, among many other things, a small section of third rail.
Jack Bejna writes:
I enjoyed the latest post as I always do. I really like the shot of the Highwood Shops and since I have some time this morning I decided to help out the image by getting rid of the bad portion. Hope you like it!
ps: I never took the time to get over to the shops and get some pictures, so I rely on you for keeping the memories of the North Shore alive! Thanks for your great work.
Thanks! Our regular readers are probably familiar with Jack’s great work, which has graced these pages many times in the past, and will hopefully do so in the future.
From our resident South Side expert M.E.:
First, Happy New Year, a bit late because your last few postings were so heavily weighted toward the north side, I had nothing to comment on. But I have a few things today.
This is the schedule sheet for south side service. At the bottom of the page is “Stock Yard Services”. Notice the heading “Jackson Pk.” and its associated train times. According to the route description, two morning trains ran from Jackson Park to Indiana Av., then onto the Stock Yards tracks. And two evening trains ran from the Stock Yards to Indiana Ave., then to Jackson Park. This is the first time I have heard of any trains doing that.
I had always thought the switches west of Indiana made it difficult to get between the main line and the Stock Yards line. But this schedule sheet piqued my curiosity, so I dug out my CERA Bulletin 115, which has great trackage maps toward the back. Plate 8, Detail 15, page 235, illustrating the trackage at Indiana Ave. in 1914, shows there were usable switches between the Stock Yards and main lines. Those switches could have still existed in April 1946 — the date of this schedule — because Plate 8 also shows the switch arrangement starting in 1949 (the one I remember), which would not have worked well to switch between the two lines.
The date April 1946 is after World War II, so even if this route was put in place during the war, it continued after the war. Interesting.
This sheet verifies that Englewood trains ran to Ravenswood. That is the route I first rode on the Rapid Transit Lines.
For Further Reading
Several issues of The Elevated News and Rapid Transit News from the 1920s can be read here via Google Books. You can even download the entire book.
These publications include important historical information that might not be available otherwise. To cite a couple of examples, here are excerpts from the May 1, 1926 issue of Rapid Transit News.
First, we had a recent discussion here (see Our Sixth Anniversary, January 21, 2021) that mentioned an underground passageway that connected Union Station to the Canal Street “L” station on the Met main line. Well, this is not only mentioned in Rapid Transit News, but there is both a map and a photo. We also learn that it was used by 8,000 people per day.
Second, there is a progress report on the new “L” service to Bellwood and Westchester, then set to open, including a picture of the tower that controlled movements on this branch off the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin main line.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
PS- We have added the two nocturnal shots to our previous post Night Beat (June 21, 2016). If you like this style of photography, you might want to check it out.
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.
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.
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. 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!
Title Building Chicago’s Subways Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages Chapter Titles: 01. The River Tunnels 02. The Freight Tunnels 03. Make No Little Plans 04. The State Street Subway 05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway 06. Displaced 07. Death of an Interurban 08. The Last Street Railway 09. Subways and Superhighways 10. Subways Since 1960 Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author. The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States. For Shipping to US Addresses: For Shipping to Canada: For Shipping Elsewhere:
Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Help Support The Trolley Dodger
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CTA 6151 is southbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953 running on Route 8. The bridge 6151 is on spanned the Congress Expressway construction site. The highway was not yet open, and service continued on the Halsted “L” station at rear (with two tracks instead of the original four) until June 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Spring is here again, at least sort of, since we are expecting snow today here in Chicago. It’s been some time since our last post, but we have been busy collecting more streetcar and interurban pictures for your enjoyment. Plus, there are important contributions from some of our readers, for which we are thankful.
Each year, we turn our clocks forward one hour in the spring. But many of us wish we could simply turn back the clock instead, although hindsight is always 20/20 and we should always keep our eyes on the future.
But regardless, let’s “spring forward” with some great traction images from days gone by! We also have a few bonus images for our bus and diesel fans as well.
PS- We are gratified that despite not having a new post for two months, our readers have continued to support us. In fact, we are still very much on track to show a 15% increase in page views this year.
Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern car 100 on the Southern Iowa Railway on October 13, 1963. Don’s Rail Photos: “100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was built as a second motor to operate behind the 140s as a two car train. The baggage compartment was a kitchen, and the rear end was an open platform observation. The buffet section was replaced with coach seats in 1918. The car was then rebuilt with a control station and baggage compartment in 1928 and the rear platform was enclosed at that time. It was the last interurban left on the WCF&N when it became diesel freight, and it was donated to the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS in 1956. It was moved to Centerville and operated on the Southern Iowa Ry. When the SI cut back its operation and dieselized, the Iowa Chapter transferred the car to the Iowa Terminal RR in 1966. Shortly after it was repainted and put into charter service, it was destroyed in the carbarn fire early November 24, 1967. It had been the only car saved from the WCF&N roundhouse fire on October 31, 1954, when the other two cars of its class burned.” This slide has “Q transfer” noted on it– not sure what that means. (James J. Buckley Photo)
The new and the old. CTA 5007 and 2269 at Rosemont on August 26, 2010. The 2200s have since been retired. (Bruce Nelson Photo)
An Oshawa steeple cab with a Philadelphia & Reading coach at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
An Oshawa steeple cab at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Montreal observation car #4 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Connecticut Company Birney car 3001 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Illinois Terminal double-ended PCC 451 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
New Orleans #836 and Rio car #1850 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Rio car #1850 at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in May 1967. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)
Connecticut Company open car 1414 was built by Osgood Bradley in 1911. Here, we see it at the Shore Line Trolley Museum located at Branford, Connecticut on June 18, 1966. (William C. Janssen Photo)
Connecticut Company open car 1414 at Branford on May 30, 1964. (J. W. Vigrass Photo)
Connecticut Company open car 1414 was built by Osgood Bradley in 1911. Here, we see it at the Shore Line Trolley Museum located at Branford, Connecticut on June 18, 1966. (William C. Janssen Photo)
You would be forgiven for thinking this December 18, 1955 photo shows CTA Pullman 144. But this was actually the excursion where car 144 was promised, but 225 was substituted in its place– renumbered with the help of a few pieces of oilcloth. Here, the fantrip car is seen at Broadway and Devon.
CTA PCC 7138, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at the State Street loop near 84th on February 11, 1950. This location is now occupied by the Dan Ryan expressway.
CTA PCC 7070 at the Clark and Howard loop on July 4, 1954.
Philadelphia & Western (aka Red Arrow) Bullet car 202 at Norristown in 1949. Behind 202, you can see the ramp leading down to street level, used by Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell route trains. (S. Bogen Photo)
By May 1961, when this photo was taken in Norristown, Liberty Bell Limited trains had been gone for nearly a decade. As you can see at left, the ramp leading down to ground level was removed and blocked off with an advertising sign.
Philadelphia Suburban (aka Red Arrow) Brilliner car 3 at Gay and High Streets in West Chester on June 6, 1954, at the end of trolley service on this route. The longest Red Arrow line was mainly a single-track side-of-the-road operation, which had to give way for the widening of West Chester Pike. (Edward S. Miller Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban (aka Red Arrow) car 78 at Larchmont Station on West Chester Pike at Media Line Road, Newtown Township, PA on May 9, 1954. Photographer Edward S. Miller noted that he later operated this car at the Arden trolley museum.
Philadelphia Suburban double-end car 19, which looked like a PCC but does not technically qualify as one, since it had standard interurban trucks and motors. It is captured on May 9, 1954 at Broomall Station on West Chester Pike at Sproul Road in Marple Township, PA. (Edward S. Miller Photo)
A pair of Bullet cars running in multiple units on the Red Arrow Norristown High Speed Line on September 9, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban (aka red Arrow) car 11 at the end of the line on the short Ardmore branch on September 9, 1958. (Clark Frazier Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban (aka red Arrow) car 13, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on the Media line on September 9, 1958. Garrett Patterson says the location is “Drexelbrook, inbound.” (Clark Frazier Photo)
Philadelphia Suburban double-ended car 15, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1949, is seen at Gay and High Streets in West Chester, at the end of the long West Chester trolley line.
To see many more Philadelphia pictures like the ones above,take a look at our previous post Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016).
Fairmount Park Transit closed car #1 on May 19, 1935.
Fairmount Park Transit open car 18 at the car barn.
CTA one-man car 1743 (signed for Route 21 – Cermak, but the photographer has written “Lake Street”) entering Kedzie Station at 5th Avenue and Jackson Boulevard on July 21, 1952. This picture looks to have been taken at about the same time as another, which shows a PCC car, on page 102 of my book Chicago Trolleys. (Robert Selle Photo)
Indianapolis Railways “Peter Witt” car 173 is shown at the Broad Ripple loop on June 6, 1951. Broad Ripple Village is an Indy neighborhood that was once an independent municipality. It was annexed into Indianapolis in 1922. (Robert Selle Photo)
CSL “Matchbox” 1169 at Damen and Taylor on June 2, 1945. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1169 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUT 4698. It was renumbered 1169 in 1913 and became CSL 1169 in 1914. It was retired on September 16, 1944.” Not sure about the discrepancy in dates, but some renumbering of these cars did take place.
Chicago Aurora & Elgin cars 401 and 431 are crossing the DesPlaines River westbound on August 29, 1953, about a half mile west of the DesPlaines Avenue station. This is now the site of I-290. The CA&E tracks and bridge were moved north of the highway in 1959 but were never used by the interurban, which was subsequently abandoned. In this section, the CA&E ran parallel to Harrison Street, which has also been taken up by the highway. (Robert Selle Photo)
Three CTA arch-roof cars awaiting scrapping on May 16, 1954: two-man 6141, one-man cars 6167 and 3128 at South Shops. This was just two weeks before the end of all red car service in Chicago, and was also the date of a fantrip that ran on all the lines that were about to be “bustituted.” (Robert Selle Photo)
Images From the Wien-Criss Archive
Our thanks to Jeffrey L. Wien for sharing these classic pictures with our readers.
A three-car train of Boston MTA PCCs, running on Commonwealth Avenue east of Summit Avenue on May 31, 1961. (Clark Frazier Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
The Chicago Great Western Railway merged with the Chicago & North Western in 1968, and most of its trackage was thereafter abandoned. But on February 21, 1965, we see CGW freight #91, running westbound on Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks, parallel to I-290 just west of Lombard in suburban Oak Park, Illinois. The motive power consisted of 104A, 105B, 106C, 116F, 1100, 112C, and 177. At right, you can see the secondary entrance to the CTA’s Congress rapid transit line at Lombard. The main entrance at Austin Boulevard is two blocks east of there. The CGW split off from the B&OCT in Forest Park a few miles west of here, and then ran parallel to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban through Bellwood. (James J. Buckley Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Kansas City Public Service PCCs 712 and 796 at the 48th and Harrison yard on October 16, 1956. PCCs last ran in Kansas City in 1957, but streetcars returned to Kansas City in 2016. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee city car 360 on Glen Flora Avenue in Waukegan, Illinois. This picture could not have been taken after 1947. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 529, as seen from the Ashland station on the Lake Street “L”, on May 7, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 1725 is operating as a one-man shuttle car on the Madison-Fifth branch line on Route 20 on February 15, 1953. The car is heading southwest on Fifth Avenue approaching Harrison Street and Pulaski Avenue, which was the end of the line near the adjacent Garfield Park “L” station. I thought at first that the date might actually have been 1954, but subsequent research shows the 1953 date to be correct (see correspondence with Tony Waller below). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 540 at 70th and Ashland (69th Street Station) on May 23, 1953. The sign above the streetcar bays is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago Surface Lines 4118, built by Pullman, heads southbound on Clark at Wacker on June 13, 1947. We ran a version of this picture before, in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Six (November 30, 2015), but this one is better, as it is a scan from the original medium format negative. (Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 230 is southbound on Clark Street, having just crossed the bridge over the Chicago River on May 18, 1954. This was less than two weeks before the end of red car service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
In this November 4, 1952 view, CTA 593 is on Clark Street, heading south to the Limits car barn, while car 562 is on Southport, the north end of the Ashland route. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On August 7, 1952, CTA 452 is at the north end of Route #9 – Ashland, on Southport just north of Irving Park Road. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On May 24, 1958 the Central Electric Railfans’ Association operated a fantrip on the South Shore Line, using Illinois Central equipment. Normally, South Shore cars ran on the IC, but not the other way around. Here, they are having a photo stop at the “new” East Chicago station, parallel to the Indiana Toll Road, which opened in 1956. It replaced street running in East Chicago. The view looks east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On July 13, 1955, a 700-series North Shore Line car is being converted into a Silverliner, while flanked by cars 419 and 746 at the Highwood Shops. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA one-man car 6171 is at Lawrence and Clark in December 1951. Note the outdoor scale at left. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA one-man car 1784 is heading southwest on Ogden (Route 58) at Van Buren and Honore. To the right, buildings are being cleared away for the Congress Expressway. To the north, you can see a Wieboldt’s department store, which was located on Adams between Ogden and Ashland. The “L” to the rear is the Met branch leading to Logan Suare, already out of service for several months when this picture was taken in August 1951. The Garfield Park “L” would have been directly behind the photographer, smack dab in the middle of what became the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullmans 546 and 553 cross near a safety island at 71st and Ashland on June 29, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
In this amazing June 22, 1953 view of the junction at Tower 18, on Chicago’s Loop “L” at Lake and Wells, we see CTA Evanston Express and Garfield Park trains, with a North Shore Line train in the background. Until 1969, both Loop tracks ran in the same direction, so the two cars are heading towards the photographer, while the North Shore Line train is going away. The photographer was standing on the Randolph and Wells platform. That station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
On November 9, 1952, a two-car CTA “L” train, headed by car 1019, is on the trestle at Central on the Evanston branch. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 643 is westbound at North and Halsted on August 14, 1948. That section of “L” at the rear, part of a section known as the “triple curve,” is still there today, and is used by Brown and Purple Line trains. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Clark Street PCC 4361 and Broadway PCC 7175 meet at Clark, Broadway, and Diversey on November 8, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 558, turning onto Ashland from Irving Park Road on May 19, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA one-man car 3276 on Route 50 – Damen at about 2300 North. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 926 is a Lincoln-Peterson car at Division and Clark in June 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman 58 is running as a “tripper” on Broadway-State on May 18, 1954. Here, we see it southbound on State Street, crossing the Chicago River over the bridge that was put into service in 1949. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA 575 is southbound on Paulina near Washington Boulevard, running on Route 9 – Ashland on September 15, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A green and cream “L” car passes a green and cream trolley. CTA 4327 is at the front of a Lake Street “L” train, running at ground level under trolley wire at Pine Street, while CTA 3141 prepares to turn and cross the tracks, heading to the other side of the Chicago & North Western embankment on September 26, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Trolley scrapping: except for a few stragglers, nearly all red cars were scrapped by the CTA after being taken out of regular service on May 30, 1954. On November 6, 1954, we see Big Pullmans 248 and 585 at right, and one of the cars at left is 604 in this scene at South Shops. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
The late Robert Selle, a very gifted photographer, took his own picture inside CTA streetcar 3217 at 69th Street Station on July 12, 1952. (Wien-Criss Archive)
Bob Selle took a “fast shot” of CTA 681 just inside the gates at Limits Station on June 28, 1952. Limits was located at 2650 North Clark Street, which was the city limits in the late 1800s. (Wien-Criss Archive)
In this September 5, 1953 view, looking west from the CTA Racine Avenue station on the old Metropolitan main line, we see the Throop Street Shops at right. A CA&E train is approaching us, heading toward the Loop. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A 6-car CTA Ravenswood “A” train, made up of 200 and 300-series “L” cars, approaches Clark and Lake on September 15, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
Chicago & North Western steam loco 555, a 4-6-2, heads up a northwest line commuter train at Kinzie and 400 West on August 20, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A two-car CTA train of railroad-roof cars is on the bridge over the North Shore Channel on the Evanston line on November 29, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
A view of the first 6400-series CTA “L” cars head into Chicago on a North Shore Line freight train on February 19, 1955. The location is just south of the Highmoor, Illinois station. Some of the parts used on these cars were recyycled from scrapped CTA PCCs that had less than 10 years’ service. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA Pullman PCC 4063 is turning from Madison Street onto Franklin on its way into the Loop, running on Route 20 – Madison. In this September 16, 1953 view, car 4063 appears to have suffered some front-end damage that has gone unrepaired. This is probably due to the CTA’s desire to scrap these cars within the next year or so. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)
CTA PCC 4081, heading south on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, proceeds slowly through a work zone at Clark and Van Buren on July 17, 1954. For more pictures of this, see our previous post Track Work @Clark & Van Buren, 1954 (February 1, 2015). This negative was apparently sold by an “RJA” at one point, which may mean the photo was taken by railfan Richard J. Anderson. This track work was related to the conversion of Clark and Dearborn into one-way streets downtown. (Wien-Criss Archive)
From the Collections of William Shapotkin
Again, our tanks to Bill for sharing these with us.
CTA PCCs 7182 and 4380 (or is it 4390?) are turning from Wentworth onto Vincennes at 73rd Street on Route 22. From the looks of the automobiles, this picture may have been taken in 1958. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL/CTA 6213 at 93rd and Exchange Avenue. The slide said the cross street was Anthony, but as Tony Waller points out, “The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5130, signed for 31st and Lake Park. Bill Shapotkin says this car “is at Archer/Pitney. The view looks N-N/W on Pitney. The car has just changed ends and will take the crossover to head east.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5083 is signed for Pitney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin say this location “is E/B in 31st, the car has just x/o South Park (now King Dr). The church on the S/E corner is still-standing and either is or has just undergone renovation.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5147, signed for Pitney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin says this location “is W/B at Wallace (note address of 556 on building at left and car tracks in Wallace). View looks E-N/E.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6199 is signed for Route 87A. (William Shapotkin Collection)
This close-up from the previous image, although not very sharp, does show that this car is a Frazer, a product of the Kaiser-Frazer company, If I had to guess, I would say it’s a 1947 model, possibly a Frazer Manhattan. Most of the styling on this car is attributed to “Dutch” Darrin. Kaiser-Frazer was an independent automaker between 1946 and 1954, started by aluminum magnate Henry J. Kaiser.
CTA one-man car 3224 is at 92nd and Baltimore. That’s a bus trailing behind. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA Pullman 144, possibly on a late 1950s fantrip. This car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man car 3219 is at 87th and Escanaba in May 1950, at the end of the line for Route 87A. The operator is changing ends. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man car 3220 is at 67th and Oglesby in June 1952, on Route 67. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6153. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 7191 is at 81st and Wallace on Route – Clark-Wentworth. (Robert W. Gibson Photo, William Shapotkin collection)
CTA Pullman 459 is at Ashland and 27th Street on Route 9 in February 1951. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5147, signed for Pitney and Archer. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL 5154, signed for Piney and Archer. Bill Shapotkin says, “This car is at East end-of-line in 26th east of Lake Park Ave — note IC catenary in background. View looks N/E.” (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 5278 at 79th and Western in March 1948 on Route 79. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man car 6224 is at 92nd and Commercial in April 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA one-man car 6272 is at 89th and Buffalo on Route 93 in April 1948. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CSL one-man car 6213 is at 89th and Avenue O in October 1946, on Route 93-95. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA 6209 is at 94th on July 2, 1949, running on Route 93-95. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA Pullman 677 is at Pulaski and Bryn Mawr in 1949 on Route 53. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Bill Shapotkin writes:
All the pix of a ‘GM&O” passenger train are of the southbound “Plug,” the Chicago-Joliet suburban train. Even after the ICG merger, the train continued to operate with GM&O equipment — and indeed, the loco (do not recall if it was 880-B or not), even got a new GM&O logo stenciled onto its nose. Bi-level equipment arrived (I believe) circa 1977-79, when a second “Plug” was added to the schedule.
A Gulf, Mobile & Ohio passenger train near Chicago’s Loop. This slide was process in August 1972, right around the time that the GM&O was merged into the Illinois Central. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A GM&O diesel in August 1972, near some Penn Central motive power. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A diesel loco, still in GM&O colors, on August 15, 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A GM&O loco heads up a passenger train in August 1975 and prepares to pass an Amtrak train. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A Chicago & North Western commuter train near Chicago’s Loop in August 1970. (William Shapotkin Collection)
A Chicago & North Western commuter train in Maywood on August 4, 1969. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA “Fishbowl” bus 1253 at Jefferson Park on June 25, 1978, running on Route 81. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA “Fishbowl” 1178 leaving Jefferson Park on Route 81 on March 10, 1980. (William Shapotkin Collection)
CTA bus 6286 is turning from Clark onto Southport in April 2008. This is the north end for Route 9 – Ashland. (John J. Le Beau Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 4718 at the Mitchell International Airport cell phone parking lot on September 30, 2016. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5612 at the Mitchell International Airport cell phone parking lot on April 26, 2017. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5180 at the Bayshore loop on February 20, 2012, running the Green Line to Mitchell Airport. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5174 at the 60th and Vliet loop on May 27, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5129 at 35th and Silver Spring on June 9, 2012, running Route 19. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5162 at the 60th and Vliet loop on February 19, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Milwaukee County Transit System 5137 at the 60th and Vliet loop on March 5, 2012, running Route 33. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Railroad Record Club News
From Kenneth Gear:
I just found an interesting RRC document on line. It is a list of all RRC records available at the time of RRC 12 the DM&IR record’s release. I found it on a British vinyl record website but the copy of RRC 12 it came with was already sold. Unfortunately the scan is low res and there wasn’t much I could do to fix it. I color corrected it and sharpened the image. It is readable and contains a little bit of info about the club membership.
Barry Shanoff writes:
I haven’t seen any updates in a while. I hope all is well.
Thanks for writing.
I worked 15 out of 16 days in a row last month as an election judge, and that pretty much wore me out for a while. After that, it took me a couple weeks to get back up to speed.
Meanwhile, I have also been working hard on my next book, now scheduled for publication on October 1st. It’s close to being finished. I am also collecting material for what I hope will be next year’s book.
I have also been collecting lots of new images for the blog (see this post!). There’s a major article coming soon by Larry Sakar about Milwaukee streetcars, plus lots of images that other people have shared with me, in addition to ones I have purchased.
So although there hasn’t been a post in a while, a lot of work, as always, has been going on behind the scenes.
Charlie Vlk writes:
In case you haven’t come across this site the Indiana Historical Society has photos of 4200s being built and North Shore and South Shore items.
A caregiver for my father sent this to me. My father is the Marvin C. Kruse you cited. A few corrections. My dad just celebrated his 96th birthday a few weeks ago, alive and well. Also he never said he was POW.
I LOVE what you have done with his photos that my brother sold. This is a real benefit for all. Very good memories; Dad enjoyed this blog, too.
Looks like some of the information I dug up applied to a different Marvin C. Kruse. We have corrected the post, thanks. Glad he likes it.
Jack Bejna writes:
Another great post! The time you spend in preparation of these posts has to be enormous and just want you to know that your efforts are appreciated!
More CA&E images to come!
Tony Waller writes:
While I commend you for keeping up the great work, I believe I detected some errors in your photos. In the photo of the Fifth Avenue shuttle’s one-man red car that you said must be 1954 and not the cited 1953. It could well have been 1953. When streetcars were replaced by weekend/holiday buses on Route 20 Madison and Madison/Fifth in March 1952, buses ran on the Fifth Avenue branch only on Saturdays (through to the Loop). One-man red cars instituted the shuttle service on Fifth Avenue on Sundays and major holidays. Following complete bus substitution on the main line of Madison in December 1953, the one-man red car shuttle provided all service (seven days per week) on Fifth Avenue until February 1954 when the branch was discontinued without replacement.
The photo of the IC electric suburban train does not appear to me to be at Halsted (West Pullman) station on the Blue Island branch. I can’t say where it is, however.
The photo of the two wooden “railroad roof” Chicago Rapid Transit cars are not on the Central St., Evanston elevation; but are on the bridge over the nearby North Shore Channel waterway.
The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.
But as I said above, keep up your great work!
Thanks for the corrections. I did already fix the caption for the IC picture, which was the result of the neg envelopes getting switched between two negs. Not sure whether Bob Selle did this, but in any event I purchased one neg and Jeff Wien the other. Once we swap neg envelopes, order will be restored in the universe.
The www.chicagorailfan.com web site gives May 11, 1952 as the date when buses were substituted for streetcars on weekends for Route 20, but did not say anything about the Madison-Fifth branch line still being operated with trolleys as a shuttle until December 13, 1953. Admittedly, some of this minutiae does get a bit confusing.
However, this is all clarified on page 284 of Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History (Third Edition), where author Alan R. Lind notes:
“CTA substituted buses for the Madison main line cars on weekends only starting May 11, 1952… (regarding the Madison-Fifth branch) On May 11, 1952 it remained a two-man car route on weekdays to downtown, but became a bus route to downtown on Saturdays only, and a one-man shuttle car route on Sundays only.”
One reason Madison-Fifth was eventually discontinued without bus replacement was the construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway. It was decided to simply truncate Fifth Avenue at the highway and no bridge was built crossing it. Other cutbacks to that street have followed, to the point where today it is perhaps a vestige of what it once was.
The other thing that cinches it is the calendar. February 15, 1953 was a Sunday, when shuttle cars would have been running, while the following year the 15th was a Monday. Since Bob Selle marked on his neg envelope that this was a Sunday, the 1953 date must be correct after all.
Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:
Missed you, wondered where you went. Glad you’re back.
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/image691.jpg Behind the streetcar you see the tracks and the trolley wires curving to the left. Also, this streetcar is crossing a railroad. Also, the sign indicates the car is westbound to 95th and State. All of this tells me this is the area west of Stony Island Ave. where the 93rd/95th streetcar wiggled through several streets, heading west and south, before crossing the railroad seen in the picture. I also think the person in the front left window of the streetcar is its conductor. When the streetcar approached the railroad crossing, it stopped. The conductor had to get out of the streetcar, walk up to the railroad track, look both ways for trains, and then signal to the motorman if it was okay to cross the railroad tracks. The conductor probably re-boarded the streetcar at the front. He could stay there a while because the next streetcar stop was a fair distance west. By the way, this crossing required a two-man crew, which otherwise would have been only one man because of relatively light patronage on that line. The customers on this particular run were most likely steelworkers heading home.
https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/image688.jpg I wondered why there was a Gulf, Mobile and Ohio passenger train in 1972, because most passenger railroads yielded to Amtrak in April 1971 (the only exceptions being the Rock Island, Southern, and Rio Grande). So I guessed this picture has to depict a commuter train. I looked up “GM&O commuter train” in Google, and sure enough, it was GM&O’s only commuter train of the day, called the Plug.
The “2” key on my computer keyboard has been malfunctioning recently, which explains why I typed 1 instead of 21.
Additional research seems to show the 1953 date is correct for image742. See my correspondence with Tony Waller, which I have posted to the main body of the post.
I will post your other corrections later today, thanks! Always great to hear from you.
George Trapp writes:
Great to see your latest post. I do have one small correction on one photo and a couple of observations on another.
The June 22, 1953 view of Tower 18 on the Loop Elevated: The train approaching on the left is an Evanston Express not a Ravenswood. The lead car is a former Northwestern Elevated 1000 series gate car, note left hand cab and trolley poles. The Ravenswood used former South Side gate cars that had been used on the Wilson-Kenwood locals at this time in addition to new 6000’s.. Also, run #509 is an Evanston run number, Ravenswood’s were in the 400’s. Train behind is a Ravenswood at Merchandise Mart with 6131-6200 series cars.
Photo of Air-Door Pullman #528 on State Street bridge running as a Broadway-State tripper on May 18, 1954. Interesting because some of these cars were retained for emergencies after Ashland was converted to bus in Feb., 1954. In your CERA bulletin 146, there’s a photo of a line of them at Devon next to PCC #7195. By May 1954 the Post War PCC fleet was down to 347 cars. One other thing is the former Chicago Motor Coach 1001-1008 series Mack C-50 on the Wabash bridge. Unusual because they were not GM’s CMC’s usual supplier. They were probably purchased at GM’s encouragement because of anti-trust pressure GM was feeling. CMC reverted back to GM for 50 more TDH5103’s delivered four months after the Macks.
It’s great to hear from you; thanks for writing.
Ravenswood was what Bob Selle, the photographer, wrote on his negative envelope, so I went with that. But as we know, no one is infallible, and sometimes what’s written on a neg, slide, or print can turn out to be wrong.
Mr. Selle was a stickler for details, often putting down the day of the week and even the time of day when his pictures were taken, so for him, it’s a rare mistake. I will correct the caption, thanks.
We have written about the last few red cars before, the ones that were kept after May 30, 1954 for emergency use. I am pretty sure we were able to determine which cars they were, and how many.
Adam Platt writes:
Thanks again for the wonderful posts. They keep me up way too late some nights.
Wally Weart writes:
A home run, really one of the best so far.
Glad you like this post. Again, special thanks to Jeff Wien and Bill Shapotkin for their contributions.
On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)
Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.
This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.