Roy G. Benedict

Some very sad news via Eric Bronsky:

We rail preservationists and historians have lost an important member of our community. Roy G. Benedict, prolific writer and historian active with several rail organizations over the course of 60+ years, passed away unexpectedly. He was 78.

Among other activities, Roy was long involved with CERA publications and also served a term as editor of First & Fastest, published by the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society. His historic research and writings were meticulous, thorough and accurate. A native of Chicago’s South Side, he was considered a ‘walking encyclopedia’ of Chicago Surface Lines routes and operations.

Roy was a bachelor who lived alone on Chicago’s Northwest Side. He was employed as a schoolteacher. After retiring, he started Roy G Benedict Publisher’s Services as a sole proprietorship. He did not own a car and used public transportation to get wherever he needed to go, traveling frequently to Indiana to observe NICTD board meetings or to distant libraries to research electric railways. When invited to ride with others to railroad museums, model meets, and other events not accessible by bus or train, Roy was always grateful for the opportunity to tag along.

Roy would occasionally join me, Dan Joseph, and others on day trips. The photo below shows Roy enjoying Bob Olson’s South Bend Electric Railway in October of 2016. Dan spoke with Roy only last Wednesday, inviting him to join us Sunday to visit the Illinois Railway Museum. Our pickup point was the CTA Belmont Blue Line station. Roy, normally punctual, was not there when we arrived. We tried calling his home and mobile phone but there was no answer. Growing concerned, we made several phone calls in an attempt to find someone who could check on Roy. Our worst fears were confirmed on Monday.

There will be no funeral service. Roy bequeathed his collection to the Illinois Railway Museum’s Strahorn Library. I have no other information.

— Eric

Jeff Wien notes:

Roy was one of the most intelligent people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Roy G. Benedict started out as a mapmaker as a teenager in the 1950s. An early example of his work, a mimeographed track map of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, is reproduced below.

He was the co-author, along with James R. MacFarlane, of Not Only Passengers: How the Electric Railways Carried Freight, Express, and Baggage, Bulletin 129 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (1992).

Roy was very helpful to Carl Bajema, offering helpful advice on the book that became The Street Railways of Grand Rapids (co-author: Tom Maas), Bulletin 148 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association (2017). He was a stickler for getting details correct, and did not suffer fools gladly. If you disagreed with Roy, you had better have the facts at hand to make your case.

Mr. Benedict was interviewed on-camera for the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD produced by Jeff Wien and the late Bradley Criss for Chicago Transport Memories. He was also a contributor to Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, by Jeffrey L. Wien and myself, (Bradley Criss Photo Editor), published in 2015 by Central Electric Railfans’ Association as Bulletin 146.

In recent years, Roy had also been very active in the yearly Hoosier Traction Meet that takes place in Indianapolis each September.

This is a great loss to the railfan community. He will be missed.

-David Sadowski

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A Long Time Gone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait– there’s more!

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a short description of the book:

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

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

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

-David Sadowski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Wien

Chicago Area Recent Finds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same building as in the previous picture.

The same building as in the previous picture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chicago’s Loop in 1959

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another photo of the two Met "L" bridges.

Another photo of the two Met “L” bridges.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miscellaneous New Finds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mystery Photo

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

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

Updates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Correspondence

Our resident South Side expert M. E. writes:

Your latest post has a bunch of good stuff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M E

Thanks very much for your interesting observations!

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

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

63rd and Ashland was bustling back then.

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

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

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

We’ll let Jeff Wien have the last word:

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

Pre-Order Building Chicago’s Subways

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

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A Chicago Traction Valentine

This "red border" Kodachrome shows CTA salt car AA-104 at South Shops on January 4, 1956. Don's Rail Photos says, "AA104, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 339. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy (Calumet and South Chicago Railway) 838 in 1908. It was renumbered 2853 in 1913 and became CSL 2853 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA104 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956." This was one of the few railroad-roof cars on the Chicago system. The main color here is Pullman Green. (James J. Buckley Photo)

This “red border” Kodachrome shows CTA salt car AA-104 at South Shops on January 4, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos says, “AA104, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 339. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy (Calumet and South Chicago Railway) 838 in 1908. It was renumbered 2853 in 1913 and became CSL 2853 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA104 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956.” This was one of the few railroad-roof cars on the Chicago system. The main color here is Pullman Green. (James J. Buckley Photo)

After our recent forays to the East Coast, part of a series by guest contributor Kenneth Gear, we are back in Sweet Home Chicago for this one. Watch this space for additional posts in Ken’s series.

Although we are a few days late for Valentine’s Day, we nonetheless have many photographic gifts for Chicago-area traction fans in today’s post, that constitute a virtual Valentine to our readers. First, we have some recent finds. Next, a few color slides courtesy of William Shapotkin. Then, a bevy of classic black-and-white images taken by the late Robert Selle, one of the greatest railfan photographers.

We also have a book review, and there are two new audio CD collections in our ongoing efforts to digitize 1950s steam railroad audio for the 21st Century.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

When the CTA opened the five-mile long Skokie Swift branch in April 1964 (over a small portion of the former North Shore Line) ridership far exceeded expectations. So the four articulated 5000-series cars were quickly renovated and adapted for Swift service. These were experimental when built in 1947-48 and became "oddballs" on the CTA system. Here, we see car 51 (renumbered from 5001) in October 1964 at Kostner. These cars continued to run into the 1980s. Two of the four sets were saved, and this set is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Color correction by J. J. Sedelmaier)

When the CTA opened the five-mile long Skokie Swift branch in April 1964 (over a small portion of the former North Shore Line) ridership far exceeded expectations. So the four articulated 5000-series cars were quickly renovated and adapted for Swift service. These were experimental when built in 1947-48 and became “oddballs” on the CTA system. Here, we see car 51 (renumbered from 5001) in October 1964 at Kostner. These cars continued to run into the 1980s. Two of the four sets were saved, and this set is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Color correction by J. J. Sedelmaier)

Three CTA trains of 6000-series "L"/Subway cars are lined up by the old Tower 18 in the early 1950s. As you can see, with the tower in the middle of the junction, not all moves could be made. For example, eastbound trains coming from Lake Street could not go straight east, but had to turn south. At this time, traffic on both the inner and outer Loop tracks went in the same direction (counter-clockwise). This arrangement was changed in 1969 when the CTA wanted to through-route Lake with the new Dan Ryan line. The tower was moved and replaced with a new one, and new eastbound trackage was built where the old tower was. That was also the beginning of bi-directional operations on the Loop, which continue to this day.

Three CTA trains of 6000-series “L”/Subway cars are lined up by the old Tower 18 in the early 1950s. As you can see, with the tower in the middle of the junction, not all moves could be made. For example, eastbound trains coming from Lake Street could not go straight east, but had to turn south. At this time, traffic on both the inner and outer Loop tracks went in the same direction (counter-clockwise). This arrangement was changed in 1969 when the CTA wanted to through-route Lake with the new Dan Ryan line. The tower was moved and replaced with a new one, and new eastbound trackage was built where the old tower was. That was also the beginning of bi-directional operations on the Loop, which continue to this day.

One-man CSL 3117 is eastbound on 18th Street at Carpenter (approx. 1100 West) in the 1940s. Don's Rail Photos: "3117 was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948." This was part of a series known as CSL Safety Cars, aka "Sewing Machines." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

One-man CSL 3117 is eastbound on 18th Street at Carpenter (approx. 1100 West) in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos: “3117 was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948.” This was part of a series known as CSL Safety Cars, aka “Sewing Machines.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

Two CTA PCCs (4064 and 4115) and red car 368, all Pullmans, at Kedzie Station (Fifth and Kedzie) on August 22, 1953. The main portion of Route 20 - Madison was converted to bus on December 13 of that year, and the Fifth Avenue branch continued for a few more months as a shuttle operation. The PCC at left is in its original colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream and Swamp Holly Orange), while the one in the center has been repainted in Everglade Green and Alpine White. (Robert Selle Photo)

Two CTA PCCs (4064 and 4115) and red car 368, all Pullmans, at Kedzie Station (Fifth and Kedzie) on August 22, 1953. The main portion of Route 20 – Madison was converted to bus on December 13 of that year, and the Fifth Avenue branch continued for a few more months as a shuttle operation. The PCC at left is in its original colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream and Swamp Holly Orange), while the one in the center has been repainted in Everglade Green and Alpine White. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA Postwar PCC 7200, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at 81st and Halsted on January 2, 1954. This was the south end of Route 22, Clark-Wentworth. It's been pointed out to me that fans took a lot of pictures at this location, but here we had the opportunity to purchase the original medium-format neg, and not just a print. Notice the dents on the front of 7200. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA Postwar PCC 7200, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at 81st and Halsted on January 2, 1954. This was the south end of Route 22, Clark-Wentworth. It’s been pointed out to me that fans took a lot of pictures at this location, but here we had the opportunity to purchase the original medium-format neg, and not just a print. Notice the dents on the front of 7200. (Robert Selle Photo)

"One-man PCC 4021, now northbound on the (private right-of-way) portion of the South Cottage Grove line." This was on May 30, 1955. 4021 is now the only preserved prewar PCC, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo)

“One-man PCC 4021, now northbound on the (private right-of-way) portion of the South Cottage Grove line.” This was on May 30, 1955. 4021 is now the only preserved prewar PCC, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo)

Color Slides, Courtesy of William Shapotkin:

"Looking westbound on (North) Lake Street toward Austin Boulevard., cars 3153 and 1757, woring CTA Lake Street line, lay over at west end-of-line. In distance (SW corner of Lake and Austin in Oak Park), a bus working the Chicago & West Towns Lake Street line takes its layover. May 15, 1954." (About two weeks before the end of streetcar service on Route 16).

“Looking westbound on (North) Lake Street toward Austin Boulevard., cars 3153 and 1757, woring CTA Lake Street line, lay over at west end-of-line. In distance (SW corner of Lake and Austin in Oak Park), a bus working the Chicago & West Towns Lake Street line takes its layover. May 15, 1954.” (About two weeks before the end of streetcar service on Route 16).

"Chicago, IL. CTA car #3153, working an eastbound trip on Route 16 - Lake, is eastbound in (North) Lake Street, having just crossed over Central Avenue. View looks west/northwest from the Chicago & North Western embankment. May 15, 1954."

“Chicago, IL. CTA car #3153, working an eastbound trip on Route 16 – Lake, is eastbound in (North) Lake Street, having just crossed over Central Avenue. View looks west/northwest from the Chicago & North Western embankment. May 15, 1954.”

CTA 1812 at Lake and Pine in February 1953, heading west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", which was elevated onto the adjacent embankment in 1962. Pine is where Route 16 streetcars crossed the "L" to go from what was then called South Lake Street to North Lake Street. In 1964, the South Lake Street portion in this area was renamed Corcoran Place, after the death of the local alderman. (Thanks to J. J. Sedelmaier for twerking, er "tweaking" this one to make it look better.)

CTA 1812 at Lake and Pine in February 1953, heading west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, which was elevated onto the adjacent embankment in 1962. Pine is where Route 16 streetcars crossed the “L” to go from what was then called South Lake Street to North Lake Street. In 1964, the South Lake Street portion in this area was renamed Corcoran Place, after the death of the local alderman. (Thanks to J. J. Sedelmaier for twerking, er “tweaking” this one to make it look better.)

The same location today (Lake and Pine). This is where Lake Street takes a jog to the north side of the former Chicago & North Western embankment, and the CSL/CTA Route 16 streetcar went along with it. Since Lake Street pretty much split in two at this point, the section west of here (behind the photographer) was referred to as either North Lake or South Lake, depending on which side of the embankment you were on. This was a reasonable system, since there were no duplicate street numbers. But in 1964, the south portion between Pine and Austin (a distance of just over half a mile) was renamed Corcoran Place, after the local alderman, an ally of then-Mayor Richard J. Daley's, who died suddenly from a heart attack. The "L" was relocated onto the embankment in 1962 and the street it was in (either Lake Street, South Lake Street aka Corcoan Place, or South Boulevard in Oak Park) made wider, or made into parking lots.

The same location today (Lake and Pine). This is where Lake Street takes a jog to the north side of the former Chicago & North Western embankment, and the CSL/CTA Route 16 streetcar went along with it. Since Lake Street pretty much split in two at this point, the section west of here (behind the photographer) was referred to as either North Lake or South Lake, depending on which side of the embankment you were on. This was a reasonable system, since there were no duplicate street numbers. But in 1964, the south portion between Pine and Austin (a distance of just over half a mile) was renamed Corcoran Place, after the local alderman, an ally of then-Mayor Richard J. Daley’s, who died suddenly from a heart attack. The “L” was relocated onto the embankment in 1962 and the street it was in (either Lake Street, South Lake Street aka Corcoan Place, or South Boulevard in Oak Park) made wider, or made into parking lots.

"Chicago, IL. CTA car #4333 brings up the rear of an eastbound Lake Street "L" train. View looks east from Lake/Laramie station. Note pull-offs for overhead trolley wire, used west from Laramie station. June 23, 1959,"

“Chicago, IL. CTA car #4333 brings up the rear of an eastbound Lake Street “L” train. View looks east from Lake/Laramie station. Note pull-offs for overhead trolley wire, used west from Laramie station. June 23, 1959,”

"Chicago, IL. Looking westbound on CTA's Lake Street "L" at (South) Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), at Menard Avenue. Line car #S200 is seen doing wire work. In distance is the Austin/Lake "L" station. At right (on embankment) is one-time "Boulevard" Chicago & North Western station (located at Austin Boulevard). May 27, 1960." Don Ross: "S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1924."

“Chicago, IL. Looking westbound on CTA’s Lake Street “L” at (South) Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), at Menard Avenue. Line car #S200 is seen doing wire work. In distance is the Austin/Lake “L” station. At right (on embankment) is one-time “Boulevard” Chicago & North Western station (located at Austin Boulevard). May 27, 1960.” Don Ross: “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1924.”

"Oak Park, IL. A pair of 4000s, working a westbound trip on CTA's Lake Street "L", are on South Boulevard at Kenilworth Avenue. Visible in distance (on embankment) is one-time "Avenue" Chicago & North Western passenger station, located at Oak Park Avenue. View looks east on January 18, 1962."

“Oak Park, IL. A pair of 4000s, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Lake Street “L”, are on South Boulevard at Kenilworth Avenue. Visible in distance (on embankment) is one-time “Avenue” Chicago & North Western passenger station, located at Oak Park Avenue. View looks east on January 18, 1962.”

In the center, we see the portal at the north end of the State Street subway, just south of Armitage. The two middle "L" tracks were moved to the outer edge of the structure when the subway was built. The "L" continued south from this point with four tracks to Chicago Avenue. In recent years, the two outer tracks have been removed, and just a siding remains at this point.

In the center, we see the portal at the north end of the State Street subway, just south of Armitage. The two middle “L” tracks were moved to the outer edge of the structure when the subway was built. The “L” continued south from this point with four tracks to Chicago Avenue. In recent years, the two outer tracks have been removed, and just a siding remains at this point.

Chicago, Burlington & Qunict locomotive 4978 in Mendota, IL on September 2, 2010 with a Metra Electric (ex-Illinois Central "Highliner" at left. Both are at the Union Depot Railroad Museum. (Mike Sosalla Photo)

Chicago, Burlington & Qunict locomotive 4978 in Mendota, IL on September 2, 2010 with a Metra Electric (ex-Illinois Central “Highliner” at left. Both are at the Union Depot Railroad Museum. (Mike Sosalla Photo)

Classic Bob Selle Images

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know that the late Robert Selle (1929-2013) was an excellent photographer who specialized in black-and-white. As with many other railfan photographers, his extensive collection of images got scattered after his death.

Now and again, some of them pop up on eBay, but not always identified as his work in the auction listings. Fortunately, Selle is one of those few photographers whose work can be recognized at a glance, as it is often a cut above the rest.

Over the years, we have purchased a few Bob Selle negatives, which have been featured on this blog (including three in today’s post).

In 2011, Jeff Wien and the late Bradley Criss visited Mr. Selle in Florida, and he generously allowed them to scan some of his negatives. Tragically, Bradley Criss passed away in 2016 (you can read an appreciation of him here). He would have been 55 years old on February 4th.

As a tribute to both Bob Selle and Bradley Criss, here is a selection from the images they scanned, courtesy of Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive.

CTA Pullman 495 at Limits Station (car barn), so named because it was once at the north end of the city limits when first built. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 495 at Limits Station (car barn), so named because it was once at the north end of the city limits when first built. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 581 at Milwaukee and Clinton, in front of Chicago & North Western steam loco 1564. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 581 at Milwaukee and Clinton, in front of Chicago & North Western steam loco 1564. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4200 northbound on Clark near Montrose. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4200 northbound on Clark near Montrose. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 4224 (a Pullman) at the Limits car barn. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 4224 (a Pullman) at the Limits car barn. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The group photo from the last Chicago streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. This was less than a month before the end of streetcar service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The group photo from the last Chicago streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. This was less than a month before the end of streetcar service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6136 on the Museum Loop in Grant Park, just east of the Illinois Central Electric. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6136 on the Museum Loop in Grant Park, just east of the Illinois Central Electric. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA snow sweeper E223 was saved from destruction by Dick Lukin, and it is shown here in 1958, on its way to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum site in North Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA snow sweeper E223 was saved from destruction by Dick Lukin, and it is shown here in 1958, on its way to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum site in North Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A young (and shiirtless) Nick Kallas at the ERHS (Electric Railway Historical Society) site in Downers Grove, where streetcars such as Chicago & West Towns 141, shown here, were stored between 1959 and 1973, when the collection went to the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A young (and shiirtless) Nick Kallas at the ERHS (Electric Railway Historical Society) site in Downers Grove, where streetcars such as Chicago & West Towns 141, shown here, were stored between 1959 and 1973, when the collection went to the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 433, built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927. The tower, just barely visible at rear, was part of Wheaton Yard. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 433, built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927. The tower, just barely visible at rear, was part of Wheaton Yard. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 453, a 1945 product of St. Louis Car Company, at the Wheaton station. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 453, a 1945 product of St. Louis Car Company, at the Wheaton station. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A six-car CA&E train westbound at the Halsted curve. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A six-car CA&E train westbound at the Halsted curve. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 458 heads a three-car train westbound at Western Avenue. The CTA bus on Van Buren indicates that this picture was taken no earlier than August 12, 1951. The Van Buren Street temporary trackage appears to be in place already, but testing has not started yet, as there are barriers in place. "L" service shifted to the temporary trackage in September 1953 and the CA&E cut back service to Forest Park. At left you can see the imposing structure of Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School, otherwise known as Crane Tech. We are looking to the east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 458 heads a three-car train westbound at Western Avenue. The CTA bus on Van Buren indicates that this picture was taken no earlier than August 12, 1951. The Van Buren Street temporary trackage appears to be in place already, but testing has not started yet, as there are barriers in place. “L” service shifted to the temporary trackage in September 1953 and the CA&E cut back service to Forest Park. At left you can see the imposing structure of Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School, otherwise known as Crane Tech. We are looking to the east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Two North Shore Line trains pass at Ravinia on a 1953 Shore Line Route fantrip. This is not the same stop as Ravinia Park, which is some distance away. The area taken up by the NSL tracks is now a parking lot for the Metra station (former Chicago & North Western), whose tracks are at left. We are looking southeast. Presumably the Silverliner at right is the fantrip train as the other train is not flying flags. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Two North Shore Line trains pass at Ravinia on a 1953 Shore Line Route fantrip. This is not the same stop as Ravinia Park, which is some distance away. The area taken up by the NSL tracks is now a parking lot for the Metra station (former Chicago & North Western), whose tracks are at left. We are looking southeast. Presumably the Silverliner at right is the fantrip train as the other train is not flying flags. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The building just visible in the previous picture, located at 514 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park.

The building just visible in the previous picture, located at 514 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park.

Chicago & North Western loco 505 heads up at train at Kinzie Street. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago & North Western loco 505 heads up at train at Kinzie Street. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW loco 531 and train at Edison Park. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW loco 531 and train at Edison Park. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW 545 and train in Edison Park on Chicago's northwest side. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW 545 and train in Edison Park on Chicago’s northwest side. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 291 at 63rd and Narragansett, possibly during the period just before Route 63 was converted to bus on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 291 at 63rd and Narragansett, possibly during the period just before Route 63 was converted to bus on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 475, running on Route 56 - Milwaukee Avenue, emerges from the east portal of the Washington streetcar tunnel at Franklin Street, having traveled under the Chicago River. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 475, running on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue, emerges from the east portal of the Washington streetcar tunnel at Franklin Street, having traveled under the Chicago River. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 384 at Roosevelt and Paulina. Cars on Route 9 - Ashland took a jog here, as streetcars were not allowed to run on boulevards. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 384 at Roosevelt and Paulina. Cars on Route 9 – Ashland took a jog here, as streetcars were not allowed to run on boulevards. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 124 at Division and Wells on Route 6 - Van Buren. The latest this photo could have been taken is 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 124 at Division and Wells on Route 6 – Van Buren. The latest this photo could have been taken is 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 265 is northbound at State and Archer on Route 45 (Ashland-Downtown). At left, we see a Route 44 CTA bus. This helps date the picture to between July 7, 1951 (when 44 converted to bus) and February 14, 1954 (when routes 9 and 45 were converted). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 265 is northbound at State and Archer on Route 45 (Ashland-Downtown). At left, we see a Route 44 CTA bus. This helps date the picture to between July 7, 1951 (when 44 converted to bus) and February 14, 1954 (when routes 9 and 45 were converted). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 276 is eastbound at 63rd and Paulina on Route 63, probably in 1953 near the end of streetcar service on this line. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 276 is eastbound at 63rd and Paulina on Route 63, probably in 1953 near the end of streetcar service on this line. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 377, also at 63rd and Paulina. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 377, also at 63rd and Paulina. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 289 is eastbound on Grand near Milwaukee on Route 65. This route was converted to bus on April 1, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 289 is eastbound on Grand near Milwaukee on Route 65. This route was converted to bus on April 1, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 452 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 452 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 453 is heading west on diversion trackage on Route 8 - Halsted at Chicago Avenue in 1953. I believe the PCC at the rear is 7228, a product of the St. Louis Car Company. The diversion was between Division and Chicago, and was used when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. The two streetcars are about to turn from eastbound Chicago Avenue onto southbound Halsted. PCCs were being phased out on Halsted during this period, as CTA had begun shipping the 310 Pullmans to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping and parts reuse on a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars. By the time streetcar service ended on Halsted in 1954, service was being provided entirely by the older red cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 453 is heading west on diversion trackage on Route 8 – Halsted at Chicago Avenue in 1953. I believe the PCC at the rear is 7228, a product of the St. Louis Car Company. The diversion was between Division and Chicago, and was used when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. The two streetcars are about to turn from eastbound Chicago Avenue onto southbound Halsted. PCCs were being phased out on Halsted during this period, as CTA had begun shipping the 310 Pullmans to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping and parts reuse on a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars. By the time streetcar service ended on Halsted in 1954, service was being provided entirely by the older red cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The note that came with this image of CTA Pullman 469 says it is on Kedzie near Chicago Avenue. But the sign on the streetcar says route 66, which is Chicago and not Kedzie. So perhaps we are on Chicago Avenue near Kedzie. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Patrick Cunningham adds: "The Pullman 469 photo is on Chicago Ave. looking east from the CNW viaduct towards Sacramento. The building in the far background still exists."

The note that came with this image of CTA Pullman 469 says it is on Kedzie near Chicago Avenue. But the sign on the streetcar says route 66, which is Chicago and not Kedzie. So perhaps we are on Chicago Avenue near Kedzie. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Patrick Cunningham adds: “The Pullman 469 photo is on Chicago Ave. looking east from the CNW viaduct towards Sacramento. The building in the far background still exists.”

The view looking east from about 3037 West Chicago Avenue, which is probably just a bit east of where the above photo was taken. You can see that the same building is at rear on Sacramento Boulevard.

The view looking east from about 3037 West Chicago Avenue, which is probably just a bit east of where the above photo was taken. You can see that the same building is at rear on Sacramento Boulevard.

CTA Pullman 381 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, the west end of Route 63. This picture may have been taken early in 1953, after PCCs had been replaced by older cars on this line, shortly before it was converted to bus. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 381 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, the west end of Route 63. This picture may have been taken early in 1953, after PCCs had been replaced by older cars on this line, shortly before it was converted to bus. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 409 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 409 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman n 504 exiting the Washington Street tunnel, operating on Route 56 - Milwaukee Avenue. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman n 504 exiting the Washington Street tunnel, operating on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 523 at the same location. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 523 at the same location. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 540 at Southport and Clark, ready to head south on another trip on Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 540 at Southport and Clark, ready to head south on another trip on Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 610, an Ashland car, heads south on Clark at School Street. There is a similar photo on page 104 in my book Chicago Trolleys, showing car 144 at the same location. That picture is dated May 7, 1953 which may be when this picture was taken. That car was a pull-in to the Limits car barn, which may also be the case here. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 610, an Ashland car, heads south on Clark at School Street. There is a similar photo on page 104 in my book Chicago Trolleys, showing car 144 at the same location. That picture is dated May 7, 1953 which may be when this picture was taken. That car was a pull-in to the Limits car barn, which may also be the case here. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 669 at 63rd and Paulina, probably in early 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 669 at 63rd and Paulina, probably in early 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 675 is westbound on Chicago Avenue at Grand Avenue on Route 66. Note the cool Bowman Dairy truck. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 675 is westbound on Chicago Avenue at Grand Avenue on Route 66. Note the cool Bowman Dairy truck. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 839 is on Ashland at Chicago on Route 9. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 839 is on Ashland at Chicago on Route 9. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Ther motorman of CTA Pullman 879 waves at the photographer as he rounds the turn from Wells onto Division, running Through Route 3 - Lincoln-Indiana, which was discontinued on March 11, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Ther motorman of CTA Pullman 879 waves at the photographer as he rounds the turn from Wells onto Division, running Through Route 3 – Lincoln-Indiana, which was discontinued on March 11, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today. Things have sure changed a lot!

The same location today. Things have sure changed a lot!

CTA 171 on Ogden at Ashland, operating on Route 58. The white stripe indicates that this is a one-man car. 1721 was part of a series known as "169" or Broadway-State cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 171 on Ogden at Ashland, operating on Route 58. The white stripe indicates that this is a one-man car. 1721 was part of a series known as “169” or Broadway-State cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 173 is on Chicago Avenue near Ashland, on Route 66. Note the Goldblatt's nearby. Goldblatt's was a local department store chain that operated from 1914 until 2000. In 1946, they had 15 local stores, with annual sales of $62m. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 173 is on Chicago Avenue near Ashland, on Route 66. Note the Goldblatt’s nearby. Goldblatt’s was a local department store chain that operated from 1914 until 2000. In 1946, they had 15 local stores, with annual sales of $62m. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1765 is at the west end of Route 16 - Lake, at Austin Boulevard, the city limits, in 1952. The old Park Theater is behind the streetcar. It closed around this time, although it may still have been open when this picture was taken. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1765 is at the west end of Route 16 – Lake, at Austin Boulevard, the city limits, in 1952. The old Park Theater is behind the streetcar. It closed around this time, although it may still have been open when this picture was taken. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Another view, a "roster shot," showing 1765 by the Park Theater. Note the movie theater is not boarded up, which probably means it was still open when this picture was taken in 1952. Chances are, it fell victim to competition from television. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Another view, a “roster shot,” showing 1765 by the Park Theater. Note the movie theater is not boarded up, which probably means it was still open when this picture was taken in 1952. Chances are, it fell victim to competition from television. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 17778 is on Route 66 - Chicago Avenue at Ashland, passing by a Woolworth's dime store. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 17778 is on Route 66 – Chicago Avenue at Ashland, passing by a Woolworth’s dime store. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1781 at the same location. The white stripe on the front let riders know that this was a one-man car, and therefore they should enter at the front, instead of the rear, as they would on a two-man car. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1781 at the same location. The white stripe on the front let riders know that this was a one-man car, and therefore they should enter at the front, instead of the rear, as they would on a two-man car. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Book Review: Chicago Streetcar Memories

Chicago Streetcar Memories
By Kenneth C. Springirth
Publisher: ???? (2018)
Softcover, 128 pages

A new Chicago streetcar book is always a welcome addition to one’s library. Someone recently gave me a copy of Chicago Streetcar Memories by Kenneth C. Springirth, which came out last month.

As the author of Chicago Trolleys (see below), and co-author of a Chicago PCC book, I probably have a different perspective on this type of work than many people who will read it. I’ll put in my two cents for what it’s worth, but feel free to make up your own mind on these matters.

Mr. Springirth, who is about 78 years old and lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, has written numerous traction picture books over the years. Looking him up on Amazon, I found at least two dozen titles going back to 1968, although, for whatever reason, I did not see this new one listed there. Another source credits him with 35 books.

This new volume does not have any ISBN information, and no publisher is listed. So, in the absence of knowledge to the contrary, I am going to assume that it is a self-published work. In recent years, Springirth has been prolific, putting out a few such picture books per year.

Usually an author collects a royalty, if he or she is lucky, from a publisher who is willing to take a chance on their work. This generally involves an editor, who works with the author. There is back-and-forth until both parties are satisfied they have done their best, and then the book is published. It is a partnership.

Self-publishing, by my way of looking at it, is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, for those authors with deep enough pockets to finance the production costs, there is the chance to keep a lot more of the profits– as long as you can find a way to sell your books in sufficient quantities to create a profit.

Having absolute creative control over your book can be the ideal situation. On the other hand, an editor is a useful sounding board, and can also elevate the quality of your writing by asking you to revise your work and do better. An editor tries to get your best work out of you. The goal of a publisher should be to take what the author has done and improve it, to make a better book.

Whether by coincidence or otherwise, this book has the same name as a DVD put out some years back by Chicago Transport Memories, LLC. However, titles cannot be copyrighted (although sometimes they may be trademarked), and any way you look at it, this is a good title. The same author also has a recent book out called Baltimore Streetcar Memories, so perhaps he envisions this as part of a series.

It is worth noting that there is no connection between the DVD put out by Chicago Transport Memories, LLC and this new book, even though they have the same exact title.  Complicating matters even further, the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD was included along with copies of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, Bulletin 146 from the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which I co-authored.

All the pictures in this new book, except for the cover, are black-and-white. The overall effect, at 128 pages, is somewhat like an oversized Arcadia book in their Images of Rail series, perhaps not surprising as Mr. Springirth has written a few of those also.

Unfortunately, the larger format was not put to best use, as the images in general are not very sharp and a few are downright fuzzy. I do not know if this is due to the choice of dpi (dots per inch) when the original images were scanned, or whether this somehow relates to the printing process used, or both.  In general, it would be fair to say that the images in Chicago Trolleys are sharper and more detailed than those in the Chicago Streetcar Memories book, even though our book is somewhat smaller in overall dimensions.

I don’t know why this should be the case, but it is true.

Except for a few pictures taken by the author, the bulk of images between the covers come from a single source– the collections of the late Clifford R. Scholes (1927-2018), who died less than a month ago. For that reason, it practically makes Scholes a co-author of the book, although he is not named as such, for the book inevitably reflects Scholes’ viewpoint as much as Springirth’s.

Getting all your images from a single source makes writing such a book a lot more convenient, I am sure, but it is a practice that I do not subscribe to for my own book projects. My philosophy is to leave no stone unturned, making a thorough and exhaustive search for images that will provide the reader with enough variety to make things interesting.

I keep digging into a subject until I feel I have a foundation for a book, and then I keep digging deeper. There is always the chance that if you dig deep enough, you will reach a deeper understanding of your subject than you started with.

There is a danger in using photos from a single source, and that is they reflect a singular point of view. You run the risk of having too many similar-looking types of pictures, and miss out on different perspectives.

Having such a large collection to draw upon may be useful to an author who is trying to put out several books a year. But everyone is different, and as an author, it is not the path I have chosen for myself.

When you stop searching for new material, you run the risk that you also stop learning.  And there is a temptation to stop looking when you say, “I have enough material to make a book,” even though there still might be better information out there.

I notice that in this book, there is not one picture showing the interior of a streetcar. My own book Chicago Trolleys has several such interior shots. I based my own work on the idea that history is the story of people, so I made it a point to show the motormen, conductors and riders in various situations, including paying their fares on a two-man PCC.

Although the title would tell you this is a streetcar book, the final chapter features Chicago trolley buses (although, inexplicably, they are referred to as “trackless trolleys,” a term that may have been popular in other places, but was never commonly used by Chicagoans).

One of the first rules of writing is to write what you know.  I know Chicago, having lived my entire life here.  Therefore, I wouldn’t dream of writing a book about Erie, Pennsylvania or some other city, because that is not what I know the best.  But that is just me.

Perhaps inspired by some recent Dispatches from the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, this book goes into some detail on various streetcar routes. But since this is mainly a picture book, a single page of text at the start of several chapters is not sufficient space to cover seven routes apiece, as the author tries to do.  The overall effect here is confusing, as the author tries to do too much in the limited amount of space available.

Personally, I found the maps in this book to be somewhat amateurish. They are hand-drawn, and scanned in such a way as to not be very sharp. In fact, you could say they are downright pixilated.

I chose not to use maps in Chicago Trolleys, since there were so many streetcar lines at one time that a Surface Lines map would look like a plate of spaghetti.  My book did not try to be a route history per se. But there are several maps in the book project I am working on now, and I had to look long and hard to find ones that will be easy to read, and convey the information I want the reader to have. It is not easy to do.

In my humble opinion, the text in such books should be more than a mere recitation of facts.  There are numerous sources for transit facts, such as how the Chicago Transit Authority took over operations of the “L” and surface systems on October 1, 1947 or that the last Chicago streetcar ran on June 21, 1958.  It is an author’s responsibility to provide insight as well as facts.  Yes, these things happened, but why did they happen?  What were the circumstances and influences that made this so?

Whether by sheer coincidence, or otherwise, the last two pictures in Chicago Streeetcar Memories are very similar to the ones that conclude Chicago Trolleys, and show a Chicago PCC and a Chicago trolley bus at the Illinois Railway Museum.

All in all, I was somewhat disappointed in the Chicago Streetcar Memories book. But far be it from me to discourage anyone from buying it, since a book about Chicago streetcars is better than no book at all. Reading is always something to be encouraged, and authors applauded for their efforts at preserving history for the benefit of future generations.

If you are looking for detailed Chicago route histories, I would suggest getting a copy of the third edition of the late Alan R. Lind’s Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History, which will probably remain for all time the best-ever Chicago streetcar book, and the standard by which all others are judged. Since it was published four decades ago, important contributions have been made to route histories by some of the Shore Line Dispatches.

If you are interested in Chicago PCC cars, CERA B-146 is the ne plus ultra, and our intention in writing it was to provide, at least for this aspect, a kind of updated color descendant of the Lind book, which is only black-and-white.

Chicago’s streetcar system was once so vast that no single book could do full justice to it, but we authors must continue to try.

That being said, my own recent work Chicago Trolleys provides an overview, which in my case was anything electric that ran in the Chicago area and used overhead wire instead of third rail. I also cover horsecars and cable cars, which preceded electric streetcars. My intention was to introduce the novice to the subject, while at the same time provide enough new material and previously unseen photographs to entertain even the most diehard railfan. We will leave it to our readers to tell us whether we succeeded.

Whatever my own reservations might be about it, the fact remains that you may still enjoy this new book.

While Chicago Streetcar Memories is not available (yet) on Amazon, you can purchase a copy from either Ron’s Books or the Seashore Trolley Museum.  Expect to pay about 50% more for a copy, compared to Chicago Trolleys.

-David Sadowski

New 1950s Steam Train Audio CDs:

HF-123
The Howard Fogg Steam Train Collection
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


The Howard Fogg Steam Train Collection

Howard Fogg (1917-1996) was a renaissance man, the dean of American railroad illustrators. But it is not as well-known that he recorded the sounds of steam trains in their waning mainline days starting in 1954.

These recordings were released on four LPs by the long-defunct Owl Records label between 1959 and 1969. They have since become collector’s items.

They are excellent recordings. Fogg knew everybody in the railroad industry, so he had access to railroad towers and places ordinary folks could not get to. In addition, he did his own narration, and had a great voice for it.

The four Fogg LPs are widely regarded as being classics, and the equal of anything put out by the Railroad Record Club. The titles were Power of the Past!, The Talking Giants, All Steamed Up! and The Big Steam…, Union Pacific.

These “orphan works” have been digitally remastered for the 21st century and are now available on a three-CD set for your listening pleasure. Railroads covered include the Baltimore & Ohio, Grand Trunk Western, Nickel Plate, Detroit Toledo & Ironton, Illinois Central, New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Colorado & Southern, Rio Grande, and Union Pacific.

Total time – 174:59


HD
Highball
Doubleheader
# of Discs- 1
Price: $14.99

Highball, narrated by Jim Ameche (Don Ameche’s brother), was originally issued in 1959 on LP by a long-defunct record label. Railroads featured include Colorado & Southern, Great Western, Santa Maria Valley, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific. Bonus tracks feature the Denver and Rio Grande Western, Canadian Pacific, and Pennsylvania Railroad.

Total time: 77:08

Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.

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

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Reader Mailbag, 6-25-2017

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

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

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

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

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

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

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

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

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

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

Here, we see CA&E 425 at Glen Ellyn, a photo stop during an early Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. Notice how everyone is dressed up for the occasion.

Here, we see CA&E 425 at Glen Ellyn, a photo stop during an early Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. Notice how everyone is dressed up for the occasion.

CA&E 459 is at the tail end of a three-car outbound train at Oak Park Avenue on the Garfield "L". The building at right is still there, now fronting the Eisenhower Expressway.

CA&E 459 is at the tail end of a three-car outbound train at Oak Park Avenue on the Garfield “L”. The building at right is still there, now fronting the Eisenhower Expressway.

CA&E 424 at Harlem Avenue on the Garfield "L". Since this station was located on the west side of Harlem, it follows that this car is heading east. Fare control was on the inbound platform only. It, and Harlem Avenue, would be behind the photographer in this view. This area is now taken up by the Eisenhower Expressway.

CA&E 424 at Harlem Avenue on the Garfield “L”. Since this station was located on the west side of Harlem, it follows that this car is heading east. Fare control was on the inbound platform only. It, and Harlem Avenue, would be behind the photographer in this view. This area is now taken up by the Eisenhower Expressway.

Here is a different angle than we are usually used to seeing of the CA&E Wheaton Yards. Cars 315 and 415, among others, are present. On the other hand, Jack Bejna writes: "The photo that you labled a different view of the Wheaton Yards is probably a view of the Laramie Yards taken from a different angle (looking northeast). The crossing is probably Lockwood Avenue and the view is generally toward the tower. Zoom in the image and under the short part of the gate you can see the top half of the tower. In addition, the dark building has 6 short windows and two long windows. The photo I've attached was labled Lockwood Yard and shows the same building as well as the top of a radio tower and a water tower in the background (you can see both in your recent photo)."

Here is a different angle than we are usually used to seeing of the CA&E Wheaton Yards. Cars 315 and 415, among others, are present. On the other hand, Jack Bejna writes: “The photo that you labled a different view of the Wheaton Yards is probably a view of the Laramie Yards taken from a different angle (looking northeast). The crossing is probably Lockwood Avenue and the view is generally toward the tower. Zoom in the image and under the short part of the gate you can see the top half of the tower. In addition, the dark building has 6 short windows and two long windows. The photo I’ve attached was labled Lockwood Yard and shows the same building as well as the top of a radio tower and a water tower in the background (you can see both in your recent photo).”

Here is the photo that Jack Bejna sent us:

Here is Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley (better known as the Laurel Line) car 34 at the Scranton (PA) station on September 21, 1941. Don's Rail Photos says, "34 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1924. It was sold to John C Bauman in 1953 and scrapped in 1956." The question has been raised in the past, as to whether the Laurel Line fleet, retired in the early 1950s, could have been any use to the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, which needed to replace their wood cars with steel. It would appear that these cars were too long for the CA&E and would have needed modification. However, such changes had been made in 1937-38 to eight ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis cars, which were renumbered into the 600 and 700-series. What was lacking in 1953, unfortunately, was the will to keep operating and investing money in a railroad that management thought was worth more dead than alive.

Here is Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley (better known as the Laurel Line) car 34 at the Scranton (PA) station on September 21, 1941. Don’s Rail Photos says, “34 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1924. It was sold to John C Bauman in 1953 and scrapped in 1956.” The question has been raised in the past, as to whether the Laurel Line fleet, retired in the early 1950s, could have been any use to the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, which needed to replace their wood cars with steel. It would appear that these cars were too long for the CA&E and would have needed modification. However, such changes had been made in 1937-38 to eight ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis cars, which were renumbered into the 600 and 700-series. What was lacking in 1953, unfortunately, was the will to keep operating and investing money in a railroad that management thought was worth more dead than alive.

South Shore Line freight loco 702 in Michigan City on September 5, 1966. It was originally built in 1930 by Alco-General Electric for the New York Central, and came to the South Shore Line in 1955. The 700-series locos were scrapped in 1976. (Photo by Leander)

South Shore Line freight loco 702 in Michigan City on September 5, 1966. It was originally built in 1930 by Alco-General Electric for the New York Central, and came to the South Shore Line in 1955. The 700-series locos were scrapped in 1976. (Photo by Leander)

We posted a New Orleans Public Service photo recently (see Points East, West, and South, May 17, 2017), and here is another. This 1940s shot shows car 438 on Canal Street, when it still had four tracks.

We posted a New Orleans Public Service photo recently (see Points East, West, and South, May 17, 2017), and here is another. This 1940s shot shows car 438 on Canal Street, when it still had four tracks.

Here, we see Lehigh Valley Transit car 1023 at Norristown on May 9, 1950. LVT interurban service to Philadelphia on the Liberty Bell route had been cut back to this point the previous year, and even this truncated version would only last about another year before abandonment. Riders would have changed trains to ride the Philadelphia & Western the rest of the way to the 69th Street Terminal. Through a great coincidence, the man at right has been identified as Ara Mesrobian, who is mentioned elsewhere in this post!

Here, we see Lehigh Valley Transit car 1023 at Norristown on May 9, 1950. LVT interurban service to Philadelphia on the Liberty Bell route had been cut back to this point the previous year, and even this truncated version would only last about another year before abandonment. Riders would have changed trains to ride the Philadelphia & Western the rest of the way to the 69th Street Terminal. Through a great coincidence, the man at right has been identified as Ara Mesrobian, who is mentioned elsewhere in this post!

North Shore Line car 300, during its days as the official club car of Central Electric Railfans' Association, in August 1941. At left is diner 414, which was out of service at the time. It was motorized and returned to service as a coach in 1942.

North Shore Line car 300, during its days as the official club car of Central Electric Railfans’ Association, in August 1941. At left is diner 414, which was out of service at the time. It was motorized and returned to service as a coach in 1942.

North Shore Line city streetcar 359 at Great Lakes. Don's Rail Photos: "359 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired in 1949 and scrapped in 1950."

North Shore Line city streetcar 359 at Great Lakes. Don’s Rail Photos: “359 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired in 1949 and scrapped in 1950.”

Recent Correspondence

Hagerstown & Frederick car 48 on June 24, 1939. Don's Rail Photos: "48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W (Chambersburg Greencastle & Waynesboro Street Ry.), since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown." (Al Seibel Photo)

Hagerstown & Frederick car 48 on June 24, 1939. Don’s Rail Photos: “48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W (Chambersburg Greencastle & Waynesboro Street Ry.), since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown.” (Al Seibel Photo)

Hagerstown & Frederick combine 172 on September 24, 1939. Don's Rail Photos: "172 was built by Brill in 1921. It was retired in 1954. The disposition is unknown." (Al Seibel Photo)

Hagerstown & Frederick combine 172 on September 24, 1939. Don’s Rail Photos: “172 was built by Brill in 1921. It was retired in 1954. The disposition is unknown.” (Al Seibel Photo)

Kenneth Gear writes:

In that Railroad Record Club paper I scanned and sent to you last week there is a list of books Steventon was selling. One of them, “BLUE RIDGE TROLLEY The Hagerstown & Frederick Railway” By Herbert H. Harwood interested me. I searched online and found a copy for sale and purchased it (at a much higher price than the $10 Steventon was asking).

Many of the photos in the book were taken by Ara Mesrobian. This is the same photographer who took the photos of William Steventon along the H&F in January of 1954. These photos, as you know, were used in the article Steventon wrote for TRACTION & MODELS magazine. Since it is a certainty that Mesrobian and Steventon were together (with several others) while some of the recordings were being made that were included on RRC LP #6, the possibility exists that some of the photographs Ara Mesrobian made at the time may have been used in this book.

Using some clues from the RRC liner notes, the T&M article, and the photo captions in the book, I found a few photos that may very well have been taken at the same time as the sound recordings. I’ve scanned and attached two of them.

The first one shows car # 172 near Lewiston, MD. We know sound recordings were made here because of the T&M photo of Steventon at this location. The photo shows a snowless winter landscape that matches the T&M photo. The date of the photo is not given in the book, but this could be the visual of one of the cuts on side one.

The second photo’s caption does not give the car number but it appears to be car # 172 again. The date is not given but again the winter landscape and weather conditions are not unlike the photos in T&M.

There are a few more photos by Mesrobian in the book that could have been taken during the recording sessions but to me, these two are the most likely. Cars 171 & 172 were the only two H&F cars in operation at the time so all passenger car photos taken in this time frame would be of them.

Pinning down dates would be difficult too. The RRC #6 record label has the years 1953 -55 printed on it so we have this to work from. Steventon was in Washington DC in July of 1953 according to the liner notes of RRC 27. He was recording cars of the Capital Transit, and being that close to the H&F (and that far from Wisconsin) it’s possible he made H&F recordings on that trip. I could not find any photos in the book taken by Mesrobian that look like they may have been taken in midsummer.

Perhaps he did not accompany Steventon on that H&F trip, if indeed Steventon made one. We know he made H&F recordings on January 3, 1954 because the photos in T&M are dated. All passenger service on the H&F ended on February 20, 1954 (Steventon made his recordings just six weeks earlier) so anything recorded in 1955 had to be of the freight motors. Steventon wrote in the liner notes of RRC 6 that the in cab recordings of locomotive #12 were “made on a very cold day in January, with drifts of snow across the rails”. The T&M photos show no snow on the ground and the coat Steventon is wearing does not seem to be very heavy. Additionally he is hatless and not wearing gloves or a scarf. This indicates to me that in all likelihood it was not extremely cold that day. However, there may have been snow at higher elevations. Electric freight operations lasted, according to the book, until “early 1955”. So my guess would be the cab ride in # 12 took place in January of 1955, one year and a month after the end of passenger service.

All of this is just conjecture on my part but it seems reasonable and was a fun exercise.

Another interesting photo in the book is an interior shot of H&F car 172. This is one of the Railroad Record Club photos that you got on eBay! The photo was taken by Steventon himself and it’s a safe bet that he took it at the same time he made the on train recording, where he placed the microphone under the car’s floor, that is band 4 on side 1. Of note, Steventon’s name is spelled incorrectly in the photo credit. He is credited as William A. Stevenson! I’ve scanned and attached the page.

Anyway if you have an interest in the H&F I would recommend this book. There are many used copies available online.

Well that’s how I spent my afternoon today, it sure beat cutting the grass.

This is great detective work on your part.  I will run this in my next post.

Of course, there may have been charters using the passenger cars even after the end of passenger service.

I know someone, now close to 87 years old, who rode one of those late H&F trips.*

The book didn’t have any photos or make any mention of fan trips after the end of regular passenger service, but It can’t be ruled out. It must be remembered that the wires came down in early 1955 so that only left a window of about 12-14 months for any fan trips to have run. Also in the book’s equipment roster it lists both 171 & 172 as having been retired in 1954 but does not give any disposition info. I look for fan trip photos online.

 

As long as the cars were still on the property, they could have been used for fantrip service. As the last operating interurban on the east coast, chances are there would have been a demand for such trips.

I will see what I can find out.

One other fairly interesting thing I thought of today. I watched a documentary about the H&F on Youtube  (I can send the link if you wish), and in the closing credits there was a list of people whose photographs were used for the still frames in the film. One of the photographers listed was Steventon’s friend Bob Crockett. He may have been along on one or more of these recording trips. He also my be one of the people in the T&E photos too. There aren’t any of Crockett’s photos in the book however, and I can’t find any H&F photos of his online.
Also in the acknowledgments of the book Ara Mesrobian is listed and said to live in Washington. He being so close to the H&F I’m sure he made many trips to the property without Steventon.

 

I believe that in 1953 Steventon was working for the Federal government in Washington, D. C., so he wasn’t living in Wisconsin yet. I think he grew up in Illinois, actually.

Good point, I hadn’t thought of that. I just always associate him with being in Wisconsin. You are right about him growing up in Illinois. RRC LP #20 liner notes he says he was born and raised in Mt. Carmel. I didn’t know of his government work, at least I don’t recall having read about it.

 

Pretty sure it is mentioned in that newspaper article about Steventon that I posted some time ago.

I re-read the newspaper article and you are correct, it states he was working in Washington DC in 1953. I overlooked this fact and it may put a little different spin on some of my assumptions as to the dates of the recordings. He could have made the trip easily to the H&F on many occasions during the time he worked for the government, and we don’t know the years he worked in DC.
He was in Wisconsin, and apparently for some years, by the time of the newspaper piece was written in 1958. At any rate, we can be sure of the January 3, 1954 date because we have the T&M photos which are dated. As I said, it was just a fun way to fill a free afternoon and avoid doing yard chores.

 

Thanks!

Tracing the Hagerstown & Frederick:

Howard Sell Films of Hershey Transit and the Hagerstown & Frederick:

C&WT 127 and 104 in Maywood. The grade crossing at rear may be a clue as to the exact location. Don's Rail Photos notes: "104 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948." The 127 looks to be the older of the pair, built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Joe writes: "The photo of C&WT cars 127 and 104 is in Maywood at 19th and Railroad Avenue looking north."

C&WT 127 and 104 in Maywood. The grade crossing at rear may be a clue as to the exact location. Don’s Rail Photos notes: “104 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948.” The 127 looks to be the older of the pair, built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Joe writes: “The photo of C&WT cars 127 and 104 is in Maywood at 19th and Railroad Avenue looking north.”

Bill Shapotkin writes:

In your most recent post (which covers your Chicago Streetcar book), there is this photo (above). Indeed, the pic is in Maywood (just barely). We are looking N/B on 19th Ave from a point just north of St Charles Rd. The Grd Xing is the C&NW (its Melrose Park station is out-of-view to right). Busses of PACE RT #303 continue to operate in 19th, passing this location.

Thanks!

Lou Astrella writes:

I was wondering if you had a picture of the trolley barn/garage that used to be at Division & Oakley in Chicago IL many years ago. Thank you.

I don’t have such a picture at present, but will keep an eye out for one in the future. Probably the best place to look for pictures of the car barn would be in the CSL employee magazine (Surface Service), from around May 1947 when it closed. Unfortunately, I do not have either the May or June 1947 issue in my collection at present. Perhaps the CTA might, however.

Here’s a partial view of it:

Hopefully, our readers may have other pictures to share.

Jack Bejna writes:

I have enjoyed your recent posts as always, and I find myself checking often, hoping to find another of your posts waiting for me. Good work! Here are some images of the second order of CA&E cars, built by Niles in 1905. Car 205 had its motors removed in the late years. Car 209 was rebuilt in 1924 by the company shops from parlor-buffet car Carolyn. The original photo of car 207 was an in-train image that I decide to modify to show the end details better. I spent way too much time on this one but I think the end result looks much better than the original image.

Thanks, Jack, once again for all your incredible work in making these cars look better than ever. I am sure our readers appreciate it as well.

CA&E 201 at Laramie Yard.

CA&E 201 at Laramie Yard.

CA&E 203.

CA&E 203.

CA&E 205.

CA&E 205.

CA&E 207.

CA&E 207.

CA&E 209 at Wheaton Shops in 1924.

CA&E 209 at Wheaton Shops in 1924.

CTA PCC 4384 at Archer and Wentworth.

CTA PCC 4384 at Archer and Wentworth.

Warren Kostelny writes:

I would like to express my satisfaction with your book Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era.**  It is really a great book to enjoy.

Thanks!

Are you planning to publish other books for the other cities that had PCC streetcars?

They say you should write what you know, and while I have learned a lot about Chicago’s PCCs over the years, this doesn’t necessarily carry over to other cities.  I will leave that to people who know those subject much better than I could.  I will always be a Chicagoan at heart.

Meanwhile, I have a new book coming out this September called Chicago Trolleys, via Arcadia Publishing (see below).  Chicago’s PCCs, and the experimental models that preceded them, are an important part of this tome.

I did find some discrepancies.  On page 15 PCC cars #7035-7114 is listed as 90 cars built and delivered.  If you add up the postwar PCCs it comes to 610 built.  It should be only 600 cars.

That is a typo and should say 80 cars.

On page 428, cars #7035-7114 is listed as 80 cars built and delivered.  When you add up postwar PCC cars built and delivered it is 600 cars.  Which is the correct number built?

600 cars– 310 by Pullman, and 290 from St. Louis Car Company.  No doubt the order was too much for either company to build in a timely fashion, so it was split.

Also on page 15, the 4 car lines were to get 182, 150, 171, and 75 PCC cars.  This only adds up to 578.   Where did the other 22 go so it totals 600 cars?

I would expect 22 cars were to be held in reserve to account for down time caused by accidents and mechanical issues. Having a total of 600 cars does not mean you have 600 cars available at all times.

On page 321, the picture is identified as July 1955.  The car is a 1956 Pontiac.  Next year’s new models usually came out in October, November, December.

Your point is well taken.  1955 and 1956 Pontiacs have the same basic body, but slightly different bumpers.  You are correct in noting that the picture shows a 1956 model.

I recall, as a kid, that new car models were introduced during September. So, in some cases, you could have a photo with a 1956 model car that was taken in 1955. This tradition began to fray when Ford introduced the Mustang in April 1964, as a “1964 1/2” model.

1956 license plates have white background and black numerals, which this car has.

You are correct.  Chances are this picture was taken shortly before the end of streetcar service on Western Avenue (June 1956).  In some cases, the information that comes with a photo turns out not to be completely accurate.  We do our best to catch such errors.  Good eye!

I used a similar strategy to help date the photo of the Third Avenue El in our recent post Badgered (June 12, 2017). There, New York used the same plate in 1955 and 1956, but in the latter year, there was a sticker in the upper right hand corner. That helped date the picture to 1955. The type of slide mount on this “red border Kodachrome” also indicated a date no earlier than 1955.

Other 1956 photos which show this are pages 355 bottom, 322 bottom, 319 top and bottom, 309 top and bottom, 195 bottom, and 351 top.

Yes, and in those cases, the photos are correctly identified as 1956.

1955 car plates had black backgrounds and light-colored numerals.  Pages 360 top, 334 top, 337 bottom, and 351 bottom.

And those photos are accurately listed as 1955.

It is a great book and hope there are more books to come on the PCC streetcars.

I’ll settle for partial credit regarding my new book, and hope it meets with your approval.  Meanwhile, I am working hard to ensure that minor errors do not creep into Chicago Trolleys.  Books such as this are full of complexities.  Since humans are not perfect, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the books they create aren’t perfect either.  But we do strive for perfection, naturally. To err is human; to forgive, divine!

A 1956 Pontiac.

A 1956 Pontiac.

The last #36 streetcar, February 16, 1957.

The last #36 streetcar, February 16, 1957.

Meanwhile, shortly after the PCC book was published, I received the following message from our resident South Side expert M. E.:

Yesterday I received B-146 and have been poring over it since then. B-146 is one heck of an achievement. I can only imagine how deteriorated the photos must have been. Your photo editor did a Herculean job restoring the photos.

The late Bradley Criss was an absolute master with Photoshop, a true magician. But instead of waving a magic wand, it took him endless hours of hard work, dedication, and attention to detail to make these pictures look as good as they do. My new book is dedicated to him.

I found a few booboos to tell you about:

(1) On page 38, the map you contend is from 1950. I knew the south side Surface Lines routes pretty well. Most of them are represented accurately in the map. But:

— Your own text, corroborated by Alan Lind’s book, says that streetcar service on Halsted south of 79th St. was eliminated in 1949. Therefore the route to 111th and Sacramento would have disappeared by 1950.

The map in question is correct as of early December 1949, and not 1950. We regret this error.

— Also, Lind’s book says the Halsted-Downtown route was the one that first ran to 111th and Sacramento. But by the late 1940s it was route 8. Lind’s book has a picture of a red streetcar on 111th St. with a destination sign showing route 8. From my personal experience, hanging around 63rd and Halsted as often as I did, I can state it really was route 8. Incidentally, I think the route 8 number itself was a rather late development. I remember destination signs on red streetcars that had no route numbers.

Route numbers were first used internally by CSL for accounting purposes, but gradually became public due to their use with the various Through Routes. So, for example, Lake-State was Through Route 16, and eventually the Lake route itself became 16.

— Also, that map shows route 8 between 79th and 81st Sts. The CTA may have retained trolley wire between 81st and 79th to connect routes 22 and 8/42, but there was no streetcar service south of 79th after 1949.

This map, produced by Dennis McClendon and Chicago Cartographics, is basically a color-coded version of one in a contemporary CTA Annual Report. Presumably their map showed wire between 79th and 81st since it was still there and available for car movements if needed, although not actually used as part of routes 8, 22, or 42.

(2) On page 211, the upper caption has the date October 1958.

That is, of course, a typo since the last car ran in June 1958. Possibly the correct date should be October 1957, based on the automobiles present.

(3) On page 381, the caption says the location is 63rd and Lowe. Not so. The view is facing west, and you can see the spire of the Southtown Theatre. The Southtown Theatre was at 63rd and Lowe, west of the railroad tracks. The true site of this photo is 63rd and Normal Parkway, which was 500 West. How do I know? In the photo is a sign for the 505 Grill. 505 is an address just west of Normal.

I wrote the caption for that photo, and mistakenly put down the cross street for the Southtown (Lowe) instead of the one for the photographer’s location (Normal).

The photo atop page 111 shows the 63rd Place short turn adjacent to the Halsted L station. For your information, the green and white bus belonged to the Suburban Transit System, based in Oak Lawn. Its route, starting at the L station, was north on Halsted to 63rd, west to Morgan St. (1000 west), south to 87th St., east to Vincennes (which at that point was about 900 west), south on Vincennes to 95th St., then west to any of several terminals along 95th St.

Also, there is a glimpse of a red and white bus in the distance. That one belonged to South Suburban Safeway Lines, which ran two routes into Englewood. One was the Harvey bus (currently route 349), which ran north on Halsted to 63rd, west to Western Ave., then south to Blue Island and Harvey. The other was the Chicago Heights/Crete bus (currently route 352), which turned south on Halsted and ran straight to the suburbs.

Thanks for all the great information!

The only other minor errors that I know about in B-146 involve some photos taken in the vicinity of Wrigley Field. These were mistakenly attributed to the late Charles Tauscher instead of Robert Heinlein. We regret this error, and thank Mr. Heinlein for taking such wonderful photographs.

It would be difficult to name a railfan book published within the last 50 years that did not have a few minor errors in it. This would include the legendary Lind book, which is rightfully considered the “gold standard” by which all other Chicago streetcar books should be judged.

I have seen the late Joe Saitta‘s personal copy of the CSL book, which included his own copious handwritten notes, for better or for worse, detailing what he regarded as corrections.  The handwriting was very difficult to read, but there were notations on nearly every page.

-David Sadowski

*Ray DeGroote writes:

Yes, I visited the H&F for a day at Thanksgiving time, 1952. I borrowed a camera from Tom Desnoyers since I did not have my own yet. I rode the line from Frederick, MD to Thurmond, about 20 miles, where the interurban connected with the Western Maryland RR. By that time they were down to just a few trips each day, and the rest of the system had been abandoned.

If there were any fan trips around that time, I did not hear about then. But it is possible either the Baltimore or Washington groups may have arranged something.

**Published in 2015 by Central Electric Railfans’ Association.  The Trolley Dodger blog is not affiliated with CERA.

Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 221 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

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

We appreciate your business!

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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Odds and Ends

CTA Prewar PCC 4041 is northbound on Western Avenue near Fulton Street on July 7, 1955. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Prewar PCC 4041 is northbound on Western Avenue near Fulton Street on July 7, 1955. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

Here in Chicago, April showers (and there were many) have finally given way to May flowers. What better time to do some late Spring cleaning, and sort out a bunch of recently acquired material to share with you, our readers.

In spite of the lack of an overall theme, somehow this post grew like Topsy, to the point where it now has more images in it (100+) than any of our previous installments.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

In the 1950s, CTA PCC 7125 is heading southbound at State and Kinzie while track work is underway nearby.

In the 1950s, CTA PCC 7125 is heading southbound at State and Kinzie while track work is underway nearby.

We've run a couple pictures from this, the first Omnibus Society of America fantrip, in previous posts (Tip of the Iceberg, March 10, 2017 and Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six, February 22, 2016), but this one actually provides the date, March 2, 1958. CTA trolley bus 9193 is heading south on Kedzie at the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. As you can see, the entrance to the Kedzie rapid transit station is not quite finished. The line would open on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park "L".

We’ve run a couple pictures from this, the first Omnibus Society of America fantrip, in previous posts (Tip of the Iceberg, March 10, 2017 and Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six, February 22, 2016), but this one actually provides the date, March 2, 1958. CTA trolley bus 9193 is heading south on Kedzie at the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. As you can see, the entrance to the Kedzie rapid transit station is not quite finished. The line would open on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park “L”.

On May 16, 1954, two weeks before the end of Red Car service, the Central Electric Railfans' Association held a fantrip on several lines. Here, we see fantrip car 479 at right and regular service car 1758 on the left. The location is Lake and Laramie, as you can see the ramp that brought the Lake Street "L" down to street level for the last 2.5 miles of its route. Car 473 also took part in the excursion.

On May 16, 1954, two weeks before the end of Red Car service, the Central Electric Railfans’ Association held a fantrip on several lines. Here, we see fantrip car 479 at right and regular service car 1758 on the left. The location is Lake and Laramie, as you can see the ramp that brought the Lake Street “L” down to street level for the last 2.5 miles of its route. Car 473 also took part in the excursion.

The same location today. The Lake Street "L" (today's CTA Green Line) was relocated onto the nearby Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962, and a new structure replaced the former ramp. Steel support columns were relocated to the curb. We are facing west.

The same location today. The Lake Street “L” (today’s CTA Green Line) was relocated onto the nearby Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962, and a new structure replaced the former ramp. Steel support columns were relocated to the curb. We are facing west.

This picture of CTA 473 was also taken on the May 16, 1954 fantrip, during a photo stop at 79th Place and Emerald.

This picture of CTA 473 was also taken on the May 16, 1954 fantrip, during a photo stop at 79th Place and Emerald.

Westbound CTA 1758 is turning from Lake onto Pine. This picture may also have been taken on May 16, 1954, as the same car shows up in some of the fantrip pictures. That looks like a 1953 Kaiser at left. Kaiser was an upstart automaker that got started after WWII and ceased American car production in 1955 to concentrate on making Jeeps. Kaisers had nice styling and interiors, but were underpowered compared to the Buicks and Oldsmobiles they competed against, lacking a V-8 engine.

Westbound CTA 1758 is turning from Lake onto Pine. This picture may also have been taken on May 16, 1954, as the same car shows up in some of the fantrip pictures. That looks like a 1953 Kaiser at left. Kaiser was an upstart automaker that got started after WWII and ceased American car production in 1955 to concentrate on making Jeeps. Kaisers had nice styling and interiors, but were underpowered compared to the Buicks and Oldsmobiles they competed against, lacking a V-8 engine.

CTA PCC 7170 is heading southbound at Clark and Granville in this wintry 1950s scene. The Kroger grocery store was located at 6157 N. Clark, in a building now occupied by the Raven Theatre Company.

CTA PCC 7170 is heading southbound at Clark and Granville in this wintry 1950s scene. The Kroger grocery store was located at 6157 N. Clark, in a building now occupied by the Raven Theatre Company.

Photo caption: "Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee RR 352 passenger interurban (Built Cincinnati). Only car on Mundelein branch." Don's Rail Photos: "352 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired and scrapped in 1951."

Photo caption: “Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee RR 352 passenger interurban (Built Cincinnati). Only car on Mundelein branch.” Don’s Rail Photos: “352 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired and scrapped in 1951.”

A Dayton (Ohio) trolley bus at night in September 1972.

A Dayton (Ohio) trolley bus at night in September 1972.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Limited interurban car in Lansdale (note the nearby Reading catenary). While the interurban quit in 1951, electric commuter rail service to Lansdale continues under the auspices of SEPTA. Between 1949 and 1951, LVT considered terminating the interurban here instead of continuing to Norristown. This would have involved building a loop to turn the single-ended cars. Ultimately, this was not done.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Limited interurban car in Lansdale (note the nearby Reading catenary). While the interurban quit in 1951, electric commuter rail service to Lansdale continues under the auspices of SEPTA. Between 1949 and 1951, LVT considered terminating the interurban here instead of continuing to Norristown. This would have involved building a loop to turn the single-ended cars. Ultimately, this was not done.

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

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

Lehigh Valley Transit 1102 loaded on an Lehigh Valley RR flat car in Allentown, PA (November 1949). Don's Rail Photos: "1102 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as D&TRy 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months as 66 before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952."

Lehigh Valley Transit 1102 loaded on an Lehigh Valley RR flat car in Allentown, PA (November 1949). Don’s Rail Photos: “1102 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as D&TRy 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months as 66 before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952.”

"LVT 1102 loaded on an NYC flat car at Riverside to be shipped to Milwaukee, Wisconsin."

“LVT 1102 loaded on an NYC flat car at Riverside to be shipped to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”

Chicago Streetcar R.P.O. (Railway Post Office)

We recently acquired this envelope, and enclosures, that were cancelled in 1946 on an old Chicago streetcar. Streetcars had last been used to sort and transport mail in 1915. The event was a stamp collector’s convention.

Don's Rail Photos: "H7, mail car, was built by American Car Co in 1891, as a C&PS (Cicero & Proviso Street Ry) passenger car. It was rebuilt as CUT 8 in 1900 as a mail car and as CRys 8 in 1903. It was renumbered H7 in 1913 and became CSL H7 in 1914. It was retired on May 16, 1949."

Don’s Rail Photos: “H7, mail car, was built by American Car Co in 1891, as a C&PS (Cicero & Proviso Street Ry) passenger car. It was rebuilt as CUT 8 in 1900 as a mail car and as CRys 8 in 1903. It was renumbered H7 in 1913 and became CSL H7 in 1914. It was retired on May 16, 1949.”

Hagerstown & Frederick (Potomac Edison)

We recently purchased a number of rare photos showing the Hagerstown & Frederick, a Maryland interurban. This was a real-lie “Toonerville Trolley,” which, despite not having a lot of ridership, somehow managed to survive into the 1950s.

Here is what Don’s Rail Photos says about the H&F:

It’s hard to describe the H&F since it seems to be more of a country trolley than an interurban line. Yet they did operate freight service and covered some 76 miles of line in western Maryland. It was the last passenger interurban east of Chicago. The H&F was a consolidation of several lines dating back to 1902. They joined together in 1913. Abandonments began in 1932. In 1938 the main line was cut so that there were two separate sections, one at Hagerstown, and the other at Frederick. The Hagerstown line finally quit in 1947, but the Frederick to Thurmont passenger service lasted until February 20, 1954. Freight service was later dieselized but lasted only until 1958. I was fortunate enough to visit Frederick the year after passenger service ended, but some of the freight equipment was still around.

Interestingly, some of these pictures were part of a set produced by the Railroad Record Club. I had no idea that the RRC sold sets of photos, but apparently they did. This is only part of one such set, #12. That would imply there are more RRC photo sets out there waiting to be rediscovered.

There is a Railroad Record Club discs featuring the H&F, but it is disc #6 and not 12. RRC #6 is one of the ones we have already digitized.

H&F car 48 on May 18, 1941. "Wood steel sheathed city car. Green and cream." Don's Rail Photos adds, "48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W, also, since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown."

H&F car 48 on May 18, 1941. “Wood steel sheathed city car. Green and cream.” Don’s Rail Photos adds, “48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W, also, since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown.”

H&F 151.

H&F 151.

The last passenger trolley (1947) on the Hagerstown-Williamsport line.

The last passenger trolley (1947) on the Hagerstown-Williamsport line.

The last passenger trolley (1947) on the Hagerstown-Williamsport line.

The last passenger trolley (1947) on the Hagerstown-Williamsport line.

H&F 169 in Hagerstown. Don's Rail Photos: "169 was built by Brill in 1917 and was sold for other uses in 1947."

H&F 169 in Hagerstown. Don’s Rail Photos: “169 was built by Brill in 1917 and was sold for other uses in 1947.”

H&F 172 in Braddock Heights, Maryland. Don's Rail Photos: "172 was built by Brill in 1921. It was retired in 1954. The disposition is unknown."

H&F 172 in Braddock Heights, Maryland. Don’s Rail Photos: “172 was built by Brill in 1921. It was retired in 1954. The disposition is unknown.”

H&F 49 at Hagerstown on May 29, 1938. On the back of the photo, it says this car was built by Brill in 1924.

H&F 49 at Hagerstown on May 29, 1938. On the back of the photo, it says this car was built by Brill in 1924.

The Union Street Substation in Cumberland, MD, installed prior to 1900.

The Union Street Substation in Cumberland, MD, installed prior to 1900.

H&F in downtown Hagerstown.

H&F in downtown Hagerstown.

Williamsport, Maryland about 1944. That looks like a 1934 Ford at left.

Williamsport, Maryland about 1944. That looks like a 1934 Ford at left.

H&F 31.

H&F 31.

H&F freight loco 12 in Frederick about 1947. Don's Rail Photos adds, "12 was built by General Electric, December, 1917, #6238, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 452, but was diverted to the government for use as Watervliet Arsenal E-2. It came to the H&F in 1947. Disposition is unknown."

H&F freight loco 12 in Frederick about 1947. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “12 was built by General Electric, December, 1917, #6238, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 452, but was diverted to the government for use as Watervliet Arsenal E-2. It came to the H&F in 1947. Disposition is unknown.”

"Potomac Edison Co. Car #48 at Cumberland in 1926, on Greene Street at the Dingle intersection with Fayette Street. (Note: House on the left, at 903 Fayette Street, still existed in 1997.) Don's Rail Photos: "48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W, also, since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown."

“Potomac Edison Co. Car #48 at Cumberland in 1926, on Greene Street at the Dingle intersection with Fayette Street. (Note: House on the left, at 903 Fayette Street, still existed in 1997.) Don’s Rail Photos: “48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W, also, since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown.”

H&F #9. Don's Rail Photos: "9 was built by the Washington & Old Dominion in 1918 as their 25. It came to the H&F in 1944. It was retired in 1955 and the disposition is unknown."

H&F #9. Don’s Rail Photos: “9 was built by the Washington & Old Dominion in 1918 as their 25. It came to the H&F in 1944. It was retired in 1955 and the disposition is unknown.”

H&F 171. Don's Rail Photos adds, "171 was built by Brill in 1919. It was retired in 1954 and became a private residence. It is now a fishing cabin." The car body has been preserved in Mountaindale, Maryland.

H&F 171. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “171 was built by Brill in 1919. It was retired in 1954 and became a private residence. It is now a fishing cabin.” The car body has been preserved in Mountaindale, Maryland.

H&F #3 (left) and 15 (right). Don's Rail Photos: "3 was built by H&F in 1914. It was retired in 1945. 15 was built by the Chambersburg Greencastle & Waynesboro Street Ry. in 1917 as their 15. It came to the H&F from this line which was a connection at Shady Grove, Pa. in 1932. Disposition is unknown."(Railroad Record Club photo #12-107)

H&F #3 (left) and 15 (right). Don’s Rail Photos: “3 was built by H&F in 1914. It was retired in 1945. 15 was built by the Chambersburg Greencastle & Waynesboro Street Ry. in 1917 as their 15. It came to the H&F from this line which was a connection at Shady Grove, Pa. in 1932. Disposition is unknown.”(Railroad Record Club photo #12-107)

H&F 178 on a fantrip, probably circa 1954. (Railroad Record Club photo #12-129)

H&F 178 on a fantrip, probably circa 1954. (Railroad Record Club photo #12-129)

(Railroad Record Club photo #12-138)

(Railroad Record Club photo #12-138)

H&F 164. Don's Rail Photos: "164 was built by Brill in 1910 as Frederick RR 32 and scrapped in 1945." (Railroad Record Club photo #12-101)

H&F 164. Don’s Rail Photos: “164 was built by Brill in 1910 as Frederick RR 32 and scrapped in 1945.” (Railroad Record Club photo #12-101)

H&F #12. Don's Rail Photos: "12 was built by General Electric, December, 1917, #6238, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 452, but was diverted to the government for use as Watervliet Arsenal E-2. It came to the H&F in 1947. Disposition is unknown." (Railroad Record Club photo #12-120)

H&F #12. Don’s Rail Photos: “12 was built by General Electric, December, 1917, #6238, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 452, but was diverted to the government for use as Watervliet Arsenal E-2. It came to the H&F in 1947. Disposition is unknown.” (Railroad Record Club photo #12-120)

(Railroad Record Club photo #12-162)

(Railroad Record Club photo #12-162)

H&F #160. Don's Rail Photos: "160 was built by Cincinnati in 1909 as Hagerstown Ry. 45. Disposition is unknown." (Railroad Record Club photo #12-100)

H&F #160. Don’s Rail Photos: “160 was built by Cincinnati in 1909 as Hagerstown Ry. 45. Disposition is unknown.” (Railroad Record Club photo #12-100)

H&F 178 (Railroad Record Club photo #12-112)

H&F 178 (Railroad Record Club photo #12-112)

Looks like fantrip time in Thurmont, possibly in 1954, with H&F 171 at the head of the line. (Railroad Record Club photo #12-127)

Looks like fantrip time in Thurmont, possibly in 1954, with H&F 171 at the head of the line. (Railroad Record Club photo #12-127)

H&F work car #7 at Frederick, Maryland, on April 11, 1954. It was built in the H&F shops in 1927 and had four Westinghouse 101B2 motors. On the other hand, Don's Rail Photos says, "7 was acquired in 1918 from an unknown source. Other information showed it as being built in the company shop in 1927. It served double duty in the winter as a plow. The disposition is unknown." (Gene Connelly Photo)

H&F work car #7 at Frederick, Maryland, on April 11, 1954. It was built in the H&F shops in 1927 and had four Westinghouse 101B2 motors. On the other hand, Don’s Rail Photos says, “7 was acquired in 1918 from an unknown source. Other information showed it as being built in the company shop in 1927. It served double duty in the winter as a plow. The disposition is unknown.” (Gene Connelly Photo)

H&F 167 at Frederick Yard in June, 1945. Don's Rail Photos: "167 was built by Brill in 1914. It was wrecked in 1946." (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

H&F 167 at Frederick Yard in June, 1945. Don’s Rail Photos: “167 was built by Brill in 1914. It was wrecked in 1946.” (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Upstate New York

We received these pictures recently as a gift. They are all from upstate New York. Otherwise, we don’t profess to know much about these properties. Perhaps some of our knowledgeable readers can help us fill in the blanks.

Photo caption: "Franklin Sqaure is one block south of (the )railroad crossing on River Street. Troy (NY)."

Photo caption: “Franklin Sqaure is one block south of (the )railroad crossing on River Street. Troy (NY).”

United Traction Co. - Franklin Square, Troy, NY.

United Traction Co. – Franklin Square, Troy, NY.

United Traction Co. - Franklin Square, Troy, NY.

United Traction Co. – Franklin Square, Troy, NY.

United Traction Co. - Franklin Square, Troy, NY. Don's Rail Photos: "The company was formed in 1899 as a consolidated of various street railway properties in Albany NY and surrounding cities. The last car operated in Albany in 1946."

United Traction Co. – Franklin Square, Troy, NY. Don’s Rail Photos: “The company was formed in 1899 as a consolidated of various street railway properties in Albany NY and surrounding cities. The last car operated in Albany in 1946.”

Schenectady Railway - State Street from Park.

Schenectady Railway – State Street from Park.

"650 type entering Saratoga terminal. Taken during last days of operation- H. V. (Hudson Valley?) tracks removed in 1929- was once 4-track far out at this point."

“650 type entering Saratoga terminal. Taken during last days of operation- H. V. (Hudson Valley?) tracks removed in 1929- was once 4-track far out at this point.”

Schenectady Railway #53. "Wood suburban car, built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1901 as part of the 50-55 series. Renumbered 550-555, Albany car." According to Dr. Harold E. Cox, the renumbering took place in 1902 and the series was converted to PAYE (pay as you enter) in 1915.

Schenectady Railway #53. “Wood suburban car, built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1901 as part of the 50-55 series. Renumbered 550-555, Albany car.” According to Dr. Harold E. Cox, the renumbering took place in 1902 and the series was converted to PAYE (pay as you enter) in 1915.

Surface Service

We recently acquired 14 more copies of Surface Service, the Chicago Surface Lines employee magazine, with the following dates:

1942 – May, June, August
1943 – December
1944 – January, March, May, June
1945 – January, February, March
1946 – February, August, September

Surface Service was published from the early 1920s until CSL became part of the Chicago Transit Authority on October 1, 1947, a period of about 25 years. These magazines are full of interesting tidbits of information that are invaluable for historical research.

In particular, most of these issues cover the World War II era, and show the various way the CSL helped support the war effort. For example, unless you read one of these magazines, you would have no way of knowing that the War Bond car, shown on the August, 1942 cover, was used on 17 different routes throughout the city, one week at a time. The routes and dates are listed, and this information can be used to date photographs showing the car, a “rolling billboard,” in service.

These 14 issues are each 16 pages, meaning we have added 224 additional pages of information to our E-Book, Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, which is available through our Online Store.

The June 1942 cover is quite interesting, as it features a rare “bird’s eye view” of the loop at Madison and Austin, with no less than five pre-war PCCs on hand. The radio tower was a recent addition. Radio communications back then did not involve streetcar or bus operators, but were used by supervisors.

The radio tower is still there in the middle of the loop, which has since been shortened by lopping off the portion to the west. Now, buses turn north on Austin Boulevard before entering the loop, which is no longer “U” shaped, but more like an “L”.

Adventures in Restoration

We recently purchased an original Ektachrome slide shot in December, 1960 by Earl W. Clark, which has faded badly to red. It turned out that some of the dye layers on early Ektachrome films were very unstable. (A similar problem, interestingly, also happened to some pre-1940 Kodachrome slides.)

The dye layers on today’s slide films have excellent longevity.

The late Bradley Criss was an expert at restoring these types of images. He once gave me some advice on how to best approach this.

Most people would probably scan the slide, then try to color correct it. But since there is such an extreme amount of correction involved, he recommended color correcting in the scanning stage as a first step.

Here are some pictures showing the various steps along the way towards restoring this slide to something like its original appearance. I’m not saying that the results are perfect by any means, but they are a vast improvement.

Before tools like scanners and Photoshop were available, about the best you could do with an image like this was to convert it to black-and-white.

Often, a photographer’s slides don’t come up on the open market until they have passed from the scene. I was hoping this was not the case for Earl W. Clark. I made some inquiries, and it appears that Mr. Clark, the dean of Cincinnati railfans, is still very much on the scene, as this report from last Fall would indicate.

I would imagine Mr. Clark is overjoyed that streetcars have returned to Cincinnati.

-David Sadowski

This is an early Ektachrome slide that has faded badly over the years due to having unstable dyes. They longevity of such dyes has been greatly improved since. The green and blue layers have badly faded, leaving very little but the red. This is how the slide scanned without any color correction.

This is an early Ektachrome slide that has faded badly over the years due to having unstable dyes. They longevity of such dyes has been greatly improved since. The green and blue layers have badly faded, leaving very little but the red. This is how the slide scanned without any color correction.

Before scanning the slide again, this time I manipulated the colors using adjustments in the scanning software. This gave me a "leg up" when starting work in Photoshop, which was the next step.

Before scanning the slide again, this time I manipulated the colors using adjustments in the scanning software. This gave me a “leg up” when starting work in Photoshop, which was the next step.

Here is what the slide looked like after using Photoshop's Auto Color feature. The color is still not right, having a rather magenta (red-blue) cast. Green is the opposite of magenta. You can either reduce the amount of magenta or increase the amount of green-- it all amounts to the same thing.

Here is what the slide looked like after using Photoshop’s Auto Color feature. The color is still not right, having a rather magenta (red-blue) cast. Green is the opposite of magenta. You can either reduce the amount of magenta or increase the amount of green– it all amounts to the same thing.

Here, in Photoshop, I am adjusting the color by using the sliders until the overall color looks right. Notice there are three sets of color opposites.

Here, in Photoshop, I am adjusting the color by using the sliders until the overall color looks right. Notice there are three sets of color opposites.

Here, I am increasing the color saturation in Photoshop to make up for dye fading.

Here, I am increasing the color saturation in Photoshop to make up for dye fading.

Since 2/3rds of the dye layers on this slide have faded badly, the overall level of color saturation has to be increased in order to restore the proper amount of contrast.

Since 2/3rds of the dye layers on this slide have faded badly, the overall level of color saturation has to be increased in order to restore the proper amount of contrast.

The slide has bee brightened up somewhat and I have removed some of the crud that has accumulated on it over the decades. However, ultimately I decided this was slightly too light.

The slide has bee brightened up somewhat and I have removed some of the crud that has accumulated on it over the decades. However, ultimately I decided this was slightly too light.

The end result. This photo of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 315 was taken by Earl W. Clark in December 1960. Don's Rail Photos: "315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962."

The end result. This photo of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 315 was taken by Earl W. Clark in December 1960. Don’s Rail Photos: “315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962.”

Charles L. Tauscher in Memoriam

FYI, sad news to report. Charles L. Tauscher‘s niece Jennifer Fulbrook wrote on Facebook that he passed away on April 21st:

Hello. I am sorry for this somewhat off topic post. I know some of you were friends with my uncle (Chuck Tauscher) I wanted to let you know he passed away today after suffering a massive stroke last week.

We do not have any public memorials planned as of yet. Please share this post as you see fit.

Tauscher had a keen interest in history. He was one of the founders of the Omnibus Society of America and was also an excellent photographer. We used several of his pictures in CERA Bulletin 146.

My upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will also have a number of his pictures in it.

I believe he was about 76 years old.

Recent Correspondence

Greg Ross writes:

I’m a student at the University of Chicago, and I am currently working on a story for our student paper, the Chicago Maroon. The story is about the history of the former Garfield Green Line station, the oldest standing L station in the city. I’m writing to ask if you have any information about either the station of the Green Line (the Alley “L”) that I could use in my story. I’ve browsed your blog and would love to see any pictures you may have of the station as well. Please let me know if you would be available to talk.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear back!

I posted a picture of the Garfield station to the blog I did before this one (see CTA Red Line Reroute, July 13, 2013), but that is a picture anybody could take today. I am assuming you have already read the station history on Graham Garfield’s excellent web site www.chicago-l.org?

Perhaps some of our readers might have additional information that can help you.

Bill Downes writes:

This is way off the topic, but anyone have a link to an authoritative source regarding the issue dates of some West Towns transfers I have?? There are rather large numerals “22” and “23” superimposed on the body of transfer which shows direction of travel, month, route etc but no date or day of week!! If I had day of week and date could look at calendar and approximate year. Thanks.

An interesting question. Unfortunately, I do not know the answer. Perhaps one of our readers might be able to help, thanks.

Kenneth Muellner writes:

Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your website. I’ve always had a soft spot for streetcars, interurbans, trolley buses and the like, and really enjoy your site. You mentioned that you grew up near Grand and Harlem, and I grew up not too far away at Addison and Oak Park. We had lots of family that lived over on Mont Clare Ave., just south of Diversey, and we were in the area a lot. I still remember being with my grandfather, waiting for my mother shopping in High Low on Harlem Avenue, and going over with him over to Caputo’s, which was just a garage at that time, with my grandfather telling him how to run his business!

My dumb question is about streetcars. I have a lot of books about them, but one thing I am unclear on is how did the streetcars turn at switches? Did the motorman have to go out of the car and manually move the switch, or was there some sort of remote control where they could switch the track, and then back again for cars following? I never have really understood how that worked.

Thanks again.

There are no dumb questions in my book. Thanks for asking.

Track switches can be hand thrown by the conductor or operator, who would have to stop, get off the streetcar in traffic, and use a long metal rod called a “switch iron.”  Eventually, motorized switches were developed for use in places where route changes were frequent.

Here’s an excellent explanation of such switches, written about the Brooklyn system, but I would imagine applicable elsewhere:

ELECTRIC TRACK SWITCHES

To avoid delaying service, electric track switches were installed at busy intersections. These switches were set by the Motorman while the car was in motion. The current in a contactor located on the trolley wire controlled the track switch. A car coasting under the contactor set the switch for the straight route. If the car’s controller was set on the first point when it passed under the contactor, the switch was set for the diverging route. Because the PCCs had high acceleration, their high starting current would have burned up the contactor. To correct this condition, a switch and a resistor was installed on a separate circuit. Therefore, all PCCs coasted when they approached an electric track switch. For the diverging route, the Motorman actuated this special switch on his desk.

-From the ERA Bulletin (Electric Railroader’s Association) , February 2009.

Max Hoffman writes:

Is Iowa Traction 727 serviceable at Mason City? Is it running in 2017? I would love to photograph it. We have a sister car at Illinois Railway Museum.

That’s an excellent question. Hopefully one of our readers may have an answer.

The Iowa Traction Railway, as it is now called, is a subsidiary of Progressive Rail. You might try contacting them directly.  To the best of my knowledge, ITR owns North Shore 727, but I do not know who maintains it or handles its use on charters.

Miles Beitler writes:

I attached three photos (originally color slides) of CTA trains. The 1972 Halsted photo shows a 2200 series train at the UIC-Halsted station. Note the Sears Tower under construction in the background. The 1972 Morgan photo shows a 6000 series train eastbound at Morgan siding. The last photo shows a 2000 series train in its original paint scheme at Wabash near Randolph. I took all of these photos so feel free to post them to your blog and you may use my name as well.

Thanks for sharing these with our readers.

One of our readers, who prefers to remain anonymous, writes:

I noticed that you recently posted about the CA&E and the North Shore Line, so I attached some old photos which might interest you.

The first three attached photos are from an old North Shore Line calendar. The first photo (CER-NSL Church St) was taken by Fred Borchert probably in the early 1920s and shows the NSL Evanston terminal with the Evanston L station in the background. The other two photos have self-explanatory captions.

I have no copyright information about these photos, but you know that Fred Borchert died long ago. The calendar was “produced by Joe L. Diaz, editor and publisher of The Street Railway Review, 1414 Elmdale, Chicago 60660”.

The fourth photo is of the Wells Street Bridge and the last photo is a CA&E train running on the old Garfield Park line. I’m not sure of the location but it could be the St Louis Avenue curve. These are from Model Transport magazine, June 1982. I did not find any copyright notice in this railfan publication.

Wells St Bridge — from the Chicago Dept of Public Works archives (so this should be public domain)

CA&E on Garfield Pk elevated circa 1940 — photographer unknown

Unfortunately, Joe L. Diaz is also no longer with us. Thanks for sharing!

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi David, Here are a few images of the CA&E ex WB&A trailers, except for 600 and 702 (I can’t find any images so far). I’ve always wondered why CA&E didn’t use them as motors instead of rebuilding them as trailers. Also, I’ve also sent an image of a CA&E caboose with part of the original dispatcher’s office in the background….still looking for s good shot! Thanks for the excellent Easter post; most enjoyable; another winner!

Many of our readers will recognize Mr. Bejna’s fantastic work from previous posts. We all appreciate seeing these great images that he has made look as if they were shot yesterday, through his hard work and talent.

Kenneth Gear writes:

Hi David,

The post office did a good job today and delivered the package containing the April 1982 issue of Traction & Models. That is two days earlier than expected. This is the issue with William Steventon’s article about recording railroad sounds. I’m sending it to you quickly so you can use it in the next Trolley Dodger post, if that was your intention.

The article does, as I had hoped, contain a photo of him trackside making a recording, three actually. It has a lot of very interesting information in it, some of which is about the Railroad Record Club specifically . Steventon tells of a few things that happened to him out in the field while recording sounds that were used on RRC LPs, how he recorded certain sounds, and why he chose the locations he recorded at. He talks about sounds recorded for records numbers 7, 4, and 18, and a few others.

He also talks about recording the sounds of CSS&SB locomotive number 1013. I think the recording should be on one of the LPs that you were just given.

Two of the photos show him and his group trackside getting ready to record the H&F at Lewistown, MD on January 3, 1954, could you have recently purchased the photos taken this day?

He also writes about recording sounds of the New York City subway, another recording that never made it to vinyl.

It is interesting to read that he felt that sound recordings were a valuable historic record, he was so right. Without his work, I would never had been able to hear the sounds of most of the railroad equipment he captured on tape.

Here is a PDF of the Steventon article mentioned above. Traction and Models magazine is long defunct (I could not find any record of issues after 1984.) As always, we are very grateful to Ken for tracking this down and making it available to our readers.

William A Steventon recording the compressor operation on North Shore car number 724 at Mundelein Station.

William A Steventon recording the compressor operation on North Shore car number 724 at Mundelein Station.

William Steventon and friends waiting to record the passing of a car on the Hagerstown & Frederick (Potomac Edison) near Bethel, MD Jan. 3 1954.

William Steventon and friends waiting to record the passing of a car on the Hagerstown & Frederick (Potomac Edison) near Bethel, MD Jan. 3 1954.

Kenneth Gear also writes:

I was thinking it might help our RRC info collecting efforts if you were to ask the readers of the blog to contribute any Railroad Record Club materials they may have. Ask if they would scan any newsletters, catalogs, advertisements, or correspondence and Email it to you or as comments to the post. You might also mention that we still need 3 of the records (#22 Buffalo Creek & Gauley, #31 Sound Scrapbook, Steam & #32 New York Central) and all of the samplers. With luck, this may bare some fruit.

As some of you may know, Kenneth Gear, a great friend of this blog, has been very helpful in tracking down many of the Railroad Record Club LPs and ephemera in our joint quest to document, as completely as possible, the RRC’s output and activities. Of the 42 or so different recordings issued by the RRC, we need only the three titles mentioned above to complete our efforts at digitally remastering them for a whole new generation of railfans.

We recently acquired three RRC titles (#19, 33 and 34), fully half the ones we were missing, and two of the three are traction recordings, which are far less numerous than steam. More details on these new CDs appear in the section below.

PS- We are also looking for the Sacramento Northern Electrics LP, and any other important out-of-print, “orphan works” traction recordings that we don’t already have.

Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don's Rail Photos says, "1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962." (William R. Smith Photo)

Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962.” (William R. Smith Photo)

Three New CD Collections

FYI, we have three new CD collections available:


RRC #19
Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range
# of Discs – 1
Price: $12.95

In steam days, the DM&IR was controlled by the U.S. Steel Co., and its main activity was the haulage of iron ore from the Missabe iron mines to the docks at Two Harbors and Duluth, Minnesota. The Iron Range 2-8-8-4 locomotives, simple articulated “Yellowstone” types, were among the largest U.S. locomotive designs. As with the Nickel Plate, the Iron Range used steam power long into the diesel era. The last revenue steam run took place in 1961, and these recordings were made between 1958 and 1960. Includes a very interesting sequence in a dispatcher’s office. Besides RRC #19, this disc includes the EP Sounds of Steam on the Iron Range.

Total time – 49:48


RRC #33 and 34
Chicago, South Shore & South Bend
(South Shore Line) Electric Freight
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club #33 and 34
On September 14, 1962, William A. Steventon recorded South Shore Line electric freight locomotives 1012 and 1013 on a run between Michigan City and South Bend, Indiana. Originally, this was planned as a single LP disc with a switching scene on one side, and a road run on the other. As it turned out, the two locos, although similar, made substantially different sounds, so it was decided to issue two discs instead. Both are now included on a single compact disc, along with the original liner notes for each. Since Diesel replaced electric freight on the South Shore Line in 1981, these are sounds that are impossible to duplicate today.

Total time – 62:04


HC-FFNP
Steam in the High Country
Fast Freight on the Nickel Plate
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Steam in the High Country:
The land of mile high prairies and shining snow-capped mountains formed a dramatic backdrop for the sight and sound of the steam locomotive in action. Here is a tremendous contrast in power, from the giant Union Pacific #4-8-8-4, to the Denver and Rio Grande Western miniature Mikado, in a symphony of steam, steel and cinders. Featuring steam locomotives of the Union Pacific, Colorado & Southern, Great Western, Denver & Rio Grande Western, and the Burlington, recorded between 1957 and 1962.

Fast Freight on the Nickel Plate:
The New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad is perhaps better known by its official nickname, “The Nickel Plate Road.” The road’s main line ran from Buffalo to Chicago, with numerous branches into southern Ohio coal fields and a line to St. Louis. The main line closely paralleled the route of the New York Central, so the Nickel Plate had to offer superior service to attract business from the lines of the neighboring giant. The road lived up to its motto “Nickel Plate for high speed service.” Until early 1958 this line was serviced by a fleet of modern 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotives, being one of the last important main line jobs for steam power in the U.S. Anyone who has watched these fine engines in action, as they moved 100 plus cars of freight at a mile a minute or better speed, can attest to the fine job they did. It was only after many refinements and improvements that diesel locomotives became worthy replacements of the famous Berkshires heard here in recordings made in the early part of 1958.

Total time – 75:34

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. The expected publication date is September 25th of this year. We will keep you advised as things progress.

street-railwayreview1895-002

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Remembering Bradley Criss

Bradley Criss on March 3, 2012 at the end of the St. Charles Car Line at Carrollton and Claiborne Avenues in New Orleans. (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Bradley Criss on March 3, 2012 at the end of the St. Charles Car Line at Carrollton and Claiborne Avenues in New Orleans. (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

As many of you may know, I was part of the creative team that produced CERA Bulletin 146*, along with Jeff Wien and Bradley Criss. For that book, I wrote a tribute to Jeff, who is 14 years older than I am and has long been a friend and a mentor to me in the railfan field.

Now, just one year after the book’s publication, I find myself unexpectedly penning a tribute to Bradley. Late last night I received the following note from Jeff:

It is with a sense of deep regret that I inform you of the death of BRADLEY CRISS on June 29, 2016 at 2:00am. Bradley died peacefully in hospice care at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital where he had been hospitalized for a month’s time fighting off infections and other problems.

Bradley was a highly talented young man who will be missed by all of us.

Bradley’s passing was a great shock to everyone who knew him.  He was just 53 years old, and as he was the junior member of the B-146 troika, I had just naturally assumed that he would outlive the both of us.

That is just too young an age for someone as smart, funny, opinionated, and talented as Bradley to die. Let me tell you the story of how the book came about, and how crucial a part Bradley played in its creation.

B-146 was, somewhat improbably, the first CERA publication entirely devoted to Chicago streetcars since a roster had been put out in 1941. There were a variety of reasons why this was so, including the publication of Alan R. Lind‘s excellent book Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History in 1974, the controversial demise of Windy City trolleys, and the immensity of the subject.

During my first term on the CERA board in the early 1990s, I suggested something like this, but the time was not yet ripe and nothing came of it.

About 10 years ago, Jeff and Bradley produced the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD. Jeff provided the content, and Bradley did a terrific and very professional job putting it together. He had fantastic skills in video production, as anyone who has seen the North Shore Line program that Jeff and Bradley did a few years ago will attest.** The videos they made together are definitely the best of their type. If you have not seen them, they are highly recommended and should not be missed.

In particular, their North Shore Line video brings that storied interurban to life in a way that I would not have thought possible.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, Jeff and Bradley had originally planned a CERA book to accompany the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD. Some work was done then, including parts of the text that would later appear in B-146, but somehow it went onto the back burner in favor of other projects.

During my second stint at CERA a few years ago, I brought up the subject of a Chicago book again, and learned not only that there were tremendous resources available, but that a “head start” had already been made by Bradley and Jeff. The time was right this time, and the project received an enthusiastic green light.

Jeff had the knowledge and had collected a lot of information over the years. I rode a Chicago streetcar once in 1958 as a three-year-old, but Jeff was already a very active fan by that time, documenting the waning days of the PCCs with his hand-held 8mm movie camera.

Over the years, his own photographic collection, together with additional material such as the late Bill Hoffman’s movies, became what is now the Wien-Criss archive. This served, along with the PCC photos that were generously shared by Art Peterson from the Krambles-Peterson archive, as the cornerstone for our book.

Jeff knew his subject inside and out, and had lots of material, and it was my job to help him organize it and flesh it out with additional images. I was sort of a “hunter-gatherer” of Chicago PCC material, a habit that has continued to this day here on the Trolley Dodger blog.

Improvements in technology over the years made a book like this possible.  There is no way it could have been made in the 1970s, 80s, or 90s.  And in that regard, Bradley Criss was our computer technology “maven.”

Bradley’s role was much more than just being Photo Editor. The entire design and layout of the book was his work, and I believe it is one of the most attractive railfan books ever published.

It certainly has the best color photo reproduction of any such book I have seen. And again, this was Bradley’s work. He not only had to painstakingly match the colors of the various cars with the other photos, but had to remove thousands and thousands of blemishes from these photographs via Photoshop. Bradley wrote something at the end of the book about this, but in my humble opinion he greatly minimized the actual difficulty.

The ultimate goal, of course, was to make things look as they originally did in real life, to make up for 60 years of fading and hard knocks that our original source materials had in some cases suffered.

In this, Bradley had the highest possible standards for the work. He would not let it be published until it was absolutely perfect.

If you could see the “before” vs. the “after” of some of these pictures, you wouldn’t believe it.  Of course, when you see the book now, you don’t see all the hard work that went into it.  You can appreciate it as the seamless whole that it is.

It did not do him any favors when we decided that there was so much great material, that we ought to make it a double length book. This took an already impossible task, and multiplied it times two.  As a Chicago PCC book, it really is the “Big Enchilada.”

Eventually, under the crushing weight of such a project, he had to ask for additional help with the daunting task of “spot removal.” Some of the images we used had as many as a thousand such imperfections that had to be fixed one at a time in Photoshop, looking at a very small part of each scene under 200% magnification or more.

Along with Jeff, John Nicholson, and Diana Koester, I did some of this work myself. After spending eight hours a day on spot removal, I could barely see straight. But to take nothing away from the contributions made by other people, Bradley did most of it himself.

There were many things that could have gone wrong and derailed this book. The combination of very high standards and the sheer number of images that were used, created a daunting task, and it was only by pulling together as a team and persevering that we scaled this Mt. Everest of a book and planted our flag on the summit. All this work took longer than anyone could have anticipated at the outset.

Bradley not only had to make the pictures look good; he had to make the entire book look good, and it had to “flow” for the reader, and he had to squeeze a tremendous amount of material into a limited number of pages.  But when you read the book, to quote The Wizard of Oz, you “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Even if I had written a tribute such as this to him for the book, there is no way he would have wanted it printed. He was, to use a restaurant analogy, a “back of the house” sort of guy, who jealously guarded his privacy. His work was integral to making the book a reality, and helped shape it in many ways, but he was not the type of person who would stand at the front of the line and accept praise from the people who have the book and appreciate it. It wasn’t easy for me to even persuade him to sign someone’s copy.

However, in the one year since the book came out, it has been warmly and enthusiastically received. It has also sold a lot of copies, and I am sure that it will eventually sell out and join the long list of other collectible CERA publications. If you do not yet have a copy yourself, I urge you to consider it while new copies are still to be had. There will come a time when the situation will be different.

When we were working on the book, I thought of it as Jeff’s legacy to the world, which of course it is. I had no way of knowing then that it would also become, all too soon, an important part of Bradley’s legacy as well.

This is to take nothing away from the many people who contributed to the book in one way or another. I thank all of them, and am also very grateful to CERA for publishing it.

But on this day, as we mourn the passing of Bradley Criss, I am especially appreciative of what he accomplished, in spite of health issues that he had even at that time. Who knows what he could have achieved in the future.

Bradley was someone who did not suffer fools gladly. But I am glad that I could call him a friend, fortunate to have known him, and even more fortunate to have worked with him on the definitive Chicago PCC book, which may very well gain in stature as the years go by.

I will miss him greatly, miss hearing him laugh, and miss his jokes. I regret that we will never be able to share another deep dish pizza at Gulliver’s on the north side of Chicago, as it was his favorite. Now that he is gone, there is a gap in our lives that cannot be filled.  I loved him like a brother.

So I thank him for everything he did, and I apologize to him for making him, for this one moment, a “front of the house” guy.  I am happy that at least he lived to see the fruits of his labor.

My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends, and everyone who knew him.

-David Sadowski

You can read CERA’s tribute here.

Here is Bradley’s Chicago Tribune obituary.

Bradley’s obituary from the Illinois Valley News Tribune is here.

*Full title: Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, available from CERA and their dealers.  Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

**The North Shore Line video is not commercially available at present, but is occasionally shown at January CERA meetings. Chicago Streetcar Memories is included with B-146 and can also be purchased separately here from Chicago Transport Memories (again, not affiliated with us).


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 144th 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 173,000 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.