Joseph Canfield and the North Shore Line

The Shore Line in June 1955, the month before abandonment.  (Joseph Canfield Photo, Dave Stanley Collection)

The Shore Line in June 1955, the month before abandonment. (Joseph Canfield Photo, Dave Stanley Collection)

Today, we are featuring North Shore Line images, generously shared with us by Dave Stanley. Many of these were taken by the late Jospeh Canfield, and even better, a good selection show the Shore Line Route, which was abandoned in 1955.

I spent a lot of time in Photoshop making these images look better. I hope you will like the results.

As always, if you can help us identify locations, we would like to hear from you.

In addition, we have some recent photo finds of our own.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

From the Collections of Dave Stanley:

The one-way (presumably eastbound) direction of traffic here is probably a clue to this location on the north side, whether in Evanston or Chicago.

The one-way (presumably eastbound) direction of traffic here is probably a clue to this location on the north side, whether in Evanston or Chicago.

NSL 159 and train crossing a bridge on the Shore Line Route. on July 20, 1955 (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 159 and train crossing a bridge on the Shore Line Route. on July 20, 1955 (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 725 at the rear of a train crossing the same bridge on July 20, 1955. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 725 at the rear of a train crossing the same bridge on July 20, 1955. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

That looks like NSL 154 at the head of a train crossing the same bridge on July 20, 1955. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

That looks like NSL 154 at the head of a train crossing the same bridge on July 20, 1955. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

This shows a North Shore Line interurban train turning south from Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette between 4th and 3rd. After making a station stop, the NSL continued south into Chicago via CTA trackage starting at Linden Avenue. This picture was taken on July 17, 1955 by the late Joseph M. Canfield, just one week before service was abandoned on the NSL's Shore Line Route. The CTA section of the route was connected to NSL trackage that ran parallel to the Chicago & North Western by several blocks of street running through a residential neighborhood, where speed was restricted to (I think) 10 mph. Some blocks west of here, the trains turned north in an area that is currently occupied by a Panera (and, before that, one of those A-frame IHOPs). I have included a Google street view photo of the same location. The North Shore Line ran in the section where you can see the street widens.

This shows a North Shore Line interurban train turning south from Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette between 4th and 3rd. After making a station stop, the NSL continued south into Chicago via CTA trackage starting at Linden Avenue. This picture was taken on July 17, 1955 by the late Joseph M. Canfield, just one week before service was abandoned on the NSL’s Shore Line Route. The CTA section of the route was connected to NSL trackage that ran parallel to the Chicago & North Western by several blocks of street running through a residential neighborhood, where speed was restricted to (I think) 10 mph. Some blocks west of here, the trains turned north in an area that is currently occupied by a Panera (and, before that, one of those A-frame IHOPs). I have included a Google street view photo of the same location. The North Shore Line ran in the section where you can see the street widens.

A winter scene along Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

A winter scene along Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

At an unknown location on the Shore Line Route.

At an unknown location on the Shore Line Route.

NSL 182 heads up a Shore Line train on July 15, 1955.

NSL 182 heads up a Shore Line train on July 15, 1955.

The late Joseph Canfield took this picture on July 8, 1950.

The late Joseph Canfield took this picture on July 8, 1950.

A North Shore train in Highland Park on July 22, 1955.

A North Shore train in Highland Park on July 22, 1955.

NSL 411 on January 12, 1963. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 411 on January 12, 1963. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 411 on January 12, 1963. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 411 on January 12, 1963. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

A train of Silverliners on April 20, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

A train of Silverliners on April 20, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

An Electroliner at speed on April 7, 1961. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

An Electroliner at speed on April 7, 1961. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

A four car train (no, I won't call them

A four car train (no, I won’t call them “Greenliners”) on May 27, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

A North Shore Line freight train, headed up by loco 454, on July 9, 1960. (Josdeph Canfield Photo)

A North Shore Line freight train, headed up by loco 454, on July 9, 1960. (Josdeph Canfield Photo)

February 22, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

February 22, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

February 22, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

February 22, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 748 on July 18, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 748 on July 18, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

A North Shore Line interurban train, possibly on a fantrip, at the Deerpath station in Lake Forest, Illinois. Photo by Joseph M. Canfield, from the Dave Stanley collection. The boy at left is probably collecting Social Security now.

A North Shore Line interurban train, possibly on a fantrip, at the Deerpath station in Lake Forest, Illinois. Photo by Joseph M. Canfield, from the Dave Stanley collection. The boy at left is probably collecting Social Security now.

July 24, 1961. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

July 24, 1961. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

Line car in June 1952.

Line car in June 1952.

NSL 723 is westbound on the Mundelein branch on May 19, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 723 is westbound on the Mundelein branch on May 19, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 168 is eastbound on the Mundelein branch on July 21, 1960. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 168 is eastbound on the Mundelein branch on July 21, 1960. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 177 heads up a two-car train at Libertyville on February 22, 1959. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 177 heads up a two-car train at Libertyville on February 22, 1959. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 709 is northbound at Highmoor on February 12, 1961. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 709 is northbound at Highmoor on February 12, 1961. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

An Electroliner southbound at Highmoor on May 28, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

An Electroliner southbound at Highmoor on May 28, 1962. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

January 12, 1963. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

January 12, 1963. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

January 12, 1963. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

January 12, 1963. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

This shows where the North Shore Line interurban tracks connected to the CTA at Linden Avenue in Wilmette, just east of the terminal at the north end of the Evanston branch. Here, on July 25, 1955 the track connection with the CTA has been severed forever, as service on the NSL's Shore Line Route was abandoned the day before. There was one final fantrip on the route this same day.

This shows where the North Shore Line interurban tracks connected to the CTA at Linden Avenue in Wilmette, just east of the terminal at the north end of the Evanston branch. Here, on July 25, 1955 the track connection with the CTA has been severed forever, as service on the NSL’s Shore Line Route was abandoned the day before. There was one final fantrip on the route this same day.

Although this photo is not very sharp, it is historic, since it shows the dismantling of the Shore Line Route on January 28, 1956. I think this may be Wilmette. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

Although this photo is not very sharp, it is historic, since it shows the dismantling of the Shore Line Route on January 28, 1956. I think this may be Wilmette. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

Joseph Canfield took this photo to show the Trains Stop sign on a pole here along Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

Joseph Canfield took this photo to show the Trains Stop sign on a pole here along Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette.

This

This “before the North Shore Line” photo shows car 37.

NSL 715 and 411 at an unknown location.

NSL 715 and 411 at an unknown location.

June 1955.

June 1955.

NSL 159 on the Shore Line Route, July 17, 1955. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 159 on the Shore Line Route, July 17, 1955. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

Although this is not the greatest photo, technically, it is one of the few I have seen at this location in Waukegan. That may be NSL 168.

Although this is not the greatest photo, technically, it is one of the few I have seen at this location in Waukegan. That may be NSL 168.

I don't know the location, but at least I can tell you this picture was taken on February 12, 1958. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

I don’t know the location, but at least I can tell you this picture was taken on February 12, 1958. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 219 on November 24, 1955. Don's Rail Photos adds:

NSL 219 on November 24, 1955. Don’s Rail Photos adds: “219 was built by Cincinnati in October 1922, #2605, as a merchandise dispatch car. It was rebuilt as a work car in 1948.” (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 411 on November 24, 1955. Don's Rail Photos:

NSL 411 on November 24, 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “411 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1923 #2640. It was out of service in 1932. 411 got the same treatment on February 25, 1943, and sold to Trolley Museum of New York in 1963. It was sold to Wisconsin Electric Railway & Historical Society in 1973 and sold to Escanaba & Lake Superior in 1989.” (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 413 on August 21, 1955. Don's Rail Photos:

NSL 413 on August 21, 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “413 was built as a trailer observation car by Cincinnati Car in June 1924, #2765. It was out of service in 1932. 413 was rebuilt on May 28, 1943.” (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL 154 on August 21, 1955. Don's Rail Photos:

NSL 154 on August 21, 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “154 was built by Brill in 1915, #19605. It was acquired by Anderson Railroad Club in 1963 and purchased by Ohio Railway Museum in 1967.” (Joseph Canfield Photo)

Inside the shops on August 25, 1956. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

Inside the shops on August 25, 1956. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

August 21, 1955. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

August 21, 1955. (Joseph Canfield Photo)

NSL loco 456 at Weber.

NSL loco 456 at Weber.

NSL loco 457.

NSL loco 457.

Locos 458 and 455 at North Chicago.

Locos 458 and 455 at North Chicago.

NSL loco 459.

NSL loco 459.

Three NSL locos.

Three NSL locos.

NSL 178 heads up a two-car train on Chicago's Loop

NSL 178 heads up a two-car train on Chicago’s Loop “L”, with a CTA train of 4000s at right. (Charles Thompson Photo)

Crossing the Chicago River just north of the Loop in July 1962.

Crossing the Chicago River just north of the Loop in July 1962.

This picture has been seen here before, but why not show it again? It's the introduction of the Silverliners in 1950, at the old CTA North Water Terminal.

This picture has been seen here before, but why not show it again? It’s the introduction of the Silverliners in 1950, at the old CTA North Water Terminal.

NSL 743 at an undetermined location on Chicago's

NSL 743 at an undetermined location on Chicago’s “L”.

CNS&M 741 heads up a two-car train approaching the Merchandise Mart in July 1962.

CNS&M 741 heads up a two-car train approaching the Merchandise Mart in July 1962.

A Silverliner in Kenosha.

A Silverliner in Kenosha.

A five-car CNS&M train on Chicago's north side. In the days before air conditioning became standard on rapid transit cars, a rider holds the door open on a hot day to take advantage of the breeze.

A five-car CNS&M train on Chicago’s north side. In the days before air conditioning became standard on rapid transit cars, a rider holds the door open on a hot day to take advantage of the breeze.

An Electroliner in June 1962, with what appears to be a CTA bus at right.

An Electroliner in June 1962, with what appears to be a CTA bus at right.

CNS&M 712 and 736 at Roosevelt Road in June 1962.

CNS&M 712 and 736 at Roosevelt Road in June 1962.

An Electroliner in Waukegan.

An Electroliner in Waukegan.

Edison Court, January 1963.

Edison Court, January 1963.

Edison Court, January 1963.

Edison Court, January 1963.

CNS&M 761 is at the back end of a southbound train on the old Sixth Street Viaduct in September 1961.

CNS&M 761 is at the back end of a southbound train on the old Sixth Street Viaduct in September 1961.

Milwaukee, June 1962.

Milwaukee, June 1962.

At Harrison Street.

At Harrison Street.

Recent Correspondence:

Jim Dexter writes:

I enjoyed the North Shore Line photos very much.

The second photo, showing the combine traveling over the viaduct, was clearly taken at Church Street in downtown Evanston. You can see the Marshall Field’s department store building — which is still there — just beyond the viaduct on the left. And straight ahead, you can see the old Evanston Public Library. That building has been replaced twice, but it’s still the location of the library.

I would also strongly suspect that the next three pictures show the bridge over the North Shore Sanitary Canal in Evanston, just north of the Central Street L station. That would fit in with the geographic sequencing of the photos, between downtown Evanston and Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette. I think you can see the end of the Central Street platform in the background.

I lived in Evanston from 1955 to 1972.

Jeff Wien writes:

I do not know if you still need to identify some of the Canfield images, but here is what I figured:

253 Church Street, Evanston
159 North Shore Channel Bridge, Evanston, south of Isabella
725,184 Same location as 159
Greenleaf & 4th, Wilmette, train is heading west, not south
Greenleaf at approx. 8th Street in snow
Wilmette Station, train heading north from station
182 Forest Avenue crossing, Wilmette
Kenilworth
411 Lake Bluff (7 views around Lower Lake Bluff trackage)
Deerpath
Lower Lake Bluff
Arcadia, Mundelein Branch
Rondout
Liner north of Lake Bluff Station
715-411 Glencoe Gauntlet track

I hope that this list is helpful to you in plugging in the missing information.

Recent Photo Finds

“Five CTA one-man arch roof cars #3145, 1772, 3232, 3220, and 3266 in the process of being scrapped at 77th and Vincennes (South Shops) on December 12, 1953 (taken through fence).” (Robert Selle Photo)

Brooklyn and Queens Transit PCC 1051 on the

Brooklyn and Queens Transit PCC 1051 on the “Triboro Trolley Tour” in 1948. That appears to be a 1934 Ford at left.

South Shore Line #105 is at Bendix in South Bend, headed east, on July 6, 1953. In 1970, service was cut back to here, but has since been extended to a local airport. There are plans afoot to once again bring trains to downtown South Bend, but on private right-of-way. (Robert Selle Photo)

South Shore Line #105 is at Bendix in South Bend, headed east, on July 6, 1953. In 1970, service was cut back to here, but has since been extended to a local airport. There are plans afoot to once again bring trains to downtown South Bend, but on private right-of-way. (Robert Selle Photo)

“CTA ex-CSL 4-wheel trailers (bottom one is W-267) at DesPlaines Avenue “L” terminal on October 5, 1958.” Behind this, you can see some wooden Met “L” cars in work service. (Robert Selle Photo)

Don's Rail Photos:

Don’s Rail Photos: “E23, sweeper, was built by McGuire in 1895 as NCStRy 34. It became CRys 26 in 1908 and renumbered E23 in 1913. It became CSL E23 in 1914 and retired on March 11, 1959.” Here, E23 is at the 77th Street yards on August 8, 1958, several weeks after the end of streetcar service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo)

“CTA one-man car 6177 is turning south onto Kedzie from Cermak Road on July 23, 1953.” (Bob Selle Photo)

A two-car train of CTA 6000s in August 1970 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal of what is now the Blue Line in Forest Park. This was the circa 1959 version of this terminal, which has since been replaced.

A two-car train of CTA 6000s in August 1970 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal of what is now the Blue Line in Forest Park. This was the circa 1959 version of this terminal, which has since been replaced.

A two-car train of CTA 2000s at Harlem Avenue on the Lake Street

A two-car train of CTA 2000s at Harlem Avenue on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line) on November 11, 1966. Until 1962, this line ran on the ground next to the Chicago & North Western embankment.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in August 1970. The towers at right have since been demolished.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in August 1970. The towers at right have since been demolished.

CTA 2000s and 6000s at the old Logan Square terminal on November 13, 1966.

CTA 2000s and 6000s at the old Logan Square terminal on November 13, 1966.

CTA prewar PCC 4046 is at a loop located at 72nd and Cottage Grove, circa 1952-55 when these cars were used on Route 4.

CTA prewar PCC 4046 is at a loop located at 72nd and Cottage Grove, circa 1952-55 when these cars were used on Route 4.

North Shore Line Silverliner special at Glencoe gauntlet on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

North Shore Line Silverliner special at Glencoe gauntlet on August 9, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

“View of CTA Big Pullmans #588, 572, and 537 at 70th and Ashland yards on January 2, 1954.” (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA one-man car 1757, turning north onto Pulaski Road from Fifth Avenue (at the west end of the Fifth Avenue line) on July 5, 1953. This is one of the old red cars that the CTA painted green. Notice that the streetcar is turning onto a gauntlet track, so as not to interfere with the northbound and southbound tracks on Pulaski. The Pulaski station on the Garfield Park

CTA one-man car 1757, turning north onto Pulaski Road from Fifth Avenue (at the west end of the Fifth Avenue line) on July 5, 1953. This is one of the old red cars that the CTA painted green. Notice that the streetcar is turning onto a gauntlet track, so as not to interfere with the northbound and southbound tracks on Pulaski. The Pulaski station on the Garfield Park “L” is at rear. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-cr train of CTA 1700-series RR roof

A three-cr train of CTA 1700-series RR roof “L” cars descends the ramp between Laramie and Central on the Lake Street “L”, bringing it down to street level, on December 6, 1952. (Robert Selle Photo)

CSL instruction car 1466 is on Franklin near Van Buren Street on June 12, 1943. This car was used for training in the Van Buren tunnel under the Chicago River, not far from where this picture was taken. (R. J. Anderson photo)

CSL instruction car 1466 is on Franklin near Van Buren Street on June 12, 1943. This car was used for training in the Van Buren tunnel under the Chicago River, not far from where this picture was taken. (R. J. Anderson photo)

Prewar CSL PCC 7017 at the Madison and Austin loop in 1938. (Photo by Meyer)

Prewar CSL PCC 7017 at the Madison and Austin loop in 1938. (Photo by Meyer)

A southbound two-car North Shore Line train, headed up by 771, at Zion on September 24, 1961.

A southbound two-car North Shore Line train, headed up by 771, at Zion on September 24, 1961.

On October 20, 1996, a C&NW freight train passes some CTA 2400s (2457, 2512, and 2410) in the Green Line yard in Forest Park. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

On October 20, 1996, a C&NW freight train passes some CTA 2400s (2457, 2512, and 2410) in the Green Line yard in Forest Park. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

To celebrate the centennial of the Chicago

To celebrate the centennial of the Chicago “L”, a pair of CTA 2000s (2007-2008) were repainted and renumbered 1892-1992. We see them at the Green Line yard in Forest Park on March 15, 1996, with a C&NW freight at rear. It looks like the River Forest Jewel had recently opened, as only a portion of the parking lot was being used. The remainder was once occupied by a building that had recently been demolished. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

CTA articulated compartment car 5002, renumbered to car 52 in the early 1960s, was once again renumbered as 75 for this country's bicentennial. It eventually went to the Illinois Railway Museum as 52. Here we see it at Skokie Shops on January 26, 1975. (Bruno Berzins Photo)

CTA articulated compartment car 5002, renumbered to car 52 in the early 1960s, was once again renumbered as 75 for this country’s bicentennial. It eventually went to the Illinois Railway Museum as 52. Here we see it at Skokie Shops on January 26, 1975. (Bruno Berzins Photo)

Now Available On Compact Disc

CDLayout33p85

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

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

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

Total time – 73:14


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

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


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

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

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern

$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.

Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30

Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31

Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02

Total time (3 discs) – 215:03


The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

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

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

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

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Chicago’s Pre-PCCs

CSL 7001 at Clark and Ridge in 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 7001 at Clark and Ridge in 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

The PCC (short for Presidents’ Conference Committee) streetcar has been in continuous use since 1936, a remarkable 79 years. It literally saved the North American streetcar from extinction, but its development took several years and it did not appear in a vacuum. The presidents of several transit companies banded together in 1929 to develop a new, modern streetcar that could compete with buses and automobiles. The first production PCCs were made in 1936, the last in 1952.

The Chicago Surface Lines played an important part in the PCC’s development. Chicago ultimately had 683 PCCs, the largest fleet purchased new by any city, but in actuality CSL had 785 modern cars in all. There were 100 Peter Witt streetcars built in 1929 by a combination of CSL, Brill, and Cummings Car Co., and two experimental pre-PCCs, 4001 (built by Pullman-Standard) and 7001 (Brill), which dated to 1934.

The Peter Witt car was developed by its namesake in Cleveland around 1914 and set the standard for streetcars for the next 20 years. (Chicago’s batch were also referred to as “sedans.”) During the late 1920s and early 1930s, there was a similar type of car known as the “Master Unit*” made by Brill (Pullman-owned Osgood-Bradley made a similar model called the “Electromobile.”)

In conjunction with the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair, also known as A Century of Progress, CSL commissioned two experimental streetcars, the 4001 and 7001, with advanced features. (You can read an excellent and very comprehensive history of those cars on the Hicks Car Works blog.)

Of the two cars, the 4001 was more radical in both design and construction, with a streamlined all-aluminum body, but probably the less successful of the two. Both were taken out of service in 1944.  The 4001 is the only pre-PCC car to survive, and is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.  The 7001 was scrapped by CTA in 1959.

Ironically, the 7001, made by J. G. Brill, was closer to the eventual design of the PCC car, although ultimately Brill did not build any true PCCs. The company had a policy not to pay patent royalties to other companies, and refused to do so with PCC technology owned by the Transit Research Corp. (TRC).

In 1935, Capital Transit ordered 20 pre-PCC cars for Washington D. C. based on the design of car 7001, but shorter. The order was split between Brill and St. Louis Car Company. This was an important step, since these were more than simply experimental units. Car 1053 managed to survive the end of streetcar service in Washington DC in 1962, until September 28, 2003 when it was destroyed in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum in Maryland.

There were also two additional 1934 experimental cars, the PCC Model A and B, which were used for field testing. The Model A was built in 1929 by Twin Coach and purchased second-hand to test new components. It was tested in Brooklyn circa 1934-35 and was scrapped in 1939.

The streamlined Model B incorporated all the latest PCC developments and was tested in Chicago, arguably the first PCC car operated here. While in use in Brooklyn, the PCC Model B dewired and was involved in an accident with a truck after its brakes failed. This led to the brake systems being redesigned for the first PCCs. The Model B was kept in storage for some time, and although the front end was repaired, it was never again used in service and was scrapped in the early 1950s.

By 1936, the first production PCCs were ready to go and the first one was delivered to Brooklyn and Queens Transit on May 28, 1936. However, Pittsburgh Railways put the first PCC into scheduled public service in August.

Brill’s decision not to build true PCCs ultimately proved fatal. Their 1938-41 “Brilliner” was considered somewhat inferior to the PCC car and few were built. 30 single-ended cars went to Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Cincinnati, while 10 double-ended cars were built for Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co., where they continued in service into the early 1980s.

These were the last streetcars made by Brill, who had once dominated the industry. Most PCCs were built by the St. Louis Car Company, with a smaller share from Pullman-Standard.

We hope that you will enjoy these pictures of these pre-PCC cars, the ones that laid the groundwork for the “car that fought back,” which continues to serve faithfully and well in a number of North American cities, and hopefully will continue to do so for a long time to come.

-David Sadowski

*According to History of the J. G. Brill Company by Debra Brill, page 173, the Master Unit model was officially introduced in January 1929:

“The idea was to produce standardized cars.  Both ends of the car were to be identical in construction.  Height and width of the car, size and number of windows, seat width and therefore aisle width were to be the same for every unit of a specific type.  The cars were offered in single-or double-truck, and single-or double-end style, with doors located at the ends or with a combination end door and center door.  Master Units could be constructed with steel or aluminum, the difference in weight being about 5,000 pounds.  Interestingly, the cars had curved lower sides very much like the curve used on the lower panels of the Kuhlman and Brill-built cars of a few years previously.  There was nothing patentable about the Master Unit: it was merely a standardized design.

To Brill’s disappointment, buyers did not appear in large numbers.  Only seventy-eight Master Units were built in all, with just two constructed exactly to Brill’s specifications.”

Here is an article about Scranton car 505, one of the last surviving Osgood-Bradley Safety Cars, also known as “Electromobiles,” now in the process of being restored at the Electric City Trolley Museum.  An Electromobile was also the last trolley to run in New York City.

Here is an interesting blog post about the effort to restore the 505.

Here is a video showing a model of an Electromobile:

As an added bonus, as streetcars prepare to return to service in Washington D. C., here are some vintage films showing a variety of streetcars in action, including both PCCs, the 1935 pre-PCCs, and even some older types:

Frank Hicks, of the excellent Hicks Car Works blog, writes:

Very nice job on the Pre-PCC post on your blog!  It’s a great post with some outstanding photos, and of course I appreciate the “plug” as well.

Several of the photos you posted I had never seen before.  The photo of the 4001 in service is really nice; shots of the car in regular use are really pretty rare.  It was quite the “hangar queen” when it was on the CSL.  And the Model B interior shot is fascinating!  I think I saw that rear-end shot somewhere once but I don’t know that I’d ever seen a photo of the car’s interior.  What I found most fascinating is that it appears the car was designed to have left-hand doors fitted in the middle, Boston style (and likely so that it could be used or tested out in Boston, as I think Boston is the only city that had PCCs with this feature).  Close examination of the interior shot shows an inset panel across from the center doors and I bet it was designed for doors to be put there if desired.  It would be interesting to know more about the Model B.  I’m not even sure whether it was set up for one-man or two-man service; the photo makes it clear that there was no conductor’s station forward of the center doors, like the CSL cars had, but it’s possible there was a conductor behind the motorman (I think this was how Brooklyn set up its PCC cars).  Or it could have just been a one-man car.

Anyway, thank you for posting these photos and for posting such large scans of them – fascinating stuff!

CTA Peter Witt 3330 on route 4. These cars were shifted to Cottage Grove from Clark-Wentworth in 1947 after postwar PCCs took over that line.

CTA Peter Witt 3330 on route 4. These cars were shifted to Cottage Grove from Clark-Wentworth in 1947 after postwar PCCs took over that line.

CTA 6282 unloads passengers in the early 1950s. Note the postwar Pullman PCC at rear.

CTA 6282 unloads passengers in the early 1950s. Note the postwar Pullman PCC at rear.

CSL 6300 on route 4 - Cottage Grove in the early CTA era.

CSL 6300 on route 4 – Cottage Grove in the early CTA era.

CSL "Sedan" 6299 on route 4 - Cottage Grove.

CSL “Sedan” 6299 on route 4 – Cottage Grove.

A unique lineup at the 1934 American Transit Association convention in Cleveland. From left, we have the PCC Model A; CSL 4001; CSL 7001, and the PCC Model B. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

A unique lineup at the 1934 American Transit Association convention in Cleveland. From left, we have the PCC Model A; CSL 4001; CSL 7001, and the PCC Model B. (Krambles-Peterson Archive)

The PCC Model B at Navy Pier. (Chicago Architectural Photographing Co.)

The PCC Model B at Navy Pier. (Chicago Architectural Photographing Co.)

The PCC Model B being demonstrated at Navy Pier. (CSL Photo)

The PCC Model B being demonstrated at Navy Pier. (CSL Photo)

The PCC Model B interior. (Chicago Architectural Photographing Co.)

The PCC Model B interior. (Chicago Architectural Photographing Co.)

CSL 7001 under construction at the Brill plant in 1934.

CSL 7001 under construction at the Brill plant in 1934.

CSL 7001 under construction at the Brill plant in 1934.

CSL 7001 under construction at the Brill plant in 1934.

CSL 7001 on route 36 Broadway-State in 1934.

CSL 7001 on route 36 Broadway-State in 1934.

CSL 7001 at State and Van Buren in 1934.

CSL 7001 at State and Van Buren in 1934.

CSL 7001 at State and Chicago, in World's Fair service, at 9 am on August 29, 1934. (George Krambles Photo)

CSL 7001 at State and Chicago, in World’s Fair service, at 9 am on August 29, 1934. (George Krambles Photo)

CSL 4001 at South Shops on October 23, 1938. (George Krambles Photo)

CSL 4001 at South Shops on October 23, 1938. (George Krambles Photo)

CSL 4001, signed for route 4 Cottage Grove, at South Shops on October 23, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 4001, signed for route 4 Cottage Grove, at South Shops on October 23, 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)

CSL 4001 in service, probably around 1934.

CSL 4001 in service, probably around 1934.

CSL 4001 on route 22, Clark-Wentworth, probably in the late 1930s.

CSL 4001 on route 22, Clark-Wentworth, probably in the late 1930s.

CSL 4001, sporting a good sized dent, at South Shops. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4001, sporting a good sized dent, at South Shops. (CSL Photo)

CSL 4001 at Kedzie and Van Buren on May 13, 1946. By this time, the car had been out of service for two years. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4001 at Kedzie and Van Buren on May 13, 1946. By this time, the car had been out of service for two years. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Capital Transit 1056, a product of the St. Louis Car Co., as it looked in 1935 when new.

Capital Transit 1056, a product of the St. Louis Car Co., as it looked in 1935 when new.

Car 7501, the only Baltimore "Brilliner," in August 1941. Note the so-called "tavern" doors. This car was a sample in anticipation of a larger order that never came. It ran in service from 1939 to 1956. (Jeffrey Winslow Photo)

Car 7501, the only Baltimore “Brilliner,” in August 1941. Note the so-called “tavern” doors. This car was a sample in anticipation of a larger order that never came. It ran in service from 1939 to 1956. (Jeffrey Winslow Photo)

A modern Baltimore "Peter Witt" streetcar, built by Brill in 1930, alongside a PCC, made in 1936 by St. Louis Car Company.

A modern Baltimore “Peter Witt” streetcar, built by Brill in 1930, alongside a PCC, made in 1936 by St. Louis Car Company.

DC Transit pre-PCC streamlined streetcar at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 1993. Part of a 20-car order in 1935, split between Brill and St Louis Car Company. This is a St. Louis Car Company product. Sadly this car was lost to a carbarn fire at the museum in 2003. (John Smatlak Photo)

DC Transit pre-PCC streamlined streetcar at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 1993. Part of a 20-car order in 1935, split between Brill and St Louis Car Company. This is a St. Louis Car Company product. Sadly this car was lost to a carbarn fire at the museum in 2003. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

1053 interior. (John Smatlak Photo)

Scranton Transit 508, an "Electromobile," was built by Osgood-Bradley Co in 1929. It was another attempt at a modern standardized streetcar in the pre-PCC era.

Scranton Transit 508, an “Electromobile,” was built by Osgood-Bradley Co in 1929. It was another attempt at a modern standardized streetcar in the pre-PCC era.

Baltimore Peter Witt 6146. Don's Rail Photos says it was "built by Brill in 1930 and retired in 1955." Sister car 6119 is at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, while 6144 is at Seashore. These were some of the most modern cars around, prior to the PCCs.

Baltimore Peter Witt 6146. Don’s Rail Photos says it was “built by Brill in 1930 and retired in 1955.” Sister car 6119 is at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, while 6144 is at Seashore. These were some of the most modern cars around, prior to the PCCs.

Baltimore Transit Company car 6105, shown here on route 15 - Ostend St., is one of the last modern streetcars built before PCCs took over the market. The sign on front says that September 7 will be the last day for 6 hour local rides. Perhaps that can help date the picture.

Baltimore Transit Company car 6105, shown here on route 15 – Ostend St., is one of the last modern streetcars built before PCCs took over the market. The sign on front says that September 7 will be the last day for 6 hour local rides. Perhaps that can help date the picture.

Indianapolis Railways 146, shown here on a special run in 1949, was a Brill "Master Unit" but appears very similar to the Baltimore Peter Witts. This car was built in 1933, one of the last streetcars built before the PCC era. Brill tried to sell street railways on standardized cars (hence the name "Master Units") but as you might expect, no two orders were identical.

Indianapolis Railways 146, shown here on a special run in 1949, was a Brill “Master Unit” but appears very similar to the Baltimore Peter Witts. This car was built in 1933, one of the last streetcars built before the PCC era. Brill tried to sell street railways on standardized cars (hence the name “Master Units”) but as you might expect, no two orders were identical.