CTA 7009-7010 at Dempster.
Cooler weather returned to the Chicago area last Friday, after a string of hot and muggy days. We took this opportunity to take pictures on the Chicago Transit Authority.
We rode the new 7000-series cars for the first time on the Yellow Line (formerly the Skokie Swift), where they were being tested last week. Our luck was good, as our ride from Dempster to Howard turned out to be the last trip of the day for these new cars, which are being tested extensively on the CTA system.
My impression of these new “L” cars was very favorable. While in many respects they are similar to the existing fleet, the 7000s are instantly recognizable, due to their blue end caps. They are smooth and quiet in operation, and offer improved seating, with fewer sideways seats, which did not prove to be very popular on the 5000s. The 7000s will replace the 2600-series cars, some of which are now 40 years old.
We also took some pictures of the Belmont Flyover construction progress, which is part of the RPM (Red and Purple Modernization) project. The flyover will keep Red, Purple, and Brown Line trains from having to cross in front of each other, and will therefore add capacity to these routes once it opens this November.
In addition, we have more classic traction pictures to share, both our own, and from our contributors Larry Sakar, Bob Bresse-Rodenkirk, and Jack Bejna.
PS- If you enjoy reading these posts, you might consider joining our Trolley Dodger Facebook Group as well. We currently have 419 members.
CTA Yellow Line
CTA 7009-7010 has arrived at Dempster in Skokie.
Our 7000s train pulls up to the platform at Dempster.
The 7000s interior. There is less sideways seating than on the 5000s, which should prove popular with riders.
Skokie Shops. You can see 6711-6712 and 6101-6102, part of CTA’s Historic Fleet.
There are some 2400s at Howard Yard, for use in work service.
7009-7010 after arriving at Howard. Unfortunately, there was no return trip on these cars.
From the side, you can hardly tell the 7000s from other “L” cars.
The new 7000s have distinctive blue caps on the ends.
A northbound Red Line train at Howard.
CTA 7009-7010 at Howard.
The 7000s were done for the day and about to be put back in the yard.
5519-5520 at Howard.
5519-5520 at Howard.
5519-5520 at Howard.
Flatcars at Skokie Shops.
The CTA’s historic 6000s at Skokie Shops.
Skokie Shops. Note the 7000-series car present.
East Prairie Road.
This portion of platform is a remnant of the old Crawford-East Prairie station on the Niles Center route.
Although the Skokie Swift has been renamed the Yellow Line, the CTA still uses this distinctive logo. I believe it was designed by the late George Krambles.
CTA 5519-5520 at the Dempster terminal.
The bus turnaround area has a shelter that is stylistically in keeping with the Dempster Street Terminal.
This is the back end of the historic Dempster Street Terminal, originally built for the North Shore Line and designed by Arthur U. Gerber. The station was moved a bit from its original location to create a bus turnaround area.
From 1925 to 1948, Dempster was the terminal of the CRT’s Niles Center branch.
The Belmont Flyover is massive and work is proceeding rapidly. It may be put into service as soon as this November.
This welder wanted me to take his picture with his mask on and the flame lit.
The three-story Vautravers Building at 947 West Newport Avenue was recently moved 30 feet to the west by the CTA as part of the flyover project, so a curve could be straightened out.
There is more to the RPM project than just the Belmont Flyover. Parts of the century-old “L” embankment north of Wilson Avenue are being replaced. The Lawrence Avenue station is currently closed, and there is a temporary station at Argyle (shown here).
Red Arrow car 27, from a late 1950s red border Kodachrome slide. It was built by Brill in 1918. Sister car 25 was retired in 1964.
Red Arrow car 68 in the late 1950s, from a red border Kodachrome. We ran a different picture taken at this location in a previous post, so I can tell the location is Sheldon and Spring Avenues on the Ardmore line, which was converted to buses at the end of 1966.
On June 6, 1954, William C. Hoffman took this picture looking to the northwest at Congress and Bishop Streets (1432 W.), showing the demolition of main line of the Metropolitan “L”.
The view looking west from Congress and Racine Avenue (1200 W.), showing the old Metropolitan “L”‘s Throop Street Shops and power plant in the process of being torn down to make way for the Congress Expressway on June 6, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Again, looking northwest from Congress and Racine, but this time on July 25, 1954. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
Photographer Bruce C. Nelson took this picture of CTA 5695-5696 on February 19, 2017, when these cars (and two others), decorated to celebrate the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908, were used on a fantrip sponsored by the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (and made possible by a substantial donation by the late Jeffrey L. Wien).
This shows why I am fully in favor of the recent plan to replace the State and Lake station on the Loop “L” with something new and modern. There was little left of the original station anyway, due to previous renovations and a fire. Clark Frazier took this picture looking north from State Street on April 21, 1980.
This picture of North Shore Line car 254 on the “L” in August 1962 generated a lot of discussion on the Facebook Trolley Dodger group. First of all, where is it? Jon Habermaas has identified it as the Harrison Curve at Harrison and Wabash. He also says that the train is northbound, turning onto Wabash, as the location of the combine as the lead car shows.
Jon Habermaas also posted this picture, taken at the same location.
William C. Hoffman took this picture of a four-car train of 4000s at 43rd Street on October 13, 1952… with three cars in the old paint scheme and one in the new.
The view looking north at the 43rd Street station on October 13, 1952 found a train of flat-door 6000s. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
William C. Hoffman took this picture of a southbound train of CTA 6000s at 43rd Street on March 13, 1955.
The view looking northwest from Congress and Ashland (1600 W.) on October 29, 1950. The one car train is a Douglas Park, and the two-car train of brand new 6000s is from Logan Square. This was a few months before the new Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway opened. (William C. Hoffman Photo)
A Lake Street “L” A train prepares to head east from the Harlem terminal in September 1966. These cars were two years old then, and the line had only been elevated here four years earlier.
The location of this 1950s Loop photo was a mystery. But Graham Garfield writes, “It’s Wells Street looking north at Monroe St. The 200 on the building in the background isn’t 200N, it’s 200W. Everything in this view is gone now, except the “L” and the building on the near left (the SW corner of Wells/Monroe).”
Halsted looking south from 63rd Street. This picture was taken some time between 1907 and 1910. This station on the Englewood “L” has been rebuilt twice since then and is still in use today as part of the CTA Green Line.
A close-up of the previous picture.
This was a slide that was recently sold on eBay that I did not win. North Shore Line car 157 is apparently on a fantrip at the Milwaukee Terminal in the early 1960s, with the Milwaukee Road’s train shed in the background.
There were six original slides on auction recently, all taken in Chicago on January 10, 1956. I assume the photographer, who is as of yet unknown, may have simply been in town for a short time. I did win three of these, and will post improved scans once I receive them, but I thought they were interesting as an entire set:
A nice view of a gateman’s shanty on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L” in Oak Park. All 22 grade crossings here were manually operated.
This is either the Kedzie or Homan station on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line). There was a third track on a portion of the line, originally used for express trains. In the CTA era, it was used for midday car storage.
Graham Garfield thinks this is the “L” station at Quincy and Wells, looking north.
Wentworth on the Englewood branch. Much of what you see here was cleared away within a few years to build the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Racine on the Englewood branch.
Racine on the Englewood branch.
Here’s a 1950s view of the shuttle train that went to the Polo Grounds, where the New York Giants played, before decamping to San Francisco after the 1957 season. It was located in Manhattan, within view of Yankee Stadium (which was across the river in the Bronx). This was apparently the last vestige of the 6th and 9th Avenue Els in Manhattan. The expansion New York Mets played their 1962 and 1963 seasons at the Polo Grounds, while Shea Stadium was being built, after which it was torn down.
I recently bought seven original red border Kodachrome slides, taken at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn during a World Series game between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. (They cost me just $7.50 apiece.)
The Dodgers were originally called the Trolley Dodgers in the early part of the 20th century, so I hope you won’t mind seeing these pictures here, even though they do not have a transit connection per se.
It is not often that old photos can be dated, but there are enough clues here that the actual date of this one can be figured out. The advertising signs match other pictures from the 1949 WS, where the Yankees beat the Dodgers, 4 games to 1. Games 3, 4, and 5 were played in Brooklyn, and the first two of those had a 1 pm start. Game 5 started at 2 pm since it was a Sunday.
Since the clock here says it is just after 2, and the game hasn’t started yet, this is Sunday, October 9, 1949. By studying one slide, you can see it was taken during the National Anthem. At the base of the scoreboard, there’s the iconic sign for Abe Stark’s clothing store (“Hit sign, win suit”).
Two blimps were flying overhead, one advertising R&H Beer, the other Tydol Gasoline.
The Yankees defeated the Dodgers that day 10-6 in the deciding game of the Series. Ebbets Field was not a large ballpark, and this game was attended by a crowd of 33,711 (several thousand less than the modern capacity of Fenway Park or Wrigley Field).
Ebbets Field had lights installed in 1938. This game was also historic, since the lights were turned on during the 9th inning, the first time this had been done in a WS game. (All WS games were played in the daytime until 1971.)
When games were over, fans were able to walk on part of the left field grass to exit by the center field gate.
The Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season (and their rivals, the New York Giants, went to San Francisco), leaving the Yankees as the sole New York team until the expansion team Mets joined them in 1962. Ebbets Field, which opened in 1913, was torn down in 1960 and replaced by apartments.
“Hit sign, win suit.”
This is one of the North Shore Line stations designed by Arthur U. Gerber. But which one? My guess is Kenosha. The original slide, from November 1987, was so underexposed that it almost looked opaque, but I did what I could with it. (William Shapotkin Collection)
Larry Sakar writes:
As regards photo 2021/07/bills228 your guess that this is the Kenosha, WI. NSL station is 100% correct.
The giveaway is the entrance. This is the north end of the station. Sometime in the ’80’a or ’90’s when It was Spaghetti Station and then just “The Station,” the owners decided to add a banquet room to the north end of the building. It completely ruined its historical appearance. No attempt was made to make it look anything like the existing building and that big, square addition looked totally out of place with Arthur Gerber’s original design. They also ended up building across from one platform to the other forever ruining that part as well.
I went there in April or May of 1972. There was no bus service in Kenosha at the time, so I had to walk from the location of the TM station (8th Avenue & 55th St.) to the NSL station at 27th Avenue and 63rd St. When I got there I found the building completely enclosed by a picket fence. Luckily, the gate or whatever was open and I walked in and began snapping photos. In those days I was using an Ansco box camera and 620 b&w film with 8 shots to the roll. Talk about primitive!
Just then a gentleman came out of the station which was open on the south end. I explained that I was a traction fan and the North Shore line which had built this station is one of my areas of study. I thought I was going to get kicked off the property, but the man was quite flattered that I was interested in the building.
Did he know about the NSL and the history of the building? He never said. He said I was welcome to take as many pictures as I wished, and said he’d invite me inside but he had just finished washing the floor and it was slippery.
It was just as well because I’d lost the flash attachment to that camera years earlier. Remember the days of flash attachments and flashbulbs? I was also limited in how much time I could spend there. I’d come down from Milwaukee on the Wisconsin Coach Lines bus, which let you off in the downtown Kenosha area. I was really going to have to hustle if I was going to make the next bus back to Milwaukee. Luckily, I did.
I still have the prints that I shot that day and will send them to you should you wish to use them.
NSL Kenosha Station, north end of the southbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)
NSL Kenosha Station, looking south from the former track area, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)
NSL Kenosha Station, southbound platform from the northbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)
NSL Kenosha Station, waiting room on the southbound platform, April 5, 1972. (Larry Sakar Photo)
Bob Bresse-Rodenkirk sent in three recent photos, taken at the Shore Line Trolley Museum, in East Haven, CT:
“The Chicago Boys in proper North Shore uniform. Stephen B. Rudolph and Bob Bresse-Rodenkirk. Photos by Alan Zelazo.”
Bob adds, “I am the motorman there and Steve Rudolph is conductor.” Chicagoans may remember Bob from WBBM radio, under his professional name, Bob Roberts.
Finally, Jack Bejna sent us this photo of Chicago Surface Lines 4001:
An “as built” photo of experimental Chicago Surface Lines car 4001 in 1934. It was built by Pullman-Standard, and its body shell is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Jack Bejna Collection)
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!
The Trolley Dodger On the Air
I recently appeared on the Dave Plier Show on WGN radio, to discuss Chicago’s Lost “L”s. You can hear that discussion here.
Our Latest Book, Now Available:
Chicago’s Lost “L”s
From the back cover:
Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.
The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.
Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found
Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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A Tribute to the North Shore Line
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.
Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.
It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time. The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.
Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.
Total time – 121:22
# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)
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