New Directions

Bruce C. Nelson took this photo of CTA 5174, wrapped with the Chicago flag, on April 24, 2018 at Clinton just west of the Loop.

Bruce C. Nelson took this photo of CTA 5174, wrapped with the Chicago flag, on April 24, 2018 at Clinton just west of the Loop.

Here at the Trolley Dodger, we are always in search of new directions to take this blog to. While the great majority of photos we share are definitely “old,” they are new to us, and we hope, you as well.

There doesn’t have to be an overriding theme to these posts, but often one suggests itself. Often we simply collect pictures that interest us for various reasons, and once we have a sufficiency, they all go into a post.

But what is old now was once new, and at least some of today’s images did represent new directions at one time.

Two cases in point – Harper’s Weekly, from April 20, 1895, ran an in-depth report on the new Metropolitan West Side Elevated, which opened on May 6. That was 125 year ago now, but all this was brand new and very innovative. The Met was the very first of the “L”s to forgo steam power in favor of electricity, direct current carried by a third rail.

As the article makes clear, Chicago’s third “L” (after the South Side and Lake Street lines) drew inspiration from the Columbian Intramural Railway at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. And while in retrospect, it would have made a lot of sense to have the Logan Square and Humboldt Park branches continue downtown on a straight line along Milwaukee Avenue, there was no Loop in 1895 for it to connect with.

The Met started life as a very ambitious self-contained entity. There was no Loop elevated until 1897.

The other new direction we offer today is from 1913. Once established, the Loop “L” was a tremendous success, but success brought with it a host of new problems to solve. Not all trains ran on the Loop– some started and ended at the stub end terminals each of the four “L” companies had. But most of them did, and at first, all circled the Loop. The result was congestion and slower service.

Gradually, it became apparent that Chicago’s “L”s would be better off as a unified system. It was a gradual process.

By 1913, the four “L” companies were still separate entities, but came under unified management, controlled by Samuel Insull. Important changes and improvements were afoot.

Now, you could transfer between the various “L”s without paying another fare. Transfer bridges were added at Loop stations, and where the Met crossed over the Lake Street “L”.

Traffic on the Loop was changed to counter-clockwise, a system that lasted 56 years, until the Dan Ryan line opened in 1969. Prior to this, trains used left-hand running there, and operated bi-directionally. For over half a century now, the Loop has been bi-directional, with right-hand running.

We acquired a very nice 1913 brochure detailing the new changes.

In addition, we have many recent photo finds to share with you.

Enjoy.

-David Sadowski

PS- We have shared literally thousands of images with you over the last five plus years. Not surprisingly, many of these photos end up on Facebook. There are lots of railfan groups on Facebook, and we belong to many of them ourselves. We are fine with you sharing our pictures there, but we do have a couple requests.

First, please do not crop out the Trolley Dodger watermark. It’s there for a purpose– to show everyone the source of the picture.  Give credit where credit is due.

Second, please include the caption information. I have seen some pictures shared without the captions, leading to much guesswork and wondering about things that were actually answered in the original caption itself.

Thanks.

From Harper’s Weekly, April 20, 1895:

1913 “L” Brochure:

Chicago "L" operations were consolidated under one management by 1913, when this brochure was issued to explain service changes to the public.

Chicago “L” operations were consolidated under one management by 1913, when this brochure was issued to explain service changes to the public.

In 1913, free transfers were instituted between the four "L" lines. To combat overcrowding, some north and south side trains were through-routed, meaning they only ran on half the Loop. Other trains continued to circle the Loop. The direction of trains in the Loop was changed to counter-clockwise, and the Northwestern and Lake Street "L"s changed to right-hand running outside of the Loop.

In 1913, free transfers were instituted between the four “L” lines. To combat overcrowding, some north and south side trains were through-routed, meaning they only ran on half the Loop. Other trains continued to circle the Loop. The direction of trains in the Loop was changed to counter-clockwise, and the Northwestern and Lake Street “L”s changed to right-hand running outside of the Loop.

We spent some time cleaning up this 1913 map in Photoshop. Under the new scheme of things, the Loop ran counter-clockwise. Met trains continued to use the inner Loop tracks, and Northwestern trains the outer tracks, as before. Lake trains were rerouted onto the inner tracks, and South Side trains to the outer tracks. Now many trains could be through-routed between the north and south sides, although there were still trains that went around the Loop and served all the stations. It would also have been possible to through-route Lake and Met "L" trains, but this was not done. There was some equipment sharing between Northwestern and Lake, as both "L"s used overhead wire in places, but none of the Met cars were equipped with trolley poles until the 1926 Eucharistic Congress. M.E. writes, "I must compliment your excellent Photoshop work on the 1913 Rapid Transit System map. Did you notice that it mentions "electric" connections at 63rd and Stony Island and at 63rd Place and Halsted? The latter was the interurban to Kankakee, which quit sometime in the 1920s, although its trackage under the L lasted into at least the 1940s."

We spent some time cleaning up this 1913 map in Photoshop. Under the new scheme of things, the Loop ran counter-clockwise. Met trains continued to use the inner Loop tracks, and Northwestern trains the outer tracks, as before. Lake trains were rerouted onto the inner tracks, and South Side trains to the outer tracks. Now many trains could be through-routed between the north and south sides, although there were still trains that went around the Loop and served all the stations. It would also have been possible to through-route Lake and Met “L” trains, but this was not done. There was some equipment sharing between Northwestern and Lake, as both “L”s used overhead wire in places, but none of the Met cars were equipped with trolley poles until the 1926 Eucharistic Congress. M.E. writes, “I must compliment your excellent Photoshop work on the 1913 Rapid Transit System map. Did you notice that it mentions “electric” connections at 63rd and Stony Island and at 63rd Place and Halsted? The latter was the interurban to Kankakee, which quit sometime in the 1920s, although its trackage under the L lasted into at least the 1940s.”

Recent Finds

This must have been a popular postcard, as it turns up a lot. This example was never mailed and is in excellent condition. It does show the bi-directional, left-hand running Loop, though, so it must date to before 1913. The Met car at left is heading north, away from us. The train at right is heading towards us. I suspect it is a Northwestern "L" car, about to head west on Van Buren. There were no transfer bridges at Loop stations until 1913. The view looks north at Wabash and Van Buren from Tower 12.

This must have been a popular postcard, as it turns up a lot. This example was never mailed and is in excellent condition. It does show the bi-directional, left-hand running Loop, though, so it must date to before 1913. The Met car at left is heading north, away from us. The train at right is heading towards us. I suspect it is a Northwestern “L” car, about to head west on Van Buren. There were no transfer bridges at Loop stations until 1913. The view looks north at Wabash and Van Buren from Tower 12.

Postcards like this were based on black-and-white photos, although the finished product, since it is traced, ends up looking more like a drawing. Once the four "L" lines were put under consolidated management in 1913, free transfers between lines were permitted. Here, the Met "L" along Paulina crossed the Lake Street "L", the only place on the entire system where two competing lines crossed, so Lake Street Transfer station was built. Met trains went downtown anyway, but it's possible some riders might have been able to save a few minutes by switching to a Lake Street train. The view looks east.

Postcards like this were based on black-and-white photos, although the finished product, since it is traced, ends up looking more like a drawing. Once the four “L” lines were put under consolidated management in 1913, free transfers between lines were permitted. Here, the Met “L” along Paulina crossed the Lake Street “L”, the only place on the entire system where two competing lines crossed, so Lake Street Transfer station was built. Met trains went downtown anyway, but it’s possible some riders might have been able to save a few minutes by switching to a Lake Street train. The view looks east.

We are looking west along the Van Buren leg of the Loop circa 1905. The train has a large "S" on it and is therefore a South Side "L" train, coming towards us as the Loop was left-hand running at the time, and is about to cross over to head south on the right-hand running Alley "L".

We are looking west along the Van Buren leg of the Loop circa 1905. The train has a large “S” on it and is therefore a South Side “L” train, coming towards us as the Loop was left-hand running at the time, and is about to cross over to head south on the right-hand running Alley “L”.

An early 1900s postcard view of the Met "L" Logan Square Terminal.

An early 1900s postcard view of the Met “L” Logan Square Terminal.

Tower 12 at Wabash and Van Buren, looking north, in the early 900s. This is during the era when trains ran bi-directionally, left handed, prior to 1913. A Northwestern "L" train is turning behind Tower 12 and will head west. The train at left is heading north.

Tower 12 at Wabash and Van Buren, looking north, in the early 900s. This is during the era when trains ran bi-directionally, left handed, prior to 1913. A Northwestern “L” train is turning behind Tower 12 and will head west. The train at left is heading north.

The date is not known, but this must be a photo stop along the North Shore Line's Skokie Valley Route. We can only imagine how old the young boy at left is today, shown holding a pair of binoculars. This must be a siding of some sort. The original image was shot on size 127 Ektachrome film, a larger format that 35mm, but one that could still be mounted in a 2x2 mount-- what people used to call a "superslide." This term is also used to describe slides shot with size 828 film, which was slightly larger than 35mm.

The date is not known, but this must be a photo stop along the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route. We can only imagine how old the young boy at left is today, shown holding a pair of binoculars. This must be a siding of some sort. The original image was shot on size 127 Ektachrome film, a larger format that 35mm, but one that could still be mounted in a 2×2 mount– what people used to call a “superslide.” This term is also used to describe slides shot with size 828 film, which was slightly larger than 35mm.

A "superslide." Since we are looking at the back of the slide, the image is reversed.

A “superslide.” Since we are looking at the back of the slide, the image is reversed.

Red Arrow car 78 on the West Chester line on May 29, 1954, about a week before buses replaced trolleys. Much of the line was single track, side-of-the-road, with passing sidings. It fell victim to a road widening project along West Chester Pike. (James P. Shuman Photo)

Red Arrow car 78 on the West Chester line on May 29, 1954, about a week before buses replaced trolleys. Much of the line was single track, side-of-the-road, with passing sidings. It fell victim to a road widening project along West Chester Pike. (James P. Shuman Photo)

Center door Red Arrow car 63 is at 69th Street Terminal on December 29, 1962.

Center door Red Arrow car 63 is at 69th Street Terminal on December 29, 1962.

Red Arrow car 63 at West Garrett Road on December 29, 1962. This car was built by Brill in the mid-1920s.

Red Arrow car 63 at West Garrett Road on December 29, 1962. This car was built by Brill in the mid-1920s.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow) car 15 at the end of the Ardmore line in the early 1950s. Buses replaced trolleys in 1966.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow) car 15 at the end of the Ardmore line in the early 1950s. Buses replaced trolleys in 1966.

Kansas City had an elevated railway line that started out as a cable car line and eventually became part of their streetcar system. It lasted into the 1950s. The last Kansas City PCC ran in 1957, but a new 2.2 mile long modern streetcar line opened in 2016. Kansas City Public Service car 776 was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1946.

Kansas City had an elevated railway line that started out as a cable car line and eventually became part of their streetcar system. It lasted into the 1950s. The last Kansas City PCC ran in 1957, but a new 2.2 mile long modern streetcar line opened in 2016. Kansas City Public Service car 776 was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1946.

A CTA Loop Shuttle train on the Wabash leg in 1974.

A CTA Loop Shuttle train on the Wabash leg in 1974.

An eastbound two-car train of single car units, including car 8, are about to enter the Lotus Tunnel in March 1960. Construction of the Congress Expressway was well underway just to the north. The new highway opened in this area later that year.

An eastbound two-car train of single car units, including car 8, are about to enter the Lotus Tunnel in March 1960. Construction of the Congress Expressway was well underway just to the north. The new highway opened in this area later that year.

Around 1940, the Chicago Surface Lines temporarily installed this door arrangement on prewar PCC 4051. It was later used on the 600 postwar PCCs.

Around 1940, the Chicago Surface Lines temporarily installed this door arrangement on prewar PCC 4051. It was later used on the 600 postwar PCCs.

CRT 3137 is part of a Lake Street Local train on the ground-level portion of that line. Don's Rail Photos: "3136 and 3137 were built by Gilbert in 1893 as LSERR 84 and 85. They were rebuilt and renumbered 136 and 137 and later renumbered 3136 and 3137 in 1913. They became CRT 3136 and 3137 in 1923."

CRT 3137 is part of a Lake Street Local train on the ground-level portion of that line. Don’s Rail Photos: “3136 and 3137 were built by Gilbert in 1893 as LSERR 84 and 85. They were rebuilt and renumbered 136 and 137 and later renumbered 3136 and 3137 in 1913. They became CRT 3136 and 3137 in 1923.”

A "Plushie" 4000-series "L" train on a late 1930s fantrip.

A “Plushie” 4000-series “L” train on a late 1930s fantrip.

A Ravenswood Express with 4000s, including "Baldy" 4073, at the Merchandise Mart station circa 1940. From 1943-49, Ravenswood trains went downtown via the State Street Subway.

A Ravenswood Express with 4000s, including “Baldy” 4073, at the Merchandise Mart station circa 1940. From 1943-49, Ravenswood trains went downtown via the State Street Subway.

CRT 1101 heads up a southbound Evanston Shopper's Special at the Merchandise Mart station circa 1940. Don's Rail Photos: "1100 thru 1158 were built as trailers by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 100 thru 158. They were renumbered 1100 thru 1158 in 1913 and became CRT 1100 thru 1158 in 1923."

CRT 1101 heads up a southbound Evanston Shopper’s Special at the Merchandise Mart station circa 1940. Don’s Rail Photos: “1100 thru 1158 were built as trailers by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 100 thru 158. They were renumbered 1100 thru 1158 in 1913 and became CRT 1100 thru 1158 in 1923.”

A Chicago & North Western RDC (Budd Rail Diesel Car) commuter train in Evanston on August 5, 1950.

A Chicago & North Western RDC (Budd Rail Diesel Car) commuter train in Evanston on August 5, 1950.

CTA postwar PCC 4399 in the loop at 80th and Vincennes.

CTA postwar PCC 4399 in the loop at 80th and Vincennes.

My "Spidey sense" tells me this picture of CA&E 412 was probably taken at Laramie Avenue. But it could not be any later than 1937, since that is when rail service to St. Charles ended. The view looks northwest and the train is headed west.

My “Spidey sense” tells me this picture of CA&E 412 was probably taken at Laramie Avenue. But it could not be any later than 1937, since that is when rail service to St. Charles ended. The view looks northwest and the train is headed west.

This is an unusual place to see an Electroliner, as we are on the South Side "L". While the North Shore Line did run trains to the south side up to 1938, the Electrolners entered service in 1941. So, this must be a fantrip. Our resident south side expert M.E. writes, "This photo is an enigma. I cannot imagine the CNS&M would spare one of its two Electroliners for a fan trip. Maybe this was an introductory tour before service began in 1941. Also, your caption says the CNS&M ran to the south side until 1938. Then why do I remember seeing CNS&M cars on the Jackson Park L, rounding the curve at 63rd and Prairie, in the late 1940s? That CNS&M service ran to 63rd and Dorchester (1400 E.) to connect with Illinois Central passenger trains." Miles Beitler: "I’m not sure, but RBK792 could be the 61st street station, photographed from a building in the adjacent yard. It’s hard to tell, but there appears to be a junction (the turnoff to the Englewood branch) just before the train in the far distance, which does appear to be a 6000." Comparison with the following two photos proves (IMHO) that this is actually 61st Street, and that the picture was taken from the transfer bridge.

This is an unusual place to see an Electroliner, as we are on the South Side “L”. While the North Shore Line did run trains to the south side up to 1938, the Electrolners entered service in 1941. So, this must be a fantrip. Our resident south side expert M.E. writes, “This photo is an enigma. I cannot imagine the CNS&M would spare one of its two Electroliners for a fan trip. Maybe this was an introductory tour before service began in 1941. Also, your caption says the CNS&M ran to the south side until 1938. Then why do I remember seeing CNS&M cars on the Jackson Park L, rounding the curve at 63rd and Prairie, in the late 1940s? That CNS&M service ran to 63rd and Dorchester (1400 E.) to connect with Illinois Central passenger trains.” Miles Beitler: “I’m not sure, but RBK792 could be the 61st street station, photographed from a building in the adjacent yard. It’s hard to tell, but there appears to be a junction (the turnoff to the Englewood branch) just before the train in the far distance, which does appear to be a 6000.” Comparison with the following two photos proves (IMHO) that this is actually 61st Street, and that the picture was taken from the transfer bridge.

61st Street on the South side "L". (George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South Side "L". (George Trapp Collection)

61st Street on the South Side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)

The CA&E owned everything west of Laramie Avenue, including Lockwood Yard, shown here circa 1930 or so (by the looks of the auto at left). We are looking west and that's Loretto Hospital in the distance, opened in 1923. Cars 418 and 431 are visible. Interestingly, the yard used overhead wire instead of third rail at this time. You can see a fence at the west end of the yard, and what appear to be a couple small bumper posts at track's end. After the Garfield Park "L" was replaced by the CTA Congress median line, an alleyway was put in here, approximately where the two trains are. The house is still there, as you will see in the pictures that follow, and, it seems, one of the posts that supported trolley wire. However, the homes at left, on Flournoy Street (700 S.) are gone, replaced by expressway. This portion of yard and right-of-way is now occupied by light industry.

The CA&E owned everything west of Laramie Avenue, including Lockwood Yard, shown here circa 1930 or so (by the looks of the auto at left). We are looking west and that’s Loretto Hospital in the distance, opened in 1923. Cars 418 and 431 are visible. Interestingly, the yard used overhead wire instead of third rail at this time. You can see a fence at the west end of the yard, and what appear to be a couple small bumper posts at track’s end. After the Garfield Park “L” was replaced by the CTA Congress median line, an alleyway was put in here, approximately where the two trains are. The house is still there, as you will see in the pictures that follow, and, it seems, one of the posts that supported trolley wire. However, the homes at left, on Flournoy Street (700 S.) are gone, replaced by expressway. This portion of yard and right-of-way is now occupied by light industry.

The same view today.

The same view today.

The fence to the right of this Chicago style brick bungalow shows just where Lockwood Yard ended. The yard was just north of the CA&E main line, which curved south just east of here and ran parallel to the B&OCT from here to Forest Park.

The fence to the right of this Chicago style brick bungalow shows just where Lockwood Yard ended. The yard was just north of the CA&E main line, which curved south just east of here and ran parallel to the B&OCT from here to Forest Park.

That certainly looks like one of the same poles in the earlier picture.

That certainly looks like one of the same poles in the earlier picture.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 16 at the end of the Batavia branch. Don's Rail Photos: "16 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in December 1939 and retired in 1959."

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 16 at the end of the Batavia branch. Don’s Rail Photos: “16 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was modernized in December 1939 and retired in 1959.”

An 1883 omnibus was part of the CTA Historical Collection at 77th and Vincennes on May 25, 1958. This and other historic vehicles were paraded out that day, during one of the final Chicago streetcar fantrips. PCCs, including 4409, are at left.

An 1883 omnibus was part of the CTA Historical Collection at 77th and Vincennes on May 25, 1958. This and other historic vehicles were paraded out that day, during one of the final Chicago streetcar fantrips. PCCs, including 4409, are at left.

The view looking west from Racine on the Englewood "L" branch on November 3, 1955. The Loomis Terminal is in the distance.

The view looking west from Racine on the Englewood “L” branch on November 3, 1955. The Loomis Terminal is in the distance.

Looking northeast from the Halsted station on the Met "L" main line on June 27, 1954, we see a two-car westbound Garfield Park train of flat-door 6000s.

Looking northeast from the Halsted station on the Met “L” main line on June 27, 1954, we see a two-car westbound Garfield Park train of flat-door 6000s.

A six-car train of wooden "L" cars heads west at California Avenue on the Lake Street line. We are looking west on March 17, 1954.

A six-car train of wooden “L” cars heads west at California Avenue on the Lake Street line. We are looking west on March 17, 1954.

The CTA installed an escalator (called a "speed ramp") at the Loomis Terminal on the Englewood branch. This photo was taken on February 19, 1957. This branch was extended two blocks west to Ashland in 1969, providing a more convenient transfer to buses. M.E. adds, "The L platform at Loomis Blvd. did not originally extend over the street. It was added to accommodate longer trains. The bus heading north on Loomis was probably serving route 110 Marquette Blvd., which ended at the L station. Until the early 1950s, bus service along Marquette and Loomis Blvds. was part of the Chicago Motor Coach system, and had double-decker buses that might not have fit under the L track (if it had been there)." Alan Follett adds, "As I recall, the “speed ramp” at Loomis wasn’t an escalator. It was a sort of gently-inclined conveyor belt."

The CTA installed an escalator (called a “speed ramp”) at the Loomis Terminal on the Englewood branch. This photo was taken on February 19, 1957. This branch was extended two blocks west to Ashland in 1969, providing a more convenient transfer to buses. M.E. adds, “The L platform at Loomis Blvd. did not originally extend over the street. It was added to accommodate longer trains. The bus heading north on Loomis was probably serving route 110 Marquette Blvd., which ended at the L station. Until the early 1950s, bus service along Marquette and Loomis Blvds. was part of the Chicago Motor Coach system, and had double-decker buses that might not have fit under the L track (if it had been there).” Alan Follett adds, “As I recall, the “speed ramp” at Loomis wasn’t an escalator. It was a sort of gently-inclined conveyor belt.”

On February 19, 1957, we are looking west from the transfer bridge at Clark and Lake. A five-car Evanston Express train is at right, made up of wood cars in their final year of service.

On February 19, 1957, we are looking west from the transfer bridge at Clark and Lake. A five-car Evanston Express train is at right, made up of wood cars in their final year of service.

The view looking west at 40th and Indiana Avenue on the South Side "L". An 8-car Jackson Park train of 4000s is going to head north to Howard, and a train of southbound 6000s is off in the distance. The extra wide platform at right was extended in 1949, when the CTA turned the Kenwood branch into a shuttle operation. Riders could change here for that line and the Stock Yards branch. The date is April 13, 1954.

The view looking west at 40th and Indiana Avenue on the South Side “L”. An 8-car Jackson Park train of 4000s is going to head north to Howard, and a train of southbound 6000s is off in the distance. The extra wide platform at right was extended in 1949, when the CTA turned the Kenwood branch into a shuttle operation. Riders could change here for that line and the Stock Yards branch. The date is April 13, 1954.

"L" car 1016 is part of an Evanston train at Madison and Wells.

“L” car 1016 is part of an Evanston train at Madison and Wells.

CTA streetcar 1069 is running westbound on Route 16 - Lake Street. Some passengers have just stepped off and are waiting for the gates to go up as a Lake Street "L" train passes. There was a stretch of a few blocks where the ground-level "L" and streetcars ran side-by-side. Here, the trolley is going to go under the nearby embankment to run for a few blocks on the north side of the Chicago & North Western. Streetcars were replaced by buses in 1954, and the "L" was elevated onto the embankment in 1962. The picture can't have been taken before 1948, as the Lake train is a "B." A/B skip-stop service began on the line that year.

CTA streetcar 1069 is running westbound on Route 16 – Lake Street. Some passengers have just stepped off and are waiting for the gates to go up as a Lake Street “L” train passes. There was a stretch of a few blocks where the ground-level “L” and streetcars ran side-by-side. Here, the trolley is going to go under the nearby embankment to run for a few blocks on the north side of the Chicago & North Western. Streetcars were replaced by buses in 1954, and the “L” was elevated onto the embankment in 1962. The picture can’t have been taken before 1948, as the Lake train is a “B.” A/B skip-stop service began on the line that year.

The front car here is 3139 on this Lake Street "L" train at Quincy and Wells.

The front car here is 3139 on this Lake Street “L” train at Quincy and Wells.

One of the two cars in this Lake Street "L" train is 1708. At Madison and Wells.

One of the two cars in this Lake Street “L” train is 1708. At Madison and Wells.

CRT 3121 is a Lake Street gate car at Madison and Wells.

CRT 3121 is a Lake Street gate car at Madison and Wells.

CRT 1772 at the front of a train at Lake and Homan.

CRT 1772 at the front of a train at Lake and Homan.

CTA 1745 is the lead car on a westbound Lake Street "L" train, going down the ramp at Lake and Laramie.

CTA 1745 is the lead car on a westbound Lake Street “L” train, going down the ramp at Lake and Laramie.

A westbound Douglas Park train at Halsted on the Lake Street "L". Douglas trains were rerouted downtown via Lake from 1954 to 1958.

A westbound Douglas Park train at Halsted on the Lake Street “L”. Douglas trains were rerouted downtown via Lake from 1954 to 1958.

CTA 2963 is a Douglas Park train at Madison and Wells.

CTA 2963 is a Douglas Park train at Madison and Wells.

CTA 2772 heads up a westbound Douglas Park train rounding the Halsted curve on the Met "L" main line.

CTA 2772 heads up a westbound Douglas Park train rounding the Halsted curve on the Met “L” main line.

The caption on the back of this picture says this is 54th Avenue on the Douglas Park "L", however, I'm not so sure. It looks as though this is a westbound train that has just crossed over at the end of the line, but it is signed as a local and not an A or B train. M.E. writes: "Your caption is 99.44% correct, this picture has to be a westbound Douglas Park L at 54th St. in Cicero, crossing over to enter the terminal. The 0.56% in error is that it could indeed have been an all-stop train; A & B service on all lines that had A & B service was not A & B service at all times of day. As I recall, south side A & B service ran til maybe 8:30 p.m., and never on Sunday. So I contend this picture was taken on a Sunday."

The caption on the back of this picture says this is 54th Avenue on the Douglas Park “L”, however, I’m not so sure. It looks as though this is a westbound train that has just crossed over at the end of the line, but it is signed as a local and not an A or B train. M.E. writes: “Your caption is 99.44% correct, this picture has to be a westbound Douglas Park L at 54th St. in Cicero, crossing over to enter the terminal. The 0.56% in error is that it could indeed have been an all-stop train; A & B service on all lines that had A & B service was not A & B service at all times of day. As I recall, south side A & B service ran til maybe 8:30 p.m., and never on Sunday. So I contend this picture was taken on a Sunday.”

An eastbound Garfield Park train at the Marshfield station in the early 1950s. Construction is already underway for the Congress Expressway that caused the "L" to be replaced by an expressway median route.

An eastbound Garfield Park train at the Marshfield station in the early 1950s. Construction is already underway for the Congress Expressway that caused the “L” to be replaced by an expressway median route.

A train of CTA 2800s at Van Buren and Paulina. This was the temporary route for part of the Garfield Park "L" from 1953 to 1958.

A train of CTA 2800s at Van Buren and Paulina. This was the temporary route for part of the Garfield Park “L” from 1953 to 1958.

A train of CTA 6000s is westbound at Laramie Avenue on the Garfield Park line in the 1950s.

A train of CTA 6000s is westbound at Laramie Avenue on the Garfield Park line in the 1950s.

CTA 3131, a one-man car operating on Route 16 - Lake Street, stops in front of the Woods Theater, located at 54 W. Randolph Street. The film 12 O'Clock High dates the picture to 1949. The Woods closed in 1989.

CTA 3131, a one-man car operating on Route 16 – Lake Street, stops in front of the Woods Theater, located at 54 W. Randolph Street. The film 12 O’Clock High dates the picture to 1949. The Woods closed in 1989.

CRT 1013 at Skokie Shops. Don's Rail Photos: "1013 was built by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 13. It was renumbered 1013 in 1913 and became CRT 1013 in 1923. It was retired on December 20, 1954."

CRT 1013 at Skokie Shops. Don’s Rail Photos: “1013 was built by Pullman in 1899 as NWERy 13. It was renumbered 1013 in 1913 and became CRT 1013 in 1923. It was retired on December 20, 1954.”

CRT 2704 at Skokie Shops.

CRT 2704 at Skokie Shops.

CTA 3148 heads up a Lake Street train at Quincy and Wells.

CTA 3148 heads up a Lake Street train at Quincy and Wells.

CSL 6211 near the Eastside Theater, located at 10555 S. Ewing Avenue. It opened in 1922 and closed in 1951.

CSL 6211 near the Eastside Theater, located at 10555 S. Ewing Avenue. It opened in 1922 and closed in 1951.

Recent Correspondence

Bill Myers writes:

Here is (North Shore Line) 411 in Brooklyn on the South Brooklyn Railway in March 1963.

Thanks… could it really have been that soon after the abandonment? Or is a 1964 date more likely? (The second picture shows the same car being moved years later, 1970s at least.)

Miles Beitler writes:

Great photos as usual!

Regarding RBK792, it’s really hard to tell but could there be a 6000 in the distance? If so, it would date the photo to 1950 or later. As for North Shore trains running to the south side, as far as I know that practice ended in 1938 as you said. However, perhaps NSL ran occasional trains for special events such as the 1948-1949 Chicago Railroad Fair and the 1952 Republican and Democratic national conventions (which were both held at the International Amphitheatre).

Photo RBK817 is interesting as the side curtain of car 1013 shows “LOGAN SQ EXPRESS”. Were there really express runs on that route? The Logan Square line wasn’t very long compared to the other west side lines and it didn’t have as many stations. If there was an express, which stations were skipped?

Thanks for writing. That may be 6000s in the distance. There were some very creative fantrips on the North Shore Line prior to abandonment, and some these did indeed use one of the Electroliners. I am not aware of any special runs relating to the Railroad Fair or political conventions, however.

Regarding where a Logan Square Express train would have stopped, and what stations would have been skipped, I do not know. Perhaps one of our readers can help.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

New Steam Audio CD:

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

misc676-001

STEAM CDs:

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

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

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

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

Total time – 45:49

The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

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

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

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

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From the Collections of Bill Shapotkin

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left)."

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left).”

Today, we feature more classic photos of buses, trolleys, and trains, courtesy of Bill Shapotkin, long a friend of this blog. Mr. Shapotkin should be well-known to many of you from his longtime activities as a transit historian, author, and the many informative programs he has given over the years.

Today’s sampling from the Shapotkin Collection includes some rare pictures of Chicago & North Western RDCs (Budd Rail Diesel Cars), which were self-propelled and ran in Chicago area commuter train service for a short period of time in the 1950s. They replaced steam-powered trains and were in turn replaced by the familiar push-pull diesel bi-levels still in use today.

In addition, there are several pictures of Grand Central Station, a Chicago landmark in use between 1890 and 1969, which was torn down in 1971. We have some interesting correspondence, plus some new images of our own.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We have done our part to make these old images look as good as they possibly can. The C&NW RDC pictures were all shot around 1956 on early Ektachrome film, whose dyes turned out to be unstable and quickly shifted to red. (Technically, the red layer was relatively stable, while the green and blue layers faded.)

It used to be some people thought these sorts of images were only suitable for use as black-and-whites. But with modern technology, it is possible, to some extent, to bring back the original colors. This was easier to do on some than others, but the results look much better than you might expect. If you have ever seen one of these early red Ektachromes, you will know what I mean. Modern films are much more stable and resistant to dye fading.

I would be remiss without mentioning Bill has been involved for many years with the annual Hoosier Traction meet, which takes place in September:

It is that time of year again — the 35th annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet is being held Fri-Sat, Sept 7-8 in Indianapolis, IN. The meet includes two full days of interesting presentations on a variety of subjects, as well as our “Exhibition Room” of vendors — with everything from transfers to track charts available. Book now and you can join us for just $25.00 ($40.00 at the door). We recommend that once you book hotel accommodations as early as possible, as there is an event scheduled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that same weekend. By calling the number of the Waterfront Inn (where our event is being held), by mentioning that you are with the Hoosier Traction Meet, you should be able to register at our group rate.

For those of you would are unable to attend both days, we have a special “Saturday Only” rate of just $15.00 ($25.00 at the door). As many of our Friday presentations are repeated on Saturday, you will be able to partake of a wide variety of subjects and presenters.

We hope you are able to join us for what many consider to be THE electric railway gathering in the country…see you there!

Thanking you in advance,

Bill Shapotkin

The Milwaukee Road's Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St."

The Milwaukee Road’s Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St.”

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Peru, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Peru, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

Minneapolis & St. Louis "doodlebug" GE 29, was used as a railway post office (RPO). According to http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, " Number GE-29 was built in 1931, body by Saint Louis Car Company (c/n 1550), the power plant was 400 horsepower EMC Winton Model 148 gasoline engine (c/n 491) coupled to GE electrical gear. I don't know who is responsible for the boxy structure on the roof but it's likely the cooling system for the prime mover. This unit went by the name 'Montgomery' (painted above the rear truck) and was repowered in August 1950 with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower Model D diesel."

Minneapolis & St. Louis “doodlebug” GE 29, was used as a railway post office (RPO). According to http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/, ” Number GE-29 was built in 1931, body by Saint Louis Car Company (c/n 1550), the power plant was 400 horsepower EMC Winton Model 148 gasoline engine (c/n 491) coupled to GE electrical gear. I don’t know who is responsible for the boxy structure on the roof but it’s likely the cooling system for the prime mover. This unit went by the name ‘Montgomery’ (painted above the rear truck) and was repowered in August 1950 with a Caterpillar 400 horsepower Model D diesel.”

CTA bus 4606 is at the Roosevelt/Monitor Loop in October 1992 (same one used by trackless trolleys a few years earlier). The view looks E-N/E (toward Monitor Avenue). I don't know much about the GM Fishbowl next to it, however.

CTA bus 4606 is at the Roosevelt/Monitor Loop in October 1992 (same one used by trackless trolleys a few years earlier). The view looks E-N/E (toward Monitor Avenue). I don’t know much about the GM Fishbowl next to it, however.

A Milwaukee Road dome car near Union Station in Chicago.

A Milwaukee Road dome car near Union Station in Chicago.

Milwaukee Road equipment in downtown Chicago.

Milwaukee Road equipment in downtown Chicago.

Pace buses in Elgin, June 2003.

Pace buses in Elgin, June 2003.

A westbound NYC passenger train as it approaches LaSalle Street Station in November 1963. At right is the CRI&P's coach yard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A westbound NYC passenger train as it approaches LaSalle Street Station in November 1963. At right is the CRI&P’s coach yard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Chicago, IL. NYC loco #7300 is seen as it passes the CRI&P coachyard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge in November 1963. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Chicago, IL. NYC loco #7300 is seen as it passes the CRI&P coachyard. The view looks south from the Roosevelt Road bridge in November 1963. (John Szwajkart Photo)

Metra Milwaukee District loco 124 is pushing an eastbound train towards Union Station in Chicago. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. August 1995. (Dan Munson Photo)

Metra Milwaukee District loco 124 is pushing an eastbound train towards Union Station in Chicago. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. August 1995. (Dan Munson Photo)

Loco 604 leads a northbound (timetable: westbound) Metra/Milwaukee District passenger train out of Union Station in Chicago. The view looks south-southwest off the Lake Street bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River. July 19, 1990. (Dan Munson Photo)

Loco 604 leads a northbound (timetable: westbound) Metra/Milwaukee District passenger train out of Union Station in Chicago. The view looks south-southwest off the Lake Street bridge over the south branch of the Chicago River. July 19, 1990. (Dan Munson Photo)

Control cab 3244 brings up the reat of a westbound Metra/Rock Island train at Joliet Union Station. The view looks west in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Control cab 3244 brings up the reat of a westbound Metra/Rock Island train at Joliet Union Station. The view looks west in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Joliet, IL: Loco 163 is seen pushing an eastbound Metra/Rock Island suburban train across the ATSF/IC (ex-ICG, former GM&O, nee C&A) diamonds at Union Station. The view looks south in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Joliet, IL: Loco 163 is seen pushing an eastbound Metra/Rock Island suburban train across the ATSF/IC (ex-ICG, former GM&O, nee C&A) diamonds at Union Station. The view looks south in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

The imposing clock tower of Grand Central Station, in operation from 1890 to 1969. Located at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison, it was demolished in 1971. This view looks northwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The imposing clock tower of Grand Central Station, in operation from 1890 to 1969. Located at the southwest corner of Wells and Harrison, it was demolished in 1971. This view looks northwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The Wells Street side of Grand Central Station in Chicago. The view looks north along Wells Street in the 1960s. (Ron Peisker Photo)

The Wells Street side of Grand Central Station in Chicago. The view looks north along Wells Street in the 1960s. (Ron Peisker Photo)

In the 1960s, and auto is parked on Wells Street in front of Grand Central Station. The view looks to the west-northwest across Wells Street. (Ron Peisker Photo)

In the 1960s, and auto is parked on Wells Street in front of Grand Central Station. The view looks to the west-northwest across Wells Street. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking west from the clock tower at Grand Central Station in the 1960s. Through these windows are various railroad offices. The building at left in the background is the CGW freight house. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking west from the clock tower at Grand Central Station in the 1960s. Through these windows are various railroad offices. The building at left in the background is the CGW freight house. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Grand Central Station, Chicago is viewed from the west side of Franklin Street from a point north of Harrison Street. The view looks southwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Grand Central Station, Chicago is viewed from the west side of Franklin Street from a point north of Harrison Street. The view looks southwest. (Ron Peisker Photo)

Looking north on Holden Court in March 2000, under the South Side "L", we are looking north under the St. Charles Air Line bridge. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Looking north on Holden Court in March 2000, under the South Side “L”, we are looking north under the St. Charles Air Line bridge. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A westbound B&O freight train prepares to cross the IHB at the Illinois/Indiana state line. The view looks east in September 1959. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A westbound B&O freight train prepares to cross the IHB at the Illinois/Indiana state line. The view looks east in September 1959. (John Szwajkart Photo)

This is 91st St Tower in November 1949 -- protecting the PRR/ROCK Xing on the ROCK's Suburban (now Beverly) Branch. The tracks heading off to the upper right are the ROCK. Tracks heading off to the upper left are the PRR.

This is 91st St Tower in November 1949 — protecting the PRR/ROCK Xing on the ROCK’s Suburban (now Beverly) Branch. The tracks heading off to the upper right are the ROCK. Tracks heading off to the upper left are the PRR.

This billboard, advertising SouthShore Freight, is located west of Indianapolis Boulevard north of the Indiana Toll Road in East Chicago, IN. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This billboard, advertising SouthShore Freight, is located west of Indianapolis Boulevard north of the Indiana Toll Road in East Chicago, IN. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&NW cab-coach 152 in Chicago, north of the Clinton Street Tower on August 2, 1978.

C&NW cab-coach 152 in Chicago, north of the Clinton Street Tower on August 2, 1978.

An eastbound C&NW train is passing under the CGW bridge on July 9, 1968. Bill Shapotkin adds, "This photo was taken in Lombard east of Grace St. Today, a Great Western Trail x/o over the UP (C&NW) at the same location. View looks west."

An eastbound C&NW train is passing under the CGW bridge on July 9, 1968. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This photo was taken in Lombard east of Grace St. Today, a Great Western Trail x/o over the UP (C&NW) at the same location. View looks west.”

C&NW cab car 254 at Davis Street in Evanston on July 18, 1976.

C&NW cab car 254 at Davis Street in Evanston on July 18, 1976.

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: "This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E."

C&NW GP7 is at an unknown location, on a morning train running between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin in March 1954. Bill Shapotkin: “This location is West Allis, WI just west of Belden Tower (the freight line to Butler is in background). View looks N/E.”

C&NW KO Tower in Lake Bluff, IL on May 5, 1977.

C&NW KO Tower in Lake Bluff, IL on May 5, 1977.

C&NW 1653 at Kenmore station, Chicago.

C&NW 1653 at Kenmore station, Chicago.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

The C&NW commuter stop in Zion, July 30, 1966.

C&NW RDC cars in Park Ridge, IL.

C&NW RDC cars in Park Ridge, IL.

C&NW RDC cars southbound departing Kenmore station (Granville Avenue) in Chicago.

C&NW RDC cars southbound departing Kenmore station (Granville Avenue) in Chicago.

C&NW 1531 in Kenmore station, Chicago in May 1956.

C&NW 1531 in Kenmore station, Chicago in May 1956.

C&NW RDC cars, southbound at Kenmore station, Chicago, 1956.

C&NW RDC cars, southbound at Kenmore station, Chicago, 1956.

C&NW RDC cars in Waukegan, IL.

C&NW RDC cars in Waukegan, IL.

C&NW RDC car 9933 just north of Thome Avenue in August 1956.

C&NW RDC car 9933 just north of Thome Avenue in August 1956.

Chicago Surface Lines 6213. Tony Waller adds, "The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle."

Chicago Surface Lines 6213. Tony Waller adds, “The photo of the red streetcar on route 95 captioned as being at 93rd and Anthony Ave. is actually at 93rd and Exchange Ave. The streetcar line westbound turned from Exchange onto 93rd. Anthony Ave. parallels the PRR/NYC viaducts (and now the Skyway bridge alignment) that is in the near distance; crossing the streetcar line at a perpendicular angle.”

CTA 6213 at 95th and State in 1949.

CTA 6213 at 95th and State in 1949.

CSL 6212 on Route 93 near Blackstone, west of Stony Island on August 13, 1947.

CSL 6212 on Route 93 near Blackstone, west of Stony Island on August 13, 1947.

Here, we are looking north (from 31st Street) under the South Side "L" mainline. Note supports at left - that portion of the structure dates back to 1892. The pillars and structure at right was added when a third main (express) track was added. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Here, we are looking north (from 31st Street) under the South Side “L” mainline. Note supports at left – that portion of the structure dates back to 1892. The pillars and structure at right was added when a third main (express) track was added. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound Englewood train approaches 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks north from 31st Street. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound Englewood train approaches 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks north from 31st Street. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side "L" main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Englewood train has just crossed over 31st Street on the South Side “L” main line. The view looks south across 31st. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Jackson Park train makes its stop at the 35th Street "L" station. The view looks north. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A southbound CTA Jackson Park train makes its stop at the 35th Street “L” station. The view looks north. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A westbound Metra train in Blue Island on June 26, 1992. (R. Bullermann Photo)

A westbound Metra train in Blue Island on June 26, 1992. (R. Bullermann Photo)

Metra loco #104 is seen heading a westbound Metra/Milwaukee District suburban train out from Union Station in August 1995. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. (Dan Munson Photo)

Metra loco #104 is seen heading a westbound Metra/Milwaukee District suburban train out from Union Station in August 1995. The view looks east from DesPlaines Street. (Dan Munson Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 - 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side "L" main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 – 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side “L” main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 - 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side "L" main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A 7900-series CTA bus, working a westbound trip on Route 31 – 31st, is westbound in 31st Street approaching the South Side “L” main line. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, approaching the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, approaching the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, makes a stop before crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, makes a stop before crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, crossing over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks west. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1158, working an eastbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is eastbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over the Metra Rock Island tracks at Hale Avenue. The view looks east. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street at Hale Avenue and the Metra Rock Island tracks. View looks northeast. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street at Hale Avenue and the Metra Rock Island tracks. View looks northeast. June 28, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 - West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over Hale Avenue and Metra Rock Island tracks. The view looks northwest. June 8, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA bus 1094, working a westbound trip on Route 103 – West 103rd, is westbound in 103rd Street, having just crossed over Hale Avenue and Metra Rock Island tracks. The view looks northwest. June 8, 2018. (William Shapotkin Photo)

My Metra title slide... nice, eh? December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

My Metra title slide… nice, eh? December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

A close-up of Metra 126 and its brethren in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

A close-up of Metra 126 and its brethren in December 1990. (Paul D. Schneider Photo)

Recent Site Additions

This picture was added to our recent post The Magic of Jack Bejna (August 4, 2018):

Don's Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) "213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964." Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

Don’s Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) “213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964.” Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

Chicago Streetcar Tracks Exposed

Exposed streetcar tracks are a rare sight in Chicago nowadays. We recently took some pictures of some on Western Avenue under a viaduct just north of 18th Street, in the northbound lane.

-David Sadowski

While we were in the neighborhood, we took this picture of an inbound CTA Orange Line train on Archer:

Recent Finds

CTA 2029-2030 on the turnaround loop at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in October 1964. We are looking west. Here, you can see the close proximity of the Chicago Great Western tracks to the right. These have since been removed, and the area turned into a bike path connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path at First Avenue in Maywood.

CTA 2029-2030 on the turnaround loop at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in October 1964. We are looking west. Here, you can see the close proximity of the Chicago Great Western tracks to the right. These have since been removed, and the area turned into a bike path connecting with the Illinois Prairie Path at First Avenue in Maywood.

On July 12, 1955 we see Pittsburgh Railways car 4398 at the Drake Loop. It is signed for the Washington interurban, which continued for several miles from here until interurban service was cut back a few years before this picture was taken. Don's Rail Photos adds, "4398 was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1916." This car was retired in 1956 and has been at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in (fittingly) Washington, PA ever since. Service to the Drake Loop ended in 1999, when the last PCC streetcars were retired. In its last few years, it had operated as a shuttle. You can read more about the final days of the Drake Loop here. (C. Foreman Photo)

On July 12, 1955 we see Pittsburgh Railways car 4398 at the Drake Loop. It is signed for the Washington interurban, which continued for several miles from here until interurban service was cut back a few years before this picture was taken. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “4398 was built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1916.” This car was retired in 1956 and has been at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in (fittingly) Washington, PA ever since. Service to the Drake Loop ended in 1999, when the last PCC streetcars were retired. In its last few years, it had operated as a shuttle. You can read more about the final days of the Drake Loop here. (C. Foreman Photo)

We recently acquired this World War II-era brochure promoting the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban’s services as a way to get around in spite of wartime gasoline rationing and tire shortages:

Here is an article about the new Chicago Subway, from the May 1943 issue of Trains magazine. (For information about our new book Building Chicago’s Subways, see the end of this post).

Recent Correspondence

Mark Batterson
writes:

We recently purchased the Navy Yard Car Barn, built in 1891 by the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company. It was one of four streetcar barns in DC. We’d like to celebrate the history of streetcars in our buildout of the space. I know you’ve got some amazing images in your collection. Is there a way to purchase some of those? We’re also trying to purchase an old DC streetcar. Thought I’d ask if you know where we might be able to find one?

Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

Thanks for writing.

FYI, there is a web page that lists the current whereabouts (as of 2014) of all surviving DC trolley cars:

http://www.bera.org/cgi-bin/pnaerc-query.pl?sel_allown=DC+Transit&match_target=&Tech=Yes&pagelen=200

After the DC system quit in 1963, some PCC cars were shipped overseas and others were heavily modified for use in the Tandy Subway operation, which no longer exists. The bulk of remaining equipment is in museums.

Unfortunately, there were a few DC streetcars that were preserved at first, but were later destroyed. These include the Silver Sightseer PCC and pre-PCC car 1053.

We can offer prints from some of the images on this site, but not others… only the ones we own the rights to. We specialize in the Chicago area, and as a result, do not have that many DC images. But perhaps some of our readers can point you in the right direction for those. (If anyone reads this and can help, write to me and I can put you in touch with Mr. Batterson.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Rapid Transit Company Door Controls

A picture appeared in our last post The Magic of Jack Bejna that has stirred up some correspondence:

This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series "L" cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station. Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don't recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo. When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html . Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no "married pairs" of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings. Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.) And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant "proceed". One ding meant "hold". The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman's compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station."

This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series “L” cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station.
Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don’t recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo.
When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at
https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html .
Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no “married pairs” of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings.
Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.)
And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant “proceed”. One ding meant “hold”. The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman’s compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station.”

Recently, Jim Huffman commented:

Photo #365? 3-car train of CTA 4000s standing at the 38th St station. I differ with your explanation of the conductors door work.
1. When the CTA took over they made all the doors on the 4000s one-man operated, allowing for trains with odd number of cars . Thus, 8-cars, 4-cars, 3-cars, 1-car= only 1-conductor per train.
2. Way prior to that, the CRT used a conductor between each two cars, doing the doors as you described. 8-cars=8-conductors, etc.
3. But later, prior to the CTA, the CRT re-wired (air?) the 4000s so that a conductor between every two cars could operate all the doors on two cars. 8-cars=4-conductors etc.
4. On multi conductor trains, there was only one signal used and that was by the front conductor, not by the other conductors. Nor were there differing sounds or number of bells or buzzers! The front conductor monitored the rear conductors doors, when all were closed, then he would signal the Motorman. There usually was not much of any delay, the reason for less men was to lower labor costs, not to speed up the train.
This is from my memory & further info from conductors back then.

We replied:

You are referring to the explanation of how door controls worked on the 4000s, given by one of our readers (M. E.) in the caption for the photo called proofs365.jpg.

We had previously reproduced a CTA training brochure dated March 1950 in our post Reader Showcase, 12-11-17. By this time, the 4000s had been retrofitted into semi-permanent married pairs, so a three-car train, as shown in the June 1949 picture, no longer would have been possible.

The 1950 training brochure does mention using a buzzer to notify the next train man in one direction.

This is how Graham Garfield’s excellent web site describes the retrofit:

After the CTA ordered the first set of 6000s (6001-6200), they set about retrofitting the 4000s to make them operate more safely, economically and basically more like the forthcoming 6000s. By the time the 6000s started rolling in, the changes had been pretty much completed. In this overhaul, the 4000s were given multiple unit door control, standardized to use battery voltage for control, the trolley feed on Evanston cars was tied together so only one pole per pair was needed, and they were paired up into “semi-permanently coupled pairs” (as opposed to the “married-pairs” of the 6000s), usually in consecutive numerical order. Additionally, the destination signs (which were all still hand-operated) were changed to display either the route names (i.e. “Ravenswood” or “Lake A”) or both terminals (i.e. “Howard – Jackson Park B”) so they wouldn’t have to be changed for the reverse trip. The number of signs per car was reduced from four to two, not counting the destination board on the front. All this allowed a two-man crew to staff a train of any length.

This does not of course explain door operation prior to 1950, and I promised to do further research, by contacting Andre Kristopans.

PS- in addition to this, in a previous comment on this post, Andre Kristopans wrote, “On CRT the conductor was the man between the first and second cars. The rest were Guards. Motorman and conductor worked together all day but guards were assigned according to train length that trip.”

So, I asked Andre to explain. Here’s what he wrote:

Wood cars very simple – man between each two cars as doors were completely local control. End doors of train were not used. Steel cars more complicated. Originally same as woods – man between each two cars. Remember steels and woods were mixed. In 1940’s changed so man could control doors at both ends of cars on either side of him, so conductor between 1and 2, guards between 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7 and 8 only. Then in 1950’s full trainlined doors. Initially one conductor for 2 or 4 car trains, working between last 2 cars, on 6 or 8 car trains conductor between cars 3 and 4, guard between last two. Guard eliminated late 50’s, conductor in sane (same?) position now controls all doors.

Thanks for the info. On the woods and early 4000s, how did the guards and conductor signal each other?

They had signal bells. First rear guard pulled the cord that rang the gong at forward end of that car. Then that guard pulled the rope by his position to signal the next guard up. When the conductor got the signal and pulled his rope, the gong by the motorman rang and he released and started up.

Yes the 4000’s evolved. Originally basically operationally identical to woods. Circa 1943 before subway, converted from line voltage control to battery control. Now they were no longer able to train with woods. Around same time changed to door control at each end controlling doors at both ends. In 1950’s full mudc, paired with permanent headlights and permanent markers (over a period of a decade or so!). Shore Line’s Baldies book shows how this happened over time if you compare photos. Large door controls early for single door control, small door controls for entire car control, then no door controls on paired sets.

This is something that has not been looked into much, but a 1970’s 4000 was VERY different from a 1930’s 4000!

Our thanks to Andre and everyone else who contributed to this post. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year 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 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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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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