A Traction Photo Album, Part 1

Photo 1. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs, which appears to have recently received a fresh coat of Pullman green paint, depart the Hoboken (NJ) Terminal 10-2-82.

Photo 1. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs, which appears to have recently received a fresh coat of Pullman green paint, depart the Hoboken (NJ) Terminal 10-2-82.

Kenneth Gear is no stranger to this blog, as we have featred his photos a few times before.* Starting with this post, he offers a sort of career retrospective of his best work over the last 40 years.

We thank him for sharing these wonderful pictures. Part 1 includes Amtrak, New Jersey Transit GG-1s, and ex-Lackawanna MUs, all electric. As Ken says, it’s an “eclectic group of electric motive power!”

Watch this space for future installments.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

*To see more of Ken’s photos, check out these previous posts:
Night Beat, Jersey Style (June 4, 2016)
Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-31-2016
Iowa Traction (December 6, 2016)
An Interurban Legacy (March 4, 2017)
Railroad Record Club Treasure Hunt (July 30, 2017)

Annual Fundraiser

Thanks to you, our readers, we just had a successful fundraiser. We will be here for yet another year. If you contributed, we are particularly grateful.

We are fortunate to have readers who are sharing their material with us. Otherwise, we have to purchase everything that you see here, or see in our books. The need for help is ongoing.

It’s no secret that we are working on another book for publication later this year. More details will be forthcoming when they are available.

If you enjoy reading this blog, and want to see it continue, we hope you will consider supporting it via a donation.  You can also purchase items from our Online Store. With your help, we cannot fail.

A Traction Photo Album


By Kenneth Gear

Recently I’ve been scanning some of the slides I’ve photographed over the years. I’m attempting to catalog them into some logical, easily retrievable order. Not such an easy task considering I have shot well over 70,000 slides since I started in 1977. In the process of scanning the slides I was somewhat surprised to realize that a lot of the equipment I photographed is now retired, scrapped or in museums. Of course the GG-1s are gone as well as the Ex-Lackawanna DC electric MU cars- no surprise there, but Amtrak HHP-8s and NJ Transit ALP-44s! It doesn’t seem like their time should have passed yet. NJT has recently solicited bids for new MUs to replace the Arrow MU car fleet and newer PA-5 cars now take commuters through the “tubes” under the Hudson to and from New York. I’m glad I rode and photographed what I did when I did.

I thought readers of the Trolley Dodger might be interested in seeing some of these images so I put together a bit of a photo album to share. I’ve included photos of the equipment no longer in service as well as some of the locomotives and MUs that are out on the rails at this moment serving the traveling public. I also included some slides I shot of fan trips, shop tours, and equipment displays that I attended over the years. Since my photos of the Iowa Traction steeple cabs and the night shots I took of electric railroad operations have already been featured in past installments of this blog, I did not include any here. The photos are categorized by railroad and equipment type. I hope everyone enjoys the photos.

Amtrak

Photo 1. An Amtrak GG-1 arrives at the Metropark station in Iselin, New Jersey in 1978.

Photo 1. An Amtrak GG-1 arrives at the Metropark station in Iselin, New Jersey in 1978.

Photo 2. I took this photo of an Amtrak train powered by two GG-1s in Edison, New Jersey on December 1, 1980. I was only 17 years old at the time and was using an Electra 135 range finder camera. It was aperture priority so I could not select the shutter speed. I was told that on a sunny day to use an aperture of F5.6 or F8, which I did. I loaded a roll of Kodachrome 64 slide film into the camera and headed trackside to the Edison station. This being one of the fastest pieces of track in the whole country, combined with a camera that automatically picked shutter speeds and, using ASA 64 film, meant the results were going to be predictable. Most of the trains appeared as blurry messes! I was disappointed with this shot and stored it away for many years. I now like the shot very much! It has just the right amount of blur to convey motion but not enough to ruin the shot. Even the newspaper on the platform is being carried along in the wind with just the right amount of motion blur. The word AMTRAK on the side of the second G is blurred just enough to remain legible.

Photo 2. I took this photo of an Amtrak train powered by two GG-1s in Edison, New Jersey on December 1, 1980. I was only 17 years old at the time and was using an Electra 135 range finder camera. It was aperture priority so I could not select the shutter speed. I was told that on a sunny day to use an aperture of F5.6 or F8, which I did. I loaded a roll of Kodachrome 64 slide film into the camera and headed trackside to the Edison station. This being one of the fastest pieces of track in the whole country, combined with a camera that automatically picked shutter speeds and, using ASA 64 film, meant the results were going to be predictable. Most of the trains appeared as blurry messes!
I was disappointed with this shot and stored it away for many years. I now like the shot very much! It has just the right amount of blur to convey motion but not enough to ruin the shot. Even the newspaper on the platform is being carried along in the wind with just the right amount of motion blur. The word AMTRAK on the side of the second G is blurred just enough to remain legible.

Photo 3. Amtrak GG-1 #918 at Lancaster PA October 3, 1978.

Photo 3. Amtrak GG-1 #918 at Lancaster PA October 3, 1978.

Photo 4. In another of my motion blurred action shots, an Amtrak Metroliner MU train speeds through Edison, NJ on December 1, 1979.

Photo 4. In another of my motion blurred action shots, an Amtrak Metroliner MU train speeds through Edison, NJ on December 1, 1979.

Photo 5. Amtrak Metroliner MU #817 leads a westbound train at Edison, NJ in 1978.

Photo 5. Amtrak Metroliner MU #817 leads a westbound train at Edison, NJ in 1978.

Photo 6. Metroliner #823 crossing the DOCK drawbridge and arriving at Penn Station Newark, NJ.

Photo 6. Metroliner #823 crossing the DOCK drawbridge and arriving at Penn Station Newark, NJ.

Photo 7. Amtrak E-60C #972 speeding through Edison, NJ in December of 1979. I couldn't stop the fast motion of the trains with the camera I had, so I decided to try to make the best of it by using the motion blur to convey a sense of speed and power. This is one more of only a few of the "blur" shots that I actually like.

Photo 7. Amtrak E-60C #972 speeding through Edison, NJ in December of 1979. I couldn’t stop the fast motion of the trains with the camera I had, so I decided to try to make the best of it by using the motion blur to convey a sense of speed and power. This is one more of only a few of the “blur” shots that I actually like.

Photo 8. A tour of Amtrak's Sunnyside Yard in Queens, New York City on June 20, 1987 officered a rare opportunity to photograph behind the scenes operations there. This photo shows Amtrak E-60 950 at the engine house awaiting attention.

Photo 8. A tour of Amtrak’s Sunnyside Yard in Queens, New York City on June 20, 1987 officered a rare opportunity to photograph behind the scenes operations there. This photo shows Amtrak E-60 950 at the engine house awaiting attention.

Photo 9. Amtrak E-60 #608 on train #88 the SILVER METEOR passing the Hell Gate Fire train. The fire train is used to fight fires on the elevated approaches and main span of the Hell Gate Bridge where it would be very difficult for the NYFD to reach.

Photo 9. Amtrak E-60 #608 on train #88 the SILVER METEOR passing the Hell Gate Fire train. The fire train is used to fight fires on the elevated approaches and main span of the Hell Gate Bridge where it would be very difficult for the NYFD to reach.

Photo 10. Amtrak E-60 #608 on Train #88 SILVER METEOR is being cleaned and stocked at Sunnyside.

Photo 10. Amtrak E-60 #608 on Train #88 SILVER METEOR is being cleaned and stocked at Sunnyside.

Photo 11. An eclectic group of Amtrak electric motive power at Sunnyside yard, Queens, NY. 6-20-87.

Photo 11. An eclectic group of Amtrak electric motive power at Sunnyside yard, Queens, NY. 6-20-87.

Photo 12. Amtrak E-60 #609 powers Train #91 the SILVER STAR at Holmesburg Junction, PA. 2-9-02.

Photo 12. Amtrak E-60 #609 powers Train #91 the SILVER STAR at Holmesburg Junction, PA. 2-9-02.

Photo 13. Amtrak E-60 MA #608 on Train #91 SILVER STAR at Penn Station Newark, NJ. 9-7-02.

Photo 13. Amtrak E-60 MA #608 on Train #91 SILVER STAR at Penn Station Newark, NJ. 9-7-02.

Photo 14. Amtrak E-60MA #600 on Track A at Newark, NJ Penn Station.

Photo 14. Amtrak E-60MA #600 on Track A at Newark, NJ Penn Station.

Photo 15. Amtrak E-60MA #600 & NJ Transit ALP-44 #4423 at Newark, NJ Penn Station 2-2-02.

Photo 15. Amtrak E-60MA #600 & NJ Transit ALP-44 #4423 at Newark, NJ Penn Station 2-2-02.

Photo 16. Amtrak AEM-7 #943 & E-60s #955 and #953 at New Haven, CT. 3-17-84.

Photo 16. Amtrak AEM-7 #943 & E-60s #955 and #953 at New Haven, CT. 3-17-84.

hoto 17. Amtrak AEM-7 #900 at New Haven, CT in May of 1986. Prior to the extension of electrification from New Haven to Boston in 2000, Amtrak trains switched from electric locomotives to Diesel before continuing to Boston. The reverse was done for New York Bound trains. Number 900 has cut off a train from New York and is heading to the motor storage yard.

hoto 17. Amtrak AEM-7 #900 at New Haven, CT in May of 1986. Prior to the extension of electrification from New Haven to Boston in 2000, Amtrak trains switched from electric locomotives to Diesel before continuing to Boston. The reverse was done for New York Bound trains. Number 900 has cut off a train from New York and is heading to the motor storage yard.

Photo 18. In October of 1997 I made a trip to Rye, New York to photograph Amtrak and Metro-North trains under the New Haven Railroad's unique triangular catenary. The first photo I took was of the train I arrived on, the FAST MAIL powered by Amtrak AEM-7 #932.

Photo 18. In October of 1997 I made a trip to Rye, New York to photograph Amtrak and Metro-North trains under the New Haven Railroad’s unique triangular catenary. The first photo I took was of the train I arrived on, the FAST MAIL powered by Amtrak AEM-7 #932.

Photo 19. Amtrak AEM-7s 908 & 918 under the triangular catenary.

Photo 19. Amtrak AEM-7s 908 & 918 under the triangular catenary.

Photo 20. One more at Rye, Amtrak AEM-7 #904 is New Haven bound. More triangular catenary photos in the Metro-North section.

Photo 20. One more at Rye, Amtrak AEM-7 #904 is New Haven bound. More triangular catenary photos in the Metro-North section.

Photo 21. AEM-7 #909 at HUNTER Tower, Newark, NJ. 2-16-97.

Photo 21. AEM-7 #909 at HUNTER Tower, Newark, NJ. 2-16-97.

Photo 22. Amtrak AEM-7s 926 & 929 meet at speed in the rain at the Jersey Avenue station in New Brunswick, NJ. November 1991.

Photo 22. Amtrak AEM-7s 926 & 929 meet at speed in the rain at the Jersey Avenue station in New Brunswick, NJ. November 1991.

Photo 23. AEM-7 #933 at speed. Linden, NJ. March 1, 1992.

Photo 23. AEM-7 #933 at speed. Linden, NJ. March 1, 1992.

Photo 24. AEM-7 #929 departs Newark, NJ Penn Station 10-29-83.

Photo 24. AEM-7 #929 departs Newark, NJ Penn Station 10-29-83.

Photo 25. Amtrak AEM-7s 924 & 940 power Keystone Train 644 at Harrison NJ in 2002.

Photo 25. Amtrak AEM-7s 924 & 940 power Keystone Train 644 at Harrison NJ in 2002.

Photo 26. Amtrak AEM-7 912 W/B photographed from a boat on the Passaic River at Kearny NJ.

Photo 26. Amtrak AEM-7 912 W/B photographed from a boat on the Passaic River at Kearny NJ.

Photo 27. AEM-7 #928 on Train #170 at Old Saybrook, CT. 4-19-05.

Photo 27. AEM-7 #928 on Train #170 at Old Saybrook, CT. 4-19-05.

Photo 28 Amtrak AEM-7AC #948 on Keystone Train #661 crossing the Delaware River on the Ex-PRR bridge opened in 1903. Morrisville, PA. 1-10-10.

Photo 28 Amtrak AEM-7AC #948 on Keystone Train #661 crossing the Delaware River on the Ex-PRR bridge opened in 1903. Morrisville, PA. 1-10-10.

Photo 29. AEM-7ACs 939 & 919 on Train #162 crossing the Delaware River at Morrisville, PA.

Photo 29. AEM-7ACs 939 & 919 on Train #162 crossing the Delaware River at Morrisville, PA.

Photo 30. Amtrak #AEM-7 932 at Cornwall Heights, PA. January 10, 2010.

Photo 30. Amtrak #AEM-7 932 at Cornwall Heights, PA. January 10, 2010.

Photo 31. HHP-8 #651 on Train #93 at Old Saybrook, CT. High maintenance costs and low reliability doomed these locomotives to barely ten years of service on Amtrak.

Photo 31. HHP-8 #651 on Train #93 at Old Saybrook, CT. High maintenance costs and low reliability doomed these locomotives to barely ten years of service on Amtrak.

Photo 32. Amtrak HHP-8 #650 on Train #173 at Old Saybrook, CT. 4-19-05.

Photo 32. Amtrak HHP-8 #650 on Train #173 at Old Saybrook, CT. 4-19-05.

Photo 33. HHP-8 #660 powers Train #137 at Old Saybrook, CT in this overhead view.

Photo 33. HHP-8 #660 powers Train #137 at Old Saybrook, CT in this overhead view.

Photo 34 Amtrak HHP-8 #658 with Train #163 at Secaucus Junction, NJ. 9-6-03.

Photo 34 Amtrak HHP-8 #658 with Train #163 at Secaucus Junction, NJ. 9-6-03.

Photo 35. Amtrak HHP-8 #655 is passing a PATH train at Harrison, NJ in 2002.

Photo 35. Amtrak HHP-8 #655 is passing a PATH train at Harrison, NJ in 2002.

Photo 36. Amtrak Acela power car #2028 and a PATH train of PA-3 & PA-4 cars at Harrison NJ.

Photo 36. Amtrak Acela power car #2028 and a PATH train of PA-3 & PA-4 cars at Harrison NJ.

Photo 37. Amtrak's leased X-2000 trainset was assigned to Express Metroliner #223 on April 27, 1993. It is shown here flying though Edison, NJ.

Photo 37. Amtrak’s leased X-2000 trainset was assigned to Express Metroliner #223 on April 27, 1993. It is shown here flying though Edison, NJ.

New Jersey Transit GG-1s

Photo 1. NJDOT GG-1 #4882 awaits her next assignment at South Amboy, NJ in 1980.

Photo 1. NJDOT GG-1 #4882 awaits her next assignment at South Amboy, NJ in 1980.

Photo 2. The crossing guard takes a little break from manually operating the gates as NJDOT GG-1 #4882 waits for it's next train at South Amboy, NJ in the summer of 1980.

Photo 2. The crossing guard takes a little break from manually operating the gates as NJDOT GG-1 #4882 waits for it’s next train at South Amboy, NJ in the summer of 1980.

Photo 3 NJDOT GG-1 #4883 retains her yellow stripe that was applied in PRR days. South Amboy, NJ. 7-24-81.

Photo 3 NJDOT GG-1 #4883 retains her yellow stripe that was applied in PRR days. South Amboy, NJ. 7-24-81.

Photo 4. Ex- PRR GG-1 #4883 departs South Amboy, NJ bound for Penn Station New York.

Photo 4. Ex- PRR GG-1 #4883 departs South Amboy, NJ bound for Penn Station New York.

Photo 5. GG-1 #4873 crossing RIVER drawbridge across the Raritan Bay between Perth Amboy and South Amboy, NJ. 5-4-82.

Photo 5. GG-1 #4873 crossing RIVER drawbridge across the Raritan Bay between Perth Amboy and South Amboy, NJ. 5-4-82.

Photo 6. NJDOT GG-1 #4881 crossing RIVER drawbridge into South Amboy, NJ.

Photo 6. NJDOT GG-1 #4881 crossing RIVER drawbridge into South Amboy, NJ.

Photo 7. In 1981 NJ Transit restored GG-1 #4877 and painted her in the classic PRR Tuscan red and gold five stripe scheme. She looked great in the summer sunshine at South Amboy, NJ.

Photo 7. In 1981 NJ Transit restored GG-1 #4877 and painted her in the classic PRR Tuscan red and gold five stripe scheme. She looked great in the summer sunshine at South Amboy, NJ.

Photo 8. NJT restored Pennsylvania GG-1 #4877 and Ex-Southern E-8 #4330 at South Amboy on July 24, 1981. I have never visited Ivy City yard near Washington DC where PRR GG-1s were serviced along with passenger power from connecting Southern railroads, but I imagine this scene is not unlike what it looked like there before the coming of Amtrak.

Photo 8. NJT restored Pennsylvania GG-1 #4877 and Ex-Southern E-8 #4330 at South Amboy on July 24, 1981. I have never visited Ivy City yard near Washington DC where PRR GG-1s were serviced along with passenger power from connecting Southern railroads, but I imagine this scene is not unlike what it looked like there before the coming of Amtrak.

Photo 9. Doubling-up on the Pennsylvania RR heritage, GG-1s 4877 and 4883 show off their PRR lineage in two different paint schemes.

Photo 9. Doubling-up on the Pennsylvania RR heritage, GG-1s 4877 and 4883 show off their PRR lineage in two different paint schemes.

Photo 10. NJT GG-1 #4877 heads light to the station at South Amboy to couple onto a New York bound train from Bay Head that was just brought in by a couple of E-8 diesels.

Photo 10. NJT GG-1 #4877 heads light to the station at South Amboy to couple onto a New York bound train from Bay Head that was just brought in by a couple of E-8 diesels.

Photo 11. Now coupled to the train and with the brake test completed, GG-1 #4877 is about to leave the station.

Photo 11. Now coupled to the train and with the brake test completed, GG-1 #4877 is about to leave the station.

Photo 12. GG-1 #4883, South Amboy NJ at sunset. 5-4-82.

Photo 12. GG-1 #4883, South Amboy NJ at sunset. 5-4-82.

Photo 13. NJT GG-1 #4882 is about to depart South Amboy early on the cold morning of January 13, 1983. I'm sure the passengers were very happy to have that steam heat. Before the end of the year, the Gs will be replaced by Ex-Amtrak E-60s.

Photo 13. NJT GG-1 #4882 is about to depart South Amboy early on the cold morning of January 13, 1983. I’m sure the passengers were very happy to have that steam heat. Before the end of the year, the Gs will be replaced by Ex-Amtrak E-60s.

Photo 14. NJT GG-1 4876 in the weeds at the South Amboy, NJ Engine Terminal. 11-7-81.

Photo 14. NJT GG-1 4876 in the weeds at the South Amboy, NJ Engine Terminal. 11-7-81.

Photo 15. GG-1 #4876 with tip-toe pantographs at the South Amboy Engine Terminal.

Photo 15. GG-1 #4876 with tip-toe pantographs at the South Amboy Engine Terminal.

Photo 16. NJT GG-1s in the fog at South Amboy. 5-25-83.

Photo 16. NJT GG-1s in the fog at South Amboy. 5-25-83.

NJ Transit ex-Lackawanna DC Electric MUs

Photo 1. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs, which appears to have recently received a fresh coat of Pullman green paint, depart the Hoboken (NJ) Terminal 10-2-82.

Photo 1. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs, which appears to have recently received a fresh coat of Pullman green paint, depart the Hoboken (NJ) Terminal 10-2-82.

Photo 2. A train of DC electric MUs under the Bush trainshed of the Hoboken Terminal in 1980.

Photo 2. A train of DC electric MUs under the Bush trainshed of the Hoboken Terminal in 1980.

Photo 3. Ex-DL&W MUs sit in the Hoboken yards looking as gloomy as the weather. At this time Conrail was operating the New Jersey Commuter trains for the state's Department of Transportation.

Photo 3. Ex-DL&W MUs sit in the Hoboken yards looking as gloomy as the weather. At this time Conrail was operating the New Jersey Commuter trains for the state’s Department of Transportation.

Photos 4, 5, & 6. On March 25, 1980 I was treated to a tour of the Hoboken MU shed. This was the shop located near the passenger terminal where the Ex-DL&W cars were maintained. This shop was closed and eventually tore down after the opening of NJ Transit's new Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny, NJ.

Photos 4, 5, & 6. On March 25, 1980 I was treated to a tour of the Hoboken MU shed. This was the shop located near the passenger terminal where the Ex-DL&W cars were maintained. This shop was closed and eventually tore down after the opening of NJ Transit’s new Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny, NJ.

Photo 7. Stacked pantographs at MU shed in Hoboken, NJ.

Photo 7. Stacked pantographs at MU shed in Hoboken, NJ.

Photo 8. NJ Transit catenary inspection car #3408 on display at Hoboken Terminal during the "Hoboken/Try Transit Festival on October 2, 1982. It was originally a DL&W combine. A dome was installed in the roof of the baggage section and a platform with chairs provided inspectors a great view of the wires.

Photo 8. NJ Transit catenary inspection car #3408 on display at Hoboken Terminal during the “Hoboken/Try Transit Festival on October 2, 1982. It was originally a DL&W combine. A dome was installed in the roof of the baggage section and a platform with chairs provided inspectors a great view of the wires.

Photo 9 NJT Catenary inspection car 3408 again on display at a festival in Hoboken this time on September 27, 1986. It once again wears the Pullman green paint that the DL&W used on the MU fleet.

Photo 9 NJT Catenary inspection car 3408 again on display at a festival in Hoboken this time on September 27, 1986. It once again wears the Pullman green paint that the DL&W used on the MU fleet.

Photo 10. Catenary inspection car #3408 once more. This time in company with other Ex-DL&W MUs facing the afternoon sun at Hoboken, NJ.

Photo 10. Catenary inspection car #3408 once more. This time in company with other Ex-DL&W MUs facing the afternoon sun at Hoboken, NJ.

Photo 11. Looking a little shabby, Ex-DL&W MUs depart Hoboken Terminal. 10-3-81.

Photo 11. Looking a little shabby, Ex-DL&W MUs depart Hoboken Terminal. 10-3-81.

Photo 12. NJ Transit DC MU Motor car at Hoboken, NJ. 1-25-81.

Photo 12. NJ Transit DC MU Motor car at Hoboken, NJ. 1-25-81.

Photo 13. Interior of one of the refurbished Ex-DL&W MU cars.

Photo 13. Interior of one of the refurbished Ex-DL&W MU cars.

Photo 14. Big changes are coming! In 1982, along with the work to convert the 3000 Volt DC current to 25,000 volt 60 hertz AC, NJT was building a new TERMINAL tower. A train of MUs depart Hoboken passing the new tower still under construction.

Photo 14. Big changes are coming! In 1982, along with the work to convert the 3000 Volt DC current to 25,000 volt 60 hertz AC, NJT was building a new TERMINAL tower. A train of MUs depart Hoboken passing the new tower still under construction.

Photo 15. NJDOT/Conrail Ex-DL&W MU on a Gladstone Line train at Summit, NJ in January of 1981. At this time Gladstone Branch trains departed Hoboken coupled to the rear of Morristown trains. At Summit the Gladstone section was uncoupled and departed as a separate train. Today's ARROW MUs are semi-permanently coupled preventing this type of operation. Gladstone passengers must now change trains at Summit, no more one seat ride.

Photo 15. NJDOT/Conrail Ex-DL&W MU on a Gladstone Line train at Summit, NJ in January of 1981. At this time Gladstone Branch trains departed Hoboken coupled to the rear of Morristown trains. At Summit the Gladstone section was uncoupled and departed as a separate train. Today’s ARROW MUs are semi-permanently coupled preventing this type of operation. Gladstone passengers must now change trains at Summit, no more one seat ride.

Photo 16. Another view of the Ex-DL&W MUs on a Gladstone Branch train at Summit, NJ. 1-25-81.

Photo 16. Another view of the Ex-DL&W MUs on a Gladstone Branch train at Summit, NJ. 1-25-81.

Photo 17, 18, & 19. The scenic highlight of the Gladstone branch is the high bridge over the Passaic River at Millington, NJ. Here are three photos of the Ex-DL&W MUs crossing the bridge in August of 1984, just before the DC current was shut off and all of these cars retired.

Photo 17, 18, & 19. The scenic highlight of the Gladstone branch is the high bridge over the Passaic River at Millington, NJ. Here are three photos of the Ex-DL&W MUs crossing the bridge in August of 1984, just before the DC current was shut off and all of these cars retired.

Photo 20. The Pyle-National headlight & Westinghouse Pneuphonic horn of an Ex-DL&W MU.

Photo 20. The Pyle-National headlight & Westinghouse Pneuphonic horn of an Ex-DL&W MU.

Photo 21. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs arrives at Bernardsville, NJ in October of 1982. Work on converting the DC current the MU train is being powered by, to the AC current needed by the Arrow MU replacements, is in evidence. Work equipment on the siding track will spell doom for the venerable DC cars. There is still some time left. The DC MUs will not finally give up the rails they have been polishing since 1930 for almost two more years. The cars will last until August of 1984 but not all is lost, 156 (97 trailers, 59 motors) will be preserved.

Photo 21. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs arrives at Bernardsville, NJ in October of 1982. Work on converting the DC current the MU train is being powered by, to the AC current needed by the Arrow MU replacements, is in evidence. Work equipment on the siding track will spell doom for the venerable DC cars. There is still some time left. The DC MUs will not finally give up the rails they have been polishing since 1930 for almost two more years. The cars will last until August of 1984 but not all is lost, 156 (97 trailers, 59 motors) will be preserved.

Photo 22. NJ Transit DC MUs departs Bernardsville, NJ into the gloom of an October evening and an uncertain future.

Photo 22. NJ Transit DC MUs departs Bernardsville, NJ into the gloom of an October evening and an uncertain future.

Photo 23. After the day's work the commuters on this train likely feel as weary as the train of Ex-DL&W MUs look. Hoboken, NJ. 3-25-80.

Photo 23. After the day’s work the commuters on this train likely feel as weary as the train of Ex-DL&W MUs look. Hoboken, NJ. 3-25-80.

Photo 24. Just before the end of DC operation, the Tri-State chapter of the National Railway Historical Society organized a "farewell" excursion of the Ex-DL&W MUs. Polar car #3454 carried the white EXTRA flags at a photo stop at Bay Street Station, Montclair, NJ on August 19, 1984.

Photo 24. Just before the end of DC operation, the Tri-State chapter of the National Railway Historical Society organized a “farewell” excursion of the Ex-DL&W MUs. Polar car #3454 carried the white EXTRA flags at a photo stop at Bay Street Station, Montclair, NJ on August 19, 1984.

Photo 25. Whatever adhesive was used to apply the LACKAWANNA lettering to the Polar car was certainly not up to the task. "K WANNA" #3454 is shown during a photo stop at Montclair, NJ.

Photo 25. Whatever adhesive was used to apply the LACKAWANNA lettering to the Polar car was certainly not up to the task. “K WANNA” #3454 is shown during a photo stop at Montclair, NJ.

A Recent Find

Color photos from the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair are not that common, especially ones like this with replica cable grip car 532, which was actually built by the Chicago Surface Lines in 1934. It can be seen today at the Museum of Science and Industry. Here is how it looked on September 25, 1949. (James J. Buckley Photo)

Color photos from the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair are not that common, especially ones like this with replica cable grip car 532, which was actually built by the Chicago Surface Lines in 1934. It can be seen today at the Museum of Science and Industry. Here is how it looked on September 25, 1949. (James J. Buckley Photo)

We spent two or three hours cleaning up this image in Photoshop. It was full of crud, but it’s practically spotless now.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Trolleys

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

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

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

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 207th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 368,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Tokens of Our Esteem

The North Shore Line Milwaukee terminal in January 1963.

The North Shore Line Milwaukee terminal in January 1963.

We’ve reached our one-year anniversary, and have successfully renewed our Internet domain for another year, thanks to your generous contributions. Over the past year, many people have made contributions here, and not always financial.

I like to think of The Trolley Dodger as a place where we can all share information, discuss various topics and learn things together. As I’ve said before, I learn a lot from our readers and the things they choose to share with us. Coming here is like taking a stroll through a curiosity shop, and today we have lots of curios to share with you.

With the 53rd anniversary of the abandonment of the North Shore Line coming up on Thursday (the 21st), we have included a few pictures from the final days of that great electric interurban railway that once ran between Chicago and Milwaukee.

If you can shed any light on some of today’s mysteries, we would love to hear from you. You can make a comment on this page or drop us a line directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- We will continue our birthday celebration with another collection of great images in our next post, so watch this space.

Thanks to the generous donations from our readers, we have renewed our domain for another year. The various photos in today's post are but tokens of our esteem.

Thanks to the generous donations from our readers, we have renewed our domain for another year. The various photos in today’s post are but tokens of our esteem.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 112th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date we have received 114,000 page views from over 32,000 visitors.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.

As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”

We thank you for your support.


More Off-Street Loops

Andre Kristopans has a few additions to the very comprehensive list of Chicago’s off-street streetcar and bus turnaround loops he shared with us recently:

A few additions:

Roosevelt/Monitor – abandoned 09/28/08 when lease expired and renewal could not be negotiated

Madison/Springfield – 07/16/1890 out 12/13/53 originally for cable cars

118th/Burley – 4/8/45 to 7/1/47 – this was an odd situation. Both 118th and Burley were “dedicated streets”, but only Burley was paved. the “terminal” which had been a passing siding, was thus on open track. In addition, after 10/21/46, when Ewing-Brandon was bussed, only the South Chicago cars ended there, basically in the middle of nowhere, next to a tavern.

Canal between Harrison and Polk – 2/7/72 to 10/1/81 – an exclusive counterflow lane for Taylor/Sedgwick buses after the Polk St bridge was closed.

Cortland/Paulina – 9/1/47 to 4/17/59 – apron of old Noble Carhouse used by Southport buses until it was about to be torn down

Pulaski/21st – 4/26/04 to 6/16/08 – part of rebuilt Pulaski L station, not used after Ogden bus cut back to California

Blue Island/Leavitt 7/27/1893 to 7/20/06 – terminal for Blue Island cable cars adjacent to Blue Island carhouse

Corcoran/Menard – 10/26/27 to 5/19/47 – CMC is said to have had an off-street terminal here for Washington buses, but no good description has survived. 1938 aerial photo shows nothing obvious, so it might have involved wyeing by backing into a driveway.

Another subcategory– Counterflow lanes:

Madison between Desplaines and Michigan, Washington between Michigan and Jefferson 9/13/81 to 9/8/85

Adams between Jefferson and Michigan, Jackson between Michigan and Jefferson 8/31/80 to 4/20/86 (note – one block on Adams between Jefferson and Clinton not put into use until 2/1/81 account construction at the corner of Jefferson and Adams)

Canal between Randolph and Washington (NW Station) 6/22/64, extended to Lake St 7/20/81 to 8/5/87

Canal between Adams and Jackson (Union Station) 5/14/69, moved to NB exclusive lane on east side of Canal 8/31/80, returned to SB on west side of Canal 4/20/86. (note – replaced use of River Drive between Adams and Jackson which had been used since 6/22/64, however River Drive was actually a cab drive and therefore not an “off street terminal” in the strict sense, even though cars were not supposed to use it.

 

About that previous list, Daniel Joseph writes:

The only addition I can add to this complete list is the terminal on Sherman between Church and Davis inherited from Evanston Bus Company.

 

Andre replies:

Don’t know much about it. Basically, EBC loaded along regular curb until city of Evanston “streetscaped” the street in late 60’s or so, leaving a short piece of original curb for buses to load while rest of street in the two blocks between Clark and Davis was substantially narrowed and sidewalks widened. Orrington was done at the same time, as were parts of Church and Davis. Last buses that could have used the cut-out would have been the N201. Sort of what was done much later to Benson between Church and Davis. The “bus lane” is the original right lane.

 


The North Shore Line in January 1963, shortly before the end.

The North Shore Line in January 1963, shortly before the end.

North Shore Line freight loco 459 heads up a train in January 1963.

North Shore Line freight loco 459 heads up a train in January 1963.

A Silverliner and an Electroliner at the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal in January 1963.

A Silverliner and an Electroliner at the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal in January 1963.

An Electroliner on the Chicago "L" in July 1962. Not sure of the exact location, but I assume this is Roosevelt Road where the NSL had free reign between 1949 and 1963 (CTA trains ran through the nearby subway then).

An Electroliner on the Chicago “L” in July 1962. Not sure of the exact location, but I assume this is Roosevelt Road where the NSL had free reign between 1949 and 1963 (CTA trains ran through the nearby subway then).

CNS&M electric locos 458 and 455 in July 1962.

CNS&M electric locos 458 and 455 in July 1962.

North Shore Line 712 at Roosevelt Road in July 1962.

North Shore Line 712 at Roosevelt Road in July 1962.

Ad touting 349 new trolley coaches ordered for the Chicago Transit Authority, 1951.

Ad touting 349 new trolley coaches ordered for the Chicago Transit Authority, 1951.

An unusual Chicago Surface Lines supervisor's badge just sold for $80 on eBay. I was not the buyer.

An unusual Chicago Surface Lines supervisor’s badge just sold for $80 on eBay. I was not the buyer.

cslbadge2

cslbadge3

cslbadge4

This 1886 trade magazine includes an article detailing how the LaSalle Street cable car tunnel under the Chicago River was being expanded and upgraded.

This 1886 trade magazine includes an article detailing how the LaSalle Street cable car tunnel under the Chicago River was being expanded and upgraded.

lasalletunnel2

lasalletunnel3

San Francisco cable car 524 at the Chicago Railroad Fair on June 21, 1949. (Jeff Marinoff Collection) One of our readers notes, "Most of the gentlemen shown in transit uniforms appear to be wearing caps that have the Chicago Surface Lines cap badge on them in spite of the fact that according to the date on the photo the CTA had been in existence for almost two years. The guy with the coin changer might be wearing a CTA cap badge of the period." Interesting. Guess things didn't get replaced immediately. "They were also slow to slap the CTA decals on some of the streetcars too."

San Francisco cable car 524 at the Chicago Railroad Fair on June 21, 1949. (Jeff Marinoff Collection) One of our readers notes, “Most of the gentlemen shown in transit uniforms appear to be wearing caps that have the Chicago Surface Lines cap badge on them in spite of the fact that according to the date on the photo the CTA had been in existence for almost two years. The guy with the coin changer might be wearing a CTA cap badge of the period.” Interesting. Guess things didn’t get replaced immediately. “They were also slow to slap the CTA decals on some of the streetcars too.”

A Marion (Indiana) Birney car circa 1940.

A Marion (Indiana) Birney car circa 1940.

South Shore Line #15 in an unusual paint scheme on a 1954 fantrip.

South Shore Line #15 in an unusual paint scheme on a 1954 fantrip.

CSS&SB 106 heads up a two-car train going east from the South Shore's old South Bend terminal. This street running was eliminated in 1970 when the line was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town. Since then, it has been extended to the local airport.

CSS&SB 106 heads up a two-car train going east from the South Shore’s old South Bend terminal. This street running was eliminated in 1970 when the line was cut back to Bendix at the outskirts of town. Since then, it has been extended to the local airport.

George Foelschow: "The latest Trolley Dodger installment, which included a photo of a South Shore Line train on East LaSalle Avenue in South Bend, reminded me of a watercolor painting I acquired before moving from Chicago in 1978. The artist is David Tutwiler and the painting is dated (19)77. It depicts a similar scene. I thought you may want to share it with Trolley Dodger readers." Thanks, George!

George Foelschow: “The latest Trolley Dodger installment, which included a photo of a South Shore Line train on East LaSalle Avenue in South Bend, reminded me of a watercolor painting I acquired before moving from Chicago in 1978. The artist is David Tutwiler and the painting is dated (19)77. It depicts a similar scene. I thought you may want to share it with Trolley Dodger readers.” Thanks, George!

The same location today.

The same location today.

South Shore Line cars 28 and 19 at the Randolph Street station in downtown Chicago in March 1978. By then, these cars were more than 50 years old and had but a few more years to run. That's the Prudential Building in the background. Since then, this station has been rebuilt and is now underneath Millennium Park.

South Shore Line cars 28 and 19 at the Randolph Street station in downtown Chicago in March 1978. By then, these cars were more than 50 years old and had but a few more years to run. That’s the Prudential Building in the background. Since then, this station has been rebuilt and is now underneath Millennium Park.

This is where the Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Limited interurban cars went up a ramp to an elevated connection with the Philadelphia & Western in Norristown. This photo of car 710 is from 1944. The ramp, a few blocks long, was torn down in 1954. The interurban quit in 1951, which made it superfluous.

This is where the Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Limited interurban cars went up a ramp to an elevated connection with the Philadelphia & Western in Norristown. This photo of car 710 is from 1944. The ramp, a few blocks long, was torn down in 1954. The interurban quit in 1951, which made it superfluous.

As you can see from this current photo of Swede Street in Norristown, the elevated section in the previous picture continued a few blocks from the present terminus of the former P&W, running all the way to the domed building at rear. Once the LVT interurban quit in 1951, it was no longer needed and was torn down a few years later.

As you can see from this current photo of Swede Street in Norristown, the elevated section in the previous picture continued a few blocks from the present terminus of the former P&W, running all the way to the domed building at rear. Once the LVT interurban quit in 1951, it was no longer needed and was torn down a few years later.

An interesting and unusual fate for a Philadelphia PCC-- being turned into an ice cream stand. This picture was taken in 2002. Jeff Marinoff adds, "The Philadelphia PCC car is still at the Trolley Car Diner on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy. The car is not a diner, however. The car is an ice cream stand. You don't sit on the car, you walk up to a window and get your order."

An interesting and unusual fate for a Philadelphia PCC– being turned into an ice cream stand. This picture was taken in 2002. Jeff Marinoff adds, “The Philadelphia PCC car is still at the Trolley Car Diner on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy. The car is not a diner, however. The car is an ice cream stand. You don’t sit on the car, you walk up to a window and get your order.”

Gwen Deanne writes: "My mother wearing the most fabulous shoes ever, and my brother exercising his "open carry" rights as a youngster bringing a BB gun on the train. This is 100% Chicago, but which station, I don't now. Perhaps you can figure it out. They lived on North Talman at the time, but Nana lived in Wicker Park. They could have been going anywhere. Taken by my Dad. The next brother was born, and not pictured. He may be with Nana, or Auntie Olga." Mike Murray: " That's the Ardmore station of the Chicago, Aurora, & Elgin Railroad, facing east in Villa Park. The station is still there, but the railroad quit passenger service on July 3, 1957. Much of the route is now the Prairie Path. The silver water tower in the distance is the Ovaltine Factory." Here is another picture of the same station: http://www.greatthirdrail.org/stations/main/ardmore.html (Photo from the Gwen Deanne Collection, used by permission)

Gwen Deanne writes: “My mother wearing the most fabulous shoes ever, and my brother exercising his “open carry” rights as a youngster bringing a BB gun on the train. This is 100% Chicago, but which station, I don’t now. Perhaps you can figure it out. They lived on North Talman at the time, but Nana lived in Wicker Park. They could have been going anywhere. Taken by my Dad. The next brother was born, and not pictured. He may be with Nana, or Auntie Olga.” Mike Murray: ” That’s the Ardmore station of the Chicago, Aurora, & Elgin Railroad, facing east in Villa Park. The station is still there, but the railroad quit passenger service on July 3, 1957. Much of the route is now the Prairie Path. The silver water tower in the distance is the Ovaltine Factory.” Here is another picture of the same station:
http://www.greatthirdrail.org/stations/main/ardmore.html (Photo from the Gwen Deanne Collection, used by permission)

This 1955 photo's a bit of a mystery. Could this be Wheaton? William Barber: "Yes, this is Wheaton at the grade crossing immediately east of the depot." Bill Shapotkin: "This pic is Cross St, Wheaton. View looks east."

This 1955 photo’s a bit of a mystery. Could this be Wheaton? William Barber: “Yes, this is Wheaton at the grade crossing immediately east of the depot.” Bill Shapotkin: “This pic is Cross St, Wheaton. View looks east.”

CA&E freight and passenger trains in Elmhurst in this November 5, 1949 view. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) Bill Shapotkin: "This pic is just east of Mannhiem Rd. The frt locos are on the CA&E/IHB interchange. While technically near Butterfield Rd, it is nowhere near Roosevelt Rd." (Roosevelt and Butterfield was written on the back of the photo, apparently in error. This was not uncommon when the photographer was from out of town.)

CA&E freight and passenger trains in Elmhurst in this November 5, 1949 view. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) Bill Shapotkin: “This pic is just east of Mannhiem Rd. The frt locos are on the CA&E/IHB interchange. While technically near Butterfield Rd, it is nowhere near Roosevelt Rd.” (Roosevelt and Butterfield was written on the back of the photo, apparently in error. This was not uncommon when the photographer was from out of town.)

The CA&E Wheaton Yard. This photo was dated as the 1950s but looks to be earlier.

The CA&E Wheaton Yard. This photo was dated as the 1950s but looks to be earlier.

The CA&E Elgin terminal.

The CA&E Elgin terminal.

The same location as the previous photo, early 1950s.

The same location as the previous photo, early 1950s.

CA&E 405 at Spring Road in Elmhurst. Dig that phone booth.

CA&E 405 at Spring Road in Elmhurst. Dig that phone booth.

CA&E 406, in this 1957 picture, is identified as being at Fifth Avenue in Maywood. Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can confirm this. This is either late afternoon or early morning light, which explains why the sky is blue but most everything in the picture is yellow. That's one reason why the CA&E was known as the "Sunset Lines." Bill Shapotkin: "This pic NOT anywhere near Maywood. It is WEST of Hill Ave (aka Glen Oak Rd) in Glen Ellyn. Beyond the bridge is the Glen Oak station. View looks east."

CA&E 406, in this 1957 picture, is identified as being at Fifth Avenue in Maywood. Perhaps one of our keen-eyed readers can confirm this. This is either late afternoon or early morning light, which explains why the sky is blue but most everything in the picture is yellow. That’s one reason why the CA&E was known as the “Sunset Lines.” Bill Shapotkin: “This pic NOT anywhere near Maywood. It is WEST of Hill Ave (aka Glen Oak Rd) in Glen Ellyn. Beyond the bridge is the Glen Oak station. View looks east.”

A CA&E pocket map made by Roy G. Benedict in 1958, when the "Roarin' Elgin" had already abandoned passenger service (except for charters) but was still running freight. Roy mimeographed these and sold them to aspiring railfans. He has made many additional maps since, and has had a successful career in the publishing industry. The Forest Park loop shown at the bottom of this page is where the next picture in this post was taken.

A CA&E pocket map made by Roy G. Benedict in 1958, when the “Roarin’ Elgin” had already abandoned passenger service (except for charters) but was still running freight. Roy mimeographed these and sold them to aspiring railfans. He has made many additional maps since, and has had a successful career in the publishing industry. The Forest Park loop shown at the bottom of this page is where the next picture in this post was taken.

photo016

CA&E 409 and 414 on the turnback loop in Forest Park in 1957.

CA&E 409 and 414 on the turnback loop in Forest Park in 1957.

Chicago Horsecar Replica For Sale

Although the auction description does not mention it, replica car 10 was also used at the Chicago Railroad Fair.  This picture was taken by Charles Cushman (1896-1972) in 1949.  (Charles W. Cushman Collection, University Archives, at Indiana University, Bloomington.)

Although the auction description does not mention it, replica car 10 was also used at the Chicago Railroad Fair. This picture was taken by Charles Cushman (1896-1972) in 1949. (Charles W. Cushman Collection, University Archives, at Indiana University, Bloomington.)

Bonham’s auction house recently announced that they will be selling some historic railroad items from the collections of Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. While we, of course, have no connection with either institution, we thought our readers would enjoy reading about the replica cable car that is being offered. There are links just in case anyone is interested in pursuing this further.

There is an authentic horse car at the Illinois Railway Museum, built in 1859. We have published a couple pictures of this car being used by the Chicago Surface Lines in 1925 and 1936, celebrating streetcar line extensions.

We can also share a bit of the backstory behind how and why this railcar was made. According to a 1938 article in Surface Service magazine, the “house organ” of the Chicago Surface Lines, the heads of CSL and MSI (Julius Rosenwald?) got together around 1929, and CSL agreed to donate a couple of historic items to the museum, which was then just getting started. (The other is cable car 532, still on display at MSI. There is another similar cable car replica at the Illinois Railway Museum.)

Let’s hope that this car, although a replica, stays in the Chicago area. It was actually used at both the Century of Progress 1933-34 World’s Fair and the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair.

-David Sadowski

What follows is from Bonham’s:

Never to be repeated, early railway locomotives and cars from the Museum of Science and Industry – highly significant to America’s history and heritage – are to be sold in Philadelphia

Bonhams is honored to present five significant pieces of transportation history from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. These wonderful artifacts have been housed at the museum on full-time display for over 80 years and will now be sold at Bonhams’ “Preserving the Automobile” auction at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia on October 5th.

…Other artifacts from the museum include the exact replica 1859 horse car “Archer Avenue No. 10” that was donated to the museum by the Chicago City Railway Company in 1930. These beautiful, craftsman-built, horse-drawn rail cars were operated in congested urban areas, such as Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, where steam locomotive transportation was impractical. They were the antecedent of the electric streetcar that later dominated urban public transport.

Lot 201
From the collection of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago

Built for the 1933-34 Century of Progress Fair in Chicago
c.1929 Chicago City Railway Built ‘1870 Archer Avenue No. 10’ Horsecar
US$ 25,000 – 35,000
£16,000 – 22,000
To be sold without reserve

Auction 22793:
Preserving the Automobile
An Auction at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

5 Oct 2015 14:00 EDT

Philadelphia, Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Built for the 1933-34 Century of Progress Fair in Chicago
c.1929 Chicago City Railway Built ‘1870 Archer Avenue No. 10’ Horsecar
THE HORSECAR

The horse drawn streetcar, typically contracted as ‘horsecar,’ was a significant early step in the evolution of urban transport. In this context, the term ‘car’ refers specifically to a railway vehicle and does not imply an internal combustion engine automobile (now commonly known as a ‘car’).

As cities in America grew during the first half of the 19th century, the working population began to live ever further from their places of employment, shopping and entertainment. Greater distances and larger numbers of people on the move increased the need for pay as you go urban transport, and so private companies emerged to supply transport using omnibuses on fixed routes and schedules. An omnibus was a compact horse-drawn coach. Chicago’s first commercial omnibus service was operated by Frank Parmelee beginning in 1853. (Parmelee’s business evolved and in later years his name was associated with Parmelee Transfer service that provided over-the-road connections between all of the City’s six primary railroad passenger terminals. By World War I, Parmelee had begun to use motor vehicles).

The horsecar was an important advancement to the omnibus. This innovation allowed a single horse to draw a heavier vehicle while providing a smoother and more comfortable ride. Among the drawbacks of the horsecar operation were that the mode was severely limited where cars encountered ascending grades, while busy lines required many more horses than cars because it was only possible to work horses for a few hours a day. In some instances mules were preferred over horses because of their greater stamina. By one estimate, Chicago street railways employed 8,400 horses in 1893.

The horsecar led to development of the steam-dummy (a small streetcar powered by an on-board steam engine) and later to the cable car, which was drawn by an underground cable. British-born Andrew Smith Hallidie was the San Francisco cable manufacturer credited with melding key cable innovations and establishing the city’s Clay Street Hill Railroad in 1873, the world’s first urban cable hauled street railway. This set important precedents that resulted in an urban transit revolution emulated across San Francisco and in approximately 30 cities across the United States and around the world.

More significant was the development of the electrically powered streetcar, commonly known in America as trolley car or trolley, which describes the wheel at the end of the pole, used to run along the overhead wire to draw electricity for propulsion. While ‘trolley’ is occasionally used as a synonym for a streetcar in the United States, the term should only be correctly applied to electric cars with trolley poles.

Various inventors had dabbled with electric streetcars in the mid-1880s, but it was in 1887-1888 that electrical genius Frank Julian Sprague successfully demonstrated a practical electric street railway in Richmond, Virginia. Electric operation was cheaper and simpler than cable hauled lines, and allowed streetcar lines to practically cover much greater distances than possible with horses. Within a year of Sprague’s demonstration, hundreds of new electric streetcar schemes were being considered and by 1900 most American cities and many small towns were connected by electric railways. Since horsecar street railways they already had an established route structure and track infrastructure, often they upgraded existing lines with electrification.
Often, companies that began as horsecar lines upgraded their operations.

The overwhelming cost and operating advantages of electric operation rapidly displayed horsecars on city streets. By 1900, the horsecar had vanished from most cities. In Chicago, some horsecar and cable car routes survived until 1906 owing to a regulation or law that prohibited the erection of overhead wires in downtown areas. Once this obstacle was overcome the electric streetcar prevailed. Nationally, horsecars disappeared very quickly from the scene and despite their early prevalence very few were preserved for posterity.

THE HORSECAR OFFERED

Chicago Horse Car No. 10 is a replica constructed by the Chicago City Railway at its South Shops for the Chicago Museum of Science & Industry during 1929 and 1930 and is believed to be the second object donated to the museum. Although a replica, the car is an accurate rendition of a period street railway vehicle. At the time of construction, it had been less than 25 years since similar horse cars had worked Chicago streets and thus the cars were still in the living memory of men working for the company.

The replica was intended to represent one of Chicago’s first horse cars built in 1859. This is a comparatively small car, measuring about 9 feet 9 inches tall, 7 feet ½ inches wide,16 feet and 1 ½ inches long. It weighs 4,560 lbs. The car was designed for one-man operation with a single horse drawing it. Average speed would have been between 3-5 mph. It had space for 18 seated passengers.

Passengers are believed to have entered via a door at the back of the car and paid their fare by dropping a coin into a slot that delivered it by gravity to the driver. This clever system was intended to avoid unnecessarily distracting the driver while the car was in motion. The car uses a ‘Bob-tail’ design, so-called because it only has a platform at the drivers’ end. The driver rode on the small exterior platform at the front of the car that was covered by a roof extension. Other than horse reins, his only other control was a hand brake consisting of a metal arm used to slow and stop the car and prevent it from colliding with the horse, or rolling backward when on an upgrade. Other equipment includes a stovepipe exhaust stack from the passenger compartment, although there doesn’t appear to have been a stove installed in this replica.

In its early years the replica was displayed as Archer Avenue No. 10 of the Chicago City Railway Company. It was one of three replica streetcars used as part of a larger exhibit to demonstrate the evolution of urban transport in Chicago. The other two cars were replicas of the cable-hauled grip car and its trailer. (Between 1892 and 1906 Chicago had a cable car system, similar to that still in use in San Francisco, that was the most extensive of its kind in the world). Horsecar No. 10 was among the exhibits at the ‘Wings of a Century’ pageant for the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition held during 1933 and 1934.

As an authentic replica, Chicago Horsecar No. 10 can provide a key element to any urban transport exhibit since it bridges the gap between the horse-drawn omnibus and the electric streetcar. This piece is significant to both Chicago history and to the greater story of urban transportation in North America. It also demonstrates the comparatively primitive expectations of the traveling public at the time of the American Civil War. Comfort levels and travel speeds were much lower than today. Imagine riding to work every morning and home every evening squashed into a vehicle like this one?

image01

canvas01.png

canvas02.png

canvas03.png

canvas04.png

canvas05.png

canvas06.png

canvas07.png

canvas08.png

canvas09.png

canvas10.png

canvas11.png

canvas12.png

canvas13.png

canvas15.png

canvas16.png

canvas17.png

canvas18.png

canvas19.png

canvas20.png

canvas21.png

Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry in the 1950s. (Charles W. Cushman Collection, University Archives, at Indiana University, Bloomington.)

Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry in the 1950s. (Charles W. Cushman Collection, University Archives, at Indiana University, Bloomington.)

Cable trailer 209, now in the collection of the Illinois Railway Museum, was most likely built by Chicago Surface Lines in 1934, although it may contain some original parts. The caption on the back of this photos says the car is “old” and probably built around 1892, but this appears to be incorrect. This photo was taken on October 23, 1938, date of a Surface Lines fantrip that included a shops tour. (Alfred Seibel Photo)

Footnotes

As indicated in the special notice above, this lot will require special arrangements for viewing and collection. Please contact Samantha Hamill in the NY Motorcars department (+1 212 461 6514, samantha.hamill@bonhams.com) to arrange a viewing and for further information. Please note that this lot may not come with its original base.

Postscript

FYI, the horsecar replica sold for $38k:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/museums/ct-msi-chicago-trains-sell-for-nearly-500000-at-auction-20151005-column.html

Chicago Cable Cars and Streetcar RPOs

Except for a ceremonial event in 1946, the era of Chicago streetcar RPOs ended on November 21, 1915, less than two years into the CSL era. This photo was taken on October 14, 1938 by Edward Frank Jr., who described the car's colors as tannish yellow gold with gold letters and trimmings. The location is the Lincoln Avenue car barn (aka

Except for a ceremonial event in 1946, the era of Chicago streetcar RPOs ended on November 21, 1915, less than two years into the CSL era. This photo was taken on October 14, 1938 by Edward Frank Jr., who described the car’s colors as tannish yellow gold with gold letters and trimmings. The location is the Lincoln Avenue car barn (aka “station”). According to Don’s Rail Photos, “H2 was built by West Chicago Street Ry in 1895 as 3. It became CRys 3 and renumbered H2 in 1913. It became CSL H2 in 1914.” Presumably it survived at least until 1938 as some sort of work car.

Most people are likely unaware that Chicago once operated an extensive network of cable cars, or that cable cars and streetcars were used as mobile post offices between 1895 and 1915.

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.

*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Streetcar RPOs represented a real improvement in service in their time, but eventually were replaced by trucks as vehicles and roads improved in the early 20th century. These special trolleys collected, moved, sorted, and cancelled mail along their routes through the city. Many had slots where mail could be deposited on the street.

The Mobile Post Office Society has published several monographs on streetcar RPO operations, including one on Chicago written by John R. Mason and Raymond A. Fleming.

Chicago’s streetcar RPOs survived into the Surface Lines era, but just briefly, last being used on November 21, 1915. However, there was one later ceremonial operation during a 1946 stamp collector’s convention.

Likewise, although the last Chicago cable car ran in 1906, there was also one later operation at the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair. As we discussed in an earlier post, the success of this fair is widely regarded as having led to the creation of McCormick Place on Chicago’s lakefront.

Although this short cable car demonstration line is long gone, car #524 itself, renumbered to #24, is still in service in San Francisco as of this writing. Here is a history of the car:

Built by the Mahoney Bros., San Francisco, in 1887 for the Ferries & Cliff House Railway (Powell Street Railway). The Mahoney Bros. subcontracted with Burnham-Standeford in Oakland, California, to build its cars. Assigned to the Sacramento-Clay cable car line before the Earthquake and Fire of 1906, the United Railroads transferred it back to the Powell Street cable car lines in 1907. Renumbered from original No. 534 to No. 524 by the Market Street Railway on December 16, 1929.

CSL car #6, a small single truck streetcar RPO from 1891, is preserved at the Fox River Trolley Museum.

As a further example of how times have changed, we offer a couple of rare Chicago transit memos from 1893. Most likely lots of such memos circulated back in the days before e-mail, but few have survived.

The first memo is on Chicago City Railway Co. stationary and is dated November 13, 1893:

Mr. Jos(eph) Gillett.

Please read the following to the men working on the motor cars with you.

The men must work near the door where the light is and stay there, and not stay where it is dark to avoid the use of candles.

By Order of,

Wm. (William) Barthwaite (Master Mechanic)

The second note, on plain paper, is also addressed to the same individual and likely was preserved by him and his heirs:

Joe Gillet (sic?) 23/93

There is a complaint from 39 Barn that many nuts work loose from Scrapers & Sand-boxes. My orders are to prick-punch all nuts.

You will see that this is done.

Respect(fully)

F. Bundy

I had assumed that “prick-punch all nuts” meant to tighten them some more so they don’t come loose, but it turns out I was wrong.  Dan Gornstein says:

Regarding the prick punching, this is a practice of disturbing the bolt threads at the top of a tightened nut, with either a chisel or, as the name suggests, a “prick punch,” with a common name of a Center Punch.

H. Porter adds:

A “prick-punch” is taking a centerpunch and dotting the nut with it after the nut is tightened. This slighly deforms the nut making it less susceptible to vibrating loose. You can buy nuts with this slight deformity already there. Hand tools will still take them on and off.

-David Sadowski

PS- You can read the book Mail By Rail: the Story of the Postal Transportation Service here.  On page 231, the authors cite May 6, 1950 as the date when the “last true trolley car R.P.O.” ran in America on the Pacific electric interurban.

Seth Bramson comments:

I think that interurban electric railways should be included, as they ran under wires, and two that do not appear on the list are Los Angeles (Pacific Electric operated three or four RPO routes) and the one in Maine.

I would have to look it up but there was a trolley RPO route in lower Maine, along the seacoast, I believe and there might have been one in New Hampshire. I can’t think of them right now, but I believe that there were one or two other trolley RPO routes, not shown, perhaps because they were considered interurban.

A couple of other “factoids” regarding electric mail service: Seattle’s RPO was titled “Seattle & Seattle” and operated on a pretty large circuit; Baltimore’s last trolley RPO operated into the early 1930s; Rochester’s street RPOs were titled “Car Collection Service B, C or D”—I don’t think there was an “A;” Buffalo had a horse drawn wagon service with a postmark similar to RPO but I would have to look it up; great interurbans such as the CA&E, CNS & M, CSS & SB, Texas Electric, Illinois Terminal, Sacramento Northern and others did have mail contracts but for closed pouch only, no RPOs.

Because I was working in NY at the time, and had become friendly with the great RPO collector and clerk, Sidney Fingerhood, and went down to Penn Station regularly to see the last RPO trains operate, I was invited, in early July of 1976,  to ride the very last trip of the N Y & Wash RPO, all the way from NY Penn to Washington Union Station, but because I had to be at work the next day, I could only ride to Newark, but at least I can say that I was the only civilian who rode the very last trip of the last rail RPO in America. (And, yes, the comments are correct:  a boat RPO on, I think, Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire did operated until 1978 or thereabouts.)

It was a great and efficient service and the terrible problems with the postal service really began after the destruction of the RPO system, the blame due, in no small part, to Eisenhower, for a good few reasons not necessary to elaborate here.

An example of a

An example of a “duplex” cancellation made on a Chicago streetcar RPO in 1902.

Chicago City Railway cable trailer 209 in October 1938. Supposedly built around 1892, it appears to be a replica fabricated by CSL in 1934 using some original parts. It is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Alfred Seibel Photo)

Chicago City Railway cable trailer 209 in October 1938. Supposedly built around 1892, it appears to be a replica fabricated by CSL in 1934 using some original parts. It is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Alfred Seibel Photo)

San Francisco Municipal Railway #524 in Chicago on August 28, 1948 at the Chicago Railroad Fair. This was the actual last cable car to operate in Chicago, and was done under the sponsorship of the Western Pacific Railroad. #524 has been renumbered #24 and is still in service in San Francisco after being extensively rebuilt by Muni in 1958. On September 2, 1956, car No. 524 also made the last trip on the Washington-Jackson line as the SF cable car network was consolidated.

San Francisco Municipal Railway #524 in Chicago on August 28, 1948 at the Chicago Railroad Fair. This was the actual last cable car to operate in Chicago, and was done under the sponsorship of the Western Pacific Railroad. #524 has been renumbered #24 and is still in service in San Francisco after being extensively rebuilt by Muni in 1958. On September 2, 1956, car No. 524 also made the last trip on the Washington-Jackson line as the SF cable car network was consolidated.

A rare Chicago City Railway Company memo dated November 13, 1893, ordering a reduction in the use of candles.

A rare Chicago City Railway Company memo dated November 13, 1893, ordering a reduction in the use of candles.

An 1893 note regarding a complaint from "39 Barn," which was located at the corner of 39th (Pershing) and Cottage Grove.

An 1893 note regarding a complaint from “39 Barn,” which was located at the corner of 39th (Pershing) and Cottage Grove.

Chicago streetcar RPO cancellation - Wentworth Avenue line, 7-1-1909.

Chicago streetcar RPO cancellation – Wentworth Avenue line, 7-1-1909.

Chicago streetcar RPO cancellation - North Clark St. line, 11-13-1902.

Chicago streetcar RPO cancellation – North Clark St. line, 11-13-1902.

Chicago streetcar RPO cancellation - Milwaukee Avenue line, 2-26-1906.

Chicago streetcar RPO cancellation – Milwaukee Avenue line, 2-26-1906.

The Mobile Post Office Society published a 72 page monograph on the Chicago streetcar RPO service in 1983.

The Mobile Post Office Society published a 72 page monograph on the Chicago streetcar RPO service in 1983.

St. Louis cable cars on Broadway looking north from Chestnut Street, 1894.

St. Louis cable cars on Broadway looking north from Chestnut Street, 1894.

This commemorative mailing gives November 11, 1929 as the last day of streetcar RPO service in the United States (not counting interurbans).

This commemorative mailing gives November 11, 1929 as the last day of streetcar RPO service in the United States (not counting interurbans).


DVD04FrontDVD04Back

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.
# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95


A Century of Progress – In Color and In Motion

official-pictures

Our recent post about transportation to and from the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair (aka A Century of Progress) jogged my memory a bit.  I recall reading a while back about the discovery of early color films from the fair, taken in 1933.

There had been color films of a sort prior to 1933, however most of these were much less successful “two-color” processes, which showed red and green but not blue.  For a list of early two-color Hollywood films prior to 1935, go here.  (The technically minded can also delve into great detail on the early Kodak color processes here.)

During 1933, there were experimental versions of either Technicolor or Kodacolor being tested, but these products were not commercially available until 1935.  A national spectacle, attracting millions of visitors, the fair was an obvious event to try out the new three-color films on.

Chicago’s second World’s Fair was also more colorful than its first one in 1893.  The World’s Columbian Exposition featured a neoclassical “White City,” while the 1933 version had multi-colored buildings and lighting of a more modern style.

Fortunately, some color footage from the 1933 edition of A Century of Progress has survived, and can be seen in some of the video links later in this post.  Without these films, our only evidence of color at the fair would be hand-colored postcards, posters, and such.

By comparison, by 1939-40, the time of the New York World’s Fair, 16mm Kodachrome movie film was available to the amateur market.  Consequently, there is a tremendous amount of color footage showing that fair.

The films include footage of the impressive Sky Ride, an aerial cable car that transported visitors to Northerly Island, which was built on landfill in 1928.  Fairgoers were transported nearly 2,000 feet at an altitude of 215 feet above ground.  The cable tram was suspended between to 628-foot high towers at the ends, with observation decks, the highest such points in the city.

Each streamlined “gondola” gave out wisps of steam from its tail, in a manner not unlike the rocket ships in the contemporary Buck Rogers comic strip, which first appeared in 1929.  (The competing Flash Gordon comic strip by Alex Raymond did not begin until January 7, 1934.  You can read some of those early strips here.  The movie serial versions of these comics did not appear until after the Chicago fair had closed.)

Apparently, each gondola was named after a different character in the extremely popular but controversial Amos ‘n’ Andy radio program, which had its roots in Chicago.  (While I have read that there were 12 such gondola cars, I’ve only seen pictures of three, named “Amos,” “Andy,” and “Brother Crawford.”)

Both my parents visited the Chicago World’s Fair.  My late father described how he had been stuck on one of the aerial cable cars for several hours when it broke down mid-flight.  My mother, who is now 86, still recalls her trips to the fair when she was 5 or 6 years old.  As you can see from the film footage, it was the type of event that many Chicagoans dressed up for in their finest clothes.

There were other novel modes of transportation at A Century of Progress.  Although the Chicago Surface Lines brochure in our earlier post shows a Dirigible or Zeppelin in the air (and one did visit Chicago in 1933) the films show a Goodyear Blimp in frequent use at the fair.

There was also an experimental auto on display, the streamlined three-wheeled “Dymaxion” car designed by Buckminster Fuller.  Unfortunately, interest in this car was quelled after it was involved in a fatal car crash, although the driver of the Dymaxion was not at fault.

The Chicago World’s Fair had an influence on the city that extended far beyond the 1930s.  Many of its scientific exhibits wound up at the Museum of Science and Industry, where they can be seen today.

The fair site was used for the successful 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair, which was also headed up by Lenox Lohr. Among its many exhibits, this fair featured an actual operating San Francisco cable car– the last cable car to be operated in Chicago to date.

While an attempt to continue the railroad fair for a third year was deemed a failure, this did lead to the Chicago Tribune‘s Col. Robert R. McCormick to envision a permanent site for summer exhibitions and fairs on the lakefront.

After years of discussion and planning, this effort resulted in the creation of McCormick Place, which opened in 1960.  Rebuilt after a disastrous 1967 fire, McCormick Place is now the largest convention center in North America.  Since A Century of Progress and the Chicago Railroad Fair successfully brought millions of people to Chicago’s lakefront, it was considered an excellent location for McCormick Place.

As a result, it is perhaps the most important legacy of those earlier fairs.  You can also read more about the genesis of McCormick Place in the book Political Influence by Edward C. Banfield, which we mentioned in an earlier post.

There are still a few traces of the World’s Fair, if you know where to look for them.  Five experimental houses from the fair were moved by barge across Lake Michigan to Beverly Shores, Indiana in 1935, where they remain today, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, comprising the A Century of Progress Architectural District.

Finally, using the final Youtube link below, you can listen to the rousing Chicago Worlds Fair Centennial Celebration March (1933) by composer Carl Mader.

 -David Sadowski

PS- Walt Disney (who was born in Chicago) is known to have visited the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair several times (one of at five such fairs he visited in his lifetime), and after watching some of these videos, it’s not difficult to see how A Century of Progress could have influenced Disneyland.

wf01

Chicago_world's_fair,_a_century_of_progress,_expo_poster,_1933,_2

chicago_worlds_fair_1933__mprtp

postcard-chicago-century-of-progress-worlds-fair-gigantic-fountain-night-colored-lights-1933-34

blog-chicago-worlds-fair-1933

36a_0017