Ravenswood Rarities

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood "A" train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA's historical fleet.

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood “A” train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA’s historical fleet.

This time around, we have lots of classic traction photos for your consideration. For whatever reason, many of them were taken in the vicinity of Lawrence and Kimball, terminus of the CTA Brown Line (formerly known as the Ravenswood “L”).

There was a recent fantrip on the CTA “L” system, using historic cars 4271-4272. This sold out quickly, and unfortunately, we were not able to participate. But it did help raise money for two very worthy causes. Besides helping to keep these early 1920s railcars running on the CTA, funds also went to assist the Fox River Trolley Museum recover from the vandalism they suffered last year. We encourage our readers to help with these efforts by contacting those organizations directly.

We do have several images of 4271-4272 from previous fantrips, however (and one, at the top of this page, from one of the last times they were used in regular service).

Many of these images come courtesy of Bill Shapotkin. We hope that you will support Mr. Shapotkin’s efforts by attending his programs, which include the upcoming Hoosier Traction Meet this September. More about that will be found further down in this post. We also have some additional recent photo finds of our own.

Just to dispel any notion that these images always looked this way, this time we have included some “before” shots that you can contrast with the “after” ones. There is a lot of work that goes into making these images look better.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- A few of our readers have pointed out that in our last couple of posts, clicking on the various images with your mouse would not bring up a larger version of that picture, so you can study it more closely. We have fixed that issue in this new post, and promise we will go back soon and correct it on those two as well.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA "Met" cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA “Met” cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don's Rail Photos: "2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858."

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos: “2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858.”

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

Here, a couple of old CTA "Met" cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

Here, a couple of old CTA “Met” cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today's Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today’s Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA's Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and "Traction Orange."

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and “Traction Orange.”

CTA wooden "L" cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA wooden “L” cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop "L" on September 13, 1976.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop “L” on September 13, 1976.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

At left, CTA's Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

At left, CTA’s Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don's Rail Photos: '5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001."

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don’s Rail Photos: ‘5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001.”

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series "L" cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series “L” cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

A train of CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake Street "L" (today's Green Line) in September 1977.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line) in September 1977.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don's Rail Photos: "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don’s Rail Photos: “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

A CTA 6000-series "L" car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA 6000-series “L” car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

Hoosier Traction 2019

This PDF file explains what’s happening in Indianapolis this September 6-7:

hoosiertractionmeet_2019_05_public

Recent Finds

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: "There's a rather long story behind this. Yes, it's a Steinway car, and yes, it's on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the "Toonerville Trolley" cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony."

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: “There’s a rather long story behind this. Yes, it’s a Steinway car, and yes, it’s on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the “Toonerville Trolley” cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony.”

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 - 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were "tiger stripes," intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 – 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were “tiger stripes,” intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: "It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer." (Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: “It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

CTA 4355 and it's semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", on September 10, 1957.

CTA 4355 and it’s semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, on September 10, 1957.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park "L". The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park “L”. The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park "L" in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train-- it's a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden "L" cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina "L" crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street "L", as the Pink Line does today.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park “L” in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train– it’s a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden “L” cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina “L” crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street “L”, as the Pink Line does today.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

A single CTA wooden "L" car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A single CTA wooden “L” car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in June 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in June 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

Recent Correspondence

Andre Kristopans
writes:

In 1935 CSL and CRT began exchanging transfers. In 1936 CMC and CRT transfers followed.Some time soon, exact date unknown to me, CRT and West Towns transfers followed, but these were gone sometime after 1938. Each transfer type was its own color as follows:

CRT to CSL – yellow (actually “newsprint?”)
CRT to CMC – green
CRT to West Towns – pink
CSL to CRT – blue
CMC to CRT – unknown to me
CWT to CRT – unknown – any ideas what they looked like?

In 1943 CSL and CMC transfers began and colors were revised:

CRT – CSL – blue
CRT – CMC – green
CMC – CSL – pink

Around 1947 CMC to CSL and CRT became orange. Once CTA was formed all L transfers became blue, both to CTA durface system and to CMC, while surface to CMC remained green and CMC to CTA surface or L remained orange. In 1953 orange transfers were eliminated as former CMC routes were put on regular surface transfers. L transfers remained blue until about 1962 when they became green.

If anybody has any additional information or can offer any corrections, they would be very welcomed!

Jon Roma writes:

I can offer the attached color image of CNS&M/C&NW Ryan Tower, given your recent feature on the subject along with the statement that there are few shots of the location. This is digitized from a slide by unknown photographer that resides in my collection; it’s obviously a railfan excursion taken on or about March 1962. Please feel free to use if you’d like.

We thank all our contributors!

TRACTION AUDIO, NOW AVAILABLE ON COMPACT DISC:

CDLayout33p85

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

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

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

Total time – 73:14


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

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

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

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

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

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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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Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Six

This could be an "as new" photo showing Metropolitan West Side "L" car 876. Don's Rail Photos: "2873 thru 2887 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 873 thru 887. In 1913 they were renumbered 2873 thru 2887 and in 1923 they became CRT 2873 thru 2987." (George Trapp Collection)

This could be an “as new” photo showing Metropolitan West Side “L” car 876. Don’s Rail Photos: “2873 thru 2887 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 873 thru 887. In 1913 they were renumbered 2873 thru 2887 and in 1923 they became CRT 2873 thru 2987.” (George Trapp Collection)

Our latest post features another generous selection of Chicago rapid transit photos from the collections of George Trapp. We thank him again for sharing these with our readers.

There will be additional installments in this series. Today, we go back to the west side for some classic shots of the Lake Street and Metropolitan “L” branches, forerunners of today’s CTA Green, Blue and Pink Lines.

As always, if you have anything interesting to add to the discussion, you can either leave a comment here on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Thanks.

-David Sadowski

PS- To find earlier posts in our series, just type “Chicago rapid transit” in the search window at the top of the page.


The Metropolitan “L”:

This picture was taken at Wells and Van Buren, and shows the old connection between the Met lines and the Loop. The Insurance Exchange building is at right. In 1955, this connection was replaced by one that went right through the old Wells Street Terminal, last used by CA&E trains in 1953 (and CTA in 1951). The terminal can be seen in this picture on the left hand side, where there is a walkway connecting it to the Quincy and Wells station. Once the Congress median line opened in 1958, no such connections were needed, and they were removed by 1964. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This picture was taken at Wells and Van Buren, and shows the old connection between the Met lines and the Loop. The Insurance Exchange building is at right. In 1955, this connection was replaced by one that went right through the old Wells Street Terminal, last used by CA&E trains in 1953 (and CTA in 1951). The terminal can be seen in this picture on the left hand side, where there is a walkway connecting it to the Quincy and Wells station. Once the Congress median line opened in 1958, no such connections were needed, and they were removed by 1964. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

I've zoomed in to show the old Wells Street Terminal.

I’ve zoomed in to show the old Wells Street Terminal.

This photo is rather curious, as a blow-up on the section behind CTA 6097-6098 (a Douglas Park train) appears to show tracks leading off to the right. That could possibly be the track connection, used from 1955-58, that ran through the old location of Wells Street Terminal. On the other hand, Myron Moyano says, "the shot was taken from the LaSalle and Van Buren platform, looking west towards the junction at Wells and Van Buren. The platform furthest away after the junction was Franklin Street." George Trapp adds, "6097-6098, photo is at LaSalle and Van Buren, Insurance Exchange Building is above car 6097 and rear half of 6098. Junction is with Wells Street leg of Loop "L" and station in distance is Franklin and Van Buren used by Met trains." He guesses the photo dates to about 1952. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

This photo is rather curious, as a blow-up on the section behind CTA 6097-6098 (a Douglas Park train) appears to show tracks leading off to the right. That could possibly be the track connection, used from 1955-58, that ran through the old location of Wells Street Terminal. On the other hand, Myron Moyano says, “the shot was taken from the LaSalle and Van Buren platform, looking west towards the junction at Wells and Van Buren. The platform furthest away after the junction was Franklin Street.” George Trapp adds, “6097-6098, photo is at LaSalle and Van Buren, Insurance Exchange Building is above car 6097 and rear half of 6098. Junction is with Wells Street leg of Loop “L” and station in distance is Franklin and Van Buren used by Met trains.” He guesses the photo dates to about 1952. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A close-up of the previous picture.  Are those tracks leading off to the right?  Apparently they are, but just the ones leading to the Wells leg of the "L".  The station further in the distance is part of the Met main line.

A close-up of the previous picture. Are those tracks leading off to the right? Apparently they are, but just the ones leading to the Wells leg of the “L”. The station further in the distance is part of the Met main line.

CTA 6113-6114, signed for Douglas, on the Loop "L". If I had to guess, I would say this might be the Van Buren leg, but I'm not 100% sure about that. George Trapp: "6113-6114 at same location and probably same day (as photo with 6097-6098, which is on the Van Buren leg), further east closer to Clark Street. My guess is photo probably dates to 1952." (George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6113-6114, signed for Douglas, on the Loop “L”. If I had to guess, I would say this might be the Van Buren leg, but I’m not 100% sure about that. George Trapp: “6113-6114 at same location and probably same day (as photo with 6097-6098, which is on the Van Buren leg), further east closer to Clark Street. My guess is photo probably dates to 1952.” (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4102 and its "plus one" are heading west, just after having crossed the Chicago River on the four-track Met main line. They are serving both Logan Square and Humboldt Park, meaning this two-car train will be split at Damen and North. The station is Canal, which also had walkways connecting directly to Union Station. It closed in June 1958 when the Congress median line opened. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4102 and its “plus one” are heading west, just after having crossed the Chicago River on the four-track Met main line. They are serving both Logan Square and Humboldt Park, meaning this two-car train will be split at Damen and North. The station is Canal, which also had walkways connecting directly to Union Station. It closed in June 1958 when the Congress median line opened. (George Trapp Collection)

The four-track Met bridge over the Chicago River (actually, two two-track bridges).

The four-track Met bridge over the Chicago River (actually, two two-track bridges).

This certainly has the appearance of a Met station. Looking at this photo under magnification shows the bridge in the background, and some of the buildings, match up with the old station at Madison and Paulina. The presence of 6000s here would date the picture to late 1950 or early 1951, before the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway went into service. We are looking north. We posted another photo taken towards the north end of this station in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)

This certainly has the appearance of a Met station. Looking at this photo under magnification shows the bridge in the background, and some of the buildings, match up with the old station at Madison and Paulina. The presence of 6000s here would date the picture to late 1950 or early 1951, before the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway went into service. We are looking north. We posted another photo taken towards the north end of this station in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)

A close-up of the previous picture. Note how there is something covering over the coupler. George Trapp: "6000's at Madison-Paulina, cars fitted with gloves over couplers like Illinois Terminal's PCC's to protect electrical contacts. By the time 6131-6200 series delivered, hinged covers were fitted."

A close-up of the previous picture. Note how there is something covering over the coupler. George Trapp: “6000’s at Madison-Paulina, cars fitted with gloves over couplers like Illinois Terminal’s PCC’s to protect electrical contacts. By the time 6131-6200 series delivered, hinged covers were fitted.”

Don's Rail Photos: "2756 was built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSERy 756. In 1913 it was renumbered 756. It became CRT 2756 in 1923. At an unknown date it was rebuilt as a medical car. It was primarily used for physical exams for employees, and occasionally even made it to Milwaukee on the CNS&M." This picture would seem to show it in funeral car configuration. (George Trapp Collection)

Don’s Rail Photos: “2756 was built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSERy 756. In 1913 it was renumbered 756. It became CRT 2756 in 1923. At an unknown date it was rebuilt as a medical car. It was primarily used for physical exams for employees, and occasionally even made it to Milwaukee on the CNS&M.” This picture would seem to show it in funeral car configuration. (George Trapp Collection)

Don's Rail Photos says, "2281 was built by Pullman in 1900 as M-WSER 281. It was rebuilt in 1912 and in 1913 it was renumbered 2281. It became CRT 2281 in 1923." The car is signed for 5th Avenue. This was the original name of Wells Street until 1916. So it is that 5th Avenue and not one of the stops used by Westchester Branch trains from 1926 to 1951 on the CA&E main line. Therefore, the picture dates to between 1913 and 1916. (George Trapp Collection)

Don’s Rail Photos says, “2281 was built by Pullman in 1900 as M-WSER 281. It was rebuilt in 1912 and in 1913 it was renumbered 2281. It became CRT 2281 in 1923.” The car is signed for 5th Avenue. This was the original name of Wells Street until 1916. So it is that 5th Avenue and not one of the stops used by Westchester Branch trains from 1926 to 1951 on the CA&E main line. Therefore, the picture dates to between 1913 and 1916. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2705, signed for Wells Street, so we know the photo is from 1916 or later. This picture was probably taken at Laramie Yard in the 1940s. Don's Rail Photos: "2701 thru 2756 were built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSER 701 thru 756. In 1913 they were renumbered 2701 thru 2756 and in 1923 they became CRT 2701 thru 2756." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2705, signed for Wells Street, so we know the photo is from 1916 or later. This picture was probably taken at Laramie Yard in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos: “2701 thru 2756 were built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSER 701 thru 756. In 1913 they were renumbered 2701 thru 2756 and in 1923 they became CRT 2701 thru 2756.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Met car 2730, again signed for 5th Avenue, which limits this photo to 1916 or earlier. This time we are at the Logan Square yard. (George Trapp Collection)

Met car 2730, again signed for 5th Avenue, which limits this photo to 1916 or earlier. This time we are at the Logan Square yard. (George Trapp Collection)

CRTR 2866, most likely t Laramie Yard in the 1940s. Don's Rail Photos says, "2859 thru 2871 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 859 thru 871. In 1913 they were renumbered 2859 thru 2871 and in 1923 they became CRT 2859 thru 2871." (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRTR 2866, most likely t Laramie Yard in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos says, “2859 thru 2871 were built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 859 thru 871. In 1913 they were renumbered 2859 thru 2871 and in 1923 they became CRT 2859 thru 2871.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2802, signed for 5th Avenue, which would date this picture to no later than 1916. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 2802, signed for 5th Avenue, which would date this picture to no later than 1916. (George Trapp Collection)

Don's Rail Photos says, "2721 was built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as Metropolitan-West Side Elevated Ry 721. In 1913 it was renumbered 721. In 1919 it was rebuilt as a merchandise dispatch car to be leased to the North Shore line. After a short time it was replaced by new and similar MD cars built for the North Shore. It was then returned to the CRT and used in work service. It became CRT 2721 in 1923." The location is likely Laramie Yard. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection) We ran a different picture of 2721 in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016).

Don’s Rail Photos says, “2721 was built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as Metropolitan-West Side Elevated Ry 721. In 1913 it was renumbered 721. In 1919 it was rebuilt as a merchandise dispatch car to be leased to the North Shore line. After a short time it was replaced by new and similar MD cars built for the North Shore. It was then returned to the CRT and used in work service. It became CRT 2721 in 1923.” The location is likely Laramie Yard. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection) We ran a different picture of 2721 in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Four (September 20, 2016).

CRT 4383 is signed as going to Maywood and Westchester via the Garfield Park "L". It is coupled to an older gate car. We are at one of the ground-level stations. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4383 is signed as going to Maywood and Westchester via the Garfield Park “L”. It is coupled to an older gate car. We are at one of the ground-level stations. (George Trapp Collection)

The Douglas Park Yards at 54th Avenue in the 1950s. (George Trapp Collection)

The Douglas Park Yards at 54th Avenue in the 1950s. (George Trapp Collection)

One of the 5001-5004 "doodlebugs" and a Met car at Logan Square along with a work car. George Trapp: "One of the Pullman built doodlebugs, 5001-5002 at Logan Square appears to be coupled to the Met's original steel dreadnought #2717. Odd for doodlebug to be at Logan Square at this time, 6000's in background with cream roofs date photo to 1950-51. Doodlebugs had been assigned to Evanston for over a year by this time." Coupling modern equipment to 2717, and the timeframe, may provide an answer. Perhaps these cars were being used for testing in the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway, which opened in February 1951. Wood cars were banned from the subway by city ordinance, due to fire safety concerns, but this did not apply to 2717, as it was an early experiment with an all-steel car. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, George Trapp Collection)

One of the 5001-5004 “doodlebugs” and a Met car at Logan Square along with a work car. George Trapp: “One of the Pullman built doodlebugs, 5001-5002 at Logan Square appears to be coupled to the Met’s original steel dreadnought #2717. Odd for doodlebug to be at Logan Square at this time, 6000’s in background with cream roofs date photo to 1950-51. Doodlebugs had been assigned to Evanston for over a year by this time.” Coupling modern equipment to 2717, and the timeframe, may provide an answer. Perhaps these cars were being used for testing in the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway, which opened in February 1951. Wood cars were banned from the subway by city ordinance, due to fire safety concerns, but this did not apply to 2717, as it was an early experiment with an all-steel car. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA "flat door" cars 6003-6004 at Logan Square in the 1950s. Note the slightly different paint scheme compared to later cars in this series. George Trapp: "6003-6004 at Logan Square, in addition to the different paint scheme from 6005-6130, notice extra metal sheets riveted to large window posts between 1st and 2nd windows from each end. Only 6001-6004 had them." (George Trapp Collection)

CTA “flat door” cars 6003-6004 at Logan Square in the 1950s. Note the slightly different paint scheme compared to later cars in this series. George Trapp: “6003-6004 at Logan Square, in addition to the different paint scheme from 6005-6130, notice extra metal sheets riveted to large window posts between 1st and 2nd windows from each end. Only 6001-6004 had them.” (George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6007-6008. Note how the ends of these cars were painted differently than 6001-6004. (George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6007-6008. Note how the ends of these cars were painted differently than 6001-6004. (George Trapp Collection)

We have restored these four badly faded color prints as best we could. This one shows CTA single car unit 41 in 1959, as new, at Logan Square. Note it has not yet been fitted with trolley poles, which this car used when put into service in Evanston in 1961. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

We have restored these four badly faded color prints as best we could. This one shows CTA single car unit 41 in 1959, as new, at Logan Square. Note it has not yet been fitted with trolley poles, which this car used when put into service in Evanston in 1961. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A lineup of 6000s at Logan Square in 1959. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A lineup of 6000s at Logan Square in 1959. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6151-6152, 17, and 18 at the Logan Square bumper post in 1959. The greenish blob in the lower left corner of the picture is lens flare caused by the sun, essentially internal reflections of the glass elements of the lens that occur when you shoot into the light. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CTA 6151-6152, 17, and 18 at the Logan Square bumper post in 1959. The greenish blob in the lower left corner of the picture is lens flare caused by the sun, essentially internal reflections of the glass elements of the lens that occur when you shoot into the light. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Brand new CTA single car unit 18 at Logan Square in 1959. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Brand new CTA single car unit 18 at Logan Square in 1959. (Robert Geis Photo, George Trapp Collection)


The Lake Street “L”:

CRT 3042 was a Lake Street car. According to Don's Rail Photos, "3001 thru 3100 were built by Gilbert in 1893 as Lake Street Elevated RR 1 thru 100. In 1913 they were renumbered 3001 thru 3100 and became Chicago Rapid Transit 3001 thru 3100 in 1923." (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 3042 was a Lake Street car. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “3001 thru 3100 were built by Gilbert in 1893 as Lake Street Elevated RR 1 thru 100. In 1913 they were renumbered 3001 thru 3100 and became Chicago Rapid Transit 3001 thru 3100 in 1923.” (George Trapp Collection)

A two-car Lake Street "A" train (one car is numbered 1708) on the Loop "L". Not sure of the exact location, but as you can see in back, this is an area where there was a continuous platform connection stations. This allowed for more trains to stop at the same time, and was likely the inspiration for the continuous platforms in Chicago's downtown subways. Myron Moyano adds, "Car 1708 under the Lake Street section is at Madison and Wells." (George Trapp Collection)

A two-car Lake Street “A” train (one car is numbered 1708) on the Loop “L”. Not sure of the exact location, but as you can see in back, this is an area where there was a continuous platform connection stations. This allowed for more trains to stop at the same time, and was likely the inspiration for the continuous platforms in Chicago’s downtown subways. Myron Moyano adds, “Car 1708 under the Lake Street section is at Madison and Wells.” (George Trapp Collection)

Brand new CTA cars 2003-2004 (paired with 2001-2002) in demonstration service at Randolph and Wabash in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

Brand new CTA cars 2003-2004 (paired with 2001-2002) in demonstration service at Randolph and Wabash in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 2003-4 and 2001-2 on demonstration runs on the Wabash leg of the Loop "L" in 1964. This was the first series of rapid transit cars to come with air conditioning as standard equipment, something we take for granted today. Unfortunately, the AC was underpowered for the job it had to do, and the ceiling-mounted units tended to drip water on people. (George Trapp Photo)

CTA 2003-4 and 2001-2 on demonstration runs on the Wabash leg of the Loop “L” in 1964. This was the first series of rapid transit cars to come with air conditioning as standard equipment, something we take for granted today. Unfortunately, the AC was underpowered for the job it had to do, and the ceiling-mounted units tended to drip water on people. (George Trapp Photo)

An ancient view of Lake and Market, showing where the Market Street stub branched off. (George Trapp Collection)

An ancient view of Lake and Market, showing where the Market Street stub branched off. (George Trapp Collection)

A rare photo of the old Market Street stub terminal, where some Lake Street "L" trains terminated in the days before A/B "skip stop" service. It was torn down in the late 1940s. (George Trapp Collection)

A rare photo of the old Market Street stub terminal, where some Lake Street “L” trains terminated in the days before A/B “skip stop” service. It was torn down in the late 1940s. (George Trapp Collection)

The old Lake Street "L" bridge over the Chicago River. (George Trapp Collection)

The old Lake Street “L” bridge over the Chicago River. (George Trapp Collection)

A pair of shiny new 5000s (first pair is 5001-5002) on the Lake Street "L" bridge over the Chicago River, circa 1947-48. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A pair of shiny new 5000s (first pair is 5001-5002) on the Lake Street “L” bridge over the Chicago River, circa 1947-48. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Here is the Lake Street view of Lake Transfer, with two woods in the station. Riders could change here for the Met "L" Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains. (George Trapp Collection)

Here is the Lake Street view of Lake Transfer, with two woods in the station. Riders could change here for the Met “L” Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4338 heads up a Lake Street Local train somewhere on the west side. This photo is probably no later than 1943, since all the 4000s were shifted to the State Street subway then. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT 4338 heads up a Lake Street Local train somewhere on the west side. This photo is probably no later than 1943, since all the 4000s were shifted to the State Street subway then. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT S-200 in the Lake and Hamlin yard. Don's Rail Photos says, "S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923." In this photo, it looks like it is being used to string trolley wire. You can see the ramp leading up to the "L" at right. (George Trapp Collection)

CRT S-200 in the Lake and Hamlin yard. Don’s Rail Photos says, “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1923.” In this photo, it looks like it is being used to string trolley wire. You can see the ramp leading up to the “L” at right. (George Trapp Collection)

There was a short stretch, less than half a mile actually, where Lake Street trains ran parallel under wire right next to streetcars, as you can see here. The trolley is heading west, while the train of wood cars is going east, and just starting to head up the ramp. Route 16 streetcars crossed the "L" and turned north a block east of Central Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)

There was a short stretch, less than half a mile actually, where Lake Street trains ran parallel under wire right next to streetcars, as you can see here. The trolley is heading west, while the train of wood cars is going east, and just starting to head up the ramp. Route 16 streetcars crossed the “L” and turned north a block east of Central Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)

Editor’s note: Lake and Pine is perhaps the only place left in Chicago where streetcar tracks are still visible. Here are four pictures that I took there on July 7, 2016. The view is looking south:

p1070069

p1070068

p1070064

p1070063

Here's an interesting streetscape that could not be duplicated today. According to the back of the picture, it shows the view looking east from South Boulevard and Austin, on the eastern edge of Oak Park. The Lake Street "L", where it ran on the ground, had a very narrow right-of-way that the 6000s, with their bulging sides, could not fit in. So, looking for a place to build space for CRT/CTA employee use, there was nowhere to go but up. Not sure which bus routes are there in back, but this was the Chicago side of the street, which would argue against West Towns. It must be Chicago, since Oak Park was "dry" at the time and liquor is being sold. Bill Shapotkin adds: "If this is indeed at Austin (and I believe it is), the street is still called Lake (NOT South Blvd -- as I understand that is strictly an Oak Park name). There were de facto two Lake Streets at this point-- one north of the C&NW and one south of the C&NW. The name "Corcoran" (again as I understand it) did not come along until possibly the time the 'L' was rerouted onto the C&NW embankment). As for the bus -- probably a W/B E16 -- Lake. The bus looped via W/B Lake-N/B Austin-E/B Lake-S/B Mayfield-E/B Lake. That said, there appears to be a bus heading E/B as well -- and that I cannot explain." George Trapp adds, "Lake Street photo at South Blvd. and Austin, buses are Chicago Motor Coach TD-4502's at terminal of Route 31 Washington Blvd. Buses are in their original 1940 paint jobs so photo dates to 1940's." (George Trapp Collection)

Here’s an interesting streetscape that could not be duplicated today. According to the back of the picture, it shows the view looking east from South Boulevard and Austin, on the eastern edge of Oak Park. The Lake Street “L”, where it ran on the ground, had a very narrow right-of-way that the 6000s, with their bulging sides, could not fit in. So, looking for a place to build space for CRT/CTA employee use, there was nowhere to go but up. Not sure which bus routes are there in back, but this was the Chicago side of the street, which would argue against West Towns. It must be Chicago, since Oak Park was “dry” at the time and liquor is being sold. Bill Shapotkin adds: “If this is indeed at Austin (and I believe it is), the street is still called Lake (NOT South Blvd — as I understand that is strictly an Oak Park name). There were de facto two Lake Streets at this point– one north of the C&NW and one south of the C&NW. The name “Corcoran” (again as I understand it) did not come along until possibly the time the ‘L’ was rerouted onto the C&NW embankment). As for the bus — probably a W/B E16 — Lake. The bus looped via W/B Lake-N/B Austin-E/B Lake-S/B Mayfield-E/B Lake. That said, there appears to be a bus heading E/B as well — and that I cannot explain.” George Trapp adds, “Lake Street photo at South Blvd. and Austin, buses are Chicago Motor Coach TD-4502’s at terminal of Route 31 Washington Blvd. Buses are in their original 1940 paint jobs so photo dates to 1940’s.” (George Trapp Collection)

In this current map, it appears that Lake Street crosses over from south of the UP embankment to the north at Pine, where the CSL/CTA route 16 streetcar did. West of Pine, the street on the south side of the embankment is called Corcoran Place. (West of Austin, in suburban Oak Park, this is South Boulevard.) However, there is some question as to when the name was changed to Corcoran Place (see the next map).

In this current map, it appears that Lake Street crosses over from south of the UP embankment to the north at Pine, where the CSL/CTA route 16 streetcar did. West of Pine, the street on the south side of the embankment is called Corcoran Place. (West of Austin, in suburban Oak Park, this is South Boulevard.) However, there is some question as to when the name was changed to Corcoran Place (see the next map).

In this early 1940s Chicago street map, the street south of the embankment is labelled as Lake all the way to Austin Boulevard, where it apparently crosses over to the north of the embankment in Oak park. There is no sign of any Corcoran Place. The solid line, shown crossing over from north to the south of the tracks at Pine Street, is the route of the route 16 - Lake streetcar. However, the map does not really make it clear whether, technically, the street to the north of the tracks was called Lake in this section, or was a continuation of Kinzie, as it was east of Pine. Were there in fact two Lake Streets in this section? There wouldn't have been duplicate street numbers, since in this area, each half would've only had buildings on one side of the street. Perhaps a map expert can clarify all this.

In this early 1940s Chicago street map, the street south of the embankment is labelled as Lake all the way to Austin Boulevard, where it apparently crosses over to the north of the embankment in Oak park. There is no sign of any Corcoran Place. The solid line, shown crossing over from north to the south of the tracks at Pine Street, is the route of the route 16 – Lake streetcar. However, the map does not really make it clear whether, technically, the street to the north of the tracks was called Lake in this section, or was a continuation of Kinzie, as it was east of Pine. Were there in fact two Lake Streets in this section? There wouldn’t have been duplicate street numbers, since in this area, each half would’ve only had buildings on one side of the street. Perhaps a map expert can clarify all this.

The same view today.

The same view today.

This is a Lake Street local train, heading west on the ground level section, which was elevated in 1962. Since this photo predates A/B "skip stop" service, it must date to before April 5, 1948. (George Trapp Collection)

This is a Lake Street local train, heading west on the ground level section, which was elevated in 1962. Since this photo predates A/B “skip stop” service, it must date to before April 5, 1948. (George Trapp Collection)

A westbound Lake "A" train in 1950s Oak Park. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

A westbound Lake “A” train in 1950s Oak Park. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

An inbound Lake Street Local somewhere in Oak Park prior to the adoption of A/B service in 1948. The outer portion of the line, from about Oak Park Avenue west, did not have fencing. There were numerous manually operated grade crossings along the 2 1/2 miles where trains ran on the ground. (George Trapp Collection)

An inbound Lake Street Local somewhere in Oak Park prior to the adoption of A/B service in 1948. The outer portion of the line, from about Oak Park Avenue west, did not have fencing. There were numerous manually operated grade crossings along the 2 1/2 miles where trains ran on the ground. (George Trapp Collection)

Here, we see some Met cars in service on the Lake Street "L". In the days when the outer portion ran on the ground, there was a short stretch just west of Harlem Avenue, which is what we see here. There was actually a station just west of Harlem, which was not used very much, compared to the one at Harlem and Marion. Wood cars last ran on Lake on July 5, 1954. In 1962, the nearby embankment was expanded by CTA to create a new yard. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)

Here, we see some Met cars in service on the Lake Street “L”. In the days when the outer portion ran on the ground, there was a short stretch just west of Harlem Avenue, which is what we see here. There was actually a station just west of Harlem, which was not used very much, compared to the one at Harlem and Marion. Wood cars last ran on Lake on July 5, 1954. In 1962, the nearby embankment was expanded by CTA to create a new yard. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)


Bonus Photo:

This picture is not from George Trapp, but we thought you might find it interesting anyway:

In this 1950s photo, CTA bus 5602 is on route 6. Meanwhile, we see trains of 4000s and 6000s on the "L" at Wabash and Lake. From 1913 to 1969, trains on both tracks ran in a counterclockwise direction. George Trapp: "Bus 5602 is on route 6, Garfield Blvd not Van Buren. The 5500 series propane buses didn't start to arrive until late 1953. Garfield route was one of the first routes transferred away from a former CMC garage, 52nd to Ashland-69th. Propane 5500's were a downgrade from CMC Diesels which were faster, easier to see out of and had more comfortable mohair plush seats."

In this 1950s photo, CTA bus 5602 is on route 6. Meanwhile, we see trains of 4000s and 6000s on the “L” at Wabash and Lake. From 1913 to 1969, trains on both tracks ran in a counterclockwise direction. George Trapp: “Bus 5602 is on route 6, Garfield Blvd not Van Buren. The 5500 series propane buses didn’t start to arrive until late 1953. Garfield route was one of the first routes transferred away from a former CMC garage, 52nd to Ashland-69th. Propane 5500’s were a downgrade from CMC Diesels which were faster, easier to see out of and had more comfortable mohair plush seats.”


Recent Additions:

Here’s one more that we added to our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Five (September 26, 2016):

CRT/CTA 1757, signed as an Evanston local. Don's Rail Photos: "1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as NWERy 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923." (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)

CRT/CTA 1757, signed as an Evanston local. Don’s Rail Photos: “1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as NWERy 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 160th 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 203,000 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. You can make a contribution there as well.

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

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The Roebuck Stops Here

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That's Sears at left. The 'L' station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash 'L' station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That’s Sears at left. The ‘L’ station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

From guest contributor Eric Bronsky:

Sears has been in the news lately. The onetime catalog/mail order champion is fading fast. I was never a fan of Sears, but I was curious to see what this company has brought to the table over the years. One thing led to another and I ended up writing a piece about Sears’ State Street stores (that’s right, there were two Sears flagships in downtown Chicago). I illustrated it with my own photography plus some great historic images from my collection (including the monorail ride in Sears’ toy department).

The file ended up being too big to send as an email attachment, so I posted it online. To view, click on this link:

The Roebuck Stops Here

As a bonus, here are then-and-now photos of Congress Street.

Here's the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash 'L' station was razed during the '50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the 'L' visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Here’s the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station was razed during the ’50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the ‘L’ visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Several major department stores along State Street once had direct connections to ‘L’ stations on Wabash and subway stations along State. The first downtown Sears established a direct basement-level entrance to the Van Buren & Congress mezzanine of the Jackson & State station in 1943. When that store closed, this station entrance also closed. The basement arcade of the building at 22 W. Madison / 2 N. State (the Boston Store until 1948) had a subway entrance, but the new Sears store never used that entrance and it remained sealed. Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s) connection to the State St. subway is the last remaining department store entrance.

Of course, you are welcome to share this with others! You may also print out The Roebuck Stops Here or download it to save on your computer.

— Eric

Selected FSA/OWI Photos, 1935-45

The Library of Congress has uploaded a great many photos taken between 1935 and 1945 by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information. You can search through their collections here.

We have selected some Chicago-area photos from this archive to share with you. These are mainly the ones that are, in some fashion, transportation related, although I have also included a few that aren’t. I hope that you will enjoy them.

There is not a lot of information provided with each photo, but our readers should be able to figure out most of the locations without too much difficulty. I think the picture showing sidewalks in an area where there aren’t any houses yet may be Westchester, where development started in the late 1920s and was delayed until after the end of World War II by the Great Depression.

The pictures of the “L” are from the south side. You should have no difficulty recognizing the Maxwell Street market, the Stockyards, etc. etc. The train station pictures are from Union Station. One photo shows the Illinois Central electric suburban commuter service, today’s Metra Electric.

I only found a few streetcar pictures in the archive. It may not be possible to determine where some were taken due to the fog.

-David Sadowski

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Finally, here are a few from Milwaukee, circa WWII. I believe these may show the old Milwaukee Electric interurban right-of-way going west of the city, which was known as the “Rapid Transit” line. Portions of this are now taken up by an expressway.

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Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 121st 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 127,000 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. 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.


New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

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