Larry Sakar, TM, and Speedrail

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don's Rail Photos: "1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952." It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don’s Rail Photos: “1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952.” It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Today, we are featuring some recent correspondence with Larry Sakar, author of the 1991 book Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?. This has long been a collector’s item– try finding a copy at a reasonable price, and you will see what I mean.

Larry has continued his research in the 26 years since this book came out, and has a new book in the works. Larry is very outspoken, and doesn’t pull any punches. Perhaps that is because he knows his subject so well.

Meanwhile, this Wednesday, I sent off the corrected proofs of our own book Chicago Trolleys to the publisher. That means our part in it is now pretty much done, except perhaps for answering any questions that the proofreaders might have. Then it will go to press and the publication date is September 25.

If any of you have ever written a book, you may know that it is something akin to wrestling an alligator. However, now I believe I’ve got the alligator wrestled to the ground, and am very happy with the finished product. Chances are, you will be too.

-David Sadowski

Larry A. Sakar writes:

I just discovered your site and saw the 3 color photos of LVT 1100 & 1102 loaded onto flat cars for the trip to Milwaukee (Odds and Ends, May 5, 2017). The Feb., 1948 date is not correct. Speedrail did not exist in 1948. It began on 9/2/49 after Jay Maeder bought the Waukesha line from Northland Greyhound for $110!

I know because I’m Larry Sakar, author of “Speedrail Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit?” published by Interurban Press in 1991.

Cars 1100 & 1102 were purchased sometime in late October by Jay Maeder who went to Allentown for the purpose of buying additional Cincinnati Curved side lightweight cars to go with the 6 purchased by Ed Tennyson, Speedrail’s VP of operations in Sept. 1949 from Shaker Heights Rapid Transit (cars 60-65). SHRT sold Tennyson the 6 cars for $500 each and he leased them back to Speedrail. The sale was supposed to be contingent on Mr. Maeder putting up the additional $2300 for spare parts. Whether or not he did I have never been able to find out.

Maeder paid $750 each for 1100 & 1102 which were supposedly the best 2 of the 4 cars (1100-1103). You are absolutely correct about the refurbishing of 1102 into MRT car 66 which premiered on 3/31/51 and served only for 3 months before Speedrail ended all operations on 6/30/51. As part of the rehabilitation it exchanged trucks with car 64 which was wrecked in the collision with e-TM 1121 serving as Speedrail’s freight motor. That happened just 3 days after the terrible and fatal accident on the NMRA fan trip of 9/2/50. The 3 man crew on 1121 finished switching the C&NW Ry. interchange just south of West Jct. early that day and were in a hurry to get home so they ignored the proper procedure for entering the mainline from the C&NW interchange and smacked into car 64 bashing in a significant portion of the front platform. They did not have to worry about getting home early after that. All 3 were terminated. But it caused Travelers Insurance to pull the plug on Speedrail’s liability insurance because of 2 serious accidents in 3 days and also because Maeder was 6 months behind in paying the premiums. He had used money set aside for insurance to buy Shaker Heights cars 300 & 301! As President and sole stockholder he could do what he wanted. The money was used to buy equipment and not for any personal purposes thus making it perfectly legal but also perfectly stupid!

To the best of my knowledge Maeder never intended to use car 1100 for spare parts. That only happened because it was dead on arrival in Milwaukee and would not run period. 1102 blew a motor on arrival and had to be sent to TMER&T’s Cold Spring shops for repair. Cold Spring was marking up costs by 100%! The small shops facility in the Public Service building terminal could not do major repairs.

I don’t know if you would be interested but I have just completed a new manuscript entitled, “The Complete History of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line from TMER&L to Speedrail.” There are 146 pages of text plus an additional 160 pages of photos and documents. Of these there are 37 pages of color photos.

The money to pay for refurbishing 1102 into 66 came from the sale of 14 surplus ex-TM 1100 series cars to Afram Brothers Scrap Metal Company in Milwaukee. This all took place several months after Bruno V. Bitker the federal bankruptcy trustee dismissed Jay Maeder. The seats put in what became car 66 came from some of those 1100’s. It also switched trucks with the damaged car 64.

I think if Maeder had remained in charge he would never have sold those surplus 1100’s. He had a sentimental attachment to TM which he first discovered in 1926 when he attended St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin for his senior year of high school. Delafield was a stop on the Milwaukee-Watertown line.

Thanks and continue the great work. You have a fantastic website.

Thanks for writing, and also for all this wonderful information. As you are well aware I am sure, the information people write on slides, prints, negs, etc. is not always 100% accurate. I appreciate your corrections.

Lehigh Valley Transit purchased four Cincinnati curved-side cars second-hand in 1938 for the Easton Limited interurban line. Unfortunately, these cars were underpowered, and not really up to the task of working this hilly route. They were sharp-looking cars as LVT renovated them, but could not maintain the schedules of the cars they replaced. So it is no great surprise that by the time Speedrail got two of them in 1949, they were in bad shape.

Larry replied:

Yes, I do know that incorrect info often turns up in both pics and books. My 1991 Speedrail book has errors but when I wrote it in 1988 it was based on the best information I had at the time. I never dreamed that after it came out I’d be contacted by Jay Maeder’s daughter Jane and would be the recipient of several boxes of documents her father left behind. She and her late brother Jay Jr. decided that I should have them as they would never do anything with them. Neither of them knew much about Speedrail other than that their father once “owned a railroad”.

That reminds me. I saw the discussion as to whether Jay Maeder ever lived in Texas. No he didn’t but his daughter Jane Maeder Walsh lives in Houston. And Jay Sr. is survived by a lot of grandchildren. I didn’t know Jay Jr. drew that cartoon but I’m not surprised. He was an authority on the Dick Tracy comic strip having authored two books on the subject. I only spoke to him one time while he was working for the New York Daily News and was writing a column called “Lounge Lizard” which reviewed NYC lounge acts. I’ve had a lot of contact with Jane.

I wanted to scream when I got the last shipment of documents in 2012. At the bottom of the box was a scrapbook – the kind with the brown pages like many of us had as kids where we glued things in with Muselix glue. That’s what I expected to see when I opened it but instead found blank pages. Then I looked again. What he did, David, was rip out newspaper clippings related to Speedrail. Then he’d rip out the date and using a nail like the ones you get with picture hooks, would attach it to the clipping. But instead of placing the clippings on the pages he literally shoved them into the spines of each page. Well, after 60 years as I’m sure you know the newsprint deteriorated and the dates fell off as the paper deteriorated. Newsprint is notorious for that. Consequently, I ended up with about 25 clippings where the event could have happened anytime in the 22 months Speedrail existed.

You’re 100% right that the 9-2-50 accident is still controversial. I would say that in terms of blame 80% goes to Maeder and 20% to Tennyson. The Maeder/Tennyson working relationship had been deteriorating ever since the fall of 1949 when Maeder bought the Local Rapid Transit line (Milwaukee-West Junction-Hales Corners) without ever bringing the matter before the Speedrail Board (such as it was). Tennyson was opposed. He told me that when he went to Cleveland on 9/12/49 and met with Maeder’s Cleveland Attorney, Frank Taplin, Taplin told him, “Ed, whatever you do do not let Jay buy that Local Rapid Transit line. He will lose his shirt!” Tennyson was there to buy the 6 Shaker Heights curved side cars. Anyway, according to what he told me, when he found out what Maeder had done he went to the third member of the board, Oliver A. Grootemaat Speedrail’s general counsel and secretary. He said Grootemaat told him, “Maeder owns all the stock. He can do whatever he wants.!”

As for 9-2-50 Tennyson told me Maeder had asked him to draw up a schedule and rules for the 5 NMRA fan trips which he did. On the morning of 9/2 he discovered the trains were running late and that’s when he called the so-called dispatcher, Joe Bellon at the Public Service Building to find out what was going on. It was then that he found out that Maeder and one of the senior motormen, Gerald Greer had spent the night before drawing up “anticipatory train orders” that required every train to call from every siding. Also, the rules were that photo stops were to be made southbound to Hales Corners only. And anyone who did not come when time was up for the photo stop would be left behind. When Maeder’s train got to Hillcrest loop in Hales Corners the fans asked for a photostop going back to Milwaukee. Maeder should have said “NO” but he went along with it. So Tennyson called Bellon and told him to go back to the original orders where trains were to operate by schedule and timetable and only call if they ran into trouble. Maeder had called from Hillcrest to report they’d be stopping for a photostop northbound but from that point on he wasn’t heard from again. In order to allow the regularly scheduled southbound Hales Corners pass Maeder pulled in to Greenwood Jct., a siding never used which was the connection to the Lakeside Belt Line. It was seldom if ever used and once the M-R-K (Milwaukee-Racine Kenosha Line) was abandoned in Dec. of 1947 it was useless.

As a result of the reversal of orders Equitz assumed Maeder would hold at Oklahoma Ave. for him to pass. Maeder, still operating under his revised orders expected the dispatcher would tell Equitz he’d cleared Maeder’s train all the way to West Jct. The end result was that 10 people were killed because two guys didn’t get along. I do think Maeder went thru a red signal. And I also feel he had no business running the train especially since it was discovered he was color blind. If he’d been familiar with the Nachod signals that should not have made a difference. The position of the lights would have shown if the signal was red or white. Maeder was too occupied by all of the railfans gathered around him and he didn’t give the signal more than a quick glance, something you could not do with Nachod signals.

Maeder made an idiot of himself at the Coroner’s inquest. When the DA asked him why his train was running late he objected. the DA asked why he objected to his train being labeled as late and he replied, “My train was an extra train. Extra trains cannot be late. They can only be behind schedule.” HUH?? What’s the difference? Isn’t being behind schedule being late? He also testified that he and the regular motorman George Wolter weren’t relying on the signals. “They were a help but we weren’t relying on them”, is what he testified. Yes, Maeder was exonerated in court but only because the law on 4th Degree Manslaughter required it to be a deliberate act. I seriously doubt if he would be as lucky today not to mention that he personally would face a ton of lawsuits. And though he was exonerated in court he could and did not fare as well in the one court he could do nothing about, the court of public opinion. Bitker clearly didn’t want him around anymore. Tennyson said Bitker banned Maeder from the property but I don’t know if that’s true.

The Rapid Transit book I’ve completed contains photos you’ve never seen before. One of my sources is John Schoenknecht the head of the Waukesha County Historical Society and he has supplied me with some really great photos.

I see Bill Shapotkin comments quite regularly. I’ve known Bill since 1986. Great guy!

This is all great stuff. Who is publishing your book? I see that Interurbans Press put out your Speedrail volume.

Larry:

Interurbans Press did put out the Speedrail book. They published one or two books after that and went out of business. Mac Sebree, the owner retired and sold the company to video producer PENTREX. PENTREX had no interest in selling or publishing books. They bought Interurban Press for one thing and one thing only – their videos. And even if they were still around I’d be extremely reluctant to deal with them again! At the time they accepted the book they had purchased PTJ Publications which was in Waukesha. PTJ as you may know was the original publisher of Passenger Train Journal.

 In 1988 home computers and the Internet did not exist. But since they had the office in Waukesha I begged and pleaded for them to do the book there even though the normally did all books in Glendale, CA. Mike Schaefer was part of PTJ Publications and he was the person I wanted to edit and layout the book. I pointed out that it would be much easier for all concerned should any problems arise. I couldn’t hop a plane to Glendale, CA.  just like that. I was working. But driving out to Waukesha would be no problem. What I didn’t know until later was that “bad blood” existed between Mike and this Paul Hammond who ran things in Glendale. Interurban Press interpreted my request as taking sides. I was trying to do what I felt would be best especially since I knew Mike knew the subject which the California people did not. Interurban Press refused.

The book was to have been published in 1989 but a tragedy at the Waukesha office delayed it by two years. A young staff member was engaged to be married. Something happened and the engagement was called off. He become despondent and went out to Butler and killed himself by stepping in front of an on-coming C&NW train. Horrible! Anyway they resumed work on it and things seemed to go well from there. I don’t know how it works today but back then you received 3 final drafts. The first two showed the space where the photos would be and the caption but not the actual photo. The final proof was called the blue line. So the blue line arrives in the mail and I absolutely exploded. What was supposed to be a photo of the 9-2-50 Speedrail wreck was a photo of the 8-24-49 Soldiers Home wreck. I probably didn’t even need long distance I was so angry. Their excuse: “Well, we just assumed that the wrecks were one and the same.” YOU ASSUMED?? So I had to quickly run out to Waukesha. They had the Milwaukee Journals for the day of and days after the 9-2-50 wreck. With the space already dedicated we had to choose that really bad picture that appears in the book. It was the only one that fit.

There were any number of other things that happened over those 2-3 years (1988-1991). I can’t tell you how many times they told me they “expected to take a loss” on the book and discouraging things like that. Loss nothing! It sold out all of the first printing in 18 months. I had thought about pitching it to Kalmbach but didn’t think I’d stand much of a chance being an unknown at the time. I was right. In 1999 a couple of years after the video, “Rapid Transit in Milwaukee From TMER&L to Speedrail” was put out by TMER&THS of which I was Secretary and Treasurer we decided to write a companion book to the video. Jack Gervais was co-authoring it with me. He was handling everything up to Speedrail and I was writing from Speedrail to the end. When we finished it in 2000 I tried pitching it to Kalmbach now that I had a book published. They turned it down. They were full of compliments about it being well written and all but felt it was too limited as a subject and would not sell the way a book on a more popular subject like the Milwaukee Road would. Gervais then contacted Larry Plachno. I did not want to deal with him as I’d heard a great deal of negative things about him from Bill Shapotkin. Well we did end up driving all the way to Polo, Illinois only to have Plachno open the binder, look at a few pages and go, “Tsk, Tsk, Tsk! I have a problem with you people already” HUH? “All this quoting. Don’t you know a good historian never quotes. He paraphrases.” I politely took the binder, shut it, said, “Thank you for your time, Mr. Plachno. That may be your philosophy for writing books but it isn’t mine!” In the intro to the new book I address that. I don’t believe in paraphrasing because that puts my interpretation on what was said. I quote and I let my readers decide how to interpret what was said. 

So in terms of a publisher I don’t have one and I’ve no idea of who I could give it to. I’m not looking to make money from this. The Maeder family designated me “Keeper of the Flame” where Speedrail is concerned. They entrusted what Jay left behind because they feel I would know best how to make use of it. I take that both as a compliment and a responsibility to preserve this history. That is my goal, here. Norm Carlson is a perfect example of someone who understands that. I have worked with him quite a few times and enjoyed it. He’s a professional and “First & Fastest” is the high quality publication it is because of his dedication. Browsing thru your site I see much the same thing, David. You obviously have a real feel for preserving this history and those are the type of people I like to work with. I really enjoy the Trolley Dodger site.

The Speedrail book was written as a way to promote TMER&THS Inc. I quit the group 14 years ago so this book has absolutely no connection to them or any other group. I am a member of Shore Line. Norm has been very gracious in publishing my articles. I’m also writing for “Landmark,” the publication of the Waukesha County Historical Society. My goal is to leave behind a historical record so that someday someone can come along and view this history. 

I saw your comment that maybe if things had been just a little different Speedrail might still be around today. Actually, David, sad to say, Speedrail was dead before it began. The following chapters from my book and  a page from a city of Milwaukee subcommittee in March, 1945 will show you what Milwaukee thought of the Rapid Transit. Once the city caught what I call “expressway fever” and they decided the Rapid Transit line west from downtown was the place for the East-West Freeway they stopped at nothing to get it. Maeder owned the track, overhead wire, cars and bridges but not the land on which those tracks sat. That remained Wisconsin Electric Power Co. property. Shaker Heights did not have that problem. Maeder wrongly assumed that Milwaukee would rally to support his efforts to save the Rapid Transit as happened in Shaker Heights. It was the Waukesha riders who rallied to support it. Milwaukee could’ve card less except for Mayor Zeidler, of course. More to follow soon.

The photo I sent you earlier today which shows a guy up on a stage addressing a crowd of people goes with the chapter”The First Public Pledge Meeting.” The date is 6-27-51. The place was Kuney’s dance hall in the Town of Calhoun. I think the man on stage is Edwin Knappe but am not sure. You’ll read about him and the Calhoun Farms Riders Group in the chapter about them. Kuney’s is still there today if you think I should put in a present day picture. There’s nothing special about it. Calhoun Farms was to the north and west of the Calhoun Road stop on the Waukesha line. There’s a historical marker which explains about it and the area of Calhoun which is east of Waukesha. It even mentions the Rapid Transit. I have pictures of that too.

One of the people you’ll see quoted in the Speedrail section fairly often is former Speedrail motorman Don Leistikow. I’d say that at least 50% of what I learned about Speedrail over the years came from Don. I’m attaching his famous “Skunk” story. I think you” get a laugh out of it. Don was quite a story teller. He passed away a couple of years ago at the age of 85 and is sorely missed.

While I never actually met Don L. Leistikow, I did correspond with him a bit, and I almost met him once.  I went out to East Troy onetime and took some pictures, and after I posted them to the web, someone identified him in one of the pictures.  What a nice man.

Larry:

NSL fans may be interested to know that after being vacant for the last 47 years the site of the North Shore’s Harrison St. shops at S. 5th St. and W. Harrison Ave. (remember NSL called it “street” but Harrison is actually an avenue) is finally being redeveloped. Sadly, not for traction purposes. A private charter school whose name I can’t remember is building on the property all the way to where it dead-ends above the KK River and Cleveland Ave. and extending west on Harrison Ave. to the southeast corner of S. 6th St. It’s a huge, multi-story facility. Back in 2005 when I visited the site of the shops with Norm Carlson of the Shore Line interurban Historical Society and Walter Keevil of CERA I noticed that the city of Milwaukee had paved S. 5th St. from the point where the private right-of-way began on the south side of the street all the way to the fence and concrete barrier that mark where the NSL’s bridge over the river began. Let’s face it. Vacant lots do not generate property tax revenue. The dilapidated shops building stood until about 1970. I remember a Milwaukee Journal editorial cartoon and article in 1968 urging its demolition because it presented a bad image of Milwaukee to drivers coming in (northbound) on I-94 which sits below the east end of the property. The school is supposed to open for the fall 2018-2019 semester next year.

I’m sure most NSL fans don’t know this. After the 6th and Michigan station in downtown Milwaukee was razed in May or June of 1964 somebody came up with the ideas of building a tourist tower on the south end of the property at about the point where NSL trains entered and left the elevated platforms that were attached to the south end of the terminal. Here is an artists rendering of what it was going to look like from the Milwaukee Journal of 11-22-64. Of course it ever happened. What did happen was this. In the summer of 1965 the church whose denomination I have forgotten that was on the north side of Wisconsin Ave. between N. 10th & N. 11th Sts. was being forced to move. The entire block on both sides of the street was disappearing, literally. The I-43 freeway was and does cross beneath the “Avenue” at this point. So the church spent almost $2 million to buy the entire 4 square blocks where the NSL station had stood. That encompassed W. Michigan St. on the north. W. Clybourn St. on the south. N. 5th St. on the east and N. 6th St. on the west. The plan was to build the church and some sort of shopping area around it. I say the “plan” because that too never happened. I remember a wooden sign erected on the station site facing W. Michigan St. that said, “Future home of…” and it named the congregation. For the next 33 years the property sat vacant. Then in 1998 Time Insurance Co. which had been located on the corner of N. 5th St. and W. Wells St. downtown built their new corporate headquarters on the site. A check of the Milwaukee city directory shows the building there as of 1998. The Wells St. building was sold to make way for Milwaukee’s first downtown convention center which was called “MECCA – the Milwaukee Exposition Convention Center and Arena.” It was judged as the boxiest and ugliest building ever built in Milwaukee and it too fell to the wrecking ball when the new, and very underused, downtown convention center was constructed along Wisconsin Ave. between N. 4th & N. 6th Sts. Why the church was never built and how Time Insurance acquired the property (sale, foreclosure??) is something I have been unable to find out. The congregation disappears from the Milwaukee city directory in 1966. Perhaps they moved to one of the suburbs or merged with another congregation. If any of the NSL fans know I’d be very interested in the details. Time Insurance has since been thru all kinds of mergers and the building now says Securant Insurance.

In the summer of 1971 I went to the site of Ryan Tower on the abandoned NSL r.o.w. I didn’t drive back then so it meant to very lengthy bus rides from my home on Milwaukee’s northwest side. and a long walk up Ryan Rd. from the end of the Rt. 66 bus line. I knew I was at the right spot when I got to the crossing with the C&NW’s new line. And that was the only way I knew. The NSL was gone with nary a trace. I had to walk a block or so north before I came across the abandoned NSL r.o.w. As I continued north there much to my surprise was the NSL’s Carrollville substation still standing 8 years after the abandonment. I took this picture of it on 8-17-71 using a Polaroid camera I’d gotten for Christmas the previous year. My ANSCO 8-shot box camera took better pictures than that Polaroid! And then you always had the chore of having to spread this smelly fixer on the photo to keep it from curling up. So please forgive the quality of the pictures.

Larry’s Human Interest Stories

I’ll be glad to write this. There are four of them, all involving people who had they been where they had planned to be might not have lived another day.

What I have found in the 52 years I have been studying and researching the Rapid Transit and Speedrail is that fate and coincidence seem to play a major role. For example, take how I got to know Jane Maeder Walsh, Jay’s daughter. In 1991 when the Speedrail book came out she had a daughter who was a student at Carroll College (now University) in Waukesha. Jane was living in Atlanta at the time but decided to come to Waukesha for a visit. While there she decided to go to the Waukesha Public Library and see what she could find out about “the railroad that my father owned.” At first, all the librarian was able to find was a folder containing a few newspaper clippings from the Waukesha Freeman, Waukesha’s daily newspaper. Then she remembered that the library had just received a new book about Speedrail. She gave it to Jane to browse through there since she obviously would not be able to borrow it.

A short time later, on a Saturday morning my phone rang. The lady on the other end asked if I was the person who wrote the Speedrail book. I said I was. She said, “My name is Jane Walsh. I know that name doesn’t mean anything to you until I tell you my maiden name. It is Maeder and Jay Maeder was my father.” I kind of held my breath for a second thinking the next thing I’d hear was that she didn’t like the things Tennyson said about her father and she was going to sue me. Quite to the contrary she wanted to know where she could go to buy copies of the book. I put her in touch with one of the local hobby shops that I knew was carrying it and she bought half a dozen copies for her family. I didn’t hear from her for quite a while after that until the day she and her brother discovered a box of material relating to Speedrail, long forgotten, left behind by her father. She said that she and her brother had no interest in it and asked if I would want it? Are you kidding? Over the course of the next few years they found other boxes of things. She e-mailed Jay Jr. and asked if he wanted it. He replied, “Are we still in touch with that Sakar guy?” Jane said she had talked to me about it and I’d said I wanted it if her brother didn’t. Jay Jr. then replied, “Let’s face it… neither you nor I will ever make anything out of this stuff. I say, let’s make him keeper of the flame. Larry will know what to do with it.” That was a great honor that they had confidence that I could make use of the material.

We still keep in touch by e-mail from time to time. My friend and colleague Chris Barney and I paid to have copies made of that picture of her father walking alongside car 60 flagging it on the inaugural Speedrail fan trip of 10-16-49. We sent them to her and she was thrilled. It’s the only picture she has of her father with “his railroad.”

You might remember that on the 9-2-50 the motorman of the 1192-93 heavy duplex that collided with Maeder’s train (39-40) was LeRoy Equitz. In the fall of 1971, I got a job as a student library aide at the main library in downtown Milwaukee. One night I was sitting in the lunchroom on break with a brother and sister who also worked there. Terry, the brother struck up a conversation with me. “We hear you like trains.” I said, “Well yes. I do like trains but my main interest is streetcars and interurbans.” They had no clue as to what either of those were. Terry said, “Our uncle was a train engineer.” I said, Oh really, where?” He said, “Right here in Milwaukee.” I asked which railroad he worked for, thinking it had to be either the Milwaukee Road or the C&NW. Terry said neither one sounded like the one their uncle had mentioned. I asked when he worked as an engineer and he said, “In the ’50’s.” Then he continued. “Our uncle was involved in an accident and ended up losing a foot because of it.” Suddenly, my curiosity was on high, so to speak.” So I said, “This accident. Could it have been in 1950 itself?” Terry said, “Come to think of it, yes. He did say 1950.” So I continued, “And this accident, could it possibly have been on Labor Day weekend in 1950?” BINGO! He said that it was. That’s when I said, “Don’t tell me your uncle’s name. Let me guess it. Is it LeRoy Equitz?” The brother and sister sat there for a second in amazement. “Yes. How on earth did you know that?” Of course I explained about Speedrail and told them which newspaper and dates to look at if they wanted more information. As I recall, LeRoy was still living but he had moved away some years earlier. I don’t recall to where so I never had an opportunity to talk to him.

You ask yourself what were the odds that I’d end up working with the niece and nephew of LeRoy Equitz. And I have found that to be the case so often in this hobby. So call it fate, destiny, coincidence. There are times when you can’t help but feel this was meant to be.

Thanks for taking the time to write this and your other reminiscences. I’d like to share these with my readers.

Naturally, I won’t use any of the material you sent me from your upcoming book, but is there anything else that you would not want me to run in my blog?

Larry:

Please feel free to use any of the material I’ve sent you for the Trolley Dodger. Anything and everything I write is for the enjoyment and/or information of others. What’s the point of keeping what I’ve learned over the years to myself? That benefits no one!

I saw the piece in The Trolley Dodger on the late Maury Klebolt. From 1983 to 1987 I went out to SFO every September for the Historic Market Street streetcar festival. I used to see Maury at the Market and Duboce storage facility below the former San Francisco mint. He was very involved with that Market Street Railway group. I seem to recall that he acquired a couple of streetcars for them. I wasn’t acquainted with him but had stories about his fan trips from the late Jack Gervais who apparently knew him. Bill Shapotkin also told me some stories about him.

By the way I kind of chuckle every time I see a Joe L. Diaz photo of a CSL “Sedan”. My good friend Dave Stanley knew Joe very well, along with a number of other well-known Chicago fans like the late Bob Gibson. I met both Dave and Bill Shapotkin in 1986. Both Dave and Bill told me Joe would have a fit when someone called those cars “Sedans.” It would provoke an “Ooh, they weren’t called that” response. I knew him by sight but I didn’t actually know him as such. I remember seeing him at CERA meetings in the back of the room selling books. That was back in the days when CERA met at the old Midland Hotel. I believe that’s now called the Blackhawk Hotel. I was a CERA member in the ’90’s but didn’t keep up my membership. Going to meetings meant having to drive to either Kenosha and take METRA which also meant leaving the meeting early to catch the 9:00pm train back to Kenosha and then an 11:00pm one hour drive back to Milwaukee. I never cared for night driving. Then in 2009 I lost all of the sight in my left eye as a result of diabetic retinopathy, which I didn’t know I had until it was too late. Since then I have been advised not to drive at night or on the highway or expressway. I no longer have the necessary depth perception and bright light, especially headlights coming at me blind me. Amtrak experimented with a late night (first 11:00pm then changed to 10:30pm) train to Milwaukee but they never promoted it so the ridership never materialized. Now the last train to Milwaukee leaves Chicago at 8:45pm.

I knew a lot of really nice guys in Chicago all of whom I have not seen nor spoken with in at least 15 years. Bruce Moffat and Ray DeGroote are two who come to mind. I always called Ray the Rick Steeves of the traction world. In any Ray DeGroote program you could always count on a money lesson, a geography lesson and a culture lesson. When I was the program director for TMER&THS from 1989 to 1995, I used to refer to Ray as “our world traveler”. The last time I saw Bruce was on a CERA fan trip on METRA Electric in the ’90’s. Bill Shapotkin was the trip director. At the first photo stop GK wanted a photo with the other car host and myself. Bruce took the picture but to this day I’ve never seen it.

I haven’t seen all of the issues of The Trolley Dodger but here are some Milwaukee streetcar photos from my collection that I think readers might enjoy.

Every now and then you get a photo that really has you stumped trying to figure out where it was taken. That’s what happened with this photo given to me by Bob Genack. I saw the RT 35 Route sign and stupidly assumed this had to be somewhere on the 35th Street route. But what really threw me a curve was the “35th St.” sign in the destination sign box below the big roof Route sign. If this was a northbound car it should have said “Burleigh,” and if southbound “St. Paul”. After puzzling over it I looked it over with a magnifying glass to see if I could detect any business names. And there in the left background was the solution. This is a time exposure so it’s a “ghosted” image. But if you look closely you will see a TM heavy duplex. OK. Now I see what this was all about. This is a TM posed, company photo. The 943 isn’t on 35th St. It’s on Michigan Street. You can’t see it but the Public Service Building is just out of the right hand side of the picture. The duplex is inbound from Sheboygan on N. 3rd St. It will turn left onto Michigan St. go one block east and then turn right onto N. 2nd St. to enter the PSB terminal. Those aren’t passengers standing waiting for the streetcar. They are TM company employees posing for the picture. The 943 looks brand new so I’m thinking this was taken in about 1928 or 1929. OK TM, you fooled me.

Streetcar advertising was a frequent occurrence on TM. But unlike the buses of today where the advertising is put on mylar sheets and then attached to the bus with a heat gun, and it is simply peeled off when the time is up, in streetcar days the car was actually repainted. Here’s one of the all-time classic examples of a repainted Milwaukee streetcar that is from the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. days. M&STC bought TMER&T at the end of 1952 and took over operation of the system on Jan. 1, 1953. They continued to use “The Transport Company” as their shortened name. M&STC lasted until July, 1975 when Milwaukee finally municipalized its transit system when M&STC was purchased by Milwaukee County. That is when the present-day Milwaukee County Transit System was born. But the “Transport Company” name had become so ingrained in the minds of Milwaukeeans that many continued to call it “The Transport Company” for quite some time after the county took over. Now everyone refers to it as MCTS.

Anyway, in 1955, car 943 was chosen to be repainted with a “safety message” from the Milwaukee Safety Commission. Isn’t it a bit ironic that the car advertising safety was involved in an accident downtown at 4th and Wells Streets in a collision with a city garbage truck? I guess the car didn’t heed its own message! The close-up b&w shot was taken at the Farwell Ave. terminal where Rt. 10 streetcars and Rt. 21-North Ave. trolleybuses laid over. The trolley bus service on Rt. 21 North Ave. lasted until 1961 or 1962 when it was converted to diesel bus operation using the new 1500 series GM new look fishbowl buses M&STC had purchased for that purpose. A portion of Rt. 10 east of Jackson & Wells Sts. downtown was eventually abandoned and most of the route from Jackson & Wells Strees east covered by Rt. 30 Sherman Blvd. buses.

Next up are 2 beautiful color photos of 943 in its “safety commission” paint job taken by Don Ross (Don’s Rail Photos. In the close-up shot, the car is on a fan trip at S. 81st St. and W. Greenfield Ave. which was Route 18-National Ave. That line ended at S. 92nd St. & W. Lapham Ave. Before West Junction was rebuilt Rt. 10 cars ran all the way out there via the private right-of-way which continued all the way out there. Prior to the construction of the Milwaukee Rapid Transit Line between 1925 & 1930, interurbans also used that r.o.w. Today the r.o.w. is still there going west from 92nd & Lapham and is used by We Energies vehicles to get to West Jct. so that the power lines can be serviced. In the second, more distant photo 943 is crossing W. Wisconsin Ave. on the p.r.o.w. that paralleled N. 52nd St. from Wells to the entrance to the Calvary Cemetery cut, later the stop for Milwaukee County Stadium from 1953 to 1957. Streetcars were gone by the opening of the baseball season in 1958.

The TM 900-series streetcars were an updated version of the 800-series built in 1920. The earliest 900’s were identical to the 800’s in all respects except one. The center motorman’s window on an 800 is narrower than on a 900. Other than that there was little if any difference. But by the time the group of cars from 976 seen here at Cold Spring shops to 985 were built, the interiors now had leather seats vs. rattan for all previous cars, and this group of 10 was unique in that they had that sort of visor/sun shield over the center window. One car in this group survives today. Car 978 was saved by former Milwaukeean Al Buetschle on behalf of the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club. They wanted a streetcar for outdoor display in Hart Park which is just to the east of the Wauwatosa end of the No. 10 line at Harwood Ave. and State Streets. Al loved the cars with the front visor and that is why he chose the 978. The car is now the property of the East Troy Electric RR and is currently undergoing an extensive rehabilitation. There is a very involved history of how the car was acquired and what happened to it over the years which I wrote for a fan publication in 1998. Al now lives in Oakley, Ca. a city in Contra Costa, County 60 miles northeast of San Francisco.

As I mentioned the 800’s had a narrower center window than the 900’s. You can see that in this photo of car 870 at the end of Rt. 40 at Kinnickinnic & St. Francis Aves. in St. Francis. The area doesn’t look much different today save for the absence of the streetcar. St. Francis is a suburb of Milwaukee on the southeast side.

Here’s a second shot of an 800 seen at the end of Rt. 11 at Howell & Howard Aves. probably in the 1950’s. Rt. 11 was converted to bus operation in 1956 and was Milwaukee’s second to last streetcar line.

At the start I mentioned “mystery” photos, and to close out here is one such example. I know where this is and I think this is probably in the 20’s or 30’s. What I can’t figure out is what a 600 series car (at least that’s what it looks like with that roof destination sign in the middle) is doing on Rt. 12 – 12th St. or why the destination sign says Center. Center is Center St. which was home to the Rt. 22 streetcar line. Rts. 21 & 22 were some of the earliest conversions from streetcar to trackless trolley. I question the destination because Rt. 12 cars usually operated all the way to 27th & Hopkins Streets. In the late 1920’s a transfer station was constructed here. It was a smaller version of the one at Farwell & North Aves. When Rt. 12 was converted to diesel bus operation the building was torn down and became a parking lot for the nearby A.O. Smith Corp. At last report the streetcar tracks are still in the pavement.

Thanks so much for this and your other recent messages. You have given me plenty of material to work with here. I am sure our readers, especially those in the Milwaukee area, will love reading this.

Who knows, it might even help you find a publisher!

This excerpt from a 1945 Milwaukee freeway report shows how even then, planners intended to take the Rapid Transit Line right-of-way for highway use.  The bottom photo, of course, was a composite.

This excerpt from a 1945 Milwaukee freeway report shows how even then, planners intended to take the Rapid Transit Line right-of-way for highway use.The bottom photo, of course, was a composite.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified this photo. Here, M&DSTC car 943 is going eastbound on the famous Wells Street trolley viaduct on a 1955 fantrip.

An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified this photo. Here, M&DSTC car 943 is going eastbound on the famous Wells Street trolley viaduct on a 1955 fantrip.

Book Review:

The Street Railways of Grand Rapids
By Carl Bajema and Tom Maas
Bulletin 148 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association*
Hardcover with dust jacket, 304 pages

The authors present a fascinating and very thorough account of street railway service in Grand Rapids, Michigan, covering the years up to 1935, when the system was abandoned in favor of buses. There was quite a variety of service in the area, including horse cars, cable cars, steam dummies, streetcars of various types, and interurbans connecting to other cities such as Holland. The authors coverall these ably and thoroughly.

This book has just been issued in a very limited edition, and chances are it will not be reprinted once the first edition has sold out, which I am sure it will. CERA Bulletins have a well-deserved reputation for excellence, and this book does not disappoint.

Having had a few discussions about this book with Mr. Bajema myself, when it was in its early stages, I can attest that it presented a considerable challenge. After all, Grand Rapids streetcar service ended in 1935, and anyone old enough to have ridden one, and remember it, would be close to 90 years old by now.

Color photography was still in its infancy in 1935. Fortunately, there are ways to add color to such a book, including color postcards, yellowed newspaper clippings, and maps. All these are present in abundance.

Another challenge is the lack of corporate records for the operator. And then, there is the matter of a roster, which is pretty much de rigueur for a book such as this.

Complicating matters, the Grand Rapids system used names for their cars instead of numbers, which makes it very difficult to put forward a complete roster.

The names of all such cars as of 1927 are given. Interestingly, though, the one Grand Rapids photo we have posted on this blog is not included in the book. It shows the F. W. Wurtzburg, named after a local department store. Since this photo probably dates to the 1930s, perhaps the name was applied after 1927.

This book should interest anyone who likes streetcars in general, or lives in Michigan in particular. It is available from the publisher. At 304 pages, it is also somewhat larger than the typical 224-page CERA length.

The general approach the authors have taken here could also be applied to other subjects of a similar vintage, such as the Chicago, Ottawa and Peoria, an Illinois interurban which quit in 1934.

It is somewhat ironic that Grand Rapids was at the forefront of innovation in the 1920s, but just a decade later, was also among the first cities of its size to completely replace streetcars with buses.  But there is a connection– the need to innovate was born out of necessity.

Read the book, and you’ll find out why.

-David Sadowski

The "F. W. Wurtzburg," built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

The “F. W. Wurtzburg,” built by St. Louis Car Company in 1926. This type of lightweight city car helped the Grand Rapids Railroad win the prestigious Coffin Medal in 1926. (James B. M. Johnson Photo)

*Please note that The Trolley Dodger is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

Product Review

This picture shows the lightbox with the light turned off.

This picture shows the lightbox with the light turned off.

Tracing Light box Dbmier A4S USB Powered Light Pad Artcraft Tracing LED Light Board for Drawing, Tracing, Sketching, Animation Active Area 8.27″ X 12.20″

Here is a new product that should interest anyone who works with photographic negatives or transparencies. It is a modern version of a lightbox, using LED technology. It is powered by a USB cord that can connect to a computer. I expect you can get an adapter that will allow you to use AC power. Otherwise, you would be limited to using it in the vicinity of your computer.

In years past, there have been various lightboxes on the market. Some had conventional light bulbs, and others used florescent lighting. All were somewhat problematic and all were also bulkier than this ultra-thin model, which has three levels of brightness and puts out white light (which many of the older lightboxes did not).

The old type lightboxes also put out a lot of heat, which this one does not.  It’s a 21st century solution to a 20th century problem, but better late than never!

It is available for a very attractive price. I highly recommend it, and gain nothing financially if anyone does buy one. I only wish a product like this had been available 30 years ago.

-David Sadowski

Recent Correspondence

Bruce Fastow writes:

Perhaps you can guide me. I own a Johnson fare box similar to the one attached. Can you tell me how I can take the top off so I can clean out the hopper? My kids put paper in the unit.

 

Chances are, one of our readers knows the answer and can help, thanks.

Pre-Order Our New Book 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.)

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 221 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 189th 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 305,000 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.

Badgered

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 30 was built in 1926 by Pullman, and retired in the early 1980s. It, and several of its sister cars, are an important part of East Troy's fleet.

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 30 was built in 1926 by Pullman, and retired in the early 1980s. It, and several of its sister cars, are an important part of East Troy’s fleet.

There’s plenty of traction action going on nowadays in Wisconsin, the Badger State. We just spent an eventful weekend checking it out.

On Friday, we stopped by Kenosha for a ride on their two-mile streetcar loop. 4616, the Cincinnati tribute car, was out on the line that day.

On Saturday, I spent some time in Milwaukee, where track construction on Phase 1 of their new modern streetcar line is well underway. A few blocks of track are already in place on St. Paul Street.

The 2.5 mile-long line begins near the Milwaukee Intermodal Station (Amtrak), and heads east into the historic Third Ward. It will cross the Milwaukee River, but as of this writing no work has been done to add tracks to the existing bridge on St. Paul.

From the Third Ward, home of the Milwaukee Public Market, the line heads north into the Lower East Side, via two one-way routes, before turning north and east to its initial terminus at Burns Commons.

Here is a map showing the planned lines. Cars will be stored underneath nearby highway 94.

This is the first time I have seen new streetcar construction. I’m used to seeing decades-old tracks, long buried under asphalt, being torn out. The idea that this line will be completed sometime within the next two years is an exciting prospect.

Here is a recently discovered video, showing the final day of service on Route 10, Milwaukee’s last streetcar line, on March 1, 1958:

On Sunday, we headed out to the East Troy Electric Railroad, to ride on the last remaining original interurban trackage in Wisconsin.

South Shore Line car 30, which is one that was never lengthened and modernized, was out that day, as was Twin cities Rapid Transit 1583. The two 4000s are out of service and being worked on, as are the two Milwaukee cars.

We rode 1583 last year (see our previous post Badger Traction, 2016).

This was our first time riding a South Shore Line car at East Troy, and they seem to do quite well there. The South Shore cars, which were capable of high speeds, used 1500 volt DC current on their home tracks, but now have to make do with just 600. This is not a problem, as top speed on this demonstration railroad is about 15-20 mph.

The South Shore cars are wider than the line was designed for, which means tighter clearances with the line poles. If you do travel there, be sure not to stick anything out the windows.

While tourist trolleys and railroad museums are important and deserve your support, I for one will be glad when Wisconsonites will be able to use a streetcar for its original intended purpose, which is to get from one place to another.

-David Sadowski

Don's Rail Photos: "4616 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1950, #1674, and completed by Canadian Car & Foundry in 1951, #1912, as TTC 4515, Class A8. It was rebuilt in 1991 as 4616, Class A15. It was sold to Vintage Electric Streetcar Co in 1996 and sold to KTL as 4616. It was painted in a Cincinnati Street Ry scheme."

Don’s Rail Photos: “4616 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1950, #1674, and completed by Canadian Car & Foundry in 1951, #1912, as TTC 4515, Class A8. It was rebuilt in 1991 as 4616, Class A15. It was sold to Vintage Electric Streetcar Co in 1996 and sold to KTL as 4616. It was painted in a Cincinnati Street Ry scheme.”

At left, the Milwaukee Intermodal Station.

At left, the Milwaukee Intermodal Station.

This was originally a smoking compartment.

This was originally a smoking compartment.

Car 30 still has its original mahogany wood, unlike the South Shore cars that were lengthened and modernized in the 1940s.

Car 30 still has its original mahogany wood, unlike the South Shore cars that were lengthened and modernized in the 1940s.

Recent Finds

This August marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston. This picture of MBTA 3295 was taken on Beacon Street on August 31, 1967, and shows the PCCs just as I remember them from that time. (Frederick F. Marder Photo)

This August marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston. This picture of MBTA 3295 was taken on Beacon Street on August 31, 1967, and shows the PCCs just as I remember them from that time. (Frederick F. Marder Photo)

Chicago Missouri & Western GP 40 3025, as it looked on September 5, 1987. If the CM&W logo looks surprisingly familiar, that's because it was copied from the CA&E. All of which should be no surprise, as the Venango River folks, who owned the South shore Line at that time, were involved. In fact, it was taking on this railroad that proved their undoing. (Bruno Berzins Photo)

Chicago Missouri & Western GP 40 3025, as it looked on September 5, 1987. If the CM&W logo looks surprisingly familiar, that’s because it was copied from the CA&E. All of which should be no surprise, as the Venango River folks, who owned the South shore Line at that time, were involved. In fact, it was taking on this railroad that proved their undoing. (Bruno Berzins Photo)

Here is a very interesting streetscape. It shows one of the old Third Avenue El stations in the Bowery, Manhattan in 1955, possibly after the line closed on May 12. Those two convertibles are Fords.

Here is a very interesting streetscape. It shows one of the old Third Avenue El stations in the Bowery, Manhattan in 1955, possibly after the line closed on May 12. Those two convertibles are Fords.

This is indeed a rare and historic photo. By comparison with a postcard view on Don Ross' web site, taken at exactly the same time, we can say with certainty that this shows Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria freight loco 25 pulling some coaches into Princeton, Illinois on July 31, 1908. This was the first CO&P train to this area.

This is indeed a rare and historic photo. By comparison with a postcard view on Don Ross’ web site, taken at exactly the same time, we can say with certainty that this shows Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria freight loco 25 pulling some coaches into Princeton, Illinois on July 31, 1908. This was the first CO&P train to this area.

Interior shots from long ago are fairly rare. This one shows Shaker Heights Rapid Transit PCC 42 in May 1967. Don's Rail Photos says, "42 was built by St. Louis Car in 1946, #1655, as SLPS 1767. It was sold as SHRT 42 in 1959 and converted to MU operation after purchase."

Interior shots from long ago are fairly rare. This one shows Shaker Heights Rapid Transit PCC 42 in May 1967. Don’s Rail Photos says, “42 was built by St. Louis Car in 1946, #1655, as SLPS 1767. It was sold as SHRT 42 in 1959 and converted to MU operation after purchase.”

Old-time railfanning was, unfortunately, often a series of "lasts." Here we see DC Transit 1101 at the Peace Monument in front of the Capitol building on January 27, 1962, the last day of service. Streetcars have since returned to Washington, D. C.

Old-time railfanning was, unfortunately, often a series of “lasts.” Here we see DC Transit 1101 at the Peace Monument in front of the Capitol building on January 27, 1962, the last day of service. Streetcars have since returned to Washington, D. C.

Here is a northbound five-car North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on December 30, 1951, with 706 at the rear.

Here is a northbound five-car North Shore Line train at Great Lakes on December 30, 1951, with 706 at the rear.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin woods 317 and 316 went to the end of the line on the Batavia branch on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip on October 16, 1955.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin woods 317 and 316 went to the end of the line on the Batavia branch on an Illini Railroad Club fantrip on October 16, 1955.

North Shore Line 733 is at Chicago Avenue on the "L" in June 1953.

North Shore Line 733 is at Chicago Avenue on the “L” in June 1953.

CA&E caboose 1001 at Wheaton, February 21, 1959. This was just prior to the end of freight service on the railroad. Passenger service ended on July 3, 1957, except for a few charters.

CA&E caboose 1001 at Wheaton, February 21, 1959. This was just prior to the end of freight service on the railroad. Passenger service ended on July 3, 1957, except for a few charters.

CTA trolley bus 9440, northbound on Lake Park at 56th, in October 1958. Trolley bus service ended on the 51st-55th route on June 21, 1959, exactly one year after the last Chicago streetcar ran. This was the beginning of a 14-year phase out of electric bus service.

CTA trolley bus 9440, northbound on Lake Park at 56th, in October 1958. Trolley bus service ended on the 51st-55th route on June 21, 1959, exactly one year after the last Chicago streetcar ran. This was the beginning of a 14-year phase out of electric bus service.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

The Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railway started operations with 8 motors and 2 trailers built by the Niles Car Company in 1902, and 16 motors and 5 trailers built by the John Stephenson Car Company, also in 1902. Here are images of the Stephenson cars except for: CA&E 32 (rebuilt to flat car 1936), CA&E 40 (retired 1911), CA&E 50 (no image found), CA&E 58 (burned 1911).

Thanks for the CA&E photos!

Great stuff, as always.

Jack replies:

My plan is to eventually provide you with as complete a photographic record of the CA&E roster that you may use as you see fit. As I find new images that are worthy of your wonderful site I will provide them to you. The latest group of the original Stephenson order is missing a few of the cars that either were off the roster early or were not photographed much. Car 38 is, of course, the only car that was converted to rectangular end windows so I created an image that highlights the windows.

Thanks for the last two posts of The Trolley Dodger; both of them present a huge amount of information, images, etc., of properties that disappeared many years ago but still live thanks to your continuing efforts!

Good job!!

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. The expected publication date is September 25th of this year. We will keep you advised as things progress.

street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 185th 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 293,000 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.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 3-27-2016

cop1923

Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria

Tim McGuire writes:

I’m attaching a photo of my grandfather, Arthur Defenbaugh from Streator, who was a conductor on the Streator to Ottawa branch, with his engineer, standing in front of their trolley. I don’t know when or where the picture was taken. We think it was Streator. I believe it was in the late 20’s as this is a metal trolley car. The trolley car number appears to be 18. I read on your website that you don’t have many operational era photos for the CO&P. I thought you would enjoy it.

If you have information about my grandfather or the other gentleman, please let me know.

 

Arthur Ingram Defenbaugh was born on October 6, 1881, and died in July 1972, aged 90. It appears he spent most of his working life as a farmer. His wife died in 1926 and it does not appear he ever remarried.

If any of our readers have additional information, please let us know, thanks.


Toronto Peter Witt Car 2766

Dave Barrett recently did some volunteer work on Toronto’s sole remaining Peter Witt streetcar (whiich is now 93 years old) at Hillcrest shops, to get the car ready for the annual Beaches Easter parade. He has generously shared his photos of car 2766 with us:

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CTA Kenwood, Stock Yards and Normal Park Shuttles

M. E. writes:

In this note I want to comment about photos of Indiana Ave. and Harvard Ave. in Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016).

You show the South Side L Indiana Ave. station in two pictures. I saw Andre Kristopans’ comment at the bottom, and I learned something from his comment: I had no idea the middle track west of the station was used for storing spare Stock Yards L cars. But I am sure Andre is correct.

The first photo shows a bigger scope. Let me start with the platform at the right.

Notice that the section of wood nearest the track looks newer than the wood under the cover. This is because the newer wood was constructed over the third track that went through the station. Yes, there were three tracks on the north / south main. The three tracks actually continued east of the station, then south on the north / south main to just north of the 43rd St. station, where the easternmost track merged into the middle track.

Also, prior to (I think) 1949, the Kenwood L did not end at Indiana Ave. Instead, it went downtown onto the Loop. I’m not sure where it went from the Loop — some sources say to Ravenswood, others say to Wilson. My own experience is that the Englewood ran to Ravenswood, and the Jackson Park ran to Howard, through the State St. subway. And I think the Kenwood ran to Wilson. There were several smaller stations north of Indiana that were serviced by the Kenwood L. The Englewood and Jackson Park were supposed to be express through that area but were frequently delayed by being behind Kenwood trains.

Back at the Indiana station, both the Kenwood trains and the Englewood / Jackson Park trains used the two outer tracks of the three-track main. South/east-bound Kenwood trains crossed over from the southernmost main track to the Kenwood L structure to head east.

Later, when the Kenwood was cut back to shuttle service from Indiana to 42nd Place, the wood was added to cover most of the north/westernmost outer main track, leaving (at the east end of the platform) the terminal for the Kenwood shuttle. As I recall, that space could accommodate two cars. When Kenwood cars needed service, they turned south onto the easternmost main track, merged into the northbound main near 43rd St., switched over to the southbound main, and made their way to the Jackson Park yards at 61st St. and lower 63rd St.

So the photo shows two main tracks through the station, which had been the middle and south/westernmost tracks of the three-track setup.

Regarding the platform at the left, you see that the Stock Yards L terminated on the south side of that platform. Its only connection to the rest of the L system was the set of switches west of the Indiana station.

The Indiana station had an overhead bridge connecting the two platforms, thus enabling north/west-bound customers to access the Stock Yards L, and south/east-bound customers to access the Kenwood shuttle.

Now, on to the picture showing the Normal Park L shuttle. I think it was in 1949 that the CTA relegated the Normal Park line to shuttle service. Before that, the Normal Park cars were hitched onto the rear of Englewood trains. So people riding the Englewood L southbound had to be alert that the last car would be split off and go to 69th and Normal. If someone was in the wrong car, he/she could move between cars, which is apparently taboo today.

The structures along the sides of the L track are where the connections were made and unmade. Workers were stationed there to do this. Yes, even in frigid weather. And with live third rails. OSHA would have had a fit. The motormen of northbound Normal Park trains rode the trains into the Harvard station, then down and under to the southbound platform, then onto the last car of incoming southbound trains.

You also see in the distance the switch tower where the Normal Park line branched off to the south.

When the Normal Park line became shuttle service, northbound trains went into the Harvard station. The motorman quickly changed ends, then immediately (so as not to delay northbound Englewood trains) proceeded to the switch over to the south/west-bound track. You can see this switch next to the bigger structure.

In the photo, I have no idea why the motorman of the Normal Park car is standing in the walkway between the tracks. Perhaps this picture was deliberately posed.

This photo was taken from the southwest end of the south/west-bound L platform at Harvard. The address on the food shop below is 6316 S. Harvard. Busy 63rd St. was just to the right, and a block south at 64th St. and Harvard Ave. was St. Bernard’s Hospital, which I believe is still there. Two blocks east of the Harvard L station was Englewood Union Station (New York Central, Nickel Plate, Pennsylvania, Rock Island), and three blocks west was the other Englewood train station (Erie, Monon, Wabash, Chicago and Eastern Illinois, Chicago and Western Indiana). Plus, there were several streetcar lines. All told, for a fan of anything on rails, it was nirvana.

 


Chicago or Copenhagen?

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I recently wrote to the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group about the above photo:

There’s a photo negative on eBay that is identified as showing a couple streetcars at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair. Yet I don’t recognize where this could have been taken there.

I know that Chicago Surface Lines had a couple of line extensions built to bring people to the fair, but was not aware of any trolleys on the grounds themselves.

Is the photo misidentified, and if so, what does it actually show? To me, it looks like it could have been taken in Europe.

Dennis McClendon wrote:

The famous Copenhagen church (Grundtvigskirke) just behind the trams might be a good clue.

 

Pardon my stupidity, but I assume you mean the famous Copenhagen church in Copenhagen, and not one that was moved, brick by brick, to the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair?

I wonder what it was about this picture that made the seller guess that it was taken in Chicago. For transit on the fair grounds themselves, I am pretty sure they used buses of a type similar to those used at the 1939-40 New York World’s Fair.

Dennis McClendon replied:

The Century of Progress grounds stretched for three miles along the lakefront, from Roosevelt to 39th. Greyhound got the concession for motorized transport within the fairgrounds, driving these open-air trailer conveyances along a portion of Leif Eriksen Drive that later was part of South Lake Shore Drive.

Within the exhibits area, where motorized vehicles weren’t allowed, you could ride in a pushchair, providing summer employment to dozens of high school and college students.

 

Cent of Progress buses

Similar buses (actually, they look more like trucks) were also used at the 1939-40 NY World’s Fair. As it tuns out, they were not the same vehicles. This is explained in an article from Hemmings Motor News.

Apparently, the Chicago buses used at the fair were one-offs made by General Motors.

There were at least two types of buses used at the New York World’s Fair, a “tractor train” and a more streamlined bus. Neither looks much like the ones used in Chicago. The streamlined buses were made by Yellow Coach.

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After the fair ended in 1940, some of the streamlined buses were used to transport WAACs.

After the fair ended in 1940, some of the streamlined buses were used to transport WAACs.

The question has been raised as to whether or not the Chicago buses were then sold to Bowen Motor Coach for use at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. You can see pictures of the Texas buses below, and there is also a quick view of them in a video clip here.

At this point, it’s not clear whether they were the same buses that were used in Chicago with a bit of new sheet metal attached, or simply similar buses built later by General Motors.

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A Greyhound Bus' tram drives in front of Chrysler motors Building at the Chicago World's Fair. (Photographer Unknown/www.bcpix.com)

A Greyhound Bus’ tram drives in front of Chrysler motors Building at the Chicago World’s Fair. (Photographer Unknown/www.bcpix.com)

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Buses purported to be those from the 1933-34 World's Fair, shown in Texas in 1939, where they were owned by the Bowen Bus Company.

Buses purported to be those from the 1933-34 World’s Fair, shown in Texas in 1939, where they were owned by the Bowen Bus Company.

A Bowen bus at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. (J. Elmore Hudson Photo)

A Bowen bus at the Texas Centennial Exposition in 1936. (J. Elmore Hudson Photo)

The west facade of Grundtvigskirken today. Photo by Hans Andersen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=266140

The west facade of Grundtvigskirken today. Photo by Hans AndersenOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=266140


FYI, we have added another Liberty Bell Limited photo to our recent post Alphabet Soup (March 15, 2016):

LVT 1006 heads from Norristown to Philadelphia over the P&W in June 1949.

LVT 1006 heads from Norristown to Philadelphia over the P&W in June 1949.


“Keeping Pace” – A Rare Chicago Surface Lines Recording

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We have a unique opportunity to buy a 16″ transcription disc made by the Chicago Surface Lines‘ public relations department in 1939. Chances are, this is a 30-minute radio program promoting CSL, most likely played a few times on local radio stations, and has been unheard since then. The script was written by Hollis Farley Peck (1909-1971).

For all we know, this recording may include the sounds of Chicago streetcars, which would be very rare.

It will not be easy to play this record due to the large (16″) size. Although this is a 33 1/3 rpm record, it used the same technology as the 78 rpm records of its time. The current LP system of vinyl records did not come about until 1948.

Such large recordings were necessary to provide a longer running time than a standard 78 rpm record, which could only last about 3:20. I assume that each side of this transcription disc has 15 minutes on it.

Once I have the record, I plan to consult with the Museum of Broadcast Communications here in Chicago. Possibly they may have the necessary equipment for playing it. If a successful recording can be made, we will digitally remaster it and issue it on a compact disc.

If MBC can help us, we may donate the original disc to the museum for their collection. After all, this is local history.

However, before we can do that, we first have to complete the purchase. If you can help contribute to the $60 cost of this rare recording, your donation will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

-David Sadowski


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 possible and are greatly appreciated.

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Specialized equipment is required to play a 16" transcription disc. This is one such turntable made by Esoteric Sound.

Specialized equipment is required to play a 16″ transcription disc. This is one such turntable made by Esoteric Sound.

A 1936 phonograph for playing transcription discs. This one played records from the inside out, with a maximum running time of one hour per side.

A 1936 phonograph for playing transcription discs. This one played records from the inside out, with a maximum running time of one hour per side.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 130th 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 141,000 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.


Alphabet Soup

LVT 1030 at Acorn Siding on August 19, 1951, less than a month before the Liberty Bell Limited interurban was abandoned.

LVT 1030 at Acorn Siding on August 19, 1951, less than a month before the Liberty Bell Limited interurban was abandoned.

Today, we take a bit of a spring break from our usual Chicago-area posts to head for other parts. In fact, we have a veritable alphabet soup of other properties to offer, with the most notable letters being LVT, DCT, and CO&P.

LVT

LVT stands for Lehigh Valley Transit, a Pennsylvania streetcar and interurban operator based out of Allentown. We have featured LVT photos on a couple of other occasions, and there are many great ones, LVT being one of the most well-documented transit networks of its time, the first half of the 20th century.

I would say that anyone who is a fan of the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee, the fabled North Shore Line, might very well like LVT’s Liberty Bell Limited too. They both operated at high speeds over long distances, but there were significant differences too. While the North Shore Line ran largely on flat Midwest plains, LVT had to contend with various hills and mountains, which presented numerous challenges.

LVT pulled off a very successful modernization between 1938 and 1941, which served them well during the difficult war years that followed. It’s a shame that they were only able to buy one of the Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds to go along with a dozen or so ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie “Red Devils.” The IR cars could be coupled together and sometimes ran as many as three in a train, which LVT could not do with the C&LE cars.

The C&LE interurban had no use for multiple unit operation, as they barely had enough power supply to run the cars one at a time. But LVT would have benefited from them, as during World War II it often had to run multiple cars closely following each other in order to meet demand. Since the Liberty Bell Limited was mainly single track with numerous passing sidings, this was an accident literally waiting to happen. Some bad accidents did take place, which signaled the beginning of the end for the storied interurban, which ceased running in September 1951.

In our post Ringing “The Bell” (December 7, 2015) we offered a glowing review of Central Electric Railfans’ Association bulletin 147, which is about the Liberty Bell interurban. If you have had any difficulty in obtaining a copy of this fine book, we are pleased to note that it is now back in stock and readily available from CERA. (Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.)

If you like these LVT photos, we posted more here back on December 14. Railfan and Railroad magazine also gave B-147 an excellent review in their March 2016 issue.

While few LVT cars were saved, 1030 is lovingly preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.

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Streetcars have finally returned to the streets of Washington, D. C. after an absence of 54 years. While this has surely been controversial, mainly because of some very protracted delays and testing that ran on for years, they are back and that is a good thing, since people in general like streetcars. They are increasingly seen as an urban development tool, and more often than not, new systems soon lead to line extensions.

However, it’s also good to remember the fine system that the District of Columbia once had. If we could only have kept much of what there was, we would probably be better off today. And this is a lesson that must be learned in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

So, we offer some fine photos of both DC Transit and its predecessor, Capital Transit. DC Transit wanted to keep running streetcars but was forced to abandon by Act of Congress.

Here also are some rare films of Capital Transit from the 1950s:

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Our last bit of “alphabet soup” is the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria, which never actually made it to Chicago, except via a connecting interurban. Once it lost this connection, it could not survive the Great Depression, and service went out in 1934.

Therefore, it should be no surprise that photos of the CO&P are extremely scarce and many of the pictures we do have are post-abandonment. The railfan movement was in its infancy in 1934.

The CO&P had another alphabet connection, and that is to the IT, or Illinois Terminal. It was a part of the Illinois Traction System, later reorganized as the Illinois Terminal Railroad, although its interurbans did not connect with the others owned by its parent. Some of its equipment did find later use on IT, however, including IT city streetcar 415, now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Here are four rare CO&P photos for your enjoyment.

-David Sadowski

PS- We have three new audio CD collections available for your listening pleasure. See more details at the end of this post.

The former Indiana Railroad car 55, newly transformed into LVT 1030, at 8th and St. John streets on September 17, 1941. This is the rear of the car. Presumably, it's making a backup move. The success of LVT's 1938-39 modernization program encouraged management to buy one more car, which became the jewel of the fleet. Note the rounded rear end as opposed to the squared-off ends of the similar ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie cars. The difference is that the IR lightweights could operate in multiple units, and hence needed more clearance for turning.

The former Indiana Railroad car 55, newly transformed into LVT 1030, at 8th and St. John streets on September 17, 1941. This is the rear of the car. Presumably, it’s making a backup move. The success of LVT’s 1938-39 modernization program encouraged management to buy one more car, which became the jewel of the fleet. Note the rounded rear end as opposed to the squared-off ends of the similar ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie cars. The difference is that the IR lightweights could operate in multiple units, and hence needed more clearance for turning.

LVT 1002 picks up some passengers on Washington Street on April 1, 1951. Note the dent on the front of the car.

LVT 1002 picks up some passengers on Washington Street on April 1, 1951. Note the dent on the front of the car.

Don's Rail Photos says, "1102 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as D&TRy 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months as 66 before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952." Here, LVT 1102 is shown on a flatcar at Riverside in late 1949 for its trip to Speedrail. This was a Cincinnati curved-side car, and had been used on LVT's "other" interurban, the Easton Limited, where these cars proved to be underpowered for the hilly terrain and had difficulty maintaining schedules kept by the cars they replaced.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “1102 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as D&TRy 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months as 66 before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952.” Here, LVT 1102 is shown on a flatcar at Riverside in late 1949 for its trip to Speedrail. This was a Cincinnati curved-side car, and had been used on LVT’s “other” interurban, the Easton Limited, where these cars proved to be underpowered for the hilly terrain and had difficulty maintaining schedules kept by the cars they replaced.

LVT 702 is "at speed" southbound at West Point in this wintry February 11, 1951 view.

LVT 702 is “at speed” southbound at West Point in this wintry February 11, 1951 view.

Either this April 1, 1951 picture of LVT 1020 was taken with a fisheye lens, or it demonstrates the kind of hilly terrain that LVT had to navigate through, unlike the Midwest interurbans. This broadside was taken at Jordan and Washington streets.

Either this April 1, 1951 picture of LVT 1020 was taken with a fisheye lens, or it demonstrates the kind of hilly terrain that LVT had to navigate through, unlike the Midwest interurbans. This broadside was taken at Jordan and Washington streets.

It's April 21, 1952, seven months after abandonment of the Liberty Bell interurban, and work cars #1 and 548 are in the scrap line at Bethlehem Steel on Daly Avenue. By this point, anything not needed for the city streetcars, which continued to run for another year, was being gotten rid of.

It’s April 21, 1952, seven months after abandonment of the Liberty Bell interurban, and work cars #1 and 548 are in the scrap line at Bethlehem Steel on Daly Avenue. By this point, anything not needed for the city streetcars, which continued to run for another year, was being gotten rid of.

LVT 702 passes one of the ex-C&LE lightweights in the 1000-series at Seller's Siding on February 11, 1951.

LVT 702 passes one of the ex-C&LE lightweights in the 1000-series at Seller’s Siding on February 11, 1951.

LVT 812 at Allentown in August, 1947. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

LVT 812 at Allentown in August, 1947. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

An interior view of newly renovated LVT 812, as it looked on November 11, 1939. It is a shame that this car was not saved.

An interior view of newly renovated LVT 812, as it looked on November 11, 1939. It is a shame that this car was not saved.

Most of the Liberty Bell route was single track with numerous passing sidings, such as this one, where 1020, on a fantrip, has to telephone in to the dispatcher and wait for instructions before proceeding. This type of operation, once so common among early interurbans, resulted in some terrible collisions over the years.

Most of the Liberty Bell route was single track with numerous passing sidings, such as this one, where 1020, on a fantrip, has to telephone in to the dispatcher and wait for instructions before proceeding. This type of operation, once so common among early interurbans, resulted in some terrible collisions over the years.

LVT 912, dressed in bunting at Fairview car barn for the last run of an Allentown streetcar, on June 7 1953.

LVT 912, dressed in bunting at Fairview car barn for the last run of an Allentown streetcar, on June 7 1953.

LVT express freight motor C-16 near 69th Street terminal in January 1951. Even though LVT stopped running passenger service over the Red Arrow in 1949, freight service continued over the line as it helped pay the bills.

LVT express freight motor C-16 near 69th Street terminal in January 1951. Even though LVT stopped running passenger service over the Red Arrow in 1949, freight service continued over the line as it helped pay the bills.

LVT freight motor C-17 approaches Norristown terminal on the Philadelphia and Western in January 1951. Although the Liberty Bell Limited cars stopped running on the P&W in 1949, freight operations continued right up to the time of the September 1951 abandonment.

LVT freight motor C-17 approaches Norristown terminal on the Philadelphia and Western in January 1951. Although the Liberty Bell Limited cars stopped running on the P&W in 1949, freight operations continued right up to the time of the September 1951 abandonment.

LVT 1006 heads from Norristown to Philadelphia over the P&W in June 1949.

LVT 1006 heads from Norristown to Philadelphia over the P&W in June 1949.

DC Transit 1101 in front of the Capitol Building on January 21, 1962, shortly before the end of streetcar service, for 54 years, anyway. Sderailway adds: "car 1101 (St. Louis Car 1937) heads west on Pennsylvania Ave. NW from the Navy Yard at 8th and M sts SE. The car has just passed the Peace Monument seen between the back of the car and the US Capitol Building."

DC Transit 1101 in front of the Capitol Building on January 21, 1962, shortly before the end of streetcar service, for 54 years, anyway. Sderailway adds: “car 1101 (St. Louis Car 1937) heads west on Pennsylvania Ave. NW from the Navy Yard at 8th and M sts SE. The car has just passed the Peace Monument seen between the back of the car and the US Capitol Building.”

DC Transit 1122 on Pennsylvania Avenue at 14th St. NW on March 2, 1956. Sderailway writes: "car 1122 is completing its turn from south on 14th to south east on Pennsylvania Ave. NW on its way to the rt. 54 terminal at the Navy Yard carbarn. The ornate beaux-arts Willard hotel (1901) looms in the background."

DC Transit 1122 on Pennsylvania Avenue at 14th St. NW on March 2, 1956. Sderailway writes: “car 1122 is completing its turn from south on 14th to south east on Pennsylvania Ave. NW on its way to the rt. 54 terminal at the Navy Yard carbarn. The ornate beaux-arts Willard hotel (1901) looms in the background.”

Capitol Transit 1051, a 1935 pre-PCC car, stops for photos on a 1950s fantrip. Looks like the young man in front of the car has just taken a picture of the passing PCC. That odd line on the front of 1051's front window appears to be some sort of windshield wiper. Sderailway adds: "car 1051 and 1587, St. Louis Car 1935 and 1945 respectively are operating on overhead most likely somewhere on the Maryland lines, Rts 80-82. Note the automatic trolley pole retriever device mounted on car 1578. Only a few cars in the system were fitted with this device. This device would be activated when the car was spotted over the plow-pit on an outbound trip and the pit-man would remove the conduit current-collecting plow* and the trolley pole would automatically be raised until the trolley-shoe nested onto the underside of a flat tapered pan that would self engage the shoe onto the overhead as the car moved forward. On the inbound trip a plow would be attached from the plow-pit and the trolley pole lowered by the retriever. * when operating under overhead the cars carried no conduit plow."

Capitol Transit 1051, a 1935 pre-PCC car, stops for photos on a 1950s fantrip. Looks like the young man in front of the car has just taken a picture of the passing PCC. That odd line on the front of 1051’s front window appears to be some sort of windshield wiper. Sderailway adds: “car 1051 and 1587, St. Louis Car 1935 and 1945 respectively are operating on overhead most likely somewhere on the Maryland lines, Rts 80-82. Note the automatic trolley pole retriever device mounted on car 1578. Only a few cars in the system were fitted with this device. This device would be activated when the car was spotted over the plow-pit on an outbound trip and the pit-man would remove the conduit current-collecting plow* and the trolley pole would automatically be raised until the trolley-shoe nested onto the underside of a flat tapered pan that would self engage the shoe onto the overhead as the car moved forward. On the inbound trip a plow would be attached from the plow-pit and the trolley pole lowered by the retriever. * when operating under overhead the cars carried no conduit plow.”

Before Marvel Comics had a "silver Surfer," DC Transit had their own superhero, the "Silver Sightseer," the first air-conditioned streetcar. While 1512 managed to survive the 1962 shutdown, it was later damaged in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum and scrapped.

Before Marvel Comics had a “silver Surfer,” DC Transit had their own superhero, the “Silver Sightseer,” the first air-conditioned streetcar. While 1512 managed to survive the 1962 shutdown, it was later damaged in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum and scrapped.

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The Silver Sightseer began running in 1957. Washington, D. C. can get very hot in the summer, and I am sure this car was a welcome relief.

The Silver Sightseer began running in 1957. Washington, D. C. can get very hot in the summer, and I am sure this car was a welcome relief.

CO&P city car 112 at the La Salle car barns.

CO&P city car 112 at the La Salle car barns.

CO&P express freight motor 1050 at the La Salle car barns in 1934. According to Don's Rail Photos, "1050 was built by St. Louis in 1905 for the Illinois Traction. On September 11, 1928, it went to Ottawa, It appears that it was not relettered before retirement in 1934."

CO&P express freight motor 1050 at the La Salle car barns in 1934. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “1050 was built by St. Louis in 1905 for the Illinois Traction. On September 11, 1928, it went to Ottawa, It appears that it was not relettered before retirement in 1934.”

CO&P freight motor 1523 at the Ottawa shops in 1934. This was a so-called "pull car" that was used as a locomotive.

CO&P freight motor 1523 at the Ottawa shops in 1934. This was a so-called “pull car” that was used as a locomotive.

CO&P car 57, the "Western Special," at the Ottawa Shops in 1934.

CO&P car 57, the “Western Special,” at the Ottawa Shops in 1934.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 127th 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 136,000 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 Records

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Red Arrow Lines 1967: Straffords and Bullets
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

This disc features rare, long out-of-print audio recordings of two 1967 round trips on the Philadelphia & Western (aka “Red Arrow Lines”) interurban between Philadelphia and Norristown, the famous third rail High-Speed Line. One trip is by a Strafford car and the other by one of the beloved streamlined Bullets. The line, about 13 miles long and still in operation today under SEPTA, bears many similarities to another former interurban line, the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”). As a bonus feature, we have included audio of an entire ride along that five mile route, which was once part of the North Shore Line.

Total time – 53:08


P1060550

AFR
Steam Sounds of America’s First Railroad
(Baltimore & Ohio)
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

This set represents the only professionally produced audio recordings of a large assortment of Baltimore and Ohio steam locomotives. Every type of steam power operated by the B&O in the 1950s is included. This release is for the serious railfan and railroad historian who want to accurately hear regular revenue steam motive power operations. No excursion or railfan trips have been included. All recordings are from 1952-1955.

Total time – 66:54


P1060549 P1060551

RRC #21 and SIC
Duluth and Northeastern
Steam in Colorado
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club #21:
The Duluth and Northeastern Railroad, as of 1961 when this recording was made, was an all steam short line operating from Cloquet to Saginaw, Minnesota, a distance of approximately 11.5 miles. Its primary industry was the Northwest Paper Company mill at Cloquet where it handled loads to and from the interchange at Saginaw with the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. It also connected with the N. P., G. N. and C. M. ST. P & P., at Cloquet. We hear from locomotives No. 27 (2-8-0) and 29 (0-8-0).

Record #SIC:
Steam in Colorado (1958) presents five great railroads, depicting the passing of an era. Roads represented are the Union Pacific, Burlington, Colorado & Southern, Rio Grande and Great Western. Steam in Colorado portrays the daily tasks of the “Iron Horse” in high country and each track has been carefully selected for the listener’s enjoyment. All aboard!

Total time – 61:55


Historic Chicago Buses, Part Three

CTA trolley bus 374 at Montrose and Narrangansett in 1948, "Another New CTA Bus." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CTA trolley bus 374 at Montrose and Narrangansett in 1948, “Another New CTA Bus.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

We generally don’t feature buses on this blog, since our main interest is in streetcars, light rail, and electric rail transit. But we do get requests to post more bus photos, and we are fortunate to have some excellent ones to show you today, thanks to the incredible generosity of George Trapp. Mr. Trapp has been collecting these type of pictures for nearly the last 50 years, and we thank him for sharing them with us. Some of these pictures also have streetcars in them.

To see additional photos he has already shared with us, just type “George Trapp” into the search window at the top of this page. Several other posts should come up.

For the streetcar fans, we have also included several additional trolley pictures from our own collections, featuring the Chicago & West Towns Railways, Illinois Terminal Railroad, and its subsidiary the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria.

As always, if you can help identify locations, or have interesting facts or reminiscences to add, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. You can leave comments on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski

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Bill Robb: "Chicago City Railway 430 is a 1938 ACF H-13-S. These units lasted unit 1953-55."

Bill Robb: “Chicago City Railway 430 is a 1938 ACF H-13-S. These units lasted unit 1953-55.”

CSL buses 6515 and 6407 at South Shops. The destinations signs on 6515 do not match. George Trapp: "CSL bus 6515 built by GM model TD-4506 built in 1946 is newly delivered and photo most likely taken by CSL."

CSL buses 6515 and 6407 at South Shops. The destinations signs on 6515 do not match. George Trapp: “CSL bus 6515 built by GM model TD-4506 built in 1946 is newly delivered and photo most likely taken by CSL.”

Bill Robb: "Chicago City Railways 402 is a 1934 ACF H-13-S."

Bill Robb: “Chicago City Railways 402 is a 1934 ACF H-13-S.”

Andre Kristopans: "The Diversey TB shot is eb at Kimball. Large building across street still there." Trolley bus service on Diversey ended in 1955 once the route was consolidated with former Chicago Motor Coach route 134. Ray Piesciuk: "The Diversey TB route was extended to Harlem (actually a wye at Neva) on 06/19/1932." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Andre Kristopans: “The Diversey TB shot is eb at Kimball. Large building across street still there.” Trolley bus service on Diversey ended in 1955 once the route was consolidated with former Chicago Motor Coach route 134. Ray Piesciuk: “The Diversey TB route was extended to Harlem (actually a wye at Neva) on 06/19/1932.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL bus 825, signed for Peterson. Bill Robb: "Calumet & South Chicago 825 is a 1939 White 805M which ran until a general purge of obsolete buses in 1949." Andre Kristopans: "Most likely turning from north on Catalpa to west on Hollywood. Loop at the time was Bryn Mawr-Catalpa-Hollywood-Broadway."

CSL bus 825, signed for Peterson. Bill Robb: “Calumet & South Chicago 825 is a 1939 White 805M which ran until a general purge of obsolete buses in 1949.” Andre Kristopans: “Most likely turning from north on Catalpa to west on Hollywood. Loop at the time was Bryn Mawr-Catalpa-Hollywood-Broadway.”

CSL bus 6520 on extension route 103A. The original version of this route operated between 1930 and 1941. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL bus 6520 on extension route 103A. The original version of this route operated between 1930 and 1941. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CTA trolley bus 465. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CTA trolley bus 465. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Another new trolley bus being delivered to Chicago by rail. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "New St. Louis trolley bus #411 on flatcar in a freight train in April of 1948 on Illinois Terminal, note catenary."

Another new trolley bus being delivered to Chicago by rail. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “New St. Louis trolley bus #411 on flatcar in a freight train in April of 1948 on Illinois Terminal, note catenary.”

CTA trolley buses 570 and 571 being delivered on Illinois Central flatcars.

CTA trolley buses 570 and 571 being delivered on Illinois Central flatcars.

North and Lamon was the approximate location of CTA North Avenue garage, so presumably that is where this picture of trolley bus 403 was taken. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: "St. Louis trolley bus 403 is next to Pullman-Standard trolley bus 344 built at Worcester plant. Both delivered in 1948, St. Louis unit in March-April, Pullman in Nov.-Dec."

North and Lamon was the approximate location of CTA North Avenue garage, so presumably that is where this picture of trolley bus 403 was taken. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) George Trapp: “St. Louis trolley bus 403 is next to Pullman-Standard trolley bus 344 built at Worcester plant. Both delivered in
1948, St. Louis unit in March-April, Pullman in Nov.-Dec.”

A St. Louis Car Company builder's photo of trolley bus 172. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

A St. Louis Car Company builder’s photo of trolley bus 172. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL had an open-air trolleybus yard at Central and Avondale, adjacent to the Chicago & North Western. The Kennedy expressway now occupies this location. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) Ray Piesciuk: "The open air TB yard at Central-Avondale shows two buses with poles that are not trolley buses. They are work motor buses BA-106 & BA-115 outfitted with sleet scraping poles." Another reader writes: "Note the "Marmon-Herrington" builder's plate on the front of the bus. When the buses were retired, there were no such builder's plates to be found under the advertising holders that had existed at that location for most of the lives of the coaches. "

CSL had an open-air trolleybus yard at Central and Avondale, adjacent to the Chicago & North Western. The Kennedy expressway now occupies this location. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo) Ray Piesciuk: “The open air TB yard at Central-Avondale shows two buses with poles that are not trolley buses. They are work motor buses BA-106 & BA-115 outfitted with sleet scraping poles.”
Another reader writes: “Note the “Marmon-Herrington” builder’s plate on the front of the bus. When the buses were retired, there were no such builder’s plates to be found under the advertising holders that had existed at that location for most of the lives of the coaches. “

Another view of the old Central and Avondale yard. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Another view of the old Central and Avondale yard. (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Here is a 1940s map of the area around Central and Avondale on Chicago's northwest side, where the Surface Lines had a temporary open-air trolley bus yard parallel to the Chicago & North Western starting in 1943. It was replaced by the Forest Glen garage in 1955. This area is now occupied by the Kennedy expressway.

Here is a 1940s map of the area around Central and Avondale on Chicago’s northwest side, where the Surface Lines had a temporary open-air trolley bus yard parallel to the Chicago & North Western starting in 1943. It was replaced by the Forest Glen garage in 1955. This area is now occupied by the Kennedy expressway.

George Trapp: "CSL #3226 is at South end of South Damen streetcar line, bus 6805 is on the shuttle bus extension to 87th Street." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

George Trapp: “CSL #3226 is at South end of South Damen streetcar line, bus 6805 is on the shuttle bus extension to 87th Street.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

CSL 6153 on a charter, eastbound at Washington and State. Meanwhile, a suburban bus bound for the Brookfield Zoo approaches. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) Andre Kristopans: "The Brookfield Zoo bus is Bluebird Coach Lines. Route was from downtown out Randolph, Ogden, 26th Desplaines, with most trips continuing out 31st, LaGrange, Ogden to Aurora."

CSL 6153 on a charter, eastbound at Washington and State. Meanwhile, a suburban bus bound for the Brookfield Zoo approaches. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo) Andre Kristopans: “The Brookfield Zoo bus is Bluebird Coach Lines. Route was from downtown out Randolph, Ogden, 26th Desplaines, with most trips continuing out 31st, LaGrange, Ogden to Aurora.”

CSL 3189, northbound at State and Lake, on August 29, 1947. Note the Greyhound bus at right. (Thomas H, Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL 3189, northbound at State and Lake, on August 29, 1947. Note the Greyhound bus at right. (Thomas H, Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive)

CSL Sedan 3332 southbound at Wabash and Roosevelt on September 27, 1947. Note the Greyhound bus at right. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive) Allen Breyer: "Also shows the old Union Bus Terminal behind the Greyhound."

CSL Sedan 3332 southbound at Wabash and Roosevelt on September 27, 1947. Note the Greyhound bus at right. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo, Krambles-Peterson Archive) Allen Breyer: “Also shows the old Union Bus Terminal behind the Greyhound.”

CSL 5289 passes some CSL buses at 78th and Vincennes, looking NE. According to Don's Rail Photos, "5251 thru 5300 were built by Brill in 1906, #15365, for CCRy. They were brought up to higher standards in 1909." (Gordon Lloyd Photo) This CSL bus photo is not part of the Trapp collection. Chuck Amstein: "The South Shops building in the background is still there." Another reader notes, "The two Yellow Coach gas buses in the background were purchased by CSL and are painted in the pre-Mercury Green CSL motor bus colors of Red and Cream with Black Striping as found on CSL 3407 at the Illinois Railway Museum today."

CSL 5289 passes some CSL buses at 78th and Vincennes, looking NE. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “5251 thru 5300 were built by Brill in 1906, #15365, for CCRy. They were brought up to higher standards in 1909.” (Gordon Lloyd Photo) This CSL bus photo is not part of the Trapp collection. Chuck Amstein: “The South Shops building in the background is still there.”
Another reader notes, “The two Yellow Coach gas buses in the background were purchased by CSL and are painted in the pre-Mercury Green CSL motor bus colors of Red and Cream with Black Striping as found on CSL 3407 at the Illinois Railway Museum today.”

Chicago & West Towns Railways

FYI, we have also added these two pictures to our earlier post West Towns Streetcars in Black-and-White (August 4th).

C&WT 104 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn on April 3, 1948, less than two before the end of streetcar service. One of the replacement buses is at right. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

C&WT 104 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn on April 3, 1948, less than two before the end of streetcar service. One of the replacement buses is at right. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

C&WT line car 15, with its famous bent pole.The defect was apparently accidental, but it was certainly distinctive.

C&WT line car 15, with its famous bent pole.The defect was apparently accidental, but it was certainly distinctive.

Illinois Terminal Railroad

IT 273.

IT 273.

According to Don's Rail Photos, IT 104 "was built by American Car in 1917 as AG&StL 64. In 1926 it became StL&ARy 64 and in 1930 it became IT 104." This picture was taken in Granite City on August 14, 1956.

According to Don’s Rail Photos, IT 104 “was built by American Car in 1917 as AG&StL 64. In 1926 it became StL&ARy 64 and in 1930 it became IT 104.” This picture was taken in Granite City on August 14, 1956.

IT 284, decked in bunting, on what must have been the final revenue trip on this portion of the interurban in 1955. If anyone can identify the exact date or the location, please let me know. (Glenn L. Sticken Photo) You can see a picture of the same bunting applied to IT 277 at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2011 here: http://hickscarworks.blogspot.com/2011/04/illinois-terminal-society-meet.html

IT 284, decked in bunting, on what must have been the final revenue trip on this portion of the interurban in 1955. If anyone can identify the exact date or the location, please let me know. (Glenn L. Sticken Photo) You can see a picture of the same bunting applied to IT 277 at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2011 here:
http://hickscarworks.blogspot.com/2011/04/illinois-terminal-society-meet.html

IT double-end PCC 455 at speed in St. Louis on May 18, 1951.

IT double-end PCC 455 at speed in St. Louis on May 18, 1951.

Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria

Here are four rare photos of the CO&P. Since it was abandoned in 1934, photos are scarce. We previously posted a few more here.

CO&P freight motor 1523 at the Ottawa Shops in 1934, presumably around the time of abandonment.

CO&P freight motor 1523 at the Ottawa Shops in 1934, presumably around the time of abandonment.

CO&P express freight car 301 in November 1910.

CO&P express freight car 301 in November 1910.

CO&P first #60 at Depue in 1910, a product of the Danville Car Company.

CO&P first #60 at Depue in 1910, a product of the Danville Car Company.

CO&P #66 at the Ottawa Shops in 1934, presumably at the time of abandonment. It was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1924. Some cars in this series were rebuilt for use on the rest of the Illinois Terminal system, including IT 415 (former CO&P 64) which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CO&P #66 at the Ottawa Shops in 1934, presumably at the time of abandonment. It was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1924. Some cars in this series were rebuilt for use on the rest of the Illinois Terminal system, including IT 415 (former CO&P 64) which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 8-12-2015

Jackson_tn_trolley_1

Ray Huffstutter of Suwanee, GA writes:

I was born and raised in Jackson, TN. The trolley car photo attached was owned and operated by the Jackson Railway and Light Company.

Can you help me identify the manufacturer, model, year and color scheme? My guess is a Brill about 1918.

Thanks for writing. My initial search did not turn up much, but we will naturally keep looking. This must have been one of the smaller properties. There doesn’t seem to be anything about it on Don’s Rail Photos.

There is a mention in a 1916 issue of Electric Railway Journal that Jackson Railway and Light Company was in the market for a couple of one-man car bodies.

Chances are one of our readers will have an answer. That does look like a Brill, however. (Editor’s note: see comment below by Frank Hicks, which provides an answer.)

From the September 9, 1916 Electric Railway Journal, page 474.

From the September 9, 1916 Electric Railway Journal, page 474.


Andrew Schneider
writes:

I’m president of a group called Logan Square Preservation and I’m also putting together an exhibit and book on the history of the neighborhood. I found the attached photo on your site and would like permission to use it. We would, obviously, credit you for the image’s use.

If you’re interested, I may also be able to share some photos in our archive of trolley cars in the neighborhood – we have a few – one in color.

Naturally, we are glad to allow such a use, thanks. (The photo in question, reproduced below, originally appeared in our post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 5 (April 18). His group likes this picture so much that they may use it on the cover of their upcoming book.

(This is the photo Mr. Schneider referred to.) CSL 3204-3206 and 3228 on Milwaukee in 1928. Andre Kristopans adds, “Milwaukee looking north at Logan Blvd, from middle of Logan Square. Very rare shot of trains.”

Mr. Schneider, in turn, shared a couple photos with us:

Andrew Schneider writes:

(Andrew Schneider Collection)

(Andrew Schneider Collection)

A while back, Frank Hicks wrote:

I’ve been enjoying tremendously the CSL photos you’ve been posting on your blog; thanks for putting all of these great photos online!

I am writing because I am working on historical articles about two of the CSL cars in the IRM collection, the two ex-South Chicago City Railway cars, 2843 and 2846. I’ve completed a draft of an article about the 2843 that also describes the SCCR lines on the southeast side, and my hope is to follow it up shortly with an article about the 2846 that focuses more on the interstate routes over the Hammond Whiting & East Chicago. My question for you is, do you have any photos of either the 2841-2845 series Jewetts or the 2846-2856 series “Interstates”? I’m especially looking for photos of these cars in passenger service (pre-1932) but photos of IRM’s cars in work service (CSL 2843 and 2846, later CTA AA95 and AA98) would also be useful. And I’m in search of any photos of South Chicago City Railway cars prior to the CSL unification, including earlier single-truckers.

Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!

The article on CSL 2843 appeared on the excellent Hicks Car Works blog on April 9. At that time, we didn’t have anything to contribute, but a couple things have turned up since.

Mr. Hicks later wrote:

I’m just starting to work on an article about the 2846-2856 series “Interstate” cars and I’m definitely on the lookout for photos of those cars. The cars of that series that were put into salt car service were renumbered AA98-AA107.

Here are the photos we found showing cars in those two series:

CTA work car AA94, the former CSL 2842, at 77th and Vincennes on July 4, 1949. (Charles K. Wilhoft Photo) There is a similar, although not identical photo in the Hicks Car Works article on car 2843.

CTA work car AA94, the former CSL 2842, at 77th and Vincennes on July 4, 1949. (Charles K. Wilhoft Photo) There is a similar, although not identical photo in the Hicks Car Works article on car 2843.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “2844 was built by Jewett in 1903 as South Chicago City Ry 324. It became Calumet & South Chicago Ry 829 in 1908 and renumbered 2844 in 1913. It became CSL 2844 in 1914 and was later converted to service as a supply car. It was renumbered AA-96 in 1948.” The Hicks Car Works article on car 2843 says, “In October 1942 one of the Jewetts, car 2844, was rehabilitated at South Shops and sent to Burnside car house for service. The station superintendent there wanted nothing to do with the car; even as stretched as the Surface Lines was, an aged car poorly suited for one-man operations was not what was desired. So the car was sent back to South Shops and the decision was made that the Jewetts instead would be converted into salt cars. ” So this photo may date from that brief period late in 1942 when this car was put back into service after having been in dead storage for a decade.

CTA work car AA101 at South Shops on June 14, 1955. According to Frank Hicks, this car was probably CSL 2849. It was originally built by South Chicago City Railway in 1907 and was a sister car to 2846, which is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CTA work car AA101 at South Shops on June 14, 1955. According to Frank Hicks, this car was probably CSL 2849. It was originally built by South Chicago City Railway in 1907 and was a sister car to 2846, which is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

M. E. writes:

re: Trackage on page 298 of (CERA) Bulletin #146

In my previous correspondence with you, I mentioned that the interurban car that began at the 63rd Place and Halsted L station went to Kankakee via Halsted, Summit, and Vincennes. I also said there was a car barn at 88th and Vincennes that the interurban line used. I just didn’t remember the name of the interurban company.

Reading through CERA bulletin #146 for a second time, I noticed that the caption on page 298 says the trackage on Halsted south of 120th St. was used by the Chicago & Interurban Traction Co. This contradicts what I know about the interurban trackage.

I still insist I am correct that the interurban line went south on Vincennes rather than Halsted. Reasons:

(1) See http://www.chicagorailfan.com/maptinik.html . The route shown on this page is Halsted to Summit to Vincennes.

(2) See http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr3137.htm . Here is the relevant sentence from that text: “C&IT interurban service continued from the south side Englewood Elevated Station at 63rd and Halsted (trackage in Chicago was leased along with the shops at 88th and Vincennes) to Kankakee.”

(3) See http://www.chicagorailfan.com/maptcit.html . This map shows the entire route to Kankakee.

(4) Vincennes Ave. goes south into Blue Island. From there, Western Ave. heads south, but soon becomes Dixie Highway, which at one point ran all the way to Florida. Present-day addresses in Google have Dixie Hwy. in Chicago Heights, so it would seem Dixie Hwy. (and the Kankakee cars) went southeast from Blue Island through Harvey, then south through Chicago Heights and Crete.

(5) South Suburban Safeway Lines was formed in 1933 (see http://www.chicagorailfan.com/histcit.html ). That company ran two bus routes from the 63rd and Halsted L station. One went to Harvey, going west on 63rd, south on Western through Blue Island, then south on Dixie Hwy., to Harvey. The other ran straight south on Halsted (with a slight jog to the west in Harvey to meet other routes) to Chicago Heights and Crete. The two bus routes were put in place to replace the interurban.

All of which leads to the question: What line used the trackage on Halsted south of 120th? I have no answer. The Riverdale streetcar ran along Michigan Ave., not Halsted. And the Chicago Surface Lines never ran streetcars on Halsted south of Summit (which meets Halsted at around 85th St.). Perhaps the trackage viewable on page 298 is a stub that may have been used as a terminal by red cars on either the State St. line or the 119th St. line. Or maybe there was a freight customer south of 120th St. Just some guesses.

That’s an interesting question. You can view a map of the Chicago & Interurban Traction Co. here.

Andre Kristopans writes:

Firstly, I do not think there is any dispute of the Kankakee Interurban’s route out of Chicago, namely Halsted, Summit, Vincennes, 127th, Western, Spaulding (alongside GTW), Page, 154th, Park, 157th, PROW to 161st/Halsted then south on Halsted.

Now the matter of the Halsted track: Apparently at one point in history (1890’s) the routing on 119th St instead of continuing west to Vincennes just went to Halsted and then south to 121st. Possibly the intent was to continue to 127th or further, but a crossing of the IC Blue Island branch seems to have become an insoluble problem, and besides, the industrial area along 119th between Morgan and Ashland must have looked a whole lot more inviting and the Halsted track simply fell into disuse, but was not actually taken up for many, many years.

To give our readers an idea of the general area M. E. is talking about, here is an enlargement of a 1941 CSL track map:

CSL1941

You will find the Chicago streetcar track maps for 1941, 1946, 1948, 1952 and 1954 in our e-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store.

Here is a rare photo of the Chicago and Joliet Electric, which provided a connection between the Chicago Surface Lines and the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria:

Chicago and Joliet Electric Railway #242, shown at the Archer and Cicero station in Chicago in September 1933. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo) Mehlenbeck was member #11 of Central Electric Railfans' Association. According to Don's Rail Photos, "242 was built by Cummings Car & Coach Co in 1927." Service on this line, which connected to the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria, was abandoned on November 16, 1933.

Chicago and Joliet Electric Railway #242, shown at the Archer and Cicero station in Chicago in September 1933. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo) Mehlenbeck was member #11 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “242 was built by Cummings Car & Coach Co in 1927.” Service on this line, which connected to the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria, was abandoned on November 16, 1933.

Finally, we will close with three very rare images of the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria, which became a division of the Illinois Terminal Railroad and which was abandoned in 1934:

CO&P freight motor 1530 at the Ottawa Shops in 1934. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “1530 and 1531 were built at the Danville shop in 1914 as kits which were then assembled at Ottawa. These were so-called pull cars which were used as locomotives.”

CO&P city car 43 at the LaSalle Car Barns. Don’s Rail Photos says, “41 thru 44 were built by American Car in August, 1905, as trailers for the Aurora Plainfield & Joliet. They were sold before delivery to the CO&P where they were motorized.”

CO&P freight motor 1524 on West 4th Street in Peru in 1934. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1524 was a pull car built by St. Louis in 1915 as Illinois Traction 1514 until it was transferred to Ottawa as 1524 in July, 1925. It was retired in 1934 and scrapped at Ottawa in January, 1935.”