Independence

North Shore Line car 749 at the 50th Avenue station, Illinois Railway Museum, July 3, 2021.

North Shore Line car 749 at the 50th Avenue station, Illinois Railway Museum, July 3, 2021.

I could not think of a better place to be on July 3rd than at the Illinois Railway Museum, which I had not visited in nearly two years. Here are some pictures from that day.

Unfortunately I did not arrive in time for the annual reenactment of the sudden mid-day July 3, 1957 abandonment of passenger service by the Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban, which stranded perhaps 3,500 riders. At the museum, museum visitors are taken to the end of the main line via a CA&E train, which then leaves them high and dry (only to be picked up by another train shortly thereafter).

I did not arrive until later in the afternoon. No CA&E cars were running, but I did capture lots of other action.

Every time I visit the museum, things are a little bit nicer, a little bit better, thanks to the dedication of their many volunteers. May it always be so.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We have already sent out over 100 copies of our new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s, which is available for immediate shipment. Ordering information can be found at the end of this post, and in our Online Store.

Although the 50th Avenue station was closed for renovations, North Shore Line car 749 was there for a fundraising event, where people could actually pilot the car for a brief period out on the line.

Although the 50th Avenue station was closed for renovations, North Shore Line car 749 was there for a fundraising event, where people could actually pilot the car for a brief period out on the line.

Dayton trolley bus 9809 joined the IRM fleet in 2020.

Dayton trolley bus 9809 joined the IRM fleet in 2020.

A Budd RDC (rail diesel car).

A Budd RDC (rail diesel car).

Metropolitan "L" car 2872 is under restoration. There is a picture of it in service on the Kenwood shuttle in my new book Chicago's Lost "L"s.

Metropolitan “L” car 2872 is under restoration. There is a picture of it in service on the Kenwood shuttle in my new book Chicago’s Lost “L”s.

Chicago Rapid Transit car 4146, a "Baldy," was built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1915 as one of our first all-steel "L" cars. The four separate "L" companies had come under joint operation a few years earlier, and previously just had wood-steel cars that were ordered for an individual line. The center doors on these cars were never used.

Chicago Rapid Transit car 4146, a “Baldy,” was built by Cincinnati Car Company in 1915 as one of our first all-steel “L” cars. The four separate “L” companies had come under joint operation a few years earlier, and previously just had wood-steel cars that were ordered for an individual line. The center doors on these cars were never used.

CTA PCC 4391 was operating on the streetcar loop that day.

CTA PCC 4391 was operating on the streetcar loop that day.

Neils No. 5 was one of two steam engines being used that day.

Neils No. 5 was one of two steam engines being used that day.

CTA single car units 41 and 30 were operating as a pair. The former with trolley poles, and the latter with a Skokie Swift pantograph.

CTA single car units 41 and 30 were operating as a pair. The former with trolley poles, and the latter with a Skokie Swift pantograph.

Car 30 looked resplendent in a new coat of paint.

Car 30 looked resplendent in a new coat of paint.

The singles were set up for one-person operation, where it was possible to have the operator collect fares on the train. They were used at night on the Evanston shuttle in this manner for some years, but it really slowed things down.

The singles were set up for one-person operation, where it was possible to have the operator collect fares on the train. They were used at night on the Evanston shuttle in this manner for some years, but it really slowed things down.

Frisco 1630, a 2-10-0, on the IRM main line.

Frisco 1630, a 2-10-0, on the IRM main line.

The 1630 at the passing siding near the end of the main line.

The 1630 at the passing siding near the end of the main line.

A close-up of CTA 41's third rail shoe.

A close-up of CTA 41’s third rail shoe.

CTA 6655-6656 were also running.

CTA 6655-6656 were also running.

An attractive "retro" sign has already gone up for what will eventually be a model train display (but not a hobby shop, apparently).

An attractive “retro” sign has already gone up for what will eventually be a model train display (but not a hobby shop, apparently).

Recent Finds

I recently acquired this 1893 map, showing the route of the Columbian Intramural Railway at the World's Fair here in Chicago. The Jackson Park "L" connected with the CIR at Chicago Junction (65th Street on this map), a few blocks south of where the "L" ran on 63rd Street.

I recently acquired this 1893 map, showing the route of the Columbian Intramural Railway at the World’s Fair here in Chicago. The Jackson Park “L” connected with the CIR at Chicago Junction (65th Street on this map), a few blocks south of where the “L” ran on 63rd Street.

A CTA Skokie Swift train crosses McCormick Boulevard on September 20, 1966. (James P. Marcus Photo)

A CTA Skokie Swift train crosses McCormick Boulevard on September 20, 1966. (James P. Marcus Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow) car 16 at the end of the Ardmore line on June 11, 1966, six months before trolleys were replaced by buses. (Allan H. Roberts Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow) car 16 at the end of the Ardmore line on June 11, 1966, six months before trolleys were replaced by buses. (Allan H. Roberts Photo)

This picture of Chicago Surface Lines pre-PCC 7001 was taken in 1935, a year after it was built. Auto parts dealer Warshawsky & Co. was located at around 1900 S. State Street, which may be this location. The streetcar is heading north.

This picture of Chicago Surface Lines pre-PCC 7001 was taken in 1935, a year after it was built. Auto parts dealer Warshawsky & Co. was located at around 1900 S. State Street, which may be this location. The streetcar is heading north.

A three-car train of cable cars on Madison Street in the 1890s. This is a colorized photo.

A three-car train of cable cars on Madison Street in the 1890s. This is a colorized photo.

Cable car 1836 is part of a two-car train on Dearborn Street, circa the 1890s. This is a colorized photo.

Cable car 1836 is part of a two-car train on Dearborn Street, circa the 1890s. This is a colorized photo.

A Pittsburgh Railways employee works on a PCC wheel in August 1957.

A Pittsburgh Railways employee works on a PCC wheel in August 1957.

A 6-car Evanston Express train, made up of wood-steel cars, heads northbound approaching the Wilson Avenue station in August 1957. The Wilson Shops is in the background behind the train. At right, you can see the ramp that went down to Buena Yard.

A 6-car Evanston Express train, made up of wood-steel cars, heads northbound approaching the Wilson Avenue station in August 1957. The Wilson Shops is in the background behind the train. At right, you can see the ramp that went down to Buena Yard.

A westbound Garfield Park "L" train crosses Austin Boulevard in August 1957. That's Columbus Park in the background. This is now the site of I-290.

A westbound Garfield Park “L” train crosses Austin Boulevard in August 1957. That’s Columbus Park in the background. This is now the site of I-290.

In August 1957, an eastbound two-car train of 4000s is on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", running parallel to South Boulevard in Oak Park. We are looking north. I am not sure of the exact side street here. Dan Cluley writes: "I think the picture of the Lake St L in Oak Park (pic 397) is S Kenilworth Ave. The house at right has been replaced with a parking lot, but the tops of the Post Office & First United Church seen through the trees seem to match up."

In August 1957, an eastbound two-car train of 4000s is on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, running parallel to South Boulevard in Oak Park. We are looking north. I am not sure of the exact side street here. Dan Cluley writes: “I think the picture of the Lake St. L in Oak Park (pic 397) is S Kenilworth Ave. The house at right has been replaced with a parking lot, but the tops of the Post Office & First United Church seen through the trees seem to match up.”

The same location today.

The same location today.

Michael Franklin writes: "This (aaa397) is looking north on Kenilworth. The twin spires in the background are the church on the NE corner of Kenilworth and Lake. The long gone Oak Leaves Offices are on the right. Building demolished in 1971." Here we see the same building from a different angle, looking to the southeast across the "L" right-of-way.

Michael Franklin writes: “This (aaa397) is looking north on Kenilworth. The twin spires in the background are the church on the NE corner of Kenilworth and Lake. The long gone Oak Leaves Offices are on the right. Building demolished in 1971.” Here we see the same building from a different angle, looking to the southeast across the “L” right-of-way.

A CTA fantrip was held on August 6, 1972, which took a four-car train down into the Lake Street "L"'s Hamlin Yard. Two single-car units flanked a pair of flat-door 6000s, all equipped with trolley poles. Shortly after this picture was taken, car 44, in the foreground, was detached from the rest of the train, and operated across Lake Street to West Shops. We have run other photos from this trip in previous posts. The ramp connecting Hamlin Yard to the Lake Street "L" was removed many years ago.

A CTA fantrip was held on August 6, 1972, which took a four-car train down into the Lake Street “L”‘s Hamlin Yard. Two single-car units flanked a pair of flat-door 6000s, all equipped with trolley poles. Shortly after this picture was taken, car 44, in the foreground, was detached from the rest of the train, and operated across Lake Street to West Shops. We have run other photos from this trip in previous posts. The ramp connecting Hamlin Yard to the Lake Street “L” was removed many years ago.

The same location today.

The same location today.

J. W. Vigrass took this picture in East Chicago, Indiana, on September 15, 1956, shortly before the South Shore Line in this area was relocated to run alongside the Indiana Toll Road. That's car 22 coming at us.

J. W. Vigrass took this picture in East Chicago, Indiana, on September 15, 1956, shortly before the South Shore Line in this area was relocated to run alongside the Indiana Toll Road. That’s car 22 coming at us.

The Last CA&E Train?

There is some question whether this photo does or does not actually show the last CA&E passenger train leaving DesPlaines Avenue without passengers on July 3, 1957, shortly after the interurban was given permission to abandon service by the courts. Some people think the photo was actually taken earlier.

There is some question whether this photo does or does not actually show the last CA&E passenger train leaving DesPlaines Avenue without passengers on July 3, 1957, shortly after the interurban was given permission to abandon service by the courts. Some people think the photo was actually taken earlier.

This is how the photo appeared in the July 4, 1957 issue of the Chicago Tribune.

This is how the photo appeared in the July 4, 1957 issue of the Chicago Tribune.

Recent Correspondence

This photo appeared in our recent post Reflections in a Golden Wye (June 24, 2021):

This photo, showing a mirror at the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal, was taken on January 21, 1963 (after abandonment) by Allan Y. Scott for the Milwaukee Journal. You can see the photographer in the picture, apparently using a Leica M2 or M3. This picture came from the collection of the late John Horachek. Rather than being a double exposure, it seems like the ghostly image of an Electroliner was applied to the mirror using a stencil and a product known as Glass Wax.

This photo, showing a mirror at the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal, was taken on January 21, 1963 (after abandonment) by Allan Y. Scott for the Milwaukee Journal. You can see the photographer in the picture, apparently using a Leica M2 or M3. This picture came from the collection of the late John Horachek. Rather than being a double exposure, it seems like the ghostly image of an Electroliner was applied to the mirror using a stencil and a product known as Glass Wax.

John Nicholson writes:

Attached is a photo of the mirror in question at the Milwaukee terminal lunch counter on the last day of operation. I ate lunch there on the last day, wondering all the while who was going to grab that mirror once the line closed. Nobody seems to know what happened to it.

So, as you can see, all the photographer had to do was take a photo of the mirror with the waiting room reflected in the background.

(Ernie Maragos Photo, John Nicholson Collection)

(Ernie Maragos Photo, John Nicholson Collection)

Thanks for sharing those. At first, some people who saw that other picture thought it was a double exposure, but it was apparent to me that it wasn’t. I figure it was applied using Glass Wax and a stencil. My mother put some Christmas decorations on our window that way when I was a small child.

John replies:

I remember the Glass Wax stencils from Christmas 1957. Once they were removed after the holiday, at least your windows got a cleaning in the process.

Miles Beitler writes:

Your latest post included discussion of why the Congress line was constructed with room for a third track between the Lotus tunnel and the Forest Park terminal. I have attached a Tribune article from 1954 which gives the “official” reason (which essentially agrees with your post).

Thanks. You can read the article by clicking on the link given above.

The question came up recently, about whether the Congress rapid transit line was planned to have three tracks between Laramie and Forest Park, and what the third track was intended for. This Chicago Tribune article from January 6, 1954 provides the answer.

The third track was added to the plans at the insistence of Governor William Stratton, who wanted to make sure that the Chicago Aurora & Elgin could resume going downtown eventually. This is described as the final issue that needed to be settled in the overall deal whereby the CTA purchased CA&E’s fixed assets in this section for $1m. This process began when the CA&E announced that they could not afford to pay for new tracks in this stretch a few years earlier. State and county officials did not want the highway extension to be the cause of the interurban’s demise. Eventually the CTA came up with the proposal that they would purchase the CA&E’s fixed assets there, which naturally all would need to be replaced anyway. This gave the CTA “skin in the game” to continue offering rail service west of Laramie. CA&E made money from both the sale of the land for the highway and the sale of the tracks and signals to the CTA.

Suburban transit riders were unhappy with the need to transfer to the CTA at Forest Park for a slow ride downtown, starting in September 1953, and Gov. Stratton’s move was partly a response to that. The article says that the third track could be used by the CA&E or express trains (CTA’s), but the CTA did not have any interest in a third track, since they considered the new line an express service in itself. And the area that would have been occupied by this third CA&E track was left vacant. It runs north of the existing two tracks. That’s why there is a third portal in the Lotus Tunnel. The only place where this got fudged was the bridge over DesPlaines Avenue, where a tight curve got eased by using part of the area set aside for this third track.

Peter Korling writes:

I was looking for the layout of street cars and elevated trains in O scale on your website. Can you help? Or if you have other layouts help me use your search machine to find them- let me know.

Another question- do you have a picture of a streetcar in the layover at Oakenwald and 35th st? I’m not sure of the street the CTA used but the cross street was Oakenwald. Near the IC tracks. Circa 1940. the date doesn’t have to be exact. I searched CTA’s website with no success. This is for my interest only I am NOT a policeman solving a case.

I drove the L line for Muni in mid 60s. I have pics. PCC cars.

My father took this B&W photo in the early 40s.

I have original print w/his signature should you know somebody who would want to buy it.

The paintings are mine. peterkorling.com

SONY DSC

(FYI, Peter’s father was Torkel Korling, a famous photographer and inventor.)

Thanks for the photos. I actually met your father a couple of times in the 1980s. We had the chance to chat over a cup of coffee and he told me many interesting things.

I am not a model railroader myself, but perhaps some of my readers can help you with that.

As for a streetcar photo at the east end of the 35th Street line, I don’t recall seeing such a picture, but naturally I will check.

Jeremy Barnard writes:

I noticed you have a page dedicated to Capital Transit trolleys. I’m trying to find someone who may have some fleet roster information for capital-transit-company that might included buses from the early 1940s.

I have a couple photos from that era of White buses and have been trying to figure out exactly which model they were.

I saw David Sadowski’s name mentioned a few times. Do you think there would be a way to ask him as well?

I’d really appreciate any help in pointing me in the right direction.

Unfortunately I don’t have a Capital Transit bus roster, although there have been some books published about this operator. You might check those, in case you have not already done so.

As for David Sadowski, that’s me, so I guess you have killed two birds with one stone there.

Maybe some of our readers can assist you further.

Thanks.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Our Latest Book, Now Available:

Chicago’s Lost “L”s

From the back cover:

Chicago’s system of elevated railways, known locally as the “L,” has run continuously since 1892 and, like the city, has never stood still. It helped neighborhoods grow, brought their increasingly diverse populations together, and gave the famous Loop its name. But today’s system has changed radically over the years. Chicago’s Lost “L”s tells the story of former lines such as Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Stockyards, Normal Park, Westchester, and Niles Center. It was once possible to take high-speed trains on the L directly to Aurora, Elgin, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The L started out as four different companies, two starting out using steam engines instead of electricity. Eventually, all four came together via the Union Loop. The L is more than a way of getting around. Its trains are a place where people meet and interact. Some say the best way to experience the city is via the L, with its second-story view. Chicago’s Lost “L”s is virtually a “secret history” of Chicago, and this is your ticket. David Sadowski grew up riding the L all over the city. He is the author of Chicago Trolleys and Building Chicago’s Subways and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

Title Chicago’s Lost “L”s
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2021
ISBN 1467100007, 9781467100007
Length 128 pages

Chapters:
01. The South Side “L”
02. The Lake Street “L”
03. The Metropolitan “L”
04. The Northwestern “L”
05. The Union Loop
06. Lost Equipment
07. Lost Interurbans
08. Lost Terminals
09. Lost… and Found

Each copy purchased here will be signed by the author, and you will also receive a bonus facsimile of a 1926 Chicago Rapid Transit Company map, with interesting facts about the “L” on the reverse side.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW DVD:

A Tribute to the North Shore Line

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the demise of the fabled North Shore Line interurban in January 2013, Jeffrey L. Wien and Bradley Criss made a very thorough and professional video presentation, covering the entire route between Chicago and Milwaukee and then some. Sadly, both men are gone now, but their work remains, making this video a tribute to them, as much as it is a tribute to the Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee.

Jeff drew on his own vast collections of movie films, both his own and others such as the late William C. Hoffman, wrote and gave the narration. Bradley acted as video editor, and added authentic sound effects from archival recordings of the North Shore Line.

It was always Jeff’s intention to make this video available to the public, but unfortunately, this did not happen in his lifetime. Now, as the caretakers of Jeff’s railfan legacy, we are proud to offer this excellent two-hour program to you for the first time.  The result is a fitting tribute to what Jeff called his “Perpetual Adoration,” which was the name of a stop on the interurban.

Jeff was a wholehearted supporter of our activities, and the proceeds from the sale of this disc will help defray some of the expenses of keeping the Trolley Dodger web site going.

Total time – 121:22

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.99 (Includes shipping within the United States)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 271st 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 781,000 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.
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Happy New Year

NSL 187 at Pettibone Yard on June 21, 1963, months after abandonment. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 187 at Pettibone Yard on June 21, 1963, months after abandonment. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

We have lots of great, classic photos in this, our first post for 2020. We thank William Shapotkin for sharing these with our readers.

As always, we thank our readers, who add their thoughts and ideas to the various photographs we show. Thanks to you, many mysteries have been solved, with various locations identified, and we have gained invaluable insights as a result, as we share information with each other.  It’s a collaborative effort, and you are an essential part of that.

The Trolley Dodger blog will celebrate its five-year anniversary in just a few days. It takes a lot of hard work to scan and restore all the images that we show here, which now number in the thousands. Some of our posts have over 100 images apiece, and this is our 245th post.  That’s a lot of blood, sweat, toil, and tears.

The Trolley Dodger blog started off as very much a money-losing venture, and over the last five years, the loss has probably totaled at least $30k. But I tend to think of this as an investment in you, the reader, and in the cause of historic preservation, which I hope we all believe in. We have worked to make The Trolley Dodger into a self-sustaining venture, or at least one that only loses a small amount of money overall.

January is the one time of year when we make a direct fundraising appeal for help defraying the annual fees and expenses it takes to keep this blog going. As in the past, we have a goal of just $400, which represents only a bit more than $1 per day for the year.

We hope that you will consider helping us with a financial contribution, however small. When you consider that each year, we receive over 100,000 page views, it’s a bargain. If you want to help, there are links towards the end of this post.

With your assistance, we can assure that the Trolley Dodger will keep on running for another year.

I thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

On July 26, 1955, a high pressure jet of water is used during cleaning of the CTA State Street Subway tube walls at the Roosevelt Road station. Virgil Gunlock (left) and H. L. Howell are inspecting the work.

On July 26, 1955, a high pressure jet of water is used during cleaning of the CTA State Street Subway tube walls at the Roosevelt Road station. Virgil Gunlock (left) and H. L. Howell are inspecting the work.

This line art drawing of the CTA's Congress rapid transit line, aka the "West Side Subway," appeared on a June 1958 track map.

This line art drawing of the CTA’s Congress rapid transit line, aka the “West Side Subway,” appeared on a June 1958 track map.

April 29, 1954: Anna Daltin, 69, of Chicago, shortly after being hit in the face by the edge of a Chicago streetcar, receives aid from police stretcher crew. she was taken to (the) hospital with a possible fractured nose and facial abrasions.

April 29, 1954: Anna Daltin, 69, of Chicago, shortly after being hit in the face by the edge of a Chicago streetcar, receives aid from police stretcher crew. she was taken to (the) hospital with a possible fractured nose and facial abrasions.

May 25, 1950: Firemen shoot (a) stream of water over burned-out streetcar into blazing building set afire by flaming gasoline, after the streetcar and tank truck (between streetcar and building) collided here.

May 25, 1950: Firemen shoot (a) stream of water over burned-out streetcar into blazing building set afire by flaming gasoline, after the streetcar and tank truck (between streetcar and building) collided here.

By April 11, 1954, when this picture was taken by the late Bill Hoffman, the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel had already been closed for about 15 years. It fell victim to subway construction in 1939. But as you can see, the north approach had not yet been filled in. In the background, you can see a different ramp, a block south, which leads to Carroll Avenue. That had been built in 1928 and is often mistaken for the streetcar tunnel entrance. You can find a picture similar to this, taken in 1953 by the late Bob Selle, in my book Building Chicago's Subways. (Wien-Criss Archive)

By April 11, 1954, when this picture was taken by the late Bill Hoffman, the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel had already been closed for about 15 years. It fell victim to subway construction in 1939. But as you can see, the north approach had not yet been filled in. In the background, you can see a different ramp, a block south, which leads to Carroll Avenue. That had been built in 1928 and is often mistaken for the streetcar tunnel entrance. You can find a picture similar to this, taken in 1953 by the late Bob Selle, in my book Building Chicago’s Subways. (Wien-Criss Archive)

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA bus 5262 is at the end of Route 91 - Austin Boulevard. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA bus 5262 is at the end of Route 91 – Austin Boulevard. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines bus 3502 is on 59th at Wentworth on 1946. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Surface Lines bus 3502 is on 59th at Wentworth on 1946. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9431, working a westbound trip on Route 74 - Fullerton, crosses Milwaukee Avenue on May 11, 1968. The view looks east. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9431, working a westbound trip on Route 74 – Fullerton, crosses Milwaukee Avenue on May 11, 1968. The view looks east. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9440, working an eastbound on Route 74 - Fullerton, is crossing Milwaukee Avenue on November 12, 1967. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA 9440, working an eastbound on Route 74 – Fullerton, is crossing Milwaukee Avenue on November 12, 1967. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9444 is eastbound on Fullerton at Milwaukee on August 19, 1972. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9444 is eastbound on Fullerton at Milwaukee on August 19, 1972. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9553, on an Omnibus Society of america fantrip, is eastbound on Fullerton, crossing the Milwaukee Road at Lakewood Avenue on April 1, 1973, final day of TB service in Chicago. The view looks southwest. (Robert Barth Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA trolley bus 9553, on an Omnibus Society of america fantrip, is eastbound on Fullerton, crossing the Milwaukee Road at Lakewood Avenue on April 1, 1973, final day of TB service in Chicago. The view looks southwest. (Robert Barth Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA bus 5483 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park in August 1963. This has since been completely rebuilt, and is now the terminus of the Blue Line (formerly called the Congress). (William Shapotkin Collection)

CTA bus 5483 at the DesPlaines Avenue Terminal in Forest Park in August 1963. This has since been completely rebuilt, and is now the terminus of the Blue Line (formerly called the Congress). (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago & North Western commuter trains at Clinton Street Tower in September 1978. (Robert Janz Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago & North Western commuter trains at Clinton Street Tower in September 1978. (Robert Janz Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore Line car 108 (train 11) approaches Cook Road at speed, a mile east of the Shops, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore Line car 108 (train 11) approaches Cook Road at speed, a mile east of the Shops, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 111 (train 11) is 24 miles from South Bend, between Lalumiere and Bishop on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 111 (train 11) is 24 miles from South Bend, between Lalumiere and Bishop on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Car 100 (train 18) is 22 miles from South Bend at Smith on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Car 100 (train 18) is 22 miles from South Bend at Smith on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 197 (train 15) has just gone through the underpass at Emery Road at Hicks, which had once been a flag stop, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 197 (train 15) has just gone through the underpass at Emery Road at Hicks, which had once been a flag stop, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

South Shore car 109 (train 26) heads west at Lydick at Quince Road, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shpotkin Collection)

South Shore car 109 (train 26) heads west at Lydick at Quince Road, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shpotkin Collection)

A westbound two-car South Shore Line train is on the 130th Street curve, two miles east of Kensington, in October 1966. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A westbound two-car South Shore Line train is on the 130th Street curve, two miles east of Kensington, in October 1966. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Here, an SSL conductor is hand-throwing a switch to put a railfan train onto a siding at Shops in April 1975. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Here, an SSL conductor is hand-throwing a switch to put a railfan train onto a siding at Shops in April 1975. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 109, running east, enters 11th Street in Michigan City. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 109, running east, enters 11th Street in Michigan City. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A two-car SSL train heads west at 130th Street in October 1966. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A two-car SSL train heads west at 130th Street in October 1966. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 111 (eastbound train 7) takes the Ford City curve at Chicago's Torrence Avenue on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 111 (eastbound train 7) takes the Ford City curve at Chicago’s Torrence Avenue on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 111 and 106, making up train 16, at Midwest, a new stop for a steel plant, on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 111 and 106, making up train 16, at Midwest, a new stop for a steel plant, on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 16 (cars 111 and 106) departs Wilson siding and enters single-track territory as it heads west towards Chicago on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 16 (cars 111 and 106) departs Wilson siding and enters single-track territory as it heads west towards Chicago on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 110 (train 15) is on the bridge at Burns Ditch on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 110 (train 15) is on the bridge at Burns Ditch on June 13, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 111, 353, 7, and 9 (train 8) at Miller at dawn on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 111, 353, 7, and 9 (train 8) at Miller at dawn on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Train 8 approaching Miller, where it won't stop, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Train 8 approaching Miller, where it won’t stop, on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 24 and 39 (train 204) at Ogden Dunes on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horacheck Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 24 and 39 (train 204) at Ogden Dunes on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horacheck Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 10, made up of cars 17, 12, 202, and 22, at speed on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 10, made up of cars 17, 12, 202, and 22, at speed on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 100 (train 9) is eastbound at the Lake Park Avenue crossing in the Lake Shore community just west of Michigan City on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL car 100 (train 9) is eastbound at the Lake Park Avenue crossing in the Lake Shore community just west of Michigan City on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 9 is near the county line between Porter and La Porte at US 12 just west of Michigan City on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL train 9 is near the county line between Porter and La Porte at US 12 just west of Michigan City on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 107 and 40 (train 12) near Lake Shore at speed on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL cars 107 and 40 (train 12) near Lake Shore at speed on December 26, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL baggage car 504 is in the coach yard on the north side of Shops on December 26, 1963. Don's Rail Photos: "377 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as ISC 377. It was assigned to IRR as 377 in 1932 and rebuilt as a combine in 1935. It was sold to CSS&SB as 504 in 1941 and used in 1942 as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1955 with windows removed and doors changed." (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

SSL baggage car 504 is in the coach yard on the north side of Shops on December 26, 1963. Don’s Rail Photos: “377 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as ISC 377. It was assigned to IRR as 377 in 1932 and rebuilt as a combine in 1935. It was sold to CSS&SB as 504 in 1941 and used in 1942 as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1955 with windows removed and doors changed.” (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 802, with Electroliner 803-804, goes onto private right-of-way at 5th and Harrison Streets in Milwaukee on December 31, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 802, with Electroliner 803-804, goes onto private right-of-way at 5th and Harrison Streets in Milwaukee on December 31, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 181, 180, 704, 727, and 167 are lined up at the Milwaukee Terminal on March 4, 1962. Car 251 is at left. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 181, 180, 704, 727, and 167 are lined up at the Milwaukee Terminal on March 4, 1962. Car 251 is at left. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 409 with cars 775 and 757 on 5th Street at Becher Street in Milwaukee on December 31, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 409 with cars 775 and 757 on 5th Street at Becher Street in Milwaukee on December 31, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

In January 1963, NSL train 420, comprising cars 775, 737, and 750, heads south on 5th near Lincoln in Milwaukee. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

In January 1963, NSL train 420, comprising cars 775, 737, and 750, heads south on 5th near Lincoln in Milwaukee. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 417, with cars 720, 738, and 759, heads north approaching Dempster Street on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 417, with cars 720, 738, and 759, heads north approaching Dempster Street on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 216, with cars 731, 703, 733, and 700 at Edison Court on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 216, with cars 731, 703, 733, and 700 at Edison Court on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

In January 1962, NSL car 252 is on track 2 at the Milwaukee Terminal. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

In January 1962, NSL car 252 is on track 2 at the Milwaukee Terminal. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On February 2, 1962, NSL train 417, made up of cars 250 and 763, is northbound at College Avenue in Milwuakee. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On February 2, 1962, NSL train 417, made up of cars 250 and 763, is northbound at College Avenue in Milwuakee. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 216, with cars 731, 703, 733, and 700 at 22nd Street in North Chicago on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 216, with cars 731, 703, 733, and 700 at 22nd Street in North Chicago on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On January 19, 1963, two days before abandonment, NSL train 216, made up of cars 731, 703, 733, and 700, are shown at Edison Court in Waukegan. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On January 19, 1963, two days before abandonment, NSL train 216, made up of cars 731, 703, 733, and 700, are shown at Edison Court in Waukegan. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 414 (car 746), is southbound at Piper's Road, the county line between Racine and Kenosha on February 10, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 414 (car 746), is southbound at Piper’s Road, the county line between Racine and Kenosha on February 10, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 414 leaves Dempster station in Skokie on a snowy January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 414 leaves Dempster station in Skokie on a snowy January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 172, 163, 415, and 763 are parked on the pit track at Waukegan on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 172, 163, 415, and 763 are parked on the pit track at Waukegan on January 19, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 410, made up of cars 750, 741, and 757 head uphill towards the Skokie Valley Route on December 9, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 410, made up of cars 750, 741, and 757 head uphill towards the Skokie Valley Route on December 9, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 410 leaves North Chicago Junction, where the tracks at right, which were formerly part of the Shore Line Route, but were only used for the Highwood Shops when this picture was taken on December 9, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 410 leaves North Chicago Junction, where the tracks at right, which were formerly part of the Shore Line Route, but were only used for the Highwood Shops when this picture was taken on December 9, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On a snowy December 31, 1962, train 409, with cars 775 and 757, prepares to climb the 5th Street hill from Becher Street. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On a snowy December 31, 1962, train 409, with cars 775 and 757, prepares to climb the 5th Street hill from Becher Street. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On the left at the NSL Milwaukee Terminal, train 422, with cars 755, 753, 726, and 252, is departing. The train at right, with cars 762 and 409, will remain for about an hour, before leaving as train 424. Meanwhile, one of the two Electroliners is scheduled to go out between them, but has not yet arrived. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On the left at the NSL Milwaukee Terminal, train 422, with cars 755, 753, 726, and 252, is departing. The train at right, with cars 762 and 409, will remain for about an hour, before leaving as train 424. Meanwhile, one of the two Electroliners is scheduled to go out between them, but has not yet arrived. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 404, with cars 764, 775, 768, and 761 approaches North Chicago Junction on October 6, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 404, with cars 764, 775, 768, and 761 approaches North Chicago Junction on October 6, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

October 6, 1962 was one foggy morning on the NSL, as train 404 prepares to take a switch off Commonwealth Avenue at Valley junction in North Chicago. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

October 6, 1962 was one foggy morning on the NSL, as train 404 prepares to take a switch off Commonwealth Avenue at Valley junction in North Chicago. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A freight loco meets a southbound passenger train at Green Bay Junction. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

A freight loco meets a southbound passenger train at Green Bay Junction. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 776 (train 409) passes train 409 at speed north of Racine on January 16, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL 776 (train 409) passes train 409 at speed north of Racine on January 16, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Here, we see NSL 165 through the rear door of 703 at Edison Court in Waukegan on January 16, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Here, we see NSL 165 through the rear door of 703 at Edison Court in Waukegan on January 16, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view from the rear end of southbound train 420 at North Chicago Junction, where we see northbound train 421 and its rear car 151, in August 1959. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The view from the rear end of southbound train 420 at North Chicago Junction, where we see northbound train 421 and its rear car 151, in August 1959. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The crossing gates are down on August 18, 1959, as eastbound NSL train 220, made up of cars 725 and 719, prepares to cross East Prairie Road in Skokie (while passing a former rapid transit station). (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The crossing gates are down on August 18, 1959, as eastbound NSL train 220, made up of cars 725 and 719, prepares to cross East Prairie Road in Skokie (while passing a former rapid transit station). (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

The same location today, as part of the CTA Yellow Line.

The same location today, as part of the CTA Yellow Line.

NSL merchandise dispatch cars 237 and 218 at Pettibone Yard on June 21, 1963, post-abandonment. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL merchandise dispatch cars 237 and 218 at Pettibone Yard on June 21, 1963, post-abandonment. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 412, 154, and 767 at Roosevelt Roard on Chicago's "L" system on October 24, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 412, 154, and 767 at Roosevelt Roard on Chicago’s “L” system on October 24, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 6 (car 726), has just left the Milwaukee terminal on January 16, 1963. Howard Odinius is at the controls. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL train 6 (car 726), has just left the Milwaukee terminal on January 16, 1963. Howard Odinius is at the controls. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL car 761 (train 6) prepares to depart the Milwaukee Terminal from track 3 on January 15, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL car 761 (train 6) prepares to depart the Milwaukee Terminal from track 3 on January 15, 1963. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 703 and 725 at Edison Court in Waukegan on August 16, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

NSL cars 703 and 725 at Edison Court in Waukegan on August 16, 1962. (John D. Horachek Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Recent Correspondence

Kenneth Gear writes:

Mike Konopka, who did the restoration work on much of the Steventon tape collection, wrote a blog entry about it. Here is the link should you like to read it.

Over the last five years, Ken and I have worked together to digitize, restore, and make available once again the entire output of the former Railroad Record Club, which totaled about 42 LPs. During that time, through good fortune and Ken’s generosity, he was able to purchase the original master tapes and many other items relating to the RRC.

I count this as one of our most significant accomplishments to date. These classic recordings, and much more, are available in our Online Store.

-David Sadowski

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
[/caption]


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

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



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

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

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

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

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 245th 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 581,000 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.

Sweet Home Chicago

In 1938, a visitor to Chicago from the Soviet Union snapped this picture of Chicago PCC 4032 running on route 20 - Madison downtown, and brought it home. Now, more than 80 years later, it has returned to Chicago.

In 1938, a visitor to Chicago from the Soviet Union snapped this picture of Chicago PCC 4032 running on route 20 – Madison downtown, and brought it home. Now, more than 80 years later, it has returned to Chicago.

They say you can never go home again. But no matter how far we may wander from home, there is something, almost like an unseen force, that calls us back to the places we lived in, grew up in, or love the most. And while we often feature transit photos from other cities, Chicago remains our home and will always be our favorite. So today, we are featuring Chicago-area streetcars, rapid transit, interurbans, and buses.

We do have a couple examples of things that, improbably, did find their way home. First, a picture of a Chicago PCC streetcar that has come back “from Russia with love.” Second, prints and negatives of Chicago transit, taken in 1952, that have been reunited after who knows how many years.

We also have some recent photo finds of our own, including a news report from Miles Beitler on the new Pulse bus rapid transit operation in Chicago’s northwest suburbs, and more classic photos shared by Bill Shapotkin and Jeff Wien of the Wien-Criss Archive.  Finally, there is some correspondence with Andre Kristopans.

We thank all our contributors.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- If you have comments on individual photos, and I am sure you will, please refer to them by their image number, which you can find by hovering your mouse over the photo (for example, the picture at the top of this post is img882). That is more helpful to me than just saying something was the seventh photo down, etc. We always appreciate hearing from you if you have useful information to contribute regarding locations and other details. Thanks in advance.

We also should not let the opportunity pass to wish Raymond DeGroote, Jr. a happy belated 89th birthday. Ray is a world traveler, a raconteur, and the Dean of Chicago railfans.

Recent Finds

CSL "Matchbox" 1412 is on the Morgan-Racine-Sangamon route in this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1412 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4641. It was renumbered 1412 in 1913 and became CSL 1412 in 1914. It was retired on March 30, 1948... These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. Two were used for an experimental articulated train. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers." Car 1374 in this series has been lovingly restored to operating condition, at the Illinois Railway Museum.

CSL “Matchbox” 1412 is on the Morgan-Racine-Sangamon route in this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1412 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1906 as CUT 4641. It was renumbered 1412 in 1913 and became CSL 1412 in 1914. It was retired on March 30, 1948… These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. Two were used for an experimental articulated train. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers.” Car 1374 in this series has been lovingly restored to operating condition, at the Illinois Railway Museum.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train, headed up by 433, is just west of the Canal Street station on the Metropolitan four-track main line in August 1953, a month before CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park. (John Szwajkart Photo)

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train, headed up by 433, is just west of the Canal Street station on the Metropolitan four-track main line in August 1953, a month before CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park. (John Szwajkart Photo)

CTA 4060 is at the front of a two-car Ravenswood "L" train approaching Kimball and Lawrence in this undated photo (1950s-60s).

CTA 4060 is at the front of a two-car Ravenswood “L” train approaching Kimball and Lawrence in this undated photo (1950s-60s).

CTA Pullman 460 is on either Route 8 - Halsted or 9 - Ashland in the early 1950s, you can't quite make it out on the roll sign. However, I am leaning towards Halsted, as Ashland got bussed in 1951, and the auto at left looks more like 1953 vintage. This streetcar was saved by the CTA, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is one of only three red Pullmans saved, the others being 144 (also at IRM) and 225 (at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine). Charles F. Amstein adds that 460 is "on Ashland, just north of 95th Street, looking north-northwet. I grew up in this area and spent much of my time at Beverly Bowling Lanes, seen in the distance at right."

CTA Pullman 460 is on either Route 8 – Halsted or 9 – Ashland in the early 1950s, you can’t quite make it out on the roll sign. However, I am leaning towards Halsted, as Ashland got bussed in 1951, and the auto at left looks more like 1953 vintage. This streetcar was saved by the CTA, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. It is one of only three red Pullmans saved, the others being 144 (also at IRM) and 225 (at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine). Charles F. Amstein adds that 460 is “on Ashland, just north of 95th Street, looking north-northwet. I grew up in this area and spent much of my time at Beverly Bowling Lanes, seen in the distance at right.”

CTA 4374 is southbound on Clark Street, just south of Diversey, on September 6, 1957, the last day for the north half of Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. Ricketts (no relation to the current Cubs ownership) was a popular restaurant. At left, down the street, you can just make out the marquee of the Parkway Theater. Autos visible include several Chevys, a Studebaker, and (at left) a 1957 Ford. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo) The tracks curving off to the left went into the CTA's Limits car barn (station), which was located at 2684 N. Clark. It got its name because, a long time earlier, this had been the city limits. There were facilities for cable cars at this location dating back to 1888. Limits car house opened in 1909, and was last used by streetcars in 1954 (the end of the Red Car era). It was used by buses until 1994, and the building was torn down in 1998.

CTA 4374 is southbound on Clark Street, just south of Diversey, on September 6, 1957, the last day for the north half of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. Ricketts (no relation to the current Cubs ownership) was a popular restaurant. At left, down the street, you can just make out the marquee of the Parkway Theater. Autos visible include several Chevys, a Studebaker, and (at left) a 1957 Ford. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo) The tracks curving off to the left went into the CTA’s Limits car barn (station), which was located at 2684 N. Clark. It got its name because, a long time earlier, this had been the city limits. There were facilities for cable cars at this location dating back to 1888. Limits car house opened in 1909, and was last used by streetcars in 1954 (the end of the Red Car era). It was used by buses until 1994, and the building was torn down in 1998.

CTA Met car 2907 is at Indiana Avenue, running the Kenwood shuttle on the last day of service, November 30, 1957 (also the last day for regular passenger service for wooden "L" cars).

CTA Met car 2907 is at Indiana Avenue, running the Kenwood shuttle on the last day of service, November 30, 1957 (also the last day for regular passenger service for wooden “L” cars).

CTA one-man car 1769 (here painted green, not red) is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16. The date of this Bob Selle photo is December 19, 1953, one year to the day before I was born. The Park Theater at right appears to already be closed.

CTA one-man car 1769 (here painted green, not red) is at Lake and Austin, west end of Route 16. The date of this Bob Selle photo is December 19, 1953, one year to the day before I was born. The Park Theater at right appears to already be closed.

CTA one-man car 1732, in red, heads southwest on Fifth Avenue at Harrison on July 5, 1953. Madison-Fifth was part of Route 20, but as of May 11, 1952, buses were substituted for streetcars on weekends– except for the Fifth Avenue branch, which used streetcars. That must be a Harrison bus in the background. (Robert Selle Photo)

On June 19, 1953 CTA PCC 7070 heads south on Roue 8 - Halsted, passing by the Congress Expressway construction site. PCCs were soon taken off Halsted, which ended streetcar service the following year using older equipment. This photo was taken from the nearby Halsted "L" station, which was not in the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo)

On June 19, 1953 CTA PCC 7070 heads south on Roue 8 – Halsted, passing by the Congress Expressway construction site. PCCs were soon taken off Halsted, which ended streetcar service the following year using older equipment. This photo was taken from the nearby Halsted “L” station, which was not in the expressway footprint. (Robert Selle Photo)

On May 12, 1954, Bob Selle took this picture of CTA Pullman 600, southbound on Route 8 - Halsted. This was less than three weeks before the end of streetcar service on this line. We are just south of the Metropolitan "L" station at Halsted, and crossing over the Congress Expressway construction. That looks like a Studebaker at left.

On May 12, 1954, Bob Selle took this picture of CTA Pullman 600, southbound on Route 8 – Halsted. This was less than three weeks before the end of streetcar service on this line. We are just south of the Metropolitan “L” station at Halsted, and crossing over the Congress Expressway construction. That looks like a Studebaker at left.

In this undated (probably late 1960s) photo taken on the Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia, Brilliner 10 appears to be changing ends. It is signed for the Media route, although this is not the end of that line. Perhaps there was track work going on. Matthew Nawn adds, "The photo of Red Arrow Lines #10 was taken at the Penn Street stop in Clifton Heights, PA. This is a stop on the Sharon Hill Line."

In this undated (probably late 1960s) photo taken on the Red Arrow Lines in suburban Philadelphia, Brilliner 10 appears to be changing ends. It is signed for the Media route, although this is not the end of that line. Perhaps there was track work going on. Matthew Nawn adds, “The photo of Red Arrow Lines #10 was taken at the Penn Street stop in Clifton Heights, PA. This is a stop on the Sharon Hill Line.”

This is how the interior of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 301 looked on August 8, 1954, the date of a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans' Association. Don's Rail Photos: "301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940." (Robert Selle Photo)

This is how the interior of Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 301 looked on August 8, 1954, the date of a fantrip for the Central Electric Railfans’ Association. Don’s Rail Photos: “301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940.” (Robert Selle Photo)

CA&E car 434 at an unidentified terminal. possibly Elgin.

CA&E car 434 at an unidentified terminal. possibly Elgin.

Once CA&E service stopped running to downtown Chicago, less equipment was needed. Here, wooden cars 137 and 141 are on the scrap track at the Wheaton Shops. Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954. These cars were purchased from the North Shore Line in 1946.

Once CA&E service stopped running to downtown Chicago, less equipment was needed. Here, wooden cars 137 and 141 are on the scrap track at the Wheaton Shops. Bob Selle took this picture on August 8, 1954. These cars were purchased from the North Shore Line in 1946.

CA&E car 701, ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. Don's Rail Photos: "701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938." Don also notes, "In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937."

CA&E car 701, ex-Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis. Don’s Rail Photos: “701 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1913 as WB&A 81. It was sold as CA&E 701 in 1938.”
Don also notes, “In 1937, the CA&E needed additional equipment. Much was available, but most of the cars suffered from extended lack of maintenance. Finally, 5 coaches were found on the Washington Baltimore & Annapolis which were just the ticket. 35 thru 39, built by Cincinnati Car in 1913, were purchased and remodeled for service as 600 thru 604. The ends were narrowed for service on the El. They had been motors, but came out as control trailers. Other modifications included drawbars, control, etc. A new paint scheme was devised. Blue and grey with red trim and tan roof was adopted from several selections. They entered service between July and October in 1937.”

CA&E 401 at the end of the line in Elgin.

CA&E 401 at the end of the line in Elgin.

CA&E 452 at either Elgin or Aurora.

CA&E 452 at either Elgin or Aurora.

CA&E 457 at the front of a two-car train near the end of either the Aurora or Elgin terminals, as it is operating with overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 457 at the front of a two-car train near the end of either the Aurora or Elgin terminals, as it is operating with overhead wire instead of third rail.

CA&E 429 at the head of a two-car train.

CA&E 429 at the head of a two-car train.

CA&E 451 heads up a two-car limited heading towards Chicago.

CA&E 451 heads up a two-car limited heading towards Chicago.

Speedrail (Milwaukee) car 63, a curved-sided product of Cincinnati Car Company, is operating as a local on the turnback track in Waukesha, on June 28 1951, two days before abandonment. (Photo by R. H. Adams, Jr.)

Speedrail (Milwaukee) car 63, a curved-sided product of Cincinnati Car Company, is operating as a local on the turnback track in Waukesha, on June 28 1951, two days before abandonment. (Photo by R. H. Adams, Jr.)

Six years ago, I purchased a couple strips of 35mm Super-XX black-and-white negatives and ran the photos on the blog I had at that time. There was no way to tell the exact date the pictures were taken, but they did contain various clues that helped narrow down the date. I posted the images, and several people guessed as to when they were shot. The consensus that eventually emerged was they were taken between Fall 1952 and Spring 1953. Well, in an act of serendipity, Jeff Wien (by way of Mr. Edward Springer) donated a set of snapshots to me that were made from these same negatives. They are dated December 1952, which is a better answer than we had before. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Six years ago, I purchased a couple strips of 35mm Super-XX black-and-white negatives and ran the photos on the blog I had at that time. There was no way to tell the exact date the pictures were taken, but they did contain various clues that helped narrow down the date. I posted the images, and several people guessed as to when they were shot. The consensus that eventually emerged was they were taken between Fall 1952 and Spring 1953. Well, in an act of serendipity, Jeff Wien (by way of Mr. Edward Springer) donated a set of snapshots to me that were made from these same negatives. They are dated December 1952, which is a better answer than we had before. You can see the rest of the photos here.

Pulse Bus Rapid Transit Celebration

Pace launched its Pulse bus rapid transit this week with the Pulse Milwaukee line which runs between Golf Mill in Niles and the Jefferson Park transit center in Chicago. Pace held a celebration event earlier today (August 15th) at Milwaukee and Touhy in Niles featuring speeches by various politicians, agency bureaucrats, and public transit advocates. A new Pulse bus was parked at the event and was available for public inspection, as well as a Pulse bus station with its passenger amenities.
Since you include bus photos on your blog, I have attached several photos of the event. Feel free to post any or all of them. The Pace website has detailed information about the Pulse service.
Ironically, Richmond (VA) has operated a bus rapid transit line for over a year which is very similar, and it’s also called “Pulse”. I don’t know if this is just a coincidence or if there is some connection between them. However, the Richmond line has dedicated bus-only lanes for part of its length, while our line runs in mixed traffic along Milwaukee Avenue.
-Miles Beitler

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

On June 21, 1958 an eastbound CTA train is in the station at Pulaski Road on the new Congress rapid transit line, then also known as the West Side Subway. Notice how little fencing there was separating the right-of-way from the highway. Eventually, this was replaced by concrete Jersey barriers after numerous vehicle crashes that impacted the "L". That way, when something hits the fence, it can take a "Jersey bounce."