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."

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.”

On June 21, 1958 a woman enters the new CTA rapid transit station at Pulaski Road on the Congress line, which replaced the Garfield Park "L" the following day. On this day, free rides were given out between Halsted and Cicero Avenues. The fiberglass panels on the sides of the entrance ramp were eventually cut down to allow for better visibility from outside.

On June 21, 1958 a woman enters the new CTA rapid transit station at Pulaski Road on the Congress line, which replaced the Garfield Park “L” the following day. On this day, free rides were given out between Halsted and Cicero Avenues. The fiberglass panels on the sides of the entrance ramp were eventually cut down to allow for better visibility from outside.

A North Shore Line Electroliner on December 28, 1962, less than a month before the end of the line for this interurban.

A North Shore Line Electroliner on December 28, 1962, less than a month before the end of the line for this interurban.

A new 2000-series CTA train at (I am guessing) the Douglas Park yards at 54th Avenue in Cicero on October 25, 1964.

A new 2000-series CTA train at (I am guessing) the Douglas Park yards at 54th Avenue in Cicero on October 25, 1964.

What I presume is the Douglas Park yard on October 25, 1964.

What I presume is the Douglas Park yard on October 25, 1964.

CTA articulated car set 51 (formerly 5001) found new life on the Skokie Swift after being oddball equipment on other lines, along with its three mates. Here, they are seen on the Swift on October 25, 1964, where they helped provide much-needed capacity in the face of unexpectedly large ridership several months after the new branch line began service.

CTA articulated car set 51 (formerly 5001) found new life on the Skokie Swift after being oddball equipment on other lines, along with its three mates. Here, they are seen on the Swift on October 25, 1964, where they helped provide much-needed capacity in the face of unexpectedly large ridership several months after the new branch line began service.

The date stamped on this slide is April 18, 1964, when demonstration rides were given out on the new CTA Skokie Swift branch line. However, that date may be incorrect, as my understanding is on that day, single car units 1-4 were coupled together and operated as a unit to provide demonstration rides, Regular service began on April 20, 1964. So either the units were uncoupled, or the date is wrong. Here, one of the high-speed cars is lowering its pan trolley, at the point where the line changed from overhead wire to third rail "on the fly."

The date stamped on this slide is April 18, 1964, when demonstration rides were given out on the new CTA Skokie Swift branch line. However, that date may be incorrect, as my understanding is on that day, single car units 1-4 were coupled together and operated as a unit to provide demonstration rides, Regular service began on April 20, 1964. So either the units were uncoupled, or the date is wrong. Here, one of the high-speed cars is lowering its pan trolley, at the point where the line changed from overhead wire to third rail “on the fly.”

On October 25, 1964 a pair of 4000-series "L" cars are seen at the Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift, presumably on a fantrip.

On October 25, 1964 a pair of 4000-series “L” cars are seen at the Dempster terminal on the Skokie Swift, presumably on a fantrip.

This picture of the Dempster terminal is dated April 18, 1964, which would have been the very first day people could ride the Skokie Swift.

This picture of the Dempster terminal is dated April 18, 1964, which would have been the very first day people could ride the Skokie Swift.

Line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal on October 25, 1964. Don's Rail Photos adds, "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." Since the museum was evicted from its home, whatever portion of the car that survives has been taken on by another preservation group, in hopes that it can eventually be rebuilt or restored.

Line car S-606 at the Dempster terminal on October 25, 1964. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” Since the museum was evicted from its home, whatever portion of the car that survives has been taken on by another preservation group, in hopes that it can eventually be rebuilt or restored.

The following South Shore Line photos, again courtesy of William Shapotkin, are all dated October 1965 and are from a fantrip.

Here are some classic postcard views, again from the collections of William Shapotkin:

From Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive:

These pictures of the Illinois Terminal Railroad were taken on July 4, 1950:

Don's Rail Photos: "1565, Class B, was built at Decatur in 1910. It was sold to Illinois Power & Light Co at Campaign on April 10, 1955. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1960."

Don’s Rail Photos: “1565, Class B, was built at Decatur in 1910. It was sold to Illinois Power & Light Co at Campaign on April 10, 1955. It was acquired by Illinois Railway Museum in 1960.”

IT 270.

IT 270.

IT 273.

IT 273.

Don's Rail Photos: "276 was built by St Louis Car in 1913. It was air conditioned and the arch windows were covered. It was sold for scrap to Compressed Steel Co on March 13, 1956."

Don’s Rail Photos: “276 was built by St Louis Car in 1913. It was air conditioned and the arch windows were covered. It was sold for scrap to Compressed Steel Co on March 13, 1956.”

IT 281.

IT 281.

IT 284.

IT 284.

Don's Rail Photos: "1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin."

Don’s Rail Photos: “1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin.”

IT 052. This looks like a sleeping car or bunk car and is unpowered.

IT 052. This looks like a sleeping car or bunk car and is unpowered.

Again from the Wien-Criss Archive, here are a series of photos taken at the Chicago Aurora & Elgin’s Wheaton Yards, in August 1959 after the line had stopped running even freight service. Several cars were sold to museum interests and moved off the property in early 1962. Everything else was scrapped. It’s possible that these pictures may have been taken by the late Joseph Saitta of New York.

Looking somewhat worse for wear, here is CA&E car 321 as it looked at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on June 9, 1962. This and the other cars that were saved from the line had been stored outdoors for a few years, and exposure to the elements took their toll. The museum, now just IRM, moved to Union in 1964. (Wien-Criss Archive Photo)

Looking somewhat worse for wear, here is CA&E car 321 as it looked at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago on June 9, 1962. This and the other cars that were saved from the line had been stored outdoors for a few years, and exposure to the elements took their toll. The museum, now just IRM, moved to Union in 1964. (Wien-Criss Archive Photo)

The following pictures, also from the Wien-Criss Archive, are not very sharp, but do show Chicago transit vehicles in September 1953 and May 1954. There are several shots of the temporary ground-level trackage used from 1953 to 1958 by the Garfield Park “L”, during construction of the Congress Expressway. Those pictures were taken at Van Buren and Western. Some of the PCC photos were snapped in the vicinity of Roosevelt Road, which is also where the Greyhound bus picture was probably taken.

Recent Correspondence

We recently asked Andre Kristopans about which Chicago streetcars, including PCCs, were converted to one-man operation in the CTA era.  Here’s what he reports:

In 1951, all 83 prewar PCCs to OMC on AFE S14000. At same time, 21 Sedans to OMC (3325,3347-3349,3351-3352,3354-3355,3357,3360-3363,3368,3372,3378-3379,6303,6305,6310,6319) on AFE S14001

However almost immediately 20 postwars 4052-4061,7035-7044 to OMC on S14011

155 older cars 1721-1785,3119-3178,6155-6198 to convertible OMC 1948 on S11381

Some additional info. Of the 169 cars in the three groups listed for one-manning, the following were already gone when the plan was announced:

6 under CSL 1945-47 1738,1754,1770,3133,3170,3176
8 under CTA 1948 1727,1763,3130,3150,3152,3155,3159,6197

169 minus above 14 leaves 155 for conversion in 1949

Me: Thanks… and none of the Peter Witts were used in one-man service, right?

Andre: Redone then scrapped replaced by postwars?

Me: Didn’t this have to do with the decision not to one-man 63rd Street? Or was it simply that mixing the Sedans with PCCs would have slowed things down?

Andre: Supposedly one of the aldermen along 63rd pitched a bitch about the sedans after he saw one. Thought they would be “unsafe”. Not sure on what grounds, suspect had to do with center door arrangement. But plan was dropped and sedans scrapped.

Me: Thanks!

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo) Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 236th 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 539,000 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.”

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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.

An Interurban Legacy

A modern EMU carries passengers on the CSS&SB while a vintage steeple cab hauls freight on the Iowa Traction.

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by guest contributor Kenneth Gear, long a friend of this blog.)

The demise of America’s electric railways, its interurban and trolley lines, was swift and merciless. What the financial hardships of the Great Depression didn’t destroy, the automobile finished off by the end of the 1960s.

All that remains of some of these railways, if anything remains, is a bike trail on the right of way, some preserved equipment, photographs, or sound recordings on record albums.

In some cases, however, rail service managed to continue, where a few freight customers remained the railroad could survive on a starvation diet. Abandoning all but a few miles of track, deactivation of the electric traction system, and the use of diesel locomotives kept the railroad from completely disappearing.

This, with the exception of the South Shore Line for passengers and Iowa Traction for freight, is how most of the common carrier remnants of the age of electric railways look today.

In my railfan travels I have made an effort to seek out and photograph these survivors. While I haven’t gotten every one on my list I did visit a few and I’d like to share to the photos. In some cases I was only able to get a few locomotive roster shots but other times, I was lucky enough to find a moving train and follow to various places along the line. I also photographed railroads that were never part of an electric railway but, coincidentally or not, share their corporate title with some long gone traction company. I included these photos as well.

I have cobbled together (mostly from Wikipedia) a brief history of each the railways.

THE RAILROADS I’VE PHOTOGRAPHED:

Baltimore & Annapolis

Cedar Rapids & Iowa City

Chicago South Shore & South Bend

Greenville & Western

Piedmont & Northern

South Brooklyn

Southern Indiana

Tulsa Sapulpa Union

IN NAME ONLY

Western New York & Pennsylvania

Indiana Rail Road

Shore Fast Line

The Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad ran between Annapolis and Clifford Maryland.

B&A electric passenger operation between the two cities continued until 1950, at which time the rail line became solely a freight carrier, operating buses for passenger service. Freight service to Annapolis continued until June 1968 when the Severn River Trestle was declared unsafe. In the 1980s the line was completely shut down. The right of way now serves as part of the Baltimore light rail system and as the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail.

I happened to stumble upon Baltimore & Annapolis SW-9 87 while railfanning the Carolina Southern RR at Chadbourn, NC. This locomotive was built by EMD in 1953. June 22, 1998.

The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City Railway is also known as the Crandic. The Crandic began operations in 1904, providing interurban service between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa. While freight was important to the Crandic in the early years, it was better known for its passenger interurban operations. After passenger operations were discontinued in 1953, freight became the primary source of traffic for the Crandic. At the same time, the electric-powered locomotives were replaced with diesel models.

In August of 2006 while on my way to Mason City, IA to photograph Iowa Traction, I stopped off to see what I could find in Cedar Rapids. Near 8th Avenue SW I spotted Cedar Rapids & Iowa City SW-900 #99 switching the ADM plant.

Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad, America’s last interurban, began in 1901 as the Chicago & Indiana airline railroad, a streetcar route between East Chicago and Indiana Harbor. By 1908 its route had reached South Bend via Michigan City. The company leased the Kensington & Eastern Railroad (an Illinois Central subsidiary) to gain access to Chicago. Passenger service between South Bend and Chicago began in 1909. The Lake Shore added freight service in 1916. It was renamed the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad in 1925 when Samuel Insull acquired it. The post-World War II decline in traffic hurt the company, and it was bought by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway in 1967. In 1977 the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) began subsidizing the passenger operations and in 1984 the Venango River Corporation (VRC) purchased the South Shore from the C&O. Venango declared bankruptcy in 1989. In 1990 Anacostia & Pacific Company acquired the South Shore. The NICTD purchased the passenger assets.

Because the freight and passenger operations of this railroad are conducted (pun intended) by different entities, I think it is not off topic to include it on my list of former electric railway. after all, the freight trains are diesel powered.

CSS&SB South Shore Freight GP-38-2s 2004/2009 & 2003 at the Carroll Avenue shops in Michigan City IN. (10-15-09)

South Shore Freight GP38-2s 2002/2007 running lite on 11th Street in Michigan City IN on a rainy October 15, 2009.

The Piedmont & Northern Railway was a heavy electric interurban company operating over two disconnected divisions in North and South Carolina. Unlike similar interurban systems the Piedmont & Northern survived the great depression and was later absorbed into the Seaboard Coast line in 1969 and eventually absorbed by CSX. The North Carolina Department of Transportation bought 12 miles of the railroad from Mt. Holly, NC to Gastonia, NC in May 2010 and awarded a contract to Patriot Rail Corporation to restore the track and operate trains. Iowa Pacific took over operation of the line on August 1, 2015.

By the time I visited the P&N, Patriot Rail had already given up on the railroad and nothing was running. I found Piedmont & Northern GP-15-1s # 1434 & 1451 at Renlo, NC. The locomotives had no work to do but at least they were sitting in good sunlight in a wide open area and I was able to get good roster shots. Knowing the engines weren’t going anywhere anytime soon, I ventured back at nightfall with my night photo kit and popped off a few flashbulbs. (October 5, 2014)

Another short line operating on Ex-P&N tracks is the Greenville & Western.

The Greenville & Western Railroad operates on twelve miles of the former Southern division of the Piedmont & Northern Railway between Pelzer and Belton, SC. In 1910 the Greenville Spartanburg & Anderson Railway was formed to build an interurban railroad between its namesake cities. The Pelzer-Belton segment was built as part of its mainline from Greenwood to Greenville between 1910-1912. This line became part of the P&N in 1914, SCL in 1968 and CSX in 1986. CSX sought to abandon the line from Belton to Pelzer but the abandonment was rejected by the Surface Transportation Board. Effective October 21, 2006 GRLW assumed ownership and operation of the line.

Photo Captions (numbered in upper left corner):

1. Greenville & Western GP-9s # 3751 & 3752 about to depart the ethanol plant at Cheddar and head to the CSX interchange at Pelzer, SC.

2, 3, & 4. Greenville & Western GP-9s # 3751 & 3752 power an ethanol train at Williamston, SC. October 8, 2014.

5. Not much of the Ex-P&N’s interurban past is evident today but at Belton, SC there is some side of the road running that harkens to the past. GRLW GP-9s are in the yard waiting for the next trip out.

6 & 7. Greenville & Western GP-9s # 3751 & 3752 at Belton. Both units are ex-B&O and look grand in GRLW’s classy paint scheme.

8. The Greenville & Western interchanges with the Pickens RR in the Belton yard. Here Pickens U18B # 9504 delivers a cut of cars late in the afternoon of October 8, 2014.

9. Greenville & Western GP-9 # 3752 was built by EMD in July of 1957 and is Ex-B&O # 6554.

10. Greenville & Western GP-9 # 3751 takes three cars to Cheddar as it passes through Belton.

11. Greenville & Western GP-9 # 3751 at Cheddar, SC This locomotive was built by EMD in May of 1957 and is Ex-B&O # 6513. (October 8, 2014)

12. On another day, Greenville & Western GP-9 # 3751 again passes through Belton on it’s way to Cheddar, SC. (October 9, 2014)

The South Brooklyn Railway started as The South Brooklyn Railroad and Terminal Company and was incorporated September 30, 1887 to build from the end of the Brooklyn Bath & West End Railroad (West End Line) at 38th Street and 9th Avenue northwest to the foot of 38th Street, and was leased to the BB&WE, allowing BB&WE trains to run to the 39th Street Ferry. Then the Prospect Park and South Brooklyn Railroad connected the Culver Line to the South Brooklyn Railroad in 1890, and the latter was bought by the Long Island Rail Road in 1893. The LIRR obtained the South Brooklyn Railway & Terminal Company lease on the land in 1897 and used steam powered locomotives. As these locomotives could not be used for freight operations, the line was electrified in 1899. After foreclosure of the South Brooklyn Railroad & Terminal Company in December 1899, the company was reorganized as the South Brooklyn Railway on January 13, 1900.

The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company acquired the railway on August 31, 1902, but the LIRR still ran the trains until 1903 or 1905. After the cessation of LIRR operations, the BRT started passenger service and transferred freight service to a subsidiary, Brooklyn Heights Railroad, which provided freight service with three locomotives, with a fourth delivered in 1907. It carried mail for the United States Postal Service, as well as lumber, cement, sand, stone, ashes, pipe, marble for headstones, and granite for curbstones. On February 28, 1907, the South Brooklyn Railway and the Brooklyn Heights Railroad were split from each other, but both were still owned by the BRT. The South Brooklyn Railway was a separate subsidiary company that carried both passengers and freight. In 1913, all of the BRT’s lines were reorganized, and all ownership of freight operations was transferred to the South Brooklyn Railway. The railway, along with the other non-rapid transit properties were transferred to the New York City Board of Transportation on June 1, 1940. In 1946 the railway purchased two Whitcomb ex-US Army diesel locomotives. Operations were transferred to the New York City Transit Authority on June 15, 1953. Passenger service ended on October 31, 1958, and thereafter the South Brooklyn Railway started using the surface trackage solely for freight. In 1960, two more diesel electric locomotives were bought. On December 27, 1961, the line was de-electrified, due to the high cost of refurbishing the overhead trolley wire. Electric locomotives #4, 5, 6, and 7, which had third rail conduction shoes, were given to the NYCTA for subway and elevated operation. In 1994, the last non-NYCTA customer on the line closed; the South Brooklyn Railway was then used almost exclusively for subway connections to the LIRR.

Photo Captions (numbered in upper left corner):

1, 2, & 3 When I took these photos of the South Brooklyn Railway they still had on line freight customers that needed service. GE 50T locomotives # N2 & N1 deliver one car to the Bush interchange yard for pick up by the New York Cross Harbor RR.

4. N2 has cut away from N1 while the NYCH crew, with Alco S-1 # 22, is in the background coupling up to the lone car that SBK delivered.

5, 6, & 7. SBK GE 50T N1 and NYCH Alco S-1 # 22 are side by side at the Bush interchange yard, Bush Junction, Brooklyn, NY in May of 1992.

8. SBK GE 50T # N1 at Bush Junction in Brooklyn, NY. Note the interesting array of trackage in the pavement of 2nd Avenue. The street trackage is used by the NYCH RR to return to Bush Terminal a few blocks away.

9. On June 5, 1993 the New York Cross Harbor RR held an open house and yard tour at Bush Terminal. South Brooklyn 50T N1 was on hand that day and was posed with freight cars (box cars for recycling materials) at the entrance of the yard.

10. SBK 50T # N1 takes the box cars a short distance and drops them at the recycling plant.

11. SBK N1 and N2 travel lite along the street trackage heading back to home rails. On the way the tracks cut through the corner of the Bush terminal building at 41st Street & 2nd Avenue. NYCH follows behind.

12. SBK 50Ts # N2 and N1 with a cut of NYCTA R30 subway cars heading for scrap. Bush interchange yard, Brooklyn NY 6-5-93.

13. SBK 50T N1 with scrap NYCTA R30 subway cars.

14. South Brooklyn 50Ts N2 & N1 at Bush interchange yard with the Manhattan skyline in the distance. Brooklyn NY.

15. SBK GE 50Ts N2 & N1 and NYCH S-1 22 at the Bush interchange yard Brooklyn NY. (6-5-93)

The Southern Indiana Railroad was once part of the Indiana Railroad. It started as the Indianapolis and Louisville Traction Company organized to build track between Seymour and Sellersburg as part of the Interstate Public Service Company interurban line which extended from Indianapolis to Louisville. The track was completed in 1907. It was the first railway in the country to operate on a 1200 volt high tension, direct current system. The Indiana Railroad abandoned operations and the last train operated on October 31, 1939. The Southern Indiana RR began operations the same year on the six miles of track between Speed and Watson, IN where an interchange is made with CSX. The Railroad is now owned by Essroc Cement Company. (From Lake Iola Interurban Site historic marker and THE AMERICAN SHORTLINE RAILWAY GUIDE)

Photo Captions (numbered in upper left corner):

1, 2, 3, & 4. When I arrived in Speed, Indiana early on the morning of October 7, 2015 the Southern Indiana Railroad was already hard at work switching the ESSROC Cement plant. SIND S-2M # 103 (Ex-Pickens RR # 7 and was repowered by GE with a Cummins engine) is looking great in it’s traction orange paint. The tracks being embedded in the pavement of the cement plant’s driveway almost gives the appearance of street tracks, another nod to this railroad’s interurban past.

5. On the road…SIND S-2M # 103 is crossing Utica Street in Sellersburg. The road’s enginehouse is located here a short distance away.

6. S-2M 103 is on the move near Jeffersonville, IN

7. Southern Indiana S-2M 103 travels through the back yards of Watson on it’s way to the CSX interchange.

8. Another view of Southern Indiana S-2M 103 at Watson.

9. To me this photo has a very strong traction “feel” to it. With the traction orange locomotive, pole line, and side of the street running all that is missing is over head wire and a trolley pole. S-2M 103 is arriving at the CSX interchange at Watson.

10. Southern Indiana S-2M 103 at Watson, IN 10-7-15.

11. Southern Indiana S-2M # 103 crossing Watson Depot Road in Watson, IN.

12. with the Interchange work is finished number 103 heads back to speed lite.

The Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railway got it’s start in 1907 with the incorporation of the Sapulpa and Interurban Railway. The line operated as an interurban streetcar line using trolley cars around Sapulpa, Oklahoma. By 1917 the line underwent bankruptcy and reorganization, being incorporated as the Sapulpa Electric Interurban Railway. This same year the line was extended north to connect with the Oklahoma Union Railway out of Tulsa. In 1933 the railway once again hit upon tough times and was in receivership and operated under the name Oklahoma Union Salvage Company. The company was purchased in 1934 by George F. Collins who owned and operated a Sapulpa glass plant known as the Liberty Glass Company. The line has remained in the Collins family’s control since that time forward. It was at this time the line became a freight railroad operation only with the glass plant being one of its principal customers. The line continued to be powered by electric overhead wire using freight box motors for motive power. In 1934 the name was changed to the Sapulpa Union Railway Company and to the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railway in 1943. The electric overhead wires came down in 1960 with the purchase of diesel electric locomotives. The line continues to operate serving industry between Sapulpa and Tulsa, Oklahoma. (condensed from the TSU Rwy. website)

Photo Captions (numbered in upper left corner):

1. Tulsa Sapulpa Union Railway sign at the enginehouse in Sapulpa, OK.

2. Tulsa Sapulpa Union SW-1200 # 108 switching the Sinclair refinery in Tulsa OK on September 26, 2008.

3 & 4. Tulsa Sapulpa Union SW-1200 # 108 is crossing 37th Street SW in Tulsa, OK.

5 & 6. A couple more shots of Tulsa Sapulpa Union SW-1200 # 108 switching the Sinclair Refinery.

7. Number 108 with the City of Tulsa in the background.

8, 9, & 10. Tulsa Sapulpa Union SW-7 1905 (formerly #107) at the engine house in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. (9-26-08)

Western New York & Pennsylvania

Although this ALCO powered railroad operates on former Erie and Pennsylvania railroad trackage, it bears the name of a former interurban line that once operated in the same area. The Western New York & Pennsylvania Traction Company began operations in 1894 and connected Olean, NY and Allegany, PA. The line ceased operation in 1921.

1. WNY&P M-630 # 631 at the Olean, NY locomotive facility.

2. WNY&P C-430 # 430 at Olean, NY

3. WNY&P C-630 # 630 Olean NY 10-3-09



Indiana Railroad

This railroad operates tracks once belonging to the Illinois Central and Milwaukee Road. Nonetheless its locomotives carry the name of that famous Midwest Interurban– the Indiana Railroad. IR hung on for a few years after the depression but in 1941 a wreck with fatalities south of Indianapolis put an abrupt end to the last operation of interurbans in Indiana (other than the South Shore Line).

1. Indiana Rail Road SD40-2 # 42 leads train HWPAT at Jasonville, IN. (6-7-09)

2. There is no missing the Indiana Rail Road name in logo on Indiana SD40-2 # 42.

3. An SD-9043MAC on a unit coal train is not what immediately springs to most railfan’s mind when interurban railways are mentioned. However, with the name of a former traction company emblazoned on the locomotive, that was exactly what I was thinking about while watching this train. Indiana Rail Road # 9005 and 9006 power a coal train at Switz City IN.

Shore Fast Line Railroad

This New Jersey short line started running trains on former Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines and Central Railroad of New Jersey tracks owned by NJ Transit and Conrail in 1983. Interestingly, the management decided to name the railroad for, and paint the locomotives in the paint scheme of, the Atlantic City & Shore Railway known as the Shore Fast Line. The Shore Fast Line was an electric interurban railroad running from Atlantic City to Ocean City, NJ, by way of the mainland communities of Pleasantville, Northfield, Linwood and Somers Point. The line ran from 1907 until 1948. The Shore Fast Line short line railroad changed ownership and its corporate name in 1991 becoming the Southern Railroad of New Jersey.

1. Shore Fast Line SW-1200 # 1145 at Winslow Junction, NJ. (5-30-90)

2, 3, & 4. Shore Fast Line U30B # 2884 at Winslow Junction, NJ. 5-15-91 The triangles on the nose of the 2884 are the same as the ones that were painted on the ends of the AC&S Railways streetcars!

Bob Reuter adds:

The B&A engine shown (#87) was only used for a very short time, the number of the unit is actually the year it was acquired. Attached is a photo of unit #50 which was used for almost the entire time the B&A used diesel. This photo was taken in 1977 as it rolled out of the shop in its brand new paint scheme. (This engine is currently at the B&O railroad museum.)

Photo credit: Bob Reuter

Former employee of the B&A RR

Recent Correspondence

Dan Bosque writes:

I am researching a family group that lived at the intersection of Larretta Ct (aka Loretta Ct) and Tilden Street (later renamed Carpenter) in Chicago. This area was surrounded by Aberdeen, Van Buren, Morgan and Congress (now the Eisenhower Expressway).

The time period of interest is 1900 to 1940 during which the Garfield Park branch of the L train ran along Tilden, perhaps along properties on the south of Tilden Street.

Would someone have photos of the tracks in this area that might show buildings in the background?

Beside an image, I’m trying to get a sense of living along narrow streets with lots of residents and a train going through the neighborhood repeatedly.

I did find a photo showing the end to Tilden at Racine with a streetcar on Rancine going under the elevated tracks. It showed a Tilden street sign but not anything for Tilden street. If the Google car was there, I’d move it’s position ahead and point it left.

We have (in previous posts) run various pictures of the Metropolitan “L” on the near west side. If you type “Garfield” in the search window at the top of this page, these should come up. Otherwise, we’ll see if our readers have more pictures to share, thanks.

Miles Beitler writes:

I just found these 1950s railfan videos. They include action shots of CTA 6000s, 4000s, wood cars, PCC streetcars, Red Rocket streetcars, buses, North Shore Line and CA&E trains, Diesel and Steam locomotives, Illinois Central and South Shore trains. Also you can see the CTA yards at Laramie, Logan Square, and Wilson.

Thanks very much. These videos should be of particular interest to our readers.

Some of these films were made circa 1952-54, since red Chicago streetcars are seen running in service. The CA&E portions were taken prior to September 20, 1953, when service was cut back to Forest Park. There are also shots of Milwaukee streetcars.

The South Shore Line video includes film of East Chicago street running, which was relocated adjacent to the Indiana Toll Road in 1956. You can tell this is East Chicago, because it’s double-tracked. The South Shore’s other street running in Michigan City and South Bend was almost entirely single-track.

Alan R. writes:

I was wondering if you had any information or photos concerning the Grand Trunk Western Railroad that ran commuter service within Chicago up until at least 1935. My main interest is the Main Line-Illinois, which ran on what has been freight rail lines since then I believe, with limited commuter service until 1971. Here’s a link to where I found out about these trains. These were probably not trolleys but I’m not sure. There is one station building remaining at Chicago Lawn which I’ve seen along with the steps of the station at 59th St. Further along that line there are probably more station buildings standing. Any photos from anywhere on this line would be incredible imo.

http://www.chicagorailfan.com/msgtw.html

I am not an expert on the Grand Trunk Western, which was never electrified, always being either steam or diesel, so I asked a couple friends for their thoughts.

Andre Kristopans:

Well, I don’t know a heck of a lot about GTW commuter service, but I do know a little. Service ran until the 1950’s apparently with a couple of trains each way between Dearborn Station and Harvey. There was a station at 63rd/Central Park that was in use for thru trains until 1971 as far as I know. There were other stations that still existed into the 1970’s such as the one in Harvey (at Racine?) and one at Central Park and 82nd or so. But now the only ones are remnants at 59th and 63rd. By the way, that was a very late elevation, after WW2.

Bill Shapotkin:

As for the GTW suburban service, here is what I have/know:

Operated until 1934 (to Harvey). Until circa 1917, it operated all the way to Valparaiso, IN. Indeed, the stairs to the 59th St station are still standing (as per a Google Earth view a few days ago), as is the depot (which has served as a home for at least two unsuccessful restaurants over the years at 63rd).

There were numerous other stops as well. There are signs (evidence) of the Ashland station (platform railings). A trip along the line about 6 years ago revealed little other evidence of stations, except that the depot at Griffith remains (it has been moved and is part of the museum there). The depot at Sedley, IN (now a private home) remains, as does the depot at Valparaiso (which I understand has been recently removed).

I have pix of the depot at Eldson (51st St). Have a photocopy of a timetable (back when service ran to Valpo).

Have been at virtually all the station locations along the line…with pix at each (as they exist today). For whatever reason, the station at Harvey (which I understand stood until the early 1970s) managed to be very camera-shy (interestingly, pix of the nearby B&OCT station is Harvey do exist).

The GTW intercity trains (which made their last trips on Friday, April 30, 1971 (Amtrak eve) did serve both the stations at 63rd (known as “Chicago Lawn”) and Valparaiso.

We thank both Andre and Bill for sharing this.

One of our regular readers writes:

Here is a four minute clip of an action sequence from the 1953 film “City That Never Sleeps” which was mostly filmed on location in Chicago. I thought you might be interested since the action takes place on the L tracks with two 4000-series trains traveling in opposite directions.

In this scene, gangster Hayes Stewart — who has just murdered Chicago Police detective John Kelly — is pursued by officer John Kelly, Jr., the victim’s son. The part of Hayes Stewart was played by actor William Talman. He started his career playing criminal types, but is best known for his portrayal of district attorney Hamilton Burger in the “Perry Mason” TV series. The part of patrolman John Kelly, Jr. was played by Gig Young, a charismatic actor who unfortunately never achieved his true potential.

In the film, the dispatcher gives the location as “between Kinzie and the river just east of Wells” which would indicate the old North Water Street terminal or possibly the Merchandise Mart. However, that was artistic license; the actual spot where this was filmed was between Grand and Division on the “Evergreen Connector” portion of the Logan Square line. With the opening of the Milwaukee-Dearborn subway in 1951, this portion of the L was no longer used in revenue service, but it was retained for equipment transfers since it was the only connection between the Logan Square route and the rest of the L system.

I continue to enjoy your website. Keep it up.

I assume that when this was filmed, the third rail was turned off. When actor Bill Talman fell onto the third rail, it looks like he was holding some sort of prop in his hands which made it look like an electric spark. Perhaps if he had given up smoking sooner, he might have been able to outrun the policeman.

Thanks… and thanks also to Kenneth Gear for another great post! Keep those cards and letters coming in.

-David Sadowski

PS- Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. Lots of work has been done on the text, and the final selection of photos has been made. We will keep you advised as things progress.

street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 178th 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 265,000 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 will help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Guy Wicksall and His Films

South Shore Line car 102 in downtown Chicago.

South Shore Line car 102 in downtown Chicago.

You probably have not ever heard of Guy J. Wicksall before, but he has been shooting movies of trains for a long time now. He recently had some of his rare 16mm color films converted to video. By special arrangement with the photographer, we are now able to offer our readers The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection (1963-1975) on DVD (details below, at the end of this post).

All the photos in this post are screen grabs from the Wicksall Collection. We figured the best way to introduce these films to you would be to go to the source, and discuss them with Guy himself.

Here is an edited transcript of my conversation with the man behind the movies from October 10, 2016.  Mr. Wicksall is now 81 years old and lives in the Finger Lakes area in upstate New York.

-David Sadowski


How long have you been making movies?

I started making movies in 1960. I have right now, some 59 DVDs. If I could ever get the money together, I have enough material for another 30 or 40.

That’s pretty incredible. What subject matter would most of them be?

Most of it is anything that ran on steel rails (laughs), there are a few exceptions, I have a few of the aerial cable ways in Switzerland. I have a real short piece, a 15-minute piece, on the Minnesota Transportation Museum trolleys.

And what percentage of your film footage would you say is devoted to electric traction?

Oh, probably 5 percent, maybe as much as 10 when you count in the European stuff.

And was it all 16mm that you shot?

Not all of it. The first few years I was shooting 8mm. When Kodak came out with their Super 8, my local photo shop loaned me a sample of Kodak Super 8 film, and I looked at that, and compared it with the 8mm, and decided that the 8mm wasn’t suitable, and the Super 8 wasn’t any better, so I changed at that time to 16mm.

(Editor’s note: Kodak introduced Super 8 in 1965, but some of Mr. Wicksall’s 16mm films date back to 1963. You can read more about these film formats here.)

And how much larger is the 16mm film area that the 8mm?

Oh, well, it’s at least four times the area.

That makes a tremendous difference as far as the quality is concerned. I’m very pleased with the excellent quality of the films that you made, because I am used to seeing videos made up from 8mm, where the picture is so fuzzy that if you made a screen shot of it, you’d hardly know what it was a picture of.

Right. I know what you mean. And, talking with people, it seems that the Super 8 got worse as the years went by. They tried to push the speed, it hurt the quality of the image.

Was it Kodachrome or Ektachrome, or both?

Kodachrome.

What was the film speed back then?

Well, I started out with 25 ASA, and I think I got to 64 at some point.

And what kind of film was available for 16mm? Was it also Kodachrome?

Yes. I always shot Kodachrome on the 16mm.

And then, at some point, did you switch over to using video?

Yes, I got pushed into it by the cost, when I started shooting 16 it was about $9 for a 50-foot reel, and it went to $70, and I just couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to go to something that was a little more reasonable. Unfortunately, I lost a little quality on the early Hi8 camera I used.

Sure. But now they keep coming up with new formats for the video, they’ve got this new one called 4k, which is the best one yet.

Well, the big problem is they keep changing formats so quickly. Now I’ve had three different video cameras with three different setups. A couple used Hi8, and the last one is digital video on SD cards, and things keep changing.

Regarding some of the film on the two traction discs, I could ask you a few questions. You made some business trips to Chicago, is that how you ended up making some films around Chicago?

Some of it was business trips to Chicago, and some of it was just plain vacation. I didn’t get a lot of business trips. The stuff shot in New York was on business trips, and some of the stuff shot in Chicago was on business trips, but not all of it.

In ’63 or so, you took some film on the “L”. It looked like you were at what they now call Adams and Wabash station, watching some trains come around into the station, and you’ve got some footage where you rode out on the Lake Street “L” to Oak Park.

Right.

That was the year after they had elevated that one section, the outer end of the Lake Street “L”, it ran on the ground for 2 ½ miles on the west end, and I saw that you had a glimpse there showing the track was still in place, even though you were up on the embankment. But it looks like they had paved over the grade crossings.

I was wondering a little bit what that track was.

Until October 28, 1962, the west end of the Lake Street “L” ran on the ground, west of the Laramie station. There was a ramp that went down to ground level and it ran parallel to the Chicago and North Western embankment there, using overhead wire. They had trolley poles on the trains, and clearances were very tight. There were something like 22 grade crossings, blind crossings, where you could easily have an accident where a vehicle would run under that viaduct and run right into a train. It was kind of dangerous. These were manually operated gates, so there was a lot of manpower involved.

The CTA wanted to reduce expenses, improve the running time, and safety, so they made a deal with the Chicago and North Western in the 1950s to relocate the tracks onto the embankment, which had probably been put up sometime around 1910. It was a big project which involved a variety of different government bodies, the Village of Oak Park, the City of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority, the State of Illinois, and it was a “win-win” situation, because everybody benefited from the relocation of the tracks. When they got rid of those tracks, that made the street wider, and it allowed for more parking, and of course there were a lot of improvements based on the quicker running time for the trains, and since it was grade separated, there weren’t going to be any more accidents with pedestrians and vehicles.

I grew up in the area around Oak Park, so we rode those trains many times when they ran on the ground. The clearances were so tight that they couldn’t run the 6000-series “L” cars, which had curved sides, and just that little bit of extra room was enough that they couldn’t run those cars on that part of the line. I noticed also that you had taken some film showing trains going up the ramp out of the old Hamlin Yard, which was near Lake and Pulaski.

You remind me of what was in that video. A lot of it, I’ve forgotten. Of course, it’s been a few years, I’ve had some time to forget stuff.

Yeah, for car storage then, they really didn’t have a proper yard as such at the end of the line, which was in Forest Park, just west of Harlem Avenue. For car storage, they had this Hamlin Yard, across the street from West Shops, used by the Surface Lines. They had streetcar trackage running in and out of there, where they had overhead wire. They also had a third track on the Lake Street “L” where they stored some cars. You had some great shots of all of that.

And then you had shots of the South Shore Line and the Illinois Central Electric, showing the old IC cars from 1926, plus the Highliners, the bi-levels that were replacing them back in the ’70s.

Yes, yes.

All great stuff. Those first generation Highliners have now been retired, just within the last year or so, and they’ve been replaced by something very similar, but more modern.

That’s the thing about a lot of this railfanning. I’ve been at it long enough that sometimes, the things have been replaced, and sometimes the replacements have been replaced.

Right. And on the South Shore Line, all those old cars have been replaced. I think that many of them have been saved, by many railway museums, and there are a few of them that actually operate some, like the Illinois Railway Museum, and the East Troy Electric Railroad in Wisconsin. I did ride those cars a few times in their twilight years. Those cars were replaced by some Japanese-made vehicles around 1981, and now they even have some bi-levels of their own. They piggybacked on an order of cars for the Metra Electric, which runs the service now that used to be the Illinois Central suburban. They just use them during weekday rush hours. There is even now some talk of double-tracking the rest of the line out to South Bend.

It’s been a lot of changes.

Your first shots there of the South Shore Line were taken in 1971 or so. Up until the summer of 1970, they ran all the way into downtown South Bend. They had some street running there, which they cut back to the outskirts of town. Since that time, they built some new track to a nearby airport. There’s always been talk about grade separating the track that runs on the streets through Michigan City, but they haven’t done that yet. They keep arguing over which route they would use. So, at the moment, all those South Shore trains run right down the street through Michigan City, like they have for many, many decades.

You had some great footage in other places too, like in San Francisco, amazing shots of all that wonderful old equipment. Fortunately, they still have some old equipment running, on those historic lines they’ve come up with, and then Red Arrow, some great footage there of the Red Arrow Lines. Do you have some memories of those visits?

Oh yes. I have some memories, but I don’t have the details. I have to watch the videos to see what I saw.

There’s a lot out east, New York and New Jersey.

I’ve got a lot of, oh dear, Conrail. I was looking here, I’ve got Minnesota Transportation Museum, September ’74, that’s 11 minutes. There’s another one that’s about 15 minutes, that shows the same stuff years later.

Some of the east coast stuff would be interesting to many people. There’s a friend of mine who lives in New Jersey. I’m sure he would love to see your footage of the Gladstone Branch, the Erie Lackawanna. Some of that reminds me of, the old cars there, reminds me a lot of the ones that were used on the Illinois Central.

Trains have changed so much in the last 50 years.

Sure, those lines are running too, but they’re all NJ Transit.

Now, the Como-Harriet trolley (Minneapolis-St. Paul), I have the one reel from 1974, and another one that shows the same thing in 1998, with expansion and so on. Anyway, I’ve got these two, which add up to another oh, 26 minutes. They might be of some small interest too.

Oh, sure.

I used to show my movies to the Syracuse chapter of the NRHS. I wore out a projector doing that. Now I’ve gotta get off the phone. My wife is calling me for supper.

I have no objection to your making copies of these DVDs, and to sell them. I am quite happy with it. My thought is, it does no good sitting on my shelf. I would rather have it spread as widely as possible, and you look like you might be a good person to do that.

It’s been so nice talking to you. We’ll be in touch. Thanks so much. Take care.

You’re welcome.


The original Illinois Central Electric trains, which were built in 1926.

The original Illinois Central Electric trains, which were built in 1926.

4000s pass the old Tower 12 at Wabash and Van Buren in Chicago's Loop.

4000s pass the old Tower 12 at Wabash and Van Buren in Chicago’s Loop.

A Lake train of 4000s approaches Adams and Wabash in 1963, when the Loop was single-directional.

A Lake train of 4000s approaches Adams and Wabash in 1963, when the Loop was single-directional.

A two-car CTA Ravenswood train approaches Adams and Wabash in 1963.

A two-car CTA Ravenswood train approaches Adams and Wabash in 1963.

In 1963, the old Lake Street Transfer station had not yet been torn down. It was removed the following year. Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains stopped running on the other level here in 1951.

In 1963, the old Lake Street Transfer station had not yet been torn down. It was removed the following year. Logan Square and Humboldt Park trains stopped running on the other level here in 1951.

A quick glimpse of CTA trolley bus 9649.

A quick glimpse of CTA trolley bus 9649.

A Milwaukee Road train in the early 1960s. Not sure if this is inter-city or commuter service. Bi-levels were being phased in on the MR commuter lines. David Vartanoff adds: "The Milw Road train is a commuter run. By the time he was filming, intercity cars had been repainted to UP as the E-7 was."

A Milwaukee Road train in the early 1960s. Not sure if this is inter-city or commuter service. Bi-levels were being phased in on the MR commuter lines. David Vartanoff adds: “The Milw Road train is a commuter run. By the time he was filming, intercity cars had been repainted to UP as the E-7 was.”

The photographer was on a northbound Evanston train that was pacing a Howard train of 6000s.

The photographer was on a northbound Evanston train that was pacing a Howard train of 6000s.

4000s pass the old Tower 18 in Chicago's Loop. It was torn down and relocated in 1969 so that Lake Street trains could go directly east at this point, when that line was paired with the new Dan Ryan service.

4000s pass the old Tower 18 in Chicago’s Loop. It was torn down and relocated in 1969 so that Lake Street trains could go directly east at this point, when that line was paired with the new Dan Ryan service.

CTA single-car units under wire in Evanston in 1963.

CTA single-car units under wire in Evanston in 1963.

A Pennsy GG1.

A Pennsy GG1.

A New Haven train emerges from a tunnel in Manhattan.

A New Haven train emerges from a tunnel in Manhattan.

A New York rapid transit train on the 7 line in 1964.

A New York rapid transit train on the 7 line in 1964.

The New York Central in Manhattan.

The New York Central in Manhattan.

To this day, San Francisco operates trolley buses as well as PCCs.

To this day, San Francisco operates trolley buses as well as PCCs.

SF Muni PCC 1021 and a 1955-57 two-seater Thunderbird roadster.

SF Muni PCC 1021 and a 1955-57 two-seater Thunderbird roadster.

SF Muni double-end PCC 1015.

SF Muni double-end PCC 1015.

A San Francisco cable car in the late 1960s.

A San Francisco cable car in the late 1960s.

Red Arrow Strafford car 163 on a curve.

Red Arrow Strafford car 163 on a curve.

Red Arrow Strafford car 164.

Red Arrow Strafford car 164.

A Strafford car with a Liberty Liner (ex-North Shore Line Electroliner) behind it at 69th Street.

A Strafford car with a Liberty Liner (ex-North Shore Line Electroliner) behind it at 69th Street.

A Bullet car on the Norristown High-Speed Line.

A Bullet car on the Norristown High-Speed Line.

A train of Philadelphia "Almond Joys" at 69th Street Terminal.

A train of Philadelphia “Almond Joys” at 69th Street Terminal.

St. Louis-built double-end car 16 (not an official PCC, although it certainly looks like one) on the Red Arrow.

St. Louis-built double-end car 16 (not an official PCC, although it certainly looks like one) on the Red Arrow.

Red Arrow Brilliner #1 at 69th Street.

Red Arrow Brilliner #1 at 69th Street.

David Vartanoff: "PRR never had RDCs. That is an NYC (New York Central) car."

David Vartanoff: “PRR never had RDCs. That is an NYC (New York Central) car.”

David Vartanoff: "The PRR EMU you show is NYC (New York Central). The under running third rail is the clue."

David Vartanoff: “The PRR EMU you show is NYC (New York Central). The under running third rail is the clue.”

Erie Lackawanna.

Erie Lackawanna.

A Penn Central train.

A Penn Central train.

An Erie Lackawanna train in New Jersey.

An Erie Lackawanna train in New Jersey.

700-series electric freight locos.

700-series electric freight locos.

The South Shore Line shops in Michigan City.

The South Shore Line shops in Michigan City.

The South Shore Line in Indiana.

The South Shore Line in Indiana.

South Shore Line car 108 in Chicago.

South Shore Line car 108 in Chicago.

An Illinois Central bi-level whose end has not yet been repainted in brighter colors.

An Illinois Central bi-level whose end has not yet been repainted in brighter colors.

IC Highliners downtown.

IC Highliners downtown.

Illinois Central bi-levels in Chicago, with the old Central Station in the background.

Illinois Central bi-levels in Chicago, with the old Central Station in the background.


Recent Correspondence

Father Thomas Nagle writes:

Hello…hope you can point me in the right direction. I remember seeing CTA wreck wagons as a kid and was always fascinated by them. They looked like CFD rigs to me with Mars lights, gongs and sirens and even red and green headlights. Are there any photos of them available anywhere? I’ve googled them and come up empty. Thank you.

Fr Thomas Nangle
CPD chaplain retired

Perhaps our readers may have some pictures, thanks!

One of our regular readers writes:

Why didn’t the CSL/CTA ever install Post War PCC cars on Ashland Avenue? The street was as wide as Western Avenue from the north end to the south end. All that would have been necessary would have been the construction of an off street loop (such as Western and Berwyn) at 95th Street and a connecting track off of northbound Clark to southbound Southport at the north terminal.

PS: Is it possible that Ashland and Milwaukee might have been slated for PCCs if they had ordered 1,000 as had been originally thought?

In 1937, when the “Green Book” plan was issued, the City of Chicago envisioned replacing half the existing streetcar fleet with PCCs, and the other half with buses (some of which would have been trolley buses). But the report noted that at some future date, buses might be able to handle all the traffic.

Half the fleet, at that time, would have been something more like 1,500 PCC cars. That the number was soon reduced to 1,000 probably reflects the continuing trend toward buses.

Milwaukee would have to be a candidate for PCCs, since one PCC (4051) was operated there in 1940-41, on a test basis with the altered door configuration that CSL adopted for the postwar cars.

On the other hand, arguing against that is the plan, formulated in 1939, for the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway. Only the outer portion of Milwaukee truly made sense to run PCCs if you were going to have a greatly improved, more direct rapid transit service running in a subway on Milwaukee. PCCs would have done well in feeder service between the Imlay Loop at the city limits and the Logan Square terminal.

Offhand, I don’t know where Ashland would stack up in a list of the heaviest lines. But certainly the prevailing wisdom at CSL in the 1930s and 40s was to use streetcars for the heaviest lines, trolley buses for the medium ones, and gas or diesel buses for the rest. I assume that Ashland had plenty enough ridership to be considered for PCCs, though, and it would have been an excellent choice.

Ridership in the WWII era was heavy enough that CSL and the City planned to assign the 600 postwar PCCs to just four major lines. But by the time the deliveries were complete, this had been expanded to six lines, since ridership was declining.

What we don’t know is how strategic these assignments were, with the thought of creating an ongoing streetcar system for Chicago that could have continued into the future. One thought is that perhaps the CTA and the City felt that they had to spread the new cars around, so that more neighborhoods would benefit from the new service.

If that was a consideration, it would argue against Ashland, since it ran parallel to Western and went to many of the same parts of town. It would argue in favor of choosing a street like 63rd, which ran east-west on the south side and therefore served different neighborhoods.

In any event, by 1947 the CTA, even as it was still taking deliveries on the postwar order, seems to have planned for the gradual phasing out of streetcars, even the PCC ones. The 1947 CTA modernization plan (which you can read in my E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story), which covered the years 1946-1955, anticipated having only three streetcar lines left by 1955, which is pretty much what actually did happen. Presumably, they would have phased those out in the years following 1955, if another such plan had been published.

Furthermore, it was not always possible for CTA to put turnback loops where they wanted them. The area around 95th and Ashland was built up and who knows what locations would have been available.

There were plans to build a loop for the 36-Broadway at 115th that never materialized, due to neighborhood opposition. And the Grand-Nordica trolley bus loop for route 65 – Grand could only be put a couple blocks away from Harlem, which would have been much the preferred location.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can always reach us at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com


New From Trolley Dodger Press

VIDEOS ON DVD:

South Shore Line car 102 in downtown Chicago.

South Shore Line car 102 in downtown Chicago.

The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection (1963-1975)

Our latest release, by special arrangement with Guy Wicksall, features video transfers of rare, high quality 16mm color films of electric railroads taken across the country between 1963 and 1975. These are much better quality than the more typical 8mm films railfans used back then. If you like classic railfan videos, you are sure to enjoy this collection, which features narration by the photographer. Mr. Wicksall receives a royalty on each disc sold.

Disc 1: 38 Chicago and New York Commuter Trains, 1963-1964 (18:24)
Includes Illinois Central Electric, South Shore Line, Chicago Transit Authority “L” trains in the Loop, on Lake Street, Howard, and Evanston lines, Chicago & North Western and Milwaukee Road commuters, Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central, Long Island Rail Road, New Haven, and New York elevated trains.

Disc 2: 48 Commuter Trains, 1968-1975 (57:22)
Includes San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) PCCs (some double-ended), trolley buses, and cable cars, Philadelphia Suburban (Red Arrow Lines), including Straffords and Bullets), Penn Central, New Haven, Erie Lackawanna, South Shore Line, Illinois Central Electric, and more.

Total time – 75:46

# of Discs – 2
Price: $24.95


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 161st 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 206,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.

Spring Cleaning

A couple of CA&E woods (including 308) head east, approaching the Des Plaines Avenue terminal in April 1957, a few months before abandonment of passenger service. Another CA&E train is in the terminal, while a train of CTA 4000s, including a "baldy" with the blocked-off center door, turns around on a wooden trestle. This arrangement began when the CA&E stopped running downtown in September 1953.

A couple of CA&E woods (including 308) head east, approaching the Des Plaines Avenue terminal in April 1957, a few months before abandonment of passenger service. Another CA&E train is in the terminal, while a train of CTA 4000s, including a “baldy” with the blocked-off center door, turns around on a wooden trestle. This arrangement began when the CA&E stopped running downtown in September 1953.

April showers have given way to May flowers, and it is high time here at Trolley Dodger HQ for a little spring cleaning.

A long time ago, railfans would put together dossiers on various subjects. Our own method, we confess, is to do something similar. We collect photographs and artifacts on various subjects, and after we have collected a sufficiency, that provides enough material for a blog post.

Inevitably, however, there are some odds and ends left over. So, this weekend we have cleaned out our closets, so to speak, and have rounded up some interesting classic images that we are adding to previous posts. People do look at our older posts, and when we can improve them, we do so. After all, we want this site to be an online resource for information that people will use as much in the future as they do today.

To this, we have added some recent correspondence and even a few interesting eBay items for your enjoyment. Add a few “mystery photos” to the mix, and you’ll have a complete feast for the eyes to rival anything put on a plate by the old Holloway House cafeteria.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

hollowayhouse


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 137th 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 157,000 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.


The eBay Beat

berwynexpress1

berwynexpress2

This old metal sign dates to the 1940s or early 50s and was used on Douglas Park “L” trains prior to the introduction of A/B “skip stop” service, which started in December 1951. It’s remarkable that this sign, obsolete for more than 64 years, still exists. It was recently offered for sale on eBay, but the seller was asking about $500 for it and it did not sell.

You can see pictures of similar signs in use in our earlier post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016). In practice, a train that was not an express would simply flip the sign over and become a local, unless it was a “short turn” going to Lawndale only, to be put into storage, which involved a different sign.

The seller says:

The sign is made by the Chicago Veribrite sign company that was very well know in sign making and went out of business in 1965. Sign measures about 19.5 x 11 in size.

I found a list of sign manufacturers online that says the Veribrite Sign Company was in business from 1915 to 1965.

There were other signs used that were not metal. Some paper signs were used to identify Garfield Park trains in the 1950s, and a few of these have also survived.

Mystery Photos

The three photos below are listed for sale on eBay as being from Chicago, but this is obviously in error. Perhaps some of our keen-eyed readers can tell us where they actually do come from. If we can determine the real locations, we will contact the seller so they can update their listings accordingly. (See the Comments section for the answers.)

mystery1

mystery2

mystery3

Englewood “L” Extension

Prior to the construction of the CTA Orange Line, which opened in 1993, the City of Chicago and CTA seemed more interested in tearing down elevated lines than in building them. However, the 1969 two-block extension of the Englewood branch of the South Side “L” (part of today’s Green Line) was an exception to this. It was even thought there might be further extensions of this branch all the way to Midway airport, but that is now served by the Orange Line. There was only a brief period of time when these construction pictures could have been taken. According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site, the extension opened on May 6, 1969. At this time the new Ashland station, with more convenient interchange with buses, replaced the old Loomis terminal.

FYI, we posted another photo of the Englewood extension construction in our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016).

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Farewell to Red Cars Fantrip

This picture has been added to our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Five (December 11, 2015), which featured another photo taken at the same location, on the same fantrip:

CTA regular service car 3167, painted green, is at Cermak and Kenton, west end of route 21. Red cars 479 and 473, at the rear, are on the famous CERA "farewell to red cars" fantrip. The date is May 16, 1954, two weeks before the end of red car service in Chicago.

CTA regular service car 3167, painted green, is at Cermak and Kenton, west end of route 21. Red cars 479 and 473, at the rear, are on the famous CERA “farewell to red cars” fantrip. The date is May 16, 1954, two weeks before the end of red car service in Chicago.


LVT on the P&W

We’ve added another photo showing Lehigh Valley Transit freight operations on the Philadelphia and Western after (passenger service there was abandoned) to our post Alphabet Soup (March 15, 2016), which already had a similar picture:

LVT freight motor C-17 approaches Norristown terminal ion 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 ion 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.


More CA&E Action

The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin picture at the top of this page, plus these two others, have been added to our previous post More CA&E Jewels (February 9, 2016).

This undated 1950s photo shows a westbound Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train (cars 406 and 41x) at the Villa Park station. According to the Great Third Rail web site, "The station was rebuilt again in 1929. During this reconstruction, the eastbound platform was moved to the west side of Villa Avenue with the construction of an expansive Tudor Revival station designed by Samuel Insull’s staff architect, Arthur U. Gerber. The westbound platform remained in place and was outfitted with a flat roofed wooden passenger shelter. Villa Park was one of a few stations to survive the demise of the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin. Both it and Ardmore (the next station west) were purchased by the village of Villa Park and refurbished with an official dedication by the Villa Park Bicentennial Commission on July 5, 1976. It is now home to the Villa Park Historical Society which hosts an annual ice cream social on July 3, the anniversary of the day the CA&E ended passenger service."

This undated 1950s photo shows a westbound Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train (cars 406 and 41x) at the Villa Park station. According to the Great Third Rail web site, “The station was rebuilt again in 1929. During this reconstruction, the eastbound platform was moved to the west side of Villa Avenue with the construction of an expansive Tudor Revival station designed by Samuel Insull’s staff architect, Arthur U. Gerber. The westbound platform remained in place and was outfitted with a flat roofed wooden passenger shelter. Villa Park was one of a few stations to survive the demise of the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin. Both it and Ardmore (the next station west) were purchased by the village of Villa Park and refurbished with an official dedication by the Villa Park Bicentennial Commission on July 5, 1976. It is now home to the Villa Park Historical Society which hosts an annual ice cream social on July 3, the anniversary of the day the CA&E ended passenger service.”

I believe this photo shows CA&E freight loco 4006 on the Mt. Carmel branch.

I believe this photo shows CA&E freight loco 4006 on the Mt. Carmel branch.

Here is Lackawana & Wyoming Valley 31 as it appeared on August 3, 1952. Passenger service ended on this third-rail line at the end of that year. Some have wondered if the LL rolling stock could have benefited the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, but the general consensus is these cars would have been too long to navigate the tight curves on the Loop "L", although perhaps they could have been used west of Forest Park. As it was, there were no takers and all were scrapped. Ironically, some thought was later given by a museum of adapting a CA&E curved-side car into an ersatz Laurel Line replica, but this idea was dropped.

Here is Lackawana & Wyoming Valley 31 as it appeared on August 3, 1952. Passenger service ended on this third-rail line at the end of that year. Some have wondered if the LL rolling stock could have benefited the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, but the general consensus is these cars would have been too long to navigate the tight curves on the Loop “L”, although perhaps they could have been used west of Forest Park. As it was, there were no takers and all were scrapped. Ironically, some thought was later given by a museum of adapting a CA&E curved-side car into an ersatz Laurel Line replica, but this idea was dropped.

The next photo has been added to our post The Mass Transit Special (February 4, 2016):

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North Shore Line Action

These Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee photos have been added to our post A North Shore Line Potpourri, Part Two (August 22, 2015):

A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

A northbound CNS&M Shore Line Route train, headed up by 413, at the downtown Wilmette station in June 1954. The Shore Line was abandoned not much more than one year later. We are looking to the southeast.

A current view of where the North Shore Line station in downtown Wilmette was once located. We are at the corner of Wilmette Avenue and Poplar Drive, looking to the southeast. The station was located in what is now the parking lot of a strip mall. The storefronts at rear are on Greenleaf Avenue, where the CNS&M Shore Line Route turned east for some slow street running before connecting up with the CRT/CTA at Linden Avenue.

A current view of where the North Shore Line station in downtown Wilmette was once located. We are at the corner of Wilmette Avenue and Poplar Drive, looking to the southeast. The station was located in what is now the parking lot of a strip mall. The storefronts at rear are on Greenleaf Avenue, where the CNS&M Shore Line Route turned east for some slow street running before connecting up with the CRT/CTA at Linden Avenue.

CNS&M line car 606 on October 12, 1961. Don's Rail Photos says, "606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." Joseph Hazinski writes, "The picture of North Shore Line car 606 is Northbound at Harrison Avenue on the mainline just before entering S. 5th Street. After adjustments are made to the overhead 606 will continue its patrol to the downtown Milwaukee terminal and lunch before returning south to Highwood."

CNS&M line car 606 on October 12, 1961. Don’s Rail Photos says, “606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620. In 1963 it became Chicago Transit Authority S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” Joseph Hazinski writes, “The picture of North Shore Line car 606 is Northbound at Harrison Avenue on the mainline just before entering S. 5th Street. After adjustments are made to the overhead 606 will continue its patrol to the downtown Milwaukee terminal and lunch before returning south to Highwood.”

The North Shore Line's Silverliners, when freshly painted and seen in bright sunlight, positively gleamed.

The North Shore Line’s Silverliners, when freshly painted and seen in bright sunlight, positively gleamed.


More South Shore Line Action

These Chicago, South Shore and South Bend interurban photos have been added to our post Tokens of Our Esteem (January 20, 2016):

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

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

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

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

The same location today.

The same location today.

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

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


Whither Watertown

On my first trip to Boston in 1967 I rode all the lines, including the Watertown trolley which briefly was designated as the A line (although I don’t recall ever seeing any photos of that designation on roll signs. I’ve read that officially, Watertown was “temporarily” bussed in 1969 due to a shortage of PCCs for the other lines. The tracks and wire were retained until about 1994 for access to Watertown Yard, where some maintenance work was done.

Recently, I found a blog post that offers perhaps the best explanation of why the Watertown trolley was replaced by buses. Starting in 1964, a choke point got added to the Watertown trackage in the form of an on ramp for the Mass Pike highway, which was one way. So, streetcars had not only to fight massive traffic congestion at this one point, but going against the regular traffic flow as well. Therefore, the MBTA decided to replace the Watertown trolley with buses (the 57) that were re-routed around this choke point.

Here are some pictures showing a 1988 fantrip on the Watertown line, which had by then not seen regular revenue service with streetcars in nearly 20 years. How I wish I was on that trip.

Three generations of Boston streetcars on a June 12, 1988 Watertown fantrip. That's a Type 5 car (5734) behind PCC 3295, with Boeing-Vertol LRV 3404 behind it. (Clark Frazier Photo)

Three generations of Boston streetcars on a June 12, 1988 Watertown fantrip. That’s a Type 5 car (5734) behind PCC 3295, with Boeing-Vertol LRV 3404 behind it. (Clark Frazier Photo)

MBTA LRV 3404, signed as an instruction car (probably so regular passengers would not try to board it) on a June 12, 1988 fantrip on Boston's former Watertown line. (Clark Frazier Photo)

MBTA LRV 3404, signed as an instruction car (probably so regular passengers would not try to board it) on a June 12, 1988 fantrip on Boston’s former Watertown line. (Clark Frazier Photo)


Recent Correspondence

Railroad Record Club Audition Records

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Kenneth Gear writes:

Hi David. Recently there was an auction on eBay for 4 RRC LPs. Interestingly each of the album jackets have a rubber stamping on them. It reads: THIS IS AN AUDITION SET RECORD AND IS THE PROPERTY OF THE RAILROAD RECORD CLUB HAWKINS, WI 54530.

The person selling these LPs offered no explanation but I can only conclude that these records were (or were planned to be) played on the radio or sent to a railroad or audiophile magazine for review. If they were played on air, wouldn’t it be great to know where and when. Perhaps the broadcast included an interview with Mr. Steventon. Have you ever seen a review of a RRC record in any magazine or newspaper archive?

I saw that too, thanks. One possibility is that these were demonstration records to be played in booths at record stores. Or perhaps they were used to try and drum up orders from people who had no idea what a railroad record was like?

Maybe the radio station idea is best… in any event, these must have been at least at one time owned by Steventon. Perhaps one of our readers might have a better idea what such audition records were used for.

We have written about the Railroad Record Club several times before. Don’t forget that we offer more than 80% of their entire output on CDs, attractively priced and digitally remastered, in our Online Store.


Farnham Third Rail System

Charlie Vlk writes:

Does anyone know the origin/disposition of the experimental interurban car used by Farnham in his demonstration of the Farnham Third Rail System? A section of side track at Hawthorne on the CB&Q was modified with Farnham’s third rail which was an under-running system that was only energized when the car was collecting power in a segment. Variations of this system were used by the NYC and other railroads. The trial took place in 1897 and he car looks similar to, but not identical, to Suburban Railroad (West Towns) equipment but had different trucks and slightly different window spacing.

Let’s hope there is someone out there who will have an answer for you, thanks.


St. Louis PCC Will Run Again

Steve Binning writes:

Hi, just thought that you might like to know about the PCC restoration at Museum of Transportation in St. Louis.

On May 21, 50 years to the day from the last streetcar operation in St. Louis, the Museum will present to the public a restored and operational PCC. We will be giving rides all day long. This car will be added to the other 3 cars operating at the Museum.

StL PS 1743


Green Hornet Streetcar Disaster

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Finally, there was some interesting correspondence regarding the Green Hornet Streetcar Disaster, which we wrote about on May 19, 2015.

Jeff Wilson writes:

The driver of the gasoline truck, Melvin (Mel) Wilson was my paternal grandfather who left behind a wife and four young boys.

It was a horrible tragedy that should never be forgotten.

Craig Cleve, author of The Green Hornet Streetcar Disaster added:

Jeff,

I regret not being able to find more information about your grandfather when I wrote my book about the accident. Obviously, you didn’t know him. But what can you tell us about him?

Jeff Wilson replied:

Like you said, I never met him. My father told me stories and I’ve seen many pictures of Mel. After Pearl Harbor Mel enlisted in the Navy and served during WWII. He died on my father’s 8th grade graduation night. My Dad had asked Mel to stay at home that evening to attend his graduation ceremony. Mel knowing he had 4 boys to support decided that he would drive that evening and earn some extra money to buy his boy’s new shoes. They never saw him alive again.

I am gratified that we are helping to make these personal connections. It is important that the personal stories behind this tragedy be told.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 4-20-2016

As a shout-out to Joel Salomon of the Rockhill Trolley Museum, here is a picture of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 315 in service on the old Garfield Park "L". 315 is now part of their collection and they are always on the lookout for pictures of that car. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) This picture was taken somewhere west of Paulina Junction, but not as far west as Western Avenue.

As a shout-out to Joel Salomon of the Rockhill Trolley Museum, here is a picture of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin 315 in service on the old Garfield Park “L”. 315 is now part of their collection and they are always on the lookout for pictures of that car. (Joe L. Diaz Photo) This picture was taken somewhere west of Paulina Junction, but not as far west as Western Avenue.

This post was delayed when I came down with the flu last week. But we’re back on our feet in a big way today, with lots of interesting photos, which even include a few mysteries, and plenty of reader correspondence. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski


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Hi-res scans of eight more documents have been added to our E-book collection The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available in our Online Store. This includes CSL Service News from April 17 and May 17, 1930, and the CTA Rider's Readers from March 1951, August 1951, January 1952, July 1952, August 1952, and December 1952.

Hi-res scans of eight more documents have been added to our E-book collection The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available in our Online Store. This includes CSL Service News from April 17 and May 17, 1930, and the CTA Rider’s Readers from March 1951, August 1951, January 1952, July 1952, August 1952, and December 1952.

More World’s Fair Buses

Regarding our post Following Up (April 6, 2016), another tidbit of information has come to light regarding the disposition of 60 buses used by Greyhound to transport visitors at the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair (A Century of Progress). We previously reported how it appears at least a dozen of these ended up at the Texas Centennial Exhibition in 1936 with slightly different sheetmetal. Now, it seems that at least four of these buses were used in Michigan to bring people to a tourist attraction:

This 1930s postcard shows at least four former Chicago World's Fair buses being used by the House of David in Benton Harbor, Michigan, a religious community that operated a popular zoo and amusement park. I'm not sure of the connection between Enders Greyhound Lines and the parent Greyhound company, which began as a number of separate firms that were eventually consolidated. You will note the buses still say "World's Fair."

This 1930s postcard shows at least four former Chicago World’s Fair buses being used by the House of David in Benton Harbor, Michigan, a religious community that operated a popular zoo and amusement park. I’m not sure of the connection between Enders Greyhound Lines and the parent Greyhound company, which began as a number of separate firms that were eventually consolidated. You will note the buses still say “World’s Fair.”

Looks like new buses were used at the 1935-36 California Pacific Exposition in San Diego.

Looks like new buses were used at the 1935-36 California Pacific Exposition in San Diego.

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Torkel Korling, Renaissance Man

Peter Korling writes:

I was a streetcar operator for the MUNI of SF during the 60’s and I took the streetcar a block off the tracks-which was a long standing record. I have a picture of me departing the car after the incident. The slip-up was attributed to faulty brakes. I could be more specific- for it was an interesting story- streetcar wise.

I lived on the Southside of Chicago as a child so I love the pics of your streetcars. As all Chicagoans I rode them a lot. I also have made paintings and drawings of elevated trains, subways and interurbans. My father was a noted photographer of Chicago-maybe you heard of him: Torkel Korling.

Torkel Korling (1903-1998) was a true renaissance man. He invented the automatic diaphragm mechanism that made the SLR camera practical. He also invented the collapsing “Tiltall” type tripod.

In addition to this, he was one of the leading industrial and commercial photographers from the 1920s to the 1950s, and later in life, an expert nature photographer who published many books. He did at least one cover shot for Life magazine, and convinced them for just that one time only to leave their large logo off the front cover.

I am fortunate to have met your father when he was 85 and trying to market his latest invention, the “Optipivot.” We discussed photography, and he had nothing but disdain for the methods used by contemporary commercial shooters.

The would waste hundreds of pictures in the hopes of finding something usable. His method, he said, was to carefully set up a “master shot,” and then he would take one or two pictures at the most. Once he got what he wanted, there was no need, he felt, to take another picture.

He also complained to me about how the various Japanese camera manufacturers refused to pay him any royalties for his automatic diaphragm patent, which made the 35mm single lens reflex camera practical. Instead, they waited until his patent expired in the 1950s and then they all came out with such cameras.

He applied for this patent in 1933 and it was awarded three years later. He told me the idea came to him when he was photographing children. They moved around so much that he did not have time to focus his camera with the lens wide open, then reset his aperture to take the picture. His invention allowed viewing with the lens wide open, and then the aperture would automatically change back to its preset f/stop once the shutter was pressed to take the picture.

His invention was licensed by Graflex and first used on their Super D model reflex cameras. According to Camerapedia, “The RB Super D, which features a semi-automatic diaphragm, was produced in 3¼×4¼ (1941-1963) and 4 x 5 (1948-1957) formats.”

Photos taken by Torkel Korling are now in the collections of many museums around the world, and have been featured in several exhibitions. Anyone who has ever used an SLR camera owes Mr. Korling a debt of gratitude.

The Graflex RB Super D camera, which was the first to use Torkel Korling’s patented automatic diaphragm invention:

The April 26, 1937 cover of LIFE magazine featured a picture by Torkel Korling.

The April 26, 1937 cover of LIFE magazine featured a picture by Torkel Korling.

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L. Demery writes:

The blurb for “Chicago Surface Lines: The Big 5 Routes and 5 Others” (published by the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society) begins as follows:

“In 1931, the five largest Chicago Surface Lines routes, in terms of originating revenue passengers, were Ashland, Clark-Wentworth, Halsted, Madison and Milwaukee. The combined riding on these routes was greater than the total riding in many medium-sized American cities. CSL also had some very small routes in terms of ridership and they demonstrate the diversity of CSL’s operations.”

Does anyone have, or know where to find, a list of annual ridership statistics for individual CSL / CTA lines?

CSL (and other streetcar companies) did compile such statistics, no doubt about that. However, much information of this type (for US systems in general) has been lost or destroyed. Any information or “leads” re. CSL would be greatly appreciated.

Perhaps you can look at the yearly reports issued by the Board of Supervising Engineers during the CSL era?  Or, maybe our readers might have some suggestions.

Christopher J Lemm writes:

After reading your January 2015 story on the CTA Westchester Branch, the picture of the train crossing Madison street in Bellwood brought back some great memories, I grew up in that house, my grandfather was Clarence Lemm, track foreman for the Aurora and Elgin Railroad, he died in 1936. My father followed in grandpa’s footsteps, he worked at CTA 43 years, he started as a clerk and retired as the head of insurance and pensions. When my brother and I were very young my dad would take us for rides on the Aurora and Elgin, he used grandpa’s Sunset Lines employee pin and we all road free of charge. Thank you for some great memories!

Thanks for sharing those reminiscences with us. It’s great when we can help people make these sorts of connections.

John Smatlak writes:

David- Enjoyed your coverage of the former Chicago City Railway Building on South Wabash. I remember seeing one of those same CSL cast iron call boxes on the wall at Limits garage (photos attached).

Speaking of former CSL carhouses that survived into the modern era, I’d love to see some photos of the Lincoln-Wrightwood carhouse. I worked nearby around 1978-79 and went inside the building a few times. At the time it was used by the City as a garage for garbage trucks. The tracks were still in the floor and the repair bay for the streetcars was still very much intact (I even found some old CSL requisition paperwork scattered around on the floor). Sadly I never took any pictures of the building, and of course one day it was gone! I have a few images from when it was used as the temporary home for the CTA’s historic collection, but would love to see some more photos.

Keep up the good work.

CTA Limits Carhouse 8-13-86 3

CTA Limits Carhouse 8-13-86 4

Thanks. FYI, Bill Shapotkin has generously shared some photos he took in 2004 showing a 100-year-old substation originally used by the Chicago City Railway Company, which was then still being used for the Chicago Transit Authority’s South Side “L”:

A CTA substation located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Wabash, as it appeared on July 30, 2004. Constructed under authority of the Board of Supervising Engineers, Chicago Traction, it originally fed power to the streetcars. It now services the "L". View looks southwest. (William Shapotkin Photo)

A CTA substation located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Wabash, as it appeared on July 30, 2004. Constructed under authority of the Board of Supervising Engineers, Chicago Traction, it originally fed power to the streetcars. It now services the “L”. View looks southwest. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Another view of the same building looking east/southeast along the south side of 42nd Street at the back end of the building. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Another view of the same building looking east/southeast along the south side of 42nd Street at the back end of the building. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 2004 view, there are street signs still visible on the BOSE-built substation located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Wabash. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 2004 view, there are street signs still visible on the BOSE-built substation located on the southwest corner of 42nd and Wabash. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 2004 view, we see a Chicago Transit Authority manhole cover, located along the south side of 42nd Street between State and Wabash, in front of a still-in-service BOSE-built substation. (William Shapotkin Photo)

In this 2004 view, we see a Chicago Transit Authority manhole cover, located along the south side of 42nd Street between State and Wabash, in front of a still-in-service BOSE-built substation. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This century-old manhole cover, in the same general area as the previous pictire, still reads Chicago City Railway Company. (William Shapotkin Photo)

This century-old manhole cover, in the same general area as the previous pictire, still reads Chicago City Railway Company. (William Shapotkin Photo)

Scott Greig adds a postscript:

The pictured substation building at 42nd and Wabash is no longer an active substation. I was in there maybe 7-8 years ago, and there was no substation equipment left except the empty shells of some newer equipment. At the time it was being used for storage by CTA’s Power & Way department.


Interesting Photos

Here is a rare color shot of Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 15, after it had been modernized in 1942. According to CERA Bulletin 41, the car had a red roof, but it looks more purple in this picture. I think the photo shows the accurate color, since a red roof would not have provided contrast with the maroon car body. I'm not sure what date the car was repainted to the much more familiar South Shore Line traction orange, but it may have been shortly after World War II. The car was originally built by Pullman in 1926.

Here is a rare color shot of Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 15, after it had been modernized in 1942. According to CERA Bulletin 41, the car had a red roof, but it looks more purple in this picture. I think the photo shows the accurate color, since a red roof would not have provided contrast with the maroon car body. I’m not sure what date the car was repainted to the much more familiar South Shore Line traction orange, but it may have been shortly after World War II. The car was originally built by Pullman in 1926.

This rare photo of South Shore Line car 1126, signed "To Chicago, the Boulevardier," is dated February 14, 1939, although I do not know whether that is the date the picture was taken, or when it was printed. Incredibly, this car survives. As Don's Rail Photos notes, "1126 was a work motor built by Niles in 1908 as CLS&SB 73. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005..." According to a 2015 Chicago Tribune article, the car is now in Murphysboro, Illinois, and is 80% restored.

This rare photo of South Shore Line car 1126, signed “To Chicago, the Boulevardier,” is dated February 14, 1939, although I do not know whether that is the date the picture was taken, or when it was printed. Incredibly, this car survives. As Don’s Rail Photos notes, “1126 was a work motor built by Niles in 1908 as CLS&SB 73. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005…” According to a 2015 Chicago Tribune article, the car is now in Murphysboro, Illinois, and is 80% restored.

The coming of summer also means more construction and demolition projects. A four-car CA&E train is seen on the old CTA Garfield Park "L" at Ogden on October 19, 1952. Demolition of buildings for the Congress Expressway is well underway.

The coming of summer also means more construction and demolition projects. A four-car CA&E train is seen on the old CTA Garfield Park “L” at Ogden on October 19, 1952. Demolition of buildings for the Congress Expressway is well underway.

CTA red Pullman 144, long a mainstay at the Illinois Railway Museum, is shown on the Wentworth line on a May 25, 1958 CERA fantrip, less than a month before the end of all streetcar service on Chicago. (Homer G. Benton Photo) That's a 1956 Oldsmobile at left. M. E. writes, "This picture faces northwest and was taken at about 16th and Clark. The rail embankment on the left is the main line into LaSalle St. Station, at that time used by the New York Central, Nickel Plate and Rock Island. Today that line is the Metra Rock Island. The railroad viaduct crossing Clark St. behind car 144 is the Saint. Charles Air Line of the Illinois Central, which ran due west from the IC main line near the lake. Just north of that viaduct is the viaduct for the main line into Dearborn Station, which crossed Clark St. on a southwest / northeast angle before turning due north into the station. The streetcar tracks went under both viaducts on private right-of-way adjacent to the west side of Clark St. Car 144's destination sign says Vincennes - 77th, where the South Shops were then and still are today."

CTA red Pullman 144, long a mainstay at the Illinois Railway Museum, is shown on the Wentworth line on a May 25, 1958 CERA fantrip, less than a month before the end of all streetcar service on Chicago. (Homer G. Benton Photo) That’s a 1956 Oldsmobile at left. M. E. writes, “This picture faces northwest and was taken at about 16th and Clark. The rail embankment on the left is the main line into LaSalle St. Station, at that time used by the New York Central, Nickel Plate and Rock Island. Today that line is the Metra Rock Island. The railroad viaduct crossing Clark St. behind car 144 is the Saint. Charles Air Line of the Illinois Central, which ran due west from the IC main line near the lake. Just north of that viaduct is the viaduct for the main line into Dearborn Station, which crossed Clark St. on a southwest / northeast angle before turning due north into the station. The streetcar tracks went under both viaducts on private right-of-way adjacent to the west side of Clark St. Car 144’s destination sign says Vincennes – 77th, where the South Shops were then and still are today.”

Summer is coming, and along with it, summer music festivals. Here, North Shore Line car 167 is shown at the entrance to Ravinia Park. This was part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. There is a parking lot where the tracks used to be, although you can still ride Metra trains there. Perhaps the festival dates can help determine what year this picture was taken.

Summer is coming, and along with it, summer music festivals. Here, North Shore Line car 167 is shown at the entrance to Ravinia Park. This was part of the old Shore Line Route, abandoned in 1955. There is a parking lot where the tracks used to be, although you can still ride Metra trains there. Perhaps the festival dates can help determine what year this picture was taken.

According to Don's Rail Photos, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 213 "was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964." This photo by the late Bob Selle shows it newly delivered to the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago on August 7, 1955.

According to Don’s Rail Photos, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 213 “was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964.” This photo by the late Bob Selle shows it newly delivered to the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago on August 7, 1955.

The late Bob Selle took this great shot of an outbound Milwaukee Road commuter train leaving Union Station in Chicago on August 8, 1958. These were some of the consists I saw as a child, since I lived very close to what is now the Metra Milwaukee District West Line. Ridership was nothing compared to what it is today, and I believe bi-levels were not introduced here until around 1961-62. That's the Merchandise Mart across the Chicago River. This picture was taken from the Lake Street overpass. That looks like a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible at left.

The late Bob Selle took this great shot of an outbound Milwaukee Road commuter train leaving Union Station in Chicago on August 8, 1958. These were some of the consists I saw as a child, since I lived very close to what is now the Metra Milwaukee District West Line. Ridership was nothing compared to what it is today, and I believe bi-levels were not introduced here until around 1961-62. That’s the Merchandise Mart across the Chicago River. This picture was taken from the Lake Street overpass. That looks like a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible at left.

This photo of a Chicago & North Western train of bi-levels was taken by Al Clum in June 1962. But where? One reader writes, "The descending tracks in the foreground of the photo are leading to the North Shore Line's North Chicago Junction Station. The CNW train is on the CNW embankment between Great Lakes to the south and North Chicago to the north. Since the headlights are not turned on on the locomotive, one would presume that the train is a push-pull heading south."

This photo of a Chicago & North Western train of bi-levels was taken by Al Clum in June 1962. But where? One reader writes, “The descending tracks in the foreground of the photo are leading to the North Shore Line’s North Chicago Junction Station. The CNW train is on the CNW embankment between Great Lakes to the south and North Chicago to the north. Since the headlights are not turned on on the locomotive, one would presume that the train is a push-pull heading south.”

Former Chicago Surface Lines mail car 6, built in 1891, as it looked on May 25, 1958. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. You can see a black-and-white photo of this car, taken at the same time as this one, in our previous post Throwback Thursday (January 7, 2016). To see a picture of West Chicago Street Railway car 4, also taken the same day, there's one in our post Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015).

Former Chicago Surface Lines mail car 6, built in 1891, as it looked on May 25, 1958. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. You can see a black-and-white photo of this car, taken at the same time as this one, in our previous post Throwback Thursday (January 7, 2016). To see a picture of West Chicago Street Railway car 4, also taken the same day, there’s one in our post Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015).

Busy action at an Illinois Terminal station, but where? Perhaps the bus sign might be a clue. This type of scene was once commonplace in American life during the first half of the 20th century. PS- Don Ross says this is Springfield.

Busy action at an Illinois Terminal station, but where? Perhaps the bus sign might be a clue. This type of scene was once commonplace in American life during the first half of the 20th century. PS- Don Ross says this is Springfield.

My guess is that this picture shows the final interurban run on the Illinois Terminal, and this man may be the president of the railroad. If so, the date is March 3, 1956. (Glenn L. Sticken Photo) There is another photo of that same train, taken by the same photographer, in our earlier post Historic Chicago Buses, Part Three (November 23, 2015).

My guess is that this picture shows the final interurban run on the Illinois Terminal, and this man may be the president of the railroad. If so, the date is March 3, 1956. (Glenn L. Sticken Photo) There is another photo of that same train, taken by the same photographer, in our earlier post Historic Chicago Buses, Part Three (November 23, 2015).

Illinois Terminal car 241 at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis in February 1958. Don's Rail Photos says, "241 was built by American Car & Foundry in July 1907, #5080. It went to the National Museum of Transport on July 25, 1950."

Illinois Terminal car 241 at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis in February 1958. Don’s Rail Photos says, “241 was built by American Car & Foundry in July 1907, #5080. It went to the National Museum of Transport on July 25, 1950.”

The last run of the Illinois Terminal interurban, shown here in Carlinville, took place on March 3, 1956. Older equipment like car 284 was used instead of the railroad's relatively new streamliners. The black bunting draped on this car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

The last run of the Illinois Terminal interurban, shown here in Carlinville, took place on March 3, 1956. Older equipment like car 284 was used instead of the railroad’s relatively new streamliners. The black bunting draped on this car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Illinois Terminal 276 and 530 on a 1955 fantrip in Urbana.

Illinois Terminal 276 and 530 on a 1955 fantrip in Urbana.

The final passenger train on the Illinois Terminal Railroad makes a station stop in Girard, March 2, 1956. (Dale Jenkins Collection)

The final passenger train on the Illinois Terminal Railroad makes a station stop in Girard, March 2, 1956. (Dale Jenkins Collection)

This old postcard photo, which shows obvious signs of being retouched, shows the Fifth Avenue station on the AE&C (later CA&E), most likely in the early 1900s when it was new. We are looking west, and it appears the area was not that built up yet. Contrast this with pictures of the same station in the interurban's waning days, in our post A Cold Last Ride (January 25, 2016). The postcard itself was printed by William G. Hoffman of 4340 Jackson Boulevard in Chicago, apparently no relation to the late railfan photographer Bill Hoffman.

This old postcard photo, which shows obvious signs of being retouched, shows the Fifth Avenue station on the AE&C (later CA&E), most likely in the early 1900s when it was new. We are looking west, and it appears the area was not that built up yet. Contrast this with pictures of the same station in the interurban’s waning days, in our post A Cold Last Ride (January 25, 2016). The postcard itself was printed by William G. Hoffman of 4340 Jackson Boulevard in Chicago, apparently no relation to the late railfan photographer Bill Hoffman.

New Site Additions

This picture has been added to our previous post West Towns Streetcars in Black-and-White (August 4, 2015):

Chicago & West Towns 142 at the east end of the Lake Street line at Austin Boulevard on July 4, 1946. The building at right is the old Park Theatre. This is a "sister" car to the 141, now preserved in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Chicago & West Towns 142 at the east end of the Lake Street line at Austin Boulevard on July 4, 1946. The building at right is the old Park Theatre. This is a “sister” car to the 141, now preserved in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum.

This photo has been added to our post West Towns Streetcars in Color (February 10, 2015):

Chicago & West Towns Railways car 112 heads south at Harlem and Cermak on August 17, 1947.

Chicago & West Towns Railways car 112 heads south at Harlem and Cermak on August 17, 1947.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-18-2015

Here's a real mystery photo for you. This very worn looking city streetcar is definitely lettered for the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin and appears to be at Wheaton Shops. Where did it come from and how did CA&E use it on the interurban? See answers below.

Here’s a real mystery photo for you. This very worn looking city streetcar is definitely lettered for the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin and appears to be at Wheaton Shops. Where did it come from and how did CA&E use it on the interurban? (See answers below.)

Mystery Photo Answers

Opus1100 writes:

Interesting mystery photo. It is CA&E #500 acquired in 1927 to replace standard cars on the Batavia Branch. As you can see from the photo does not appear to have been a success. It was loaned to the North Shore to help alleviate equipment needs during the war. It operated in city service as CN # 361…a brief history of this car can be found in Don Ross rail pictures of North Shore Line city cars. Due to the differences in mechanical equipment it was not popular during use on the North Shore. Another mystery surrounding this car is how it was moved from the CA&E to the North Shore…since it was 3rd rail equipped it could have traveled on the L but as far as I know this has never been confirmed.

As Ed Halstead has noted (see comment below):

The August 2013 issue of “First & Fastest” had a great article “A Secornd Hand Rose” regarding the CA&E 500/NSL 361. Included in the article is a photo of the CA&E 500 loaded on a flat car on its way to the NSL.

The article answers any questions you may have regarding the CA&E 500.

According to Don’s Rail Photos:

There was one additional car which almost fits into this series. Car 361 was built by St. Louis Car in 1927, just like the 350s, but it had different motors, control, and braking equipment. It was built as 500 for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin. It was used to replace standard interurban cars on the Batavia branch, but it quickly proved to be unsatisfactory. It was retired and placed in storage until June 1942, when it was leased to the North Shore. It was repainted and renumbered and put into Waukegan service. After the war, it was purchased by the North Shore in March 1947. It was quickly retired and scrapped in 1948.

So, the photo showing the car out in Wheaton lettered for CA&E must date to around 1941, probably just prior to it being leased to the North Shore Line. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

If you use the above link to Don Ross’ web site you can see a couple other pictures of car 500/561.

Recent Correspondence

Mike Murray writes:

First off, I want to thank you for your continuing efforts to bring transit history to the web on your blog. I love seeing every new posting.

I hate to be the guy that suggests things but doesn’t do them himself, but I’d love to see a post about the 3rd rail-powered Com Ed line that ran on the city’s north side. John Smatlak has a website dedicated to it, but I’ve never seen much in the way of photos of the line in operation:

http://www.railwaypreservation.com/northwest_station.htm

I asked George Kanary and Bruce Moffat, but neither had knowledge of any such photos. You seem to have a knack for finding things, or perhaps have a wider circle of friends that are railfans, and thought you might be able to track down more photos than those on the website.

John’s website is pretty thorough, so maybe there isn’t much more to be known about this line, but if there is, I’d love to see more about it.

Thanks again for all that you’re doing.

While I don’t have any such photos myself, perhaps some of our readers might have more information, thanks.

In our post Railfan Ephemera (August 26th), we show a flyer from the early days of the Illinois Railway Museum circa 1959, seeking funds to purchase Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 309, referred to as the “jewel of the fleet.” We asked Frank Hicks, of the excellent Hicks Car Works blog, why this car in particular was so highly regarded out of all the ones that could have been saved (and it was eventually purchased by IRM, where it remains today).

Here is his reply:

By 1957 the 309 was one of the least-modernized cars in the CA&E fleet. Right up until the end of service it retained its stained-and-varnished mahogany trim, long after most of the cars had seen the entirety of their interiors painted over with some shade of green or tan. Remember too that only cars 309-321 had interior stained glass windows at this time (earlier cars didn’t have double-sash stained glass windows), and most of the Kuhlmans and Jewetts (as well as the 310) had their stained glass windows painted over on the inside.

There were a couple of other Kuhlmans and Jewetts that still had unpainted stained glass windows and trim (318 comes to mind) but the 309 was an older car that hewed more closely to the lines of the original fleet. It was also from a local, and unusual, builder and it had the same electrical equipment as the 1902 fleet, unlike the Kuhlmans and Jewetts which were built with newer equipment. The CA&E didn’t have anything particularly more opulent – no office cars or parlor cars by that time – so why not refer to the 309 as the jewel of the fleet?

More Railfan Ephemera

We recently acquired some items from the early days of Central Electric Railfans’ Association. The seller indicated that some of these were once part of the CERA office files, which were apparently sold off in three different batches during the 1940s and 50s. This story is probably true since one item is a voided out sample fantrip ticket, numbered 0000, and previously unknown. The envelope mailed to a soldier came from a different source. (Please note that Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.)

These documents shed additional light on the history of that venerable organization and its members. We hope that you will enjoy them. Chances are there are still more additional early documents out there remaining to be discovered.

-David Sadowski

This brochure is for CERA fantrip #9, which included not only the South Shore Line but the Northern Indiana Railway.

This brochure is for CERA fantrip #9, which included not only the South Shore Line but the Northern Indiana Railway.

You can see a CERA fantrip picture on the Northern Indiana Railway, possibly taken on this same excursion or a similar one from a year later, here: http://cera-chicago.org/Blog/3319067

You can see a CERA fantrip picture from the Northern Indiana Railway, possibly taken on this same excursion or a similar one from a year later, here:
http://cera-chicago.org/Blog/3319067

The itinerary for CERA fantrip #6, which included a trip over the CA&E Mt. Carmel branch using Chicago Rapid Transit cars. You can see a picture taken on that trip here: http://cera-chicago.org/Blog/3318973 The same photo is also reproduced on page 42 of Trolley Sparks Special #1, published by CERA in 2013 to commemorate their 75th anniversary.

The itinerary for CERA fantrip #6, which included a trip over the CA&E Mt. Carmel branch using Chicago Rapid Transit cars. You can see a picture taken on that trip here:
http://cera-chicago.org/Blog/3318973
The same photo is also reproduced on page 42 of Trolley Sparks Special #1, published by CERA in 2013 to commemorate their 75th anniversary.

A sample ticket for CERA fantrip #6.

A sample ticket for CERA fantrip #6.

CERA mailed out a copy of Trolley Sparks issue #12 to a soldier in this envelope in June 1945. The first 11 issues were put out by Barney Neuberger independently of CERA.

CERA mailed out a copy of Trolley Sparks issue #12 to a soldier in this envelope in June 1945. The first 11 issues were put out by Barney Neuberger independently of CERA.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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Revisiting the Railroad Record Club

An RRC insert, found inside a vintage 1965 LP.

An RRC insert, found inside a vintage 1965 LP.

Following up on our earlier post about the Railroad Record Club (April 12), we found some interesting documents inside one of the many steam and traction LPs they issued in the 1950s and 60s. These date to late 1965.

The RRC Newsletter shows that record #32 came out late in 1965, and the five “special” pressings were also out by then. There is a mention that the company that pressed their records (RCA) was getting out of the business soon, but this may simply mean that they no longer wanted to make 10″ records, which were going out of favor.

The remaining four RRC tiles #33-36 most likely came out in 1966, since the club had been putting out four records per year. Those were also issued on 10″ LPs, but after that, the Railroad Record Club only put out reissues on 12″ vinyl.

There is also a description of a pressing error, where RCA apparently mismatched some of the two Nickel Plate Road LPs. RRC sold these to the public but unfortunately did not mark them as such.

Some recordings that were never issued are mentioned, including one of the Queensboro Bridge trolley, which last ran on April 7, 1957. Perhaps there is still rare traction audio out there waiting to be rediscovered.

Here is a video of that trolley*:

In response to your requests for more RRC titles on CD, we have added eight more steam titles to our Online Store. Nearly all of these have two RRC titles together on single compact disc.

To give you an idea of the relative value of cost, fifty years ago versus today, we made a comparison using one of those online inflation calculators. Each 10″ LP cost $4.00 in 1965, which is the equivalent of $30.30 now.

By comparison, we are offering two RRC discs in most cases for just $14.95.

The special South Shore Line 3-disc box set cost $12.49 when first issued, which would be nearly $100 in today’s money. We have the same title on two discs for only $19.95.

In addition to the Railroad Record Club recordings, we have also transferred a few other public domain recordings to compact disc.

We are still looking for a copy of RRC #23, which features Pennsylvania traction. There are vintage 1950s recordings of both the Johnstown Traction and the Altoona & Logan Valley streetcars on that disc. If you have a copy of this rare title that you would be willing to share with us, we would be glad to transfer it to compact disc and send you back your original along with a copy.

Thanks.

-Ye Olde Editor

*The narration is by prolific author Vincent F. Seyfried (1918-2012). He does get one thing wrong, however. The trolleys used on the Queensboro Bridge operation in its last days were built in 1930, not 1948.

Car 601, an “Electromobile” built by Osgood-Bradley, survived until 2009. It had been allowed to deteriorate for many years in storage, but at least parts from this car will help restore others.

The RRC Newsletter from late 1965.

The RRC Newsletter from late 1965.

The RRC Order Form from late 1965. LPs cost $4.00, which is the equivalent of $30.30 today. The $12.49 cost of the 3-disc South Shore Line recording would equate to $94.62 now.

The RRC Order Form from late 1965. LPs cost $4.00, which is the equivalent of $30.30 today. The $12.49 cost of the 3-disc South Shore Line recording would equate to $94.62 now.

RRC sold more than just records.

RRC sold more than just records.

There was a pressing error in 1965, and some of the two Nickel Plate LPs got mixed up. RRC sold these errors to the public and left it up to the purchaser to take note of the mistake.

There was a pressing error in 1965, and some of the two Nickel Plate LPs got mixed up. RRC sold these errors to the public and left it up to the purchaser to take note of the mistake.

Several new RRC steam titles are now available in our Online Store.

Several new RRC steam titles are now available in our Online Store.