101 Dalmatians

CSL prewar PCC 4022 heads west on Madison Street in the late 1940s. It is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. Fifth Avenue is an angle street that heads southwest. Service on the branch line terminated at the Garfield Park

CSL prewar PCC 4022 heads west on Madison Street in the late 1940s. It is signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. Fifth Avenue is an angle street that heads southwest. Service on the branch line terminated at the Garfield Park “L” station at Pulaski Road. Several parts of Fifth Avenue have been truncated since streetcars stopped running there in early 1954. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

It has been nearly two months since our last post, but we are back with a bevy of classic traction photos for your consideration.

Things have been quite busy of late, as we worked as an election judge for two recent elections (three in the last six months). Although you have not seen a new post for a while, work behind the scenes continued. We scanned hundreds of images, and many needed extra help in Photoshop.

When you see as post such as this, it is like the tip of an iceberg. For every image we share, there are others that, for whatever reason, do not make the grade, as well as others that are being stored up in an inventory of images, waiting for their moment in the sun.

Leopards, they say, never change their spots… but I assume you can identify certain breeds of dogs, such as Dalmatians, by the location of their spots. Spots factor into our images in any number of ways. Our readers often help us determine just which spot a picture was taken at. And we often have to do spot removal, a tedious practice, on old images.

Brian Wilson has his Pet Sounds, and we have our own pet images. Today’s batch are particular favorites, but each one is a different animal– a horse of a different color, you could say. You should have seen some of these pictures before we got hold of them and gave them triage. On second thought, just stick to the finished product you see here.

There are many, many hours of work that go into each post, and money too. When you see an image here, figure that it cost at least $10 on average to obtain it. We are fortunate that some of our readers have shared images from their extensive collections with us.

In particular, today’s post benefited tremendously from the generosity of both William Shapotkin and Jeffrey L. Wien, both of whom recently celebrated birthdays.

So, we are calling this post 101 Dalmatians, as we have at least that many new pictures here, and after working on them for so long, we are starting to see spots everywhere we look. We hope you will appreciate our modest efforts, and we will be back soon with more posts.

-David Sadowski

Our best wishes also go out to Ray DeGroote, the dean of Chicago railfans at age 88, who was recently injured in a fall. We wish him a speedy recovery. If anyone can do it at that age, Ray can.

Recent Finds

A bird's-eye view of the Wells Street Terminal used by the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin interurban on September 19, 1953. The following day, CA&E stopped running trains downtown, and their track connection with the CTA was severed forever in suburban Forest Park. There is a similar image, taken in 1960, showing the same terminal, or what was left after the CTA built a new track connection to the Loop elevated through it in 1955. You can find that in my book Building Chicago's Subways.

A bird’s-eye view of the Wells Street Terminal used by the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin interurban on September 19, 1953. The following day, CA&E stopped running trains downtown, and their track connection with the CTA was severed forever in suburban Forest Park. There is a similar image, taken in 1960, showing the same terminal, or what was left after the CTA built a new track connection to the Loop elevated through it in 1955. You can find that in my book Building Chicago’s Subways.

On July 27, 1962, a CTA Douglas Park “B” train pulls away from us at the Racine stop on the Congress rapid transit line., then only four years old. The train will go downtown through the Dearborn Subway, and then out to Logan Square via the Milwaukee Avenue tube.

On May 28, 1978, photographer William D. Lloyd caught this picture of CTA Historic cars 4271-4272 on the north side “L”. Now nearing the century mark, they are still on the property today. Here, they were only about five years out of regular service.

On January 26, 1964, approximately one year after the North Shore Line quit, the two Electroliners were rechristened as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow's 13-mile line between Philadelphia and Norristown. In the distance, we see a pair of early 1930s Bullet cars, which had a storied history of their own.

On January 26, 1964, approximately one year after the North Shore Line quit, the two Electroliners were rechristened as Liberty Liners on the Red Arrow’s 13-mile line between Philadelphia and Norristown. In the distance, we see a pair of early 1930s Bullet cars, which had a storied history of their own.

MBTA (Boston) ex-Dallas double-end PCC 3336 at Mattapan yards on December 5, 1976. (Ed McKernan Photo)

MBTA (Boston) ex-Dallas double-end PCC 3336 at Mattapan yards on December 5, 1976. (Ed McKernan Photo)

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Two CRT Met cars at the Laramie Shops in 1947. (John Gibb Smith, Jr. Photo)

In the last couple years of red car service in Chicago, which ended in 1954, the CTA painted a few of the older streetcars green. It was not an attractive color for them. Here, we see inbound car 6172 jogging from one side of Lake Street to another via Pine Avenue. To this day, tracks are still visible under the viaduct. At this point, streetcars crossed the Lake Street

In the last couple years of red car service in Chicago, which ended in 1954, the CTA painted a few of the older streetcars green. It was not an attractive color for them. Here, we see inbound car 6172 jogging from one side of Lake Street to another via Pine Avenue. To this day, tracks are still visible under the viaduct. At this point, streetcars crossed the Lake Street “L”, which ran on the ground here until 1962.

CSL 1466 was used as a training car for the three river tunnels. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 1466 was used as a training car for the three river tunnels. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 173X (full number not visible) is heading west on Madison Street in the 1930s. The Civic Opera House, built by Samuel Insull in 1929, is visible at rear. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 173X (full number not visible) is heading west on Madison Street in the 1930s. The Civic Opera House, built by Samuel Insull in 1929, is visible at rear. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

A maintenance of way car along the overhead section of the North Side “L”, exact date and location unknown. Jeff Wien adds that this is: “Wilson Avenue, freight connection to Buena Yards, probably in the early 50s.”

Laurel Line car 31 is at the Plains substation on August 3, 1952. Edward Skuchas writes: “I believe the locations of the two Laurel Line photos are incorrect. The top photo is Pittston. The lower photo may be the Plains sub-station. West Pittston is on the other side of the Susquehanna River, and the Laurel Line did not go there.”

Laurel Line car 39 is at the Plains sub-station on December 28, 1952, shortly before abandonment.

Laurel Line car 39 is at the Plains sub-station on December 28, 1952, shortly before abandonment.

The interior of Lehigh Valley Transit car 1007, showing its leather bucket seats, which were popular when this car was built for the Cincinnati and Lake Erie in the early 1930s.

The interior of Lehigh Valley Transit car 1007, showing its leather bucket seats, which were popular when this car was built for the Cincinnati and Lake Erie in the early 1930s.

Conductors on a Humboldt Park

Conductors on a Humboldt Park “L” train, circa 1907-15.

A Loop-bound Metropolitan

A Loop-bound Metropolitan “L” train, circa 1907-15.

The Chicago Surface Lines used trailers during the 1920s, as a way of dealing with increasing crowds of riders. But with the advent of the Great Depression, ridership fell sharply, and the trailers were no longer needed. Some thought was given to reviving them during World War II, but this did not happen. Here, 1756 pulls 8049. Don's Rail Photos notes,

The Chicago Surface Lines used trailers during the 1920s, as a way of dealing with increasing crowds of riders. But with the advent of the Great Depression, ridership fell sharply, and the trailers were no longer needed. Some thought was given to reviving them during World War II, but this did not happen. Here, 1756 pulls 8049. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “8056 was built by Brill in 1921, #21272. It became a shed at 77th and scrapped on July 17, 1957.” 1756 was a “169” or Broadway-State car. Again, Don Ross: “1756 was built by CSL in 1923. It was rebuilt as one-man in 1949.”

CTA prewar PCC 7028 on private right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 - Cottage Grove, in June 1953.

CTA prewar PCC 7028 on private right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 – Cottage Grove, in June 1953.

CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3848 on priate right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 - Cottage Grove in June 1952. Here, the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service, now the Metra Electric.

CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3848 on priate right-of-way at the south end of Route 4 – Cottage Grove in June 1952. Here, the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service, now the Metra Electric.

After the Chicago Transit Authority retired the last of the wooden

After the Chicago Transit Authority retired the last of the wooden “L” cars in 1957, some were used for a few more years in work service. Here, a Met car has been renumbered as S-308 at Skokie Shops.

CTA single cat unit 23 is outbound on the Skokie Swift at Niles Center Road on August 20, 1970.

CTA single cat unit 23 is outbound on the Skokie Swift at Niles Center Road on August 20, 1970.

CTA single car unit 26 on the open-cut section of the Skokie Swift in August 1978.

CTA single car unit 26 on the open-cut section of the Skokie Swift in August 1978.

CTA postwar PCC 4337, built by Pullman, heads south on State Street in the early 1950s.

CTA postwar PCC 4337, built by Pullman, heads south on State Street in the early 1950s.

An outbound CTA Douglas Park train ascends the ramp that will take from the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway to the old

An outbound CTA Douglas Park train ascends the ramp that will take from the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway to the old “L” structure in the mid-1960s. This ramp is not used much now, as Douglas trains, now renamed the Pink Line, have been rerouted to the Lake Street “L” via the Paulina Connector. (Mark D. Meyer Photo)

I ought this Red Border Kodachrome slide, which dates to the early 1950s, thinking perhaps it might e the old Park Theater on Chicago’s west side (on Lake near Austin). But after studying the image for a while, I am inclined to think it’s somewhere else. While the facade looks similar to the actual Park Theater, it is not identical. There should be streetcar tracks visible– the movie theater closed in 1952, about two years before the streetcar quit. And the theater on Lake Street at Austin Boulevard did not have a streetlight such as the one seen at right. There was a light attached to a line pole that held the trolley wire– a line pole not visible in this picture. That, plus the rounded nature of the signage, which I have never seen in any other pictures of the Park, tell me that this is not it. But we have in the past posted several pictures of streetcars near the actual theater. If you type “park theater” or “lake austin” in the search window on our page, these various pictures will come up.

CSL 1039 at Wabash and Lake in June 1947. Signed for the Indiana-Lincoln through route #3, it is southbound, and headed to Indiana and 51st.

CSL 1039 at Wabash and Lake in June 1947. Signed for the Indiana-Lincoln through route #3, it is southbound, and headed to Indiana and 51st.

CSL 6284 on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. Although the car is full of people, for some reason the side sign says Not In Service.

CSL 6284 on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. Although the car is full of people, for some reason the side sign says Not In Service.

A two-car CTA train of 4000s at right, in Evanston shuttle service, heads southbound approaching Howard in the 1950s.

A two-car CTA train of 4000s at right, in Evanston shuttle service, heads southbound approaching Howard in the 1950s.

TMER&T 1121, on a December 4, 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line.

TMER&T 1121, on a December 4, 1949 fantrip on the North Shore Line.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 at McCormick Boulevard (Yellow Line aka Skokie Swift) on July 16, 1989. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 at McCormick Boulevard (Yellow Line aka Skokie Swift) on July 16, 1989. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

The CTA has a yard for the Green Line (formerly the Lake Street

The CTA has a yard for the Green Line (formerly the Lake Street “L”) just west of the Harlem Avenue terminal in suburban Forest Park. Here, various cars in the 2000-series are seen, along with a Metra commuter train on the adjacent Union Pacific West Line. This picture was most likely taken during the 1990s. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

CTA gate car 2318 is parked along the outer portion of the Douglas Park line in February 1950.

CTA gate car 2318 is parked along the outer portion of the Douglas Park line in February 1950.

Chicago Rapid Transit Company gate car 305 is seen on the Loop

Chicago Rapid Transit Company gate car 305 is seen on the Loop “L” in the 1940s, signed as a Wilson Avenue Local.

The presence of double track would seem to indicate that this picture of a South Shore Line train was taken in East Chicago, Indiana in the 1950s. The street running through the middle of town was replaced by a new section running parallel to the Indiana Toll Road in 1956.

The presence of double track would seem to indicate that this picture of a South Shore Line train was taken in East Chicago, Indiana in the 1950s. The street running through the middle of town was replaced by a new section running parallel to the Indiana Toll Road in 1956.

CTA Holiday Trains have become an annual tradition. Photographer Bruce C. Nelson captured this one on December 2, 2017.

CTA Holiday Trains have become an annual tradition. Photographer Bruce C. Nelson captured this one on December 2, 2017.

Chicago Surface Lines red Pullman 426 is most likely running on Route 65 - Grand, as it is signed to go to Grand and Armitage. Chances are, this photo was taken circa 1939-40, and shows temporary trackage for construction of Chicago's first subways.

Chicago Surface Lines red Pullman 426 is most likely running on Route 65 – Grand, as it is signed to go to Grand and Armitage. Chances are, this photo was taken circa 1939-40, and shows temporary trackage for construction of Chicago’s first subways.

October 27, 1962 was the last day of ground-level operation on the CTA Lake Street

October 27, 1962 was the last day of ground-level operation on the CTA Lake Street “L”. The following day, service was relocated to the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment. Here, we see a pair of 4000s heading west on South Boulevard at Kenilworth.

After serving Chicago for many years, some of the original CTA

After serving Chicago for many years, some of the original CTA “flat door” 6000s had a second life on Philadelphia’s Norristown High-Speed Line. 6089-6090 are approaching Radnor on April 10, 1987.

Here is a view of the old Tower 18 on Chicago's Loop

Here is a view of the old Tower 18 on Chicago’s Loop “L”, when this was the world’s busiest railroad crossing. The old Loop ran both tracks in only one direction, but this changed in 1969, when the CTA wanted to connect the Lake Street “L” with the new Dan Ryan line. Therefore, the old tower had to go, as it was situated right where the new tracks had to go.

Both CTA and CA&E trains are visible in this July 8, 1953 photo taken at Laramie on the Garfield Park

Both CTA and CA&E trains are visible in this July 8, 1953 photo taken at Laramie on the Garfield Park “L”. Just a little over two months later, the CA&E interurban cut back service to Forest Park, a few miles west of here (and behind the photographer).

The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company's car 60, seen here in 1950, was a Cincinnati curved-side car. The ill-fated attempt to keep electric transit service going in Milwaukee was doomed to failure, once a horrific head-on collision took the lives of several people.

The Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail Company’s car 60, seen here in 1950, was a Cincinnati curved-side car. The ill-fated attempt to keep electric transit service going in Milwaukee was doomed to failure, once a horrific head-on collision took the lives of several people.

CA&E 425 is passing over Union Station in this undated photo. Trains going more or less straight would end up at the Wells Street Terminal, while the tracks in the background leading off to the right connected to the Loop

CA&E 425 is passing over Union Station in this undated photo. Trains going more or less straight would end up at the Wells Street Terminal, while the tracks in the background leading off to the right connected to the Loop “L” Van Buren. When Lower Wacker Drive was being built, this necessitated tearing down this second connection to thee Loop, and building a new one through the second floor of Wells Terminal. The switchover between the two took place in 1955.

Riders at the old Laramie stop on the CTA's Garfield Park

Riders at the old Laramie stop on the CTA’s Garfield Park “L” in 1947. Met cars are seen in storage in the background. (John Gibb Smith, Jr. Photo)

A CRT gate car, running in service on the old Garfield Park

A CRT gate car, running in service on the old Garfield Park “L” in 1947. This is the Laramie stop. (Charles R. Griffin Photo)

This CTA brochure, dated July 1949, explains the changes that were coming from the CTA's plan to revise north-south

This CTA brochure, dated July 1949, explains the changes that were coming from the CTA’s plan to revise north-south “L” and subway service. This included A/B “skip stop” service and making the Evanston branch a shuttle.

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From the Wien-Criss Archive:

One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on Chicago's South Side

One of the two North Shore Line Electroliners on Chicago’s South Side “L” on February 17, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner barrels through, having just crossed under the EJ&E, on January 12, 1963, a little over a week before the end of service. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner barrels through, having just crossed under the EJ&E, on January 12, 1963, a little over a week before the end of service. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner on June 1, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner on June 1, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner at Edison Court on February 17, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A North Shore Line Electroliner at Edison Court on February 17, 1962. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Surface Lines experimental pre-PCC car 7001 at 77th and Vincennes in October 1956. It is a shame that this historic car, which ran in Chicago from 1934 to 1944, was not saved. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Surface Lines experimental pre-PCC car 7001 at 77th and Vincennes in October 1956. It is a shame that this historic car, which ran in Chicago from 1934 to 1944, was not saved. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A Milwaukee streetcar, presumably on Route 10, in the 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A Milwaukee streetcar, presumably on Route 10, in the 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Interior shots were not easy for photographers on September 4, 1962, when Robert F. Collins took this picture of the North Shore Line's Milwaukee terminal. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Interior shots were not easy for photographers on September 4, 1962, when Robert F. Collins took this picture of the North Shore Line’s Milwaukee terminal. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Don's Rail Photos:

Don’s Rail Photos: “E223, sweeper, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1908 as CCRys E23. It was renumbered E223 in 1913 and became CSL E223 in 1914. It was sold to Illinois Railway Museum on August 29, 1958.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

On March 17, 1957 the late James J. Buckley caught this terrific 3/4 view of a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin freight train at Lakewood. (Wien-Criss Archive)

On March 17, 1957 the late James J. Buckley caught this terrific 3/4 view of a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin freight train at Lakewood. (Wien-Criss Archive)

It's June 1963, several months after the CTA elevated the Lake Street

It’s June 1963, several months after the CTA elevated the Lake Street “L” onto the Chicago & North Western embankment. A four-car train made up of “circus wagons,” the fan’s name for experimental high-speed cars, is making a rare appearance at Harlem Avenue, the end of the line. This view looks east. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7237 is running southbound on Clark Street in the late 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7237 is running southbound on Clark Street in the late 1950s. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7196 is at 81st and Halsted, the southern end of Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7196 is at 81st and Halsted, the southern end of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7195 is southbound on Clark at Washington. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7195 is southbound on Clark at Washington. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA red Pullman 144, which is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7187 on Clark Street on September 6, 1957, the last day of street railway service on Chicago's north side. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7187 on Clark Street on September 6, 1957, the last day of street railway service on Chicago’s north side. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On September 6, 1957, CTA 4372 pulls into the turnaround loop at Clark and Howard. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On September 6, 1957, CTA 4372 pulls into the turnaround loop at Clark and Howard. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7189 is southbound at Clark and Ohio on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph notes, "The Hotel Wacker was at Clark and Huron."

CTA 7189 is southbound at Clark and Ohio on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph notes, “The Hotel Wacker was at Clark and Huron.”

On September 6, 1957, Charles H. Thorpe took this picture of CTA 7139, the last pull-out from Devon Station (car barn). (Wien-Criss Archive)

On September 6, 1957, Charles H. Thorpe took this picture of CTA 7139, the last pull-out from Devon Station (car barn). (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4379 is on north Clark Street on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph adds, "This streetcar is traveling southbound to 81st & Halsted (as the destination sign states) somewhere near Clark and Glenlake." (This is, however, on the northern portion of Clark Street as we stated.)

CTA 4379 is on north Clark Street on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Daniel Joseph adds, “This streetcar is traveling southbound to 81st & Halsted (as the destination sign states) somewhere near Clark and Glenlake.” (This is, however, on the northern portion of Clark Street as we stated.)

CTA 7195 is on Halsted Street, near the south end of Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7195 is on Halsted Street, near the south end of Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth. (Heier Industrial Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3360 is running Route 4 - Cottage Grove, circa 1951-52. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Sedan (aka Peter Witt) 3360 is running Route 4 – Cottage Grove, circa 1951-52. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7154 is near Limits Station (car barn), near 2700 N. Clark Street, on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 7154 is near Limits Station (car barn), near 2700 N. Clark Street, on September 6, 1957. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA steeple cab S-343, a

CTA steeple cab S-343, a “yard shifter,” serving the rapid transit system, is at 64th and Prairie. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “S-343 was built by Chicago City Ry in 1909 as Chicago City Ry C50. It was renumbered L202 in 1913 and became CSL L202 in 1914. It was rebuilt as S-343 in 1959 and acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1979. It was acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1983 and restored as L202.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Surface Lines crane car X-4 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Don's Rail Photos says,

Chicago Surface Lines crane car X-4 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos says,”X4, derrick, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as CRys 2. It was renumbered N2 in 1913 and became CSL N2 in 1914. It was rebuilt as X4 in 1947 and rebuilt as S344 in 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1963 and donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7220, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on Route 22. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 7220, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, on Route 22. (Wien-Criss Archive)

From the William Shapotkin Collection:

CSL 5301 is at Lake and Ashland, running on Route 9, in April 1937. Streetcars were not permitted on boulevards, and the section of Ashland between Lake and Roosevelt was just such a boulevard. Therefore, in that stretch, Ashland streetcars jogged over the nearby Paulina. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CSL 5301 is at Lake and Ashland, running on Route 9, in April 1937. Streetcars were not permitted on boulevards, and the section of Ashland between Lake and Roosevelt was just such a boulevard. Therefore, in that stretch, Ashland streetcars jogged over the nearby Paulina. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture was taken on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on the Illinois Central Electric on April 24, 1966. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture was taken on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on the Illinois Central Electric on April 24, 1966. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The slide mount for this had the word

The slide mount for this had the word “junk” written on it, but I don’t agree. This is also from that same April 24, 1966 fantrip. (William Shapotkin Collection)

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A photo stop at Washington Park race track on the April 24, 1966 CERA fantrip on the IC. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Illinois Central Electric 1427 and 1186 on the Washington Park Branch on the April 24, 1966 CERA fantrip. Note that the motor unit in this pair faces north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Illinois Central Electric 1427 and 1186 on the Washington Park Branch on the April 24, 1966 CERA fantrip. Note that the motor unit in this pair faces north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The Illinois Central Electric at Blue Island in June 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The Illinois Central Electric at Blue Island in June 1978. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This slide mount has George Strombeck written on it, but I am not sure whether that is the name of the photographer, or the man in the picture. Either way, this shows a Milwaukee Road commuter train in Downtown Chicago on April 21, 1973. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This slide mount has George Strombeck written on it, but I am not sure whether that is the name of the photographer, or the man in the picture. Either way, this shows a Milwaukee Road commuter train in Downtown Chicago on April 21, 1973. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The GM&O

The GM&O “Abe Lincoln” at 18th Street in Chicago on April 22, 1966. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Ryan Tower

Photos of Ryan Tower, where the North Shore Line crossed the Chicago & North Western, are scarce, as this was a somewhat remote location for fans. But thanks to the good offices of Bill Shapotkin, here are several such views, along with his usual contemporary photos showing what the area looks like today.

Milwaukee County, WI - A pair of CNS&M cars (the

Milwaukee County, WI – A pair of CNS&M cars (the “Silverliner” at left is on a fantrip) pass one another at Ryan Tower – crossing with the C&NW “New Line.” Note that the once-double-tracked C&NW is now ut a single-track line through here (the one-time westbound main has been removed). The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Ryan Tower, WI - TM interurban #1121, in fantrip service, heads southbound on the CNS&M as it crosses over the C&NW

Ryan Tower, WI – TM interurban #1121, in fantrip service, heads southbound on the CNS&M as it crosses over the C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Tower on December 4, 1949. The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County, WI - A southbound CNS&M

Milwaukee County, WI – A southbound CNS&M “Silverliner” (in fantrip service) is about to cross over the (now single-track) C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Tower. View looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

On the stretch between Milwaukee limits and Racine station, a North Shore train crosses North Western freight route at Ryan Road. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

On the stretch between Milwaukee limits and Racine station, a North Shore train crosses North Western freight route at Ryan Road. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County, WI - In 1958, a southbound CNS&M passenger train approaches the crossing with C&NW

Milwaukee County, WI – In 1958, a southbound CNS&M passenger train approaches the crossing with C&NW “New Line” at Ryan Road (that’s Ryan Tower at left). The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Near the Milwaukee County line, a North Shore car crosses the C&NW freight line at an acute angle. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Near the Milwaukee County line, a North Shore car crosses the C&NW freight line at an acute angle. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo, William Shapotkin Collection)

Milwaukee County, WI - Looking N/NW (timetable NB) on long-abandoned right-of-way of CNS&M from

Milwaukee County, WI – Looking N/NW (timetable NB) on long-abandoned right-of-way of CNS&M from “Old Ryan Road,” (formerly Ryan Road). The CNS&M once crossed the C&NW (now UP) “New Line” – visible at right at “Ryan Tower,” located behind the photographer on the south side of the road. Photo by William Shapotkin on September 20, 2003.

(William Shapotkin Photo)

(William Shapotkin Photo)

Milwaukee, WI - Looking SB on UP (ex-C&NW)

Milwaukee, WI – Looking SB on UP (ex-C&NW) “New Line” from “Old Ryan Road” (new Ryan Road is visible overhead in the distance). This once double-tracked line once crossed the long-abandoned CNS&M at “Ryan Tower,” located south of the Roadway. Photo by William Shapotkin on September 6, 2003.

C&WT 104 at the end of the line in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 104 at the end of the line in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 164 on Lake Street. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 164 on Lake Street. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 145 is westbound on Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left is the Marshall Field & Company store, a local landmark. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 145 is westbound on Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left is the Marshall Field & Company store, a local landmark. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture is not very sharp, but it does show a C&WT streetcar stopped at the south parking lot of Brookfield Zoo, sometime in the 1940s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This picture is not very sharp, but it does show a C&WT streetcar stopped at the south parking lot of Brookfield Zoo, sometime in the 1940s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 133 has changed ends at Madison and Austin, and is ready to head west. Across the street from Oak Park into Chicago, riders could change to a Chicago Surface Lines PCC for a fast ride into the city. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 133 has changed ends at Madison and Austin, and is ready to head west. Across the street from Oak Park into Chicago, riders could change to a Chicago Surface Lines PCC for a fast ride into the city. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This shows westbound C&WT car 108, signed Berwyn-Lyons, on Stanley having just passed Oak Park Avenue circa 1941. At right is the Berwyn stop on the Chicago Burlington & Quincy. Today, Pace bus route 302 runs here, and commuter train service is under the auspices of Metra. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This shows westbound C&WT car 108, signed Berwyn-Lyons, on Stanley having just passed Oak Park Avenue circa 1941. At right is the Berwyn stop on the Chicago Burlington & Quincy. Today, Pace bus route 302 runs here, and commuter train service is under the auspices of Metra. (William Shapotkin Collection)

I am not sure of where this C&WT photo was taken. (William Shapotkin Collection) Patrick Cunningham: “The unidentified C&WT photo looks like it was taken just east of the Stone Ave. station on the CB&Q in LaGrange. The view is east. If you look at the prior photo of the end of the C&WT in LaGrange (which was at Brainard Ave.), you’ll note that the line was single track. This appears to be a passing siding or layover point.” On the other hand. Michael Murray writes, “I believe the 7th C&WT picture is looking east at Harlem and Stanley Aves. Page 128 of the Buckley book shows the signal on the pole, the track alignment, the CBQ shelter, and the CBQ signal in a photo near where yours was taken. I originally thought the same about the C&WT picture, but it’s Berwyn, not La Grange. The Buckley book confirms the location. ” Charles R. Vlk: “The “I am not sure of where this C&WT photo was taken. (William Shapotkin Collection)” photo is looking East on Stanley Avenue where the single track line crossing the Burlington at Harlem Avenue goes to double track. Harlem Avenue is behind the camera to the West.”

C&WT 112 is eastbound at Stanley and Oak Park Avenue. The CB&Q Berwyn stop is at left. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 112 is eastbound at Stanley and Oak Park Avenue. The CB&Q Berwyn stop is at left. (William Shapotkin Collection)

We have seen this picture of C&WT 141 before (it is also in my book Chicago Trolleys), but why pass up another chance to see it again? This is the bridge where the LaGrange line crossed the DesPlaines River, and I believe we are looking the the southeast. (William Shapotkin Collection)

We have seen this picture of C&WT 141 before (it is also in my book Chicago Trolleys), but why pass up another chance to see it again? This is the bridge where the LaGrange line crossed the DesPlaines River, and I believe we are looking the the southeast. (William Shapotkin Collection)

I assume these are the C&WT tracks in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection) Michael Murray: “I’m skeptical that photo 10 is on the La Grange line. There wasn’t any single track on the line similar to the one in the photo. My guess is perhaps the Berwyn-Lyons line? Ogden Ave. on the right, and this is the easternmost passing track, which, according to the Buckley book, was west of Harlem. Note that the line poles are only briefly wide of the main “march” of poles into the distance.”

A C&WT streetcar in LaGrange. (William Shapotkin Collection) Michael Murray: “Photo 11, which you have captioned as “A C&WT streetcar in LaGrange” is found on page 129 of the Buckley book, and is captioned: “Between Harlem Ave and the Des Plaines River, the Berwyn-Lyons streetcar line was built on private right-of-way on the south side of Ogden Ave. It was abandoned October 26, 1933 because the land was wanted to widen Ogden Ave. The railway here was single track with two passing sidings. Car 133 was photographed on the passing siding near the Des Plaines River in October 1933, a few days before abandonment.”

C&WT 111. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 111. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 105 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 105 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Collection)

An unidentified C&WT car, probably in the 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

An unidentified C&WT car, probably in the 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 107. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 107. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 165 is at Lake and Austin, the east end of the line, in suburban Oak Park. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 165 is at Lake and Austin, the east end of the line, in suburban Oak Park. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 158 in LaGrange. Not sure why this section of track is blocked off, except that perhaps it is due to the tracks being unstable, due to the nearby excavation going on. (William Shapotkin Collection) Patrick Cunningham adds, “C&WT 158 is just east of LaGrange Road. In the background, you can just make out the Jackson Moving and Storage sign on the building with the towers. The building is there, the towers are gone. Probably about here: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.8166104,-87.8687401,3a,75y,70.46h,80.48t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1st0yuoCYe7FXm6EGEmBkuQA!2e0!7i16384!8i8192!5m1!1e1

From a high vantage point, here we see C&WT 112 has just turned from Ridgeland onto Stanley in suburban Berwyn, and is heading west, just north of the CB&Q, which it will cross at Harlem Avenue one mile west of here. (William Shapotkin Collection)

From a high vantage point, here we see C&WT 112 has just turned from Ridgeland onto Stanley in suburban Berwyn, and is heading west, just north of the CB&Q, which it will cross at Harlem Avenue one mile west of here. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 132 on Cermak Road in the late 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 132 on Cermak Road in the late 1930s. (William Shapotkin Collection)

C&WT 105 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&WT 105 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&WT 111 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Photo)

C&WT 111 on Cermak Road. (William Shapotkin Photo)

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.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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CTA’s Westchester Branch – What Might Have Been

The "Westchester-Maywood" route, from a 1948 CTA map.

The “Westchester-Maywood” route, from a 1948 CTA map.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

This 1943 map shows where the Westchester branch ran.

Today’s photo essay features pictures of the former Chicago Rapid Transit/Chicago Transit Authority Westchester branch, which ran from 1926 to 1951. You can find an excellent track map here.  (You can also read our follow-up post, showing what traces of the old line are still visible here.)

It’s always interesting to speculate on what “might have been,” especially in the case of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, whose trains ran from 1902 to 1957 in Chicago’s western suburbs. What could have been saved? What should have been saved?  And, what can we learn today?

As you may know, ultimately nothing was saved, except the portion between DesPlaines Avenue and Laramie, which was taken over by the CTA in the early 1950s. That operates today as the outer portion of the Chicago Transit Authority‘s Forest Park branch of the Blue Line.

Speculation usually centers on whether the entire railroad could have been saved, bought by the State of Illinois, or at least, the portion to Wheaton. But in general, this section, the most viable part of the interurban, ran parallel to the Chicago & North Western‘s West Line, which continues to operate today under the aegis of Metra.

The State of Illinois made an offer to buy CA&E in 1956, and then backed out of the deal for various reasons. The only public entity that could have operated any portion of the railroad would have been the CTA, and yet their operating area was limited to most of Cook County.

Still, the CTA did some engineering studies.* In the short run, the idea was to put third rail shoes on some of the remaining PCC streetcars, and run a shuttle service between Forest Park and Wheaton. Just as with the CA&E operations between 1953-57, this would not have been a “one-seat ride” to the Loop.  (Some say these studies were made to demonstrate the impracticality of CTA actually doing it.)

In the long run, CTA would have ordered more new rapid transit cars, high speed versions of the single car units 1-50 that were built in 1960. These type of cars would also have been used if the CTA had been able to take over larger portions of the North Shore Line than the five miles that became the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) in 1964.

In retrospect, the opening of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway would have depressed ridership, so there is no way of knowing if such a CTA shuttle service would have been successful. But there was no way to pay for it, in the political context of the time, and therefore these plans were unrealized. But, if it had happened, most likely such a service would today be a treasured part of Chicagoland’s transit infrastructure.

But if we go back a little further in time, incredibly, there was rapid transit service operated by the CTA that ran to Mannheim and 22nd Street as late as 1951. This was the 5.6 mile long Westchester branch, a victim of budget cuts and expressway construction.

The Westchester branch was part of an ambitious mid-1920s Insull plan to create a high-speed CA&E bypass, similar to the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route. However, there was less of a need for it, and by the time the Depression hit and Samuel Insull‘s empire collapsed, only 2.2 miles of it had been built off the CA&E main line, and local service was being provided by the Chicago Rapid Transit Company.

The Depression also put a stop to the pace of housing development in Bellwood and Westchester, as it had in Niles Center, where the CRT ran local service in a similar fashion. The “build it, and they will come” strategy was not unusual at the time, and had been successfully followed some years earlier when rapid transit service was extended to the Ravenswood neighborhood.

With the CRT in receivership, things remained “status quo” until the creation of the Chicago Transit Authority, which took over operations on October 1, 1947. In these heady early days, it was thought that modernization would reaped quick benefits, and there were efforts by the CTA to improve service to outlying areas, with the creation of extension bus lines and express buses.

Within a few years, however, there was nothing but red ink, and without taxing authority, the cash-strapped CTA had no choice but to cut unprofitable services wherever possible. The lightly-used Westchester branch was an obvious target for elimination, since CTA was a tenant, paying rent to the CA&E, who owned the tracks.

From CTA’s point of view, they saved money by eliminating rapid transit service west of DesPlaines Avenue, and tried to retain whatever ridership was there with replacement bus service, creating the #17 route, which continued to run for decades (and has now been completely replaced by parallel Pace suburban bus service, the #317).

Expressway construction was also a factor. The CA&E and CTA shared each other’s tracks, and compensated each other in turn. By the early 1950’s, these payments totaled about $250,000 per year and largely cancelled each other out. But a 2.5 mile section of the CTA’s Garfield Park/Met “L” would need to be relocated for five years, since it ran smack dab in the middle of where the Congress expressway would be built.

After nearly 50 years of joint operation on Chicago’s west side, coordinating the plethora of daily CTA and CA&E trains was difficult at best, and required near split-second timing. Schedules were complicated and there were various passing sidings, where expresses would be routed ahead of locals.

The CTA (and the City of Chicago’s) original idea for relocating Garfield service was for a wooden “L” structure along Van Buren Street. Presumably this grade separated service would have been fine with the CA&E, but the local alderman objected, and rather than face a lawsuit, which would have delayed the project, the City Council turned to Plan B– grade level rapid transit service, bisected by several cross streets.

This was originally promoted as a “street railway” service, which may be how they justified not using crossing gates. At first, it was thought that overhead wire could be used, but the Met cars did not have trolley poles, and this would have involved shifting around a lot of equipment. So, ultimately, the Van Buren Street temporary trackage used third rail without any more crossing protection than stop lights.

In 1951, CA&E management decided that this plan was unworkable for them, and would cause too many problems for efficient and safe operation. In a letter to their shareholders, CA&E proposed elimination of rail service on the interurban (presumably, freight service would continue), to be replaced by buses that would take riders from the western suburbs to the CTA Lake Street and Douglas Park “L”s.

CTA, for their part, anticipating that CA&E would soon become a bus operator only, began planning for a bus-to-rail transfer point between CA&E and CTA. At first, it was thought this would take place at Central Avenue, a point just west of where CTA’s own rails ended. But by 1953, this transfer point was moved west to DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park.

Meanwhile, existing bus operators in the western suburbs had successfully blocked CA&E’s plans to substitute bus service for rail. Therefore, they had no real alternative to cutting back rail service to DesPlaines Avenue. This is how service was operated from September 1953 to July 1957. By then, CA&E ridership had been decimated, adn the railroad successfully petitioned to “temporarily” abandon rail service.

The abandonment actually helped facilitate expressway construction near the DesPlaines River, since no temporary service would need to be built. The railroad, in a sense, was still “made whole,” since by 1959 new rails were put in place for a connection to the CTA DesPlaines terminal. These are plainly visible in an aerial view in the 1961 CTA Annual Report, but they were never used, and the CA&E did not resume regular passenger service, and was liquidated in 1961. Attempts to save the interurban were too little, too late, and the suburbs that would have benefited from continuing service refused to contribute with tax revenue.

Between 1948 and 1957, the CTA eliminated about 25% of the rapid transit system it had inherited from CRT. This was mainly by slashing lightly-used branch lines (Stockyards, Kenwood, Humboldt Park, Normal Park, Niles Center, and Westchester). At one point, the CTA even proposed turning over the Evanston branch to the North Shore Line, but this did not happen.

By 1964, it seems the CTA had changed its mind about branch lines, for in April of that year, the phenomenally successful Skokie Swift service began running between Dempster and Howard, over five miles of former CNS&M right-of-way. By this time, some federal funding was available through a pilot program. CTA had to buy half of the Swift trackage anyway, just to access Skokie Shops.

Here, the CTA used fast, frequent service and a large park-and-ride lot to attract riders. And although it scarcely seems possible that the Westchester branch could have been saved in 1951, it would really fill a need today.

Imagine a west side corollary to the Skokie Swift.

By the early 50s, Bellwood and Westchester were prime areas for the postwar housing boom. This is especially true since these areas would soon have access to an important new highway. Growth in Westchester was being held back, however, since the same developer that had owned much of the property since the 1920s wanted to build all the housing themselves, thereby limiting construction somewhat.

After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, the CA&E liquidated the property, and the proceeds were distributed to the shareholders, instead of being reinvested in the money-losing railroad. This was the first of CA&E’s large-scale liquidations, where various portions of the railroad were sold to benefit the stockholders.

Getting back to what “might have been,” imagine how well the CTA would be doing today, if it had built a large park-and-ride lot at Mannheim and 22nd Street in the 1950s and kept the Westchester branch. As the area boomed in the mid-1950s, this service would have had tremendous potential.

And while this did not come to pass, the need persists, and something like a replacement for the Westchester branch may still be in CTA’s future. The Illinois Department of Transportation is working on plans for expanding and improving I-290 in the western suburbs, as the Chicago Tribune reported on February 27, 2013:

State transportation officials presented a narrowed list of four proposals that they say will improve travel on the Eisenhower Expressway, all of which include adding a lane to the highway and also extending the CTA Blue Line.

The four proposals, all of which include widening the highway between Austin Boulevard and Mannheim Road, extending the Blue Line to Mannheim and express bus service extending westward from Mannheim, were presented to a community task force. They will be further evaluated by state transportation officials as they study ways to make Interstate Highway 290 more efficient, said a manager of the project, Peter Harmet, bureau chief of programming for the Illinois Department of Transportation.

So, what “might have been,” may still be yet. We shall see.

-David Sadowski

PS- 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!

According to transit historian Art Peterson:

CTA prepared studies for operation of both the CA&E (from Wheaton to Desplaines Av.) and for the North Shore from the Loop to Waukegan.  The CA&E study was based on use of the pre-War PCCs; for the North Shore it would have been higher-performance rapid transit PCC cars and an A/B service pattern up the Skokie Valley.  Both went no place, for lack of suitable funding sources.  CTA was prepared to accommodate CA&E in the Congress-Dearborn-Milwaukee subway (the west side connection to that opened on June 22, 1958, by which time CA&E was freight only.)

Some knowledgeable sources reported that CTA retained a section of the Humboldt Park Branch after the “L” shuttle service quit running in the E50s, to use as a CA&E turnback/layup facility.  Humboldt Park was the “L” line that ran parallel and to the north of North Avenue, joining the Milwaukee Avenue “L” line at the North/Damen station.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

I believe we are looking east near Central Avenue, where the line curved around the south end of Columbus Park. This is approximately where the CTA Blue Line goes through the Lotus Tunnel. A small portion of Columbus Park soon gave way to the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

An eastbound single car near Central Avenue, at the south end of Columbus Park, now the site of the Eisenhower expressway.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

The passing tracks in this photo are a clue that we are near the Gunderson Avenue station in Oak Park. The Forest Park gas tank is at rear, so we are looking west.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

Looking west where the rapid transit crossed the B&OCT. Behind the car, the freight line branched off in two directions, to the CGW and Soo Line.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

A pair of Met cars crosses the B&OCT heading east. This has since been grade separated. The gas tank in the background was a Forest Park landmark for many years.

Here the the same crossing, but now we are looking east. This is now where I-290 runs through.

Here the the same crossing, but now we are looking east. This is now where I-290 runs through.

CTA 6051-6052 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in the 1950s. The Acme Feeds (7715 W. Van Buren) towers at are at the background. Among other things, they sold a product called Acme Worm Bouncer. After being abandoned for many years, the towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

CTA 6051-6052 at the DesPlaines Avenue terminal in the 1950s. The Acme Feeds (7715 W. Van Buren) towers at are at the background. Among other things, they sold a product called Acme Worm Bouncer. After being abandoned for many years, the towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

This is one of my favorite shots. An eastbound single car passes cemeteries in Forest Park, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. This is the approximate location of the Eisenhower expressway today. The train is curving towards the DesPlaines Avenue station. The iconic gas tank was removed many years ago.

This is one of my favorite shots. An eastbound single car passes cemeteries in Forest Park, having just crossed over the DesPlaines River. This is the approximate location of the Eisenhower expressway today. The train is curving towards the DesPlaines Avenue station. The iconic gas tank was removed many years ago.

An eastbound Westchester car passes by Concordia Cemetery at right, having just crossed the DesPlaines River. This is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today.

An eastbound Westchester car passes by Concordia Cemetery at right, having just crossed the DesPlaines River. This is where the Eisenhower expressway runs today.

This picture presents somewhat of a mystery. Car 2311, signed for Westchester, is identified as being in Maywood on July 21, 1934, with a 4000-series car behind it. There were some storage tracks east of First Avenue, but I am not sure whether CRT used these. Or perhaps these cars are near DesPlaines Avenue.

This picture presents somewhat of a mystery. Car 2311, signed for Westchester, is identified as being in Maywood on July 21, 1934, with a 4000-series car behind it. There were some storage tracks east of First Avenue, but I am not sure whether CRT used these. Or perhaps these cars are near DesPlaines Avenue.

Here, we are just east of First Avenue, with an eastbound train approaching. You can just make out the sign on the Refiner's Pride gas station behind the car. We are looking northwest. Commonwealth Edison occupies this site today.

Here, we are just east of First Avenue, with an eastbound train approaching. You can just make out the sign on the Refiner’s Pride gas station behind the car. We are looking northwest. Commonwealth Edison occupies this site today.

A westbound Westchester car crosses First Avenue in Maywood. East of here (right), the line ran at an angle before crossing the DesPlaines River. This is where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The "Refiner's Pride" gas station at left was part of a chain run by "Montana Charlie" Reid, who also owned a restaurant in Villa Park. An oil change business now occupies the site of the former gas station. Reid also owned Montana Charlie's Flea Market in Bolingbrook, along historic Route 66, which is still in operation.

A westbound Westchester car crosses First Avenue in Maywood. East of here (right), the line ran at an angle before crossing the DesPlaines River. This is where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The “Refiner’s Pride” gas station at left was part of a chain run by “Montana Charlie” Reid, who also owned a restaurant in Villa Park.  An oil change business now occupies the site of the former gas station. Reid also owned Montana Charlie’s Flea Market in Bolingbrook, along historic Route 66, which is still in operation.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

On December 7, 1958, CA&E wood cars 319 and 320 operated the last passenger train on that venerable railroad as a charter. Here, we are at Fifth Avenue station looking east. After the CTA abandoned the Westchester branch, this station was repainted in CA&E colors, and the interurban took over all service here from 1951-57.

While I'm not sure of the exact location, we are looking to the northwest along that portion of the CA&E main line, where it ran parallel to the CGW through Bellwood and Maywood.

While I’m not sure of the exact location, we are looking to the northwest along that portion of the CA&E main line, where it ran parallel to the CGW through Bellwood and Maywood.

We are looking west, with the IHB crossing in the background. 25th Avenue would be behind us, and Madison Street is to our left. Here, the CA&E ran parallel to the CGW. The Illinois Prairie Path runs here now.

We are looking west, with the IHB crossing in the background. 25th Avenue would be behind us, and Madison Street is to our left. Here, the CA&E ran parallel to the CGW. The Illinois Prairie Path runs here now.

A westbound Westchester car passing under the Indiana Harbor Belt. The two lines were grade separated in 1930-31. This is now the site of the Illinois Prairie Path.

A westbound Westchester car passing under the Indiana Harbor Belt. The two lines were grade separated in 1930-31. This is now the site of the Illinois Prairie Path.

A southbound Westchester train crosses Madison Street in Bellwood, where Marshall Avenue begins today. The house at right is still standing. The Bellwood station was just north of here, near where the line merged back into the CA&E main line. We are just west of Bellwood Avenue.

A southbound Westchester train crosses Madison Street in Bellwood, where Marshall Avenue begins today. The house at right is still standing. The Bellwood station was just north of here, near where the line merged back into the CA&E main line. We are just west of Bellwood Avenue.

A northbound train at Harrison Street, with new postwar housing in the background. In the foreground, sidewalks that were already about 20 years old go past an empty lot.

A northbound train at Harrison Street, with new postwar housing in the background. In the foreground, sidewalks that were already about 20 years old go past an empty lot.

Westchester car 2814 heading south at Harrison. A small child in blue jeans waits for the train to pass.

Westchester car 2814 heading south at Harrison. A small child in blue jeans waits for the train to pass.

A southbound single car passes storage tracks just north of Roosevelt Road, which was the original terminal before the line was extended in 1930.

A southbound single car passes storage tracks just north of Roosevelt Road, which was the original terminal before the line was extended in 1930.

A single Westchester car passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A single Westchester car passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A two car train passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

A two car train passes under the Illinois Central near the Roosevelt Road station.

Here we see the south end of the Roosevelt Road station.

Here we see the south end of the Roosevelt Road station.

A single car at the Roosevelt Road station.

A single car at the Roosevelt Road station.

Here, we are just south of Roosevelt Road, at the beginning of double track.

Here, we are just south of Roosevelt Road, at the beginning of double track.

We are just south of the Roosevelt Road station looking north. From here to Mannheim and 22nd, it was single track.

We are just south of the Roosevelt Road station looking north. From here to Mannheim and 22nd, it was single track.

The Chicago & West Towns Railways also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

The Chicago & West Towns Railways also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

PS- You can read more about Acme Worm Bouncer here.  You can also see some additional pictures of the Westchester branch here.