Holiday Spirit

Here's Eric Bronsky's 2017 holiday card. Alluding to some Comments that were made about a different picture in our last post (Reader Showcase, 12-11-2017), we are certain that this image of the new Chicago Transit Authority "L" station at Washington and Wabash has been worked over in Photoshop. But such is our desire to see North Shore Line trains running again, that we freely admit we believe it must be true!*

Here’s Eric Bronsky’s 2017 holiday card. Alluding to some Comments that were made about a different picture in our last post (Reader Showcase, 12-11-2017), we are certain that this image of the new Chicago Transit Authority “L” station at Washington and Wabash has been worked over in Photoshop. But such is our desire to see North Shore Line trains running again, that we freely admit we believe it must be true!*

Christmas Eve is here once again, and we’re sharing some holiday joy from our readers. Thanks to everyone who let us use their pictures. Whatever your beliefs, we hope for a joyous holiday season for all.

-David Sadowski

From John F. Bromley:

From Kenneth Gear:

From Alan Wickens:

Alan Wickens produces a monthly magazine about Wellington, New Zealand’s (now former) trolleybus system. This was the November ‘special’ to mark the very last day of trolleybus operation there. Click this link to read it.

From Bob Carroll:

Pittsburgh, 1975.

Pittsburgh, 1975.

From Charles Seims:

Jack Bejna writes:

Here’s an early Xmas present for the blog. My favorite CA&E cars are by far the original several orders of woodies, especially before they lost their original window configuration. It’s too bad we didn’t have modern cameras to capture these wooden beauties in all their original configuration. Merry Christmas and a great New Year as well.

And I know I join our readers in wishing the same to you as well, thanks!

CA&E 12 was built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 12 was built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 14, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 14, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 24, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 24, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 26, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 26, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 30, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 30, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 34, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 34, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 46, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 46, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 48 as new. It was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 48 as new. It was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 54 was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 54 was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 103, a trailer, was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 103, a trailer, was built by Stephenson in 1902.

Recent Finds

Here are three Red Border Kodachrome slides we recently acquired, plus one circular:

A train of CTA 4000s prepares to head east at DesPlaines Avenue, west end of the Garfield Park "L", on May 26, 1956.

A train of CTA 4000s prepares to head east at DesPlaines Avenue, west end of the Garfield Park “L”, on May 26, 1956.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train loops at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park on May 26, 1956, while a CTA Route 17 bus waits in the background. That was the replacement service for the Westchester branch of the "L", which uit in 1951.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train loops at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park on May 26, 1956, while a CTA Route 17 bus waits in the background. That was the replacement service for the Westchester branch of the “L”, which uit in 1951.

On July 4, 1953, we are looking north from the stairway to the CTA's "L" station at State and Van Buren. Streetcars are still running on State Street, via tracks laid in concrete about ten years before when the State Street subway was built. The nearby subway entrances are in their original configuration. State did not get those "preying mantis" street lights until 1959.

On July 4, 1953, we are looking north from the stairway to the CTA’s “L” station at State and Van Buren. Streetcars are still running on State Street, via tracks laid in concrete about ten years before when the State Street subway was built. The nearby subway entrances are in their original configuration. State did not get those “preying mantis” street lights until 1959.

Unfortunately, one tour that you can't take via interurban any longer...

Unfortunately, one tour that you can’t take via interurban any longer…

Santa Is Coming…

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad, that is, in vintage 1959 recordings prepared for the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconsin, but previously unissued, now digitally remastered for your enjoyment on compact disc:

From the introduction to the record:

This is Pete Brett. What you are about to hear is a recording of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad in 1959. Engine number 21, Mikado type, 2-8-2, oil burning.

Regular service in 1959, on the Santa Maria Valley, freight only. My recording depicts a composite of different recordings, of different operations. Our train switches in Santa Maria, some switching operation at the John Inglis Frozen Food Company, just outside Santa Maria, which we’ll hear some sounds of mechanical reefers, along with whistles.

Some on-line recordings, as the train proceeds to Betteravia Junction. There, some of the cars are cut out, the engine backs up to Betteravaia, switches, drops off some cars, picks some up, goes back to Betteravia Junction, picks up the rest of the train; we proceed on to Guadalupe, and our junction with the Southern Pacific. There, some switching operations, as some cars are dropped off, others picked up. Later on, the train returns to Betteravaia Junction. Once again, the train splits in two, part of it going to Betteravia, the switching operation there, the train then proceeding on to Santa Maria.

Santa Maria Valley Railroad, 1959.

The remainder of the CD includes 14 additional steam railroad tracks recorded by William A. Steventon, for use in a presentation he gave, demonstrating various types of sounds involved in basic railroad operations.

Total Time: 70:26

A History of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad

From the railroad’s website:

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad (SMVRR.com) has a rich and interesting history, and can be credited, at least in large part, with the Santa Maria Valley becoming an economic powerhouse by building up primarily the agricultural and industrial segments of its economy.

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad commenced construction on July 11, 1911 by an English oil syndicate to haul oil and asphalt from Roadamite to Guadalupe. The SMVRR reached Santa Maria on October 7, 1911 and was completed to Roadamite on November 5, 1911. The SMVRR took over switching operations for Union Sugar Plant. The railroad was initially successful but in the 1920s the sugar plant closed and the railroad drifted into bankruptcy in 1925.

Captain G. Allan Hancock purchased the railroad in 1925 in a bankruptcy auction on the steps of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and proceeded to build many industries which complemented the railroad. Captain Hancock built a state of the art, fully-equipped engine house to maintain his locomotives and equipment. He invested heavily in the railroad, installing new ties and new rail, and buying locomotives. Captain Hancock developed agriculture in the Santa Maria Valley, introducing new irrigation methods, and invested heavily in packing sheds, an ice plant, and Rosemary Farms. By the mid 1930s the SMVRR was hauling many carloads of sugar beets to the Union Sugar Plant in Betteravia, and crude oil and vegetables out of the valley. The SMVRR was one of the busiest shortline railroads on the west, hauling over 20,000 carloads per year.

At the start of World War II, the SMVRR purchased the old Pacific Coast (narrow gauge) Railroad right-of-way to the Airbase, now the location of the Santa Maria Airport. The Airbase Branch is actually the oldest railroad right-of-way on the SMVRR system, originally constructed in April 1882. In fact, the Airbase Branch is the only Pacific Coast right-of-way still in operation as a railroad.

Roadamite ceased operations in the late 1940s and the line was abandoned from Sisquoc to Roadamite in 1949. The last major track construction was in 1950 when the Battles Branch was built to service a refinery.

The SMVRR was one of the last railroads on the West Coast to run main line steam locomotives. On February 24, 1962, the last run of steam engine 21, with Captain Hancock at the throttle and Walt Disney in the cab, occurred. The SMVRR had purchased its first diesel-electric locomotives, the GE 70-tonners, in 1948. The GE 70-tonners proved to be excellent work horses for the SMVRR and they eventually displaced the steam locomotives.

Captain Hancock passed away in 1965. Two Hancock family trusts took over the SMVRR: the Marian Mullen Trust, controlled by Hancock’s third wife Marian Hancock; and the Rosemary Trust, the descendants of Rosemary, Hancock’s only daughter. Through the years many of the loose carload merchandise business went to trucking and by the late 1970s the fresh vegetable market was gone. Oil produced in the valley eventually left the rails. In August 1993, Holly Sugar closed down the sugar plant in Betteravia. This resulted in the loss of 90% of the railroad’s remaining traffic. The Hancock Trusts eventually concentrated on their more lucrative real estate holdings and the railroad continued to lose its customer base.

The Rosemary Trust took complete control of the railroad in 1999 and worked to turn the fortunes around for the railroad. An intense marketing campaign brought some new customers aboard. The railroad divested its right-of-way east of Highway 101 in Santa Maria and the main line trackage was reduced to 14 miles.

In October 2006 the SMVRR was purchased by the Coast Belle Rail Corporation from the descendants of the Hancock family, ending more than 80 years of control by the Hancock Family. New ownership embarked on a daunting task of rebuilding the line and rebuilding the customer base. To raise public and customer awareness and to raise much needed capital, the SMVRR hosted special events and dinner excursions.

On November 9, 2006 the SMVRR chartered the private car Silver Lariat for a freight customer appreciation excursion. That night was the first public excursion since 1962. On December 9, 2006 the SMVRR held its first ever public open house, the first of several events to reintroduce the public to the railroad. On the weekend of April 5, 2008 the former SMVRR Railbus No. 9 made a cameo appearance during a Motorcar Operators West excursion.

In September 2008 the SMVRR moved its yard and office facilities out of downtown Santa Maria and relocated at the former sugar plant in Betteravia. The new location offers full transload services with team track, dock track and ramp track as well as many acres of on-ground storage.

In July 2016, the SMVRR Headquarters relocates to its new Osburn Yard.

Today, history continues to be made. The past two years were the busiest since the sugar beet plant closed in 1993. New customers have come on board as well as current customers increasing their carloadings. The SMVRR is now a full-service shortline railroad company, performing contract switching, contract track repairs and inspections, and car repairs.

Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad

The Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad (Friends-SMVRR.org) was formed in 2007 to preserve the history of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad and to educate its members on the current railroad industry. Tours and lectures cover the current railroad business, railroad safety, as well as the history of the railroad.

On May 13, 2017, the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum opened an exhibit entitled, “Two Centuries…One Dream”, the story of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad.

Here are some pictures taken on the occasion of the last steam operation on the Santa Maria Valley on February 24, 1962. I would expect that the “Ward” in one picture was Ward Kimball (1914-2002), one of Disney’s “Nine Old Men”:

A dream that fortunately did not come true: CHICAGO'S LOOP ELEVATED TRACKS TO GO January 4, 1974 - This is a view looking south of the Elevated tracks of Chicago's CTA system on Wabash Avenue. This section along with other portions that formed "The Loop" is scheduled to be taken down sometime in the future with the building of a subway that is to take its place.

A dream that fortunately did not come true:

CHICAGO’S LOOP ELEVATED TRACKS TO GO
January 4, 1974 – This is a view looking south of the Elevated tracks of Chicago’s CTA system on Wabash Avenue. This section along with other portions that formed “The Loop” is scheduled to be taken down sometime in the future with the building of a subway that is to take its place.

*Here’s the original message Eric sent out with his card:

40 years ago, who would have imagined that Chicago’s Loop ‘L,’ long reviled as an eyesore and a deterrent to urban revitalization, would one day be viewed as an iconic landmark? The turnaround began soon after the city axed a harebrained scheme to tear down the ‘L’ and replace it with a single subway route under Franklin Street. Property values adjacent to the structure have since risen, and in mild weather you can even dine at a sidewalk café in the shadow of the ‘L’ (Mort’s Deli once offered “‘L’-egant dining under the cars”).

To date, the 120-year-old Loop ‘L’ structure has been restored and all except two of the aging stations have been renovated or replaced. Most recently, Washington/Wabash, a completely new and accessible ‘L’ station with wide platforms beneath a striking glass-and-steel canopy with LED lighting replaced two historic but obsolete stations at Randolph and Madison Streets.

In the spirit of CTA’s annual Holiday Train and Elves’ Workshop Train, and also the “Heritage Fleet,” we digitally enhanced the new Washington/Wabash station with some red-and-green stuff. The North Shore train is grafted from an original photo by William E. Robertson. The elf (someone you know?) is waiting for the train to Santa’s workshop. You might need to enlarge the image to spot some of the other oddities. It’s sort of like a “What’s wrong with this picture” … or should we say, “What’s right with this picture?”

— Eric

Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL! This book makes an excellent gift. For a limited time only, we have reduced the price to just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the regular price.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 203rd 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 351,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Reader Showcase, 12-11-17

Here's a mystery photo, showing a Birney car (#512) being worked on, signed for Fruitridge Avenue. My guess is this may be the Terre Haute Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company in Indiana. If so, Don's Rail Photos says that Birneys 490 thru 514 were "built by American Car Co in December 1919, (order) #1228 as THI&E 490 thru 514." There is a Fruitridge Avenue in Terre Haute. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

Here’s a mystery photo, showing a Birney car (#512) being worked on, signed for Fruitridge Avenue. My guess is this may be the Terre Haute Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company in Indiana. If so, Don’s Rail Photos says that Birneys 490 thru 514 were “built by American Car Co in December 1919, (order) #1228 as THI&E 490 thru 514.” There is a Fruitridge Avenue in Terre Haute. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

Here we are again, just in time for the holiday season, bringing many gifts. Like our last post (Reader Showcase, 11-30-17) we are featuring contributions recently sent in by our readers. These include some rare traction shots.

Again, our thanks go out to Jack Bejna, Kenneth Gear, and Larry Sakar for their great contributions and hard work.

In addition, just to keep a hand in, I have added some of our own recent finds that you may enjoy.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Kenneth Gear shared some additional photos from the collections of the late William A. Steventon of the Railroad Record Club:

Salt Lake, Garfield and Western 401 was former Salt Lake and Utah 104. It changed hands in 1946, and is seen here in December 1952.

Salt Lake, Garfield and Western 401 was former Salt Lake and Utah 104. It changed hands in 1946, and is seen here in December 1952.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway locos 14 and 18.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway locos 14 and 18.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway 130.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway 130.

Altoona & Logan Valley Railway sweeper 50a in Altoona.

Altoona & Logan Valley Railway sweeper 50a in Altoona.

A North Shore Line Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal.

A North Shore Line Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight locos 2001 and 2002.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight locos 2001 and 2002.

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave,

I got back to work on my CA&E project and here are some shots of the final order of steel cars. In many cases I have more than one shot of individual cars so if you need any more images I may be able to help. This group of cars completes my coverage of CA&E’s fleet of passenger cars. I’ll move on to the freight motors and other miscellaneous cars that the railroad owned.

In 1941, CA&E ordered 10 new cars (451-460) from the St. Louis Car Company. This final order was not delivered until October 1945, after World War II ended. The new cars were compatible (and could train) with the Pullman and Cincinnati cars, and were used for all types of service. These cars were lighter and included many improvements.

I know our readers appreciate your fine work, and we will be glad to share any and all images you want to share with us.  Thanks again.

CA&E 451.

CA&E 451.

CA&E 452 as new.

CA&E 452 as new.

CA&E 453 plus one on a CERA inspection trip.

CA&E 453 plus one on a CERA inspection trip.

CA&E 454.

CA&E 454.

CA&E 455.

CA&E 455.

CA&E 456, eastbound at Lombard.

CA&E 456, eastbound at Lombard.

CA&E 457 and three more cars at Wheaton.

CA&E 457 and three more cars at Wheaton.

CA&E 457.

CA&E 457.

(See Comments section) Jack Bejna: "Here's the image that I started with, as found on one of my searches of the internet. As you can see, I just Photoshopped the end of the car so as to present a nice ¾ view. I never noticed the lettering was unusual and didn't do any work on it. In future posts, if I change/modify an image I will clearly label it as such!"

(See Comments section) Jack Bejna: “Here’s the image that I started with, as found on one of my searches of the internet. As you can see, I just Photoshopped the end of the car so as to present a nice ¾ view. I never noticed the lettering was unusual and didn’t do any work on it. In future posts, if I change/modify an image I will clearly label it as such!”

CA&E 458.

CA&E 458.

CA&E 459, eastbound at Wheaton.

CA&E 459, eastbound at Wheaton.

CA&E 460 at Collingbourne.

CA&E 460 at Collingbourne.

Larry Sakar writes:

TM 978 at San Francisco Muni's Geneva Yard in September 1983.

TM 978 at San Francisco Muni’s Geneva Yard in September 1983.

I was going thru my Milwaukee streetcar photos and ran across the one and only shot I got of the 978 in San Francisco. I had to climb on to this concrete wall in front of the yard and hold on to the cyclone fence with one hand and snap the picture with the other. The ledge was quite narrow.

Here is some valuable background for the Los Angeles streetcar and Pacific Electric Railway material. (Editor’s Note: See our previous post Reader Showcase, 11-30-17.

The Los Angeles Railway company operated a large network of streetcar Ines covering every part of Los Angeles. Los Angeles’ streetcar system was a cable railway in its early beginnings, which accounts for the fact that it was narrow gauge for its entire existence. On a number of streets in downtown LA, both the Pacific Electric and LARY operated on the same tracks. In those instances, there were three versus the standard two rails. Both lines shared the outer rail, but LA Railway cars had their own second rail “farther in”.

By the turnoff the 20th Century, the LA system was acquired by the great Henry Huntington. Huntington was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington, one of the big four involved in the creation of the transcontinental railway along with other eventual luminaries like Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford, and Theodore Judah. Huntington headed the Central Pacific RR which ultimately became the Southern Pacific RR. The Pacific Electric RR was a wholly owned subsidiary of the SP, as were the Interurban Electric RR and Northwestern Pacific RR in the San Francisco Bay area. Henry Huntington transformed the former cable railway into the magnificent Los Angeles Railways Co. He was also the President and CEO of the Pacific Electric Railway, often referred to as “the interurban that helped build southern California.”

As was the case in so many cities, the rise of the private automobile began to take a toll on the streetcar lines, until the outbreak of WWII on December 7, 1941. Every available car was pressed into service. By the war’s end in 1945, the LA streetcar system was in need of renovation. Although both LARY and PE purchased new PCC cars, they could not overcome the post war turn towards freeways. PE’s right-of-way was beset with numerous additional grade crossings thus making the cars slower than competing automobiles and buses. By 1950 the LA Freeway system was knocking at PE’s door. there was little doubt of the eventual outcome. It remained only a matter of when PE would finally be killed off by the highway interests and one other well known menace, National City Lines.

First to succumb to the rail-destroying conglomerate (NCL) was LARY sold by Henry Huntington’s heirs in 1945. The company was renamed Los Angeles Transit Lines and equipment wore the well-known NCL “fruit salad” colors of yellow, green and white. Remarkably the LA system outlasted both Chicago and Milwaukee, abandoning the final five streetcar lines in March 1963. Some of the older equipment, like the sow bellies and Huntington Standard streetcars, were acquired by museums and one was “preserved” at the Travel Town Museum in LA’s Griffith Park. Several LARY PCCs also went to the Orange Empire Trolley Museum in Perris, CA. The remaining and newest PCCs were sold to Cairo, Egypt in 1963.

PE fared no better. Interurban lines on each of the four operating districts, as PE called them, (designated by direction) were abandoned even before the company was sold to bus operator Metropolitan Coach lines in 1953. Supposedly, MCL owner Jesse Haugh, a former officer with Pacific City lines (an NCL company), nearly had a heart attack when he saw the MCL emblem on the PE Interurban cars.

In 1958, both LATL and PE became part of the newly created Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. But the MTA was, in reality, nothing more than a continuation of the pro-bus MCL/LATL managements. The two-tone green colors of the MTA were the colors of Metropolitan Coach Lines. The last PE line (to Long Beach) went to its grave in April 1961.

As stated previously, streetcar service under the MTA continued until March of 1963. Some of PE’s older 1200-series interurbans and all 20 of the Pullman built PCCs were sold to the General Urguiza Railway in 1959. Four years of storage in the damp, abandoned Hollywood subway brought an early end to their second lives in Argentina.

But the worst insult to transit came next. In 1963, the LAMTA became the SCRTD, Southern California Rapid Transit District. Never has a bus system been so misnamed. There was absolutely nothing “rapid transit” about it!

But when all hoped for California to wake up and return to its past, a transit revolution took place down the California Coast. A brand new light rail line was opened in San Diego in 1980. Known as the San Diego Trolley, it would start a transit revolution that rocked California. True, BART started up in the San Francisco Bay area in 1972, but San Francisco never lost touch with the streetcar the way LA did.

By 1990, LA was beginning to rise out of the dense smog that blanketed the area on a daily basis. It was then that the newly formed Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Commission opened its first light rail line, the Blue Line running between downtown LA and Long Beach via the right of way once used by the PE red cars. The line begins in a subway that one connects with via the LA METRO Red Line subway from LAUPT, Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (Amtrak and Metrolink Commuter Rail).

Since then, two additional former PE lines to Pasadena and Santa Monica have been rebuilt and placed in service. Diesel commuter rail service, operated by Metrolink, serves other points once served by PE such as Glendale and Burbank. The service extends all the way up the California Coast to San Luis Obispo and south to Oceanside. Here, one can take the frequent trains on Amtrak’s San Diego Surfliner route or the commuter train from Oceanside to San Diego known as the Coaster. The Coaster operates equipment that resembles Toronto’s GO Transit system. Perhaps they are the same type of cars. Somebody familiar with both systems will undoubtedly know.

I went into my timetables and documents collection and found the 1983 San Francisco Historic Streetcar Festival brochure which pictured the cars that were going to operate. You’ll see that TM 978 was one of them. I had to scan it in part and then move it slightly to get the rest of it scanned as it was too long for my screen. I found some interesting things in my timetables and transfers that you are welcome to post if you wish.

Thanks!

San Francisco MUNI Part 3 by Larry Sakar

(Editor’s note: Parts 1 and 2 appeared in our last post, referenced above.)

SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL RAILWAY STREETCAR LINES

The San Francisco Municipal Railway operates 8 streetcar lines. Although that may seem like a substantial number of streetcar lines, it is a fraction of the streetcar lines that once operated in the city by the Golden Gate. The 8 lines serve nearly every part of San Francisco. Within the last few years MUNI was reorganized into the SFMTA –San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency. The Market Street Railway which owns the historic streetcars is not a part of MUNI and receives no transit funding.

The Municipal Railway or MUNI for short uses letters rather than route numbers to identify the streetcar lines. Of course with the exception of the F-Line all of the other routes used modern Light Rail Vehicles with brand new cars now arriving and undergoing testing. The 8 lines are as follows:

E-Embarcadero (south of Market to Cal Train station)
F-Market St. & Wharves
J-Church St.
K-Ingleside
L-Taraval
M-Ocean View
N-Judah
T-Third St.

All trains entering the “downtown” area operate in the Market Street subway (with the exception of the E, F & T lines) to the end of the MUNI subway at Embarcadero station. The Market Street subway is a two-level tube. MUNI streetcars operate on the upper level with BART trains running in the lower tube. The MUNI subway ends at Embarcadero station but BART continues across the bay in a subway laid on the floor of the bay. The tube runs relatively close to the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.

In the opposite direction BART turns off toward Daly City and eventually Milbrae and the line to San Francisco International Airport. However, they are still in close proximity at the BART Balboa Park station which is near the Curtis Green Light Rail facility. Let’s take a ride on MUNI:

Before the Market St. subway was built, streetcars operated down the center of Market St. from 1st to Duboce, where they turned off and entered the Twin Peaks tunnel. It is one of two streetcar tunnels, the other being the Sunset tunnel.

THE PHOTOS

1-3. I took the first three photos in late December 1973. If it looks like the car is running the wrong way that’s because it is. Long before passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, protestors decided to call attention to their plight by blocking the tracks on Market Street. PCCs put up their rear poles and ran the wrong way back down Market Street. At least two of the cars seen here were the 1006 thru 1015, which were double ended cars. Note the differing paint schemes between the PCCs.

4. We have operated thru the Twin Peaks tunnel and have arrived at West Portal station. This was the point where the various routes diverged and remains so today. The station was completely rebuilt when the LRVs took over from the PCCs and no longer looks like this.

5. This is the interior of one of the double ended PCCs.

6-7: By 1983 when I took these next two pictures the PCCs had been replaced by new Boeing-Vertol LRVs. The Boeing cars had many problems. When the new F-Market surface line opened in 1995, commuters flocked to the surface cars to avoid the delays caused by malfunctioning Boeing cars in the subway.

8. An interior view of one of the Boeing LRVs, which were articulated. Unlike TMER&L, who assigned numbers to each car of their articulated streetcars and interurbans, MUNI LRVs carried the same car number on each end, with one designated as “A” and the other “B”.

9-10: The Boeing LRVs were replaced by new LRVs built by BREDA. I don’t especially like the boxy looking front end of these cars. When I was in San Francisco on August 5th & 6th of this year (2017), MUNI was testing brand new LRVs which will replace the BREDA cars.

11-13: Three interior views of the BREDA LRVs. Like the Boeing cars before them, these cars have a unique but necessary feature. While operating thru the Market Street subway, steps are not needed as the floors are at platform height. As the cars depart West Portal station a warning bell goes off and a red light begins to flash. The floor then descends to reveal the steps needed to enter the cars from the city streets over which they operate. The door in the rear car has permitted fare cheaters to escape paying a fare. I saw school kids at various stops watch for that door to open. One would then jump in, thus blocking it from closing, while his cohorts scrambled aboard without paying a fare. The motorman was probably well aware of it, but knew better than to challenge the cheaters and risk potential assault. It surprises me that MUNI does not assign undercover personnel to catch these brats in the act.

14-17: This is the Curtis Green Light Rail Center near Balboa Park.

18. A BREDA two-car train lays over in front of the old Geneva car house. Look between the UPS truck and the train, and you’ll see that the old car house is fenced off. The building suffered extensive damage in the 1989 earthquake. MUNI plans to restore it when funding permits. The M-Ocean View, K-Ingleside and J-Church light rail lines all meet here.

19-22: Without question is MUNI’s most scenic streetcar line is the J-Church. A portion of the line operates on private right-of-way along the western edge of Mission Dolores park providing a spectacular view of San Francisco.

Recent Finds

Postwar PCC 4300, heading northbound on Route 42 (which was an offshoot of the Halsted line), has just passed under the New York Central on its way towards Clark and Illinois Streets. That's a Rock Island train passing by, with a Railway Express car.

Postwar PCC 4300, heading northbound on Route 42 (which was an offshoot of the Halsted line), has just passed under the New York Central on its way towards Clark and Illinois Streets. That’s a Rock Island train passing by, with a Railway Express car.

Four CTA prewar PCCs, led by 7033, are lined up on Cottage Grove at 115th in the early 1950s.

Four CTA prewar PCCs, led by 7033, are lined up on Cottage Grove at 115th in the early 1950s.

This one is probably late 1960s, as buildings around the funicular have already been cleared away as part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill area.

This one is probably late 1960s, as buildings around the funicular have already been cleared away as part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill area.

This view of the Angel's Flight Railway looks more like the early 1950s.

This view of the Angel’s Flight Railway looks more like the early 1950s.

Angel's Flight in the mid-1960s.

Angel’s Flight in the mid-1960s.

Don's Rail Photos says, "707 was built by Alco-General Electric in June 1931, #68270, 11193, as NYC 1242, Class R-2. It was renumbered 342 in August 1936. In July 1967 it was rebuilt as CSS&SB 707. It was scrapped in April 1976." Here, we see it prior to the 1967 rebuilding.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “707 was built by Alco-General Electric in June 1931, #68270, 11193, as NYC 1242, Class R-2. It was renumbered 342 in August 1936. In July 1967 it was rebuilt as CSS&SB 707. It was scrapped in April 1976.” Here, we see it prior to the 1967 rebuilding.

South Shore Line 108 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 108 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 111 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 111 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 211.

South Shore Line 211.

South Shore Line 111 in the mid-1960s. Not sure if this is in Michigan City or South Bend.

South Shore Line 111 in the mid-1960s. Not sure if this is in Michigan City or South Bend.

To me, this looks like the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it appeared on April 4, 1959. Work was underway to both reconfigure the terminal and build the adjacent Congress expressway. We are looking east.

To me, this looks like the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it appeared on April 4, 1959. Work was underway to both reconfigure the terminal and build the adjacent Congress expressway. We are looking east.

North Shore Line 714 on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment. 714 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

North Shore Line 714 on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment. 714 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

North Shore Line cars 715 and 748 at the Milwaukee terminal on January 20, 1963. 715 is now preserved at the Fox River Trolley Museum.

North Shore Line cars 715 and 748 at the Milwaukee terminal on January 20, 1963. 715 is now preserved at the Fox River Trolley Museum.

CTA PCC 7215 on July 9, 1957. Notice the large dent on the front of the car. In our previous post One Good Turn (January 20, 2017), we ran another picture of this car taken on August 21, 1956 showing the same dent. Chances are, CTA chose not to repair this, as streetcar service was being phased out. This car was retired about two weeks before the Wentworth line was converted to bus on June 21, 1958.

CTA PCC 7215 on July 9, 1957. Notice the large dent on the front of the car. In our previous post One Good Turn (January 20, 2017), we ran another picture of this car taken on August 21, 1956 showing the same dent. Chances are, CTA chose not to repair this, as streetcar service was being phased out. This car was retired about two weeks before the Wentworth line was converted to bus on June 21, 1958.

CTA PCC 7184 is southbound on Clark Street on July 9, 1957. I realize that some people might not like this photo, since it is not perfect and part of the streetcar is blocked by a moving vehicle. But such pictures do give you a sense that these were vehicles in motion.

CTA PCC 7184 is southbound on Clark Street on July 9, 1957. I realize that some people might not like this photo, since it is not perfect and part of the streetcar is blocked by a moving vehicle. But such pictures do give you a sense that these were vehicles in motion.

This view of two Garfield Park "L" trains is somewhere west of the Loop and was taken on April 13, 1957.

This view of two Garfield Park “L” trains is somewhere west of the Loop and was taken on April 13, 1957.

Indiana Railroad 375, probably on a 1938-40 fantrip. Don's Rail Photos: "375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed."

Indiana Railroad 375, probably on a 1938-40 fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos: “375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed.”

From the picture, it's hard to tell, but this is either Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 35 or 55. If it is 55, that later went to Lehigh Valley Transit and became their car 1030, which is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum. Again, this appears to be a late 1930s fantrip.

From the picture, it’s hard to tell, but this is either Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 35 or 55. If it is 55, that later went to Lehigh Valley Transit and became their car 1030, which is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum. Again, this appears to be a late 1930s fantrip.

Indiana Railroad 375. This car has been preserved as South Shore Line baggage car 503 since 1996 in Scottsburg, Indiana.

Indiana Railroad 375. This car has been preserved as South Shore Line baggage car 503 since 1996 in Scottsburg, Indiana.

Chicago Rapid Transit Door Control on 4000s

As late as 1950, the Chicago Transit Authority, which took over the Chicago Rapid Transit Company in 1947, was still using a very old-fashioned and labor-intensive method of door control on its 4000-series “L” cars, which were built between 1913 and 1924.

CRT had been unable to invest in more modern methods, which had been introduced in New York in the early 1920s, due to its lack of capital. Ironically, such an investment in multiple-unit door control (with a starting signal supplied to the motorman) would have saved CRT a great deal in labor costs.

If you’ve ever wondered how the old system worked, here is a detailed explanation from a rare 1950 CTA training brochure.  Conductors rode outside between cars, even on some of the newer post-World War II rapid transit cars, before the conductor’s position was moved to a greater place of comfort and safety inside the new “married pairs” of cars.

This brochure suggests that as of March 1950, all 4000-series rapid transit cars had been made into semi-married pairs.  As built, they were all single-car units.  The last single car units (the 1-50 series) were built for the CTA in 1960.

Knittin’ Pretty

Here is a real curiosity. Reading this 1954 brochure through, you might at first think it is simply encouraging people to ride the CTA in order to save a few pennies.

However, as the text goes on, it becomes an argument in favor of the CTA’s “PCC Conversion Program,” whereby 570 fairly new postwar PCC streetcars were scrapped, and some of their parts were used to build a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars.

The cost of a rapid transit car with all new parts is quoted as $50-60k, while St. Louis Car Company offered to build them for just $32,332 each. Thus a savings between $17-27k per car is implied.

After doing some research, I eventually found a CTA document that gives the actual costs incurred. The first 250 curved-door 6000s, with some recycled parts, actually cost the CTA $54,727.64 apiece.

From this, two conclusions can be drawn. First, that the contract between CTA and SLCC allowed for price adjustments that increased costs by more than 67% over the bid price.

Second, that the PCC Conversion Program did not actually save the CTA between $17-27k as was implied in this brochure (and similar figures claimed elsewhere). Since the cost of the previous order for one hundred 6000s with all new parts was $40,904.01, somehow the cost per car actually increased by nearly $14k per unit.

The difference can be explained in how the program worked. Over time, CTA sold 570 PCCs to SLCC for $14k each. This figure is confirmed on page 13 of the 1961 CTA Annual Report. Meanwhile, the cost for each new rapid transit car ordered appears to have increased by approximately the same amount, at least for the first 250 cars ordered under this arrangement.

The cost per car for subsequent rapid transit car orders, in general, shows a gradual increase. 120 cars purchased in 1957 had a cost of $59,368.84 per car, or $4,600 higher than the first 250.

Perhaps part of this increase is due to inflation, but it is likely that the age and condition of the parts being recycled was another factor.

In light of this, a case can be made that, from a materials standpoint in constructing 570 rapid transit cars, this program did not save any money at all, compared to what it would have cost to build the same number of vehicles with all new parts. In fact, since the recycled parts were not new, chances are the program was a disadvantage, as old parts cannot last as long, or serve as well, compared to new.

The actual goal, it would seem, of the PCC Conversion Program, was to get rid of the PCC streetcars in such a way as to take them off the books without showing a loss compared to their depreciated value. The 570 cars involved were between five and ten years old when scrapped. As we know, there are PCCs that are still being used in regular service by a few transit systems. The newest of these were built 65 years ago.

The CTA had other reasons for wanting to eliminate even the modern PCC streetcars. Curiously, the costs of maintaining track and wire were not cited in any of the various documents I have seen.

On the other hand, the 1951 DeLeuw, Cather consultant’s report recommended that CTA not buy any additional electric vehicles, streetcar or trolley bus, due to the supposed high cost of electricity purchased from Commonwealth Edison. As it turned out, no additional electric vehicles were purchased for the surface system until the recent experiments with battery powered buses.

CTA saved money by eliminating two-man streetcars, through reduced labor costs, but the CTA Board was told in 1954 not to expect any further savings in this regard (after the elimination of red car service). The reasons may be two-fold: in some cases, on the heaviest lines, it was likely advantageous to use two-man PCCs, and some PCCs had been converted to one-man operation, or could be used either way.

The Chicago Transit Authority had an decade-long flirtation with propane buses during the 1950s. Propane was then quite cheap, but the buses so used were severely under-powered and had difficulty maintaining schedules. The service thus provided on the surface system by such buses was of lower quality than the PCC streetcars and may have contributed to continued ridership losses on the surface system in the late 1950s.

One can argue that it might have actually worked to CTA’s advantage to continue operating the PCCs instead of scrapping them.

-David Sadowski

FYI, the above graph shows the costs for various rapid transit car orders placed between 1947 and 1958. A couple things are worth noting. The first four cars were the experimental articulated 5001-5004 units, which were each approximately equivalent in length to two standard "L" cars. This, and their experimental nature, helps explain the relatively high per-unit cost. The 1958 total includes the 50 single car units (#1-50), but does not break down the cost relative to the final 50 married-pair units it is lumped in with.

FYI, the above graph shows the costs for various rapid transit car orders placed between 1947 and 1958. A couple things are worth noting. The first four cars were the experimental articulated 5001-5004 units, which were each approximately equivalent in length to two standard “L” cars. This, and their experimental nature, helps explain the relatively high per-unit cost. The 1958 total includes the 50 single car units (#1-50), but does not break down the cost relative to the final 50 married-pair units it is lumped in with.

Railroad Record Club News

Additional tracks have been added to two of our Railroad Record Club CD releases, which are available through our Online Store.

An additional 11:24 has been added to this disc, which now has a running time of 75:41. Source: The Silverton Train (Your Sound of Steam Souvenir #2, 1964).

We recently obtained another handmade Railroad Record Club acetate disc with some new material on it, which has been added to our RRC Steam Rarities CD. One more track from the East Broad Top has been added, and the Illinois Central track has been improved. The new running time for this disc is 76:34.

Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL! This book makes an excellent gift. For a limited time only, we have reduced the price to just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the regular price.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 202nd 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 347,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

More CA&E in Color

CA&E 410 (plus one), westbound at Fifth Avenue in Maywood.

CA&E 410 (plus one), westbound at Fifth Avenue in Maywood.

A friend recently gave me a stack of Chicago Aurora & Elgin slides, which make up the bulk of today’s post. Some we have run before, but I don’t think too many of you will mind seeing them again, this time from a different source. Others, you haven’t seen.

Scanning an image is just a starting point in this whole process. Mostly, these were dupe slides made using Kodachrome, which is not what commercial labs used for this purpose. A regular lab would have used special low-contrast Ektachrome duplicating film.

Contrast is your enemy when copying things film-to-film, and Kodachrome is contrasty– great for original slides, not as good for dupes. So these were likely homemade dupes, and a lot of them were not color-corrected. I spent a great deal of time working these over in Photoshop, but in some cases, imperfections remain.

I don’t think there is a single image that I didn’t try to improve in some way, and I included a few of the original scans, just to show you how some of them looked before corrections were applied.

As always, if you have location information, or other factual tidbits to share, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- Each image has a unique number. When referring to individual images, please use the image name/number, i.e. pict763. To find this, hover your mouse over the image.

CA&E 456 on a snowy Chicago day. I'm wondering if this is Wells Street Terminal.

CA&E 456 on a snowy Chicago day. I’m wondering if this is Wells Street Terminal.

A CA&E train headed up by one of the ex-North Shore Line woods that CA&E purchased in 1946. This one could be car 141. The train is heading west, crossing over Union Station.

A CA&E train headed up by one of the ex-North Shore Line woods that CA&E purchased in 1946. This one could be car 141. The train is heading west, crossing over Union Station.

A six-car CA&E train at the Halsted curve.

A six-car CA&E train at the Halsted curve.

CA&E 428 plus one at Pulaski Road on the Garfield Park "L".

CA&E 428 plus one at Pulaski Road on the Garfield Park “L”.

A classic view of the CA&E in Elgin, with a beautiful reflection from the Fox River. A sign advertises the Rialto Theatre, which burned down in 1956. The fiim being advertised, The Big Sky starring Kirk Douglas, was released in August 1952, which is most likely when this picture was taken. George Foelschow adds: "Four cars at the Elgin terminal. This must be a fantrip, as single cars were the rule on the Elgin branch, except for weekday rush hours and Sunday afternoons for visitors to the Elgin State Hospital."

A classic view of the CA&E in Elgin, with a beautiful reflection from the Fox River. A sign advertises the Rialto Theatre, which burned down in 1956. The fiim being advertised, The Big Sky starring Kirk Douglas, was released in August 1952, which is most likely when this picture was taken. George Foelschow adds: “Four cars at the Elgin terminal. This must be a fantrip, as single cars were the rule on the Elgin branch, except for weekday rush hours and Sunday afternoons for visitors to the Elgin State Hospital.”

310 on a fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch. I believe the date was 1955.

310 on a fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch. I believe the date was 1955.

A westbound CA&E train crossing over the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell, shortly before sundown.

A westbound CA&E train crossing over the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell, shortly before sundown.

CA&E 426 near West Chicago, on its way to the Aurora terminal. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

CA&E 426 near West Chicago, on its way to the Aurora terminal. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

A CA&E train crossing over Route 83 in 1955. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

A CA&E train crossing over Route 83 in 1955. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

CA&E 403 at the Wheaton station. (Steven P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 403 at the Wheaton station. (Steven P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 415 at Wheaton Yard, in War Bond livery (probably during the Korean War). (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 415 at Wheaton Yard, in War Bond livery (probably during the Korean War). (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 20 at Wheaton Yard. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 20 at Wheaton Yard. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E bus 101 at Wheaton Yard. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E bus 101 at Wheaton Yard. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E loco 2001 in Maywood. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E loco 2001 in Maywood. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 427 at the Aurora Terminal. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 427 at the Aurora Terminal. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 421 at the Wheaton station. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 421 at the Wheaton station. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

A CA&E train at the Sacramento curve on the Garfield Park "L". You can see that construction is already underway at left on a ramp that will connect with the temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58 (but not by the interurban, which cut back service to Forest Park). The area to the right of the ramp is where the new Congress Expressway was to be built. This picture was probably taken circa 1952. George Foelschow: " The view is looking northeast, presumably from the Sacramento station platform, not southeast."

A CA&E train at the Sacramento curve on the Garfield Park “L”. You can see that construction is already underway at left on a ramp that will connect with the temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58 (but not by the interurban, which cut back service to Forest Park). The area to the right of the ramp is where the new Congress Expressway was to be built. This picture was probably taken circa 1952. George Foelschow: ” The view is looking northeast, presumably from the Sacramento station platform, not southeast.”

This looks to be the same train as in the previous picture, taken a few seconds later. CA&E 460 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited.

This looks to be the same train as in the previous picture, taken a few seconds later. CA&E 460 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited.

CA&E 414 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited train at one of the west side Garfield Park "L" stations. This and the next few pictures were all taken at this same location, a station near a curve. The consensus is this is the Kedzie station, which was near a curve. CA&E trains stopped there, which would have given the photographer more time to get a shot of each car. We are looking east, and the Sacramento curve is in the distance about two blocks away.

CA&E 414 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited train at one of the west side Garfield Park “L” stations. This and the next few pictures were all taken at this same location, a station near a curve. The consensus is this is the Kedzie station, which was near a curve. CA&E trains stopped there, which would have given the photographer more time to get a shot of each car. We are looking east, and the Sacramento curve is in the distance about two blocks away.

CA&E wood car 34 heads up this westbound train.

CA&E wood car 34 heads up this westbound train.

CA&E 318 is at the front of a three-car westbound train.

CA&E 318 is at the front of a three-car westbound train.

Two "Roarin' Elgin" trains pass on the Garfield Park "L". Cliff W. says we are "looking east from Pulaski with the single crossover just east of the station visible."

Two “Roarin’ Elgin” trains pass on the Garfield Park “L”. Cliff W. says we are “looking east from Pulaski with the single crossover just east of the station visible.”

CA&E 457 heads a westbound train at Kilbourn.

CA&E 457 heads a westbound train at Kilbourn.

CA&E 458 heads westbound at Laramie, along with two other curved-sided cars, all built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company.

CA&E 458 heads westbound at Laramie, along with two other curved-sided cars, all built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company.

CA&E 459. George Foelschow: "This is the Collingbourne flag stop on a banked curve on the Elgin branch, presumably on a fantrip."

CA&E 459. George Foelschow: “This is the Collingbourne flag stop on a banked curve on the Elgin branch, presumably on a fantrip.”

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957.

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957.

CA&E 451. Mike Schattl: "The location is the bridge over the CNW in Wheaton."

CA&E 451. Mike Schattl: “The location is the bridge over the CNW in Wheaton.”

CA&E 423 (plus one) head east towards Chicago, while a freight is on a nearby spur line. Bill Shaptokin says this and the next two pictures are "at Renwick -- interchange with the MILW south of Elgin."

CA&E 423 (plus one) head east towards Chicago, while a freight is on a nearby spur line. Bill Shaptokin says this and the next two pictures are “at Renwick — interchange with the MILW south of Elgin.”

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

3003 and 3004 again, with a fairly substantial (for the CA&E) freight train.

3003 and 3004 again, with a fairly substantial (for the CA&E) freight train.

CA&E 421. Bill Shapotkin says this is "Dunham Rd on the Elgin Branch. The car is E/B."

CA&E 421. Bill Shapotkin says this is “Dunham Rd on the Elgin Branch. The car is E/B.”

The same picture as it looked before color restoration in Photoshop.

The same picture as it looked before color restoration in Photoshop.

A single CA&E car on a single-track right of way, which could mean the Aurora, Batavia, or Elgin branches west of Wheaton.

A single CA&E car on a single-track right of way, which could mean the Aurora, Batavia, or Elgin branches west of Wheaton.

A single car near the Fox River. Bill Shapotkin: "This pic is in Batavia (NOT Aurora). Shot is between Batavia Station and Glenwood Park." On the other hand, George Foelschow writes, "This is most assuredly on the south side of Elgin, near the point of changeover between trolley and third rail. Not for nothing is Elgin, my hometown, called “The Bluff City”, also the name of the municipal cemetery, served at one time by Grove Avenue streetcars."

A single car near the Fox River. Bill Shapotkin: “This pic is in Batavia (NOT Aurora). Shot is between Batavia Station and Glenwood Park.” On the other hand, George Foelschow writes, “This is most assuredly on the south side of Elgin, near the point of changeover between trolley and third rail. Not for nothing is Elgin, my hometown, called “The Bluff City”, also the name of the municipal cemetery, served at one time by Grove Avenue streetcars.”

Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: "This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west."

Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west.”

CA&E cars at Lockwood Yard, including 48 and 314. Cliff W.: "In the wide shot there are Met cars in the right background. This is the south storage track with Flournoy in the foreground."

CA&E cars at Lockwood Yard, including 48 and 314. Cliff W.: “In the wide shot there are Met cars in the right background. This is the south storage track with Flournoy in the foreground.”

CA&E 48 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 48 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 314 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 314 at Lockwood Yard.

This picture may possibly have been taken just west of Laramie.

This picture may possibly have been taken just west of Laramie.

CA&E 459 and 452 are part of an eastbound train somewhere in either Oak Park or Forest Park, where the B&OCT ran parallel to the interurban.

CA&E 459 and 452 are part of an eastbound train somewhere in either Oak Park or Forest Park, where the B&OCT ran parallel to the interurban.

Here, we are looking west along the CA&E right-of-way at possibly Central or Austin. In the rear, you can see a large gas holder in nearby Forest Park. Andre Kristopans: "Photo on ground level with middle track is at Gunderson station. Middle track was so CAE could pass L trains. Abandoned after Westchester L’s were dropped in 1951." Gunderson is a short distance west of Ridgeland. The street was named after the developer who first built homes in this area. The new (early 1900s) development explains why there was a rapid transit stop on a sidestreet. When the CTA rebuilt this line in the late 1950s, they chose not to put a stop at either Gunderson or Ridgeland. Instead, auxilliary entrances were added to the Oak Park and Austin stops, at East Avenue and Lombard, respectively.

Here, we are looking west along the CA&E right-of-way at possibly Central or Austin. In the rear, you can see a large gas holder in nearby Forest Park. Andre Kristopans: “Photo on ground level with middle track is at Gunderson station. Middle track was so CAE could pass L trains. Abandoned after Westchester L’s were dropped in 1951.” Gunderson is a short distance west of Ridgeland. The street was named after the developer who first built homes in this area. The new (early 1900s) development explains why there was a rapid transit stop on a sidestreet. When the CTA rebuilt this line in the late 1950s, they chose not to put a stop at either Gunderson or Ridgeland. Instead, auxilliary entrances were added to the Oak Park and Austin stops, at East Avenue and Lombard, respectively.

Westbound CA&E car 428 crosses the B&OCT in Forest Park. This was also where the Chicago Great Western, now long abandoned, branched off.

Westbound CA&E car 428 crosses the B&OCT in Forest Park. This was also where the Chicago Great Western, now long abandoned, branched off.

The same location as the previous picture, with the iconic gas holder visible. The crossing was located between Harlem and DesPlaines, at approximately the same location where there is now a flyover eliminating this bottleneck.

The same location as the previous picture, with the iconic gas holder visible. The crossing was located between Harlem and DesPlaines, at approximately the same location where there is now a flyover eliminating this bottleneck.

I believe this is DesPlaines Avenue, and we are looking west. This picture was taken before the station was reconfigured in 1953. At this time, the station was located on the east side of DesPlaines, behind the photographer. The Acme Feeds towers, located at 7715 W. Van Buren are visible at right. These towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

I believe this is DesPlaines Avenue, and we are looking west. This picture was taken before the station was reconfigured in 1953. At this time, the station was located on the east side of DesPlaines, behind the photographer. The Acme Feeds towers, located at 7715 W. Van Buren are visible at right. These towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

CA&E 418 is westbound approaching the DesPlaines River, passing by Concordia Cemetery.

CA&E 418 is westbound approaching the DesPlaines River, passing by Concordia Cemetery.

CA&E 454 is westbound, about to cross First Avenue in Maywood.

CA&E 454 is westbound, about to cross First Avenue in Maywood.

Commonwealth Edison just west of the DesPlaines River. Meanwhile, 452 heads west.

CA&E 429 heads east near the Commonwealth Edison just west of the DesPlaines River. Meanwhile, 452 heads west.

One of the St. Louis-built 1945 cars (454?) crosses First Avenue in Maywood, heading east. We are looking north. There was a Refiner's Pride gas station located between the CA&E and Chicago Great Western tracks, on the west side of First.

One of the St. Louis-built 1945 cars (454?) crosses First Avenue in Maywood, heading east. We are looking north. There was a Refiner’s Pride gas station located between the CA&E and Chicago Great Western tracks, on the west side of First.

Shapotkin: "Yes, this IS Glen Oak. If you look hard enough, you can see the house I grew up in (at right in the distance)."

A westbound six-car train of CA&E woods stops at Glen Oak. Bill
Shapotkin: “Yes, this IS Glen Oak. If you look hard enough, you can see the house I grew up in (at right in the distance).”

CA&E 310 on a fantrip at Glen Oak.

CA&E 310 on a fantrip at Glen Oak.

CA&E 422 and 434 at Wheaton station.

CA&E 422 and 434 at Wheaton station.

Not sure where this curved-sided CA&E car is. Cliff W.: "The single Saint Louis car going over the bridge is passing over Liberty Street in Wheaton directly north of the shops and approaching the bridge over the C&NW on the Elgin branch. If you look very closely at the far right of the picture you can see a CA&E car sitting in the yard." Bill Shapotkin: "This car is x/o Liberty Drive in Wheaton (on the Elgin Branch): (View looks E/B on Liberty)."

Not sure where this curved-sided CA&E car is. Cliff W.: “The single Saint Louis car going over the bridge is passing over Liberty Street in Wheaton directly north of the shops and approaching the bridge over the C&NW on the Elgin branch. If you look very closely at the far right of the picture you can see a CA&E car sitting in the yard.” Bill Shapotkin: “This car is x/o Liberty Drive in Wheaton (on the Elgin Branch): (View looks E/B on Liberty).”

CA&E 454 is westbound at the bridge over Winfield Creek (on the Elgin branch near Lincoln Avenue).

CA&E 454 is westbound at the bridge over Winfield Creek (on the Elgin branch near Lincoln Avenue).

A CA&E train passes a two-car train of CTA Met "L" cars at the Halsted Curve.

A CA&E train passes a two-car train of CTA Met “L” cars at the Halsted Curve.

The CA&E's Lockwood Yard, also known as "The Orchard," was a small storage area just west of Laramie. This view is looking northwest across the main line.

The CA&E’s Lockwood Yard, also known as “The Orchard,” was a small storage area just west of Laramie. This view is looking northwest across the main line.

CA&E 52 pilots a three-car train of woods on the old Met main line near Racine. You can see the new (in 1953) ramp at left, heading down to the Van Buren Street temporary trackage, which would shortly be put into use. It connected with the "L" structure at Aberdeen. Expressway construction is underway at right.

CA&E 52 pilots a three-car train of woods on the old Met main line near Racine. You can see the new (in 1953) ramp at left, heading down to the Van Buren Street temporary trackage, which would shortly be put into use. It connected with the “L” structure at Aberdeen. Expressway construction is underway at right.

Much the same location as the previous picture, but perhaps a year earlier in 1952, as construction of the ramp has just started. This was very late in the afternoon, and it was difficult to correct for the yellowish-reddish late afternoon light. But don't forget, they called it the "Sunset Lines" for a reason!

Much the same location as the previous picture, but perhaps a year earlier in 1952, as construction of the ramp has just started. This was very late in the afternoon, and it was difficult to correct for the yellowish-reddish late afternoon light. But don’t forget, they called it the “Sunset Lines” for a reason!

Racine station on the old Met main line, with the Throop Street Shops in the background. This picture was taken sometime between 1950 and 1953, as there are some "flat door" 6000s present (along with Met car 2880).

Racine station on the old Met main line, with the Throop Street Shops in the background. This picture was taken sometime between 1950 and 1953, as there are some “flat door” 6000s present (along with Met car 2880).

Throop Street Shops in its last days (1953)

Throop Street Shops in its last days (1953)

CA&E 404 eastbound at Marshfield Junction, where three different Met lines (Douglas, Garfield, Logan Square/Humboldt Park) came together. Note the CA&E-only platform at right.

CA&E 404 eastbound at Marshfield Junction, where three different Met lines (Douglas, Garfield, Logan Square/Humboldt Park) came together. Note the CA&E-only platform at right.

A train of CA&E woods, headed up by 302, goes up the ramp to cross over the C&NW/PRR right-of-way at Rockwell. The "L" was raised up when the line it crossed was elevated onto an embankment. That explains why there are brick bases for some of the "L" support columns.

A train of CA&E woods, headed up by 302, goes up the ramp to cross over the C&NW/PRR right-of-way at Rockwell. The “L” was raised up when the line it crossed was elevated onto an embankment. That explains why there are brick bases for some of the “L” support columns.

The CA&E crossing the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell.

The CA&E crossing the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell.

Not sure of this location. Cliff W. says this we are "at Prince Crossing on the Elgin branch looking west." Bill Shapotkin: "View looks N/W."

Not sure of this location. Cliff W. says this we are “at Prince Crossing on the Elgin branch looking west.” Bill Shapotkin: “View looks N/W.”

CA&E 454 is eastbound at Jewell Road in Wheaton on the Elgin branch.

CA&E 454 is eastbound at Jewell Road in Wheaton on the Elgin branch.

A line-up of cars at Wheaton Yard.

A line-up of cars at Wheaton Yard.

Wheaton yard.

Wheaton yard.

From left to right: 430, 315, 425, and 310 at Wheaton Yard.

From left to right: 430, 315, 425, and 310 at Wheaton Yard.

Some ex-North Shore Line woods are in dead storage at the west end of Wheaton Yard, circa 1954, shortly to be scrapped.

Some ex-North Shore Line woods are in dead storage at the west end of Wheaton Yard, circa 1954, shortly to be scrapped.

Cars 435 and 436, possibly in dead storage at the same location as the previous picture, circa 1953-57 when the CA&E no longer needed so many cars.

Cars 435 and 436, possibly in dead storage at the same location as the previous picture, circa 1953-57 when the CA&E no longer needed so many cars.

CA&E electric locos 2002, 2001, 3003 and 3004 in Wheaton.

CA&E electric locos 2002, 2001, 3003 and 3004 in Wheaton.

CA&E 310 on the west side of Mannheim Road near Roosevelt. The occasion was a fantrip.

CA&E 310 on the west side of Mannheim Road near Roosevelt. The occasion was a fantrip.

According to what's written on this slide, CA&E locos 4004 and 4005 are in North Aurora in August 1952. On the other hand, Bill Shapotkin writes: "This pic is Aurora Ave on the Aurora Branch."

According to what’s written on this slide, CA&E locos 4004 and 4005 are in North Aurora in August 1952. On the other hand, Bill Shapotkin writes: “This pic is Aurora Ave on the Aurora Branch.”

The same picture before color restoration in Photoshop.

The same picture before color restoration in Photoshop.

CA&E 310 in 1955 on the Mt. Carmel branch on a fantrip.

CA&E 310 in 1955 on the Mt. Carmel branch on a fantrip.

CA&E 310 on the same fantrip as the previous picture.

CA&E 310 on the same fantrip as the previous picture.

The previous picture as it appeared before color restoration.

The previous picture as it appeared before color restoration.

The 310 running along the west side of Mannheim near Roosevelt Road.

The 310 running along the west side of Mannheim near Roosevelt Road.

CA&E 406 in fantrip service at State Road on the Batavia branch. Due to the width of the crossing, trains switched from third rail to overhead wire at this location.

CA&E 406 in fantrip service at State Road on the Batavia branch. Due to the width of the crossing, trains switched from third rail to overhead wire at this location.

CA&E 406 and 418 at the end of the line in Aurora.

CA&E 406 and 418 at the end of the line in Aurora.

Loco 2001.

Loco 2001.

Locos 2001, 2002 and train.

Locos 2001, 2002 and train.

CA&E 453 is eastbound at Batavia Junction as a Chicago Local.

CA&E 453 is eastbound at Batavia Junction as a Chicago Local.

CA&E 458 eastbound at Warrenville.

CA&E 458 eastbound at Warrenville.

Recent Correspondence

Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.

Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.

Steve DeRose writes:

You have managed to get me in one of your photographs of the 4000s at Clark and Lake (see above).

Here is the shot I got from that image. I did not get a poster. If I had, I would have folded it flat to fit it in my satchel (which you can glimpse hanging from my left shoulder).

I did not ride the 4000s this day. I did ride the 2400s. Most of my photographs (and videos) were shot on the Inner Loop @ Quincy and Wells.

Also, after having a late lunch at Mr. Beef On Orleans, I was walking to the Chicago Brown Line “L” station and espied the 4000s deadheading back to Skokie Shops.

My images are Creative Commons – Noncommercial – Allow Derivative Works – Share Alike. I’m not a copyright czar.

-Steve De Rose 8=)}

My picture originally ran in our post Chicago’s “L” Turns 125 (June 7, 2017). I guess, by looking at your picture, that you are the guy in gray, kneeling behind the person with the white shirt.

Thanks for sharing these pictures with our readers. FYI, the CTA is still selling those same posters through their gift shop, so you still have a chance to get one.

New CD Releases

We are fortunate this time to have two new traction titles to go along with a new steam release:

DC
DC Transit, 1959
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

DC Transit, 1959
Streetcars have now returned to Washington, D.C., but this vintage 1959 hi-fi recording reminds us of the system we once had. This excellent quality recording documents both PCCs and historic car 766 in action, with both trackside sounds and a night ride over private right-of-way to Cabin John. Capital Transit became DC Transit in 1955.

Total time – 49:47


SN
Sacramento Northern Electrics
Pacific Electric
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Sacramento Northern Electrics
The Sacramento Northern Railway (reporting mark SN) was a 183-mile (295 km) electric interurban railway that connected Chico in northern California with Oakland via the California capital, Sacramento. It ran directly on the streets of Oakland, Sacramento, Yuba City, Chico, and Woodland and ran passenger service until 1941 and freight service into the 1960s. Electric operation ceased in 1965.

These recordings, which make up the bulk of this CD, were made on the SN in 1962, and feature both trolley freight operations, mainly in city streets, plus fantrips using passenger combine 1005, which had been saved for use as a maintenance-of-way car. A very rare recording!

Pacific Electric
We hear the distinctive sounds of the Big Red Cars in their final days of operation on the 20-mile LA to Long Beach line in 1961. Who could have known that, 30 years later, this same line would be reincarnated as “light rail,” running in almost the same exact right-of-way? Pacific Electric may be long gone, but it is certainly not forgotten!

Total time – 49:11

Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don's Rail Photos says, "1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962." (William R. Smith Photo)

Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962.” (William R. Smith Photo)


NW
Norfolk & Western
Virginia Blue Ridge
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Norfolk & Western
The bulk of this record documents the final days of steam power on the Norfolk and Western in 1959, both freight operations and the final fantrip with the famous J-611 that truly signaled the end of an era. Except for the occasional fantrip now with the 611, steam may be long gone from the N&W, but it certainly went out in great style, as you will hear on these classic recordings.

The N&W did not even begin the transition to diesel until 1955, being the most notable proponent of steam in the 1950s.

Virginia Blue Ridge
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (reporting mark, VBR) was a small, historic short line system tucked away near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because of this, as well as the road’s secluded nature, it received little coverage and often went unnoticed by rail enthusiasts. However, the VBR offered all the things which made short lines fascinating; friendly service, a leisurely schedule, and small power. It also gained recognition for utilizing steam locomotives into the early 1960s. When first conceived the VBR was envisioned as a logging/timber operation. However, this traffic was short-lived and after nearly going under the railroad returned to prosperity beginning in the 1930s by hauling other natural resources. As the years passed, the VBR’s customer base dwindled and service was eventually discontinued in 1980. The recordings heard here were made in 1959.

Total time – 54:11


Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)

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

Overview

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

The book features 226 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

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

Product Details

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

Meet the Author

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

Images of Rail

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

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

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

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

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

The Postcards of America Series

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

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

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 192nd 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 314,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Chicago’s “L” Turns 125

Chicago’s famous “L” service first began on June 6, 1892, 125 years ago. The Chicago Transit Authority celebrated that anniversary this Tuesday with two special trains going around the Loop. A lucky few also received a commemorative poster (see above).

The event was well publicized. By the time I got to Clark and Lake around noon, there were hundreds of people waiting to ride historic cars 4271 and 4273, which were built in 1923. There was another train of 2400-series cars, which were retired a few years ago, but a lot fewer people were riding them.

In fact, some riders tried to board them without even realizing they were historic cars. They look very similar to current equipment.

This reminded me of stores I have heard about late 1950s streetcar fantrips here in Chicago. Although red cars were last used in regular service in 1954, they were such a familiar sight to Chicagoans that some tried to board the fantrip cars without realizing these type of cars were no longer being used.

On the way downtown via the Blue Line, I noticed a freight train running on the B&OCT, a rare occurrence nowadays. I also saw a work train, where a flatcar was being hauled by six 2400s. Using retired equipment in work service is a practice railroads have done for a long time.

When the CTA retired the last 4000s in 1973, only two cars were kept. In retrospect, it would have been preferable to have saved more, as evidenced by the large crowds yesterday. But at least something was saved.

Unfortunately, when the iconic 6000s were retired in the 1990s, none were retained as historic cars. The same is true of the 2200s, the last series with “blinker doors.” To see examples of these cars, you will need to visit a trolley museum.

I was one of the lucky few who snagged a poster, but there was no way I could get on the 4000s train at Clark and Lake. So I rode a few stops down, got some pictures, and crowded into the train, which had a “crush load.”

4271-4272 are part of a series of 455 “L” cars built between 1913 and 1924. In their time, they were “state of the art,” and provided good service for about 50 years.

To me, the best part of the 4000s is the gear noise they make when accelerating. While I did not shoot any video yesterday, figuring many other people would fill that gap, I did make some audio recordings, which I hope to post at a future date.

After riding to LaSalle and Van Buren, I got off for some more pictures, before riding the 2400s back to Clark and Lake. A fine, if crowded, time was had by all.

-David Sadowski

A rare freight on the B&OCT in Oak Park.

A rare freight on the B&OCT in Oak Park.

Clark and Lake.

Clark and Lake.

Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.

Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.

Clark and Lake.

Clark and Lake.

Clark and Lake.

Clark and Lake.

Between Clark and State.

Between Clark and State.

Randolph and Wabash.

Randolph and Wabash.

Randolph and Wabash.

Randolph and Wabash.

The interior of 4271.

The interior of 4271.

LaSalle and Van Buren.

LaSalle and Van Buren.

The 2400s train.

The 2400s train.

An out of service train passes while we wait for the 4000s.

An out of service train passes while we wait for the 4000s.

4000s between Library and LaSalle.

4000s between Library and LaSalle.

4000s between Library and LaSalle.

4000s between Library and LaSalle.

LaSalle and Van Buren.

LaSalle and Van Buren.

2400s interior.

2400s interior.

2400s at Clark and Lake.

2400s at Clark and Lake.

Riders on the historic train also received vintage paper transfers, which are no longer in use.

Riders on the historic train also received vintage paper transfers, which are no longer in use.

Omnibus Society Trolley Bus Fantrips, 1972-73

North Avenue at the Kennedy Expressway, April 1, 1973.

North Avenue at the Kennedy Expressway, April 1, 1973.

Here are some photos from the last Chicago trolley bus fantrips, sponsored by the Omnibus Society of America. The April 1, 1973 trip took place one week after the last regular trolley bus runs on the CTA. Immediately after this trip, the last two trolley buses to run in Chicago were towed to the Illinois Railway Museum, which now has an operating trolley bus loop. The buses used were all built by Marmon-Herrington.

According to one of the participants on the April 1, 1973 trip, in the week since regular TB service had quit, wires were already removed from a short stretch on North Avenue, near the Kennedy Expressway. Chances are, this was done to provide trucks with greater clearance.

Central at North, northbound, December 3, 1972.

Central at North, northbound, December 3, 1972.

Belmont at Nagle westbound, December 3, 1972.

Belmont at Nagle westbound, December 3, 1972.

Belmont at Kimball eastbound, December 3, 1972.

Belmont at Kimball eastbound, December 3, 1972.

Pulaski at Diversey southbound, December 3, 1972.

Pulaski at Diversey southbound, December 3, 1972.

Belmont at Cumberland, eastbound, December 3, 1972.

Belmont at Cumberland, eastbound, December 3, 1972.

Belmont at Cumberland, eastbound, December 3, 1972.

Belmont at Cumberland, eastbound, December 3, 1972.

Central Avenue at North Avenue, northbound, December 3, 1972.

Central Avenue at North Avenue, northbound, December 3, 1972.

Pulaski Road, April 1, 1973.

Pulaski Road, April 1, 1973.

Pulaski Road, April 1, 1973.

Pulaski Road, April 1, 1973.

Pulaski Road at Diversey, with the old Marshall Fields man-made waterfall in the background, December 3, 1972.

Pulaski Road at Diversey, with the old Marshall Fields man-made waterfall in the background, December 3, 1972.

Central at North Avenue, December 3, 1972.

Central at North Avenue, December 3, 1972.

North and Narragansett, eastbound, April 1, 1973.

North and Narragansett, eastbound, April 1, 1973.

Wires down, at the Kennedy Expressway, April 1, 1973.

Wires down, at the Kennedy Expressway, April 1, 1973.

Fullerton at Parkside, April 1, 1973. This bus turnaround has since been removed.

Fullerton at Parkside, April 1, 1973. This bus turnaround has since been removed.

Belmont at Kimball westbound, April 1, 1973.

Belmont at Kimball westbound, April 1, 1973.

Fullerton at Orchard, westbound, April 1, 1973.

Fullerton at Orchard, westbound, April 1, 1973.

Fullerton at Orchard, westbound, April 1, 1973.

Fullerton at Orchard, westbound, April 1, 1973.

Fullerton Avenue eastbound, April 1, 1973.

Fullerton Avenue eastbound, April 1, 1973.

Chicago Trolleys

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

street-railwayreview1895-002

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 184th 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 291,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Faded Love

CSL/CTA 4021, the only prewar Chicago car that survives, at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2002. (John Marton Photo)

CSL/CTA 4021, the only prewar Chicago car that survives, at the Illinois Railway Museum in 2002. (John Marton Photo)

I was going through my things the other day, and came across some images that were given to me a few years ago by the late John Marton. It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone for two-and-a-half years now.

Anyhow, mostly these are rare color images showing experimental paint schemes tried out by the Chicago Surface Lines on six of their prewar PCCs in late 1945 and early 1946. This helped CSL determine the eventual colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange) used on the 600 postwar PPCCs that were put into service starting in September 1946.

Unfortunately, these images were not of sufficient quality to merit inclusion in Central Electric Railfans’ Association Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958. There are reasons for that.

The pictures were originally taken by John Marton’s uncle. Somehow, John ended up with color prints that had a textured finish. I assume these were made from color negatives. The prints were later damaged in a basement flood. Eventually, John had slides made from the prints.

Although not of the greatest quality, these photos do have historical importance as possibly the only surviving color still pictures taken of the cars in these experimental colors. Fortunately, the late Bill Hoffman took color films, and these are included in the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD that comes with each copy of B-146.

Fortunately, the St. Petersburg Tram Collection includes highly detailed, very accurate scale models of nearly all the various paint schemes and door configurations for the Chicago PCCs (I say nearly all, since there was one postwar car (4132) that had a unique roof treatment and has not so far been modeled. We have a color photo of that car in our post More Chicago PCC Photos – Part Three from October 7, 2015.)

Canadian railfan John F. Bromley owns all six models of the experimental PCCs, and generously provided us with pictures for use in B-146.

Here are reference pictures of models showing the various colors that Chicago PCCs, both prewar and postwar, were decorated in. That should provide you with a frame of reference for the Marton photos that follow.

We present those in tribute to John Marton, a good man who is unfortunately gone, but is certainly not forgotten by those who knew him.

-David Sadowski

PS- These faded old color photos remind me of a song by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys:

Faded Love

As I look at the letters that you wrote to me
It’s you that I am thinking of
As I read the lines that to me were so sweet
I remember our faded love

I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love

As I think of the past and all the pleasures we had
As I watch the mating of the dove
It was in the springtime when you said goodbye
I remember our faded love

I miss you darling more and more every day
As heaven would miss the stars above
With every heartbeat I still think of you
And remember our faded love


CSL 4021 in the standard prewar paint scheme.

CSL 4021 in the standard prewar paint scheme.

Chicago Surface Lines 1940-41 experimental door configuration.

Chicago Surface Lines 1940-41 experimental door configuration.

Chicago Surface Lines "tiger stripes," 1945.

Chicago Surface Lines “tiger stripes,” 1945.

CSL 4010 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4010 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4018 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4018 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4020 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4020 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4022 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4022 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4035 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4035 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4050 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

CSL 4050 in experimental paint, 1945-46.

1952 CTA one-man conversion.

1952 CTA one-man conversion.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines as-delivered with white standee windows.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines as-delivered with white standee windows.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines in Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange.

1946 Chicago Surface Lines in Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange.

1952 Chicago Transit Authority Everglade Green and Cream.

1952 Chicago Transit Authority Everglade Green and Cream.

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, somewhere west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, somewhere west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors on Madison, near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4035 on Madison near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4035 on Madison near the west end of the line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL "tiger stripes" car near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL “tiger stripes” car near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison, pulling out from the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison, pulling out from the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA "tiger stripes" car at the east end of the 63rd Street line. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA “tiger stripes” car at the east end of the 63rd Street line. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors neat the west end of the Madison line. (Joh n Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors neat the west end of the Madison line. (Joh n Marton Collection)

CSL 4018 in experimental colors, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4018 in experimental colors, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

There's not much color here, but the shape of the stripe would indicate this is CSL 4018 heading towards is on the west end of Madison, while the yellow color would suggest that's 4050 in the opposite direction. (John Marton Collection)

There’s not much color here, but the shape of the stripe would indicate this is CSL 4018 heading towards is on the west end of Madison, while the yellow color would suggest that’s 4050 in the opposite direction. (John Marton Collection)

A CTA prewar car in "tiger stripes" on 63rd Street. (John Marton Collection) Andre Kristopans: "The shot of the prewar car on 63rd in tiger stripes between shots of 4018 and 4010 is just east of 63rd and Indiana. For some reason, 63rd St is offset to the south about 50 feet from State to Indiana, this is why there appears to be a curve behind the car, as there really is a jog there."

A CTA prewar car in “tiger stripes” on 63rd Street. (John Marton Collection) Andre Kristopans: “The shot of the prewar car on 63rd in tiger stripes between shots of 4018 and 4010 is just east of 63rd and Indiana. For some reason, 63rd St is offset to the south about 50 feet from State to Indiana, this is why there appears to be a curve behind the car, as there really is a jog there.”

CSL 4010 in experimental colors, near the State Theater (5814 W. Madison). (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4010 in experimental colors, near the State Theater (5814 W. Madison). (John Marton Collection)

This picture was taken at Madison and Austin, west end of route 20. Interstingly, two prewar CSL PCCs are posted side by side. That's 4018 in experimental paint at left, next to a car in "tiger stripes." (John Marton Collection)

This picture was taken at Madison and Austin, west end of route 20. Interstingly, two prewar CSL PCCs are posted side by side. That’s 4018 in experimental paint at left, next to a car in “tiger stripes.” (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors stops at a safety island near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. The State, opened in 1925, could seat 1,900. It was taken over by the Balaban and Katz chain in the 1930s and remained open into the late 1970s. Sadly, it was demolished in 1995. (John Marton Collection)

A CSL prewar car in standard colors stops at a safety island near the old State Theatre, which was located at 5814 W. Madison. The State, opened in 1925, could seat 1,900. It was taken over by the Balaban and Katz chain in the 1930s and remained open into the late 1970s. Sadly, it was demolished in 1995. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020 in experimental colors, on route 20 - Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020 in experimental colors, on route 20 – Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

A westbound PCC nearing the west end of route 20 - Madison. You can tell by the radio tower, which is still located at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

A westbound PCC nearing the west end of route 20 – Madison. You can tell by the radio tower, which is still located at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020, in experimental paint, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

CSL 4020, in experimental paint, at the Madison-Austin loop. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison, leaving the Madison-Austin terminal. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison, leaving the Madison-Austin terminal. (John Marton Collection)

"Tiger stripes" on route 20 - Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)

“Tiger stripes” on route 20 – Madison just west of the Loop. (John Marton Collection)


Recent Correspondence

Andre Kristopans writes:

Sending you two files which were originally researched by George Chaisson in the early 1990’s, one detailing 6000 assignments thru 6/58 and the other 4000 assignments 1949 thru 1958. Put them on your blog.

Thanks very much. I am sure our readers will appreciate having the information.


Island Model Works offers this model of a Chicago 4000-series "L" car (among others). This is the earlier 1913 version with center doors that were not used in service this way. The idea was to speed loading and unloading, but the doors were sealed before these cars were put into service and seats were put there. These cars were built by the Cincinnati Car Company and many were in service for 50 years.

Island Model Works offers this model of a Chicago 4000-series “L” car (among others). This is the earlier 1913 version with center doors that were not used in service this way. The idea was to speed loading and unloading, but the doors were sealed before these cars were put into service and seats were put there. These cars were built by the Cincinnati Car Company and many were in service for 50 years.

CTA Rapid Transit Cars 4067-4455 History 1949-58:

07/49 4001-4455 on NS (North-South)
08/52 4251-4262 move NS to LS (Logan Square)
4299-4328 move NS to RV (Ravenswood)
10/52 4001-4051 move NS to LS
4052-4066 move NS to LK (Lake) (trailers off NS)
4261-4298 move NS to LS
4299-4301 move RV to LS
4302-4328 move RV to LK (1st 4000’s on Lake)
4329-4340 move NS to LK
12/52 4037-4051 move LS to NS
4052-4066 move LK to NS (trailers off LK, return to NS)
4302-4322 move LK to LS
4341-4370 move NS to LK
02/53 4101-4136 move NS to LS, coupled to 4001-4036
4137-4166 coupled to 4037-4066 on NS
04/53 4011/4111, 4044/4144 destroyed in fire at Logan Square (note 4044/4144 were NS cars)
05/53 4371-4455 (NS assigned) used on EV (Evanston) on weekends
03/54 4026-4028 move LS to NS
4099-4100 move NS to LS
4126-4136 move LS to NS
4299-4322 move LS to LK
4355-4370 move LK to NS
04/54 4126-4131 move NS to LS
4293-4298 move LS to LK
4335-4336 move NS to LK
05/54 4026-4028 move NS to LK
4037-4039 move NS to LK
4337-4360 move NS to LK
Status 5/22/54:
4001-4010 LS
4011 retired
4012-4025 LS
4026-4028 LK
4029-4036 LS
4037-4039 LK
4040-4043 NS
4044 retired
4045-4066 NS
4067-4098 NS
4099-4110 LS
4111 retired
4112-4131 LS
4132-4143 NS
4144 retired
4145-4250 NS
4251-4292 LS
4293-4360 LK
4361-4455 NS (also EV Sat-Sun)
07/54 4066 r# 4044 on NS
4040-4047 move NS to LK
4361-4402 move NS to LK
10/54 4048-4057 move NS to LK
4403-4448 move NS to LK
4455 move NS to LK
01/55 4067-4098 move NS to DP (Douglas Park) (1st 4000’s on DP)
05/55 4019-4025 move LS to LK
4029-4036 move LS to LK
4046-4057 move LK to DP
4067-4098 move DP to LS
4125-4131 move LS to DP
4132-4143 move NS to DP
4145-4194 move NS to DP
4283-4292 move LS to LK
4433-4448 move LK to GP (Garfield park) (1st 4000’s on GP)
4455 move LK to GP
Status 05/55:
4001-4010 LS
4011 retired
4012-4018 LS
4019-4045 LK
4046-4057 DP
4058-4065 NS
4066 r# 4044
4067-4110 LS
4111 retired
4112-4124 LS
4125-4143 DP
4144 retired
4145-4194 DP
4195-4250 NS
4251-4282 LS
4283-4432 LK
4433-4448 GP
4449-4454 NS (EV Sat-Sun)
4455 GP
07/55 4058-4065 move NS to GP (trailers off NS)
4195-4250 move NS to GP
4449-4454 move NS to GP (4000’s off NS)
4045 move LK to DP
4121-4124 move LS to DP
08/55 4005 off LS for motorization
09/55 4019 move LK to LS
4045 move DP to LK
4055-4058 move GP to DP
4186-4208 move GP to DP
4433-4455 move GP to DP
11/55 4455 move DP to LS
4005 return to service LS as 4456
4121-4126 move DP to LS
02/57 4046-4047 move DP to LK
4048-4049 move DP to LS
4058 move DP to GP
4127-4143 move DP to RV
4195-4208 move DP to GP
4433-4454 move DP to GP
05/57 4060-4065 move GP to RV
4127-4143 move RV to DP
4179-4194 move DP to RV
4195-4220 move GP to RV
06/57 4067-4088 move LS to RV
4127-4143 move DP to LS
4221-4242 move GP to RV
08/57 4058-4059 move GP to RV
4119-4142 move LS to DP
4172-4178 move DP to RV
4243-4250 move GP to RV
4433-4454 move GP to LS
09/57 4119-4142 move LS to DP
4145-4149 move LS to DP
4251-4282 move LS to EV (1st 4000’s assigned to EV)
12/57 4001-4004 move LS to EV
4006 move LS to EV
4050-4057 move DP to RV
4150-4171 move DP to LS
4172-4178 move RV to LS
4433-4455 move LS to EV
(note 4456 recoupled to 4143)
06/58 4007, 4107 retired off LS (fire)
4003-4004 retired off EV
4028-4029, 4032-4033, 4039 retired off LK
4065 retired off RV
06/22/58 status:
4001-4002 EV
4006 EV
4008-4010 LS to WNW (West-Northwest)
4012-4019 LS to WNW
4020-4027 LK
4030-4031 LK
4034-4038 LK
4040-4047 LK
4048-4049 LS to WNW
4050-4064 RV
4067-4088 RV
4089-4106 LS to WNW
4108-4110 LS to WNW
4112-4143 LS to WNW
4145-4178 LS to WNW
4179-4250 RV
4251-4282 EV
4283-4432 LK
4433-4455 EV
4456 LS to WNW


Chicago Transit Authority 6000-series "L" cars in their 1950 as-delivered colors.

Chicago Transit Authority 6000-series “L” cars in their 1950 as-delivered colors.

CTA Rapid Transit Cars 6000s 1950-1958:

08-12/50 6001-6084 new to LS (Logan Square)
12/50-03/51 6085-6130 new to RV (Ravenswood)
09-12/51 6131-6200 new to RV
6085-6090 move RV to LS
6091-6110 move RV to DP (Douglas Park)
07/52 6047-6048 move LS to RV
6085-6086 move DP to LS
6131-6134, 6141-6142 move RV to DP
08/52 6069-6086 move LS to RV
6087-6128, 6131-6134, 6141-6142 move DP to RV
10/52 6001-6068 move LS to NS (North-South)
6069-6146 move RV to NS (all 6000’s off LS, DP)
3/54 6201-6228 new to GP (Garfield Park) (1st on route)
03-07/54 6229-6350 new to NS
6201-6228 move GP to NS
6111-6146 move NS to GP
6091-6110, 6177-6200 move NS to DP (6000’s return to DP)
12/54-04/55 6351-6450 new to NS
6041-6090 move NS to DP
6177-6200 move DP to RV
05-07/55 6451-6470 new to NS
6041-6110 move DP to NS
6111-6112 move GP to NS
6127-6130 off GP for modifications
6145-6146 move GP to DP
6147-6168 move RV to DP
07/55 6113-6126, 6131-6144 move GP to NS (6000’s off GP)
09/55 6145-6168 move DP to NS (6000’s off DP)
11/55 6127-6130 reinstated on EV (Evanston) as high-speed cars
03/56 6123-6126 move NS to EV, poles installed
06/56 6159-6168 move NS to RV
10/56-04/57 6471-6550 new to NS
6001-6034 move NS to DP (6000’s return to DP)
04-06/57 6551-6600 new to NS
6035-6066 move NS to GP (6000’s return to GP)
07/57-04/58 6601-6670 new to NS
6067-6092 move NS to GP
6093-6122 move NS to DP
6123-6130 move EV to NS
6131-6144 move NS to DP
06/58 6145-6152 move NS to DP
6153-6158 move NS to RV
6511-6522 move NS to GP
6/22/58 6001-6034 DP to WNW (West-Northwest)
6035-6092 GP to WNW
6093-6122 DP to WNW
6123-6130 on NS
6131-6152 DP to WNW
6153-6200 on RV
6201-6510 on NS
6511-6522 GP to WNW
6523-6670 on NS


On the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group, Dennis McClendon asked:

Did Chicago Motor Coach—or, for that matter, CSL’s bus operations—ever use conductors or onboard collectors in addition to drivers?

Andre Kristopans:

CMC certainly did, on the open-top double-decks from 1917 until WW2, when the last were retired. There was no reasonable way to convert them to one-man as they were rear-entrance/exit. The 1930’s Double-deckers were one-man, with a front entrance. The rest of the CMC single-level fleet, from the early 20’s onward, were always one-man, as they were relatively small.

CSL never had two-man buses, as before CTA took over, CSL buses were really rather tiny by comparison to a streetcar, and were used strictly on what would be considered minor and feeder routes. However, in 1950 when the CTA ordered the 5000 Twins, there was some question whether two man buses would be needed to convert the remaining streetcar routes, as some were very heavy, and it was thought a one-man bus would suffer from excessive dwell time at stops loading and unloading, resulting in extremely slow schedules. However, as “luck” would have it, riding fell so dramatically in the early to mid 1950’s that by the time the heaviest main lines were being converted, buses were quite able to handle the loads on a reasonable schedule.

I replied:

I have seen a picture, taken in the 1950s, showing a CTA employee standing outside a trolley bus, taking fares and letting people in through the back door.

This was a practice that CTA also seems to have done, at least at first, at certain times and certain points along streetcar routes that had recently been converted to one-man.

Chances are the practice did not last too long, for the reasons you mention– surface ridership was in decline, and as a result, there was less crowding on the buses.

Andre again:

The last remnants of this lasted into the 1980’s. Last place I know of was at Belmont/Kimball L stating in the PM rush, mostly on WB Belmont buses. In the 1960’s there were a lot of loaders at L stations (and also at high schools). From what I gather, many of these guys were “medical cases”, drivers who could no longer drive buses for one reason or another, and they were given part-time work to help out with their work-related disability pensions. Towards the last years, there were also regular drivers doing this as overtime.

There is still a very minimal version of this to this day at one location that I know of – Belmont/Sheffield L station, where in the PM rush they send a guy with a portable Ventra reader to help load up westbounds, but as far as I know it is somebody from the office detailed to do this. On Cubs game days they also use this same portable reader at Cubs Park to help load westbound extras.

robyer2000 adds (on Chicagotransit):

CTA used to have collectors at choke points and major events, like the ball parks, to take fares and admit people using the rear doors. ‎ I saw it many times.


THE RAILROAD RECORD CLUB & THE 60th ANNIVERSARY CD

By Kenneth Gear

I’ve been a fan of the Railroad Record Club albums ever since I played the first one. That was in the late 1970s when my Uncle, a huge PRR fan, loaned me his copy of RRC # 10. That record contained the sounds of Pennsylvania RR steam and I enjoyed it so much, that I wrote to Hawkins, Wisconsin to find out if I could buy my own copy. I could and did. I was in high school then and funds were rather scarce, and I was only able to buy a few more LPs before the Railroad Record Club ceased to exist.

Just a year or so ago, my interest in these recordings was rekindled. I began bidding on the RRC LPs on eBay, then sending them out to a sound lab to be converted to CD. The resulting CDs were disappointing because the sound lab employees had no idea what to do to improve these sounds, they were used to working with music, not the traction motor sounds of a CSS&SB MU car.
Enter Trolley Dodger Records!

When I found out that David Sadowski was releasing CDs of the old RRC albums I couldn’t wait to buy some. Not only was I now able to get many of the albums that I never bought on vinyl, but David made these recordings sound better than they ever had before! I sent him my entire RRC collection (and searched eBay for more) and he converted them to digital, improved the sound quality, and made those great recordings available again!

Now David has taken the next step and has recorded a brand new Railroad Record Club album, RRC # 37, a 60th anniversary tribute to William A. Steventon and his legacy of preserving the sounds of America’s railroading history.

This new CD was recorded at the Illinois Railway Museum, a place that I’m sure the late Mr. Steventon would have been be very fond of. The Railroad Record Club released many recordings of traction sounds over the years and the new CD pays tribute to that legacy. It contains the sounds of a large assortment of Chicago area trolleys and interurban cars including CTA single car units, CA&E wood and steel cars, a PCC (a favorite track of mine since I rode PCCs in revenue service on the Newark, NJ City subway) and many others. There are even a few cameo appearances from Frisco 2-10-0 #1630!

Some of the tracks on the CD contain a brief history of the cars being ridden as told by the conductor on the train. The inclusion of this bit of narration gives the listener a better appreciation of the equipment and puts a historical context to the sounds that follow.

Tracks 4, 5 & 6 on disc one of the CA&E steel cars making a main line run really invokes the “on train” recordings of the RRC interurban records! The sounds of these wonderful cars come through perfectly, so crisp and clear that you can almost feel the bounce and sway of the cars as they hit each rail joint. It’s not hard to imagine how it felt to ride on the “Roarin’ Elgin” albeit at a slower speed.

Another interesting nod to the original RRC recordings is track 7 of Commonwealth Edison electric locomotive # 4. Just as the train was leaving the station, a gusty wind began to blow and the resulting wind noise is plainly audible. This reminded me instantly of a favorite track on RRC # 10, the PRR album. Track 3 is of PRR # 4249 at Paxinos, PA on a windy day in 1954. Here, as on the PRR LP, the wind is as much a part of the “sound picture” as the locomotive on the train.

Track 9 is a great but much too short “on train” speed run of CTA single unit cars # 22 & 41.

Track 3 on disc 2 is a real treat! It’s another trip on the “Roarin’ Elgin”, this time on board the wood cars. Every little moan, creak, bang, & rattle of these 100 year old cars is splendidly recorded in digital audio. Also of note on this track is a “meet” between the train of CA&E “woods” and Frisco 2-10-0 # 1630. Heard here is the sound of a steam locomotive recorded from inside a transit car. Mr. Steventon did a very similar thing in May of 1954 when he recorded a NYC 4-8-2 in Cleveland, OH from a Shaker Heights Rapid Transit car. This track is on RRC # 20 NYC/C&IM.

Track 4 is also reminiscent of RRC recordings of the past. In this case, CSL red Pullman car 144 departs the depot. The gear noise is plainly heard but the best part is when the sound of the departing transit car mixes with the high pitched excited voices of young children, just as they did on RRC # 18. The first track on RRC # 18 has the sound of CNS&M car 754 at Racine, WI leaving the station to a chorus of children’s shouting.

Another fine recording of CSL car 144 is track 6. This is a complete trolley loop circuit and the gear nose couldn’t come through any clearer.

The last track, number 11, contains another mix of traction and steam. On RRC # 7 the last track is also a traction/steam mix but there IC # 2507, a 4-8-2, is at center stage while a IT interurban is heard in the background. On the new CD the roles are reversed and the traction is in the lead role and the steamer reduced to the background.

These CDs are great modern digital recordings of vintage railroad equipment with more than a little inspiration coming from those wonderful old Railroad Record Club recordings!

Another interesting comparison between the new CDs and the old RRC LPs. These new CDs contain as much audio as five of the original RRC LPs and costs $19.95. According to a 1966 Railroad Record Club catalog, 5 LPs would cost $21.00. What else can be bought today at lower than 1966 prices!


RRC37ARRC37B

RRC #37
Railroad Record Club
60th Anniversary Tribute
# of Discs – 2

Railroad Record Club #37:
We celebrate the Railroad Record Club with a 60th anniversary tribute containing all new audio of vintage streetcars, interurbans, trolley buses, and even a bit of steam, recorded in 2016 at the Illinois Railway Museum. Electric equipment featured includes CTA PCC 4391, CSL red Pullman 144, CSL “Matchbox” 1374, CTA “L” single car units 22 and 41, CTA trolley bus 9553, and the interurbans of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, and Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (North Shore Line). Steam sounds are provided by Frisco 1630. Recorded with the finest quality digital equipment of today, this is a fitting tribute to the late William Steventon and the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconsin, with all the bells and whistles, dings, and gear sounds we could fit onto a pair of CDs. The material presented here is equivalent in length to about five of the original RRC LPs.

Total time:
Disc 1- 79:38
Disc 2- 79:55

Editor’s note: This title is no longer available for purchase.


NOW AVAILABLE, DIGITALLY REMASTERED ON COMPACT DISC:

cover025gtcover

SEGT
Steam Echoes
Ghost Train
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Steam Echoes:
First published in 1959, and long out of print, Steam Echoes captures the unforgettable sound drama of steam engines in action. Like Whistles West, it features the recordings of E. P. Ripley, made in the waning days of steam during the 1950s.

The scenes were selected for listening pleasure as well as to create an historical document. They represent the everyday workings of our old steam friends, selected for the most interest, or the most beauty. The series are purposely kept short to preserve their brilliance. They show the steam engine in all four of the ways it may be heard at work– riding in it, on the train behind it, traveling along beside it, and standing at trackside while it goes by, or stops and takes off again.

Railroads featured include Southern Pacific, Union Pacific, and Canadian National.

Ghost Train:
Ghost Train, first issued in 1962 and also long unavailable, is a Hi-Fi stereo sound panorama of haunting memories, highlighting the final days of steam railroading. Railroads featured include the Grand Trunk Western, Norfolk & Western, Nickel Plate Road, Union Pacific, and the Reading Company. A particular highlight is a special whistle recording, demonstrating the famous “Doppler Effect” in true stereophonic sound.

Total time – 79:45


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 148th 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 180,000 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.