The North Shore Line In Milwaukee – Then and Now

1A NSL 748 sb. on 6th St. Viaduct at Canal St. 8-12-51 Don Ross.

1A NSL 748 sb. on 6th St. Viaduct at Canal St. 8-12-51 Don Ross.

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by guest contributor Larry Sakar, author of Speedrail: Milwaukee’s Last Rapid Transit? (published in 1991 by Interurbans Press).  We thank Larry, Chris Barney, and Don Ross for sharing their information with our readers.

January 21 of 2018 marks the sad 55th anniversary of the end of the North Shore Line. I was 12 years old when the line was abandoned and neither rode nor saw it in operation as I grew up on Milwaukee’s northwest side nowhere near the NSL. But as a traction fan it is one of my favorites.

Here is a group of photos of the North Shore Line in service mostly in the city of Milwaukee. Each “Then” photo will be followed by one or more photos showing that same location in 2017. In a few cases the only thing changed is that the North Shore Line is missing. In others, not even the abandoned right-of-way remains. “Then ” pictures were taken by the photographers credited. All present day photos were taken by my friend and colleague, Chris Barney.

There are 36 pictures total. One original “Then” for each location and several views of how that location looks today. In some cases just one “Now” shot in others-more.

There wasn’t room to put in details about the site of the Harrison St. shops (5th St & Harrison Ave.). After being vacant since the former shops building was torn down around 1968, a private school bought the entire property and began building a charter school along the west side of the property extending all the way to the southeast corner of 6th & Harrison. The school will open for students next Fall (2018).

Chris Barney took every one of the present day photos and did an excellent job of matching them to the “Then” shots.

There are about 3 or 4 pics that did not scan well. #’s 7B & 7C are light. Both are scans of photocopies. They are from a microfilm that Milwaukee Public Library received in 1995. One day out of the blue the librarian who was then in charge of the Local History room called me. They had received this microfilm (roll film) entitled, “Subways Along Milwaukee Rapid Transit Lines.” I couldn’t understand what that could be since there was only one subway which never got any further than about a half block east of 8th & Hibernia Sts. As it turned out “subways” was a term for the bridges the Rapid Transit Lines crossed at streets. The purpose seemed to be to determine the clearance height that could be posted on the bridge but if that is so why were shots included at 16th, 27th & 35th Sts. and other locations where the Rapid Transit passed under the road? You wouldn’t need any clearance signs there. The Port Washington, MRK and Local Rapid Transit Lines of TM and the North Shore as far as College Ave. were all included. I copied almost every image on the film.

At the time I was part of TMER&THS The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transit Historical Society. I obtained permission to have the film copied for them. It came out bad. It had an old silver negative which did not copy well. I returned the film to MPL and kind of forgot about it. A few years sgo I asked about it and nobody knew anything about it. It just vanished without ever being cataloged into the MPL collection and no one there now was there then. What TMER&THS did with their copy I do not know. I left the organization 14 years ago.

I hope you’ll like Chris’ and my efforts. The pictures are arranged geographically from downtown Milwaukee to Howell & Rawson Aves. in the city of Oak Creek. Oak Creek is still Milwaukee county, so when we say “in Milwaukee” we mean Milwaukee County. Another thing I did not point out. The photos of the 6th St. cut show a tall, round building in some. That is the old Town of Lake water tower which is no longer a water tower. It’s a south side landmark on 6th & Norwich. If you have CERA Bulletin 107 – “Route of the Electroliners,” look on page 47. You’ll see a picture of the 1939 CERA fan trip going across the Lakeside Belt Line bridge above the 6th St. cut and at the bottom a northbound NSL train passing under Norwich Ave. The water tower is prominent in the picture. The Town of Lake was annexed by and became part of the city of Milwaukee in 1955.

PS- No doubt you’ve seen many photos of the Milwaukee North Shore station on 6th & Michigan Sts. In nearly every shot looking north you see a tall building looming up in the left corner of the photo. The building has a round sort of structure in the center of its roof which most people assume is either a radio or TV antenna. That is the Wisconsin Tower building on the northwest corner of N. 6th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. It used to be an office building but it was converted to condos about 10 years ago. The item on the top of the 20 story tower? Believe it or not it is a mooring mast for dirigibles like the Hindenburg which tells you the building was built in the 1930’s. The mast was never used. The other tall building seen in many NSL Milwaukee terminal photos is what used to be the Schroeder Hotel. It the ’70’s it became the Marc Plaza hotel named for its owner Greek millionaire Ben Marcus. This guy owned everything from theatres to the local Big Boy Restaurant chain. I think the hotel was sold when Marcus died. Today it is the Hilton City Centre.

Thanks to Don Ross for allowing the use of his photographs.

-Larry Sakar

1B The 6th St. Viaduct in 1989. NSL rails still there. C.N.Barney

1B The 6th St. Viaduct in 1989. NSL rails still there. C.N.Barney

1C Looking north at 6th & Canal Sts on 10-18-17. The viaduct Was torn down in 2001 and replaced by 2 bridges which meet at street level at Canal St.

1C Looking north at 6th & Canal Sts on 10-18-17. The viaduct Was torn down in 2001 and replaced by 2 bridges which meet at street level at Canal St.

1D Looking slightly further north toward downtown Milwaukee. The tall building in the left background is the 20 story former Greyhound building on 7th & Wisconsin. C.N.Barney

1D Looking slightly further north toward downtown Milwaukee. The tall building in the left background is the 20 story former Greyhound building on 7th & Wisconsin. C.N.Barney

1E Bridge #2 looking south at 6th & Canal Sts. 10-18-17 C.N.Barney

1E Bridge #2 looking south at 6th & Canal Sts. 10-18-17 C.N.Barney

2A NSL 755 & 3 others going from 5th to 6th St. near Scott St. Bob Genack

2A NSL 755 & 3 others going from 5th to 6th St. near Scott St. Bob Genack

2B When the NSL was abandoned this part of the p.r.o.w. was made into S. Baraga St., which takes cars to the I-94 on-ramp at S. 5th St. & W. Greenfield Ave. Everything in the left side of the picture was torn down for The I-94 freeway. 10-18-17 C.N.Barney

2B When the NSL was abandoned this part of the p.r.o.w. was made into S. Baraga St., which takes cars to the I-94 on-ramp at S. 5th St. & W. Greenfield Ave. Everything in the left side of the picture was torn down for The I-94 freeway. 10-18-17 C.N.Barney

3A NSL 738 sb. At 5th & Mitchell Sts. Passing Notre Dame High School & St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Frank Butts photo from the Don Ross collection.

3A NSL 738 sb. At 5th & Mitchell Sts. Passing Notre Dame High School & St. Stanislaus Catholic Church. Frank Butts photo from the Don Ross collection.

3B The same location on 10-17-18. Only the North Shore Line is gone. C.N.Barney

3B The same location on 10-17-18. Only the North Shore Line is gone. C.N.Barney

4A NSL 750 & 251 at 5th & Chase in 1955. Don Ross

4A NSL 750 & 251 at 5th & Chase in 1955. Don Ross

4B 5th & Chase on 9-22-17. C.N.Barney

4B 5th & Chase on 9-22-17. C.N.Barney

5A Electroliner sb. at Harrison St. Bob Genack

5A Electroliner sb. at Harrison St. Bob Genack

5B View lkg. North toward Harrison Ave. Note same houses in right background as previous photo. 9-15-17 C.N.Barney

5B View lkg. North toward Harrison Ave. Note same houses in right background as previous photo. 9-15-17 C.N.Barney

6A TM 878 nb. On Rt. 16 and NSL Birney at 6th & Oklahoma. Rt. 16 converted to buses in June 1947. Bob Genack

6A TM 878 nb. On Rt. 16 and NSL Birney at 6th & Oklahoma. Rt. 16 converted to buses in June 1947. Bob Genack

6B NSL city car 357 waits to head back to DT Milwaukee as car 704 leads a 6 car train also headed for downtown in 1948. Note streetcar tracks still in 6th St and Transport Co. buses at left. Don Ross collection

6B NSL city car 357 waits to head back to DT Milwaukee as car 704 leads a 6 car train also headed for downtown in 1948. Note streetcar tracks still in 6th St and Transport Co. buses at left. Don Ross collection

6C View of aband. NSL r.o.w. at 6th & Oklahoma 10-22-16 C.N.Barney

6C View of aband. NSL r.o.w. at 6th & Oklahoma 10-22-16 C.N.Barney

7A NSL 741 crossing Milwaukee Road tracks at 6th & Holt. 1941 Don Ross

7A NSL 741 crossing Milwaukee Road tracks at 6th & Holt. 1941 Don Ross

7B Looking north toward bridge crossing Milwaukee Road at top (Holt Ave.) City of Milwaukee Engineers Dept. photo

7B Looking north toward bridge crossing Milwaukee Road at top (Holt Ave.) City of Milwaukee Engineers Dept. photo

7C Tracks descending into 6th St. cut at Howard Ave. 11-3-37 City of Milwaukee Engineers Dept.

7C Tracks descending into 6th St. cut at Howard Ave. 11-3-37 City of Milwaukee Engineers Dept.

7D Holt Ave crossing on 9-22-17. Holt Ave. connected to Morgan Ave. west of 6th St. post NSL abandonment (1-20-63) in 1967-68. The grade of 6th & Holt was lowered and a bridge over those streets was constructed. What little remains of the abandoned NSL r.o.w. at this location can be seen in the trees in the background. C.N.Barney

7D Holt Ave crossing on 9-22-17. Holt Ave. connected to Morgan Ave. west of 6th St. post NSL abandonment (1-20-63) in 1967-68. The grade of 6th & Holt was lowered and a bridge over those streets was constructed. What little remains of the abandoned NSL r.o.w. at this location can be seen in the trees in the background. C.N.Barney

7E Another view of 6th & Holt. On and off ramps to I-94 out of picture at right. Cars are parked in the MCTS (Milwaukee County Transit System) Rt. 40 Freeway Flyer park ‘n’ ride lot. C.N.Barney 9-22-17

7E Another view of 6th & Holt. On and off ramps to I-94 out of picture at right. Cars are parked in the MCTS (Milwaukee County Transit System) Rt. 40 Freeway Flyer park ‘n’ ride lot. C.N.Barney 9-22-17

8A NSL 766 sb. at Norwich Ave. 10-2-49 Don Ross

8A NSL 766 sb. at Norwich Ave. 10-2-49 Don Ross

8B The 6th St. cut served as a reminder of the NSL until May of 1988 when it was filled-in. We are looking south beneath the Norwich Ave. bridge on May 14, 1988. C.N.Barney

8B The 6th St. cut served as a reminder of the NSL until May of 1988 when it was filled-in. We are looking south beneath the Norwich Ave. bridge on May 14, 1988. C.N.Barney

8C The cut looking south from atop the Norwich Ave. bridge. With no drainage or track ballast the cut would fill with water when it rained. C.N.Barney on 5-14-88

8C The cut looking south from atop the Norwich Ave. bridge. With no drainage or track ballast the cut would fill with water when it rained. C.N.Barney on 5-14-88

8D Looking north in the cut we see the Norwich Ave. underpass. The cut ended very abruptly at this point after the cut from Howard Ave. north was filled in some years earlier. Note Town of Lake water tower atop embankment at left.

8D Looking north in the cut we see the Norwich Ave. underpass. The cut ended very abruptly at this point after the cut from Howard Ave. north was filled in some years earlier. Note Town of Lake water tower atop embankment at left.

8E NSL 706 heads south passing under the TM Lakeside Belt Line bridge while a two-car CERA Fan trip (using two TM 1100-series cars) makes a photo stop. This 1939 Fan trip, and one in 1948 where car 1122 backed down the Belt Line a short distance from Greenwood Jct. are the only known passenger operations over this line.

8E NSL 706 heads south passing under the TM Lakeside Belt Line bridge while a two-car CERA Fan trip (using two TM 1100-series cars) makes a photo stop. This 1939 Fan trip, and one in 1948 where car 1122 backed down the Belt Line a short distance from Greenwood Jct. are the only known passenger operations over this line.

8F Abutments from the TM Lakeside Belt Line bridge near W. Waterford Ave. could still be seen in 1988. Here we see two of the piers that held legs of the bridge. C.N.Barney on 5-14-88

8F Abutments from the TM Lakeside Belt Line bridge near W. Waterford Ave. could still be seen in 1988. Here we see two of the piers that held legs of the bridge. C.N.Barney on 5-14-88

8G On May 14th, 1988 the cut was filled in and bridge at Norwich Ave. removed. View looks south from Howard Ave.

8G On May 14th, 1988 the cut was filled in and bridge at Norwich Ave. removed. View looks south from Howard Ave.

8H The 6th St. cut is gone without a trace as we see in this view looking west along the former TM Lakeside Belt Line route, south of Howard Ave. Garden plots are now sold and one can garden atop the grave of the NSL. C.N.Barney 9-22-17

8H The 6th St. cut is gone without a trace as we see in this view looking west along the former TM Lakeside Belt Line route, south of Howard Ave. Garden plots are now sold and one can garden atop the grave of the NSL. C.N.Barney 9-22-17

8I Looking north on S. 6th St. between Howard and W. Warnimont Aves. C.N. Barney 9-22-17

8I Looking north on S. 6th St. between Howard and W. Warnimont Aves. C.N. Barney 9-22-17

8J Looking south at the same location as previous. The fence at right was built by the NSL and is all that remains to remind us that it was once there. 9-22-17 C.N. Barney

8J Looking south at the same location as previous. The fence at right was built by the NSL and is all that remains to remind us that it was once there. 9-22-17 C.N. Barney

9A NSL 749 et al near Bolivar Ave. in “North Shore weather” 1955. Today this is where I-94 crosses the abandoned r.o.w. From this point south the r.o.w. embankment was removed and parts of it have now been built on. Don Ross

9A NSL 749 et al near Bolivar Ave. in “North Shore weather” 1955. Today this is where I-94 crosses the abandoned r.o.w. From this point south the r.o.w. embankment was removed and parts of it have now been built on. Don Ross

9B The literal ”end” of the abandoned r.o.w. in Milwaukee is at Plainfield Ave. C.N.Barney 9-15-17

9B The literal ”end” of the abandoned r.o.w. in Milwaukee is at Plainfield Ave. C.N.Barney 9-15-17

10A Two NSL Silverliners and other cars are southbound at College Ave. Portions of the abandoned r.o.w. were purchased for the south campus of the Milwaukee Area Technical College Oak Creek campus in the 1970s. Bob Genack

10A Two NSL Silverliners and other cars are southbound at College Ave. Portions of the abandoned r.o.w. were purchased for the south campus of the Milwaukee Area Technical College Oak Creek campus in the 1970s. Bob Genack

10B No trace of the College Ave. bridge or r.o.w. remains in 2017. Looking east on College Ave, the NSL crossed under College where the white building in the left background stands. March, 1988 C.N. Barney

10B No trace of the College Ave. bridge or r.o.w. remains in 2017. Looking east on College Ave, the NSL crossed under College where the white building in the left background stands. March, 1988 C.N. Barney

11A A 2 car train of Silverliners heads northwest toward Milwaukee beneath the Howell & Rawson Ave. bridges in 1955. Don Ross

11A A 2 car train of Silverliners heads northwest toward Milwaukee beneath the Howell & Rawson Ave. bridges in 1955. Don Ross

11B In 2017 there is virtually no trace of the North Shore at the intersection of Howell & Rawson Avenues as seen in this view also looking northwest. The bridges were removed in 1967 and the streets were rebuilt. C.N.Barney

11B In 2017 there is virtually no trace of the North Shore at the intersection of Howell & Rawson Avenues as seen in this view also looking northwest. The bridges were removed in 1967 and the streets were rebuilt. C.N.Barney

Don Ross just sent me these Milwaukee streetcar clippings. Sure brings back memories.

I don’t know who did the captioning for the Milwaukee Journal but some of those Milwaukee streetcar pictures were way off. The one from above of a car coming around a curve is in the Calvary Cemetery cut and the car is approaching the stop at what was then Hawley Rd. It is not in Wauwatosa. The shot of the cars lines up at the “Stadium stop” Is nowhere near Fairview Ave which ended at 60th St. It is on the private right-of-way going north toward Wells Street parallel to N. 52nd St. on the West Allis branch of Rt. 10. Cars turned north at the east end of the Calvary Cemetery cut while interurbans continued east to downtown. The shot that says the streetcar is nearing 9th Street is wrong. 9th Street is behind the photographer. Though you only see a fragment of it to the right of the streetcar that is Central Library’s 1957 addition which is called the annex. The car is almost at 8th St. Today the Milwaukee Public Museum would be on the left.

The viaduct stood for 2 years after streetcar service ended. The clever Transport Company donated it to the city. The powers that be fought over it trying to decide if they should attempt to convert it into a road, or maybe a bridge only for buses. Finally, they decided to just dismantle it since it was never a thru street to begin with. From the lakefront Wells goes west to just past 37th St. and dead-ends. It picks up again on the other side of the valley near 44th St and continues west to 68th. The Harwood Ave. station building was used first as an insurance company office, and later on as the sales office for a lot selling Christmas trees. TWERHS was supposedly going to save it but they didn’t. I remember it very well. It had a cement floor and at the back of the building there was a counter where you could buy candy, gum cigarettes, cigars, newspapers and weekly passes and ticket strips. My grandmother called the fare tickets “Car checks”. A week or two after streetcars ended we were going downtown again and she took a ticket out of her purse. I said, “Are we going to ride the streetcar again?” She said, No, there are no more streetcars. I said, “But how can that be? You still have car checks.” Of course she patiently explained that they could be used on the bus as well.

My grandfather worked at the original Harley-Davidson Plant across the Milwaukee Road tracks from Cold Spring shops. The only time I ever rode the Rt. 11 Vliet Street line was when my grandmother and I took it there and walked over from Vliet St. to the employee parking lot. In those days (ca. 1956) people seldom locked their cars. We waited for him to come out of work and “surprised.” Sure, he probably knew in advance. One time he did show my brother and I around the plant. He had to go up to the office on a top floor to collect his pay check. He took me to a window and said, “You see those buildings down there? That’s where they fix the streetcars.” I didn’t see any streetcars so I didn’t believe him.

The Milwaukee Road mainline from the Twin Cities ran right past the Harwood station and I Remember seeing the Hiawatha a couple of times. In 1965 my grandmother, mother and I rode it from Chicago to Milwaukee and sat in the Super Dome. I remember when we left Chicago and started going beneath those signal bridges around Western Avenue I ducked. Later on when Amtrak started up I rode the full length and half length GM and Burlington Dome cars they used on the Empire Builder. The present day Superliner lounge cars do not compare with the dome cars.

-Larry

Recent Finds

Illinois Terminal 277 in Edwardsville. Don's Ril Photos: "277 was built by St Louis Car in 1913, #966. It was rebuilt in October 1951 with new seats and other modernized features. It was sold to the Illinois Railway Museum on March 9, 1956." (Photo by Ward)

Illinois Terminal 277 in Edwardsville. Don’s Ril Photos: “277 was built by St Louis Car in 1913, #966. It was rebuilt in October 1951 with new seats and other modernized features. It was sold to the Illinois Railway Museum on March 9, 1956.” (Photo by Ward)

Boston double-end PCC 3338 on the Beacon Street line in February 1960. Don's Rail Photos: "3338 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6699, as DR&T 603. It was sold as MTA 3338 in 1959 and acquired by Trolley Inc in 1983. It was purchased by Seashore Trolley Museum in 1994."

Boston double-end PCC 3338 on the Beacon Street line in February 1960. Don’s Rail Photos: “3338 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6699, as DR&T 603. It was sold as MTA 3338 in 1959 and acquired by Trolley Inc in 1983. It was purchased by Seashore Trolley Museum in 1994.”

Chicago & West Towns 105 at the Riverside car barn in the 1930s. This car was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.

Chicago & West Towns 105 at the Riverside car barn in the 1930s. This car was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915.

Portland Railway Light & Power "Master Unit" 810 in Portland, Oregon on July 3, 1948.

Portland Railway Light & Power “Master Unit” 810 in Portland, Oregon on July 3, 1948.

MBTA ex-Dallas "Texas Ranger" 3336 at Capen Street on the Ashmont-Mattapan "high speed trolley" on March 9, 1969. (Photo by McMurdo)

MBTA ex-Dallas “Texas Ranger” 3336 at Capen Street on the Ashmont-Mattapan “high speed trolley” on March 9, 1969. (Photo by McMurdo)

A classic view of Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee 714 on the Skokie Valley Route. Don's Rail Photos: "714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It was modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum." (James C. Barrick Photo)

A classic view of Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee 714 on the Skokie Valley Route. Don’s Rail Photos: “714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It was modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum.” (James C. Barrick Photo)

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.

We would like to thank everyone who turned out for our Chicago Trolleys slide presentation last week as part of the Chicago Authors series at the Museums at Lisle Station Park. Watch this space for information about upcoming events.

-David Sadowski

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The Fruits of Our Labors

We salute the people of Texas, who are recovering from one of the worst floods in American history. Here is a classic Dallas streetscape from July 31, 1950, showing Dallas Railway & Terminal Co. double-end PCC 612. Don’s Rail Photos says, “612 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6699. It was sold as MTA 3334 in 1959 and sold to Trolleyville in 1991. It was transferred to Lake Shore Electric Ry in 2006. It was sold to McKinney Avenue Transit Authority and stored at Illinois Railway Museum in 2010.” I probably rode this car in Boston in 1977 on the Ashmont-Mattapan line. (John D. Koschwanez Photo)

Labor Day weekend is just around the corner, and I for one am thankful for all our reader contributions to this site. Today, we are featuring more great historic photos from Jack Bejna and Larry Sakar.

I hope that you will appreciate their efforts.

On a personal note, we received a few “author’s copies” of Chicago Trolleys this week. For the first time, I could hold the book in my hand.

It has been an honor and a privilege to write this new book. As with any such endeavor, there is always a lot of blood, sweat, toil, and tears involved. But in a sense, what had been my book is now your book. Now that it is finished, it belongs to you, the reader, and the people of Chicago.

I would like to thank all the various people who contributed photos to the book. In particular, numerous images came from the collections of George Trapp, who has so generously shared them with this blog in the past.

Being a very modest person, he did not even ask for an individual “by-line” for each picture, just a “thank you” in the Acknowledgements. But I want to give credit where credit is due. Thanks in large part to George Trapp, Chicago Trolleys is a much better book than would otherwise be the case, for which I am most appreciative.

-David Sadowski

PS- You can save $4 by pre-ordering Chicago Trolleys before Tuesday, September 5th. Right now, as part of our special introductory offer, we are providing free shipping within the United States. The shipping rates for books ordered starting on the 5th will be increased by $4 per book, so get your orders in today. Books will be shipped on or about the September 25th release date.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

The Fifth Avenue Terminal (original name) was built by the West Side elevated Railroad in 1904 to provide a terminal for rush hour L train traffic. In 1905, the terminal also started hosting trains of the CA&E railroad. In the early days over 100 rush hour trains were common. The terminal had four tracks serving two platforms and was the only downtown Chicago terminal ever used by the CA&E. When the CA&E stopped using the terminal in 1953 because of construction of the Congress Street Expressway and the resulting loss of the CTA Garfield Park elevated line, the terminal was closed and later demolished in 1955.

Photos of the terminal and adjacent tracks are few and far between, and for the most part the quality of the photos is less than what I hoped to find. Never the less, here are a number of Photoshopped images of the terminal, tracks, and trains I was able to find. As an aside, the bridge over the Chicago River (2 parallel spans) was the first Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge installed anywhere.

The original Wells Street Terminal facade.

The original Wells Street Terminal facade.

The same facade, revised in the late 1920s.

The same facade, revised in the late 1920s.

The Wells Street Terminal, street side.

The Wells Street Terminal, street side.

The terminal, looking east.

The terminal, looking east.

The north track, looking east.

The north track, looking east.

The south track, looking east.

The south track, looking east.

The four-track terminal, looking east.

The four-track terminal, looking east.

The terminal, looking west. 457 and 458 are seen, which means the picture is from 1945-53.

The terminal, looking west. 457 and 458 are seen, which means the picture is from 1945-53.

The terminal tracks, looking west.

The terminal tracks, looking west.

The terminal tower, looking west.

The terminal tower, looking west.

The terminal tower, looking west.

The terminal tower, looking west.

An eastbound CA&E train enters the terminal.

An eastbound CA&E train enters the terminal.

A westbound train (in the distance) leaves the terminal. The tracks at right connected with the Loop “L” via Van Buren to the south of the terminal.

The Chicago River bridge, which was really two bridges side by side.

The Chicago River bridge, which was really two bridges side by side.

An eastbound train crossing the Chicago River.

An eastbound train crossing the Chicago River.

CA&E 38 heads up a westbound train leaving the terminal.

CA&E 38 heads up a westbound train leaving the terminal.

1950 Speedrail Disaster

The tragic result of a head-on collision between two Speedrail cars on a blind curve on September 2, 1950. Heavyweight cars 1192-1193, at left, ran into lightweight articulated cars 39-40. Ten people were killed and dozens were injured.

The tragic result of a head-on collision between two Speedrail cars on a blind curve on September 2, 1950. Heavyweight cars 1192-1193, at left, ran into lightweight articulated cars 39-40. Ten people were killed and dozens were injured.

Larry Sakar writes:

Saturday, September 2nd marks the 67th anniversary (to the exact day) of the 1950 Speedrail accident during the NMRA convention in Milwaukee. I’ve put together a group of pictures for The Trolley Dodger of and related to that event.

Speedrail founder and president Jay E. Maeder poses with lightweight duplex 39-40 at Hales Corners Hillcrest loop just before starting the return trip to Milwaukee. The NMRA had specifically requested the ex TMER&L 1100 series heavy duplex trains (1180-1199) and that the charter be on the Hales Corners line because both represented a”classic” interurban and interurban line vs. the Waukesha line which was double track and more suburban . Why Maeder would take the tremendous risk of mixing a lightweight train among heavy duplexes was never explained. The car had been repainted by Speedrail employee David Strassman at Maeder’s request the night (9/1/50) before the trip. It featured a striking new application of Speedrail’s orange and maroon colors.

With his train 22 minutes behind schedule , Maeder and his regular motorman assigned to this trip, George Wolter decided to “play it safe” and pull into the Greenwood Jct. siding since they knew the regular southbound run to Hales Corners was on its way. Greenwood Jct. was a siding that had seen almost no use. It was the junction with the 5.5 mile westward extension of the Lakeside Belt Line from Powerton Jct. The Belt line was used to haul coal to the Lakeside power plant in St. Francis, Wi. The connection to the East Troy-Burlington line at Greenwood which was one block south of W. Howard Ave. also made it possible for freight coming from Racine via the M-R-K Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha Line to the Rapid Transit freight terminal at 10th & St. Paul near the never-completed subway downtown. Here we see car 300 piloted by motorman Tom Burke passing the siding leading to the Belt Line. The photographer was William Wight, a 27 year old employee of the Kalmbach Publishing Co. He did not live to see his photo. He was killed in the crash about 10 minutes later. His camera was recovered from the wreck and the film developed. George Gloff who was a Speedrail employee and was on Maeder’s train gave me this photo. He went on to a very distinguished career as Art Director for Kalmbach Publishing Co.

One question that readers might ask is why, if Maeder and is motorman decided to play it safe by going into a siding, as they were 22 minutes behind schedule, that the fatal crash happened just 10 minutes later?

Larry:

After pulling out of Greenwood Jct. Maeder continued north. He was not planning on stopping at Oklahoma Ave., as he claimed he had been given clearance all the way to West Jct. by the dispatcher. However, Senior motorman John Heberling had the siding lined for Maeder’s train so he had to pull in. Heberling was in charge of training new motorman and had been a long time TMER&L employee. He knew Trip #4 with heavy duplex 1192-93 was due southbound within a few minutes so he thought it best to check with the dispatcher and make sure it was OK for Maeder to proceed. Maeder had a fit, and ordered Heberling to reset the siding and let him out at once! One does not argue with the head of the company if one wants to remain employed there so John did as he was told. No more than 15 seconds after Maeder left he heard the wailing of interurban horns and instantly knew what happened. He looked up at the Nachod signal on the pole across Oklahoma Avenue and saw that it was red. Heberling had no idea that Maeder had received clearance to West Jct. nor did he know that Tennyson had changed Maeder’s orders that all trains call-in from every siding to what he (Tennyson) had set up previous to 9/2 and supposedly had agreed on with Maeder. Those orders called for trains to call-in only if they got into trouble. LeRoy Equitz, motorman of 1192-93 was told this when he stopped at West Jct. But when he stopped at Brookdale siding northbound Tennyson did not tell Maeder he had changed the orders. I think if he had Maeder would have fired him on the spot! So Maeder thought Equitz would wait at West Jct. having been told by the dispatcher that he was on the way north. Unfortunately, Equitz was told only to go by signal indication. Having gotten the white light at West Jct. he headed south. If Maeder had not extended the photo stop at Hillcrest loop in Hales Corners where he arrived behind schedule and despite agreeing that there would be no photo stops northbound then “giving in” when the fans on his train asked for one, he would not have been behind schedule. He didn’t want to disappoint his fellow railfans and model railroaders. So I guess you could say it was a very unfunny comedy of errors that had fatal results. Both Maeder and Tennyson were to blame at least as I see it. Much of this was the “last straw” in the feud that had been going on between them since October of 1949.

This is the wreck site. It was between W. Arthur and W. Cleveland Aves. parallel to S. 100th St. Shrubs, a hill and a curve made it impossible for opposing trains to see each other in time to stop. This is lightweight duplex 45-46. I don't know who took the picture or if this was before or after 9/2/50.

This is the wreck site. It was between W. Arthur and W. Cleveland Aves. parallel to S. 100th St. Shrubs, a hill and a curve made it impossible for opposing trains to see each other in time to stop. This is lightweight duplex 45-46. I don’t know who took the picture or if this was before or after 9/2/50.

Heavy duplex 1192-93 coming southbound completely overrode car 39 the lead car on the northbound train which was being operated by Jay Maeder. The motorman of 1192-93 was LeRoy Equitz. Car 39 was demolished for nearly 3/4 its length. It was so badly damaged that it was pushed off the right-of-way along with the rear car car 40 which was not damaged. The 10 fatalities occurred in car 39.

Heavy duplex 1192-93 coming southbound completely overrode car 39 the lead car on the northbound train which was being operated by Jay Maeder. The motorman of 1192-93 was LeRoy Equitz. Car 39 was demolished for nearly 3/4 its length. It was so badly damaged that it was pushed off the right-of-way along with the rear car car 40 which was not damaged. The 10 fatalities occurred in car 39.

Larry Sakar adds (regarding the picture above):

I’m not sure who those people are rummaging around in the wreck. It’s hard to believe the site wouldn’t have been cordoned off to prevent looting. Perhaps they were police personnel who were rounding up personal belongings. It’s not in any of the pictures I sent you but in some shots of the wreck looking north you see a second heavy duplex behind 1192-93. That is duplex 1184-85 trip #5 from Milwaukee. The passengers aboard that car were told about the accident when they reached West Jct. The train then proceeded slowly toward the wreck site where the able bodied NMRA members got off and walked to the wreck site to lend assistance in the rescue efforts. You know it had to be a horrible sight.

Once all of the trapped injured and dead had been removed from the wreck 1184-85 coupled on to 1193 the rear car on Equitz’s southbound car and tried to pull the wreck apart. It did not succeed. A Wisconsin National Guard tow truck had to pull the wreck apart. 1192-93 was covered with a tarp and hauled down to the Public Service Bldg. in the dark of night. It was initially kept in the back of the building where passengers boarding cars for Waukesha, West Jct. or Hales Corners could not see it. Once all of the investigations were completed it was again transported in the dark of night to the Waukesha Gravel Pit.

1192-93 figured into Speedrail history unwantedly on December 20th, 1950. Two teenaged vandals trespassing at the gravel pit went inside the train. The boys got cold so the geniuses decided they’d warm up by starting a fire in the rear car (1193).. he fire got out of hand and they were lucky to escape the car. The fire gutted 1193. I don’t know if Trustee Bitker pursued criminal charges against them but he certainly should have if he didn’t.

In this Lew Martin photo we see car 40 laying on its side after being pushed off the right-of-way. Lew said he was confronted by a man who identified himself as a “railroad detective” and ordered off the property or he would be arrested.

Two years have passed since the accident and the Speedrail line is being scrapped. Note the ties minus rails. Here we see Lee Brehmer (a friend of former Milwaukee resident Al Buetschle, who saved Milwaukee streetcar 978) at the crash site. holding up one of the doors from car 39. Today, the site has been completely obliterated by the National Ave. on and off ramps of the I-894 freeway.

Two years have passed since the accident and the Speedrail line is being scrapped. Note the ties minus rails. Here we see Lee Brehmer (a friend of former Milwaukee resident Al Buetschle, who saved Milwaukee streetcar 978) at the crash site. holding up one of the doors from car 39. Today, the site has been completely obliterated by the National Ave. on and off ramps of the I-894 freeway.

Traces of Greenwood Jct. still remain. I took the next 4 photos. In this picture I was trying to position myself at the approximate point where the siding and Hales Corners mainline met. In the 66 years since Speedrail was abandoned, a second set of power transmission towers was added on the abandoned r.o.w. and the original towers moved, so trying to find an exact spot can be difficult. To the right you can see where the land comes into the arrow-straight abandoned r.o.w.. So this would have been about where the tracks met. These photos were taken in the 1990's.

Traces of Greenwood Jct. still remain. I took the next 4 photos. In this picture I was trying to position myself at the approximate point where the siding and Hales Corners mainline met. In the 66 years since Speedrail was abandoned, a second set of power transmission towers was added on the abandoned r.o.w. and the original towers moved, so trying to find an exact spot can be difficult. To the right you can see where the land comes into the arrow-straight abandoned r.o.w.. So this would have been about where the tracks met. These photos were taken in the 1990’s.

I've walked across the r.o.w. toward the western most set of power lines. The car seen passing in the center left background is eastbound on W. Howard Ave.

I’ve walked across the r.o.w. toward the western most set of power lines. The car seen passing in the center left background is eastbound on W. Howard Ave.

Looking south toward the junction from W. Howard Ave. The transmission tower in the right center background is at the approximate point where the 2 lines met.

Looking south toward the junction from W. Howard Ave. The transmission tower in the right center background is at the approximate point where the 2 lines met.

I'm now looking north on the abandoned r.o.w. from the south side of W. Howard Ave.

I’m now looking north on the abandoned r.o.w. from the south side of W. Howard Ave.

Other sections of the abandoned Hales Corners line r.o.w. are still very visible. Here you see the crossing of W. Layton Ave. looking south. In the 1930's a line was built southeast from this point for transporting work crews to the abuilding village of Greendale. The line was dismantled upon completion of construction.

Other sections of the abandoned Hales Corners line r.o.w. are still very visible. Here you see the crossing of W. Layton Ave. looking south. In the 1930’s a line was built southeast from this point for transporting work crews to the abuilding village of Greendale. The line was dismantled upon completion of construction.

The black truck pulling the trailer is at the approximate spot where the Hales Corners station used to stand. You are looking south along S. 108th St. aka Hwy 100 and the truck is westbound on W. Janesville Rd. Hwy. 100 was widened after the abandonment of Speedrail and its two right-hand northbound lanes occupy the Hales Corners line r.o.w.

The black truck pulling the trailer is at the approximate spot where the Hales Corners station used to stand. You are looking south along S. 108th St. aka Hwy 100 and the truck is westbound on W. Janesville Rd. Hwy. 100 was widened after the abandonment of Speedrail and its two right-hand northbound lanes occupy the Hales Corners line r.o.w.

One block further south is where interurbans headed for East Troy or Burlington turned onto North Cape Rd. Following the abandonment of the East Troy line in 1939 the line was cut back to a newly constructed loop 1/2 mile west of this point called Hillcrest. No trace of Hillcrest loop exists today. The site is now occupied by a home improvement store.

One block further south is where interurbans headed for East Troy or Burlington turned onto North Cape Rd. Following the abandonment of the East Troy line in 1939 the line was cut back to a newly constructed loop 1/2 mile west of this point called Hillcrest. No trace of Hillcrest loop exists today. The site is now occupied by a home improvement store.

“Beautiful downtown Hales Corners” in the 1920’s.. This photo courtesy of John Schoenknecht of the Waukesha County Historical Society shows hales Corners in the “Roaring ’20’s”. You are looking west from W. Forest Home Ave. across Highway 100 and up North Cape Rd. The line to Burlington and East Troy comes from the left (southbound) and turns west. In later years the track configuration was changed.

Standing at almost that same spot today, Forest Home Ave. has taken over what was North Cape Rd. Although you can't see it in this picture a McDonald's occupies the empty lot seen in the left front of photo 14 and a Culver's (another fast food chain) occupies the same space directly across the street. The gas station seen in the right center of photo 14 and all of the surrounding buildings are long gone. Their space is now occupied by the south end of a used car lot for a local automobile dealer.

Standing at almost that same spot today, Forest Home Ave. has taken over what was North Cape Rd. Although you can’t see it in this picture a McDonald’s occupies the empty lot seen in the left front of photo 14 and a Culver’s (another fast food chain) occupies the same space directly across the street. The gas station seen in the right center of photo 14 and all of the surrounding buildings are long gone. Their space is now occupied by the south end of a used car lot for a local automobile dealer.

Speedrail lightweight car 39 was smashed for 3/4 the length of the car by heavy duplex 1192-93 in the 9-2-50 fatal accident. Car 40, the rear car of this lightweight duplex was not damaged other than at the articulated joint. The only thing that could be done once rescue and recovery efforts were completed was to shove both halves of 39 & 40 off the embankment and dismantle them on the spot.

Speedrail lightweight car 39 was smashed for 3/4 the length of the car by heavy duplex 1192-93 in the 9-2-50 fatal accident. Car 40, the rear car of this lightweight duplex was not damaged other than at the articulated joint. The only thing that could be done once rescue and recovery efforts were completed was to shove both halves of 39 & 40 off the embankment and dismantle them on the spot.

This is a much better shot of the intersection of Highway 100 & Forest Home Ave. in the 1990's. The electric transmission towers are approximately where the TM r.o.w. was but that tower does not match the one in the same spot in the 1920's photo.

This is a much better shot of the intersection of Highway 100 & Forest Home Ave. in the 1990’s. The electric transmission towers are approximately where the TM r.o.w. was but that tower does not match the one in the same spot in the 1920’s photo.

In this photo I've moved just a few feet further west to get in more of the curve and the north side of the street. This is an extremely bust stretch of roadway but I'm sure not one motorist had any ideas of what had once run next to those electric transmission towers.

In this photo I’ve moved just a few feet further west to get in more of the curve and the north side of the street. This is an extremely bust stretch of roadway but I’m sure not one motorist had any ideas of what had once run next to those electric transmission towers.

The late Ernie Maragos of Racine, Wisconsin took this photo of Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. streetcar 978 in 1957. The eastbound car has just crossed the Milwaukee River on the bridge in the background and will stop at N. Water St. about a half block out of the picture at left. The large building seen behind the 978 is the Germania Bldg. on the southwest corner of N. Plankinton Ave. and W. Wells St. The domes with what look like spears were meant to simulate German Pith helmets. Due to anti-German sentiment during WW I the owner, Henry Brumder changed the name of the building to the Brumder Bldg. Brumder was a newspaper publisher who printed German language newspapers for Milwaukee's large German population. The "Germania" name was restored in the 1980's and the building given a complete renovation. The publishing of newspapers had ended many years before and the former printing press area in the basement was converted to a parking garage for the 4 top executives of Security Savings & Loan Assoc. on the northeast corner of 2nd & Wisconsin (adjacent to where the North Shore city carline ended). I worked for Security S&L for almost 20 years, then went to work for the bank that bought out Security in 1997. The 978 was saved by former Milwaukee resident Al Buetschle for the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club. When they changed their mind, ownership reverted to him. When he left Milwaukee in 1961 to pursue a job in Northern California the car went to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wi. The group that formed the East Troy Trolley Museum in 1972 - TWERHS, The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society was formed at Mid-Continent and split off in 1967. Mr. Buetschle now resides in Contra Costa County, Ca. 60 miles northeast of San Francisco.

The late Ernie Maragos of Racine, Wisconsin took this photo of Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Corp. streetcar 978 in 1957. The eastbound car has just crossed the Milwaukee River on the bridge in the background and will stop at N. Water St. about a half block out of the picture at left. The large building seen behind the 978 is the Germania Bldg. on the southwest corner of N. Plankinton Ave. and W. Wells St. The domes with what look like spears were meant to simulate German Pith helmets. Due to anti-German sentiment during WW I the owner, Henry Brumder changed the name of the building to the Brumder Bldg. Brumder was a newspaper publisher who printed German language newspapers for Milwaukee’s large German population. The “Germania” name was restored in the 1980’s and the building given a complete renovation. The publishing of newspapers had ended many years before and the former printing press area in the basement was converted to a parking garage for the 4 top executives of Security Savings & Loan Assoc. on the northeast corner of 2nd & Wisconsin (adjacent to where the North Shore city carline ended). I worked for Security S&L for almost 20 years, then went to work for the bank that bought out Security in 1997. The 978 was saved by former Milwaukee resident Al Buetschle for the Wauwatosa Kiwanis Club. When they changed their mind, ownership reverted to him. When he left Milwaukee in 1961 to pursue a job in Northern California the car went to the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wi. The group that formed the East Troy Trolley Museum in 1972 – TWERHS, The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society was formed at Mid-Continent and split off in 1967. Mr. Buetschle now resides in Contra Costa County, Ca. 60 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Down Three Dark Streets

I recently watched the 1954 crime drama Down Three Dark Streets, a pretty solid film starring Broderick Crawford, and noticed some interesting shots of the short Pacific Electric subway and the Glendale-Burbank double-end PCCs. This film was released about a year before the line was abandoned.

FBI agents are tailing a gangster’s moll as she tries to shake them on her way to her boyfriend’s hideout. She goes down into the PE subway terminal, gets on one car, switches to another, and then rides out to the end of the line.

In this film, at least, the double-end PCCs have a foghorn, reminding me of the “Blimp” cars. Not sure if this was ture in real life. At one point, an FBI agent refers to the “number three interurban,” although I doubt that the PE called it anything other than the Glendale-Burbank line.

The PCCs are shown really zipping along. Car 5000 is visible. Don’s Rail Photos says: “5000 was built by Pullman-Standard in October 1940, #W6642. It was retired in 1956 and was sold as Ferrocarril Gen Urquiza M.1500 and made modifications in 1959. It was retired in short time.” After having been stored in the samp subway tunnel for three or four years, the PCCs had badly deteriorated even though they were only used in service for about 15 years.

Here are some screen-shots:

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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.)

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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.

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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

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Tip of the Iceberg

A remarkable photograph, this shows a group of early Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, some displaying the tools of their trade (controller handles and switch irons). I am sure it was a tough job, and they look like a bunch of tough men. While Chicago's population has always been diverse, integration did not come to their ranks until October 1943, thanks in part to wartime manpower shortages. (And I do mean "manpower," since the CTA did not hire its first female bus driver until 1974.) I am wondering if this photo shows employees of the Chicago City Railway. If anyone can shed light on this photo, please let us know.

A remarkable photograph, this shows a group of early Chicago streetcar conductors and motormen, some displaying the tools of their trade (controller handles and switch irons). I am sure it was a tough job, and they look like a bunch of tough men. While Chicago’s population has always been diverse, integration did not come to their ranks until October 1943, thanks in part to wartime manpower shortages. (And I do mean “manpower,” since the CTA did not hire its first female bus driver until 1974.) I am wondering if this photo shows employees of the Chicago City Railway. If anyone can shed light on this photo, please let us know.

Lately, we have been hard at work on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys. Meanwhile, new images have been piling up. It’s about time we started sharing them with you. Today’s batch is just the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak.

The group picture above is just such an image. It came to us by way of a very large 11″ x 14″ negative. This in itself is rather remarkable. It was too big to scan all at once, but necessity is the mother of invention.

I scanned the image in quarters, and then discovered free software from Microsoft that flawlessly “stitched” the four back together. As old as this negative seems to be, it may not be the original. I have a feeling this neg was made from a glass plate.

Glass plate negatives are fragile, and there was some damage to the image, which I corrected using Photoshop. This took many hours of work, but the results speak for themselves. Chances are, this picture was taken between 1895 and 1915.

There are eight million stories in Railfan City.

-David Sadowski

Here is how the image originally looked, before I spent several hours eliminating the scratch using Photoshop.

Here is how the image originally looked, before I spent several hours eliminating the scratch using Photoshop.

The man in the middle not only has pointy shoes, but holds a switch iron.

The man in the middle not only has pointy shoes, but holds a switch iron.

Note the controller handle.

Note the controller handle.

Perhaps this badge may offer a clue as to which private operator these men may have worked for. One of our readers thinks the badge might say "C & S C," which could stand for the Calumet and South Chicago Railway Company, which was formed in 1908 through a merger of the South Chicago City Railway Co., and Calumet Electric Street Railway Co. It operated on the far south side of Chicago. In 1914, it became one of the underlying companies that formed the Chicago Surface Lines. Of course, it's pretty hard to make out. On the other hand, James Fahlstedt writes: "My take on the hat badge is that it reads CCSR. For what it is worth, it is put on the hat with and band or strap rather than fastened directly to the hat with split pins or similar device. The thing that I do not understand is that it is a metal badge. My CCR badge is leather. Could it read CGSR? Another thing I noticed is that there is something on the left side of the badge on the same line as the mystery letters that is totally illegible. Is a puzzlement." CCSR probably stands for Chicago City Street Railway. Perhaps the mystery has been solved.

Perhaps this badge may offer a clue as to which private operator these men may have worked for. One of our readers thinks the badge might say “C & S C,” which could stand for the Calumet and South Chicago Railway Company, which was formed in 1908 through a merger of the South Chicago City Railway Co., and Calumet Electric Street Railway Co. It operated on the far south side of Chicago. In 1914, it became one of the underlying companies that formed the Chicago Surface Lines. Of course, it’s pretty hard to make out. On the other hand, James Fahlstedt writes: “My take on the hat badge is that it reads CCSR. For what it is worth, it is put on the hat with and band or strap rather than fastened directly to the hat with split pins or similar device. The thing that I do not understand is that it is a metal badge. My CCR badge is leather. Could it read CGSR? Another thing I noticed is that there is something on the left side of the badge on the same line as the mystery letters that is totally illegible. Is a puzzlement.” CCSR probably stands for Chicago City Street Railway. Perhaps the mystery has been solved.

Recent Finds

CTA PCC 7256 heads south on State Street at Van Buren in the 1950s.

CTA PCC 7256 heads south on State Street at Van Buren in the 1950s.

This mid-1950s view of PCC 4406 is at Clark and Birchwood, it having just left Howard Street, north end of Route 22.

This mid-1950s view of PCC 4406 is at Clark and Birchwood, it having just left Howard Street, north end of Route 22.

CTA trolley bus 9193 on a March 2, 1958 Omnibus Society of America fantrip, at Kedzie Garage. Andre Kristopans: "This is in BACK of Kedzie, facing south. The wire came in off Kedzie between the carhouse and the washhouse, looped around in back and split into the three wired bays."

CTA trolley bus 9193 on a March 2, 1958 Omnibus Society of America fantrip, at Kedzie Garage. Andre Kristopans: “This is in BACK of Kedzie, facing south. The wire came in off Kedzie between the carhouse and the washhouse, looped around in back and split into the three wired bays.”

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 9737 heads east at Lawrence and Austin in August 1969. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 9737 heads east at Lawrence and Austin in August 1969. (Gerald H. Landau Photo)

On January 1, 1954, eastbound CTA 1769 turns from Pine onto Lake Street, crossing the Lake Street "L" at grade. Streetcars were replaced by buses on May 30 that same year.

On January 1, 1954, eastbound CTA 1769 turns from Pine onto Lake Street, crossing the Lake Street “L” at grade. Streetcars were replaced by buses on May 30 that same year.

CTA Pullman PCC 4169 at the south end of Route 36 - Broadway-State, near 119th and Morgan, probably in the early 1950s. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

CTA Pullman PCC 4169 at the south end of Route 36 – Broadway-State, near 119th and Morgan, probably in the early 1950s. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

Passengers get off CTA trolley bus 9514, which is heading eastbound on Roosevelt at State in April 1964. The Roosevelt Road station on the South Side "L" was closed as of January 1963, when the North Shore Line quit. From 1949-63, NSL had exclusive use as N-S trains were routed through the State Street subway. These tracks were put back into regular service in 1969, with the opening of the Dan Ryan line, but the station was demolished and was not replaced by a new one until 1993, with the opening of the Orange Line.

Passengers get off CTA trolley bus 9514, which is heading eastbound on Roosevelt at State in April 1964. The Roosevelt Road station on the South Side “L” was closed as of January 1963, when the North Shore Line quit. From 1949-63, NSL had exclusive use as N-S trains were routed through the State Street subway. These tracks were put back into regular service in 1969, with the opening of the Dan Ryan line, but the station was demolished and was not replaced by a new one until 1993, with the opening of the Orange Line.

Roosevelt and State today.

Roosevelt and State today.

This photo shows the Kilbourn station on the Garfield Park "L" around 1954. By then, the station had been closed, and the stairways removed, in order to reduce running time due to the slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage at ground level east of Sacramento. The two-car train of CTA 4000s is about to cross the Congress Expressway, but the highway does not appear to be open yet. The "L" tracks were higher than normal at this location to cross railroad tracks just west of here. The line was relocated into the expressway median in 1958.

This photo shows the Kilbourn station on the Garfield Park “L” around 1954. By then, the station had been closed, and the stairways removed, in order to reduce running time due to the slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage at ground level east of Sacramento. The two-car train of CTA 4000s is about to cross the Congress Expressway, but the highway does not appear to be open yet. The “L” tracks were higher than normal at this location to cross railroad tracks just west of here. The line was relocated into the expressway median in 1958.

The CRT 42nd Place Yard, the end of the line for the Kenwood "L" branch, probably in the late 1920s.

The CRT 42nd Place Yard, the end of the line for the Kenwood “L” branch, probably in the late 1920s.

The Stock Yards "L" branch, looking east to Exchange, as it appeared on June 7, 1927.

The Stock Yards “L” branch, looking east to Exchange, as it appeared on June 7, 1927.

The North Side "L", looking south from Montrose. On the right, you see the ramp leading down to the Buena Yard.

The North Side “L”, looking south from Montrose. On the right, you see the ramp leading down to the Buena Yard.

CRT trailer 3237, possibly at Skokie Shops.

CRT trailer 3237, possibly at Skokie Shops.

CA&E 315 at an unknown location.

CA&E 315 at an unknown location.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars 407 and 432 at the Forest Park terminal in September 1955. CA&E service was cut back to here two years earlier. 407 was a Pullman, built in 1923, while 432 was a 1927 product of the Cincinnati Car Company. Riders could change here "cross platform" for CTA Garfield Park "L" trains.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars 407 and 432 at the Forest Park terminal in September 1955. CA&E service was cut back to here two years earlier. 407 was a Pullman, built in 1923, while 432 was a 1927 product of the Cincinnati Car Company. Riders could change here “cross platform” for CTA Garfield Park “L” trains.

CTA PCC 4265, a Pullman product, heads north on State at Lake circa 1948, while Alfred Hitchcock's film Rope plays at the State-Lake Theater. This has since been converted into production facilities for WLS-TV.

CTA PCC 4265, a Pullman product, heads north on State at Lake circa 1948, while Alfred Hitchcock’s film Rope plays at the State-Lake Theater. This has since been converted into production facilities for WLS-TV.

Here is a nice side view of CSL 4005 at Kedzie Station (car barn). At this time, the 83 Prewar PCCs were assigned to Route 20 - Madison.

Here is a nice side view of CSL 4005 at Kedzie Station (car barn). At this time, the 83 Prewar PCCs were assigned to Route 20 – Madison.

Faced with a manpower shortage during World War II, some transit lines hired female operators (although the Chicago Surface Lines did not). Here, we see Mrs. Cleo Rigby (left) and Mrs. Katherine Tuttle training in North Chicago on June 25, 1943. That would be for the North Shore Line's city streetcar operations, which were mainly in Waukegan.

Faced with a manpower shortage during World War II, some transit lines hired female operators (although the Chicago Surface Lines did not). Here, we see Mrs. Cleo Rigby (left) and Mrs. Katherine Tuttle training in North Chicago on June 25, 1943. That would be for the North Shore Line’s city streetcar operations, which were mainly in Waukegan.

A northbound two-car Evanston shuttle train is held up momentarily at Howard in the 1950s, as track work is going on up ahead. The rear car is 1766. Don's Rail Photos says, "1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as Northwestern Elevated Railway 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923." Wood cars last ran on Evanston in 1957. Notice that the station is also being painted.

A northbound two-car Evanston shuttle train is held up momentarily at Howard in the 1950s, as track work is going on up ahead. The rear car is 1766. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1756 thru 1768 were built by Jewett Car in 1903 as Northwestern Elevated Railway 756 thru 768. They were renumbered 1756 thru 1768 in 1913 and became CRT 1756 thru 1768 in 1923.” Wood cars last ran on Evanston in 1957. Notice that the station is also being painted.

CTA postwar PCC 4404 is heading south, turning from Archer onto Wentworth on June 20, 1958, the last full day of streetcar service in Chicago. This was the last photo of a Chicago streetcar taken by the late Bob Selle.

CTA postwar PCC 4404 is heading south, turning from Archer onto Wentworth on June 20, 1958, the last full day of streetcar service in Chicago. This was the last photo of a Chicago streetcar taken by the late Bob Selle.

A close-up of the previous photo shows some evidence of Bondo-type patch work on 4404.

A close-up of the previous photo shows some evidence of Bondo-type patch work on 4404.

CTA 7051 is southbound at State and Delaware on route 36 Broadway-State in the early 1950s. We ran another picture taken at this location in our post Recent Finds, Part 2 (December 12, 2016), showing a PCC going the other way. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7051 is southbound at State and Delaware on route 36 Broadway-State in the early 1950s. We ran another picture taken at this location in our post Recent Finds, Part 2 (December 12, 2016), showing a PCC going the other way. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

The controller car of CTA Red Pullman 144, as it looked on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

The controller car of CTA Red Pullman 144, as it looked on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 225 at 77th and Vincennes on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 225 at 77th and Vincennes on a mid-1950s fantrip. This car is preserved at Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Red Pullman 445 is on Route 21 - Cermak circa 1950. Behind it, you see the Lakeside Diner and Boulevard Buick, the latter located at 230 E. Cermak. Today, this is near the location of McCormick Place.

CTA Red Pullman 445 is on Route 21 – Cermak circa 1950. Behind it, you see the Lakeside Diner and Boulevard Buick, the latter located at 230 E. Cermak. Today, this is near the location of McCormick Place.

CTA Red Pullman 104 is at Cermak and Prairie, east end of Route 21. This was just a few blocks away from Kodak's Prairie Avenue processing plant, located at 1712 S. Prairie Avenue. Many a railfan's Kodachrome slides were developed and mounted there, until the facility closed in the mid-1980s. You can read more about it here. The landmark R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. Calumet Plant, also known as the Lakeside Plant, is at rear. The plant closed in 1993, after Sears discontinued their catalog, and the building is now used as a data center.

CTA Red Pullman 104 is at Cermak and Prairie, east end of Route 21. This was just a few blocks away from Kodak’s Prairie Avenue processing plant, located at 1712 S. Prairie Avenue. Many a railfan’s Kodachrome slides were developed and mounted there, until the facility closed in the mid-1980s. You can read more about it here. The landmark R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co. Calumet Plant, also known as the Lakeside Plant, is at rear. The plant closed in 1993, after Sears discontinued their catalog, and the building is now used as a data center.

CSL “Big” Pullman 183 is eastbound on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937, while 5502, an Ashland car, is turning west onto Roosevelt to jog over to Paulina. That’s Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.

CSL “Big” Pullman 183 is eastbound on Roosevelt at Ashland on January 15, 1937, while 5502, an Ashland car, is turning west onto Roosevelt to jog over to Paulina. That’s Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background.

CTA 7238 on State street in the early 1950s. The clock at right belongs to C. D. Peacock jewelers, a Chicago institution since 1837. (Water Hulseweder Photo)

CTA 7238 on State street in the early 1950s. The clock at right belongs to C. D. Peacock jewelers, a Chicago institution since 1837. (Water Hulseweder Photo)

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 31 and train at Wilson, Indiana, on an early CERA fantrip (possibly September 20, 1942). Mitch adds, "The photo of the South Shore Line fan trip, 1942 in this episode of “The Trolley Dodger,” appears to be at Power Siding, between Sheridan and the Highway 12 crossing west of Michigan City."

Chicago, South Shore & South Bend car 31 and train at Wilson, Indiana, on an early CERA fantrip (possibly September 20, 1942). Mitch adds, “The photo of the South Shore Line fan trip, 1942 in this episode of “The Trolley Dodger,” appears to be at Power Siding, between Sheridan and the Highway 12 crossing west of Michigan City.”

Here, we see a rare shot of a CSL trolley bus on North Avenue in 1940. While route 72 - North was not converted to trolley bus until July 3, 1949, there was wire between the garage near Cicero Avenue and Narragansett. TBs ran on Narragansett until 1953, when route 86 was combined with the one-mile extension of North between Narragansett and Harlem. This TB is signed for route 76 (Diversey), which used TBs until 1955. The destination sign also says North-Lamon, site of the garage, but the slope of the street would indicate the bus is actually heading west. There is TB wire special work turning off to the right in the background, perhaps indicating that the bus has just left the garage. Andre Kristopans: "I THINK WB about Lavergne, pulling out." There would be streetcar tracks on this section. Andre again: "There are car tracks. You can barely see a couple of hangers to the right of the bus. North Av is very wide at this point, almost 6 lanes, and TT's did not share wire."

Here, we see a rare shot of a CSL trolley bus on North Avenue in 1940. While route 72 – North was not converted to trolley bus until July 3, 1949, there was wire between the garage near Cicero Avenue and Narragansett. TBs ran on Narragansett until 1953, when route 86 was combined with the one-mile extension of North between Narragansett and Harlem. This TB is signed for route 76 (Diversey), which used TBs until 1955. The destination sign also says North-Lamon, site of the garage, but the slope of the street would indicate the bus is actually heading west. There is TB wire special work turning off to the right in the background, perhaps indicating that the bus has just left the garage. Andre Kristopans: “I THINK WB about Lavergne, pulling out.” There would be streetcar tracks on this section. Andre again: “There are car tracks. You can barely see a couple of hangers to the right of the bus. North Av is very wide at this point, almost 6 lanes, and TT’s did not share wire.”

North Shore Line wood car 300, during its time as the Central Electric Railfans' Association club car, probably circa 1939-40.

North Shore Line wood car 300, during its time as the Central Electric Railfans’ Association club car, probably circa 1939-40.

Don's Rail Photos says, "300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940."

Don’s Rail Photos says, “300 thru 302 were built by Jewett in 1909 as mainline coaches. As the steel cars arrived, they were downgraded to local and school tripper service. In 1936 they became sleet cutters. In 1939 300 was turned over to the Central Electric Railfans Association as a private car. The ownership remained with the CNS&M, but the maintenance was taken over by CERA. During the war, with many members in service, CERA relinquished control, and the car was scrapped in 1947. 301 and 302 were retired in 1939 and scrapped in 1940.”

Perhaps someone can help us identify the location of car 300, somewhere along the Shore Line Route.

Perhaps someone can help us identify the location of car 300, somewhere along the Shore Line Route.

New Site Additions

This picture has been added to our post The Great Chicago Interurbans – Part Two (CNS&M) (February 5, 2017):

The Angel's Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

The Angel’s Flight funicular on June 13, 1961. (George Basch Photo)

This one’s been added to Night Beat (June 21, 2016):

A South Shore Line train at the old Gary station in August 1970.

A South Shore Line train at the old Gary station in August 1970.

Here’s another one for More LVT Photos & Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 12-14-2015:

A rear view of two Lehigh Valley Transit ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie "Red Devils" shows how their squared-off ends were not designed for multiple-unit operation. By comparison, car 1030, adapted from Indiana Railroad car 55, had a rounded end and was designed for multiple unit operation. Presumably, this is the Fairview car barn in Allentown. Liberty Bell Limited interurban service ended in 1951.

A rear view of two Lehigh Valley Transit ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie “Red Devils” shows how their squared-off ends were not designed for multiple-unit operation. By comparison, car 1030, adapted from Indiana Railroad car 55, had a rounded end and was designed for multiple unit operation. Presumably, this is the Fairview car barn in Allentown. Liberty Bell Limited interurban service ended in 1951.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave, here’s a few more of my CA&E images. All of these shots were cleaned up with Photoshop.

PS: The Julie Johnson collection website is back on line as of this morning (March 2). Great collection and I’m in it all the time.

Thanks very much!

Here's a head-on shot of CA&E cars 48 (Stephenson 1902) & 316 (Jewett 1913).

Here’s a head-on shot of CA&E cars 48 (Stephenson 1902) & 316 (Jewett 1913).

CA&E 30, my shot near the shops circa 1955.

CA&E 30, my shot near the shops circa 1955.

CA&E 18 looking good in this shot.

CA&E 18 looking good in this shot.

A train of the first cars with just the top of the old dispatcher tower in the background.

A train of the first cars with just the top of the old dispatcher tower in the background.

Here is an image of the old tower, just about the only one from this angle.

Here is an image of the old tower, just about the only one from this angle.

This is my shot of the new Dispatchers tower, circa 1955.

This is my shot of the new Dispatchers tower, circa 1955.

Here's one more that I think you'll like. It looks like CA&E 310 (Hicks 1908) just came out of the paint shop, and boy did they do a nice job!

Here’s one more that I think you’ll like. It looks like CA&E 310 (Hicks 1908) just came out of the paint shop, and boy did they do a nice job!

One more for you that I completed this morning. It's CA&E 319 (Jewett 1914) heading a line of cars. I got the original from Hicks Car Works, which is the JJ collection. It was a really bad picture and it took about 4 hours to complete.

One more for you that I completed this morning. It’s CA&E 319 (Jewett 1914) heading a line of cars. I got the original from Hicks Car Works, which is the JJ collection. It was a really bad picture and it took about 4 hours to complete.

James Fahlstedt writes:

I just recently discovered your blog and really enjoy it. First of all, I do not know much regarding Chicago traction, but have always been a fan. I love the city, I loved the interurbans (I was fortunate to have ridden all three of the big ones) and I even love the buses. I have made a small purchase of your books and videos and plan to buy more as my finances allow.

Second, I like the way those who know things seem to be willing to share their knowledge. I firmly believe that knowledge is something to be shared, not hidden.

Third, I like that the photos on the blog are of a sufficient resolution that they can actually be seen and enjoyed.

Anyway, if I know anything appropriate, I will pitch in.

Great, thanks! Glad you like the site.

Eric Miller writes:

I am looking for a photographer named C. Scholes to return some photo prints.

We posted a 1952 photo by a C. R. Scholes in One Good Turn (January 20, 2017).  That’s all the information we have.  Perhaps one of our readers can help further, thanks.

Mr. Miller replies:

That would be great!

Here are some shots of “Betty” making the rounds in Uptown, Dallas for you.

(Editor’s note: This is the the McKinney Avenue trolley, aka the M-Line.)

Scans of several new publications have been added to our E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available in our Online Store. These include:

Surface Service (CSL employee magazine), February 1942, March 1942, July 1943, June 1945, and June 1946

CTA brochure advertising National Transportation Week, May 1960

Hi-res scan of 1957 CTA Annual Report

Gorilla My Dreams

While this isn’t transit related, I figured our readers might enjoy seeing these pictures, which show a publicity float for the 1949 film Mighty Joe Young. This was a sort-of remake of King Kong, which reunited much of the same creative team involved with the 1933 original, including Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Robert Armstrong. Ruth Rose, Marcel Delgado, and Willis O’Brien. If anyone knows where this parade may have taken place, please let me know.

-David Sadowski

street-railwayreview1895-002

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