Odds and Ends

CTA Prewar PCC 4041 is northbound on Western Avenue near Fulton Street on July 7, 1955. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

CTA Prewar PCC 4041 is northbound on Western Avenue near Fulton Street on July 7, 1955. (Chuck Wlodarczyk Photo)

Here in Chicago, April showers (and there were many) have finally given way to May flowers. What better time to do some late Spring cleaning, and sort out a bunch of recently acquired material to share with you, our readers.

In spite of the lack of an overall theme, somehow this post grew like Topsy, to the point where it now has more images in it (100+) than any of our previous installments.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

In the 1950s, CTA PCC 7125 is heading southbound at State and Kinzie while track work is underway nearby.

In the 1950s, CTA PCC 7125 is heading southbound at State and Kinzie while track work is underway nearby.

We've run a couple pictures from this, the first Omnibus Society of America fantrip, in previous posts (Tip of the Iceberg, March 10, 2017 and Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six, February 22, 2016), but this one actually provides the date, March 2, 1958. CTA trolley bus 9193 is heading south on Kedzie at the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. As you can see, the entrance to the Kedzie rapid transit station is not quite finished. The line would open on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park "L".

We’ve run a couple pictures from this, the first Omnibus Society of America fantrip, in previous posts (Tip of the Iceberg, March 10, 2017 and Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six, February 22, 2016), but this one actually provides the date, March 2, 1958. CTA trolley bus 9193 is heading south on Kedzie at the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway. As you can see, the entrance to the Kedzie rapid transit station is not quite finished. The line would open on June 22, 1958, replacing the old Garfield Park “L”.

On May 16, 1954, two weeks before the end of Red Car service, the Central Electric Railfans' Association held a fantrip on several lines. Here, we see fantrip car 479 at right and regular service car 1758 on the left. The location is Lake and Laramie, as you can see the ramp that brought the Lake Street "L" down to street level for the last 2.5 miles of its route. Car 473 also took part in the excursion.

On May 16, 1954, two weeks before the end of Red Car service, the Central Electric Railfans’ Association held a fantrip on several lines. Here, we see fantrip car 479 at right and regular service car 1758 on the left. The location is Lake and Laramie, as you can see the ramp that brought the Lake Street “L” down to street level for the last 2.5 miles of its route. Car 473 also took part in the excursion.

The same location today. The Lake Street "L" (today's CTA Green Line) was relocated onto the nearby Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962, and a new structure replaced the former ramp. Steel support columns were relocated to the curb. We are facing west.

The same location today. The Lake Street “L” (today’s CTA Green Line) was relocated onto the nearby Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962, and a new structure replaced the former ramp. Steel support columns were relocated to the curb. We are facing west.

This picture of CTA 473 was also taken on the May 16, 1954 fantrip, during a photo stop at 79th Place and Emerald.

This picture of CTA 473 was also taken on the May 16, 1954 fantrip, during a photo stop at 79th Place and Emerald.

Westbound CTA 1758 is turning from Lake onto Pine. This picture may also have been taken on May 16, 1954, as the same car shows up in some of the fantrip pictures. That looks like a 1953 Kaiser at left. Kaiser was an upstart automaker that got started after WWII and ceased American car production in 1955 to concentrate on making Jeeps. Kaisers had nice styling and interiors, but were underpowered compared to the Buicks and Oldsmobiles they competed against, lacking a V-8 engine.

Westbound CTA 1758 is turning from Lake onto Pine. This picture may also have been taken on May 16, 1954, as the same car shows up in some of the fantrip pictures. That looks like a 1953 Kaiser at left. Kaiser was an upstart automaker that got started after WWII and ceased American car production in 1955 to concentrate on making Jeeps. Kaisers had nice styling and interiors, but were underpowered compared to the Buicks and Oldsmobiles they competed against, lacking a V-8 engine.

CTA PCC 7170 is heading southbound at Clark and Granville in this wintry 1950s scene. The Kroger grocery store was located at 6157 N. Clark, in a building now occupied by the Raven Theatre Company.

CTA PCC 7170 is heading southbound at Clark and Granville in this wintry 1950s scene. The Kroger grocery store was located at 6157 N. Clark, in a building now occupied by the Raven Theatre Company.

Photo caption: "Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee RR 352 passenger interurban (Built Cincinnati). Only car on Mundelein branch." Don's Rail Photos: "352 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired and scrapped in 1951."

Photo caption: “Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee RR 352 passenger interurban (Built Cincinnati). Only car on Mundelein branch.” Don’s Rail Photos: “352 was built by St Louis Car Co in January 1928, #1453. It was retired and scrapped in 1951.”

A Dayton (Ohio) trolley bus at night in September 1972.

A Dayton (Ohio) trolley bus at night in September 1972.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Limited interurban car in Lansdale (note the nearby Reading catenary). While the interurban quit in 1951, electric commuter rail service to Lansdale continues under the auspices of SEPTA. Between 1949 and 1951, LVT considered terminating the interurban here instead of continuing to Norristown. This would have involved building a loop to turn the single-ended cars. Ultimately, this was not done.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Limited interurban car in Lansdale (note the nearby Reading catenary). While the interurban quit in 1951, electric commuter rail service to Lansdale continues under the auspices of SEPTA. Between 1949 and 1951, LVT considered terminating the interurban here instead of continuing to Norristown. This would have involved building a loop to turn the single-ended cars. Ultimately, this was not done.

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don's Rail Photos: "1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952." It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Lehigh Valley Transit 1100 on a New York Central flat car at Riverside Yard in Allentown PA. Don’s Rail Photos: “1100 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as Dayton & Troy Ry 201. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1100. In 1949 it was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail. It was in such bad condition that it was not rehabilitated and was scrapped in 1952.” It seems likely that the 1100 was sold to Speedrail for use as a parts car. The photo date is given as February 14, 1948, but this may be wrong, as this was more than a year prior to the abandonment of the Easton Limited interurban line, where this car ran. However, it may have been out of service for some time.

Lehigh Valley Transit 1102 loaded on an Lehigh Valley RR flat car in Allentown, PA (November 1949). Don's Rail Photos: "1102 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as D&TRy 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months as 66 before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952."

Lehigh Valley Transit 1102 loaded on an Lehigh Valley RR flat car in Allentown, PA (November 1949). Don’s Rail Photos: “1102 was built by Cincinnati Car in August 1929, #3025, as D&TRy 203. It was returned to Cincinnati Car in 1932, and in 1938 it was sold to LVT as 1102. In 1949 it was sold to Speedrail, but was not rehabilitated until March 1951. But it only ran for 3 months as 66 before the line was abandoned and then scrapped in 1952.”

"LVT 1102 loaded on an NYC flat car at Riverside to be shipped to Milwaukee, Wisconsin."

“LVT 1102 loaded on an NYC flat car at Riverside to be shipped to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”

Chicago Streetcar R.P.O. (Railway Post Office)

We recently acquired this envelope, and enclosures, that were cancelled in 1946 on an old Chicago streetcar. Streetcars had last been used to sort and transport mail in 1915. The event was a stamp collector’s convention.

Don's Rail Photos: "H7, mail car, was built by American Car Co in 1891, as a C&PS (Cicero & Proviso Street Ry) passenger car. It was rebuilt as CUT 8 in 1900 as a mail car and as CRys 8 in 1903. It was renumbered H7 in 1913 and became CSL H7 in 1914. It was retired on May 16, 1949."

Don’s Rail Photos: “H7, mail car, was built by American Car Co in 1891, as a C&PS (Cicero & Proviso Street Ry) passenger car. It was rebuilt as CUT 8 in 1900 as a mail car and as CRys 8 in 1903. It was renumbered H7 in 1913 and became CSL H7 in 1914. It was retired on May 16, 1949.”

Hagerstown & Frederick (Potomac Edison)

We recently purchased a number of rare photos showing the Hagerstown & Frederick, a Maryland interurban. This was a real-lie “Toonerville Trolley,” which, despite not having a lot of ridership, somehow managed to survive into the 1950s.

Here is what Don’s Rail Photos says about the H&F:

It’s hard to describe the H&F since it seems to be more of a country trolley than an interurban line. Yet they did operate freight service and covered some 76 miles of line in western Maryland. It was the last passenger interurban east of Chicago. The H&F was a consolidation of several lines dating back to 1902. They joined together in 1913. Abandonments began in 1932. In 1938 the main line was cut so that there were two separate sections, one at Hagerstown, and the other at Frederick. The Hagerstown line finally quit in 1947, but the Frederick to Thurmont passenger service lasted until February 20, 1954. Freight service was later dieselized but lasted only until 1958. I was fortunate enough to visit Frederick the year after passenger service ended, but some of the freight equipment was still around.

Interestingly, some of these pictures were part of a set produced by the Railroad Record Club. I had no idea that the RRC sold sets of photos, but apparently they did. This is only part of one such set, #12. That would imply there are more RRC photo sets out there waiting to be rediscovered.

There is a Railroad Record Club discs featuring the H&F, but it is disc #6 and not 12. RRC #6 is one of the ones we have already digitized.

H&F car 48 on May 18, 1941. "Wood steel sheathed city car. Green and cream." Don's Rail Photos adds, "48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W, also, since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown."

H&F car 48 on May 18, 1941. “Wood steel sheathed city car. Green and cream.” Don’s Rail Photos adds, “48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W, also, since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown.”

H&F 151.

H&F 151.

The last passenger trolley (1947) on the Hagerstown-Williamsport line.

The last passenger trolley (1947) on the Hagerstown-Williamsport line.

The last passenger trolley (1947) on the Hagerstown-Williamsport line.

The last passenger trolley (1947) on the Hagerstown-Williamsport line.

H&F 169 in Hagerstown. Don's Rail Photos: "169 was built by Brill in 1917 and was sold for other uses in 1947."

H&F 169 in Hagerstown. Don’s Rail Photos: “169 was built by Brill in 1917 and was sold for other uses in 1947.”

H&F 172 in Braddock Heights, Maryland. Don's Rail Photos: "172 was built by Brill in 1921. It was retired in 1954. The disposition is unknown."

H&F 172 in Braddock Heights, Maryland. Don’s Rail Photos: “172 was built by Brill in 1921. It was retired in 1954. The disposition is unknown.”

H&F 49 at Hagerstown on May 29, 1938. On the back of the photo, it says this car was built by Brill in 1924.

H&F 49 at Hagerstown on May 29, 1938. On the back of the photo, it says this car was built by Brill in 1924.

The Union Street Substation in Cumberland, MD, installed prior to 1900.

The Union Street Substation in Cumberland, MD, installed prior to 1900.

H&F in downtown Hagerstown.

H&F in downtown Hagerstown.

Williamsport, Maryland about 1944. That looks like a 1934 Ford at left.

Williamsport, Maryland about 1944. That looks like a 1934 Ford at left.

H&F 31.

H&F 31.

H&F freight loco 12 in Frederick about 1947. Don's Rail Photos adds, "12 was built by General Electric, December, 1917, #6238, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 452, but was diverted to the government for use as Watervliet Arsenal E-2. It came to the H&F in 1947. Disposition is unknown."

H&F freight loco 12 in Frederick about 1947. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “12 was built by General Electric, December, 1917, #6238, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 452, but was diverted to the government for use as Watervliet Arsenal E-2. It came to the H&F in 1947. Disposition is unknown.”

"Potomac Edison Co. Car #48 at Cumberland in 1926, on Greene Street at the Dingle intersection with Fayette Street. (Note: House on the left, at 903 Fayette Street, still existed in 1997.) Don's Rail Photos: "48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W, also, since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown."

“Potomac Edison Co. Car #48 at Cumberland in 1926, on Greene Street at the Dingle intersection with Fayette Street. (Note: House on the left, at 903 Fayette Street, still existed in 1997.) Don’s Rail Photos: “48 was built by Brill in 1926. It came from the CG&W, also, since they were owned by Potomac Edison, too. It was retired in 1949 and disposition is unknown.”

H&F #9. Don's Rail Photos: "9 was built by the Washington & Old Dominion in 1918 as their 25. It came to the H&F in 1944. It was retired in 1955 and the disposition is unknown."

H&F #9. Don’s Rail Photos: “9 was built by the Washington & Old Dominion in 1918 as their 25. It came to the H&F in 1944. It was retired in 1955 and the disposition is unknown.”

H&F 171. Don's Rail Photos adds, "171 was built by Brill in 1919. It was retired in 1954 and became a private residence. It is now a fishing cabin." The car body has been preserved in Mountaindale, Maryland.

H&F 171. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “171 was built by Brill in 1919. It was retired in 1954 and became a private residence. It is now a fishing cabin.” The car body has been preserved in Mountaindale, Maryland.

H&F #3 (left) and 15 (right). Don's Rail Photos: "3 was built by H&F in 1914. It was retired in 1945. 15 was built by the Chambersburg Greencastle & Waynesboro Street Ry. in 1917 as their 15. It came to the H&F from this line which was a connection at Shady Grove, Pa. in 1932. Disposition is unknown."(Railroad Record Club photo #12-107)

H&F #3 (left) and 15 (right). Don’s Rail Photos: “3 was built by H&F in 1914. It was retired in 1945. 15 was built by the Chambersburg Greencastle & Waynesboro Street Ry. in 1917 as their 15. It came to the H&F from this line which was a connection at Shady Grove, Pa. in 1932. Disposition is unknown.”(Railroad Record Club photo #12-107)

H&F 178 on a fantrip, probably circa 1954. (Railroad Record Club photo #12-129)

H&F 178 on a fantrip, probably circa 1954. (Railroad Record Club photo #12-129)

(Railroad Record Club photo #12-138)

(Railroad Record Club photo #12-138)

H&F 164. Don's Rail Photos: "164 was built by Brill in 1910 as Frederick RR 32 and scrapped in 1945." (Railroad Record Club photo #12-101)

H&F 164. Don’s Rail Photos: “164 was built by Brill in 1910 as Frederick RR 32 and scrapped in 1945.” (Railroad Record Club photo #12-101)

H&F #12. Don's Rail Photos: "12 was built by General Electric, December, 1917, #6238, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 452, but was diverted to the government for use as Watervliet Arsenal E-2. It came to the H&F in 1947. Disposition is unknown." (Railroad Record Club photo #12-120)

H&F #12. Don’s Rail Photos: “12 was built by General Electric, December, 1917, #6238, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 452, but was diverted to the government for use as Watervliet Arsenal E-2. It came to the H&F in 1947. Disposition is unknown.” (Railroad Record Club photo #12-120)

(Railroad Record Club photo #12-162)

(Railroad Record Club photo #12-162)

H&F #160. Don's Rail Photos: "160 was built by Cincinnati in 1909 as Hagerstown Ry. 45. Disposition is unknown." (Railroad Record Club photo #12-100)

H&F #160. Don’s Rail Photos: “160 was built by Cincinnati in 1909 as Hagerstown Ry. 45. Disposition is unknown.” (Railroad Record Club photo #12-100)

H&F 178 (Railroad Record Club photo #12-112)

H&F 178 (Railroad Record Club photo #12-112)

Looks like fantrip time in Thurmont, possibly in 1954, with H&F 171 at the head of the line. (Railroad Record Club photo #12-127)

Looks like fantrip time in Thurmont, possibly in 1954, with H&F 171 at the head of the line. (Railroad Record Club photo #12-127)

H&F work car #7 at Frederick, Maryland, on April 11, 1954. It was built in the H&F shops in 1927 and had four Westinghouse 101B2 motors. On the other hand, Don's Rail Photos says, "7 was acquired in 1918 from an unknown source. Other information showed it as being built in the company shop in 1927. It served double duty in the winter as a plow. The disposition is unknown." (Gene Connelly Photo)

H&F work car #7 at Frederick, Maryland, on April 11, 1954. It was built in the H&F shops in 1927 and had four Westinghouse 101B2 motors. On the other hand, Don’s Rail Photos says, “7 was acquired in 1918 from an unknown source. Other information showed it as being built in the company shop in 1927. It served double duty in the winter as a plow. The disposition is unknown.” (Gene Connelly Photo)

H&F 167 at Frederick Yard in June, 1945. Don's Rail Photos: "167 was built by Brill in 1914. It was wrecked in 1946." (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

H&F 167 at Frederick Yard in June, 1945. Don’s Rail Photos: “167 was built by Brill in 1914. It was wrecked in 1946.” (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Upstate New York

We received these pictures recently as a gift. They are all from upstate New York. Otherwise, we don’t profess to know much about these properties. Perhaps some of our knowledgeable readers can help us fill in the blanks.

Photo caption: "Franklin Sqaure is one block south of (the )railroad crossing on River Street. Troy (NY)."

Photo caption: “Franklin Sqaure is one block south of (the )railroad crossing on River Street. Troy (NY).”

United Traction Co. - Franklin Square, Troy, NY.

United Traction Co. – Franklin Square, Troy, NY.

United Traction Co. - Franklin Square, Troy, NY.

United Traction Co. – Franklin Square, Troy, NY.

United Traction Co. - Franklin Square, Troy, NY. Don's Rail Photos: "The company was formed in 1899 as a consolidated of various street railway properties in Albany NY and surrounding cities. The last car operated in Albany in 1946."

United Traction Co. – Franklin Square, Troy, NY. Don’s Rail Photos: “The company was formed in 1899 as a consolidated of various street railway properties in Albany NY and surrounding cities. The last car operated in Albany in 1946.”

Schenectady Railway - State Street from Park.

Schenectady Railway – State Street from Park.

"650 type entering Saratoga terminal. Taken during last days of operation- H. V. (Hudson Valley?) tracks removed in 1929- was once 4-track far out at this point."

“650 type entering Saratoga terminal. Taken during last days of operation- H. V. (Hudson Valley?) tracks removed in 1929- was once 4-track far out at this point.”

Schenectady Railway #53. "Wood suburban car, built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1901 as part of the 50-55 series. Renumbered 550-555, Albany car." According to Dr. Harold E. Cox, the renumbering took place in 1902 and the series was converted to PAYE (pay as you enter) in 1915.

Schenectady Railway #53. “Wood suburban car, built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1901 as part of the 50-55 series. Renumbered 550-555, Albany car.” According to Dr. Harold E. Cox, the renumbering took place in 1902 and the series was converted to PAYE (pay as you enter) in 1915.

Surface Service

We recently acquired 14 more copies of Surface Service, the Chicago Surface Lines employee magazine, with the following dates:

1942 – May, June, August
1943 – December
1944 – January, March, May, June
1945 – January, February, March
1946 – February, August, September

Surface Service was published from the early 1920s until CSL became part of the Chicago Transit Authority on October 1, 1947, a period of about 25 years. These magazines are full of interesting tidbits of information that are invaluable for historical research.

In particular, most of these issues cover the World War II era, and show the various way the CSL helped support the war effort. For example, unless you read one of these magazines, you would have no way of knowing that the War Bond car, shown on the August, 1942 cover, was used on 17 different routes throughout the city, one week at a time. The routes and dates are listed, and this information can be used to date photographs showing the car, a “rolling billboard,” in service.

These 14 issues are each 16 pages, meaning we have added 224 additional pages of information to our E-Book, Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, which is available through our Online Store.

The June 1942 cover is quite interesting, as it features a rare “bird’s eye view” of the loop at Madison and Austin, with no less than five pre-war PCCs on hand. The radio tower was a recent addition. Radio communications back then did not involve streetcar or bus operators, but were used by supervisors.

The radio tower is still there in the middle of the loop, which has since been shortened by lopping off the portion to the west. Now, buses turn north on Austin Boulevard before entering the loop, which is no longer “U” shaped, but more like an “L”.

Adventures in Restoration

We recently purchased an original Ektachrome slide shot in December, 1960 by Earl W. Clark, which has faded badly to red. It turned out that some of the dye layers on early Ektachrome films were very unstable. (A similar problem, interestingly, also happened to some pre-1940 Kodachrome slides.)

The dye layers on today’s slide films have excellent longevity.

The late Bradley Criss was an expert at restoring these types of images. He once gave me some advice on how to best approach this.

Most people would probably scan the slide, then try to color correct it. But since there is such an extreme amount of correction involved, he recommended color correcting in the scanning stage as a first step.

Here are some pictures showing the various steps along the way towards restoring this slide to something like its original appearance. I’m not saying that the results are perfect by any means, but they are a vast improvement.

Before tools like scanners and Photoshop were available, about the best you could do with an image like this was to convert it to black-and-white.

Often, a photographer’s slides don’t come up on the open market until they have passed from the scene. I was hoping this was not the case for Earl W. Clark. I made some inquiries, and it appears that Mr. Clark, the dean of Cincinnati railfans, is still very much on the scene, as this report from last Fall would indicate.

I would imagine Mr. Clark is overjoyed that streetcars have returned to Cincinnati.

-David Sadowski

This is an early Ektachrome slide that has faded badly over the years due to having unstable dyes. They longevity of such dyes has been greatly improved since. The green and blue layers have badly faded, leaving very little but the red. This is how the slide scanned without any color correction.

This is an early Ektachrome slide that has faded badly over the years due to having unstable dyes. They longevity of such dyes has been greatly improved since. The green and blue layers have badly faded, leaving very little but the red. This is how the slide scanned without any color correction.

Before scanning the slide again, this time I manipulated the colors using adjustments in the scanning software. This gave me a "leg up" when starting work in Photoshop, which was the next step.

Before scanning the slide again, this time I manipulated the colors using adjustments in the scanning software. This gave me a “leg up” when starting work in Photoshop, which was the next step.

Here is what the slide looked like after using Photoshop's Auto Color feature. The color is still not right, having a rather magenta (red-blue) cast. Green is the opposite of magenta. You can either reduce the amount of magenta or increase the amount of green-- it all amounts to the same thing.

Here is what the slide looked like after using Photoshop’s Auto Color feature. The color is still not right, having a rather magenta (red-blue) cast. Green is the opposite of magenta. You can either reduce the amount of magenta or increase the amount of green– it all amounts to the same thing.

Here, in Photoshop, I am adjusting the color by using the sliders until the overall color looks right. Notice there are three sets of color opposites.

Here, in Photoshop, I am adjusting the color by using the sliders until the overall color looks right. Notice there are three sets of color opposites.

Here, I am increasing the color saturation in Photoshop to make up for dye fading.

Here, I am increasing the color saturation in Photoshop to make up for dye fading.

Since 2/3rds of the dye layers on this slide have faded badly, the overall level of color saturation has to be increased in order to restore the proper amount of contrast.

Since 2/3rds of the dye layers on this slide have faded badly, the overall level of color saturation has to be increased in order to restore the proper amount of contrast.

The slide has bee brightened up somewhat and I have removed some of the crud that has accumulated on it over the decades. However, ultimately I decided this was slightly too light.

The slide has bee brightened up somewhat and I have removed some of the crud that has accumulated on it over the decades. However, ultimately I decided this was slightly too light.

The end result. This photo of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 315 was taken by Earl W. Clark in December 1960. Don's Rail Photos: "315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962."

The end result. This photo of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 315 was taken by Earl W. Clark in December 1960. Don’s Rail Photos: “315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962.”

Charles L. Tauscher in Memoriam

FYI, sad news to report. Charles L. Tauscher‘s niece Jennifer Fulbrook wrote on Facebook that he passed away on April 21st:

Hello. I am sorry for this somewhat off topic post. I know some of you were friends with my uncle (Chuck Tauscher) I wanted to let you know he passed away today after suffering a massive stroke last week.

We do not have any public memorials planned as of yet. Please share this post as you see fit.

Tauscher had a keen interest in history. He was one of the founders of the Omnibus Society of America and was also an excellent photographer. We used several of his pictures in CERA Bulletin 146.

My upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will also have a number of his pictures in it.

I believe he was about 76 years old.

Recent Correspondence

Greg Ross writes:

I’m a student at the University of Chicago, and I am currently working on a story for our student paper, the Chicago Maroon. The story is about the history of the former Garfield Green Line station, the oldest standing L station in the city. I’m writing to ask if you have any information about either the station of the Green Line (the Alley “L”) that I could use in my story. I’ve browsed your blog and would love to see any pictures you may have of the station as well. Please let me know if you would be available to talk.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear back!

I posted a picture of the Garfield station to the blog I did before this one (see CTA Red Line Reroute, July 13, 2013), but that is a picture anybody could take today. I am assuming you have already read the station history on Graham Garfield’s excellent web site www.chicago-l.org?

Perhaps some of our readers might have additional information that can help you.

Bill Downes writes:

This is way off the topic, but anyone have a link to an authoritative source regarding the issue dates of some West Towns transfers I have?? There are rather large numerals “22” and “23” superimposed on the body of transfer which shows direction of travel, month, route etc but no date or day of week!! If I had day of week and date could look at calendar and approximate year. Thanks.

An interesting question. Unfortunately, I do not know the answer. Perhaps one of our readers might be able to help, thanks.

Kenneth Muellner writes:

Just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your website. I’ve always had a soft spot for streetcars, interurbans, trolley buses and the like, and really enjoy your site. You mentioned that you grew up near Grand and Harlem, and I grew up not too far away at Addison and Oak Park. We had lots of family that lived over on Mont Clare Ave., just south of Diversey, and we were in the area a lot. I still remember being with my grandfather, waiting for my mother shopping in High Low on Harlem Avenue, and going over with him over to Caputo’s, which was just a garage at that time, with my grandfather telling him how to run his business!

My dumb question is about streetcars. I have a lot of books about them, but one thing I am unclear on is how did the streetcars turn at switches? Did the motorman have to go out of the car and manually move the switch, or was there some sort of remote control where they could switch the track, and then back again for cars following? I never have really understood how that worked.

Thanks again.

There are no dumb questions in my book. Thanks for asking.

Track switches can be hand thrown by the conductor or operator, who would have to stop, get off the streetcar in traffic, and use a long metal rod called a “switch iron.”  Eventually, motorized switches were developed for use in places where route changes were frequent.

Here’s an excellent explanation of such switches, written about the Brooklyn system, but I would imagine applicable elsewhere:

ELECTRIC TRACK SWITCHES

To avoid delaying service, electric track switches were installed at busy intersections. These switches were set by the Motorman while the car was in motion. The current in a contactor located on the trolley wire controlled the track switch. A car coasting under the contactor set the switch for the straight route. If the car’s controller was set on the first point when it passed under the contactor, the switch was set for the diverging route. Because the PCCs had high acceleration, their high starting current would have burned up the contactor. To correct this condition, a switch and a resistor was installed on a separate circuit. Therefore, all PCCs coasted when they approached an electric track switch. For the diverging route, the Motorman actuated this special switch on his desk.

-From the ERA Bulletin (Electric Railroader’s Association) , February 2009.

Max Hoffman writes:

Is Iowa Traction 727 serviceable at Mason City? Is it running in 2017? I would love to photograph it. We have a sister car at Illinois Railway Museum.

That’s an excellent question. Hopefully one of our readers may have an answer.

The Iowa Traction Railway, as it is now called, is a subsidiary of Progressive Rail. You might try contacting them directly.  To the best of my knowledge, ITR owns North Shore 727, but I do not know who maintains it or handles its use on charters.

Miles Beitler writes:

I attached three photos (originally color slides) of CTA trains. The 1972 Halsted photo shows a 2200 series train at the UIC-Halsted station. Note the Sears Tower under construction in the background. The 1972 Morgan photo shows a 6000 series train eastbound at Morgan siding. The last photo shows a 2000 series train in its original paint scheme at Wabash near Randolph. I took all of these photos so feel free to post them to your blog and you may use my name as well.

Thanks for sharing these with our readers.

One of our readers, who prefers to remain anonymous, writes:

I noticed that you recently posted about the CA&E and the North Shore Line, so I attached some old photos which might interest you.

The first three attached photos are from an old North Shore Line calendar. The first photo (CER-NSL Church St) was taken by Fred Borchert probably in the early 1920s and shows the NSL Evanston terminal with the Evanston L station in the background. The other two photos have self-explanatory captions.

I have no copyright information about these photos, but you know that Fred Borchert died long ago. The calendar was “produced by Joe L. Diaz, editor and publisher of The Street Railway Review, 1414 Elmdale, Chicago 60660”.

The fourth photo is of the Wells Street Bridge and the last photo is a CA&E train running on the old Garfield Park line. I’m not sure of the location but it could be the St Louis Avenue curve. These are from Model Transport magazine, June 1982. I did not find any copyright notice in this railfan publication.

Wells St Bridge — from the Chicago Dept of Public Works archives (so this should be public domain)

CA&E on Garfield Pk elevated circa 1940 — photographer unknown

Unfortunately, Joe L. Diaz is also no longer with us. Thanks for sharing!

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi David, Here are a few images of the CA&E ex WB&A trailers, except for 600 and 702 (I can’t find any images so far). I’ve always wondered why CA&E didn’t use them as motors instead of rebuilding them as trailers. Also, I’ve also sent an image of a CA&E caboose with part of the original dispatcher’s office in the background….still looking for s good shot! Thanks for the excellent Easter post; most enjoyable; another winner!

Many of our readers will recognize Mr. Bejna’s fantastic work from previous posts. We all appreciate seeing these great images that he has made look as if they were shot yesterday, through his hard work and talent.

Kenneth Gear writes:

Hi David,

The post office did a good job today and delivered the package containing the April 1982 issue of Traction & Models. That is two days earlier than expected. This is the issue with William Steventon’s article about recording railroad sounds. I’m sending it to you quickly so you can use it in the next Trolley Dodger post, if that was your intention.

The article does, as I had hoped, contain a photo of him trackside making a recording, three actually. It has a lot of very interesting information in it, some of which is about the Railroad Record Club specifically . Steventon tells of a few things that happened to him out in the field while recording sounds that were used on RRC LPs, how he recorded certain sounds, and why he chose the locations he recorded at. He talks about sounds recorded for records numbers 7, 4, and 18, and a few others.

He also talks about recording the sounds of CSS&SB locomotive number 1013. I think the recording should be on one of the LPs that you were just given.

Two of the photos show him and his group trackside getting ready to record the H&F at Lewistown, MD on January 3, 1954, could you have recently purchased the photos taken this day?

He also writes about recording sounds of the New York City subway, another recording that never made it to vinyl.

It is interesting to read that he felt that sound recordings were a valuable historic record, he was so right. Without his work, I would never had been able to hear the sounds of most of the railroad equipment he captured on tape.

Here is a PDF of the Steventon article mentioned above. Traction and Models magazine is long defunct (I could not find any record of issues after 1984.) As always, we are very grateful to Ken for tracking this down and making it available to our readers.

William A Steventon recording the compressor operation on North Shore car number 724 at Mundelein Station.

William A Steventon recording the compressor operation on North Shore car number 724 at Mundelein Station.

William Steventon and friends waiting to record the passing of a car on the Hagerstown & Frederick (Potomac Edison) near Bethel, MD Jan. 3 1954.

William Steventon and friends waiting to record the passing of a car on the Hagerstown & Frederick (Potomac Edison) near Bethel, MD Jan. 3 1954.

Kenneth Gear also writes:

I was thinking it might help our RRC info collecting efforts if you were to ask the readers of the blog to contribute any Railroad Record Club materials they may have. Ask if they would scan any newsletters, catalogs, advertisements, or correspondence and Email it to you or as comments to the post. You might also mention that we still need 3 of the records (#22 Buffalo Creek & Gauley, #31 Sound Scrapbook, Steam & #32 New York Central) and all of the samplers. With luck, this may bare some fruit.

As some of you may know, Kenneth Gear, a great friend of this blog, has been very helpful in tracking down many of the Railroad Record Club LPs and ephemera in our joint quest to document, as completely as possible, the RRC’s output and activities. Of the 42 or so different recordings issued by the RRC, we need only the three titles mentioned above to complete our efforts at digitally remastering them for a whole new generation of railfans.

We recently acquired three RRC titles (#19, 33 and 34), fully half the ones we were missing, and two of the three are traction recordings, which are far less numerous than steam. More details on these new CDs appear in the section below.

PS- We are also looking for the Sacramento Northern Electrics LP, and any other important out-of-print, “orphan works” traction recordings that we don’t already have.

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)

Three New CD Collections

FYI, we have three new CD collections available:


RRC #19
Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range
# of Discs – 1
Price: $12.95

In steam days, the DM&IR was controlled by the U.S. Steel Co., and its main activity was the haulage of iron ore from the Missabe iron mines to the docks at Two Harbors and Duluth, Minnesota. The Iron Range 2-8-8-4 locomotives, simple articulated “Yellowstone” types, were among the largest U.S. locomotive designs. As with the Nickel Plate, the Iron Range used steam power long into the diesel era. The last revenue steam run took place in 1961, and these recordings were made between 1958 and 1960. Includes a very interesting sequence in a dispatcher’s office. Besides RRC #19, this disc includes the EP Sounds of Steam on the Iron Range.

Total time – 49:48


RRC #33 and 34
Chicago, South Shore & South Bend
(South Shore Line) Electric Freight
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Railroad Record Club #33 and 34
On September 14, 1962, William A. Steventon recorded South Shore Line electric freight locomotives 1012 and 1013 on a run between Michigan City and South Bend, Indiana. Originally, this was planned as a single LP disc with a switching scene on one side, and a road run on the other. As it turned out, the two locos, although similar, made substantially different sounds, so it was decided to issue two discs instead. Both are now included on a single compact disc, along with the original liner notes for each. Since Diesel replaced electric freight on the South Shore Line in 1981, these are sounds that are impossible to duplicate today.

Total time – 62:04


HC-FFNP
Steam in the High Country
Fast Freight on the Nickel Plate
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Steam in the High Country:
The land of mile high prairies and shining snow-capped mountains formed a dramatic backdrop for the sight and sound of the steam locomotive in action. Here is a tremendous contrast in power, from the giant Union Pacific #4-8-8-4, to the Denver and Rio Grande Western miniature Mikado, in a symphony of steam, steel and cinders. Featuring steam locomotives of the Union Pacific, Colorado & Southern, Great Western, Denver & Rio Grande Western, and the Burlington, recorded between 1957 and 1962.

Fast Freight on the Nickel Plate:
The New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad is perhaps better known by its official nickname, “The Nickel Plate Road.” The road’s main line ran from Buffalo to Chicago, with numerous branches into southern Ohio coal fields and a line to St. Louis. The main line closely paralleled the route of the New York Central, so the Nickel Plate had to offer superior service to attract business from the lines of the neighboring giant. The road lived up to its motto “Nickel Plate for high speed service.” Until early 1958 this line was serviced by a fleet of modern 2-8-4 Berkshire steam locomotives, being one of the last important main line jobs for steam power in the U.S. Anyone who has watched these fine engines in action, as they moved 100 plus cars of freight at a mile a minute or better speed, can attest to the fine job they did. It was only after many refinements and improvements that diesel locomotives became worthy replacements of the famous Berkshires heard here in recordings made in the early part of 1958.

Total time – 75:34

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.

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This is our 181st 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 280,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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Ringing “The Bell”

LVT interurbans 1006 and 702 at Perkasie on February 11, 1951. 702 was in fantrip service.

LVT interurbans 1006 and 702 at Perkasie on February 11, 1951. 702 was in fantrip service.

Lehigh Valley Transit

Today, we review a new book about the Liberty Bell Limited, a classic Pennsylvania interurban line that carried passengers between Philadelphia and Allentown until abandonment in the early hours of September 7, 1951. President George H. W. Bush once mistakenly referred to September 7th as Pearl Harbor Day, but to Keystone Traction enthusiasts, it will always be a day that will live in infamy.

Along with our book review, we offer a generous selection of classic Lehigh Valley Transit photos from our own collections– mostly from the Liberty Bell route, but with a few from the Easton Limited, LVT’s “other” interurban, and even a city car to boot.

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Riding the Bell: Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Route by Ron Ruddell
Bulletin 147 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association

There have been many books written about the famed Liberty Bell Limited over the years, including some excellent ones, but Riding the Bell, available now from Central Electric Railfans’ Association* and their dealers, is sure to stand the test of the time as the best and most comprehensive of the lot.

This is not the first time that the “Bell Route” has been covered in a CERA publication, of course. A roster appeared during World War II, and a 1000-series lightweight graced the cover of Trolley Sparks, the organization’s newsletter, when the line was still running.

The late author Ronald DeGraw included much information about LVT in his excellent book Pig & Whistle: The Story of the Philadelphia & Western Railway, published by CERA in 2007 as their 140th bulletin. However, that coverage only pertained to LVT’s use of the P&W line to Norristown, which became the Bell’s main route to Philadelphia in the early 1900s.

Author Ron Ruddell headed up a group of Pennsylvania traction historians, who labored for ten years to create a book equal to their subject. I am glad to say they have succeeded in spades. A tremendous amount of information has been put into Riding the Bell‘s 224 pages, and it would be hard to put anything else into it without needing to take out something just as important.

The 1950s were the twilight years of Keystone Traction, at least outside of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. The LVT Liberty Bell Limited was, in some ways, the last great interurban in the eastern United States. It has been gone for 64 years now, meaning you would have to be a few years older than that to have ridden it, even as a youth.

Many Chicago-area railfans made a pilgrimage to ride it, but not all were so lucky. Ray DeGroote, still going strong at 85, did not get there until a few weeks after the interurban quit in 1951. He was able to ride and document the still-extensive LVT city streetcar system, and he saw the interurban cars in dead storage, but could not ride them. It was “one that got away.”

The Bell line is fondly remembered and riding it must have been, in some ways, like riding the world’s largest roller coaster. The area between Allentown and Philadelphia is not flat, with grades that certainly put a strain on LVT’s traction motors. It also included quite a lot of variety, with burst of high speeds, followed by numerous stops in many small towns. Several of the station buildings in these towns still exist.

Luckily for us, Lehigh Valley Transit must be about the most well-documented operation ever, perhaps even more so than the Pacific Electric or the three great Chicago-area interurbans. When it comes to photographs, there is literally an embarrassment of riches, and as a result, the book is full of fine photos, some in color. An attempt has been made not to duplicate ones that were already featured in previous LVT books.

As a subject, LVT operations covered so much ground that this book does not even attempt to document their extensive city lines or the Easton Limited, LVT’s shorter interurban. Those are wisely left to future authors and future books.

Faced with a need to either modernize or abandon rail service in 1938, LVT took the daring step of updating the Liberty Bell fleet. This task was made even more daunting due to a very constrained budget, which meant buying new PCCs or other such equipment was out of the question.

Fortunately, some relatively new (circa 1930) lightweight high-speed interurban cars were available at a relatively low cost, as the Cincinnati & Lake Erie had just been abandoned. 13 cars were purchased for the Bell, along with four Cincinnati curved-side cars for the Easton Limited, and LVT attractively modernized them.

The new cars were a hit with the public, and ridership increased. The facelift was never intended to be permanent, but was hoped to buy the interurban another five years of usefulness before the inevitable switch to bus. It ended up lasting for 12, a testament to the build quality and durability of these cars.

There were many unfortunate problems along the way. The ex-C&LE lightweights could not be coupled together. More passengers meant running additional trains in second and third sections. Inevitably, this led to a horrific accident in 1942, which was not the only such collision.

After one of the C&LE cars was destroyed in a fire, LVT purchased one additional lightweight car, which had been built for the Indiana Railroad. This was rebuilt into club car 1030, which became the standout of the fleet and one of the few Liberty Bell cars that has been preserved.

Wartime rationing of gasoline and tires also increased ridership. The wear and tear of all that hill climbing really did a number on those traction motors. Schedules had to be adjusted in the interest of safety, and running times between Allentown and Philadelphia increased.

What really would have helped LVT would have been some more of those ex-Indiana Railroad cars, which were very similar to the C&LE “Red Devils” but could be coupled together in as many as three cars at a time. More than two dozen of these cars were available circa 1940-41 but ended up being unsold and were scrapped just prior to the outbreak of World War II. They would have been quite useful to LVT.

Only two such Indiana Railroad lightweights were saved– car 55, which became LVT 1030, and car 65, which was sold to CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City) and eventually made its way to the Illinois Railway Museum, its first acquisition. Oddly enough, they were made by two different builders.

The end of the war in 1945 meant a steep drop-off in interurban ridership. By then, the handwriting was really on the wall for the Bell line, but the end did not come for another few years yet.

There was a piecemeal abandonment. For a variety of reasons, well covered in this book and in Pig & Whistle, service was cut back to Norristown. The Liberty Bell Limited never had a direct route to center city Philadelphia throughout its history.

Consideration was given to cutting service back to Lansdale, where the Bell could connect to Reading (now SEPTA) suburban commuter trains to Philadelphia, but this would have necessitated building a turnaround loop for the single-end cars. Since the Bell’s days were numbered anyway, LVT decided to simply let service continue as far as Norristown and the P&W.

By 1951, LVT had really let maintenance slide, to the point where, in September, only a few of the lightweight interurban cars were still operable. As soon as they could get approval for abandonment, the end was swift. Fortunately, the fans caught wind of it and the railroad allowed them to ride one last time. The rails began to come up the very next morning.

In some ways, this abandonment has some parallels in what happened a few years later to the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. They decided not to continue running trains to Chicago’s downtown over the CTA Garfield Park “L” temporary trackage in 1953, due to expressway construction. In CA&E’s case, however, they kept up the equipment right to the end, as did the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee, which quit in 1963.

When CA&E got a local judge to allow their “temporary” abandonment of passenger service on July 3, 1957, they ceased operations immediately, stranding thousands of riders who had to scramble for a way home.

In LVT’s case, they offered a replacement bus service. Unfortunately, while the interurban could run in a straight line between towns, the bus had to follow a more convoluted path at right angles. As more and more highways were built in Pennsylvania, even the bus ridership evaporated, and the interurban bus quit without any fanfare in 1956.

While electric rail transit is undergoing a renaissance in many places around the world today, the chance that anything like a Liberty Bell service might return to the Lehigh Valley is very slim indeed. The cost would simply be too great, compared to the number of potential passengers.

But until it does, the spirit of this historic interurban is conjured up very well  in this great new volume by Ron Ruddell. Hats off to him, and to the team that worked so long and hard to make this book possible. I would also like to single out John Nicholson, who acted as project coordinator for CERA in bringing this very worthy book over the finish line. Publishing any book like this is a very complicated effort.

The layout, by the veteran team of Jack and Ad Sowchin, is handsome and attractive. CERA merits a lot of credit as well for publishing this wonderful addition to the historical record.

Even if you do not live in Pennsylvania, the book may interest you. The Bell was one of the classic interurbans and, in one way or another, it had many connections to the Midwest.

It is highly recommended, and I urge you to purchase a copy if you have not done so already. Only limited quantities of such books are made, and once they run out, the prospect of them being reprinted is unlikely for a variety of reasons.

Many previous CERA books have become collector’s items and cost more to buy used than they did when new. I will not be surprised when this book sells out and if you don’t purchase your copy today, you may have difficulty picking one up in the future.

In addition to this book, there are also some excellent Liberty Bell videos on the market, and those will really give you an idea of what the line was all about, after you have whetted your appetite by feasting on Riding the Bell.

-David Sadowski

PS- You can also experience some of the twilight of Keystone Traction via one of our recently released audio CDs, featuring 1950s-era Hi-Fi recordings of Johnstown Traction, Altoona & Logan Valley, and Scranton Transit, available from our Online Store.  Just look for the Railroad Record Club disc with LPs 23 and 30 on it.

*Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

This is our 102nd 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 99,000 page views from over 28,500 individuals.

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

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

We thank you for your support.


LVT 812 at 69th Street terminal in Upper Darby on August 12, 1934. Most people refer to this as Philadelphia, but it is just outside the city limits. Don's Rail Photos says, "812 was built by St Louis Car in 1901 as 159. It was rebuilt as 999 in 1914 and rebuilt as 812 in 1921. It was scrapped in November 1951."

LVT 812 at 69th Street terminal in Upper Darby on August 12, 1934. Most people refer to this as Philadelphia, but it is just outside the city limits. Don’s Rail Photos says, “812 was built by St Louis Car in 1901 as 159. It was rebuilt as 999 in 1914 and rebuilt as 812 in 1921. It was scrapped in November 1951.”

LVT 808 in Allentown on April 22, 1934. Don's Rail Photos: "808 was built by Jewett Car in 1913. It was rebuilt as C15 in 1935." The C-series cars were used for interurban freight.

LVT 808 in Allentown on April 22, 1934. Don’s Rail Photos: “808 was built by Jewett Car in 1913. It was rebuilt as C15 in 1935.” The C-series cars were used for interurban freight.

LVT 805 at 69th Street terminal in Upper Darby. This car was built by Jewett circa 1912-13. Apparently this car has been preserved and is privately owned but not operable.

LVT 805 at 69th Street terminal in Upper Darby. This car was built by Jewett circa 1912-13. Apparently this car has been preserved and is privately owned but not operable.

LVT 812 in the Easton town circle on June 30, 1947, making a rare appearance on LVT's "other" interurban, the Easton Limited by way of a fantrip. (James Maloney, Jr. Photo)

LVT 812 in the Easton town circle on June 30, 1947, making a rare appearance on LVT’s “other” interurban, the Easton Limited by way of a fantrip. (James Maloney, Jr. Photo)

LVT 812 on Broad Street in Bethlehem on June 30, 1947. The occasion was a fantrip. Many fans considered it a real shame that the 812 was not saved. Other than the 1030, it was the "jewel of the fleet." (James Maloney, Jr. Photo)

LVT 812 on Broad Street in Bethlehem on June 30, 1947. The occasion was a fantrip. Many fans considered it a real shame that the 812 was not saved. Other than the 1030, it was the “jewel of the fleet.” (James Maloney, Jr. Photo)

LVT 1007 at Perkasie on November 12, 1939.

LVT 1007 at Perkasie on November 12, 1939.

LVT 1020 at 69th Street terminal in 1939, shortly after being modernized. Don's Rail Photos: "1020 was built by Cincinnati Car in April 1930, #3055, as C&LE 113. It was renumbered 413 in 1932 and sold to LVT as 1020 in 1938. It was scrapped in 1951."

LVT 1020 at 69th Street terminal in 1939, shortly after being modernized. Don’s Rail Photos: “1020 was built by Cincinnati Car in April 1930, #3055, as C&LE 113. It was renumbered 413 in 1932 and sold to LVT as 1020 in 1938. It was scrapped in 1951.”

Another view of 1020 taken at the same time as the previous photo. Jim Boylan adds, "Location is the wye where the Victory Ave. bus garage is now, across the tracks from the P&W's 72nd St. Shops."

Another view of 1020 taken at the same time as the previous photo. Jim Boylan adds, “Location is the wye where the Victory Ave. bus garage is now, across the tracks from the P&W’s 72nd St. Shops.”

LVT 702, 704, and 710 are southbound on a fantrip at West Point on April 15, 1951. This was the first and only time a matched set of three 700-series cars were operated as a multiple unit. Shortly after this, the 710, looking pretty shabby here, was scrapped.

LVT 702, 704, and 710 are southbound on a fantrip at West Point on April 15, 1951. This was the first and only time a matched set of three 700-series cars were operated as a multiple unit. Shortly after this, the 710, looking pretty shabby here, was scrapped.

LVT 702 at Locust Siding on February 11, 1951.

LVT 702 at Locust Siding on February 11, 1951.

LVT 1009 at Hatfield on May 9,1951. (William D. Slade Photo)

LVT 1009 at Hatfield on May 9,1951. (William D. Slade Photo)

From this scene, it would appear that a Liberty Bell Limited lightweight is backing up to the LVT downtown terminal in Allentown. Meanwhile, LVT city streetcar 900 passes by. Don's Rail Photos says, "900 was built by Brill Car Co in February 1917, (order) #20206. It was (later) rebuilt." Looks like an LVT employee is crossing the street.

From this scene, it would appear that a Liberty Bell Limited lightweight is backing up to the LVT downtown terminal in Allentown. Meanwhile, LVT city streetcar 900 passes by. Don’s Rail Photos says, “900 was built by Brill Car Co in February 1917, (order) #20206. It was (later) rebuilt.” Looks like an LVT employee is crossing the street.

An LVT 1100-series lightweight interurban, still looking shiny, in the Easton town square circa 1939. These Cincinnati curved-side cars were built in 1929 for the Dayton & Troy. They were repossessed in 1932 and remained at the Cincinnati Car Company plant until sold to LVT in 1938. After the Easton Limited was bussed in 1949, two of the four cars were sold to Speedrail in Milwaukee, where one operated briefly as car 66. Unfortunately all four cars were scrapped.

An LVT 1100-series lightweight interurban, still looking shiny, in the Easton town square circa 1939. These Cincinnati curved-side cars were built in 1929 for the Dayton & Troy. They were repossessed in 1932 and remained at the Cincinnati Car Company plant until sold to LVT in 1938. After the Easton Limited was bussed in 1949, two of the four cars were sold to Speedrail in Milwaukee, where one operated briefly as car 66. Unfortunately all four cars were scrapped.

LVT 812 heading towards Allentown on the Liberty Bell Limited.

LVT 812 heading towards Allentown on the Liberty Bell Limited.

An LVT 1000-series car delivers newspapers (probably dailies from Philadelphia) in Allentown.

An LVT 1000-series car delivers newspapers (probably dailies from Philadelphia) in Allentown.

LVT 1030, the so-called "Golden Calf" of the fleet, on a National Railway Historical Society fantrip on September 28, 1941. This club car was just being introduced into regular service at this time, and had been extensively rebuilt from Indiana Railroad car 55. Don's Rail Photos: "1030 was built by American Car & Foundry in 1931, #1203, as Indiana RR 55. It was rebuilt in 1934 (as a club car) and rebuilt as C&LE 1030 in 1941. It was acquired by Seashore Trolley Museum in 1951."

LVT 1030, the so-called “Golden Calf” of the fleet, on a National Railway Historical Society fantrip on September 28, 1941. This club car was just being introduced into regular service at this time, and had been extensively rebuilt from Indiana Railroad car 55. Don’s Rail Photos: “1030 was built by American Car & Foundry in 1931, #1203, as Indiana RR 55. It was rebuilt in 1934 (as a club car) and rebuilt as C&LE 1030 in 1941. It was acquired by Seashore Trolley Museum in 1951.”

LVT 1103 on the Easton Limited interurban. From the looks of the cars, this picture probably dates to around 1939. (Larry Gaillard Photo)

LVT 1103 on the Easton Limited interurban. From the looks of the cars, this picture probably dates to around 1939. (Larry Gaillard Photo)

LVT 1007 making a fantrip photo stop on the Liberty Bell Limited. A fan with a box camera is jumping off.

LVT 1007 making a fantrip photo stop on the Liberty Bell Limited. A fan with a box camera is jumping off.

CRANDIC 111, shown here on June 10, 1953, was another ex-Cinicinnati & Lake Erie lightweight interurban car. While all the ones that went to LVT were scrapped, some of the ones that went to CRANDIC were saved. Don's Rail Photos:"111 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1930, #3055, as C&LE 111. It was sold to Crandic in 1939 and kept the same number. In 1954 it was sold to an individual and stored at Emporia, KS, until 1973. It was then donated to the Bay Area Electric Railway Association at Rio Vista, CA. It has been restored as Crandic 111."

CRANDIC 111, shown here on June 10, 1953, was another ex-Cinicinnati & Lake Erie lightweight interurban car. While all the ones that went to LVT were scrapped, some of the ones that went to CRANDIC were saved. Don’s Rail Photos:”111 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1930, #3055, as C&LE 111. It was sold to Crandic in 1939 and kept the same number. In 1954 it was sold to an individual and stored at Emporia, KS, until 1973. It was then donated to the Bay Area Electric Railway Association at Rio Vista, CA. It has been restored as Crandic 111.”

One other Indiana Railroad high-speed car had a second life, in addition to 55. Car 65 became Cedar Rapids and Iowa City 120, shown here on June 10, 1953. From Don's Rail Photos: "120 was built by Pullman in 1931, #6399, as Indiana Railroad 65. It was sold to the Crandic as 120 in 1941. In 1954 it was purchased as the first car of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum and restored as IRR 65." The last official run of a CRANDIC passenger train occurred on May 30, 1953.

One other Indiana Railroad high-speed car had a second life, in addition to 55. Car 65 became Cedar Rapids and Iowa City 120, shown here on June 10, 1953. From Don’s Rail Photos: “120 was built by Pullman in 1931, #6399, as Indiana Railroad 65. It was sold to the Crandic as 120 in 1941. In 1954 it was purchased as the first car of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum and restored as IRR 65.” The last official run of a CRANDIC passenger train occurred on May 30, 1953.

LVT 1001, 701, 1008 and 702 at Fairview car barn in Allentown on January 6, 1952, shortly before being scrapped.

LVT 1001, 701, 1008 and 702 at Fairview car barn in Allentown on January 6, 1952, shortly before being scrapped.

LVT 1006 in the scrap line at Bethlehem Steel on January 23, 1952.

LVT 1006 in the scrap line at Bethlehem Steel on January 23, 1952.

LVT 1030 loaded on a flat car at Riverside Yard on January 30, 1952, headed to Boston, and, eventually, the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine, where it remains today in operable condition.

LVT 1030 loaded on a flat car at Riverside Yard on January 30, 1952, headed to Boston, and, eventually, the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine, where it remains today in operable condition.

Machine-generated Liberty Bell Limited tickets.

Machine-generated Liberty Bell Limited tickets.

Lehigh Valley Transit's Liberty Bell Limited lightweight high-speed car 1001 (ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie 128) at the 69th Street Terminal on the Philadelphia & Western, September 21, 1949. Soon after this picture was taken, LVT passenger service was cut back to Norristown.

Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Limited lightweight high-speed car 1001 (ex-Cincinnati & Lake Erie 128) at the 69th Street Terminal on the Philadelphia & Western, September 21, 1949. Soon after this picture was taken, LVT passenger service was cut back to Norristown.

Traction in Milwaukee

Milwaukee Electric 1121 crosses the Chicago and North Western on a 1949 fantrip over the North Shore Line. It even has a Skokie Valley Route sign on it.

Milwaukee Electric 1121 crosses the Chicago and North Western on a 1949 fantrip over the North Shore Line. It even has a Skokie Valley Route sign on it.

Our last post featured the Kenosha streetcar, which has been running now for 15 years. Milwaukee is planning a streetcar line of its own, and may begin construction next spring.

Today, we pay tribute to this rich traction history with a selection of classic photos showing Milwaukee streetcars and interurbans. Much of the information we are sharing about these railcars comes from Don’s Rail Photos, an excellent online archive. Don Ross has been collecting photos since 1946 and if you have not yet checked out his web site, I hope you will do so.

Milwaukee once had an interurban system, part of which was called a “rapid transit” line. The last vestige of this once-great system was called Speedrail.

Speedrail was a valiant effort to keep service going on a shoestring, in an era before government funding for transit. Unfortunately, there was a horrific accident on September 2, 1950 that led directly to the end of the interurban on June 30, 1951. That this crash was involved a train full of railfans, many of whom had come to Milwaukee from out of town to attend a convention, made things even more tragic. Jay Maeder, head of Speedrail, was at the controls of one of the two trains, which hit head-on on a blind curve. The exact cause of the accident was never determined. You can read more about it here.

Milwaukee’s last streetcar ran in 1958. If you would like to hear the sounds of Milwaukee streetcars in action, you may be interested in our compact disc of Railroad Record Club LPs #35 and 36, which you can find in our Online Store.

This Hi-Fi recording, made in the 1950s, has been digitally remastered and sounds great. It is paired with additional vintage recordings of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee, Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, plus the Chicago Transit Authority’s Garfield Park “L”.

When the Illinois Electric Railway Museum, then located in North Chicago, purchased a Chicago, Aurora & Elgin railcar after the “Roarin’ Elgin” was abandoned, the suggestion was made to use a CA&E car on a North Shore Line fantrip. And although an inspection showed that the CA&E car was, most likely, in better shape than some of the CNS&M’s existing rolling stock, IERM was unable to get permission to use the car, and this historic opportunity was lost.

However, about a dozen years before this, a similar sort of trip was run, when Milwaukee Electric interurban car 1121 ran on a fantrip over North Shore Line trackage. We are pleased to offer three photos from that trip in this post.

According to the book Kenosha on the Go, by the Kenosha Streetcar Society, page 79, this fantrip took place on Sunday, December 4, 1949, with North Shore motorman Howard A. Odinius at the controls. It had been 27 months since the abandonment of the MRK (Milwaukee-Racine-Kenosha) interurban line of KMCL (Kenosha Motor Coach Lines), which ran to downtown Kenosha. (Speedrail ran service to Waukesha.)

You can read Don Ross’ account of the fantrip here.

After Milwaukee lost its streetcars, the era of traction continued there until the North Shore Line quit in 1963, and the last Milwaukee trolley bus ran in 1965. Now, the Illinois Railway Museum has a variety of Milwaukee equipment in its extensive collections.

Let’s hope events in Milwaukee are gaining traction, and not losing it.

-Ye Olde Editor

PS- Here’s a video showing Milwaukee’s route 10 streetcar in 1957:

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 and an Electroliner near Racine on the 1949 North Shore Line fantrip. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1121 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1927. It was equipped with GE-207B motors to allow it to pull trailers. In 1949 it was found to have the best wheels, and thus it was selected for the fantrip on the North Shore Line to Green Bay Junction near Rondout. It was also used as a freight motor after the last regular freight motor was wrecked in 1950."

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 and an Electroliner near Racine on the 1949 North Shore Line fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1121 was built by Kuhlman Car in February 1909, #405. It was rebuilt in 1927. It was equipped with GE-207B motors to allow it to pull trailers. In 1949 it was found to have the best wheels, and thus it was selected for the fantrip on the North Shore Line to Green Bay Junction near Rondout. It was also used as a freight motor after the last regular freight motor was wrecked in 1950.”

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 alongside an Electroliner (probably 803-804) at the Kenosha station. This was a 1949 fantrip where a TMER&T car was operated on part of the North Shore Line.

Milwaukee Electric car 1121 alongside an Electroliner (probably 803-804) at the Kenosha station. This was a 1949 fantrip where a TMER&T car was operated on part of the North Shore Line.

Don's Rail Photos says, "1182-1183 was rebuilt from an I&C (Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Co.) car in 1929 and scrapped in 1952." The car is shown at the North Side station in Milwaukee, signed for the Port Washington interurban line.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “1182-1183 was rebuilt from an I&C (Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Co.) car in 1929 and scrapped in 1952.” The car is shown at the North Side station in Milwaukee, signed for the Port Washington interurban line.

Don's Rail Photos says, "1196-1197 was built at Cold Spring in 1929. The second car was equipped with small dining facilities but it was shortly rebuilt with a baggage compartment at the rear end. It was stored at West Allis Station after a few years. In 1942 it was rebuilt with all coach and scrapped in 1952." This car is shown in downtown Milwaukee, signed for the Port Washington interurban line.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “1196-1197 was built at Cold Spring in 1929. The second car was equipped with small dining facilities but it was shortly rebuilt with a baggage compartment at the rear end. It was stored at West Allis Station after a few years. In 1942 it was rebuilt with all coach and scrapped in 1952.” This car is shown in downtown Milwaukee, signed for the Port Washington interurban line.

Milwaukee Electric Railway (The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co.) car 1137, westbound on the Rapid Transit Line, 68th Street Bridge, July 22, 1949.

Milwaukee Electric Railway (The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co.) car 1137, westbound on the Rapid Transit Line, 68th Street Bridge, July 22, 1949.

Speedrail cars 300 and 65, both signed for Hales Corners. According to Don's Rail Photos, "300 was built by St Louis Car in 1924. #1308. In 1936 it was sold to Cleveland Interurban RR as 300. CI became Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in 1944. It was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail in May 1950 as 300. It was scrapped in 1952." Car 65 at right is a "curved side" car built by the Cincinnati Car Company. It also came by way of Shaker Heights.

Speedrail cars 300 and 65, both signed for Hales Corners. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “300 was built by St Louis Car in 1924. #1308. In 1936 it was sold to Cleveland Interurban RR as 300. CI became Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in 1944. It was sold to Milwaukee Rapid Transit & Speedrail in May 1950 as 300. It was scrapped in 1952.” Car 65 at right is a “curved side” car built by the Cincinnati Car Company. It also came by way of Shaker Heights.

Speedrail car 66, shown here on the Waukesha loop, was a Cincinnati "curved-side" car. It had formerly been used by both Lehigh Valley Transit and the Dayton and Troy. This car, after having been refurbished for Speedrail, was only in service for a short period of time before the line quit in 1951.

Speedrail car 66, shown here on the Waukesha loop, was a Cincinnati “curved-side” car. It had formerly been used by both Lehigh Valley Transit and the Dayton and Troy. This car, after having been refurbished for Speedrail, was only in service for a short period of time before the line quit in 1951.

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.

Here is a video about the Speedrail wreck:

Milwaukee city streetcar 570 on route 15. Don's Rail Photos adds, "570 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was one manned in 1931."

Milwaukee city streetcar 570 on route 15. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “570 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was one manned in 1931.”

The caption to this photo reads, "City car - Milwaukee. Last 2-man car pulling into station on last run in West Allis." Charles Kronenwetter adds, "Car 638 appears to be coming Northbound on 84th St approaching the National Ave intersection." Don's Rail Photos: "638 was built at Cold Springs in 1913. It was reconditioned as a two man car in 1928."

The caption to this photo reads, “City car – Milwaukee. Last 2-man car pulling into station on last run in West Allis.” Charles Kronenwetter adds, “Car 638 appears to be coming Northbound on 84th St approaching the National Ave intersection.” Don’s Rail Photos: “638 was built at Cold Springs in 1913. It was reconditioned as a two man car in 1928.”

Don's Rail Photos says, "589 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was rebuilt in 1927." This car is shown at the end of one of the Milwaukee city streetcar lines in West Allis. Charles Kronoenwetter says, "589 is coming off the short section of private right-of-way which ran between Mitchell St. and Becher St. onto Becher St."

Don’s Rail Photos says, “589 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was rebuilt in 1927.” This car is shown at the end of one of the Milwaukee city streetcar lines in West Allis. Charles Kronoenwetter says, “589 is coming off the short section of private right-of-way which ran between Mitchell St. and Becher St. onto Becher St.”

Milwaukee city car 556 on Becher St. in West Allis. Don's Rail Photos adds, "556 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was one manned in 1928."

Milwaukee city car 556 on Becher St. in West Allis. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “556 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1911. It was one manned in 1928.”

Railroad Record Club LP #35 features Hi-fi audio recordings of Milwaukee streetcars in the 1950s. We have digitized this and many other recordings, which you can find in our Online Store.

Railroad Record Club LP #35 features Hi-fi audio recordings of Milwaukee streetcars in the 1950s. We have digitized this and many other recordings, which you can find in our Online Store.

Updates

FYI, we’ve added another picture to a previous post, More Hoosier Traction:

Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago car 74.

Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago car 74.

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