A Tribute to Jeffrey L. Wien

In 2016, Jeff Wien hired Rick Foss to add realistic color to what had been a black-and-white image, a rare shot of a PCC streetcar passing the entrance of Riverview Amusement Park on Western just north of Belmont in 1956. The results were spectacular. (Wien-Criss Archive)

In 2016, Jeff Wien hired Rick Foss to add realistic color to what had been a black-and-white image, a rare shot of a PCC streetcar passing the entrance of Riverview Amusement Park on Western just north of Belmont in 1956. The results were spectacular. (Wien-Criss Archive)

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A Tribute to Jeffrey L. Wien

Like many, I was recently shocked and saddened to hear that longtime Chicago railfan Jeffrey L. Wien had died at the age of 79. I had known Jeff for more than 40 years. While I mourn his passing, this post celebrates his lifelong interest in electric railways, which was so important to him.

Some time ago, he had asked me to compose his obituary, and this is what I came up with:

Jeffrey Lawrence Wien of Chicago died from a heart attack at Rush University Medical Center on January 6, 2021 at the age of 79. He had been hospitalized for about ten days suffering from pneumonia. Jeff was born in Chicago on April 3, 1941, the son of Jerome Lester Wien and Helen Louise Kraus. He grew up on the south side of Chicago near 47th Street until 1950, when the family moved to Evanston. He was a graduate of Evanston Township High School (class of 1959) and Northwestern University (class of 1963). He served his country as a Lieutenant in Naval Intelligence from 1963 to 1967. By profession, he was an accountant, and worked for Blue Cross-Blue Shield and at Provident Hospital. He was smart, funny (with an acerbic wit), opinionated, and loyal to his friends. Although he was talented in many areas, he was very modest and never boastful. He did not suffer fools gladly, but if you knew him, he was your friend for life. He loved to travel and was an avid and accomplished photographer and filmmaker, whose work appeared in many publications. His interest in historic preservation, architecture, and nostalgia drew him to street railways, interurbans and railroads. He was a passenger on the last Chicago streetcar in 1958 and was one of the last living employees of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban. He was the author of Chicago Streetcar Memories, a DVD produced by Chicago Transport Memories LLC in 2009. Jeff was a co-author of the very comprehensive book Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, issued as Bulletin 146 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association in 2015. Jeff was a voting member of the Illinois Railway Museum and a generous contributor to its activities. He was also a director and officer of Central Electric Railfans’ Association for 37 years. CERA is a not-for-profit technical and educational association founded in 1938. Along with Bradley Criss, he established the Wien-Criss Archive, an important photographic collection and resource that will continue to aid historical research in the future. Jeff will be very much missed and long remembered by everyone who knew him. He believed that life is the single most important thing, so you must protect it. He was predeceased by his spouse Bradley Scott Criss, and is survived by his sister Helen Jo Wien (Lotsoff), a niece and nephew. Interment is at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois. Donations can be made in Jeff’s memory to the Illinois Railway Museum CTA 4391 Restricted Fund.

Jeff became interested in streetcars at an early age. Ray DeGroote recalls answering a letter requesting more information from Jeff in 1955 while volunteering at CERA (Central Electric Railfans’ Association). They became lifelong friends, and brought Jeff in touch with what Ray has called the “intelligence network” of railfans, in those pre-Internet days. Jeff participated in his first fantrip in December 1956, one of several that were held in the declining years of Chicago streetcars, as the last lines were replaced by buses one by one.

His family lived at 48th and Woodlawn on Chicago’s south side until 1950, when they moved to the north end of Evanston. The closest “L” station was Isabella, a lightly patronized ground-level station that closed in 1973. It was made somewhat famous by being featured in the opening credits of the original Bob Newhart Show in the early 1970s.

Jeff’s initial interest was in taking 8mm color motion pictures. One roll would yield about three minutes of silent movie film. He taught himself photography by trial and error. Sometimes, people watching him would ask, incredulously, why he would want to take pictures of a streetcar?

Once Jeff discovered that the Western Avenue line would soon be replaced by buses, he did everything possible to document it, and the other remaining Chicago streetcar lines. Late in life, he could still recall how disappointed he was to discover that Western Avenue streetcars had been replaced by buses in June 1956.

This was followed by the loss of the final two north side lines in 1957 (Broadway and Clark), and finally Wentworth on the south side in 1958. In each case, Jeff rode the last car. By then, he had met other friends his own age who shared the same interest. Together, they decorated the last Chicago streetcar with crepe paper and a sign bidding farewell to Windy City trolleys. (This was no doubt inspired by “last cars” from other cities, some of which commemorated those events by decorating the cars, which the Chicago Transit Authority did not do.)

Until Jeff was 14, interurban trains of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee (aka the North Shore Line) passed near to his house in Evanston on the Shore Line Route. The North Shore Line became another of Jeff’s great interests, and he rode the last southbound car on a very cold January 21, 1963 along with his sister, although not to the end of the line at Roosevelt Road. (As the hour was so late, Jeff and Helen Jo got off at Howard Street to take the Evanston shuttle back to Isabella.)

During the summer of 1961, Jeff had a summer job as a ticket-taker for the North Shore Line at the Adams and Wabash station downtown, making him one of the interurban’s last living employees. Several years ago, he purchased a rare North Shore Line ticket cabinet from the Dempster Street station on that line. It was one of his prized possessions, and I persuaded him to write an article about it, which you can read here.)

Jeff started shooting color 35mm slides in 1959. His favorite film was Kodachrome, which then had a film speed of 10, meaning it was largely restricted to sunny days. Jeff would say, “I worship the sun,” and his favorite type of photo was the “three quarter” view, taken on a sunny day. He became a master at this type of photo. He favored all-mechanical Pentax cameras, as he did not trust batteries. He learned how to expose film by using the tried and true “Sunny f/16” rule.

Many other “last rides” in different cities followed. From 1963 to 1967, Jeff served in the Navy, and was stationed in Washington, DC. He was in Baltimore when their last streetcars ran in 1963, and Los Angeles when they ended both streetcar and trolley bus service the same year. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were also among Jeff’s favorite cities, as they both had extensive streetcar systems that were gradually reduced in size and scope over the years.

It was, for many years, a hobby with many “lasts,” but after reaching a low point in the mid-1970s, things began to turn around, with the start of the new San Diego Trolley in 1981. Soon this was joined by a host of other new “firsts,” light rail and streetcar lines across the country, and Jeff traveled to many of these places, to ride, photograph, and film them.

Jeff was an avid collector of other people’s photos in addition to his own. Ray DeGroote gave him the William C. Hoffman collection, after the latter’s death in 1988. Hoffman had extensively documented Chicago’s streetcar, interurban, and “L” lines in photographs and in movies during the 1950s, which are now invaluable historical artifacts. These, he freely shared with others.

Jeff was very active in the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, a not-for-profit technical and educational group, and served as a director for 37 years. This culminated in the 2015 publication of CERA Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, which I co-authored. For Jeff, this was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, and the book was well received.

In the book, I wrote a tribute to Jeff, since I really thought of it as being his life’s work. I compared him to the late Richard Nickel, one of the pioneers of architectural preservation here in Chicago. Jeff was a pioneer as a transit preservationist. His influence was profound and extensive in his field. It’s fine that people will pay tribute to him now that he is gone, but I felt it was just as important to do this while he was still alive and able to read it himself.

Fantrips were one of Jeff’s major interests, and the last one he was involved with was on February 19, 2017, when CERA sponsored a trip on the CTA “L” system with four cars wrapped temporarily to celebrate the Cubs winning the 2016 World Series. This was made possible in large part by Jeff’s $2000 contribution.

He was also quite active at the Illinois Railway Museum, as one of only 100 voting members, and through his preservation activities. He helped bring Chicago Surface Lines motor coach 3407 to the museum, and in 2019, made a substantial contribution to bring Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 453 to IRM.

Along with his late partner Bradley Criss, Jeff produced two feature-length videos, Chicago Streetcar Memories, and A Tribute to the North Shore Line.

Jeff’s final activities were to add slides and negatives to his collection that either interested him, or filled gaps in his collection. Some of these were pictures that he was unable to take himself, and gave him immense pleasure. This included his purchase of a large portion of the late Bob Selle’s black-and-white negatives in 2018 and numerous rare Kodachrome slides taken by others, including the late Charles L. Tauscher.

Jeff’s was a life well lived, and a blessing to those who knew him. What follows are some highlights from Jeff’s life in our hobby. He will be sorely missed.

-David Sadowski

Here is Jeff at 15, taking part in a fantrip on a red Chicago streetcar on February 10, 1957.

Here is Jeff at 15, taking part in a fantrip on a red Chicago streetcar on February 10, 1957.

On February 16, 1957, CTA 7201 was the last streetcar to run on Route 36. Here it is seen at Clark and Devon. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On February 16, 1957, CTA 7201 was the last streetcar to run on Route 36. Here it is seen at Clark and Devon. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On February 16, 1957, CTA 7201 was the last streetcar to run on Route 36. Here it is seen at State and Madison. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On February 16, 1957, CTA 7201 was the last streetcar to run on Route 36. Here it is seen at State and Madison. (Charles H. Thorpe Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA PCC 7201 is heading northbound at Clark and Wells on February 16, 1957, in this photo by Charles H. Thorpe, from the Wien-Criss Archive. It was the last streetcar to operate on the State-Broadway portion of Route 36.

CTA PCC 7201 is heading northbound at Clark and Wells on February 16, 1957, in this photo by Charles H. Thorpe, from the Wien-Criss Archive. It was the last streetcar to operate on the State-Broadway portion of Route 36.

I believe this iconic picture of CTA 7213, leaving Clark and Kinzie on the last Chicago streetcar run in the early morning hours of June 21, 1958, is a CTA photo.

I believe this iconic picture of CTA 7213, leaving Clark and Kinzie on the last Chicago streetcar run in the early morning hours of June 21, 1958, is a CTA photo.

Jeff was amazed a few years ago, when he found out that the late Charles Keevil had shot 16mm film of the last Chicago streetcar in 1958. This was transferred to digital and released by the CTA:

Jeff and his young friends decorated car 7213, no doubt inspired by what other cities had previously done for their last runs:

LVT 912, dressed in bunting at Fairview car barn for the last run of an Allentown streetcar, on June 7 1953.

LVT 912, dressed in bunting at Fairview car barn for the last run of an Allentown streetcar, on June 7 1953.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in January 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in January 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

CTA 9361 is westbound on Irving Park Road, passing under the north-south "L". The tracks it is about to cross belonged to the Milwaukee Road, and were used to interchange freight with the "L" until 1973. (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 9361 is westbound on Irving Park Road, passing under the north-south “L”. The tracks it is about to cross belonged to the Milwaukee Road, and were used to interchange freight with the “L” until 1973. (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 9378 is heading south on Broadway, about to turn west on Montrose (Route 78). (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 9378 is heading south on Broadway, about to turn west on Montrose (Route 78). (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 9375 at the east end of the Montrose trolley bus line, near the Wilson Avenue "L" station... about to turn south on Broadway. (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 9375 at the east end of the Montrose trolley bus line, near the Wilson Avenue “L” station… about to turn south on Broadway. (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

I believe we may have run a similar picture before. This shows the North Shore Line station adjacent to the CTA "L" station at Adams and Wabash. (William Shapotkin Collection)

I believe we may have run a similar picture before. This shows the North Shore Line station adjacent to the CTA “L” station at Adams and Wabash. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Jeff and his sister Helen rode the last southbound North Shore Line train as far as Howard Street. His friend Charles Tauscher continued with it to the end of the line, and snapped this historic picture:

A truly historic photo that probably hasn't seen the light in 57 years. The late Charles L. Tauscher rode the last North Shore Line train ever, which ended its run at Roosevelt Road in the early morning hours of a very cold January 21, 1963. Motorman Bill Livings has just taken off the headlight and poses for a few pictures. This must be a long exposure (this was Ektachrome, and the film speed was 32) and you can see some motion blur on other parts of the platform. Truly the end of an era. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A truly historic photo that probably hasn’t seen the light in 57 years. The late Charles L. Tauscher rode the last North Shore Line train ever, which ended its run at Roosevelt Road in the early morning hours of a very cold January 21, 1963. Motorman Bill Livings has just taken off the headlight and poses for a few pictures. This must be a long exposure (this was Ektachrome, and the film speed was 32) and you can see some motion blur on other parts of the platform. Truly the end of an era. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The North Shore Line's Milwaukee Terminal on a wintry night in January 1963. This is a remarkable photo for the time, as it surely involved a long exposure time of at least a few seconds, with the camera held perfectly still on a tripod. Film speeds for color slide film were very slow and those films were designed for use in bright sunlight. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The North Shore Line’s Milwaukee Terminal on a wintry night in January 1963. This is a remarkable photo for the time, as it surely involved a long exposure time of at least a few seconds, with the camera held perfectly still on a tripod. Film speeds for color slide film were very slow and those films were designed for use in bright sunlight. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A northbound North Shore Line train stops at Dempster in January 1963, the final month. Just over a year later, after the abandonment, the CTA resumed service between here and Howard as the Skokie Swift. Note the sign at left for a yarn store in the terminal building. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A northbound North Shore Line train stops at Dempster in January 1963, the final month. Just over a year later, after the abandonment, the CTA resumed service between here and Howard as the Skokie Swift. Note the sign at left for a yarn store in the terminal building. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This, and the next three images are from "superslides," meaning film larger than 35mm, but still able to fit in a regular 2x2 slide mount. This was possible with both 127 and 828 film, but it's the latter here, in this shot by W. H. Higginbotham showing an Electroliner at Grange Avenue in Milwaukee County. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This, and the next three images are from “superslides,” meaning film larger than 35mm, but still able to fit in a regular 2×2 slide mount. This was possible with both 127 and 828 film, but it’s the latter here, in this shot by W. H. Higginbotham showing an Electroliner at Grange Avenue in Milwaukee County. (Wien-Criss Archive)

NSL 741 creeps south along the old 6th Street viaduct in Milwaukee, next to a 1958 Chevy. (Wien-Criss Archive)

NSL 741 creeps south along the old 6th Street viaduct in Milwaukee, next to a 1958 Chevy. (Wien-Criss Archive)

An Electroliner at 6th and Oklahoma in Milwaukee in 1962. (W. N. Higginbotham Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

An Electroliner at 6th and Oklahoma in Milwaukee in 1962. (W. N. Higginbotham Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

An Electroliner at Edison Court in Waukegan on May 26, 1959. (Wien-Criss Archive)

An Electroliner at Edison Court in Waukegan on May 26, 1959. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This picture of the CTA Stockyards line was taken in September 1957, shortly before the line was abandoned. There is little in this picture that still exists today, except for the shuttered Stock Yards National Bank Building, at 4146 S. Halsted Street. (Wien-Criss Archive)

This picture of the CTA Stockyards line was taken in September 1957, shortly before the line was abandoned. There is little in this picture that still exists today, except for the shuttered Stock Yards National Bank Building, at 4146 S. Halsted Street. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A gate car (345) and a Met car are in the process of being scrapped at Skokie Shops in September 1957. (Wien-Criss Archive)

A gate car (345) and a Met car are in the process of being scrapped at Skokie Shops in September 1957. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Riverview Park at Western and Roscoe on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Riverview Park at Western and Roscoe on June 10, 1956. (Wien-Criss Archive)

PCC meets PCC in this famous Bill Hoffman photo, showing CTA PCC streetcar 4373 on Western Avenue, while a Garfield Park "L" train crosses on Van Buren temporary trackage. The date is June 16, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

PCC meets PCC in this famous Bill Hoffman photo, showing CTA PCC streetcar 4373 on Western Avenue, while a Garfield Park “L” train crosses on Van Buren temporary trackage. The date is June 16, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The "Streetcar Waiting Room" at Archer and Western on November 15, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The “Streetcar Waiting Room” at Archer and Western on November 15, 1954. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 153 is northbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 153 is northbound at Halsted and Congress on October 5, 1953. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4227 is on the turnback loop at Clark and Howard, the north end of Route 22. This is now the outdoor seating area for a restaurant. Buses terminate at the nearby Howard "L" station. (Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4227 is on the turnback loop at Clark and Howard, the north end of Route 22. This is now the outdoor seating area for a restaurant. Buses terminate at the nearby Howard “L” station. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Bill Hoffman and his sister Dorothy at their home at 6622 S. Maplewood Avenue in Chicago on December 26, 1981. Two nicer people, you will never meet. Both are sadly long gone. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Bill Hoffman and his sister Dorothy at their home at 6622 S. Maplewood Avenue in Chicago on December 26, 1981. Two nicer people, you will never meet. Both are sadly long gone. (Wien-Criss Archive)

On May 24, 1958 the Central Electric Railfans' Association operated a fantrip on the South Shore Line, using Illinois Central equipment. Normally, South Shore cars ran on the IC, but not the other way around. Here, they are having a photo stop at the "new" East Chicago station, parallel to the Indiana Toll Road, which opened in 1956. It replaced street running in East Chicago. The view looks east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On May 24, 1958 the Central Electric Railfans’ Association operated a fantrip on the South Shore Line, using Illinois Central equipment. Normally, South Shore cars ran on the IC, but not the other way around. Here, they are having a photo stop at the “new” East Chicago station, parallel to the Indiana Toll Road, which opened in 1956. It replaced street running in East Chicago. The view looks east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On November 9, 1952, a two-car CTA "L" train, headed by car 1019, is on the trestle at Central on the Evanston branch. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

On November 9, 1952, a two-car CTA “L” train, headed by car 1019, is on the trestle at Central on the Evanston branch. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago & North Western steam loco 555, a 4-6-2, heads up a northwest line commuter train at Kinzie and 400 West on August 20, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago & North Western steam loco 555, a 4-6-2, heads up a northwest line commuter train at Kinzie and 400 West on August 20, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This and the following picture show DC Transit pre-PCC 1053 in June 1961. n This historic car survived for many years before being destroyed in a museum fire. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

This and the following picture show DC Transit pre-PCC 1053 in June 1961. n This historic car survived for many years before being destroyed in a museum fire. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

On June 26, 1960 a pair of CTA single-car units went out on a portion of the Lake Street "L", but apparently did not go on the ground-level portion of the route. Here, we see the train heading westbound at Clinton and Lake. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

On June 26, 1960 a pair of CTA single-car units went out on a portion of the Lake Street “L”, but apparently did not go on the ground-level portion of the route. Here, we see the train heading westbound at Clinton and Lake. (Charles L. Tauscher Photo)

This photo of CTA 4391 in Chinatown appears on CERA’s 2014 membership card. The only surviving Chicago postwar PCC car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

This photo of CTA 4391 in Chinatown appears on CERA’s 2014 membership card. The only surviving Chicago postwar PCC car is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Photo by Charles L. Tauscher, Wien-Criss Archive)

Jeff purchased this slide in 2018. It was processed in September 1965, and shows Pittsburgh streetcars near the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, east of Pittsburgh, along the Monongahela River. The location was a mystery until it was identified by some of our readers.

Jeff purchased this slide in 2018. It was processed in September 1965, and shows Pittsburgh streetcars near the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, east of Pittsburgh, along the Monongahela River. The location was a mystery until it was identified by some of our readers.

Jeff bought his first Pentax MX camera at Helix in 1979, and continued using this model for the rest of his career.

Jeff bought his first Pentax MX camera at Helix in 1979, and continued using this model for the rest of his career.

Bradley Criss on March 3, 2012 at the end of the St. Charles Car Line at Carrollton and Claiborne Avenues in New Orleans. (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Bradley Criss on March 3, 2012 at the end of the St. Charles Car Line at Carrollton and Claiborne Avenues in New Orleans. (Jeff Wien Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Jeff Wien was, in large part, responsible for a fantrip on February 19, 2017, where four CTA rapid transit cars were posed at various places on the system for photo stops, wrapped to celebrate the first Cubs World Series championship since 1908. I purchased this original slide on the very day he died, with the intention of giving it to him on his upcoming 80th birthday. It is also an excellent example of the type of shot he excelled at himself-- a 3/4 view in sunlight. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

Jeff Wien was, in large part, responsible for a fantrip on February 19, 2017, where four CTA rapid transit cars were posed at various places on the system for photo stops, wrapped to celebrate the first Cubs World Series championship since 1908. I purchased this original slide on the very day he died, with the intention of giving it to him on his upcoming 80th birthday. It is also an excellent example of the type of shot he excelled at himself– a 3/4 view in sunlight. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

On September 5, 2020, Jeff made his last trip to the Illinois Railway Museum to participate in their annual meeting. Here he is with his beloved CTA 4391, the only surviving postwar Chicago streetcar. (Jose Martinez Photo)

On September 5, 2020, Jeff made his last trip to the Illinois Railway Museum to participate in their annual meeting. Here he is with his beloved CTA 4391, the only surviving postwar Chicago streetcar. (Jose Martinez Photo)

Recent Finds

Here are some of our own recent photo finds:

We are looking west along South Boulevard in Oak park on June 8, 1962, just west of Ridgeland Avenue. The CTA Lake Street "L" ran at ground level here, using overhead wire, until October of that year, when it was relocated to the nearby Chicago & North Western embankment. I assume the commuter station you see here closed in 1958 along with several other close-in stations, in part to make way for this relocation project.

We are looking west along South Boulevard in Oak park on June 8, 1962, just west of Ridgeland Avenue. The CTA Lake Street “L” ran at ground level here, using overhead wire, until October of that year, when it was relocated to the nearby Chicago & North Western embankment. I assume the commuter station you see here closed in 1958 along with several other close-in stations, in part to make way for this relocation project.

The same location today.

The same location today.

I thought this was interesting as it is an unusual view, one that you could only get by taking a picture on a moving train. This is near the Cermak station on the CTA Dan Ryan Line on May 14, 1979. A northbound train of 2000s approaches, and old Comiskey Park is visible to the south.

I thought this was interesting as it is an unusual view, one that you could only get by taking a picture on a moving train. This is near the Cermak station on the CTA Dan Ryan Line on May 14, 1979. A northbound train of 2000s approaches, and old Comiskey Park is visible to the south.

Mitch Markovitz: "Westbound (South Shore Line) train at Hammond. Has to be about 1949 as 108 has only been lengthened but not streamlined and air conditioned, and the gates are white and black but not yellow and black. The car behind it has been lengthened and streamlined."

Mitch Markovitz: “Westbound (South Shore Line) train at Hammond. Has to be about 1949 as 108 has only been lengthened but not streamlined and air conditioned, and the gates are white and black but not yellow and black. The car behind it has been lengthened and streamlined.”

CA&E 2001 and 2002 at Wayne on June 29, 1957.

CA&E 2001 and 2002 at Wayne on June 29, 1957.

CA&E 2001 and 2002 in Lombard in October 1955.

CA&E 2001 and 2002 in Lombard in October 1955.

CA&E freight locos 2001 and 2002 in Glen Ellyn in March 1959.

CA&E freight locos 2001 and 2002 in Glen Ellyn in March 1959.

A CA&E freight train in Maywood. If that is correct, I would guess this is westbound crossing First Avenue, where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The tracks at left belong to the Chicago Great Western. The date is April 8, 1951.

A CA&E freight train in Maywood. If that is correct, I would guess this is westbound crossing First Avenue, where the Illinois Prairie Path starts today. The tracks at left belong to the Chicago Great Western. The date is April 8, 1951.

CA&E freight locos 2001 and 2002 at an unknown location in the summer of 1957.

CA&E freight locos 2001 and 2002 at an unknown location in the summer of 1957.

CA&E freight locos 2001, 2002, and a caboose in Elgin on March 30, 1957. A passenger car is also visible.

CA&E freight locos 2001, 2002, and a caboose in Elgin on March 30, 1957. A passenger car is also visible.

CA&E freight in Oak Park on November 18, 1951, with locos 2001 and 2002. In the background, you can see apartment buildings at around 600 Harrison Street. The Eisenhower Expressway runs here now, but the buildings seen still remain.

CA&E freight in Oak Park on November 18, 1951, with locos 2001 and 2002. In the background, you can see apartment buildings at around 600 Harrison Street. The Eisenhower Expressway runs here now, but the buildings seen still remain.

The same buildings today.

The same buildings today.

CA&E freight in Lombard on November 23, 1957.

CA&E freight in Lombard on November 23, 1957.

CA&E freight in Maywood, with locos 2001 and 2002, on November 18, 1951.

CA&E freight in Maywood, with locos 2001 and 2002, on November 18, 1951.

The back end of the same train.

The back end of the same train.

A CTA train from the 5001-5004 series (not to be confused with the current 5000s) heads southbound approaching Central Street in Evanston on January 7, 1951, having just crossed the North Shore Channel, not far from where the Wien family was living.

A CTA train from the 5001-5004 series (not to be confused with the current 5000s) heads southbound approaching Central Street in Evanston on January 7, 1951, having just crossed the North Shore Channel, not far from where the Wien family was living.

I recently purchased this original medium format negative of the Travel and Transport Building, one of the most distinctive structures at A Century of Progress, the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair.

I recently purchased this original medium format negative of the Travel and Transport Building, one of the most distinctive structures at A Century of Progress, the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair.

This brochure was issued by the Chicago Surface Lines a short time before the October 1, 1947 Takeover by the Chicago Transit Authority, and spells out the locations where “walking transfers” were available between various CSL routes that were not directly adjacent to each other, and included some Chicago Rapid Transit Company stations on the “L”/Subway. But notice they did not include any such transfers to the Chicago Motor Coach lines, which continued to be privately owned for another five years after this.

The former Asbury station on the Niles Center "L" branch (unused by transit since 1948), as it looked in July 1970. The picture was taken along the right of way of the CTA Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line). The building has long since been demolished. A train in the 5001-5004 series is visible in the distance.

The former Asbury station on the Niles Center “L” branch (unused by transit since 1948), as it looked in July 1970. The picture was taken along the right of way of the CTA Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line). The building has long since been demolished. A train in the 5001-5004 series is visible in the distance.

This picture was taken around the time the CTA Dearborn-Milwaukee-Congress Subway opened in 1951, and shows where trains crossed over and turned back near LaSalle Street, which was the end of the line until 1958, when the Congress median line opened.

This picture was taken around the time the CTA Dearborn-Milwaukee-Congress Subway opened in 1951, and shows where trains crossed over and turned back near LaSalle Street, which was the end of the line until 1958, when the Congress median line opened.

We previously ran another version of this same image on a post in 2016, but I thought it was worth getting a second copy. This one has somewhat less contrast, so you get a better view of the platform. The original caption was: The CRT Westchester branch at Roosevelt Road, circa 1929-1930. Service along this line opened in 1926, and when the line was extended, local officials insisted that tracks not cross Roosevelt at grade, thereby necessitating this grade separation project. The platform at left was later moved into the open cut, although the original station house was retained. Service to Mannheim began in 1930. The line was abandoned in 1951. We are looking north.

We previously ran another version of this same image on a post in 2016, but I thought it was worth getting a second copy. This one has somewhat less contrast, so you get a better view of the platform. The original caption was: The CRT Westchester branch at Roosevelt Road, circa 1929-1930. Service along this line opened in 1926, and when the line was extended, local officials insisted that tracks not cross Roosevelt at grade, thereby necessitating this grade separation project. The platform at left was later moved into the open cut, although the original station house was retained. Service to Mannheim began in 1930. The line was abandoned in 1951. We are looking north.

I find this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. interesting for a number of reasons. It most likely is from before 1943, as a CRT steel car (4312) is coupled to a wood car (2157). This is along the Garfield Park line and the notation "XO" on the side probably means this train is turning back just west of the DesPlaines Avenue station in Forest Park (which would also explain why there is a cemetery visible behind the train). The platform that's visible may have been only for the use of train crews. The Eisenhower Expressway is located here now. It is unusual that Ed Frank put his name directly on the negative-- he generally rubber stamped it on the back. He was taking pictures as early as 1934.

I find this photo by Edward Frank, Jr. interesting for a number of reasons. It most likely is from before 1943, as a CRT steel car (4312) is coupled to a wood car (2157). This is along the Garfield Park line and the notation “XO” on the side probably means this train is turning back just west of the DesPlaines Avenue station in Forest Park (which would also explain why there is a cemetery visible behind the train). The platform that’s visible may have been only for the use of train crews. The Eisenhower Expressway is located here now. It is unusual that Ed Frank put his name directly on the negative– he generally rubber stamped it on the back. He was taking pictures as early as 1934.

The North Shore Line began running into Chicago via the "L" in 1919, and had phased out use of wood cars by 1936. This shows car 130 at Roosevelt Road in that time frame, signed for the Shore Line Route. During WWII, NSL leased this and some other wood cars to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin. A train of woods ran a fantrip on the North Shore Line in 1946, and then these cars were sold to the CA&E, which continued to operate them until service was cut back to Forest Park in 1954. The glare may indicate this picture was taken looking through the window of another train.

The North Shore Line began running into Chicago via the “L” in 1919, and had phased out use of wood cars by 1936. This shows car 130 at Roosevelt Road in that time frame, signed for the Shore Line Route. During WWII, NSL leased this and some other wood cars to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin. A train of woods ran a fantrip on the North Shore Line in 1946, and then these cars were sold to the CA&E, which continued to operate them until service was cut back to Forest Park in 1954. The glare may indicate this picture was taken looking through the window of another train.

A two-car CA&E train at the Wells Street Terminal. This might be car 412, built in 1923 by Pullman.

A two-car CA&E train at the Wells Street Terminal. This might be car 412, built in 1923 by Pullman.

New Steam Audio CD:

FYI, we have digitally remastered another classic steam railroad audio LP to Compact Disc. Many additional titles, including the complete output of the Railroad Record Club, in our Online Store.

misc676-001

STEAM CDs:

RGTS
Rio Grande to Silverton:
A Sound Portrait of Mountain Railroading

These are vintage 1960 narrow gauge steam train recordings, in true stereo, and originally released on LP in 1961.  It is long out of print.
Includes:
01. Riding The Train To Silverton
02. Photo Run At Elk Park
03. Arriving At Silverton
04. Train Time At La Jara
05. Illini Special At Cumbres Pass
06. Doubleheader Starting At Monero
07. Eastbound Freight
08. Arriving At Chama
09. Whistles At Coxo
10. Freight With Pusher At Coxo

Gone are the nostalgic sounds of steam echoes and thundering exhausts, but the memory is immortal. May they live on in the locomotive lexicon, as a monument to the era when trains were pulled by STEAM POWER.

As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.

Total time – 45:49

The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways. While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

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

CA&E Car 52 (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 52 (Stephenson, 1902).

Some of you have a device called a Magic Jack to make telephone calls using your home computer. But as many of our readers know, this blog also has a “Magic Jack” all of its own.

Today’s post features the work of Jack Bejna, whose pictures have been featured here many times previously. He loves finding old photographs and works his own brand of magic on them, making them look better using Photoshop.

We thank him for sharing these great images with our readers. The comments that follow, in this section, are Jack’s. Just to keep a hand in, we also have a few additional photos of our own that follow.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Chicago Aurora & Elgin at Laramie Avenue

Here are a few shots of the yard at Laramie Avenue. The first shows the yard looking east with the freight shed at the right, and at the left a CTA train heads west. The second shot features a CA&E train heading west (not sure but looks like a motorman in the front window). The third shot is at the freight house looking west. The tracks in the foreground were used to store CA&E trains when not needed, and many photographs of CA&E cars were taken at this location through the years. The fourth shot shows a CA&E freight at Flournoy Street heading west. In the background can be seen the mid-day storage tracks for CA&E cars.

CA&E Lockwood Yard at Laramie.

CA&E Lockwood Yard at Laramie.

CA&E Laramie Yard overview.

CA&E Laramie Yard overview.

CA&E Laramie Ave freight house.

CA&E Laramie Ave freight house.

CA&E 7 at Flournoy Street, Laramie Yard.

CA&E 7 at Flournoy Street, Laramie Yard.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin Wheaton Yards

CA&E car 18 (Niles 1902), plus cars 44 and 423.

CA&E car 18 (Niles 1902), plus cars 44 and 423.

CA&E car 24 (Niles 1902).

CA&E car 24 (Niles 1902).

CA&E car 26 (Niles 1902).

CA&E car 26 (Niles 1902).

CA&E car 28 (Niles 1902).

CA&E car 28 (Niles 1902).

CA&E Car 34 end view (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 34 end view (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 34 (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 34 (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 36 (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 36 (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 48 (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 48 (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 52 (Stephenson, 1902).

CA&E Car 52 (Stephenson, 1902).

Detroit Jackson & Chicago

I believe that all of these pictures were taken in or near Jackson, Michigan. The Jackson depot is lettered Michigan United Railways in one picture, Michigan United Traction Comapny in another, and the cars are lettered Michigan Railway Lines, all as a result of several changes of ownership of the Detroit Jackson and Chicago lines. Also included is a map of downtown Jackson.

Jackson Interurban Station postcard.

Jackson Interurban Station postcard.

Jackson Interurban Station.

Jackson Interurban Station.

Jackson, Michigan Traction Map.

Jackson, Michigan Traction Map.

Michigan Railway Lines - Car 1.

Michigan Railway Lines – Car 1.

Michigan Railway Lines - Car 2.

Michigan Railway Lines – Car 2.

Michigan Railway Lines - Car 3.

Michigan Railway Lines – Car 3.

Michigan Railway Lines - Car 16.

Michigan Railway Lines – Car 16.

Michigan Railway Lines - Cars 27 and 64.

Michigan Railway Lines – Cars 27 and 64.

Michigan Railway Lines - Car 65.

Michigan Railway Lines – Car 65.

Michigan Railway Lines - Car 85.

Michigan Railway Lines – Car 85.

Michigan Railway Lines - Car 647.

Michigan Railway Lines – Car 647.

Detroit United Railway

Some years ago a friend of mine told me that her uncle had died and left a lot of railroadiana behind, and I could have a look and take anything I wanted. Most of the stuff was not worth anything but I did come across two small (4”x 6”) two ring binders that were full of Detroit United Railways and Michigan Interurban equipment photos. The DUR photos had in-depth tech specs on the photo back for the particular car pictured. The pre-printed tech spec info form was dated: Rep cost 10-1-1921. I believe these photos were part of an audit for an upcoming fare increase request. I therefore believe that the photos were taken circa 1921.

I kept the binders and several years ago I started scanning them and Photoshopping them when I had time to spare. The quality of the pictures (i.e., exposure, lighting, etc.) varies but there are a number that are fine following a lot of Photoshop work.

Most of the photos don’t include the location where the photo were taken, and, since I’m not familiar with Michigan towns and cities, I don’t have any idea where the pictures were taken, with some exceptions.

I hope that readers of your fine blog may help to identify locations of some of the photographs.

DUR Car 1026

DUR Car 1026

DUR Car 1857

DUR Car 1857

DUR Car 1939

DUR Car 1939

DUR Car 2004

DUR Car 2004

DUR Car 2046

DUR Car 2046

DUR Car 2105

DUR Car 2105

DUR Car 5200

DUR Car 5200

DUR Car 5623

DUR Car 5623

DUR Car 7001

DUR Car 7001

DUR Car 7051

DUR Car 7051

DUR Car 13

DUR Car 13

DUR Car 1861

DUR Car 1861

DUR Car 7053.

DUR Car 7053.

DUR Car 7067.

DUR Car 7067.

DUR Car 7081.

DUR Car 7081.

DUR Car 7103.

DUR Car 7103.

DUR Car 7105.

DUR Car 7105.

DUR Car 7256.

DUR Car 7256.

DUR Car 7263.

DUR Car 7263.

DUR Car 7272.

DUR Car 7272.

DUR Car 7288.

DUR Car 7288.

DUR Car 7292.

DUR Car 7292.

DUR Car 7312.

DUR Car 7312.

Recent Finds

CTA wooden "L" car 1024 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, February 1960. The original museum location was at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company, adjacent to the North Shore Line tracks. Some of the wooden "L" cars were operated under their own power to North Chicago. This car, originally built by Pullman in 1898 as Northwestern Elevated Railroad 24, has since been restored to its original condition at IRM in Union.

CTA wooden “L” car 1024 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, February 1960. The original museum location was at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company, adjacent to the North Shore Line tracks. Some of the wooden “L” cars were operated under their own power to North Chicago. This car, originally built by Pullman in 1898 as Northwestern Elevated Railroad 24, has since been restored to its original condition at IRM in Union.

Illinois Terminal Railroad line car 1702, built by that operator in 1922, at North Chicago in February 1960.

Illinois Terminal Railroad line car 1702, built by that operator in 1922, at North Chicago in February 1960.

Illinois Terminal car 101 at IERM in North Chicago in February 1960. Don's Rail Photos: "101 was built by American Car in 1917 as AG&StL 61. In 1926 the car became StL&ARy 61 and in 1930 it became IT 101. On March 9, 1956, it was sold to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum and is now at Union, IL." This car ran between St. Louis and Alton.

Illinois Terminal car 101 at IERM in North Chicago in February 1960. Don’s Rail Photos: “101 was built by American Car in 1917 as AG&StL 61. In 1926 the car became StL&ARy 61 and in 1930 it became IT 101. On March 9, 1956, it was sold to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum and is now at Union, IL.” This car ran between St. Louis and Alton.

Don's Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) "213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964." Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

Don’s Rail Photos says, (North Shore Line) “213 was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise despatch car. In 1940 it was rebuilt as a disc harrow ice cutter. It was retired in 1955 and sold to CHF as their 242. It was donated to Illinois Railway Museum in 1964.” Here, we see the car at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company in February 1960. This was also then the location of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 419 is eastbound west of DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park in November 1951. The gas holder, at right, was a local landmark for many years.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 419 is eastbound west of DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park in November 1951. The gas holder, at right, was a local landmark for many years.

This photo appears to have been taken on Clark Street across from Lincoln Park during one of those late 1950s Chicago streetcar fantrips (possibly October 21, 1956). I thought this one was intersesting, since the man at left may very well be noted railfan William Hoffman, whose films and slides are now part of the Wien-Criss Archive.

This photo appears to have been taken on Clark Street across from Lincoln Park during one of those late 1950s Chicago streetcar fantrips (possibly October 21, 1956). I thought this one was interesting, since the man at left may very well be noted railfan William C. Hoffman, whose films and slides are now part of the Wien-Criss Archive.

I realize this is not the greatest quality picture, but it does appear to show the late Bill Hoffman shooting film using a tripod to steady his camera.

I realize this is not the greatest quality picture, but it does appear to show the late Bill Hoffman shooting film using a tripod to steady his camera.

Bill Hoffman and his sister Dorothy at their home at 6622 S. Maplewood Avenue in Chicago on December 26, 1981. Two nicer people, you will never meet. Both are sadly long gone. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Bill Hoffman and his sister Dorothy at their home at 6622 S. Maplewood Avenue in Chicago on December 26, 1981. Two nicer people, you will never meet. Both are sadly long gone. (Wien-Criss Archive)

More about the Hoffmans from Jeff Wien:

Dorothy and Bill were twins. They were born on May 15, 1910. Bill was 78 when he died (July 5, 1988) and Dorothy was 88 when she died. Dorothy died on May 10, 1999, five days short of her 89th birthday.

Dorothy was a wonderful person. Very generous in her donations to the Illinois Railway Museum in Bill’s memory. She funded the Hoffman Garage and other motor bus related projects. Dorothy donated over $800,000 to IRM, mostly motor bus related.

The Chicago Transit Authority, whose operating area covers most of Cook County, added the words "Metropolitan Transit" to its logo around 1958. This image was made from an original Kodalith originally in the collections of the late Robert Selle. My guess is he obtained it from the CTA back in the late 1950s. A Kodalith uses graphic arts film, and was likely made from the original logo artwork. Graphic arts film renders things in either black or white, and does not include gray tones as would conventional film. This image was not made by taking a picture of a logo on the side of a bus or "L" car. (Wien-Criss Archive)

The Chicago Transit Authority, whose operating area covers most of Cook County, added the words “Metropolitan Transit” to its logo around 1958. This image was made from an original Kodalith originally in the collections of the late Robert Selle. My guess is he obtained it from the CTA back in the late 1950s. A Kodalith uses graphic arts film, and was likely made from the original logo artwork. Graphic arts film renders things in either black or white, and does not include gray tones as would conventional film. This image was not made by taking a picture of a logo on the side of a bus or “L” car. (Wien-Criss Archive)

Don's Rail Photos says that North Shore Line car 231 "was built by Cincinnati in May 1924, #2720, as a merchandise despatch car. It was rebuilt as a plow in 1949." That's the configuration we see it in here. It does not appear to have been saved.

Don’s Rail Photos says that North Shore Line car 231 “was built by Cincinnati in May 1924, #2720, as a merchandise despatch car. It was rebuilt as a plow in 1949.” That’s the configuration we see it in here. It does not appear to have been saved.

This interesting scene shows North Shore Line car 413 (and train) turning off street running on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette on the Shore Line Route, which uit in 1955. The building at right is still standing.

This interesting scene shows North Shore Line car 413 (and train) turning off street running on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette on the Shore Line Route, which uit in 1955. The building at right is still standing.

The same location today. We are looking east. North Shore Line cars turned into what is now the parking lot at left, before running north parallel to the Chicago & North Western tracks.

The same location today. We are looking east. North Shore Line cars turned into what is now the parking lot at left, before running north parallel to the Chicago & North Western tracks.

Lehigh Valley Transit 812 is shown running a special at Souderton PA on May 14, 1951. Service on the Liberty Bell interurban ended in September 1951, and unfortunately, this car was not saved.

Lehigh Valley Transit 812 is shown running a special at Souderton PA on May 14, 1951. Service on the Liberty Bell interurban ended in September 1951, and unfortunately, this car was not saved.

Baltimore Transit Company "Peter Witt" car 6076 is on Route 8 on Fayette. Don's Rail Photos adds, "6051 thru 6100 were built by Cincinnati in 1930 and retired in 1955." I thought of this since the body of a similar 1930s Peter Witt car from Indianapolis was being stored at the ill-fated Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville. Hopefully, it can be saved. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Baltimore Transit Company “Peter Witt” car 6076 is on Route 8 on Fayette. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “6051 thru 6100 were built by Cincinnati in 1930 and retired in 1955.” I thought of this since the body of a similar 1930s Peter Witt car from Indianapolis was being stored at the ill-fated Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville. Hopefully, it can be saved. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 at the Wheaton Yards on July 8, 1955. Don's Rail Photos: "301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940." As part of this modernization, the car's stained glass windows were covered up. Unfortunately, this car was not saved.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin wood car 301 at the Wheaton Yards on July 8, 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “301 was built by Niles Car & Mfg Co in 1906. It was modernized in December 1940.” As part of this modernization, the car’s stained glass windows were covered up. Unfortunately, this car was not saved.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 138 at Laramie Yards on May 17, 1948. Don's Rail Photos: "138 was built by American Car Co in March 1910, #844, as C&ME 138. It was rebuilt in 1914 and no retired date." Starting in 1936, the CA&E leased several wood cars from the North Shore Line, including this one. They were returned to the NSL in 1945 and operated there briefly before being purchased by CA&E the following year. These cars were no longer needed after the September 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park and were scrapped. I believe we are looking to the west. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 138 at Laramie Yards on May 17, 1948. Don’s Rail Photos: “138 was built by American Car Co in March 1910, #844, as C&ME 138. It was rebuilt in 1914 and no retired date.” Starting in 1936, the CA&E leased several wood cars from the North Shore Line, including this one. They were returned to the NSL in 1945 and operated there briefly before being purchased by CA&E the following year. These cars were no longer needed after the September 1953 cutback in service to Forest Park and were scrapped. I believe we are looking to the west. (Richard J. Anderson Photo)

This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series "L" cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, "Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station. Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don't recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo. When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html . Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no "married pairs" of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings. Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.) And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant "proceed". One ding meant "hold". The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman's compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station."

This three-car train of Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series “L” cars is signed as a Howard Street Express in June 1949. (L. L. Bonney Photo) Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Methinks this photo was taken looking west at the Indiana Av. (at 40th St.) station.
Because the train destination sign says Howard Express, the location has to be on the main north/south line. (Plus, this train had to originate on the Jackson Park branch, because Englewood trains at that time ran to Ravenswood.) Also, I don’t recall any other three-track main anywhere else on the north/south line. Also, Indiana Ave. had the overhead walkway to get to and from the Stock Yards L, which terminated to the left of the left-hand platform in the photo.
When this photo was taken, the Kenwood L ran as through service from 42nd Place, through Indiana Ave., up to Wilson Ave. Later in 1949, the Kenwood service was cut back to a shuttle ending at Indiana Ave. The inbound station platform was extended over the northernmost track, then mainline north/south service used the middle track heading downtown. A fuller explanation is at
https://www.chicago-l.org/operations/lines/kenwood.html .
Also of interest is that this photo shows a three-car train. Before the advent of new equipment in 1950 there were no “married pairs” of cars. Trains could be as small as a single car, which I recall seeing on the Englewood branch on Sunday mornings.
Plus, the three-car train shown in the photo would have had two conductors whose job was to open the passenger entry doors (which were on the sides, at the ends of the cars) using controls situated between the cars. So conductor #1 operated the doors at the rear of car 1 and the front of car 2. Conductor #2 operated the doors at the rear of car 2 and the front of car 3. Side doors at the front of car 1 and the rear of car 3 were not used by passengers. To operate his side doors, a conductor had to stand between the cars. (Yes, in any weather.)
And the conductors had to notify the motorman when to proceed. To do this, the conductors had to observe when there was no more boarding or alighting at their doors. They used a bell system to notify the motorman. Two dings meant “proceed”. One ding meant “hold”. The rearmost conductor started with his bell, then the next rearmost, etc., until two dings rang in the motorman’s compartment, his signal to go. The longer the train, the longer it took to leave the station.”

The late photographer Robert Selle writes, "CTA one-man car 6180 turning north onto State Street from 43rd Street (43rd Street line), August 1, 1953."

The late photographer Robert Selle writes, “CTA one-man car 6180 turning north onto State Street from 43rd Street (43rd Street line), August 1, 1953.”

The Chicago Surface Lines decorated several of its streetcars for patriotic purposes during World War II, but here we see 1741 postwar on March 19, 1946, promoting the American Red Cross. I believe this southbound Broadway-State car is operating on Wabash just north of the Chicago River, as the new State Street bridge did not open until 1949.

The Chicago Surface Lines decorated several of its streetcars for patriotic purposes during World War II, but here we see 1741 postwar on March 19, 1946, promoting the American Red Cross. I believe this southbound Broadway-State car is operating on Wabash just north of the Chicago River, as the new State Street bridge did not open until 1949.

Bob Selle: "CTA car 115 northbound on Kedzie Street line at 35th and Kedzie, July 23, 1953." Daniel Joseph adds, "I do not believe this photo is at Kedzie & 35th Street. 35th Street never went to Kedzie and 36th Street had street car tracks."

Bob Selle: “CTA car 115 northbound on Kedzie Street line at 35th and Kedzie, July 23, 1953.” Daniel Joseph adds, “I do not believe this photo is at Kedzie & 35th Street. 35th Street never went to Kedzie and 36th Street had street car tracks.”

Philadelphia Transportation Company 2023 was one of only three "Brilliners" in its fleet. Don's Rail Photos: '2023 was built by Brill Car Co in April 1939, #23763-006. It was scrapped in August 1956." Presumably PTC did not purchase any additional Brilliners, as it considered them inferior in some ways to PCC cars. Here we see 2023 at an unknown location on July 23, 1950. Jeff Wien adds, "The Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, predecessor to PTC, purchased three Brilliners (2021-2023) in 1939. Thus, PRT/PTC owned more than one Brilliner. Brilliner 2021-2023 3 Brill *1939 **1956 GE 1198G1 * Date Acquired **Date Retired They were unpopular with operators because they were not PCC cars and there were only 3 of them in the fleet. They looked like PCC cars to the naked eye, which the riding public probably assumed they were."

Philadelphia Transportation Company 2023 was one of only three “Brilliners” in its fleet. Don’s Rail Photos: ‘2023 was built by Brill Car Co in April 1939, #23763-006. It was scrapped in August 1956.” Presumably PTC did not purchase any additional Brilliners, as it considered them inferior in some ways to PCC cars. Here we see 2023 at an unknown location on July 23, 1950. Jeff Wien adds, “The Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, predecessor to PTC, purchased three Brilliners (2021-2023) in 1939. Thus, PRT/PTC owned more than one Brilliner.
Brilliner 2021-2023 3 Brill *1939 **1956 GE 1198G1
* Date Acquired **Date Retired
They were unpopular with operators because they were not PCC cars and there were only 3 of them in the fleet. They looked like PCC cars to the naked eye, which the riding public probably assumed they were.”

California Street Cable RR car 41 is on Hyde Street at Union Street in San Francisco in 1947. (W. Sievert Photo)

California Street Cable RR car 41 is on Hyde Street at Union Street in San Francisco in 1947. (W. Sievert Photo)

Recent Correspondence


Miles Beitler writes:

I have seen the attached photo in various sites on the internet. The photo shows a Lake Street train which apparently failed to stop at the Market Street terminal at Madison Street and ran through the bumper at the end of the line, derailing the first car which hangs over the edge of the structure. I thought the purpose of the bumper was to prevent a train from running beyond the end of the line, but it apparently didn’t work too well in this case.

The date would appear to be the late 1930s or 1940s (pre-CTA), but I have not found any information or newspaper articles describing what happened. I assume that means there were no deaths or injuries. It could even have been an empty train. Do you have any information about this?

I continue to enjoy your blog — keep it up!

I reached out to Andre Kristopans, who replied:

Not seeing the photo in question makes it harder, but this is what I can say. In wood car days, a wood car could take a pretty bad hit and survive to see service again. CRT was so broke that they were forced to fix anything that wasn’t totally destroyed as they could not afford to replace anything. That said, this is a possible list of candidates it the car in question was totaled:

3055 (trailer) 1929
1732 1944

Other early retirements are all shown as “fire”, so not likely. However, there were about a dozen cars that CTA retired in 1948 which were apparently in wrecked or burned condition before 10/1/47 but still on the books that were simply written off without any actual scrapping dates recorded. Lake St cars on this list were trailers trailers, so not likely.

As far as Market St service, it was thought that three AM trains circled the loop and then backed into Market St. This is not correct. Three trains left Austin at 656, 709, 727AM making all stops to Hamlin, then Oakley and all stops to Madison/Market and laid up. There might have been additional layups coming off the loop, however. Then they left between 507 and 613PM (6.5 to 12 min headway, so more than three trains) making all stops to Oakley, then Hamlin and all stops to Forest Park.

Sorry, I thought the photo would come across. At any rate, it does look like a trailer, and the number is 3053, although it desn’t appear to be wrecked, really.

The picture certainly does look like the 1940s, though.

Thanks.

Andre replied:

Well, this explains a lot. 3053 lasted until 4/51, so it certainly survived. Also, it was not a control trailer, so the motorman was at the other end of the train, backing in, and overshot his stopping point.

Pittsburgh Mystery Photo

Jeff Wien recently obtained this photo processed in September 1965, but without any other information, noting, “The photo was taken after route 55 was converted to motor bus, so it is not route 55 streetcars that we see in the photo.”

Jeff contacted James B. Holland, who writes:

It is at the Flood Control Barrier (one can see track goes single immediately right of PCCs) on the 55 line and within ‘eye+sight’ of E. Pittsburgh, except for the curve in the road!!! It is worked by an extended 65-line: Lincoln Place (loop on 56) to Homestead Loop on 8th. The 65-line loop in Homestead (also shared by former 60-line shuttle to East Liberty) was just west of Rankin Bridge. The 55-line shared track with 65 thru Homestead on 8th between Amity and 60/65 Loop and beyond to Rankin Bridge which 55 crossed to East Pittsburgh. Thus, with demise of 55, the 65 was extended from Homestead to E. Pittsburgh for ‘some time.’ The 60/65 line loop in Homestead was used by the 55A, a rush Hour tripper To/From downtown Pittsburgh.

The Carlson PCC book Coast To Coast lists both 65 and 55 as ending on the same date, 5 September 1965. A note in the table (Pgs168-169) indicates: “[55] Hays to Pittsburgh (including 57) abandoned 04 Jul 1964 balance [worked by extended 65 abandoned] by PAT modernization on [09 Sep] 1965.” Thus It Seems the 65 line was extended for 1 year plus two months. Many are not aware of this. I have pictures distinctly signed 65 also distinctly working the 55.

With Glenwood Car House closed in 1961 and routes operated from South Hills, several years before PAT, and with Glenwood Bridge banned to trolleys, 65 line left South Hills and probably used Forbes and Braddock to Rankin Jct and ‘to extended route’ from there. (Interesting to note: 55 Owl terminal was Rankin Bridge, at least post-rebuild.)

I do not know if the extended 65 used the old dedicated loop in East Pittsburgh which was not quite in “downtown E. Pittsburgh”. The 65 line may have looped in E. Pittsburgh proper on Braddock to Electric, Linden, Beech and Braddock.

In case any of our readers have additional information, Jeff is still trying to find out the name of the steel mill shown in the photo. (Editor’s note: John Suhayda adds, “The Pittsburgh Mystery Photo shows the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in Braddock, east of Pittsburgh, along the Monongahela River.”)

Richard Wilke
writes:

What a wonderful website! Thank you for all the information I was able locate about the CA&E! I am looking for any photo of the last stop at Mannheim & 22nd Street on the Westchester branch. My uncle lived in Wheaton on Electric Avenue. He somehow acquired the station signage from that last stop, and I have yet to confirm that the sign that I now have, as being from that end of line stop! Is there someone in your organization that might be able to confirm its existence with a picture of said sign? It’s a 14″ x 7′, deep blue with white block lettering, reading, MANNHEIM-22nd. Would appreciate any information to find its true history!

I found a picture of that station on Graham Garfield’s excellent web site. It is dated 1951, which was when service ended, and although it is not very sharp, you can see two signs.  The photo is credited to Bernard L. Stone:

On the other hand, Mitch Markovitz writes:

I saw the photo of the sign that reads “MANNHEIM 22nd STREET” in the latest Dodger. I don’t think it’s authentic at all. The type is way too contemporary, and doesn’t match anything else the “L” did as far as signs. Including the photos with the two signs at the platform. The blue is way too light as well.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

Finally, Jack Bejna writes:

Thanks for the kind comments and the forum to share my photographic efforts with the interurban/streetcar community. It’s nice to know that someday when I’m gone my collection will have been shared with the electric railroad enthusiasts that remain.

There are more Detroit United Railway photos to be posted as well as photographs from the Michigan interurbans that vanished long ago so stay tuned to this great blog!

Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

Building Chicago’s Subways will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

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

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

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