A Shoebox Full of Dreams

A two-car train of PCCs near North Station in Boston August 31, 1976. The nearby Boston Garden has since been torn down and rebuilt.

A two-car train of PCCs near North Station in Boston August 31, 1976. The nearby Boston Garden has since been torn down and rebuilt.

One of my brothers called me recently from a garage sale, and asked if I had any interest in a shoebox full of train pictures. The cost was just $10. I figured it would have to be worth at least that much, so I said sure.

I went through the box when I got it, and discovered most of the pictures were faded color snapshots from the 1970s, probably taken with a Kodak Instamatic camera on size 126 film. Worse yet, nearly all the pictures have a textured surface.

However, it sure seems the photographer got around. He visited train museums all over the country. He went on steam train excursions. He took pictures of streetcars.

Eventually, I figured out who he was– Marvin C. Kruse.

Although, in looking up information on Mr. Kruse, I somehow got the mistaken idea he was deceased, his son wrote to me (see the Comments section below) and informs us that he is alive and well, aged 96! In fact, he has seen this post and enjoyed it. Nothing could make me happier.

When someone dies, or has to downsize, it is often up to their loved ones to go through their things and decide what to do with them. This can be a very traumatic process, for you feel as if you are dismantling someone’s life, piece by piece. And yet that is the way of the world, for life goes on. People’s belongings are often scattered to the four winds.

I decided to give an extra special effort to restore some of Mr. Kruse’s photos for the railfan community, to honor his efforts, and the sacrifices he made. I hope you like the results. They are mementos of someone’s life, from someone who should not be so easily forgotten.

-David Sadowski

PS- By the time you read this, we will have received a substantial shipment of our new book Chicago Trolleys (see below). It should only take us a short time to mail out books to all who have pre-ordered them, plus complementary copies for important contributors. We thank you all for your support. The book was completed on time and is now available for immediate shipment.

Picture caption: "1947 snow (2 ft.). This taken off Monongahela tracks just below our house. B&O yards across river."

Picture caption: “1947 snow (2 ft.). This taken off Monongahela tracks just below our house. B&O yards across river.”

Winter 1947-48. "Same as other, only vertical. Big building, left foreground, is Interstate Construction & Engineers... build coal tipples."

Winter 1947-48. “Same as other, only vertical. Big building, left foreground, is Interstate Construction & Engineers… build coal tipples.”

Photo caption: "New Have R. R. diesel passing Providence, RI engine house 12/21/47 with New York-bound train."

Photo caption: “New Have R. R. diesel passing Providence, RI engine house 12/21/47 with New York-bound train.”

A photo stop on a steam excursion, May 1961.

A photo stop on a steam excursion, May 1961.

South Shore Line "Little Joe" 801 in October 1960.

South Shore Line “Little Joe” 801 in October 1960.

South Shore Line electric locos 703 and 704 in October 1960.

South Shore Line electric locos 703 and 704 in October 1960.

This looks like Chicago Surface Lines red Pullman 144 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum (North Chicago) in June 1961.

This looks like Chicago Surface Lines red Pullman 144 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum (North Chicago) in June 1961.

Another scene from IERM in July 1961. At left is Milwaukee streetcar 966, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1927. At right is ex-CTA/CSL sweeper E223, which was purchased for the museum by Dick Lukin in 1956.

Another scene from IERM in July 1961. At left is Milwaukee streetcar 966, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1927. At right is ex-CTA/CSL sweeper E223, which was purchased for the museum by Dick Lukin in 1956.

Two 900-series South Shore Line freight locos in October 1960.

Two 900-series South Shore Line freight locos in October 1960.

Always remember...never step on any rails. Right? (Photo stop bedlam, September 1958.)

Always remember…never step on any rails. Right? (Photo stop bedlam, September 1958.)

If you've ever tried taking a picture at a photo stop on a fantrip, this is what happens. Invariably, someone runs right in front of you, oblivious to the fact you are trying to take a picture.

If you’ve ever tried taking a picture at a photo stop on a fantrip, this is what happens. Invariably, someone runs right in front of you, oblivious to the fact you are trying to take a picture.

People used to climb on just about anything, in their quest to take a picture.

People used to climb on just about anything, in their quest to take a picture.

This is the view from an engine cab... which makes sense, if you think about it, as the engine in front of you is massive.

This is the view from an engine cab… which makes sense, if you think about it, as the engine in front of you is massive.

I think what we are seeing here is new commuter rail bi-levels on display, probably the Milwaukee Road, in July 1961. The sign at left says, "Entrance," implying that they wanted you to walk through the cars in one direction only. At right are some vehicles from the Railway Express Agency (REA), which delivered small packages via the railway system between 1917 and the late 1960s. It was a national monopoly formed by the federal government during the First World War.

I think what we are seeing here is new commuter rail bi-levels on display, probably the Milwaukee Road, in July 1961. The sign at left says, “Entrance,” implying that they wanted you to walk through the cars in one direction only. At right are some vehicles from the Railway Express Agency (REA), which delivered small packages via the railway system between 1917 and the late 1960s. It was a national monopoly formed by the federal government during the First World War.

A Milwaukee Road commuter train in July 1961. This is about the time the railroad began introducing bi-levels, which the Chicago & North Western had been using for some years. I'd bet this is the same scene as in the previous picture, but from the other end. The train is on display at a station.

A Milwaukee Road commuter train in July 1961. This is about the time the railroad began introducing bi-levels, which the Chicago & North Western had been using for some years. I’d bet this is the same scene as in the previous picture, but from the other end. The train is on display at a station.

There wasn't much I could do about the scratches on this picture, but how often have you witnessed a steam locomotive on a turntable? (November 1958)

There wasn’t much I could do about the scratches on this picture, but how often have you witnessed a steam locomotive on a turntable? (November 1958)

Not sure of the location, but it's June 1958, and steam is still active here.

Not sure of the location, but it’s June 1958, and steam is still active here.

Several steam locos are on this property in June 1958, wherever it was.

Several steam locos are on this property in June 1958, wherever it was.

One thing about steam... as the song goes, smoke gets in your eyes. Note the small twin-lens reflex camera this shutterbug is holding. Perhaps a grey "Baby" Rolleiflex, which took size 127 film? (On the other hand, Carl Lantz thinks thinks he's holding a movie camera.)

One thing about steam… as the song goes, smoke gets in your eyes. Note the small twin-lens reflex camera this shutterbug is holding. Perhaps a grey “Baby” Rolleiflex, which took size 127 film? (On the other hand, Carl Lantz thinks thinks he’s holding a movie camera.)

More steam fantrip action.

More steam fantrip action.

There were many such excursions in the waning days of steam (late 1950s to early 1960s).

There were many such excursions in the waning days of steam (late 1950s to early 1960s).

Evidence of a Toronto trip in June 1959. This may be part of a PCC car.

Evidence of a Toronto trip in June 1959. This may be part of a PCC car.

The Mt. Washington Cog Railway still operates.

The Mt. Washington Cog Railway still operates.

CTA 6000s in Forest Park , December 22, 1976.

CTA 6000s in Forest Park , December 22, 1976.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue yard in Forest Park, December 22, 1976. This was the 1959 configuration that was in use until the station was rebuilt circa 1980.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue yard in Forest Park, December 22, 1976. This was the 1959 configuration that was in use until the station was rebuilt circa 1980.

CTA 6000s interior, December 22, 1976.

CTA 6000s interior, December 22, 1976.

Central City, Colorado, August 15, 1977.

Central City, Colorado, August 15, 1977.

What was a PCC doing in Golden, Colorado on July 8, 1976.

What was a PCC doing in Golden, Colorado on July 8, 1976.

My previous post did not mention the ill-fated Boston LRVs. But here is one of their SF Muni counterparts, being tested by the DOT at Pueblo on July 7, 1976.

My previous post did not mention the ill-fated Boston LRVs. But here is one of their SF Muni counterparts, being tested by the DOT at Pueblo on July 7, 1976.

North Shore Line car 160 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the mid-1970s.

North Shore Line car 160 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the mid-1970s.

Chicago red Pullman 144 at IRM, 1970s.

Chicago red Pullman 144 at IRM, 1970s.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 431 at IRM, August 8, 1976.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 431 at IRM, August 8, 1976.

Chicago postwar PCC 4391 at IRM in September 1975.

Chicago postwar PCC 4391 at IRM in September 1975.

Chicago postwar PCC 4391 at IRM in September 1975.

Chicago postwar PCC 4391 at IRM in September 1975.

San Francisco cable car 16(?) on May 27, 1974.

San Francisco cable car 16(?) on May 27, 1974.

Los Angeles streetcar 665 at Perris, California.

Los Angeles streetcar 665 at Perris, California.

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at IRM in September 1975.

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at IRM in September 1975.

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at IRM in September 1975.

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at IRM in September 1975.

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at IRM on August 8, 1976.

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at IRM on August 8, 1976.

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at IRM on August 8, 1976.

North Shore Line city streetcar 354 at IRM on August 8, 1976.

SF cable car 4 on May 27, 1974.

SF cable car 4 on May 27, 1974.

SF cable car 4 on May 27, 1974.

SF cable car 4 on May 27, 1974.

BART on May 27, 1974.

BART on May 27, 1974.

When did they stop letting the passengers turn cable cars around in San Francisco? They were still doing it on May 27, 1974.

When did they stop letting the passengers turn cable cars around in San Francisco? They were still doing it on May 27, 1974.

BART at Balboa Park on May 27, 1974.

BART at Balboa Park on May 27, 1974.

BART at Balboa Park on May 27, 1974.

BART at Balboa Park on May 27, 1974.

An SF Muni PCC on Market Street, May 27, 1974.

An SF Muni PCC on Market Street, May 27, 1974.

An SF Muni PCC on Market Street, May 27, 1974.

An SF Muni PCC on Market Street, May 27, 1974.

An SF Muni trolley bus on Market Street, May 27, 1974. Looks like construction may already have been underway on the Muni Metro subway.

An SF Muni trolley bus on Market Street, May 27, 1974. Looks like construction may already have been underway on the Muni Metro subway.

An SF Muni PCC on Market Street, May 27, 1974.

An SF Muni PCC on Market Street, May 27, 1974.

An SF Muni PCC on Market Street, May 27, 1974.

An SF Muni PCC on Market Street, May 27, 1974.

Don's Rail Photos: "717 was built by Brill Co in 1925. It was rebuilt in 1939 and rebuilt in 1951 as 5167. It became LAMTA 1815 in 1958, It was retired and restored as717 at OERM in March 1960." Here, we see it at Orange Empire on May 31, 1974. Was it ever used in service with this color scheme?

Don’s Rail Photos: “717 was built by Brill Co in 1925. It was rebuilt in 1939 and rebuilt in 1951 as 5167. It became LAMTA 1815 in 1958, It was retired and restored as717 at OERM in March 1960.” Here, we see it at Orange Empire on May 31, 1974. Was it ever used in service with this color scheme?

I'm wondering if the streetcar at right is Key System 987. The steam loco is Western Pacific 334, a 2-8-2 built in 1929 by American Locomotive. We see both at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1972.

I’m wondering if the streetcar at right is Key System 987. The steam loco is Western Pacific 334, a 2-8-2 built in 1929 by American Locomotive. We see both at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1972.

A Toronto Peter Witt at Trolleyville USA, Olmstead Falls, Ohio, on August 23, 1975.

A Toronto Peter Witt at Trolleyville USA, Olmstead Falls, Ohio, on August 23, 1975.

A Toronto Peter Witt at Trolleyville USA, Olmstead Falls, Ohio, on August 23, 1975.

A Toronto Peter Witt at Trolleyville USA, Olmstead Falls, Ohio, on August 23, 1975.

I assume this is probably an ex-PE car at the Orange Empire Railway Museum on May 31, 1974.

I assume this is probably an ex-PE car at the Orange Empire Railway Museum on May 31, 1974.

A Los Angeles streetcar at OERM, Perris, California on July 6, 1976.

A Los Angeles streetcar at OERM, Perris, California on July 6, 1976.

Here, we see Brooklyn car 4573 at the Branford Trolley Museum. It was built by the Laconia Car Company in 1906 and was acquired by the museum on 1947. Here is how it looked on August 31, 1976.

Here, we see Brooklyn car 4573 at the Branford Trolley Museum. It was built by the Laconia Car Company in 1906 and was acquired by the museum on 1947. Here is how it looked on August 31, 1976.

Marvin C. Kruse on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California on May 24, 1974.

Marvin C. Kruse on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California on May 24, 1974.

Marvin C. Kruse at the Andrews Raiders Memorial in the Chattanooga Military Cemetery on October 23, 1907. According to Find-a-Grave: :"Memorial erected by the State of Ohio to the Andrews Raiders. In early April, 1862, a band of Union soldiers lead by civilian James Andrews infiltrated south from the Union lines near Shelbyville, Tennessee and met at Big Shanty, Georgia (near Marietta). On the morning of April 12, 1862, 20 of them (2 raiders never arrived and 2 others overslept and missed the adventure) stole the passenger train "The General" during its morning breakfast stop. With the farms and factories of Georgia supplying the Confederate Army fighting further west, the Raiders' mission was to burn the railroad bridges between Atlanta and Chattanooga, thus isolating the Confederate Armies from their supply sources and enabling the Union Army to seize Chattanooga. Due primarily to the persistency of William Fuller, conductor of the stolen train, and, secondarily to the rainy weather and unlucky miscoordination with the Union Army to the west, the Raiders failed. All 22 at Big Shanty that morning were captured. Eight, including James Andrews, were tried and hanged by the Confederate Army in Atlanta. In 1866, after the war, they were reburied in a semi-circle at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. On the imposing granite monument, erected in 1891, are the names of 22 of the raiders. The memorial is topped by a bronze likeness of the "General"." This story inspired the classic 1927 Buster Keaton film The General.

Marvin C. Kruse at the Andrews Raiders Memorial in the Chattanooga Military Cemetery on October 23, 1907. According to Find-a-Grave: :”Memorial erected by the State of Ohio to the Andrews Raiders. In early April, 1862, a band of Union soldiers lead by civilian James Andrews infiltrated south from the Union lines near Shelbyville, Tennessee and met at Big Shanty, Georgia (near Marietta). On the morning of April 12, 1862, 20 of them (2 raiders never arrived and 2 others overslept and missed the adventure) stole the passenger train “The General” during its morning breakfast stop. With the farms and factories of Georgia supplying the Confederate Army fighting further west, the Raiders’ mission was to burn the railroad bridges between Atlanta and Chattanooga, thus isolating the Confederate Armies from their supply sources and enabling the Union Army to seize Chattanooga. Due primarily to the persistency of William Fuller, conductor of the stolen train, and, secondarily to the rainy weather and unlucky miscoordination with the Union Army to the west, the Raiders failed. All 22 at Big Shanty that morning were captured. Eight, including James Andrews, were tried and hanged by the Confederate Army in Atlanta. In 1866, after the war, they were reburied in a semi-circle at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. On the imposing granite monument, erected in 1891, are the names of 22 of the raiders. The memorial is topped by a bronze likeness of the “General”.” This story inspired the classic 1927 Buster Keaton film The General.

Philadelphia PCC 2278, in bicentennial garb, on Route 53, September 2, 1976.

Philadelphia PCC 2278, in bicentennial garb, on Route 53, September 2, 1976.

SEPTA Red Arrow cars at 69th Street Terminal on September 2, 1976.

SEPTA Red Arrow cars at 69th Street Terminal on September 2, 1976.

An Amtrak GG-1 in Baltimore on August 31, 1977.

An Amtrak GG-1 in Baltimore on August 31, 1977.

This is not a very good picture, but it does show a Liberty Liner (ex-North Shore Line Electroliner) on September 2, 1976.

This is not a very good picture, but it does show a Liberty Liner (ex-North Shore Line Electroliner) on September 2, 1976.

SEPTA Red Arrow car 13, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1949, as it looked on September 2, 1976.

SEPTA Red Arrow car 13, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1949, as it looked on September 2, 1976.

Red Arrow car 18, also built in 1949. These double-ended interurban cars closely resembled PCCs but did not use PCC trucks.

Red Arrow car 18, also built in 1949. These double-ended interurban cars closely resembled PCCs but did not use PCC trucks.

A Washington, D.C. subway car at the Rhode Island Avenue station on September 1, 1977.

A Washington, D.C. subway car at the Rhode Island Avenue station on September 1, 1977.

A PCC car at the Roanoke, Virginia Transportation Museum on August 27, 1975.

A PCC car at the Roanoke, Virginia Transportation Museum on August 27, 1975.

A PCC car at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke on August 27, 1975. This is DC Transit 1470, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945.

A PCC car at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke on August 27, 1975. This is DC Transit 1470, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945.

J. G. Brill built car 249 for Oporto, Portugal in 1904 and features maximum traction trucks. It was retired in 1972 and is shown at the Rockhill Trolley Museum on August 24, 1975.

J. G. Brill built car 249 for Oporto, Portugal in 1904 and features maximum traction trucks. It was retired in 1972 and is shown at the Rockhill Trolley Museum on August 24, 1975.

A Washington, D.C. subway car at the Rhode Island Avenue station on September 1, 1977.

A Washington, D.C. subway car at the Rhode Island Avenue station on September 1, 1977.

A Washington, D.C. subway car at the Rhode Island Avenue station on September 1, 1977.

A Washington, D.C. subway car at the Rhode Island Avenue station on September 1, 1977.

A PCC car at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke on August 27, 1975. This is DC Transit 1470, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945.

A PCC car at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke on August 27, 1975. This is DC Transit 1470, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945.

This is Sacramento Northern 62, a Birney car built in 1920 by American Car Company. We see it here at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1974.

This is Sacramento Northern 62, a Birney car built in 1920 by American Car Company. We see it here at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1974.

San Francisco Municipal Railway "Magic Carpet" carr 1003 was one of five experimental double-end cars built in 1939 by the St. Louis Car Company. This lone survivor is seen at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1974.

San Francisco Municipal Railway “Magic Carpet” carr 1003 was one of five experimental double-end cars built in 1939 by the St. Louis Car Company. This lone survivor is seen at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1974.

At left, we see Muni car 178, and next to it is "Magic Carpet" car 1003, at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1974.

At left, we see Muni car 178, and next to it is “Magic Carpet” car 1003, at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1974.

This open car was built by Brill in 1912 and was used in Rio De Janeiro. It's shown at the Rockhill Trolley Museum on August 24, 1975.

This open car was built by Brill in 1912 and was used in Rio De Janeiro. It’s shown at the Rockhill Trolley Museum on August 24, 1975.

This looks like a Sacramento Northern electric freight loco (Western Railway Museum, May 26, 1974).

This looks like a Sacramento Northern electric freight loco (Western Railway Museum, May 26, 1974).

This San Francisco cable car was on display at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on May 26, 1973. Many children played on this car over the years. It was originally a California Street car using a side grip and was not updated when Muni took over the line. I read that in 2005 it was in storage, listed as being in poor condition with a broken frame. I am not sure if it still exists.

This San Francisco cable car was on display at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on May 26, 1973. Many children played on this car over the years. It was originally a California Street car using a side grip and was not updated when Muni took over the line. I read that in 2005 it was in storage, listed as being in poor condition with a broken frame. I am not sure if it still exists.

This equipment is at the Travel Town Museum at Griffith Park in Los Angeles on August 26, 1977.

This equipment is at the Travel Town Museum at Griffith Park in Los Angeles on August 26, 1977.

A Los Angeles streetcar and a Pacific electric "Blimp" interurban at Griffith Park on July 5, 1977.

A Los Angeles streetcar and a Pacific electric “Blimp” interurban at Griffith Park on July 5, 1977.

In the distance, we see a pair of Key System bridge units at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1974. These ran in Oakland over the bay Bridge, and were retired in 1958.

In the distance, we see a pair of Key System bridge units at the Western Railway Museum on May 26, 1974. These ran in Oakland over the bay Bridge, and were retired in 1958.

Toronto PCC 4394 on October 25, 1973.

Toronto PCC 4394 on October 25, 1973.

North Shore Line car 757 at East Troy, Wisconsin on June 23, 1974. This car has since gone to the Illinois Railway Museum.

North Shore Line car 757 at East Troy, Wisconsin on June 23, 1974. This car has since gone to the Illinois Railway Museum.

The East Troy Trolley Museum, June 23, 1974.

The East Troy Trolley Museum, June 23, 1974.

A Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series "L" car in Louisville, Kentucky on June 3, 1974.

A Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series “L” car in Louisville, Kentucky on June 3, 1974.

A pair of 700-series South Shore Line freight locos at the Gary, Indiana station in 1974.

A pair of 700-series South Shore Line freight locos at the Gary, Indiana station in 1974.

Chattanooga, Tennessee on June 2, 1974.

Chattanooga, Tennessee on June 2, 1974.

A New Orleans streetcar at Union Station in Chattanooga, June 2, 1974.

A New Orleans streetcar at Union Station in Chattanooga, June 2, 1974.

A New Orleans streetcar at Union Station in Chattanooga, June 2, 1974.

A New Orleans streetcar at Union Station in Chattanooga, June 2, 1974.

A pair of 700-series South Shore Line freight locos at the Gary, Indiana station in 1974.

A pair of 700-series South Shore Line freight locos at the Gary, Indiana station in 1974.

Steam at Union, Illinois, August 8, 1976.

Steam at Union, Illinois, August 8, 1976.

The Burlington Zephyr at IRM, 1976.

The Burlington Zephyr at IRM, 1976.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

South Shore Line cars in storage at Michigan City, Indiana on July 17, 1977.

South Shore Line cars in storage at Michigan City, Indiana on July 17, 1977.

A "Little Joe" in Michigan City, July 17, 1977.

A “Little Joe” in Michigan City, July 17, 1977.

Illinois Terminal cars at IRM, July 1977.

Illinois Terminal cars at IRM, July 1977.

IRM, June 23, 1974.

IRM, June 23, 1974.

IRM, June 23, 1974.

IRM, June 23, 1974.

Illinois Terminal cars at IRM, June 23, 1974.

Illinois Terminal cars at IRM, June 23, 1974.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, September 1975.

IRM, September 1975.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, August 8, 1976.

IRM, September 1975.

IRM, September 1975.

Recent Finds

Boston MTA 3292, signed for Braves Field, is on a double-track loop with the ball park at the right. The Boston Braves played there last game here on September 21, 1952 (exactly 65 years ago today), after which the team was moved to Milwaukee. Following the 1965 season, they became the Atlanta Braves. A portion of Braves Field still exists as part of Boston College's Nickerson Field. We discussed streetcar service to Braves Field in our previous post More Mystery Photos (July 29, 2016).

Boston MTA 3292, signed for Braves Field, is on a double-track loop with the ball park at the right. The Boston Braves played there last game here on September 21, 1952 (exactly 65 years ago today), after which the team was moved to Milwaukee. Following the 1965 season, they became the Atlanta Braves. A portion of Braves Field still exists as part of Boston College’s Nickerson Field. We discussed streetcar service to Braves Field in our previous post More Mystery Photos (July 29, 2016).

Hammond, Whiting & East Chicago car 67 was built by American Car in 1917 and was converted to one-man operation in 1932. Streetcar service ended in 1940. Notice how similar this car is to some operated by the Chicago Surface Lines. For much of its history, the HW&EC was run by the Calumet & South Chicago Railway, which became part of CSL in 1914.

Hammond, Whiting & East Chicago car 67 was built by American Car in 1917 and was converted to one-man operation in 1932. Streetcar service ended in 1940. Notice how similar this car is to some operated by the Chicago Surface Lines. For much of its history, the HW&EC was run by the Calumet & South Chicago Railway, which became part of CSL in 1914.

Chicago Surface Lines crane X-3 at Dearborn and Washington in 1942. Tracks were being put back in the street after construction of the Dearborn Subway, which was 80% completed when work stopped due to wartime materials shortages. The subway did not open until 1951.

Chicago Surface Lines crane X-3 at Dearborn and Washington in 1942. Tracks were being put back in the street after construction of the Dearborn Subway, which was 80% completed when work stopped due to wartime materials shortages. The subway did not open until 1951.

New Castle (Pennsylvania) Electric Street Railway "Birney" car 363 at Cascade Park loop on August 24, 1941. Streetcar service was abandoned on December 11th of that year. This car was formerly Penn-Ohio Power & Light 363 and was painted orange. (John A. Clark Photo)

New Castle (Pennsylvania) Electric Street Railway “Birney” car 363 at Cascade Park loop on August 24, 1941. Streetcar service was abandoned on December 11th of that year. This car was formerly Penn-Ohio Power & Light 363 and was painted orange. (John A. Clark Photo)

New Castle (Pennsylvania) Electric Street Railway "Birney" car 359 at Cascade Park loop on August 24, 1941. This car was ex=Penn-Ohio Power and Light 359, and was painted orange and cream. (John A. Clark Photo)

New Castle (Pennsylvania) Electric Street Railway “Birney” car 359 at Cascade Park loop on August 24, 1941. This car was ex=Penn-Ohio Power and Light 359, and was painted orange and cream. (John A. Clark Photo)

This odd, boxy streetcar is Black River Traction car #1 in Watertown, New York. This was a 1906 product of the Barber Car Co. Some consider this an ugly design, but apparently these cars were well-built. Apparently this line abandoned streetcar service on August 17, 1937, but this negative is dated June 20, 1938. The sign on the side of the car doesn't really solve this mystery-- there were two championship heavyweight bouts between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, and these took place on June 19, 1936 and June 22, 1938. For more information on the Barber Car Company, click here.

This odd, boxy streetcar is Black River Traction car #1 in Watertown, New York. This was a 1906 product of the Barber Car Co. Some consider this an ugly design, but apparently these cars were well-built. Apparently this line abandoned streetcar service on August 17, 1937, but this negative is dated June 20, 1938. The sign on the side of the car doesn’t really solve this mystery– there were two championship heavyweight bouts between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, and these took place on June 19, 1936 and June 22, 1938. For more information on the Barber Car Company, click here.

Black River Traction car 5, with a date given of June 20, 1938. Not sure whether this car was also built by the Barber Car Company.

Black River Traction car 5, with a date given of June 20, 1938. Not sure whether this car was also built by the Barber Car Company.

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

I recently came across this photo, and, after looking at it awhile I realized that this is an image of the CA&E crossing the Chicago River. It appears to have been taken from Franklin Street looking generally northeast. The train appears to be an eastbound train just entering the Wells Street Terminal. Look at the two cars and you’ll see Car 436 leading trailer 603. In addition, below the El structure there is the substation that provided the power for the terminal area. The picture was taken in 1939.

Jack continues:

I enjoyed your latest post about Boston’s great trolleys. Keep up the great work.

Here is the latest stuff, the CA&E and the CNS&M woodies. As usual, some of the images aren’t the best, but it’s all I could find in my continuing search for the best of the CA&E!

Increasing suburban traffic found the CA&E short of cars. In 1936, the CNS&M came to the rescue by making some of their older wooden cars available for lease.

In 1936, cars 129, 130, 133, 134, 137 (Jewett 1907), cars 138, 139, 140, 141, 144 (American 1910) and cars 142 and 143 (Jewett 1907) were leased for suburban service and returned to the CNS&M after World War II. These cars were later purchased in 1946 and finished their long careers in suburban work on the CA&E.

I know our readers appreciate your efforts in restoring and sharing these rare pictures with us. Thanks to you, they are looking better than ever.

After CA&E service was cut back to Forest Park in 1953, these cars were no longer needed and were soon scrapped. Interestingly, these old woods were the last passenger cars bought by the Aurora & Elgin.

CA&E 129.

CA&E 129.

CA&E 130.

CA&E 130.

CA&E 133.

CA&E 133.

CA&E 134.

CA&E 134.

CA&E 137.

CA&E 137.

CA&E 138.

CA&E 138.

CA&E 139.

CA&E 139.

CA&E 140.

CA&E 140.

CA&E 141 at Batavia Junction.

CA&E 141 at Batavia Junction.

CA&E 142 at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 142 at the Wheaton Shops.

CA&E 143.

CA&E 143.

CA&E 144.

CA&E 144.

Our New Book Chicago Trolleys— Now In Stock!

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

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

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

Overview

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

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

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

Product Details

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

Meet the Author

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

Images of Rail

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

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping.

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

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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For Shipping Elsewhere:

NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

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

The Postcards of America Series

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

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

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 195th 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 322,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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Badger Traction, 2016

The Minneapolis car at East Troy.

The Minneapolis car at East Troy.

Badger Traction is alive and well in Wisconsin, the Badger State. Although the Interurban era ended when the last North Shore Line train crossed the state line into Illinois in 1963, interesting things are happening here, with more to come. The new Milwaukee “starter” streetcar should be up and running in a few years.

Electric trains have run continuously between East Troy and Mukwanago, more or less, since 1907, although it was freight only from 1939 until 1973. Soon after, a museum operation began*, which unfortunately had its problems and got replaced with the current incarnation, the East Troy Electric Railroad. This is the last remaining original remnant of what was once a vast Wisconsin interurban network.

It’s been a few years since I went to East Troy, but I made the trip last weekend and as usual it was very enjoyable. The people are friendly, as they are all over Wisconsin, and the museum is headed in the right direction. Restoration work continues on various cars in their roster, their facilities have recently been improved, and they have a group of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers.

Our the way north, we made a short stop for lunch at the historic Franks Diner in Kenosha, where we spotted the Chicago tribute car out on the two-mile long loop. (See the video at the end of this post.)

Service at East Troy is usually two different trains running on an hourly basis, meeting up at a passing siding in the middle of the main line between the power house and the Elegant Farmer. This year, they are operating on an additional two miles of trackage east of the Elegant Farmer to a local park, near a lake. It’s a nice addition and makes for a picturesque ride, and the track is actually in better shape than the regular main line. (I was told they are replacing 250 ties on the main line this year.)

The day we were there, they were running the former Minneapolis car 1583, and a two-car train made up of 4000-series Chicago “L” cars. South Shore Line interurban car 30 was parked at the East Troy depot but did not operate. Still, I took a look inside and marveled at the new bucket seats that were recently installed.

The only trackage that they do not regularly operate now is a spur line to an industrial park in East Troy. I was told that this is operational, and was used last year to shuttle people back and forth when a new plant opened.

This is not a high-speed operation, being limited to 15 miles per hour. As our conductor explained, it’s more about the trip than how fast you get there.

Here’s what Don’s Rail Photos says about Twin Cities Rapid Transit Co. car 1583:

1583 was built at Snelling Shops in May 1913 as Class L-8. It was rebuilt in 1921, one-manned in 1928, and rebuilt in 1948. In 1954 it was retired and sold for use as a cottage in northwest Wisconsin. In 1981 it was acquired and rebuilding began by Paul Averdung as Duluth-Superior Transit 253 which was an almost identical car. It now operates on the East Troy Electric Ry.

One interesting feature of the 1583 is its air horn. This sounded different depending on which direction the car was going, more like a horn one way, and a whistle the other. Yet I was told the same horn is used in both directions, although I did not try to confirm that. I made sure to record several horn blasts on the videos at the end of this post.

While in Wisconsin, we spotted some interesting vintage cars, including a 1929 Ford Model A (a “Fordor,” natch), a 1938 Pontiac Touring Sedan, and a 1953 Studebaker (see pictures below).

After our train rides, we bought an apple pie that was baked in a paper bag at the Elegant Farmer, always a good place to stop by, and then had some great burgers at Fred’s Parkview in Burlington.

However, there was one more bit of railfan serendipity on our way back south, although we did not manage to snap a picture. We drove past a steam excursion train in Fox Lake, Illinois, headed up by Nickel Plate Road 765, with an impressive array of passenger cars, including some dome cars behind it. It was just leaving town as we got there.

Here’s what I found about this steam trip:

CHICAGO, May 4, 2016 – The second weekend in June will mark an historic occasion for rail fans with the return of the Nickel Plate Road’s locomotive No. 765 to the Chicago region.

On Saturday, June 11, this 400-ton historic steam locomotive will make an appearance at Franklin Park’s annual Railroad Daze festival followed by its first public excursion trip in the Chicago region in more than 20 years on Sunday, June 12.

Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 will be on live-steam display for visitors to Franklin Park’s Railroad Daze from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 11. On Sunday, June 12, No. 765 will pull “The Varsity” an exclusive roundtrip excursion train between The Glen of North Glenview stop on Metra’s Milwaukee North Line and Janesville, Wis. The train will also stop for passengers at Metra’s Fox Lake Station.

“The Varsity” will feature vintage passenger cars from the 1930s-1950s and will include accommodations in standard coach, deluxe coach, and first class and dome car. Tickets can be ordered online or by calling 888-718-4253. Additional information and frequently asked questions can be read at fortwaynerailroad.org/faq.

“We are thrilled to bring the dramatic sights and sounds of no. 765 to the region,” said Bill Otter, president of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS). “We could not be more fortunate to be working with Metra, the Village of Franklin Park, the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad and the Iowa Pacific to bring this type of experience to thousands of area residents.”

Owned and operated by the FWRHS, no. 765 has operated passenger excursions and public exhibitions throughout the Midwest since 1979. The locomotive and train attract passengers from around the world for numerous sell-out excursions throughout the year. No. 765 was originally built in 1944, restored in 1979 and completely rebuilt in 2005 and is maintained by an all-volunteer crew.

“There is nothing like the sights, sounds and mechanical marvels of a steam locomotive in mainline service! Please join us as we relive a past era of railroading in the Chicago area, and throughout America. Welcome aboard!” stated R.R. Conway, Senior Trainmaster, Metra.

“The Varsity” will operate over the route of its Milwaukee Road namesake train, which originally ran between Chicago and Madison, Wis., until 1971. The No. 765’s excursion June 12 will be the first by a steam locomotive over portions of the route since 1953.

The visit to Railroad Daze and the excursion trip to Janesville are operated in partnership with Metra, the Village of Franklin Park, Wisconsin and Southern Railroad, Iowa Pacific and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS). In addition, the Indiana Harbor Belt and Norfolk Southern Corp are assisting in the logistics and transportation of No. 765 to and from the events.

The operation and ongoing maintenance of No. 765 is supported by donations, ticket sales and a membership base of around 1,000 supporters.

“These types of operations are incredibly complex, involving countless parties, organizations, railroads and individuals. All of them prove crucial to inspiring people with the power of the 765,” added Otter.

Additional excursions for No. 765 will be announced later this season.

Another Chicago-area trip using NKP 765 is planned for June 25 and 26.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t been to East Troy, or haven’t gone in a while, take my advice and make the trip. You’ll be glad you did.

The only thing that could have made our trip even better would have been to ride the Milwaukee car, which I still haven’t done. But as the Brooklyn baseball fans used to say, “wait ’til next year.”

-David Sadowski

PS- All the photographs in this post are mine unless otherwise noted.

*The original operation was called the East Troy Trolley Museum, and was run by the Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society. Upon leaving East Troy, their collection was dispersed and some cars went to the Illinois Railway Museum. I don’t believe there is any overlap with the current roster.

The Minneapolis car at the Elegant Farmer.

The Minneapolis car at the Elegant Farmer.

The Minneapolis car at the Elegant Farmer.

The Minneapolis car at the Elegant Farmer.

The main line runs southwest from Mukwonago to East Troy.

The main line runs southwest from Mukwonago to East Troy.

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The old station in East Troy serves as a museum.

The old station in East Troy serves as a museum.

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South Shore Line 30, which was built in 1926. In museum service, its pantograph has been replaced by a pole.

South Shore Line 30, which was built in 1926. In museum service, its pantograph has been replaced by a pole.

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Car 30 has new seats. I don't recall it ever looking this good on the South Shore Line.

Car 30 has new seats. I don’t recall it ever looking this good on the South Shore Line.

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The proprietor of the local ice cream parlor in East Troy is an avid supporter of the museum.

The proprietor of the local ice cream parlor in East Troy is an avid supporter of the museum.

A nice looking 1953 Studebaker at East Troy.

A nice looking 1953 Studebaker at East Troy.

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The 4000s head into a siding so we can proceed on the single track line.

The 4000s head into a siding so we can proceed on the single track line.

The Beulah stop once led to a popular resort that burned down in 1911.

The Beulah stop once led to a popular resort that burned down in 1911.

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A visitor from Scotland helps change the poles.

A visitor from Scotland helps change the poles.

The new end of the line.

The new end of the line.

The new end of the line.

The new end of the line.

The new end of the line.

The new end of the line.

The new end of the line.

The new end of the line.

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At the Elegant Farmer.

At the Elegant Farmer.

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Chicago Rapid Transit 4420 and 4453 at the Elegant Farmer.

Chicago Rapid Transit 4420 and 4453 at the Elegant Farmer.

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The Elegant Farmer is always a good place to stop for a homemade apple pie, baked in a paper bag.

The Elegant Farmer is always a good place to stop for a homemade apple pie, baked in a paper bag.

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A stunning 1929 Ford Model A at Kopp's Custard in Greenfield, Wisconsin. (Diana Koester Photo)

A stunning 1929 Ford Model A at Kopp’s Custard in Greenfield, Wisconsin. (Diana Koester Photo)

(Diana Koester Photo)

(Diana Koester Photo)

The dog makes this picture. I think the owner said his names is Johnny. (Diana Koester Photo)

The dog makes this picture. I think the owner said his names is Johnny. (Diana Koester Photo)

A 1938 Pontiac Touring Sedan in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

A 1938 Pontiac Touring Sedan in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

Fred's Parkview in Burlington, Wisconsin has great hamburgers.

Fred’s Parkview in Burlington, Wisconsin has great hamburgers.

NKP 765 at the Edgebrook Metra station on June 12, 2016. (Melvin Bernero Photo)

NKP 765 at the Edgebrook Metra station on June 12, 2016. (Melvin Bernero Photo)

In this mid-1950s view, Village of East Troy Railway freight motor M-15 is shown here in East Troy, Wisconsin, near the power station which now serves as the waiting room for the East Troy Electric Railroad museum operation. It was built by TMER&L in 1920 and is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Walter Broschart Photo)

In this mid-1950s view, Village of East Troy Railway freight motor M-15 is shown here in East Troy, Wisconsin, near the power station which now serves as the waiting room for the East Troy Electric Railroad museum operation. It was built by TMER&L in 1920 and is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Walter Broschart Photo)


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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Remembering Don L. Leistikow

speedraillogo

Don L. Leistikow (1928-2015)

Noted Wisconsin railfan Don L. Leistikow, a co-founder of both the Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society and East Troy Trolley Museum, passed away on November 4th at age 87. He was also one of the last living links to Milwaukee’s Speedrail interurban, having worked on that ill-fated line as a motorman.

You can read his obituary here.

Perhaps the best way of remembering Don Leistikow is in his own words.  Here is a sampling of his writing, taken from public forums and private correspondence with this author:

About growing up:

I grew up in Wauwatosa, a close suburb of Milwaukee.

68th and Bluemound Road, is midway between the Route 10 and its split destinations in Wauwatosa and West Allis. My Father lost his automobile and never bought another one. Therefore, as a Great Depression child, I grew up riding streetcars. Local Transit was just too good.

My favorite cars were the big 50 foot, Deck Roofed 500’s, weighing in at 59000 lbs. They were assigned to Routes 10, 14 and 15. Base service on Route 10 were cars 530-549, with some variation from time to time, however, supplementing them, were cars 500-510 and 586-599, as rush-hour Trippers.

We knew of the Rapid Transit westside lines but, were unaware of their Local Service until relatives told us of it. So, we began to ride the Rapid Transit with a running time 68th to Downtown in only eleven minutes, compared with the surface lines schedule of some 25 minutes.

Transportation in those days was largely inbound in the morning and outbound in the late afternoon. I once rode downtown on an errand for my Mother and came back on an empty 1100 class car. With only 7 blocks of street running before achieving the private right of way, I disembarked at 68th street, in seven minutes, flat. Those big 1100’s would top out at some 75 mph and did have Field Tappers to achieve that speed.

My stories about the Rapid Transit Lines, and its history, are without end. It was the third fastest scheduled interurban line in the US. Wish it was still around, today!

About being a Speedrail motorman:

My interests are in rolling stock which ran in Milwaukee. I spotted an EASTON LIMITED pix in your email. As you may be aware, two of them (1100 and 1102) came to Milwaukee’s last interurban operation, SPEEDRAIL.

The 1102 was refurbished in the backshop of the Terminal and was repainted at the then TMER&T Cold Spring Shops.

Actually, I did hire out as a motorman during SPEEDRAIL’s operation. As Badge 9 (missing from my home) I was the last Operator to be trained on the old 1100 heavyweights of TMER&L Rapid Transit Lines. I did put in some time on the D 21 Line Car and the then Carload Freight motor, 1142.

Am always looking for more pix, sometimes finding me, in the photo.

About the Speedrail collision:

Briefly, Trackage Rights were held by schedules. Any crew retained those rights for up to, five minutes later than the scheduled time. Being later than that, required the crew to ‘phone-in’, on Company private phone lines. strung along the tracks. All other (Extra) trains, were required to obtain ‘Train Orders’ from the Dispatcher, located in the PSB Terminal in Milwaukee.

Early on, the then popular Nachod Signal Company of Louisville, set up their White and Red illuminated signals, to provide additional protection on single track lines. These were not Block Signals but were Permissive or Stop signal aspects.

This system was in place between passing sidings, which were ‘Home Free’ spaces. Company phones were installed at each and every siding. For the record, these Nachod Signals could hold 12 counts meaning that following cars could enter a WHITE permissive signal block by counting in, and then as each car was counted out at the next Siding, no cars waiting in said siding, could enter in the opposiite direction, until all opposing counts were satisfied.

When no cars were in the single track block, the Nachod Signals were DARK, at both ends.

Such was the setting, on the day of the most horrible accident. Neither train saw the other as they met on a reverse and elevated curve, centered on National Avenue, former STH 15.

As that date was my day off, 9/2/50, I hurried out there to observe the situation. From the Greenfield Avenue bridge over the mainline double tracks, I could see the first Nachod Signal, just past the West Junction landing, where the single track HC line began. It was WHITE.

That meant that the companion opposing signal at Oklahoma Siding was RED.

After the accident was cleaned up, various persons of knowledge were on hand to test the Nachod Signals. They were found to be in perfect working order.

Not generally known, is that when a car enters a RED Nachod Block, a count must be entered. Physically, the RED aspect will drop out, a WHITE aspect will appear as the count was recorded. Then the WHITE aspect will drop out and the former RED aspect will return.

Testimony in court substantiated a WHITE aspect was observed. True, but that WHITE did not stay lit. It dropped out.

Speedrail did have insurance, expensive as it was.

About how interurbans reached Kenosha:

The original Kenosha Electric Street Railway was Chartered in 1892. Although some rail had been laid, the company failed in 1897 and the existing rails were torn up. In 1900, Bion J. Arnold, an electrical engineer, obtained a franchise in the name of the Kenosha Street Railway for a new line, and construction began.

On June 19th, 1901, the Chicago, Kenosha & Milwaukee Electric Railway Company (a subsidiary of C&ME) and B. J. Arnold, President of the Kenosha Street Railway, signed an agreement making KSR a subsidiary of CK&MERy.

In November 1905, the C&ME (North Shore) purchased the Kenosha Electric Railway from Bion J. Arnold, thus securing the Kenosha operation to the parent company. TMER&L then acquired the Kenosha property from the C&ME in 1912, thus securing it as a TMER&L entity and anchoring Kenosha to their system.

This short history is no less complicated. The original MR&K was chartered on January 15th of 1896. Articles of Incorporation were filed on August 8th of 1896 in Racine County. On March 1st of 1899, North American, the holding company which included TMER&L, purchased the line and assigned it to the Milwaukee Light, Heat & Traction Company. This was the entity that was to build the far reaching Interurban lines emanating from Milwaukee. Sometime later, this regional property came under the purview of Wisconsin Gas & Electric Company.

About TMER&L:

As for TMER&L Company, about 1938, they split the operations into Wisconsin Electric Power Company (electric power generation and distribution) and The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Company (TMER&T), a wholly owned subsidiary which, although available for sale, had no buyers.

Said arrangement continued through WW 2 and TMER&T became available again thereafter, finally being sold off to an industrialist operating city transit services in Indianapolis and Louisville. Said property then became the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Company (M&ST).

Somewhere along the line of mergers, the Milwaukee Gas Light Company was acquired by WEPCO.

Today, WEPCO is known as WeEnergies.

About highways and transit:

The attitude up here in Wisconsin about funding for Transit appears to be, “We’ll study it” whereas, funding for Highways appears to be, “How much do you want”?

The ironic part of funding for Highways and Freeways is that there is no way to account for Origin & Destination of all of that traffic. Several times, I have related that Highways/Freeways induce population sprawl. In areas where Rail Transit Systems exist, the findings are that the public is attracted to Central Business Districts which in turn, bring development and monetary flow remaining in the immediate area.

Furthermore, studies of ground traffic have found that the highest cost of surface transportation is; a lone driver, in his automobile, on a Freeway.

Conversely, the cost of transportation by area Rail Transit comes in at 70% of the above and has a life expectancy of some 50 years before replacement.

Wisconsin remains dedicated to the Automobile and Truck vehicles and its fuel supply, as Gasoline and Diesel fuel costs remain uncontrollable. Meanwhile, across America, Rail Transit programs continue to surface as the return on investment is staking their economy.

He continued:

There is an old saying which I quote:

“If all possible objections must first be overcome, nothing will ever be accomplished”.

Cities all across our Country, are moving toward Electric Rail Transit. When will Milwaukee and Wisconsin, join the march of transit progress?

Don’s account of how some North Shore Line cars were saved after the line’s abandonment in 1963:

CNS&M 757 and 763 were purchased off the scrap line at Rondout, Illinois by my longtime friend, Richard Kratsch.

He telephoned me, confirming his activity then stated; “What are we going to do with them”? To which I replied; “What’s this we stuff”?

After some verbal exchanges, I agreed to help and made contact with Wisconsin Electric Power HQ (ex TMER&L) and found assistance for storage at the Cold Spring Shops.

Inclusion in this activity came from Richard Heinbaugh, of the Mid-Continent Railway Museum at North Freedom, Wisconsin. They (he) had purchased CNS&M 715 and were also interested in accompanying the movement of their car to Milwaukee and beyond.

Arrangements were quickly put together to move the now three cars into Milwaukee then sending the 715 onward to North Freedom.  All of this transportation would be ‘on own wheels’.

Of course, no movement of them could be entertained without an inspection by the MILW Railroad, getting their acceptance and notifying the C&NW for their clearance beyond to North Freedom.

Next, I heard from the MILW Car Department that the couplers were too low and that the wide swing of them would have to be restricted for ‘over the road’ transport. A followup conversation with their Car Inspector was to inform me that large blocks of Iron would be bolted to the circle irons and that two idler cars (which turned out to be two elderly Stock Cars, diverted from their scrap line) would be necessary to accommodate the low height of the North Shore cars.

However, an end of each car had to be dropped by four inches to meet the NSL drawbars. This was accomplished by cutting down the truck springs on one end of each Stock Car thus accommodating rules of movement.

All was not in order though, as the Terminal Superintendent in Milwaukee had not been notified of this Hospital Movement and stopped the cut of cars south of the Terminal District. Acceptance was accomplished and the movement continued into Milwaukee’s Davies Yard (the Running Repair Yard) in the Terminal close by the Falk Company in the Valley.

More special movements were made without breaking the five car string. The block of cars was sent to the lower Cold Spring Yard, intact. A cut was made to deliver the 757 and 763 which were then shoved into the entrance hold track. Then the 715 and its companion idler car were reconnected and the now 3 car cut was returned to Davies Yard.

At this point, the MILW confirmed arrangements to deliver the 715 and idler cars to the C&NW via the Menomonee Belt to Mitchell Yard. The balance of the movement to North Freedom was underway. The two idler cars were donated to Mid-Continent by the MILW.

All three cars have been preserved. Here are their histories, from the Branford Electric Railway Association web site:

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee #715 1926-1963 / 1st preserved by Mid-Continent Railroad Museum 1963-1967 / later preserved by The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society 1967-1988 / Fox River Trolley Museum (South Elgin, Illinois) 1988-present

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee #757 1930-1963 / 1st preserved by The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society ?-1988 / Illinois Railway Museum (Union, Illinois) 1988-present

Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee #763 1930-1963 / 1st preserved by The Wisconsin Electric Railway Historical Society ?-1988 / Illinois Railway Museum (Union, Illinois) 1988-present

About the North Shore Line abandonment:

As a life-long resident of the greater Milwaukee area, I too wish that somehow, the NSL could have remained in service.

However, passenger traffic was waning. The usual four car trains, in and out of the Milwaukee Terminal, were shrinking dramatically. Off rush-hour trains were shrinking as I was witnessing single car departures, southbound. Passenger counts would attest to that as factual information, if available anywhere by anyone.

Generally, they found it necessary to cut or fill cars at Edison Court, a testimonial that ridership remained strong south of the Wisconsin-Illinois State Line. Why then, was service not retained by simply abandoning the Milwaukee Division?

Another thought; nothing was said about the Carload Freight operation. How much revenue was that service bringing in? As my career was in Industrial Traffic Management, I did route some carload freight onto the North Shore Line via Racine Junction to Waukegan and connections around Chicago, just to buy time to accommodate customer’s delivery specification while balancing production. In example, CMStP&P (Racine) CNS&M (Waukegan) EJ&E – CSS&SB – PRR to destination.

IMHO, I believe that by cutting off the Milwaukee Division, the NSL could have remained profitable, for some additional years though.  Passenger counts and revenue receipts, from Edison Court and Mundelein into Chicago, would be an interesting study, even at this late date.

He continued:

The North Shore Line was literally starving in Wisconsin.

Four car+ trains continued to operate after WW 2 but, as Freeways grew, North Shore revenues declined. However, revenues derived from WW 2, provided a cushion for their post war operations. As time passed, non-rush hour trains were finally operated with but one car hourly to and from Milwaukee.

Enter the Susquahanna Corp., a financial investment group, which bought into the CNS&M line. Eventually controlling the finances, those funds went into S Corp’s coffers and were used for their investment purposes, as I recall. That left day-to-day operations over budget.

Actually, had the CNS&M cut off the Wisconsin segment and continued operations from Edison Court and Mundelein, it could well have remained in business during the foreseeable future.

The final blow was it’s quick demise. As I recall, the CNS&M car 722 was undergoing a General Overhaul at that time in their Highwood Shops. That’s not something that you do, while expecting abandonment.

About the East Troy Electric Railroad:

Some confusion about the East Troy Electric Railroad. It connects with the Canadian National (former Soo Line) at Mukwonago. This is the last remaining segment of the once great TMER&L Rapid Transit Lines that hosted some 250+ miles of track on five lines. Destinations were Sheboygan, Watertown, East Troy, Burlington and Kenosha.

Because of online industries in East Troy which shipped or received Carload Freight, it was operated by ‘TM’ after the passenger service ended in 1939. Box Motor M 15, was refitted with snow plows permanently affixed on each end, plus a wooden platform centered on the roof, to service maintenance of the overhead wire.

A detailed history of the remaining Carload services and the Industries, can be found in the CERA Bulletin 112, titled “TM“.

If it is true that the Canadian National has removed the interchange switch in Mukwonago, that would be a mistake as, the East Troy Industrial Park (on a branch line) hosts several Buildings that would be quite useful as, Industries would find the Labor Market more reasonable for Carloading,  Containerization and/or over the highway Trucking.

Although the East Troy Electric Railroad now owns the property, it must have inherited some form of Interstate and Wisconsin State Commerce authority, to move Freight Shipments on its tracks.

I never met Don in person, but oddly enough, I actually took a picture of him once without even realizing it, fittingly when he was buying a ticket at the East Troy Electric Railroad in 2013. You can see that picture here. He later saw it online and recognized himself.

He will be missed by all who care about the future of railroads and public transit.

-David Sadowski

PS- You can read another of Don’s stories about the classic days of steam railroading here.

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.

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.

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.