A Chicago Traction Valentine

This "red border" Kodachrome shows CTA salt car AA-104 at South Shops on January 4, 1956. Don's Rail Photos says, "AA104, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 339. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy (Calumet and South Chicago Railway) 838 in 1908. It was renumbered 2853 in 1913 and became CSL 2853 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA104 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956." This was one of the few railroad-roof cars on the Chicago system. The main color here is Pullman Green. (James J. Buckley Photo)

This “red border” Kodachrome shows CTA salt car AA-104 at South Shops on January 4, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos says, “AA104, salt car, was built by South Chicago City Ry in 1907 as SCCRy 339. It was rebuilt in 1907 and became C&SCRy (Calumet and South Chicago Railway) 838 in 1908. It was renumbered 2853 in 1913 and became CSL 2853 in 1914. It was later converted as a salt car and renumbered AA104 in 1948. It was retired on December 14, 1956.” This was one of the few railroad-roof cars on the Chicago system. The main color here is Pullman Green. (James J. Buckley Photo)

After our recent forays to the East Coast, part of a series by guest contributor Kenneth Gear, we are back in Sweet Home Chicago for this one. Watch this space for additional posts in Ken’s series.

Although we are a few days late for Valentine’s Day, we nonetheless have many photographic gifts for Chicago-area traction fans in today’s post, that constitute a virtual Valentine to our readers. First, we have some recent finds. Next, a few color slides courtesy of William Shapotkin. Then, a bevy of classic black-and-white images taken by the late Robert Selle, one of the greatest railfan photographers.

We also have a book review, and there are two new audio CD collections in our ongoing efforts to digitize 1950s steam railroad audio for the 21st Century.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Recent Finds

When the CTA opened the five-mile long Skokie Swift branch in April 1964 (over a small portion of the former North Shore Line) ridership far exceeded expectations. So the four articulated 5000-series cars were quickly renovated and adapted for Swift service. These were experimental when built in 1947-48 and became "oddballs" on the CTA system. Here, we see car 51 (renumbered from 5001) in October 1964 at Kostner. These cars continued to run into the 1980s. Two of the four sets were saved, and this set is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Color correction by J. J. Sedelmaier)

When the CTA opened the five-mile long Skokie Swift branch in April 1964 (over a small portion of the former North Shore Line) ridership far exceeded expectations. So the four articulated 5000-series cars were quickly renovated and adapted for Swift service. These were experimental when built in 1947-48 and became “oddballs” on the CTA system. Here, we see car 51 (renumbered from 5001) in October 1964 at Kostner. These cars continued to run into the 1980s. Two of the four sets were saved, and this set is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum. (Color correction by J. J. Sedelmaier)

Three CTA trains of 6000-series "L"/Subway cars are lined up by the old Tower 18 in the early 1950s. As you can see, with the tower in the middle of the junction, not all moves could be made. For example, eastbound trains coming from Lake Street could not go straight east, but had to turn south. At this time, traffic on both the inner and outer Loop tracks went in the same direction (counter-clockwise). This arrangement was changed in 1969 when the CTA wanted to through-route Lake with the new Dan Ryan line. The tower was moved and replaced with a new one, and new eastbound trackage was built where the old tower was. That was also the beginning of bi-directional operations on the Loop, which continue to this day.

Three CTA trains of 6000-series “L”/Subway cars are lined up by the old Tower 18 in the early 1950s. As you can see, with the tower in the middle of the junction, not all moves could be made. For example, eastbound trains coming from Lake Street could not go straight east, but had to turn south. At this time, traffic on both the inner and outer Loop tracks went in the same direction (counter-clockwise). This arrangement was changed in 1969 when the CTA wanted to through-route Lake with the new Dan Ryan line. The tower was moved and replaced with a new one, and new eastbound trackage was built where the old tower was. That was also the beginning of bi-directional operations on the Loop, which continue to this day.

One-man CSL 3117 is eastbound on 18th Street at Carpenter (approx. 1100 West) in the 1940s. Don's Rail Photos: "3117 was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948." This was part of a series known as CSL Safety Cars, aka "Sewing Machines." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

One-man CSL 3117 is eastbound on 18th Street at Carpenter (approx. 1100 West) in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos: “3117 was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948.” This was part of a series known as CSL Safety Cars, aka “Sewing Machines.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

The same location today.

The same location today.

Two CTA PCCs (4064 and 4115) and red car 368, all Pullmans, at Kedzie Station (Fifth and Kedzie) on August 22, 1953. The main portion of Route 20 - Madison was converted to bus on December 13 of that year, and the Fifth Avenue branch continued for a few more months as a shuttle operation. The PCC at left is in its original colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream and Swamp Holly Orange), while the one in the center has been repainted in Everglade Green and Alpine White. (Robert Selle Photo)

Two CTA PCCs (4064 and 4115) and red car 368, all Pullmans, at Kedzie Station (Fifth and Kedzie) on August 22, 1953. The main portion of Route 20 – Madison was converted to bus on December 13 of that year, and the Fifth Avenue branch continued for a few more months as a shuttle operation. The PCC at left is in its original colors (Mercury Green, Croydon Cream and Swamp Holly Orange), while the one in the center has been repainted in Everglade Green and Alpine White. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA Postwar PCC 7200, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at 81st and Halsted on January 2, 1954. This was the south end of Route 22, Clark-Wentworth. It's been pointed out to me that fans took a lot of pictures at this location, but here we had the opportunity to purchase the original medium-format neg, and not just a print. Notice the dents on the front of 7200. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA Postwar PCC 7200, a product of the St. Louis Car Company, at 81st and Halsted on January 2, 1954. This was the south end of Route 22, Clark-Wentworth. It’s been pointed out to me that fans took a lot of pictures at this location, but here we had the opportunity to purchase the original medium-format neg, and not just a print. Notice the dents on the front of 7200. (Robert Selle Photo)

"One-man PCC 4021, now northbound on the (private right-of-way) portion of the South Cottage Grove line." This was on May 30, 1955. 4021 is now the only preserved prewar PCC, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo)

“One-man PCC 4021, now northbound on the (private right-of-way) portion of the South Cottage Grove line.” This was on May 30, 1955. 4021 is now the only preserved prewar PCC, and is now at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo)

Color Slides, Courtesy of William Shapotkin:

"Looking westbound on (North) Lake Street toward Austin Boulevard., cars 3153 and 1757, woring CTA Lake Street line, lay over at west end-of-line. In distance (SW corner of Lake and Austin in Oak Park), a bus working the Chicago & West Towns Lake Street line takes its layover. May 15, 1954." (About two weeks before the end of streetcar service on Route 16).

“Looking westbound on (North) Lake Street toward Austin Boulevard., cars 3153 and 1757, woring CTA Lake Street line, lay over at west end-of-line. In distance (SW corner of Lake and Austin in Oak Park), a bus working the Chicago & West Towns Lake Street line takes its layover. May 15, 1954.” (About two weeks before the end of streetcar service on Route 16).

"Chicago, IL. CTA car #3153, working an eastbound trip on Route 16 - Lake, is eastbound in (North) Lake Street, having just crossed over Central Avenue. View looks west/northwest from the Chicago & North Western embankment. May 15, 1954."

“Chicago, IL. CTA car #3153, working an eastbound trip on Route 16 – Lake, is eastbound in (North) Lake Street, having just crossed over Central Avenue. View looks west/northwest from the Chicago & North Western embankment. May 15, 1954.”

CTA 1812 at Lake and Pine in February 1953, heading west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L", which was elevated onto the adjacent embankment in 1962. Pine is where Route 16 streetcars crossed the "L" to go from what was then called South Lake Street to North Lake Street. In 1964, the South Lake Street portion in this area was renamed Corcoran Place, after the death of the local alderman. (Thanks to J. J. Sedelmaier for twerking, er "tweaking" this one to make it look better.)

CTA 1812 at Lake and Pine in February 1953, heading west on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”, which was elevated onto the adjacent embankment in 1962. Pine is where Route 16 streetcars crossed the “L” to go from what was then called South Lake Street to North Lake Street. In 1964, the South Lake Street portion in this area was renamed Corcoran Place, after the death of the local alderman. (Thanks to J. J. Sedelmaier for twerking, er “tweaking” this one to make it look better.)

The same location today (Lake and Pine). This is where Lake Street takes a jog to the north side of the former Chicago & North Western embankment, and the CSL/CTA Route 16 streetcar went along with it. Since Lake Street pretty much split in two at this point, the section west of here (behind the photographer) was referred to as either North Lake or South Lake, depending on which side of the embankment you were on. This was a reasonable system, since there were no duplicate street numbers. But in 1964, the south portion between Pine and Austin (a distance of just over half a mile) was renamed Corcoran Place, after the local alderman, an ally of then-Mayor Richard J. Daley's, who died suddenly from a heart attack. The "L" was relocated onto the embankment in 1962 and the street it was in (either Lake Street, South Lake Street aka Corcoan Place, or South Boulevard in Oak Park) made wider, or made into parking lots.

The same location today (Lake and Pine). This is where Lake Street takes a jog to the north side of the former Chicago & North Western embankment, and the CSL/CTA Route 16 streetcar went along with it. Since Lake Street pretty much split in two at this point, the section west of here (behind the photographer) was referred to as either North Lake or South Lake, depending on which side of the embankment you were on. This was a reasonable system, since there were no duplicate street numbers. But in 1964, the south portion between Pine and Austin (a distance of just over half a mile) was renamed Corcoran Place, after the local alderman, an ally of then-Mayor Richard J. Daley’s, who died suddenly from a heart attack. The “L” was relocated onto the embankment in 1962 and the street it was in (either Lake Street, South Lake Street aka Corcoan Place, or South Boulevard in Oak Park) made wider, or made into parking lots.

"Chicago, IL. CTA car #4333 brings up the rear of an eastbound Lake Street "L" train. View looks east from Lake/Laramie station. Note pull-offs for overhead trolley wire, used west from Laramie station. June 23, 1959,"

“Chicago, IL. CTA car #4333 brings up the rear of an eastbound Lake Street “L” train. View looks east from Lake/Laramie station. Note pull-offs for overhead trolley wire, used west from Laramie station. June 23, 1959,”

"Chicago, IL. Looking westbound on CTA's Lake Street "L" at (South) Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), at Menard Avenue. Line car #S200 is seen doing wire work. In distance is the Austin/Lake "L" station. At right (on embankment) is one-time "Boulevard" Chicago & North Western station (located at Austin Boulevard). May 27, 1960." Don Ross: "S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1924."

“Chicago, IL. Looking westbound on CTA’s Lake Street “L” at (South) Lake Street (now Corcoran Place), at Menard Avenue. Line car #S200 is seen doing wire work. In distance is the Austin/Lake “L” station. At right (on embankment) is one-time “Boulevard” Chicago & North Western station (located at Austin Boulevard). May 27, 1960.” Don Ross: “S-200 was built by Barney & Smith in 1901 at M-WSER 783. It was renumbered in 1913 as 2783. In 1916 it was rebuilt as a work motor and numbered S-200. It became CRT S-200 in 1924.”

"Oak Park, IL. A pair of 4000s, working a westbound trip on CTA's Lake Street "L", are on South Boulevard at Kenilworth Avenue. Visible in distance (on embankment) is one-time "Avenue" Chicago & North Western passenger station, located at Oak Park Avenue. View looks east on January 18, 1962."

“Oak Park, IL. A pair of 4000s, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Lake Street “L”, are on South Boulevard at Kenilworth Avenue. Visible in distance (on embankment) is one-time “Avenue” Chicago & North Western passenger station, located at Oak Park Avenue. View looks east on January 18, 1962.”

In the center, we see the portal at the north end of the State Street subway, just south of Armitage. The two middle "L" tracks were moved to the outer edge of the structure when the subway was built. The "L" continued south from this point with four tracks to Chicago Avenue. In recent years, the two outer tracks have been removed, and just a siding remains at this point.

In the center, we see the portal at the north end of the State Street subway, just south of Armitage. The two middle “L” tracks were moved to the outer edge of the structure when the subway was built. The “L” continued south from this point with four tracks to Chicago Avenue. In recent years, the two outer tracks have been removed, and just a siding remains at this point.

Chicago, Burlington & Qunict locomotive 4978 in Mendota, IL on September 2, 2010 with a Metra Electric (ex-Illinois Central "Highliner" at left. Both are at the Union Depot Railroad Museum. (Mike Sosalla Photo)

Chicago, Burlington & Qunict locomotive 4978 in Mendota, IL on September 2, 2010 with a Metra Electric (ex-Illinois Central “Highliner” at left. Both are at the Union Depot Railroad Museum. (Mike Sosalla Photo)

Classic Bob Selle Images

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know that the late Robert Selle (1929-2013) was an excellent photographer who specialized in black-and-white. As with many other railfan photographers, his extensive collection of images got scattered after his death.

Now and again, some of them pop up on eBay, but not always identified as his work in the auction listings. Fortunately, Selle is one of those few photographers whose work can be recognized at a glance, as it is often a cut above the rest.

Over the years, we have purchased a few Bob Selle negatives, which have been featured on this blog (including three in today’s post).

In 2011, Jeff Wien and the late Bradley Criss visited Mr. Selle in Florida, and he generously allowed them to scan some of his negatives. Tragically, Bradley Criss passed away in 2016 (you can read an appreciation of him here). He would have been 55 years old on February 4th.

As a tribute to both Bob Selle and Bradley Criss, here is a selection from the images they scanned, courtesy of Jeff Wien and the Wien-Criss Archive.

CTA Pullman 495 at Limits Station (car barn), so named because it was once at the north end of the city limits when first built. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 495 at Limits Station (car barn), so named because it was once at the north end of the city limits when first built. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 581 at Milwaukee and Clinton, in front of Chicago & North Western steam loco 1564. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 581 at Milwaukee and Clinton, in front of Chicago & North Western steam loco 1564. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4200 northbound on Clark near Montrose. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 4200 northbound on Clark near Montrose. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 4224 (a Pullman) at the Limits car barn. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA postwar PCC 4224 (a Pullman) at the Limits car barn. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The group photo from the last Chicago streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. This was less than a month before the end of streetcar service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The group photo from the last Chicago streetcar fantrip on May 25, 1958. This was less than a month before the end of streetcar service in Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6136 on the Museum Loop in Grant Park, just east of the Illinois Central Electric. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 6136 on the Museum Loop in Grant Park, just east of the Illinois Central Electric. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA snow sweeper E223 was saved from destruction by Dick Lukin, and it is shown here in 1958, on its way to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum site in North Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA snow sweeper E223 was saved from destruction by Dick Lukin, and it is shown here in 1958, on its way to the Illinois Electric Railway Museum site in North Chicago. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A young (and shiirtless) Nick Kallas at the ERHS (Electric Railway Historical Society) site in Downers Grove, where streetcars such as Chicago & West Towns 141, shown here, were stored between 1959 and 1973, when the collection went to the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A young (and shiirtless) Nick Kallas at the ERHS (Electric Railway Historical Society) site in Downers Grove, where streetcars such as Chicago & West Towns 141, shown here, were stored between 1959 and 1973, when the collection went to the Illinois Railway Museum. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 433, built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927. The tower, just barely visible at rear, was part of Wheaton Yard. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 433, built by the Cincinnati Car Company in 1927. The tower, just barely visible at rear, was part of Wheaton Yard. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 453, a 1945 product of St. Louis Car Company, at the Wheaton station. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 453, a 1945 product of St. Louis Car Company, at the Wheaton station. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A six-car CA&E train westbound at the Halsted curve. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

A six-car CA&E train westbound at the Halsted curve. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 458 heads a three-car train westbound at Western Avenue. The CTA bus on Van Buren indicates that this picture was taken no earlier than August 12, 1951. The Van Buren Street temporary trackage appears to be in place already, but testing has not started yet, as there are barriers in place. "L" service shifted to the temporary trackage in September 1953 and the CA&E cut back service to Forest Park. At left you can see the imposing structure of Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School, otherwise known as Crane Tech. We are looking to the east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CA&E 458 heads a three-car train westbound at Western Avenue. The CTA bus on Van Buren indicates that this picture was taken no earlier than August 12, 1951. The Van Buren Street temporary trackage appears to be in place already, but testing has not started yet, as there are barriers in place. “L” service shifted to the temporary trackage in September 1953 and the CA&E cut back service to Forest Park. At left you can see the imposing structure of Richard T. Crane Medical Preparatory High School, otherwise known as Crane Tech. We are looking to the east. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Two North Shore Line trains pass at Ravinia on a 1953 Shore Line Route fantrip. This is not the same stop as Ravinia Park, which is some distance away. The area taken up by the NSL tracks is now a parking lot for the Metra station (former Chicago & North Western), whose tracks are at left. We are looking southeast. Presumably the Silverliner at right is the fantrip train as the other train is not flying flags. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Two North Shore Line trains pass at Ravinia on a 1953 Shore Line Route fantrip. This is not the same stop as Ravinia Park, which is some distance away. The area taken up by the NSL tracks is now a parking lot for the Metra station (former Chicago & North Western), whose tracks are at left. We are looking southeast. Presumably the Silverliner at right is the fantrip train as the other train is not flying flags. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The building just visible in the previous picture, located at 514 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park.

The building just visible in the previous picture, located at 514 Roger Williams Avenue in Highland Park.

Chicago & North Western loco 505 heads up at train at Kinzie Street. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago & North Western loco 505 heads up at train at Kinzie Street. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW loco 531 and train at Edison Park. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW loco 531 and train at Edison Park. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW 545 and train in Edison Park on Chicago's northwest side. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

C&NW 545 and train in Edison Park on Chicago’s northwest side. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 291 at 63rd and Narragansett, possibly during the period just before Route 63 was converted to bus on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 291 at 63rd and Narragansett, possibly during the period just before Route 63 was converted to bus on May 24, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 475, running on Route 56 - Milwaukee Avenue, emerges from the east portal of the Washington streetcar tunnel at Franklin Street, having traveled under the Chicago River. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 475, running on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue, emerges from the east portal of the Washington streetcar tunnel at Franklin Street, having traveled under the Chicago River. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 384 at Roosevelt and Paulina. Cars on Route 9 - Ashland took a jog here, as streetcars were not allowed to run on boulevards. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 384 at Roosevelt and Paulina. Cars on Route 9 – Ashland took a jog here, as streetcars were not allowed to run on boulevards. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 124 at Division and Wells on Route 6 - Van Buren. The latest this photo could have been taken is 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 124 at Division and Wells on Route 6 – Van Buren. The latest this photo could have been taken is 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 265 is northbound at State and Archer on Route 45 (Ashland-Downtown). At left, we see a Route 44 CTA bus. This helps date the picture to between July 7, 1951 (when 44 converted to bus) and February 14, 1954 (when routes 9 and 45 were converted). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 265 is northbound at State and Archer on Route 45 (Ashland-Downtown). At left, we see a Route 44 CTA bus. This helps date the picture to between July 7, 1951 (when 44 converted to bus) and February 14, 1954 (when routes 9 and 45 were converted). (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 276 is eastbound at 63rd and Paulina on Route 63, probably in 1953 near the end of streetcar service on this line. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 276 is eastbound at 63rd and Paulina on Route 63, probably in 1953 near the end of streetcar service on this line. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 377, also at 63rd and Paulina. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 377, also at 63rd and Paulina. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 289 is eastbound on Grand near Milwaukee on Route 65. This route was converted to bus on April 1, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 289 is eastbound on Grand near Milwaukee on Route 65. This route was converted to bus on April 1, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 452 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 452 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 453 is heading west on diversion trackage on Route 8 - Halsted at Chicago Avenue in 1953. I believe the PCC at the rear is 7228, a product of the St. Louis Car Company. The diversion was between Division and Chicago, and was used when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. The two streetcars are about to turn from eastbound Chicago Avenue onto southbound Halsted. PCCs were being phased out on Halsted during this period, as CTA had begun shipping the 310 Pullmans to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping and parts reuse on a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars. By the time streetcar service ended on Halsted in 1954, service was being provided entirely by the older red cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 453 is heading west on diversion trackage on Route 8 – Halsted at Chicago Avenue in 1953. I believe the PCC at the rear is 7228, a product of the St. Louis Car Company. The diversion was between Division and Chicago, and was used when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. The two streetcars are about to turn from eastbound Chicago Avenue onto southbound Halsted. PCCs were being phased out on Halsted during this period, as CTA had begun shipping the 310 Pullmans to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping and parts reuse on a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars. By the time streetcar service ended on Halsted in 1954, service was being provided entirely by the older red cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The note that came with this image of CTA Pullman 469 says it is on Kedzie near Chicago Avenue. But the sign on the streetcar says route 66, which is Chicago and not Kedzie. So perhaps we are on Chicago Avenue near Kedzie. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Patrick Cunningham adds: "The Pullman 469 photo is on Chicago Ave. looking east from the CNW viaduct towards Sacramento. The building in the far background still exists."

The note that came with this image of CTA Pullman 469 says it is on Kedzie near Chicago Avenue. But the sign on the streetcar says route 66, which is Chicago and not Kedzie. So perhaps we are on Chicago Avenue near Kedzie. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive) Patrick Cunningham adds: “The Pullman 469 photo is on Chicago Ave. looking east from the CNW viaduct towards Sacramento. The building in the far background still exists.”

The view looking east from about 3037 West Chicago Avenue, which is probably just a bit east of where the above photo was taken. You can see that the same building is at rear on Sacramento Boulevard.

The view looking east from about 3037 West Chicago Avenue, which is probably just a bit east of where the above photo was taken. You can see that the same building is at rear on Sacramento Boulevard.

CTA Pullman 381 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, the west end of Route 63. This picture may have been taken early in 1953, after PCCs had been replaced by older cars on this line, shortly before it was converted to bus. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 381 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, the west end of Route 63. This picture may have been taken early in 1953, after PCCs had been replaced by older cars on this line, shortly before it was converted to bus. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 409 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 409 is on Southport at Clark, the north end of Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman n 504 exiting the Washington Street tunnel, operating on Route 56 - Milwaukee Avenue. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman n 504 exiting the Washington Street tunnel, operating on Route 56 – Milwaukee Avenue. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 523 at the same location. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 523 at the same location. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 540 at Southport and Clark, ready to head south on another trip on Route 9 - Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 540 at Southport and Clark, ready to head south on another trip on Route 9 – Ashland. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 610, an Ashland car, heads south on Clark at School Street. There is a similar photo on page 104 in my book Chicago Trolleys, showing car 144 at the same location. That picture is dated May 7, 1953 which may be when this picture was taken. That car was a pull-in to the Limits car barn, which may also be the case here. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 610, an Ashland car, heads south on Clark at School Street. There is a similar photo on page 104 in my book Chicago Trolleys, showing car 144 at the same location. That picture is dated May 7, 1953 which may be when this picture was taken. That car was a pull-in to the Limits car barn, which may also be the case here. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 669 at 63rd and Paulina, probably in early 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 669 at 63rd and Paulina, probably in early 1953. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 675 is westbound on Chicago Avenue at Grand Avenue on Route 66. Note the cool Bowman Dairy truck. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 675 is westbound on Chicago Avenue at Grand Avenue on Route 66. Note the cool Bowman Dairy truck. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 839 is on Ashland at Chicago on Route 9. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA Pullman 839 is on Ashland at Chicago on Route 9. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Ther motorman of CTA Pullman 879 waves at the photographer as he rounds the turn from Wells onto Division, running Through Route 3 - Lincoln-Indiana, which was discontinued on March 11, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Ther motorman of CTA Pullman 879 waves at the photographer as he rounds the turn from Wells onto Division, running Through Route 3 – Lincoln-Indiana, which was discontinued on March 11, 1951. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

The same location today. Things have sure changed a lot!

The same location today. Things have sure changed a lot!

CTA 171 on Ogden at Ashland, operating on Route 58. The white stripe indicates that this is a one-man car. 1721 was part of a series known as "169" or Broadway-State cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 171 on Ogden at Ashland, operating on Route 58. The white stripe indicates that this is a one-man car. 1721 was part of a series known as “169” or Broadway-State cars. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 173 is on Chicago Avenue near Ashland, on Route 66. Note the Goldblatt's nearby. Goldblatt's was a local department store chain that operated from 1914 until 2000. In 1946, they had 15 local stores, with annual sales of $62m. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 173 is on Chicago Avenue near Ashland, on Route 66. Note the Goldblatt’s nearby. Goldblatt’s was a local department store chain that operated from 1914 until 2000. In 1946, they had 15 local stores, with annual sales of $62m. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1765 is at the west end of Route 16 - Lake, at Austin Boulevard, the city limits, in 1952. The old Park Theater is behind the streetcar. It closed around this time, although it may still have been open when this picture was taken. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1765 is at the west end of Route 16 – Lake, at Austin Boulevard, the city limits, in 1952. The old Park Theater is behind the streetcar. It closed around this time, although it may still have been open when this picture was taken. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Another view, a "roster shot," showing 1765 by the Park Theater. Note the movie theater is not boarded up, which probably means it was still open when this picture was taken in 1952. Chances are, it fell victim to competition from television. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Another view, a “roster shot,” showing 1765 by the Park Theater. Note the movie theater is not boarded up, which probably means it was still open when this picture was taken in 1952. Chances are, it fell victim to competition from television. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 17778 is on Route 66 - Chicago Avenue at Ashland, passing by a Woolworth's dime store. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 17778 is on Route 66 – Chicago Avenue at Ashland, passing by a Woolworth’s dime store. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1781 at the same location. The white stripe on the front let riders know that this was a one-man car, and therefore they should enter at the front, instead of the rear, as they would on a two-man car. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA 1781 at the same location. The white stripe on the front let riders know that this was a one-man car, and therefore they should enter at the front, instead of the rear, as they would on a two-man car. (Robert Selle Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Book Review: Chicago Streetcar Memories

Chicago Streetcar Memories
By Kenneth C. Springirth
Publisher: ???? (2018)
Softcover, 128 pages

A new Chicago streetcar book is always a welcome addition to one’s library. Someone recently gave me a copy of Chicago Streetcar Memories by Kenneth C. Springirth, which came out last month.

As the author of Chicago Trolleys (see below), and co-author of a Chicago PCC book, I probably have a different perspective on this type of work than many people who will read it. I’ll put in my two cents for what it’s worth, but feel free to make up your own mind on these matters.

Mr. Springirth, who is about 78 years old and lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, has written numerous traction picture books over the years. Looking him up on Amazon, I found at least two dozen titles going back to 1968, although, for whatever reason, I did not see this new one listed there. Another source credits him with 35 books.

This new volume does not have any ISBN information, and no publisher is listed. So, in the absence of knowledge to the contrary, I am going to assume that it is a self-published work. In recent years, Springirth has been prolific, putting out a few such picture books per year.

Usually an author collects a royalty, if he or she is lucky, from a publisher who is willing to take a chance on their work. This generally involves an editor, who works with the author. There is back-and-forth until both parties are satisfied they have done their best, and then the book is published. It is a partnership.

Self-publishing, by my way of looking at it, is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, for those authors with deep enough pockets to finance the production costs, there is the chance to keep a lot more of the profits– as long as you can find a way to sell your books in sufficient quantities to create a profit.

Having absolute creative control over your book can be the ideal situation. On the other hand, an editor is a useful sounding board, and can also elevate the quality of your writing by asking you to revise your work and do better. An editor tries to get your best work out of you. The goal of a publisher should be to take what the author has done and improve it, to make a better book.

Whether by coincidence or otherwise, this book has the same name as a DVD put out some years back by Chicago Transport Memories, LLC. However, titles cannot be copyrighted (although sometimes they may be trademarked), and any way you look at it, this is a good title. The same author also has a recent book out called Baltimore Streetcar Memories, so perhaps he envisions this as part of a series.

It is worth noting that there is no connection between the DVD put out by Chicago Transport Memories, LLC and this new book, even though they have the same exact title.  Complicating matters even further, the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD was included along with copies of Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, Bulletin 146 from the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which I co-authored.

All the pictures in this new book, except for the cover, are black-and-white. The overall effect, at 128 pages, is somewhat like an oversized Arcadia book in their Images of Rail series, perhaps not surprising as Mr. Springirth has written a few of those also.

Unfortunately, the larger format was not put to best use, as the images in general are not very sharp and a few are downright fuzzy. I do not know if this is due to the choice of dpi (dots per inch) when the original images were scanned, or whether this somehow relates to the printing process used, or both.  In general, it would be fair to say that the images in Chicago Trolleys are sharper and more detailed than those in the Chicago Streetcar Memories book, even though our book is somewhat smaller in overall dimensions.

I don’t know why this should be the case, but it is true.

Except for a few pictures taken by the author, the bulk of images between the covers come from a single source– the collections of the late Clifford R. Scholes (1927-2018), who died less than a month ago. For that reason, it practically makes Scholes a co-author of the book, although he is not named as such, for the book inevitably reflects Scholes’ viewpoint as much as Springirth’s.

Getting all your images from a single source makes writing such a book a lot more convenient, I am sure, but it is a practice that I do not subscribe to for my own book projects. My philosophy is to leave no stone unturned, making a thorough and exhaustive search for images that will provide the reader with enough variety to make things interesting.

I keep digging into a subject until I feel I have a foundation for a book, and then I keep digging deeper. There is always the chance that if you dig deep enough, you will reach a deeper understanding of your subject than you started with.

There is a danger in using photos from a single source, and that is they reflect a singular point of view. You run the risk of having too many similar-looking types of pictures, and miss out on different perspectives.

Having such a large collection to draw upon may be useful to an author who is trying to put out several books a year. But everyone is different, and as an author, it is not the path I have chosen for myself.

When you stop searching for new material, you run the risk that you also stop learning.  And there is a temptation to stop looking when you say, “I have enough material to make a book,” even though there still might be better information out there.

I notice that in this book, there is not one picture showing the interior of a streetcar. My own book Chicago Trolleys has several such interior shots. I based my own work on the idea that history is the story of people, so I made it a point to show the motormen, conductors and riders in various situations, including paying their fares on a two-man PCC.

Although the title would tell you this is a streetcar book, the final chapter features Chicago trolley buses (although, inexplicably, they are referred to as “trackless trolleys,” a term that may have been popular in other places, but was never commonly used by Chicagoans).

One of the first rules of writing is to write what you know.  I know Chicago, having lived my entire life here.  Therefore, I wouldn’t dream of writing a book about Erie, Pennsylvania or some other city, because that is not what I know the best.  But that is just me.

Perhaps inspired by some recent Dispatches from the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society, this book goes into some detail on various streetcar routes. But since this is mainly a picture book, a single page of text at the start of several chapters is not sufficient space to cover seven routes apiece, as the author tries to do.  The overall effect here is confusing, as the author tries to do too much in the limited amount of space available.

Personally, I found the maps in this book to be somewhat amateurish. They are hand-drawn, and scanned in such a way as to not be very sharp. In fact, you could say they are downright pixilated.

I chose not to use maps in Chicago Trolleys, since there were so many streetcar lines at one time that a Surface Lines map would look like a plate of spaghetti.  My book did not try to be a route history per se. But there are several maps in the book project I am working on now, and I had to look long and hard to find ones that will be easy to read, and convey the information I want the reader to have. It is not easy to do.

In my humble opinion, the text in such books should be more than a mere recitation of facts.  There are numerous sources for transit facts, such as how the Chicago Transit Authority took over operations of the “L” and surface systems on October 1, 1947 or that the last Chicago streetcar ran on June 21, 1958.  It is an author’s responsibility to provide insight as well as facts.  Yes, these things happened, but why did they happen?  What were the circumstances and influences that made this so?

Whether by sheer coincidence, or otherwise, the last two pictures in Chicago Streeetcar Memories are very similar to the ones that conclude Chicago Trolleys, and show a Chicago PCC and a Chicago trolley bus at the Illinois Railway Museum.

All in all, I was somewhat disappointed in the Chicago Streetcar Memories book. But far be it from me to discourage anyone from buying it, since a book about Chicago streetcars is better than no book at all. Reading is always something to be encouraged, and authors applauded for their efforts at preserving history for the benefit of future generations.

If you are looking for detailed Chicago route histories, I would suggest getting a copy of the third edition of the late Alan R. Lind’s Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History, which will probably remain for all time the best-ever Chicago streetcar book, and the standard by which all others are judged. Since it was published four decades ago, important contributions have been made to route histories by some of the Shore Line Dispatches.

If you are interested in Chicago PCC cars, CERA B-146 is the ne plus ultra, and our intention in writing it was to provide, at least for this aspect, a kind of updated color descendant of the Lind book, which is only black-and-white.

Chicago’s streetcar system was once so vast that no single book could do full justice to it, but we authors must continue to try.

That being said, my own recent work Chicago Trolleys provides an overview, which in my case was anything electric that ran in the Chicago area and used overhead wire instead of third rail. I also cover horsecars and cable cars, which preceded electric streetcars. My intention was to introduce the novice to the subject, while at the same time provide enough new material and previously unseen photographs to entertain even the most diehard railfan. We will leave it to our readers to tell us whether we succeeded.

Whatever my own reservations might be about it, the fact remains that you may still enjoy this new book.

While Chicago Streetcar Memories is not available (yet) on Amazon, you can purchase a copy from either Ron’s Books or the Seashore Trolley Museum.  Expect to pay about 50% more for a copy, compared to Chicago Trolleys.

-David Sadowski

New 1950s Steam Train Audio CDs:

HF-123
The Howard Fogg Steam Train Collection
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


The Howard Fogg Steam Train Collection

Howard Fogg (1917-1996) was a renaissance man, the dean of American railroad illustrators. But it is not as well-known that he recorded the sounds of steam trains in their waning mainline days starting in 1954.

These recordings were released on four LPs by the long-defunct Owl Records label between 1959 and 1969. They have since become collector’s items.

They are excellent recordings. Fogg knew everybody in the railroad industry, so he had access to railroad towers and places ordinary folks could not get to. In addition, he did his own narration, and had a great voice for it.

The four Fogg LPs are widely regarded as being classics, and the equal of anything put out by the Railroad Record Club. The titles were Power of the Past!, The Talking Giants, All Steamed Up! and The Big Steam…, Union Pacific.

These “orphan works” have been digitally remastered for the 21st century and are now available on a three-CD set for your listening pleasure. Railroads covered include the Baltimore & Ohio, Grand Trunk Western, Nickel Plate, Detroit Toledo & Ironton, Illinois Central, New York Central, Pennsylvania Railroad, Colorado & Southern, Rio Grande, and Union Pacific.

Total time – 174:59


HD
Highball
Doubleheader
# of Discs- 1
Price: $14.99

Highball, narrated by Jim Ameche (Don Ameche’s brother), was originally issued in 1959 on LP by a long-defunct record label. Railroads featured include Colorado & Southern, Great Western, Santa Maria Valley, Union Pacific, and Southern Pacific. Bonus tracks feature the Denver and Rio Grande Western, Canadian Pacific, and Pennsylvania Railroad.

Total time: 77:08

Chicago Trolleys

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

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

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

This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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The Fairmount Park Trolley

The Fairmount Park trolley, just prior to abandonment in 1946.

The Fairmount Park trolley, just prior to abandonment in 1946.

Many years ago, old-time railfans would compile “dossiers” or scrapbooks about their favorite lines. Eventually, some of these dossiers were used to help write books about those same properties.

Over the last three years or so, I have been collecting information about the Fairmount Park trolley operation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Today’s post is my “dossier” for your enjoyment. Hopefully, it will give you some of the flavor of what it must have been like to ride that long-gone scenic trolley.

There are today, of course, other scenic trolleys with open cars in service, but these are latter-day recreations such as in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Photos of the Fairmount Park trolley are scarce, so it took quite some time to find this many. Pictures in color are even scarcer, as few people were using color film as early as 1946.

There are some books about this line that do not have as many pictures as we have in this post. Most of the images you see here are taken from the original medium-format negatives.

Some of those dark spots that you see in the sky in some of the pictures are actually birds flying around in the park.

Even finding a decent map of the line was not easy. I purchased one of the “broadsides” used for the 1946 auction, and this fortunately had a nice map in it. Apparently the electric cars were used one last time to give prospective bidders a tour of the line, just days before the end of the half-century long franchise agreement.

Reports indicate that many people refused to get off the cars at the end of the line, having enjoyed it so much they went for multiple rides. This created problems on busy days.

Dr. Harold E. Cox, in his 1970 book The Fairmount Park Trolley: A Unique Philadelphia Experiment, told the fascinating story of this self-contained trolley operation that ran in a very large public park for nearly 50 years, from November 1896 until September 1946. He called it an experiment, because a park trolley line was quite unusual. There was one other example that ran in Europe, but for a much shorter period of time.

The Fairmount Park Transportation Company used the same rolling stock, originally built by Brill in 1896-97, for the entire life of the 8-mile long trolley. This was also quite unusual. Nothing seems to have been updated or replaced with anything newer.

J. G. Brill was an obvious choice for a builder as they were located in Philadelphia, and were at that time the industry leader.

By 1946, Fairmount Park was a virtual rolling museum of vintage equipment. The trolley operated year-round, on a reduced schedule during the winter of course. Open cars were used in the summer and closed cars in the winter.

The line mainly ran on the west side of the park, on a long one-way single track loop entirely on private right-of-way. There was a Junction station if you wanted to take a short cut and not have to ride all the way around the loop.

There were some double-tracked sections too, which you can see on the map below.

The east and west halves of the park were connected by a long bridge, built by the trolley company. It was renovated in the 1990s and is still in use today.

The FPTC built Woodside Amusement Park in 1897 and this provided another reason to use the park trolley. Woodside actually outlasted the trolley and closed in 1955.

Through the years, one of the closed cars was converted to a rather bizarre-looking line car. Various models have been made of this car. It sticks in your mind, just as it does the first time you see Frankenstein’s monster cobbled together from parts of various cadavers.

After World War II, the park trolley was badly in need to new equipment and new track, but it had operated at a loss for many years, and there were no funds available. The Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society drafted a proposal to save the line, suggesting that if fares were increased, additional monies could be used for renovations. Unfortunately, this came to naught, and the trolley was allowed to abandon service as of September 1946, about two months before the end of its 50-year franchise.

The trolley assets were sold at auction in November 1946, an event advertised using a large “broadside” printed brochure. All the cars were scrapped, and the rails, ties, wire, and line poles removed.

Eventually, it became difficult to tell just where the trolley had run through the park. In recent years, efforts have been made to turn the old trolley right-of-way into a trail. You can read about the Trolley Trail Demonstration Project here.

Some remnants of the trolley persist-  read about that here.

In spite of the winters in the northeast, there were a few streetcar lines that used open cars in warm weather for longer than practically anywhere else. Open cars were used in service to shuttle people to the Yale Bowl in Connecticut as late as 1948.

We are also featuring a few additional pictures from the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway, which ran open cars on the Jersey shore until 1945. We thank our resident New Jersey expert Kenneth Gear for helping research this obscure trolley line.

In addition, there is some interesting correspondence with Andre Kristopans and more great restored Chicago Aurora & Elgin pictures, courtesy of Jack Bejna.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- The word “broadside,” meaning a large advertisement such as this, took on an additional meaning during the folk song revival of the late 1950s and early 1960s. It brings to mind Broadside magazine, which began publishing in 1962 and continued through the 1970s.

Some of the images in today’s post were taken by the Reverend W. Lupher Hay (1905-1984), who lived in Canton, Ohio. According to author George W. Hilton, W. Lupher Hay purchased an interurban car from the Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside in 1934 for use as a summer home; he sold it in 1941.* Interestingly, his wife Fay (nee Siebert) (1910-2010), who survived him, passed away one day short of her 100th birthday.

*From The Toledo, Port Clinton and Lakeside Railway, Bulletin 42 of the Electric Railway Historical Society (1964), page 32.

Our next post will be our 200th, and we have been saving up some great Chicago images for that. Watch this space.

Car 8.

Car 8.

Trailer 55 in the mid-1940s.

Trailer 55 in the mid-1940s.

Car 15.

Car 15.

Car 8. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Car 8. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Car 14.

Car 14.

Car 7.

Car 7.

Car 31 near a tunnel.

Car 31 near a tunnel.

Car 54, a 14-bench open car and two other cars in the same series at the Belmont Avenue car house in July 1934. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 54, a 14-bench open car and two other cars in the same series at the Belmont Avenue car house in July 1934. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 4 leaving the sation, moving away from the photographer in January 1935. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 4 leaving the sation, moving away from the photographer in January 1935. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 1 on October 13, 1935.

Car 1 on October 13, 1935.

Car 8, signed for Dauphin Street, is at 44th and Parkside on October 13, 1935.

Car 8, signed for Dauphin Street, is at 44th and Parkside on October 13, 1935.

Very much the same as the previous shot, same car and location (44th and Parkside) but two weeks later on October 27, 1935. (William Lichtenstern Photo)

Very much the same as the previous shot, same car and location (44th and Parkside) but two weeks later on October 27, 1935. (William Lichtenstern Photo)

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge, which connects the east and west sides of the park.

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge, which connects the east and west sides of the park.

Closed car 5, which was built by Brill in 1896 along with the rest of the fleet.

Closed car 5, which was built by Brill in 1896 along with the rest of the fleet.

Parkside station.

Parkside station.

A stock certificate.

A stock certificate.

A paper transfer.

A paper transfer.

A stock certificate.

A stock certificate.

A 1910 postcard, quite "colorized."

A 1910 postcard, quite “colorized.”

Car 18 at the Junction station. The date is given as December 12, 1935, but the time of the year seems unlikely from the way people are dressed, and the looks of the trees. If the date was 2035, this could possibly be the correct attire, but as of 1935, there hadn't been enough global warming just yet.

Car 18 at the Junction station. The date is given as December 12, 1935, but the time of the year seems unlikely from the way people are dressed, and the looks of the trees. If the date was 2035, this could possibly be the correct attire, but as of 1935, there hadn’t been enough global warming just yet.

Car 3 on January 23, 1937. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 3 on January 23, 1937. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Composite line or utility car 200 was made from closed passenger car 9. Here we see it at the Belmont Avenue car house on June 26, 1936. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Composite line or utility car 200 was made from closed passenger car 9. Here we see it at the Belmont Avenue car house on June 26, 1936. (W. Lupher Hay Photo)

Car 16 on April 19, 1937.

Car 16 on April 19, 1937.

Line car 200 on October 16, 1938.

Line car 200 on October 16, 1938.

Car 30 at the car house on September 17, 1939.

Car 30 at the car house on September 17, 1939.

Car 11 in 1939. (Duane Bearse Photo)

Car 11 in 1939. (Duane Bearse Photo)

Car 14 at the terminal near the Philadelphia Transportation Company terminal in 1940. They did not share any tracks.

Car 14 at the terminal near the Philadelphia Transportation Company terminal in 1940. They did not share any tracks.

You can tell this picture was taken at the same time and place as the last one in 1940. That's the same girl in both pictures.

You can tell this picture was taken at the same time and place as the last one in 1940. That’s the same girl in both pictures.

An open car at 44th Street in 1941.

An open car at 44th Street in 1941.

Car 18 in May 1941.

Car 18 in May 1941.

Car 32 "at speed" in May 1941.

Car 32 “at speed” in May 1941.

May 1941.

May 1941.

The interior of an open car in May 1941. This charming photo also appeared in Harold Cox's book, but here we see it scanned from the original negative.

The interior of an open car in May 1941. This charming photo also appeared in Harold Cox’s book, but here we see it scanned from the original negative.

Two open cars in May 1941.

Two open cars in May 1941.

Two open cars in May 1941.

Two open cars in May 1941.

#31 in May 1941, as seen from another car.

#31 in May 1941, as seen from another car.

#46 in May 1941.

#46 in May 1941.

#23, as seen from a passing car in May 1941.

#23, as seen from a passing car in May 1941.

#18 in May 1941.

#18 in May 1941.

#25 in May 1941.

#25 in May 1941.

#25 in May 1941.

#25 in May 1941.

#19 in May 1941.

#19 in May 1941.

#28 in May 1941.

#28 in May 1941.

#46 in May 1941.

#46 in May 1941.

Car #21 in May 1941.

Car #21 in May 1941.

#18 at the car house in September 1941.

#18 at the car house in September 1941.

Car 10, shown here at Woodside in September 1941, is signed for the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, so perhaps this is a fantrip. Trailer #50 is at the rear out of view.

Car 10, shown here at Woodside in September 1941, is signed for the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, so perhaps this is a fantrip. Trailer #50 is at the rear out of view.

#49, a trailer, seen here as the rear car of a two-car train at the Park Junction station in 1942.

#49, a trailer, seen here as the rear car of a two-car train at the Park Junction station in 1942.

#26 in the car house in 1944.

#26 in the car house in 1944.

Car 18 at the station in June 1945. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Car 18 at the station in June 1945. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Cars 19 and 36 on the Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the Schuykill River near Woodford Station on July 9, 1944. The bridge, built in 1896-97 for the trolley company, is still in use, but the section used by the streetcars has only recently been repurposed with a "pedestrian promenade."

Cars 19 and 36 on the Strawberry Mansion Bridge over the Schuykill River near Woodford Station on July 9, 1944. The bridge, built in 1896-97 for the trolley company, is still in use, but the section used by the streetcars has only recently been repurposed with a “pedestrian promenade.”

#7 inside the car house in June 1946.

#7 inside the car house in June 1946.

Car 25 at the Junction station on April 13, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 25 at the Junction station on April 13, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 11 at the 44th and Parkside terminal on April 14, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 11 at the 44th and Parkside terminal on April 14, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 3 on April 13, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 3 on April 13, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 20 on April 14, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 20 on April 14, 1946. (Major G. F. Cunningham Photo)

Car 5 at the car house.

Car 5 at the car house.

The November 6, 1946 auction.

The November 6, 1946 auction.

Dismantling the line in late 1946 or early 1947.

Dismantling the line in late 1946 or early 1947.

Dismantling the line in late 1946 or early 1947.

Dismantling the line in late 1946 or early 1947.

1946 Color Film by Gerhard Salomon:

Bill Volkmer Writes:

Might be of interest to you. I believe the Strawberry Mansion Bridge photos came in an estate collection I bought from Syd Walker who was a bus driver for Southern Penn. Bought them ca. 1960.

Thanks very much!

Car 15 on July 7, 1946. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 15 on July 7, 1946. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 10 at Woodside in 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 10 at Woodside in 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 31. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 31. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge circa 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

The Strawberry Mansion Bridge circa 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 10 circa 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Car 10 circa 1945. (Bill Volkmer Collection)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway

Me, to Kenneth Gear:

I have collected a few photos of the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, NJ. As a New Jersey-ite, I was wondering if you can tell me anything about it. There hardly seems to be any info about it online.

I get the impression that the trolleys ran until the mid-1940s. It seems the company is still in business, and runs tourist trolleys that are gas powered. They claim to be an “interurban” on their web site but offer no history.

Thanks.

Wow, “New Jersey-ite”! That’s probably the nicest thing we’ve been called in a long time!

As for the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway, I personally know very little but my “go to” reference book on NJ streetcar lines has 6 pages of information. The book is STREETCARS OF NEW JERSEY by Joseph F. Eid, Jr. & Barker Gummere.

I’ve scanned the pages and attached them. Hope this tells you all you want to know.

Hey, thanks very much!

So, what nicknames do people from NJ go by? Here, I guess we have Chicagoans, or Illinoisans.

We prefer “Jerseyian” or for us men, “Jersey Guys”.

OK, thanks… FYI, I organized your scans into a PDF.

So, the trolley quit in 1945 but the bus operation that succeeded it is still going. Apparently, the character of life on the Jersey Shore changed during World War II, as there were German U-Boats preying on shipping just off the coast. They used the lights from the boardwalks to outline ships they were hunting, so a nighttime blackout was instituted.

Incredibly, there are reports that sometimes sailors from the U-Boats would row ashore and buy food locally to take back to their submarines.

Unlike the Fairmount Park trolley, at least one car from Five Mile Beach was saved. Car 36 is now at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. Read more about it here.

In Wildwood. Not sure which car this is.

In Wildwood. Not sure which car this is.

Car 20, signed for "Crest."

Car 20, signed for “Crest.”

Car 36 in Wildwood.

Car 36 in Wildwood.

Car 30 at Anglesea in July 1935.

Car 30 at Anglesea in July 1935.

Car 25 at Wildwood in the mid-1940s.

Car 25 at Wildwood in the mid-1940s.

Five Mile Beach car 26 at Wildwood, NJ in 1944. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach car 26 at Wildwood, NJ in 1944. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood car house on May 30, 1945. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood car house on May 30, 1945. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Car 36 at the Wildwood car house in 1944. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Car 36 at the Wildwood car house in 1944. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Car 36 on its way to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1945.

Car 36 on its way to the Connecticut Trolley Museum in 1945.

Five Mile Beach electric Railway car 27 at Atlantic and Oak Avenues in Wildwood, on the Angelsea-Crest line, June 1945. A bus is also visible. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway car 27 at Atlantic and Oak Avenues in Wildwood, on the Angelsea-Crest line, June 1945. A bus is also visible. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood carhouse on May 30, 1945, shortly before abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach electric Railway cars 22 and 27 at the Wildwood carhouse on May 30, 1945, shortly before abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 30 in the car barn, circa the mid-1940s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 30 in the car barn, circa the mid-1940s. (Walter Broschart Photo)

The Five Mile Beach Electric Railway line truck on May 30, 1945, at the Wildwood car house around the time of abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

The Five Mile Beach Electric Railway line truck on May 30, 1945, at the Wildwood car house around the time of abandonment. (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

A former Five Mile Beach Electric Railway streetcar at Wildwood, New Jersey in the late 1940s. The sign at left says, "Barbecued chicken our specialty." (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

A former Five Mile Beach Electric Railway streetcar at Wildwood, New Jersey in the late 1940s. The sign at left says, “Barbecued chicken our specialty.” (Walter Hulseweder Photo)

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.

Five Mile Beach Electric Railway car 36 at Warehouse Point, Connecticut on August 16, 1952.

Videos

Wildwood: The History of An American Resort

NJN Documentary Our Vanishing Past – Wildwood

Wildwoods by the Sea:

CA&E 1923 Pullman Cars

Here are more great Chicago Aurora & Elgin photo restorations, courtesy of Jack Bejna:

I recently received my copy of “Images of Rail: Chicago Trolleys”, just in time to take with on a flight from Florida to Los Angeles. I read it from cover to cover and enjoyed it immensely!

Glad you like it. Thanks!

In 1923 CA&E ordered 20 new cars (400­419) from Pullman. These cars were all steel and were state of the art when purchased. They were equipped with Tomlinson couplers and were not capable of training with any of the wood cars in the fleet. The new cars were put into limited service initially, but they eventually were used for all types of service.

Of these, the 409 at the Illinois Railway Museum is the lone survivor.

Recent Correspondence

The Last of the Red-Hot Pullmans

CTA 225 on October 12, 1956.

CTA 225 on October 12, 1956.

Me, to Andre Kristopans:

After the last of the red streetcars were taken out of service in May 1954, I read that the CTA planned to keep “about 10 or so” cars for emergency use.

It seems like the figure was actually nine cars. Looks like six were burned in March 1956, an event that was covered in the CTA Transit News. There is some film footage too:

From photos taken at that time, I see that some of the cars burned were 362, 453 (or is it 153), and 542. The three saved cars, of course, are 144, 225, and 460.

Any idea what numbers the other three cars might have been?

Thanks.

Actually, there seem to have been eight. There are 8 cars listed as off the books on 2/23/56:

144,225,288,362,453,460,507,542

They were part of a large group of 55 cars retired on AFR 16455R, comprising all remaining red cars. Rest were scrapped in 1955.

Thanks very much… but that CTA video sure seems to show six cars being torched.

This is somewhat strange, isn’t it? LOOKS like it might be six cars, but the scrap lists (which are contemporary records!) show only 8 cars with a 2/23/56 disposal date. Also, why do 144, 225, 460 show a “scrap date”? In fact 144 didn’t go to IRM until 1959, 460 sat around until 1985!. Only other departure was 225, supposedly in 1956 (but see below!). Apparently these are “removed from the books” dates. Another strange observation: Why are these cars so badly banged up? Especially the one at the north end of the lineup. Looks like it was chewed up by something. Were they pushing them around with forklifts? Even a forklift wouldn’t do THAT much damage. Looks like it was hit by a train!

Another tidbit – 2/1/56 roster on the IRM-CTA website has these same 8 cars listed as authorized for retirement but still around. 3/1/55 roster at same shows 60 cars in storage – scrap lists for 52 all come up April-May 1955. So unless there were some shenanigans – such as the 225 at Seashore isn’t the real 225, but another car sent to Seashore renumbered 225 and stricken off the books in 1955 under it’s real number and the real 225 was actually burned 2/56??? I can’t come up with another explanation. Can you?

I’ve been to Seashore, and that car is largely in original condition, more so than 144. There’s nothing to indicate any changes in numbering.

I think 225 might have left Chicago in 1957.

144 may have belonged to IERM while still being used in fantrip service.

I posted this on the chicagobus.org forum. This is the only thing that makes sense. If there are indeed six being burned in the video, I can’t come up with a better explanation.

Andre

You guys want to hear an interesting conspiracy theory? Well, I have one for you. First, a bit of background: I have in my possession a CTA list, hand-written and added-on to over they years, of scrapping dates for all streetcars. This can be considered a “contemporary record”. I also have in my possession a listing of which streetcars were retired under which Authorization for Retirement. Finally, the IRM-CTA website has on it various CTA rosters, with the pertinent dates being for 3/1/54 and 2/1/56.

According to the 3/1/54 roster, there were still 60 red streetcars sitting in storage. The 2/1/56 roster lists 8 left (144,225,288,362,453,460,507,542). The scrap list gives dates for the other 52 as in April and May of 1955, so this all comes out correct.

Now it gets interesting. CTA Connections has a video showing the burning of what is said to be the last red streetcars at 77th in the winter of 1956. The scrap list shows a 2/23/56 date for all eight cars listed above. HOWEVER — there is a problem. The video shows what appears to be six cars being burned. There should only have been five! Note of the above eight cars listed, three supposedly still exist – 144, 225, and 460. So what gives???

144 went to IRM in 1959. 460 sat at CTA for decades at Lincoln, Lawndale, etc. until it was finally shipped to IRM in 1985. 225 is at Seashore, and has been there since 1956, according to their website. It appears the dates in the scrap lists are actually the date a car was removed from inventory, not necessarily the actual date burned, though that date was probably soon after. So what would the sixth car scrapped in March of 1956 have been?

Here is a thought: Is it possible CTA did a number swap in 1955, and another car was actually shipped off to Seashore, lettered as 225? At this point, 61 years later, it would probably not be possible to determine if this is true, except maybe by a VERY detailed examination of the car at Seashore. However, if this is what happened, then the real 225 was the sixth car burned in 1956. Of the six cars being burned, you can only make out numbers on a couple, and in fact at least one has its number painted out. Maybe this swap was made because the real 225 had a major problem, and somebody at South Shops took it upon themselves to “send a better car?” CTA list does not note anything about 144 or 460 except a date, so if a car shown as off the inventory in 1955 was in fact shipped out, there would not likely be any note attached to it either.

Any better explanations??

Very interesting!

On the other hand, how about this scenario:

  1. The three saved cars 144, 225, and 460 have their original numbers.

2. Five other red cars were burned early in 1956.

3. One other car, not on the list of eight, was also burned at that time. This had been involved in a major wreck at some time previous, and therefore had an earlier retirement date, since there was no intention of fixing it.

This car sat around for some time until they got around to torching it with the others.

CTA was very good at scrapping what the paper said was scrapped. So definitely something marked 225 was burned that day in all likelihood, while whatever car went to Seashore while it might have been marked 225 on the car itself as it sat on the flatcar was written off as it’s “real” number, whatever it might have been. Or alternatively, the 225 burned wasn’t “really” 225 but something else in reality. No way to tell at this point, except that most likely the car at Seashore is most likely not really 225???

On the car at Seashore, I did not notice anything inside the car that would look as though the number got changed. Pretty sure I took some pictures of that too.

OK – this is what we know for sure: There are six cars burning. CTA 3/1/56 roster lists 8 cars. Scrap list corroborates these 8. 1954 roster lists 60. Scrap list corroborates that 52 scrapped 1955. So what conclusion can be drawn? A car that is listed as scrapped in 1955 at least on paper was renumbered 225 and burned 1956. Note we can make out 362, 542, 288, 507, 453 at various points, but not the sixth number. East lineup seems to be 362 (north), 453, unknown. West lineup is unknown, 288, 507?. 542 seems to be at the end of one of the rows. 542 is a smooth-side, the south car on the east row is not, but south car on west row is. Note south car on east row seems to have no visible numbers??? Only thing I can say is some number was retired in 1955 was actually 225 shipped out, while that number off the 1955 scrap list was actually burned in 1956. CTA was known to do number swapping to make reality match paperwork.

Got it, thanks.

225 was still on the property as of October 21, 1956. (It was used on a fantrip that date.)

Only thing I can say is somebody was fudging the paperwork. Were only 51 cars were burned in 1955 and the 52nd (number unknown) was actually burned in 1956? In that case somebody made a paperwork error, in multiple places, or was some other car previously written off as scrapped actually burned in 1956? This might be the case, if there is indeed a car with number painted out sitting in the fire line. Maybe another car was to go to Seashore and had been written off earlier, but then 225 was chosen instead and the original candidate burned? Like I said, it appears the dates are the day car was turned over to Materials Management for disposal, not the day something was actually burned. If somebody could come up with a specific date a specific car was burned, it might be possible to confirm this, but this is what it appears to be.

One car did seem to have the number painted out…

225 and 144 were both used for competing fantrips on February 10, 1957. Of the two, photos show 225’s number looking newer than 144. But of course that just may mean it had received a new paint job more recently than the other car. That does not necessarily indicate a renumbering of 225.

At least, that does confirm a 1957 date for 225 being moved to the Seashore Trolley Museum instead of 1956.

These car numbers only took on any significance when they were practically the only cars left. Before that, there were so many cars, one or two did not have particular importance. The May 16, 1954 “Farewell to the Red Cars” fantrip used 473 and 479, not 144 or 225.

Maybe the late Maury Klebolt was on to something when he “renumbered” the 144 into 225 for a December 1956 fantrip, eh?

Chicago Trolleys

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

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

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

-David Sadowski

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A New Beginning– A Renewed Commitment

April Blizzard Ripples Chicago Traffic (April 7, 1938): Chicago- Passengers, bystanders and a policeman pushing a Chicago trolley bus so it could get traction on a slippery street, after the city suffered a record April snowfall of more than 7 inches of wet snow that crippled traffic. (Editor's note: This picture was taken on Central Avenue, where CSL route 85 crossed the CRT's Lake Street "L" at ground level. You can see several CRT cars in the background. As far as I know, this was the only place in Chicago where a trolley bus crossed a trolley "L". The bus was heading south.)

April Blizzard Ripples Chicago Traffic (April 7, 1938): Chicago- Passengers, bystanders and a policeman pushing a Chicago trolley bus so it could get traction on a slippery street, after the city suffered a record April snowfall of more than 7 inches of wet snow that crippled traffic. (Editor’s note: This picture was taken on Central Avenue, where CSL route 85 crossed the CRT’s Lake Street “L” at ground level. You can see several CRT cars in the background. As far as I know, this was the only place in Chicago where a trolley bus crossed a trolley “L”. The bus was heading south.)

2016 in Review

We finished our second year with 127,545 page views, and increase of more than 20,000 (18%) over 2015. There were 35,315 individual visitors, up from 30,743 the year before.

Amazingly, this was done with fewer posts (63 vs. 108). This means the average number of page views per post more than doubled, to just over 2000.

What does that tell us? To me, it shows there is an avid and growing audience for this type of material, if you know how to connect with them.

To successfully reach this audience takes a lot of work. As 2017 begins, we make a renewed commitment to keep this going and do our very best. We are committed to excellence.

But of course, we are not really doing this alone, because all of you are an essential part of our success. As we have shared our material and information with our readers, you in turn have shared more and more with us.

To present this kind of original research does cost money, however. Right now, we are less than 30 days away from the expiration of our WordPress subscription, which costs $300 per year. Yes, $300 per year is a lot of money, but this includes not only an unlimited amount of online storage space for the more than 22gb of image files we have posted, but our domain registration as well.

$300 per year works out to about 82 cents per day during the course of one year, and that is for all our more than 35,000 readers. Of course, the great majority of people pay nothing, and we want to do our best to keep this site free of annoying third-party advertising and such.

Last year, our readers generously paid for half of the $300 subscription amount. Every dollar that you contribute is one more dollar that we will have available for our original research. Help us continue to provide uninterrupted service.

Your help is greatly appreciated as we look forward to another successful year. Here are more great classic photos for your enjoyment.

Happy New Year!

-David Sadowski

PS- The new Bob Selle photos have been added to our post Love For Selle (June 8, 2016).


Over-Age Streetcar Becomes Family's Home (April 16, 1946): Chicago- Mrs. Edith Sands prepares dinner on the small stove in the over-age streetcar where she and her husband, Arthur, and their five-months-old son, Jimmy, have just moved. The trolley car, which has seen nearly 50 years of service on Chicago streets, was purchased by the Sands at a recent public sale and propped up on a 5-acre site near Chicago's southern edge. The car is lighted by gasoline lamps. (Editor's Note: You can see the car number (1384) in this picture. This was part of the same series as the "Matchbox" 1374 that has been restored to running condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. The bodies of a couple other cars in this series have been found over the years and saved.)

Over-Age Streetcar Becomes Family’s Home (April 16, 1946): Chicago- Mrs. Edith Sands prepares dinner on the small stove in the over-age streetcar where she and her husband, Arthur, and their five-months-old son, Jimmy, have just moved. The trolley car, which has seen nearly 50 years of service on Chicago streets, was purchased by the Sands at a recent public sale and propped up on a 5-acre site near Chicago’s southern edge. The car is lighted by gasoline lamps. (Editor’s Note: You can see the car number (1384) in this picture. This was part of the same series as the “Matchbox” 1374 that has been restored to running condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. The bodies of a couple other cars in this series have been found over the years and saved.)

On January 23, 1965, the operator of CTA Marmon trolley bus 9572 has to get out at Grand and State and put the poles back on the wires. This was an occasional occurrence that CTA riders of a certain age will probably remember.

On January 23, 1965, the operator of CTA Marmon trolley bus 9572 has to get out at Grand and State and put the poles back on the wires. This was an occasional occurrence that CTA riders of a certain age will probably remember.

CTA 7260 is turning from westbound Devon onto northbound Ravenswood in the mid-1950s.

CTA 7260 is turning from westbound Devon onto northbound Ravenswood in the mid-1950s.

CTA Pullman 144 is heading southwest on Archer approaching Wentworth on June 15, 1958. This was four years after red cars were retired from active service, and less than a week before the end of all Chicago streetcars. The occasion was a fantrip sponsored by the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS). Car 144 now operates at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA Pullman 144 is heading southwest on Archer approaching Wentworth on June 15, 1958. This was four years after red cars were retired from active service, and less than a week before the end of all Chicago streetcars. The occasion was a fantrip sponsored by the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS). Car 144 now operates at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Bob Selle Photo)

On Sunday, September 13, 1953, CTA one-man shuttle car 3175 is on Fifth Avenue at Pulaski (Crawford), the west end of the Fifth Avenue line. This had been a branch line from route 20 - Madison. From this point, the cars looped via Pulaski and Harrison before going back NE on Fifth. The photographer was on the Garfield Park "L" at Pulaski. The "L" was heading east and west at this point, just south of where the Eisenhower expressway is today. This "L" station remained in use until June 1958. Streetcar service on Fifth Avenue continued into early 1954. The Fifth Avenue line used gauntlet track on Pulaski, so as not to interfere with Pulaski streetcars. This is confirmed by studying the 1948 supervisor's track map. Danny Joseph adds, "As a child I lived near this triangle when both Pulaski and Fifth still operated street cars and Harrison did not. I was very fascinated by the gauntlet on Pulaski which was the first time I saw such construction." (Bob Selle Photo)

On Sunday, September 13, 1953, CTA one-man shuttle car 3175 is on Fifth Avenue at Pulaski (Crawford), the west end of the Fifth Avenue line. This had been a branch line from route 20 – Madison. From this point, the cars looped via Pulaski and Harrison before going back NE on Fifth. The photographer was on the Garfield Park “L” at Pulaski. The “L” was heading east and west at this point, just south of where the Eisenhower expressway is today. This “L” station remained in use until June 1958. Streetcar service on Fifth Avenue continued into early 1954. The Fifth Avenue line used gauntlet track on Pulaski, so as not to interfere with Pulaski streetcars. This is confirmed by studying the 1948 supervisor’s track map. Danny Joseph adds, “As a child I lived near this triangle when both Pulaski and Fifth still operated street cars and Harrison did not. I was very fascinated by the gauntlet on Pulaski which was the first time I saw such construction.” (Bob Selle Photo)

An overview of the Fifth-Pulaski-Harrison area as it appears today. When the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was built, Fifth Avenue was cut off at this point just out of the right of the picture. The Garfield Park "L", which ran east and west at this point, was replaced by the Congress median rapid transit line in 1958.

An overview of the Fifth-Pulaski-Harrison area as it appears today. When the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was built, Fifth Avenue was cut off at this point just out of the right of the picture. The Garfield Park “L”, which ran east and west at this point, was replaced by the Congress median rapid transit line in 1958.

On August 9, 1955 CTA wooden "L" car 345 is at the front of a northbound Ravenswood "A" train at Chicago Avenue. (Bob Selle Photo)

On August 9, 1955 CTA wooden “L” car 345 is at the front of a northbound Ravenswood “A” train at Chicago Avenue. (Bob Selle Photo)

Here, we see the lineup at 71st and Ashland on May 23, 1953. From left to rigth, we have CTA 572, sprinklers D-210, D-212, D-203 and 504. (Bob Selle Photo)

Here, we see the lineup at 71st and Ashland on May 23, 1953. From left to rigth, we have CTA 572, sprinklers D-210, D-212, D-203 and 504. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA 4247 is southbound at Clark just north of Irving Park in March 1953.

CTA 4247 is southbound at Clark just north of Irving Park in March 1953.

Clark just north of Irving today. The building at right, shown in the 1953 photo, is still there.

Clark just north of Irving today. The building at right, shown in the 1953 photo, is still there.

CTA 4297 at Clark and Madison in the early 1950s. The PCC is on Clark. This must be winter, as some women are wearing fur coats. Back then, a fur coat was a real status symbol, mink especially. Clark was still a two-way street at this point. In the early 1950s, it was converted to one-way southbound, and Dearborn to northbound.

CTA 4297 at Clark and Madison in the early 1950s. The PCC is on Clark. This must be winter, as some women are wearing fur coats. Back then, a fur coat was a real status symbol, mink especially. Clark was still a two-way street at this point. In the early 1950s, it was converted to one-way southbound, and Dearborn to northbound.

Clark and Madison today, looking north.

Clark and Madison today, looking north.

CTA Sedan (Peter Witt) 6296 at Cottage Grove and 93rd on December 10, 1949. This was a short turn-- the usual end of route 4 was at 115th.

CTA Sedan (Peter Witt) 6296 at Cottage Grove and 93rd on December 10, 1949. This was a short turn– the usual end of route 4 was at 115th.

CSL 5639 on the Stony Island route, May 17, 1938.

CSL 5639 on the Stony Island route, May 17, 1938.

CTA Small Brill 5201 on May 27, 1950. Andre Kristopans: "5201 is at 111th and Sacramento. That is the Grand Trunk Western in the background, not the Illinois Central."

CTA Small Brill 5201 on May 27, 1950. Andre Kristopans: “5201 is at 111th and Sacramento. That is the Grand Trunk Western in the background, not the Illinois Central.”

CSL 5324 is a southbound Ashland car on Southport at Lincoln on August 17, 1947. The building at right was a funeral home.

CSL 5324 is a southbound Ashland car on Southport at Lincoln on August 17, 1947. The building at right was a funeral home.

Southport and Lincoln today.

Southport and Lincoln today.

CTA 4283 is southbound on Halsted at Cermak (22nd Street) in May 1954.

CTA 4283 is southbound on Halsted at Cermak (22nd Street) in May 1954.

Halsted and Cermak today. We are looking north.

Halsted and Cermak today. We are looking north.

Here, CTA 4232 is entering the loop at 80th and Vincennes in May 1953.

Here, CTA 4232 is entering the loop at 80th and Vincennes in May 1953.

CSL 5530 at 63rd Pace and Oak Park Avenue in December 1946. This was the west end of route 63 before PCCs took over the line in 1948. At that point, a turnback loop was built a half mile east of here at Narragansett. As you can see, the area was largely undeveloped at this point, but you could transfer here for service going farther west.

CSL 5530 at 63rd Pace and Oak Park Avenue in December 1946. This was the west end of route 63 before PCCs took over the line in 1948. At that point, a turnback loop was built a half mile east of here at Narragansett. As you can see, the area was largely undeveloped at this point, but you could transfer here for service going farther west.

The motorman of CTA 4051 poses with the prewar PCC at 63rd and Narragansett on May 5, 1950. This was the west end of route 63.

The motorman of CTA 4051 poses with the prewar PCC at 63rd and Narragansett on May 5, 1950. This was the west end of route 63.

CSL 1858 on North Avenue on July 3, 1940. Michael D. Franklin writes: "There’s enough here to say that this is North & Narragansett. The trolley bus wires are above the building to the right and angled onto Narragansett. The bus would have turned into the alley, gone around the bar with (Schlitz sign) and then make a left back onto North Ave heading east. Historical Aerials confirms all of this." The North Avenue cars turned back on the west side of Narragansett. Between Narragansett and Cicero Avenue, there was two miles of shared wire between streetcars and trolley buses, unusual in Chicago. That was to permit Narragansett trolley buses access to the garage at North and Cicero.

CSL 1858 on North Avenue on July 3, 1940. Michael D. Franklin writes: “There’s enough here to say that this is North & Narragansett. The trolley bus wires are above the building to the right and angled onto Narragansett. The bus would have turned into the alley, gone around the bar with (Schlitz sign) and then make a left back onto North Ave heading east. Historical Aerials confirms all of this.” The North Avenue cars turned back on the west side of Narragansett. Between Narragansett and Cicero Avenue, there was two miles of shared wire between streetcars and trolley buses, unusual in Chicago. That was to permit Narragansett trolley buses access to the garage at North and Cicero.

North and Narragansett today.

North and Narragansett today.

CSL 3010 is westbound on Randolph in Chicago's Loop. The film Holiday, starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, is on one of the theater marquees, which dates this picture to 1938. Besides the Hotel Sherman, we can see the Oriental, United Artists, and Woods theaters, plus Henrici's restaurant.

CSL 3010 is westbound on Randolph in Chicago’s Loop. The film Holiday, starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, is on one of the theater marquees, which dates this picture to 1938. Besides the Hotel Sherman, we can see the Oriental, United Artists, and Woods theaters, plus Henrici’s restaurant.

CTA 3381 is one of the few Sedans that got repainted green. This is on Cottage Grove, probably near 103rd.

CTA 3381 is one of the few Sedans that got repainted green. This is on Cottage Grove, probably near 103rd.

This picture shows a Logan Square train on the Met main line at Peoria, prior to the February 1951 opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway.

This picture shows a Logan Square train on the Met main line at Peoria, prior to the February 1951 opening of the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway.

The same location today. The Met "L", at this point, ran just to the north of the expressway footprint.

The same location today. The Met “L”, at this point, ran just to the north of the expressway footprint.

CTA 7145 on route 36 - Broadway-State. (Chicagoland Hobby Collection)

CTA 7145 on route 36 – Broadway-State. (Chicagoland Hobby Collection)

Broadway and Irving Park Road looking NW in 1948. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Broadway and Irving Park Road looking NW in 1948. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Broadway, Sheridan Road, and Montrose looking north in 1955. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Broadway, Sheridan Road, and Montrose looking north in 1955. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Irving Park and Broadway looking east in 1948. Car 888 is at the east end of route 80 - Irving Park. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Irving Park and Broadway looking east in 1948. Car 888 is at the east end of route 80 – Irving Park. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL PCC 4067 is southbound on Clark just north of Belmont circa 1946-47. Note the standee windows on this car are in their original livery, which was soon changed. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL PCC 4067 is southbound on Clark just north of Belmont circa 1946-47. Note the standee windows on this car are in their original livery, which was soon changed. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Clark and Belmont today, looking north.

Clark and Belmont today, looking north.

Here, CSL 5558 is northbound at the intersection of Clark, Diversey, and Broadway. The southbound car is on Broadway. The time period is probably circa 1940. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Here, CSL 5558 is northbound at the intersection of Clark, Diversey, and Broadway. The southbound car is on Broadway. The time period is probably circa 1940. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The intersection of Clark, Diversey, and Broadway in the 1930s. That's the Century Theater on Clark. Behold My Wife was a 1934 film starring Sylvia Sidney and Gene Raymond. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The intersection of Clark, Diversey, and Broadway in the 1930s. That’s the Century Theater on Clark. Behold My Wife was a 1934 film starring Sylvia Sidney and Gene Raymond. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6152 is southbound at Clark and Division in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 6152 is southbound at Clark and Division in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 299 at Clark and Halsted in 1935. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 299 at Clark and Halsted in 1935. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL Sedan 6306 is southbound at Clark and Wrightwood in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL Sedan 6306 is southbound at Clark and Wrightwood in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Clark and Wrightwood today.

Clark and Wrightwood today.

CSL 5589 is northbound at Clark and Wrightwood in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

CSL 5589 is northbound at Clark and Wrightwood in the 1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Clark (left) and Halsted (right) in 1948. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Clark (left) and Halsted (right) in 1948. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)


New Site Additions

The following pictures have been added to our previous post Red Arrow in West Chester (September 13, 2016):

Red Arrow 66 and 7t6 at St. Albans Siding in Newtown Square on June 6, 1954.

Red Arrow 66 and 7t6 at St. Albans Siding in Newtown Square on June 6, 1954.

Here, we see Red Arrow car 66 heading up a two-car train on May 6, 1962. This is the Clifton-Aldan stop on the Sharon Hill line.

Here, we see Red Arrow car 66 heading up a two-car train on May 6, 1962. This is the Clifton-Aldan stop on the Sharon Hill line.

The same location today.

The same location today.

Red Arrow car 21 on the private right-of-way section of the Ardmore line. Since Ardmore was converted to bus at the end of 1966, this area has been paved over to create a dedicated busway.

Red Arrow car 21 on the private right-of-way section of the Ardmore line. Since Ardmore was converted to bus at the end of 1966, this area has been paved over to create a dedicated busway.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 172nd 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 232,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

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


Love for Selle

Chicago & North Western loco 608, a 4-6-2, heads an eastbound commuter train at Oak Park Avenue on March 23, 1955. This shows how the wide C&NW embankment made it possible, within a few years, to elevate the outer end of CTA's Lake Street "L". In the process, several close-in C&NW stations were closed. (Bob Selle Photo)

Chicago & North Western loco 608, a 4-6-2, heads an eastbound commuter train at Oak Park Avenue on March 23, 1955. This shows how the wide C&NW embankment made it possible, within a few years, to elevate the outer end of CTA’s Lake Street “L”. In the process, several close-in C&NW stations were closed. (Bob Selle Photo)

The building shown in the previous picture still stands on North Boulevard, just east of Oak Park Avenue, in Oak Park.

The building shown in the previous picture still stands on North Boulevard, just east of Oak Park Avenue, in Oak Park.

The late Robert A. Selle (1929-2013) was a notable railfan photographer who seems to have worked exclusively in black-and-white throughout his career. After his passing, his photo collection was sold, and recently some of his original negatives have hit the open market, where we have been fortunate enough to buy a few of them.

I know there are many people who are only interested in color photography, but personally, I appreciate great black-and-white work every bit as much. If you want to see pictures that date to before the 1940s or 1950s, that pretty much eliminates color. Even then, the early versions of Kodachrome were much more limited in how they could be used– after all, the original film speed was ISO 10.

By comparison, black-and-white films were “high speed” with ratings like 32, 64, or even 100. By the late 1950s, Kodak put out Super-XX which had a film speed of perhaps 200, depending on who you talk to.

We ran a couple of Bob Selle photos in older posts, which we are including here along with the others. We also posted a few some time back on the CERA Members Blog. To find those, just type “Selle” in the search window at the top of the page and the posts that include them will come up.

Anyhow, while I did not know the man personally, all the Bob Selle photos that I have seen have been pretty great, and I hope you think so too. Along with our tribute to Bob Selle, I am including some of our other recent photo finds that you may find interesting.

As always, if you have additional questions, comments, or other information you can add regarding what you see here, don’t hesitate to let us know. You can either leave a Comment on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

In addition to his shutterbug work, Bob Selle was also one of the founding members of the Electric Railway Historical Society, which published 49 important historical publications and preserved several electric railcars that are now at the Illinois Railway Museum. In 2014 I helped put together The Complete ERHS Collection, an E-book that includes all 49 publications. It is available from Central Electric Railfans Assocation.*

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

PS- While in a sense it is a shame that when many railfan photographers pass on, their collections get scattered to the four winds, or determined by the highest bidder, that also presents us with an opportunity to try and collect some of these great images and pass them on to you. How many pictures we can save this way, and the quality of the ones we do present, is largely determined by the amount of financial support we can get from our readers.

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


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 140th 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 167,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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

We thank you for your support.

In the twilight days of steam, C&NW locomotive 532, a 4-6-2, heads a commuter train in February 1956. Although this negative is marked as having been taken at Euclid Avenue in Oak Park, where UP freight and Metra commuter trains now share space with the CTA's Green Line rapid transit, this certainly looks like it was taken somewhere else at ground level. (Bob Selle Photo) Andre Kristopans: "The CNW “Euclid Ave” shot most likely is about where Kilpatrick Av now crosses the tracks. If one blows up the photo, you see a railroad overpass in the background that certainly looks like the BRC bridge at Kenton. Box cars on right would be on one of the tracks at 40th St Yard, while the lower-level track in foreground would be an industrial lead. Train would be EB."

In the twilight days of steam, C&NW locomotive 532, a 4-6-2, heads a commuter train in February 1956. Although this negative is marked as having been taken at Euclid Avenue in Oak Park, where UP freight and Metra commuter trains now share space with the CTA’s Green Line rapid transit, this certainly looks like it was taken somewhere else at ground level. (Bob Selle Photo) Andre Kristopans: “The CNW “Euclid Ave” shot most likely is about where Kilpatrick Av now crosses the tracks. If one blows up the photo, you see a railroad overpass in the background that certainly looks like the BRC bridge at Kenton. Box cars on right would be on one of the tracks at 40th St Yard, while the lower-level track in foreground would be an industrial lead. Train would be EB.”

CTA salt spreader AA98 was former "Interstate" car 2846, shown here being operated for probably the last time ever on May 25, 1958 at CTA's South Shops. The occasion was a CERA fantrip on the last remaining Chicago streetcar line, so everything old that could run was trotted out for pictures. This car was soon purchased by the Electric Railway Historical Society, and eventually made its way to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is preserved. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA salt spreader AA98 was former “Interstate” car 2846, shown here being operated for probably the last time ever on May 25, 1958 at CTA’s South Shops. The occasion was a CERA fantrip on the last remaining Chicago streetcar line, so everything old that could run was trotted out for pictures. This car was soon purchased by the Electric Railway Historical Society, and eventually made its way to the Illinois Railway Museum, where it is preserved. (Bob Selle Photo)

There are a lot of pictures like this, showing CTA PCC 7142 and locomotive L-201 at South Shops on May 25, 1958. This was the occasion of one of the final fantrips on Chicago's last remaining streetcar line, organized by the Central Electric Railfans' Association, which was abandoned less than one month later. 7142 was on its way down to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping so that parts could be reused in Chicago rapid transit cars. (Bob Selle Photo)

There are a lot of pictures like this, showing CTA PCC 7142 and locomotive L-201 at South Shops on May 25, 1958. This was the occasion of one of the final fantrips on Chicago’s last remaining streetcar line, organized by the Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which was abandoned less than one month later. 7142 was on its way down to the St. Louis Car Company for scrapping so that parts could be reused in Chicago rapid transit cars. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA two-man arch roof 6141 coing off the south end of the Halsted Street bridge over the Milwaukee Road on November 16, 1953. This car was known as one of the "Odd 17" (actually 19), probably because it did not fit into some other series. Don's Rail Photos says, "6141 was built by American Car Co in February 1918, #1079." (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA two-man arch roof 6141 coing off the south end of the Halsted Street bridge over the Milwaukee Road on November 16, 1953. This car was known as one of the “Odd 17” (actually 19), probably because it did not fit into some other series. Don’s Rail Photos says, “6141 was built by American Car Co in February 1918, #1079.” (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA "Big Pullman" 511 at Lake and Paulina Streets on the Ashland Avenue line on August 26, 1953. (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA “Big Pullman” 511 at Lake and Paulina Streets on the Ashland Avenue line on August 26, 1953. (Bob Selle Photo)

It's the evening rush hour on June 3rd, 1959, and North Shore Line car 161 is on the tail end of a northbound train at Chicago Avenue on the "L". (Bob Selle Photo)

It’s the evening rush hour on June 3rd, 1959, and North Shore Line car 161 is on the tail end of a northbound train at Chicago Avenue on the “L”. (Bob Selle Photo)

The experimental pre-PCC car 4001 ended its days on CTA property as a storage shed. It is shown here at South Shops on December 18, 1955. The body shell of 4001 is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Bob Selle Photo)

The experimental pre-PCC car 4001 ended its days on CTA property as a storage shed. It is shown here at South Shops on December 18, 1955. The body shell of 4001 is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Bob Selle Photo)

The late Bob Selle took this great shot of an outbound Milwaukee Road commuter train leaving Union Station in Chicago on August 8, 1958. These were some of the consists I saw as a child, since I lived very close to what is now the Metra Milwaukee District West Line. Ridership was nothing compared to what it is today, and I believe bi-levels were not introduced here until around 1961-62. That's the Merchandise Mart across the Chicago River. This picture was taken from the Lake Street overpass. That looks like a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible at left.

The late Bob Selle took this great shot of an outbound Milwaukee Road commuter train leaving Union Station in Chicago on August 8, 1958. These were some of the consists I saw as a child, since I lived very close to what is now the Metra Milwaukee District West Line. Ridership was nothing compared to what it is today, and I believe bi-levels were not introduced here until around 1961-62. That’s the Merchandise Mart across the Chicago River. This picture was taken from the Lake Street overpass. That looks like a 1957 Oldsmobile convertible at left.

According to Don's Rail Photos, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 213 "was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise dispatch 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." This photo by the late Bob Selle shows it newly delivered to the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago on August 7, 1955.

According to Don’s Rail Photos, Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 213 “was built by Cincinnati in March 1920, #2445, as a merchandise dispatch 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.” This photo by the late Bob Selle shows it newly delivered to the Chicago Hardware Foundry in North Chicago on August 7, 1955.

Caption: "3 cars on North Shore Line northbound at Kenilworth (714 on rear of train), July 13, 1955. This was shortly before the end of service on the Shore Line Route. (Bob Selle Photo) Don's Rail Photos: "714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It is modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum."

Caption: “3 cars on North Shore Line northbound at Kenilworth (714 on rear of train), July 13, 1955. This was shortly before the end of service on the Shore Line Route. (Bob Selle Photo) Don’s Rail Photos: “714 was built by Cincinnati Car Co in 1926, #2890. It is modernized in 1939 and preserved in 1963 by the Illinois Railway Museum.”

This looks like a 1952 Chevrolet 4-door Fleetline fastback to me, which would be a somewhat rare model with only a few thousand produced. The fastback, which had enjoyed a brief vogue starting around 1941, was dropped for the 1953 model year.

This looks like a 1952 Chevrolet 4-door Fleetline fastback to me, which would be a somewhat rare model with only a few thousand produced. The fastback, which had enjoyed a brief vogue starting around 1941, was dropped for the 1953 model year.

It's May 30, 1958 and Chicago Surface Lines car 1467 (former CTA salt car AA72) is at the Electric Railway Historical Society site on Plainfield Road in Downer's Grove. Don's Rail Photos says this "Bowling Alley" car "was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4516. It was rebuilt as 1467 in 1911 and became CSL 1467 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA72 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on February 28, 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1959 and went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973." Actually it must have been sold earlier, as the negative envelope has written on it "owned now by ERHS!" (Bob Selle Photo)

It’s May 30, 1958 and Chicago Surface Lines car 1467 (former CTA salt car AA72) is at the Electric Railway Historical Society site on Plainfield Road in Downer’s Grove. Don’s Rail Photos says this “Bowling Alley” car “was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4516. It was rebuilt as 1467 in 1911 and became CSL 1467 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA72 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on February 28, 1958. It was sold to Electric Railway Historical Society in 1959 and went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1973.” Actually it must have been sold earlier, as the negative envelope has written on it “owned now by ERHS!” (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA 3025 is running inbound on Elston on June 30, 1949. (Bob Selle Photo) Neil Arsenty adds, "Although this is the Elston Avenue line, this is actually taken at Milwaukee and Kinzie going southeast. The building behind the streetcar still stands at the Northwest corner."

CTA 3025 is running inbound on Elston on June 30, 1949. (Bob Selle Photo) Neil Arsenty adds, “Although this is the Elston Avenue line, this is actually taken at Milwaukee and Kinzie going southeast. The building behind the streetcar still stands at the Northwest corner.”

Milwaukee and Kinzie today.

Milwaukee and Kinzie today.

CTA Pullman 144 is heading southwest on Archer approaching Wentworth on June 15, 1958. This was four years after red cars were retired from active service, and less than a week before the end of all Chicago streetcars. The occasion was a fantrip sponsored by the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS). (Bob Selle Photo)

CTA Pullman 144 is heading southwest on Archer approaching Wentworth on June 15, 1958. This was four years after red cars were retired from active service, and less than a week before the end of all Chicago streetcars. The occasion was a fantrip sponsored by the Electric Railway Historical Society (ERHS). (Bob Selle Photo)

On Sunday, September 13, 1953, CTA one-man shuttle car 3175 is on Fifth Avenue at Pulaski (Crawford), the west end of the Fifth Avenue line. This had been a branch line from route 20 - Madison. From this point, the cars looped via Pulaski and Harrison before going back NE on Fifth. The photographer was on the Garfield Park "L" at Pulaski. The "L" was heading east and west at this point, just south of where the Eisenhower expressway is today. This "L" station remained in use until June 1958. Streetcar service on Fifth Avenue continued into early 1954. (Bob Selle Photo)

On Sunday, September 13, 1953, CTA one-man shuttle car 3175 is on Fifth Avenue at Pulaski (Crawford), the west end of the Fifth Avenue line. This had been a branch line from route 20 – Madison. From this point, the cars looped via Pulaski and Harrison before going back NE on Fifth. The photographer was on the Garfield Park “L” at Pulaski. The “L” was heading east and west at this point, just south of where the Eisenhower expressway is today. This “L” station remained in use until June 1958. Streetcar service on Fifth Avenue continued into early 1954. (Bob Selle Photo)

An overview of the Fifth-Pulaski-Harrison area as it appears today. When the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was built, Fifth Avenue was cut off at this point just out of the right of the picture. The Garfield Park "L", which ran east and west at this point, was replaced by the Congress median rapid transit line in 1958.

An overview of the Fifth-Pulaski-Harrison area as it appears today. When the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was built, Fifth Avenue was cut off at this point just out of the right of the picture. The Garfield Park “L”, which ran east and west at this point, was replaced by the Congress median rapid transit line in 1958.

On August 9, 1955 CTA wooden "L" car 345 is at the front of a northbound Ravenswood "A" train at Chicago Avenue. (Bob Selle Photo)

On August 9, 1955 CTA wooden “L” car 345 is at the front of a northbound Ravenswood “A” train at Chicago Avenue. (Bob Selle Photo)

Here, we see the lineup at 71st and Ashland on May 23, 1953. From left to rigth, we have CTA 572, sprinklers D-210, D-212, D-203 and 504. (Bob Selle Photo)

Here, we see the lineup at 71st and Ashland on May 23, 1953. From left to rigth, we have CTA 572, sprinklers D-210, D-212, D-203 and 504. (Bob Selle Photo)


Recent Photo Finds

CTA 7095 heads south on State Street on route 36 Broadway-State on August 18, 1954. You can see the Mandel Brothers department store in the background. We discussed this retailer in our previous post Lifting the Lid in the Loop (April 12, 2016), which makes Madison the cross street. Mandel Brothers was bought out by Wieboldt's in 1960, and their store occupied this site into the 1980s. This image was taken on size 828 film, which was meant to be Kodak's answer to 35mm starting in the late 1930s. It offered 8 pictures on a roll, with an image area nearly 30% bigger than 35mm, and had notches in the film so that cameras could use an automatic frame counter/spacer, potentially eliminating the troublesome little red window on the back of the camera. Although Kodak promoted this format in the stylish Art Deco Bantam series of cameras, it did not catch on and 828 film was discontinued by Kodak in 1985. However, the technology behind 828 was later used in the very much more successful 126 cartridge format starting in 1963. It is actually still possible to get 828 film today that has been respooled and cut to size from larger formats.

CTA 7095 heads south on State Street on route 36 Broadway-State on August 18, 1954. You can see the Mandel Brothers department store in the background. We discussed this retailer in our previous post Lifting the Lid in the Loop (April 12, 2016), which makes Madison the cross street. Mandel Brothers was bought out by Wieboldt’s in 1960, and their store occupied this site into the 1980s. This image was taken on size 828 film, which was meant to be Kodak’s answer to 35mm starting in the late 1930s. It offered 8 pictures on a roll, with an image area nearly 30% bigger than 35mm, and had notches in the film so that cameras could use an automatic frame counter/spacer, potentially eliminating the troublesome little red window on the back of the camera. Although Kodak promoted this format in the stylish Art Deco Bantam series of cameras, it did not catch on and 828 film was discontinued by Kodak in 1985. However, the technology behind 828 was later used in the very much more successful 126 cartridge format starting in 1963. It is actually still possible to get 828 film today that has been respooled and cut to size from larger formats.

A comparison of a standard 35mm Kodachrome slide with a "superslide" in 828 film format. At 28x40mm as opposed to 24x36mm, the superslide has a nearly 30% larger surface area. Despite the different style of these two slide mounts, these pictures were taken only about one year apart (left 1956, right 1955). There were also 40x40mm superslides using size 127 roll film, taking up nearly the entire area of a standard 2x2" slide mount, but as far as I know Kodachrome was never made in that format, although Ektachrome certainly was. So, the term superslide can refer to either size 828 or 127 transparencies.

A comparison of a standard 35mm Kodachrome slide with a “superslide” in 828 film format. At 28x40mm as opposed to 24x36mm, the superslide has a nearly 30% larger surface area. Despite the different style of these two slide mounts, these pictures were taken only about one year apart (left 1956, right 1955). There were also 40x40mm superslides using size 127 roll film, taking up nearly the entire area of a standard 2×2″ slide mount, but as far as I know Kodachrome was never made in that format, although Ektachrome certainly was. So, the term superslide can refer to either size 828 or 127 transparencies.

CTA postwar PCC 7236 is shown northbound at Clark and Armitage on Sunday, December 18, 1955 in fantrip service. It was preferable in this period to run fantrips on weekends, since regular service on these lines was now being operated by buses, such as the ones shown in the background. We have run three other photos from this same fantrip in previous posts. Red car 225 was used ahead of this car. Since the trip organizers had advertised that car 144 would be used, they put a piece of oilcloth with that number on it over the Pullman's actual number. I also wrote about this same trip in the post The Old Math (144 = 225) March 13, 2013 on the CERA Members Blog. At that time, I thought the date of the trip was 1956, but a variety of sources since then say it was actually 1955. George Foelschow adds, "The tan building directly behind the car is the North Park Hotel, the apex of the Old Town Triangle, site of the Chandelier Room, where I cast my first vote in 1960, since I lived just south of there on Lincoln Avenue. Sadly, the streetcars and trolley wires were gone by then, and only the tracks remained for a time."

CTA postwar PCC 7236 is shown northbound at Clark and Armitage on Sunday, December 18, 1955 in fantrip service. It was preferable in this period to run fantrips on weekends, since regular service on these lines was now being operated by buses, such as the ones shown in the background. We have run three other photos from this same fantrip in previous posts. Red car 225 was used ahead of this car. Since the trip organizers had advertised that car 144 would be used, they put a piece of oilcloth with that number on it over the Pullman’s actual number. I also wrote about this same trip in the post The Old Math (144 = 225) March 13, 2013 on the CERA Members Blog. At that time, I thought the date of the trip was 1956, but a variety of sources since then say it was actually 1955. George Foelschow adds, “The tan building directly behind the car is the North Park Hotel, the apex of the Old Town Triangle, site of the Chandelier Room, where I cast my first vote in 1960, since I lived just south of there on Lincoln Avenue. Sadly, the streetcars and trolley wires were gone by then, and only the tracks remained for a time.”

CTA one-man prewar PCC 4032 is shown southbound on route 4 - Cottage Grove in the early 1950s, where the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central's electric suburban commuter service.

CTA one-man prewar PCC 4032 is shown southbound on route 4 – Cottage Grove in the early 1950s, where the line ran parallel to the Illinois Central’s electric suburban commuter service.

CTA 7012 at the Narragansett Loop on the west end of route 63. Tony Waller adds, "In image 257, the pre-war PCC must have been photographed in December 1951. All pre-war PCCs were removed from 63rd St. in Spring 1952 and rebuilt for one man operations (with elimination of one of the center doors). They were then assigned to Cottage Grove."

CTA 7012 at the Narragansett Loop on the west end of route 63. Tony Waller adds, “In image 257, the pre-war PCC must have been photographed in December 1951. All pre-war PCCs were removed from 63rd St. in Spring 1952 and rebuilt for one man operations (with elimination of one of the center doors). They were then assigned to Cottage Grove.”

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 318 under wire on a July 4, 1949 fantrip. The index card with this negative reads: Monitor roof double end steel interurban. Builder: Jewett 1909; Weight 100,000 lbs.; Motors 4 GE 66 HP 500; Seats 52; Length 54' Width 8' 8" Height 13' 6". On the same day, the New York-based Electric Railroader's Association held a Chicago fantrip on south side streetcar lines that were soon to be abandoned. You can see a picture from that trip in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Five.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 318 under wire on a July 4, 1949 fantrip. The index card with this negative reads: Monitor roof double end steel interurban. Builder: Jewett 1909; Weight 100,000 lbs.; Motors 4 GE 66 HP 500; Seats 52; Length 54′ Width 8′ 8″ Height 13′ 6″. On the same day, the New York-based Electric Railroader’s Association held a Chicago fantrip on south side streetcar lines that were soon to be abandoned. You can see a picture from that trip in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Five.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 319 heads west, having just left the CTA's Wells Street Terminal, sometime prior to the end of CA&E service downtown in September 1953. This was a stub-end terminal, and the tracks at right curved around to Van Buren and connected to the southwest corner of the Loop "L". In 1955, that connecting track was removed as part of the construction of lower Wacker Drive. A new connection to the Loop was made by extending two tracks through the old Wells Street Terminal, which was by then no longer in use. The CTA's Garfield Park trains continued to use this connection until June 1958, when the Congress median line opened. Parts of the old "L" structure here were not demolished until the early 1960s.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car 319 heads west, having just left the CTA’s Wells Street Terminal, sometime prior to the end of CA&E service downtown in September 1953. This was a stub-end terminal, and the tracks at right curved around to Van Buren and connected to the southwest corner of the Loop “L”. In 1955, that connecting track was removed as part of the construction of lower Wacker Drive. A new connection to the Loop was made by extending two tracks through the old Wells Street Terminal, which was by then no longer in use. The CTA’s Garfield Park trains continued to use this connection until June 1958, when the Congress median line opened. Parts of the old “L” structure here were not demolished until the early 1960s.

"Congress St. expressway under construction with rapid transit tracks in center strip, October 8, 1955." The Garfield Park "L" tracks, whether temporary or existing, are not visible in this picture. The first tracks in the median line were laid on July 28, 1955 at Pulaski Road, with Mayor Richard J. Daley driving the first spike. Matt Cajda adds, "In the Congress Expressway photo, the elevated Garfield Park tracks look visible to me just above the two bridges over the expressway. This would indicate that the photo could possibly be taken from the Homan Ave. or Kedzie Ave. bridge." Andre Kristopans: "The Congress construction is looking east at Kostner. Remember, Kostner station came later." (Yes, the short-lived Kostner station, built on a curve, opened in 1962 as the result of lobbying by three local aldermen whose wards were nearby. It closed in 1973.)

“Congress St. expressway under construction with rapid transit tracks in center strip, October 8, 1955.” The Garfield Park “L” tracks, whether temporary or existing, are not visible in this picture. The first tracks in the median line were laid on July 28, 1955 at Pulaski Road, with Mayor Richard J. Daley driving the first spike. Matt Cajda adds, “In the Congress Expressway photo, the elevated Garfield Park tracks look visible to me just above the two bridges over the expressway. This would indicate that the photo could possibly be taken from the Homan Ave. or Kedzie Ave. bridge.” Andre Kristopans: “The Congress construction is looking east at Kostner. Remember, Kostner station came later.” (Yes, the short-lived Kostner station, built on a curve, opened in 1962 as the result of lobbying by three local aldermen whose wards were nearby. It closed in 1973.)

This photo was marked as being taken in April 1951. Unfortunately, what the picture shows makes that date impossible. The buildings behind the ground level "L" show that this is Western Avenue at Van Buren, during the 1953-58 rerouting of part of the Garfield Park "L". Red car 473 is on a curve because the tracks are on a shoo-fly while the bridge that would go over the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was under construction to the left of this view, which looks north. This phase of construction, and the presence of car 473, would imply that this picture actually dates to May 16, 1954, when this car and 479 were used on a CERA "farewell to red cars" fantrip on Chicago's streetcar system. Meanwhile, a two-car train of flat door 6000-series "L" cars (6049-6050), with numbers painted on their roofs, proceeds on the ponderously slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage.

This photo was marked as being taken in April 1951. Unfortunately, what the picture shows makes that date impossible. The buildings behind the ground level “L” show that this is Western Avenue at Van Buren, during the 1953-58 rerouting of part of the Garfield Park “L”. Red car 473 is on a curve because the tracks are on a shoo-fly while the bridge that would go over the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway was under construction to the left of this view, which looks north. This phase of construction, and the presence of car 473, would imply that this picture actually dates to May 16, 1954, when this car and 479 were used on a CERA “farewell to red cars” fantrip on Chicago’s streetcar system. Meanwhile, a two-car train of flat door 6000-series “L” cars (6049-6050), with numbers painted on their roofs, proceeds on the ponderously slow 2.5 mile temporary trackage.

Although CTA postwar PCC 4400 is not front and center in this September 1, 1955 press photograph, taken at Clark and Leland, looking northeast, that is actually part of its charm. This was part of a series showing neighborhood life in Uptown, during a time when streetcars were still a part of everyday life in Chicago. (Ralph Arvidson Photo)

Although CTA postwar PCC 4400 is not front and center in this September 1, 1955 press photograph, taken at Clark and Leland, looking northeast, that is actually part of its charm. This was part of a series showing neighborhood life in Uptown, during a time when streetcars were still a part of everyday life in Chicago. (Ralph Arvidson Photo)

The same location today. Leland is a block south of Lawrence.

The same location today. Leland is a block south of Lawrence.

Chicago Surface Lines "Sedan" (Peter Witt) 6281, southbound on route 22 - Clark-Wentworth, most likely in the late 1930s.

Chicago Surface Lines “Sedan” (Peter Witt) 6281, southbound on route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, most likely in the late 1930s.

CTA 4026 is eastbound on private right-of-way at the west end of route 63.

CTA 4026 is eastbound on private right-of-way at the west end of route 63.

Chicago Surface Lines Brill car 6072 at Kedzie Station on January 28, 1942. (John F. Bromley Collection) I believe this car was built in 1914. You can see part of a Sedan in the background. These were used for fill-in service on Madison along with the prewar PCCs.

Chicago Surface Lines Brill car 6072 at Kedzie Station on January 28, 1942. (John F. Bromley Collection) I believe this car was built in 1914. You can see part of a Sedan in the background. These were used for fill-in service on Madison along with the prewar PCCs.

The interior of CSL Pullman 616 during Surface Lines days. (Joe L. Diaz Collection)

The interior of CSL Pullman 616 during Surface Lines days. (Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 2779 in a wintry scene, probably in the 1940s. The location is unknown, as the roll sign on the car simply reads "Downtown." According to Don's Rail Photos, this car was part of a series known as Robertson Rebuilds, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1903. Don Ross: "These cars were similar to 2501-2625 but were longer and heavier. They were built with McGuire 10-A trucks but were replaced with Brill 51-E-1 trucks in 1918. An additional 20 cars were ordered, 2781-2800, but they were delivered to St Louis & Suburban Ry as 600-619. It replaced most of their cars in a carbarn fire that destroyed most of their equipment." (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: "Headed south on Damen Ave with Roscoe St. in the distance."

CSL 2779 in a wintry scene, probably in the 1940s. The location is unknown, as the roll sign on the car simply reads “Downtown.” According to Don’s Rail Photos, this car was part of a series known as Robertson Rebuilds, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1903. Don Ross: “These cars were similar to 2501-2625 but were longer and heavier. They were built with McGuire 10-A trucks but were replaced with Brill 51-E-1 trucks in 1918. An additional 20 cars were ordered, 2781-2800, but they were delivered to St Louis & Suburban Ry as 600-619. It replaced most of their cars in a carbarn fire that destroyed most of their equipment.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: “Headed south on Damen Ave with Roscoe St. in the distance.”

I believe this is CSL car 2811 on the Riverdale line. If so, this car is part of a series (2801-2815) built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901. Don's Rail Photos says, "These cars were built for Chicago City Ry and sold to Calumet & South Chicago Railway in 1908. 2811 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901 as CCRy 2586. It was sold as C&CS 711 in 1908 and renumbered 2811 in 1913. It became CSL 2811 in 1914." (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: "Northbound on Indiana Ave turning west on 134th St."

I believe this is CSL car 2811 on the Riverdale line. If so, this car is part of a series (2801-2815) built by St. Louis Car Company in 1901. Don’s Rail Photos says, “These cars were built for Chicago City Ry and sold to Calumet & South Chicago Railway in 1908. 2811 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901 as CCRy 2586. It was sold as C&CS 711 in 1908 and renumbered 2811 in 1913. It became CSL 2811 in 1914.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo) Michael Franklin: “Northbound on Indiana Ave turning west on 134th St.”

This photo is supposed to show the traction motor in CTA trolley bus 370. If so, it was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1948. This bus would have been renumbered to 9370 in 1952, to avoid duplication with bus numbers from the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which CTA purchased that year. A while back I asked our readers whether the North Shore Line Electroliner was fitted with trolley bus motors. I don't think I got a definitive answer, although in some sense, a traction motor is a traction motor.

This photo is supposed to show the traction motor in CTA trolley bus 370. If so, it was built by St. Louis Car Company in 1948. This bus would have been renumbered to 9370 in 1952, to avoid duplication with bus numbers from the Chicago Motor Coach Company, which CTA purchased that year. A while back I asked our readers whether the North Shore Line Electroliner was fitted with trolley bus motors. I don’t think I got a definitive answer, although in some sense, a traction motor is a traction motor.

CTA 384, a Pullman, sits at the west end of route 66 at Chicago Avenue and Austin Boulevard. That looks like a West Towns bus across the way in suburban Oak Park in the background.

CTA 384, a Pullman, sits at the west end of route 66 at Chicago Avenue and Austin Boulevard. That looks like a West Towns bus across the way in suburban Oak Park in the background.


Updates

It’s conclusively been shown that the following two “mystery” photos below show the Hammond, Whiting & East Chicago Railway, which operated a through service to Chicago with the Chicago Surface Lines. In its final years, the Indiana half of this operation was under the management of Chicago & Calumet District Transit. Chicago cars ran into Indiana, and Indiana cars ran into Illinois, up until the cessation of streetcar service in 1940. Operators were changed at the state line, and each car had two sets of fare boxes.

According to Don’s Rail Photos:

HW&EC was formed in 1892 in Hammond where 2 miles of track were built. It was then extended through East Chicago and Whiting to the state line and a connection to the South Chicago City Railway. It came under SCCRy control and service was extended to 63rd and Stony Island. In 1901 a fire destroyed the Hammond Packing Co which caused such a financial impact that all but 12 cars were sold. In 1908 the SCCRy merged with the Calumet Electric Street Ry as the Calumet & South Chicago Ry which retained control of the HW&EC. Joint service was maintained using cars of both companies. After World War I the line was plagued by private auto and jitney competition and finally filed for abandonment in 1929. A new company, Calumet Railways was formed, but it failed and was replaced by C&CDT. The Indiana Harbor line was abandoned in 1934 and the remainder of the system on June 9, 1940.

PS- Coincidentally, Frank Hicks has just posted an article called THE INTERSTATE: CSL 2846 and the Streetcar Service to Indiana on the excellent Hicks Car Works blog. It’s well worth reading, and we contributed a couple of pictures as well.

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). Bob Lalich writes, "The location of photo csl127 is East Chicago, IN. The road is Indianapolis Blvd and the bridge spans the west leg of the Indiana Harbor Canal. The car is SB."

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). Bob Lalich writes, “The location of photo csl127 is East Chicago, IN. The road is Indianapolis Blvd and the bridge spans the west leg of the Indiana Harbor Canal. The car is SB.”

A close-up of the previous photo. This appears to be Chicago and Calumet District car 78, built by American in 1919.

A close-up of the previous photo. This appears to be Chicago and Calumet District car 78, built by American in 1919.

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). Bob Lalich writes, "After studying photo csl26 several more times and the HW&EC map in James Buckley’s book I am convinced the location is Schrage Ave near Steiber St in Whiting. The car is SB and the crossing track is the IHB branch which connected to the B&OCT Whiting Branch, seen in the background. Everything fits."

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). Bob Lalich writes, “After studying photo csl26 several more times and the HW&EC map in James Buckley’s book I am convinced the location is Schrage Ave near Steiber St in Whiting. The car is SB and the crossing track is the IHB branch which connected to the B&OCT Whiting Branch, seen in the background. Everything fits.”

A close-up of the previous photo. This appears to be Chicago and Calumet District car 78, built by American in 1919.

A close-up of the previous photo. This appears to be Chicago and Calumet District car 78, built by American in 1919.

We previously ran another version of this photograph in our post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 3 (March 29, 2015), although that version was cropped somewhat. There, the caption read as follows: CSL 6200 by Hammond Station (car house), 1939. According to Andre Kristopans, this street is called Gostlin. (M.D. McCarter Collection)

We previously ran another version of this photograph in our post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 3 (March 29, 2015), although that version was cropped somewhat. There, the caption read as follows: CSL 6200 by Hammond Station (car house), 1939. According to Andre Kristopans, this street is called Gostlin. (M.D. McCarter Collection)

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). It shows Chicago Surface Lines prewar PCC 4003 at the Madison-Austin Loop.

This is a higher-res version of a photo that originally appeared in our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016). It shows Chicago Surface Lines prewar PCC 4003 at the Madison-Austin Loop.

We now have a nearly complete set of hi-res scans of the CTA Transit News, an employee publication, covering the years from 1947 to 1973. That's an amazing 282 issues in all, on average 24 pages per copy. It's a wealth of information, covering several thousand pages of material, added to our E-Book The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available through our Online Store.

We now have a nearly complete set of hi-res scans of the CTA Transit News, an employee publication, covering the years from 1947 to 1973. That’s an amazing 282 issues in all, on average 24 pages per copy. It’s a wealth of information, covering several thousand pages of material, added to our E-Book The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973, available through our Online Store.

These issues of the CTA Transit News are full of interesting tidbits of information contained in theses publications, some of which are not to be found anywhere else.

The June 1956 issue, published 60 years ago, is no exception.

On page 20 of the June 1956 issue, we find the following:

On the preceding day, Sunday, June 17, the Western avenue one-man streetcar line was converted to bus operation… The conversion from streetcars to buses on Western was necessary to clear the way for the City of Chicago to proceed with its program of building vehicular traffic grade separations in heavily used intersections.

That was written 60 years ago, and the grade separation project they refer to was the flyover at Western, Belmont and Clybourn, which opened on November 22, 1961. This was mainly built due to traffic congestion from nearby Riverview amusement park, but that closed after the 1967 season. The flyover has long outlived its usefulness and was recently demolished.

On page 3, we find:

GARFIELD PARK TRACKS RELOCATED AGAIN– HERE’S WHY

In order to speed up construction work on the Congress street expressway, the section of CTA tracks on the Garfield Park line of the rapid transit system from east of Central avenue to Austin boulevard that was relocated last year has again been relocated and will be cut into service sometime in June.

This speed-up program will permit the highway building agencies to prepare simultaneously the permanent right-of-way and necessary facilities for CTA and B & O CT and the Chicago Great Western R. R. operations in this area. Originally the highway building agencies had planned to construct these permanent facilities in two stages, one after the other. This would have consumed considerably more time than the revised plan will require, even though this seems to duplicate the temporary work that was done a year ago.

Both of the temporary routings for CTA operations, as well as CTA permanent right-of-way and station facilities, are being paid for by the public agencies that are constructing the Congress street expressway.

The second relocation project involved the laying of two additional tracks approximately 40 feet to the north between Central avenue and Austin boulevard, It also involved the construction of a new station at Central avenue and alterations to the Austin boulevard station.

Work has already been completed on all operating facilities required for this relocation. The actual cutting in of service is contingent upon completion of new water main facilities through Oak Park and Forest Park.

After CTA service has been diverted to the temporary tracks, the existing CTA tracks will be taken over and used by the other two railroads in accomplishing their temporary relocation.

On page 7, some CTA employees were asked about their plans for the summer. Edward T. Mizerocki, a repairman at Wilson shops, replied:

Since I’m a rail fan, I will devote much of my spare time at the Illinois Electrical (sic) Railway Museum in North Chicago taking a lot of pictures. Another of my aims will be to help restore and preserve old streetcars and other electric railway equipment.

Ed Mizerocki is mentioned a couple of times in the June 2013 issue of Rail and Wire, the magazine of the Illinois Railway Museum, which you can read here.

We salute all those who helped to preserve transit history over the years, whether we know their names or not.

-David Sadowski

Upgrade Service

We strive to improve our E-books whenever we can, with the addition of new material. If you have already purchased a copy, and want to obtain the latest version, we would be happy to send you a new disc for just $5.00 within the United States. Drop us a line at thetrolleydodger@gmail.com for further details.

Bonus Feature:

The Bantamweight Division

A compendium of Kodak Bantam cameras and the size 828 roll film they used.

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A Window to the World of Streetcars

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Ask Geoffrey: A Look Back at Chicago’s Streetcar Era

Andy Warhol once said that in the future, everyone will be “famous for 15 minutes.” Last night’s “Ask Geoffery” segment on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight news magazine program only lasted about 8 minutes, but I found it pretty memorable nonetheless.

After all, the segment was entirely devoted to Chicago streetcars, and a book I co-authored (Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, published by Central Electric Railfans’ Association as their 146th Bulletin) was prominently featured. At one point WTTW’s Geoffrey Baer held the book aloft and talked about all the great pictures that are in there, not only of Chicago streetcars, but the places they ran through.

If you want to know what Chicago really looked like back in the 1940s and 1950s, this book is a good place to start.

If you’re reading this message, there’s a chance you already have your copy of B-146. But if not, I think it is an excellent book and urge you to purchase one directly from CERA or their dealers.* Of course, as one of the authors, I am a bit prejudiced.

If that was my only connection to last night’s broadcast, I would be chuffed. However, while I played no part in the creation of this segment, my fingerprints were also there on other parts of it.

Some of the other pictures featured were things I posted to The Trolley Dodger, or to the CERA Members’ Blog. In particular, a few pictures were used from our post West Towns Streetcars in Color (February 10, 2015). Also in the West Towns segment of this piece, were several photos that I took in 2014 at the dedication of C&WT car 141 at the Illinois Railway Museum. These originally appeared in the post IRM Dedicates Chicago & West Towns Car 141 (CERA Members Blog, June 2, 2014). Those weren’t the only such photos that were used.

None of this should be too surprising. Whoever researched this piece likely did some Google searches, and this is what came up. When researching things myself, I frequently find my own posts coming up to the top of Internet searches on a variety of subjects. There were, of course, many other sources that WTTW used, including video of the last Chicago streetcar on June 21, 1958, posted by the Chicago Transit Authority.

My favorite picture from last night, that I was not connected with, is reproduced above. It shows Chicago streetcars and buses at Navy Pier, during the time when it was the temporary home of the University of Illinois.

It has always been my intention for create an accessible archive of information about transit history that people will find useful.  Last month, we had more than 12,000 page views on this blog, even though there were only three new posts.  So, a lot of people are actually looking at the older posts, which is quite gratifying.

As a short history lesson, the Chicago Tonight segment was excellent, but I do have a couple of minor caveats. They mentioned how streetcar ridership declined in the 1920s, leading to the development of the PCC car. However, streetcar ridership in Chicago actually went up in the ’20s, leading to use of trailers.

In this episode, the demise of Chicago streetcars was put on the shoulders of Walter J. McCarter, CTA’s first general manager, and dated to 1947. However, some streetcar lines were bussed before this (some as early as 1941) and the beginnings of their demise can be traced back even further than that.

The Surface Lines introduced several new routes on Chicago’s northwest side in 1930 using trolley buses, and within a short period of a few years, CSL had become a leading exponent of this form of transit. While it was stated at the time that eventually, CSL would convert these lines to streetcar as ridership increased, none were so changed.

In 1937, the City of Chicago produced a so-called “Green Book” plan for comprehensive transit improvements.** According to this plan, the City expected to replace half of Chicago’s streetcars with buses, and possibly all of them if bus technology would prove itself.

The leading author of this plan, Philip Harrington, later became the first chairman of the Chicago Transit Authority, and undoubtedly carried over these views to the CTA. While I am sure that Walter J. McCarter was an ardent foe of streetcars, a 1947 Chicago Tribune article indicated he was hired because of his success in “rubberizing” the Cleveland streetcar system.

Of course, there is no way to get into these sorts of nuances of history in an 8 minute segment.

You can read more about last night’s Ask Geoffrey segment here. You can also watch the video of the 8 minute segment there. The entire hour-long program can also be seen here.

Interestingly, last night they used a photo I took of Frank Sirinek piloting Chicago & West Towns car 141.  CERA B-146 also has a photo of Mr. Sirinek in it that I took, this time a picture from the 1980s showing him at the helm of CTA 4391, the last surviving postwar Chicago streetcar.

-David Sadowski

This photo of streetcars and buses at Navy Pier, which dates to the early CTA era, appeared on Chicago Tonight. It was sourced from the Internet. According to Andre Kristopans, the date this photo could have been taken is either April, May, or June 1951 (see Comments section).

This photo of streetcars and buses at Navy Pier, which dates to the early CTA era, appeared on Chicago Tonight. It was sourced from the Internet. According to Andre Kristopans, the date this photo could have been taken is either April, May, or June 1951 (see Comments section).

A CSL trolley coach, from a 1935 brochure.  This image, originally posted here, appeared in the Chicago Tonight segment.

A CSL trolley coach, from a 1935 brochure. This image, originally posted here, appeared in the Chicago Tonight segment.

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

**The Green Book plan is discussed in detail in my E-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available from our Online Store.


Recent Correspondence

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Regarding some “mystery” photographs in recent posts, Chuck Bencik from San Diego, life member of San Diego Electric Railway Association, writes:

These cars are definitely from Lucerne Valley, PA, as the caption below, and extract from material about Nanticoke history seem to prove. Also, as a 23 year resident of Chicago, (1938 to 1961), during which streetcars in Chicago operated, I can assure you that Chicago Surface Lines never had letters for their route designations, like “N”, and the colors of their livery following World War II were not the same as the one photograph which is in color says to me. Also, the 13th and 14th photos from the top are not Chicago Surface Lines streetcars.

These rails of the WB Traction Company survived the war and were in use when the last trolley car rolled into Nanticoke in 1950.” [Source: http://www.nanticokehistoryonline.org/site2/stories/2013/March/WWII.html ]

These rails of the WB Traction Company survived the war and were in use when the last trolley car rolled into Nanticoke in 1950.” [Source: http://www.nanticokehistoryonline.org/site2/stories/2013/March/WWII.html ]

“The Wilkes-Barre & Wyoming Valley Traction Company (W-B&WVT) was more fortunate than most properties. The fact that Luzerne County’s population was widely scattered in mine patches and supporting villages meant that there was a regular source of residential and business traffic along most of its lines. The main amusement park was Sans Souci, roughly midway on the line from Wilkes-Barre to Nanticoke.” [Source: http://harveyslake.org/text/story_lakeline_02.html ]

Following photo is from Dave’s New Rail pix, Wilkes Barre Railway:

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Nope; not Chicago’s. Has no numbers, and the railroad crossing sign uses a font style that was never seen on the grade crossing signs of Chicago, during the streetcar era. Similarly for the photo below. Nice Brill cars; but their livery is a dark color for window frames and doors, and something lighter in color for the large areas of flat sheet metal, like the dashers. The next photo after that, the streetcar crossing a street bascule bridge which seems to be only partly closed/opened? Not a Chicago streetcar photo, either.

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Thanks for writing. There were actually several other people who correctly identified the Wilkes-Barre trolleys in our post Spring Cleaning (May 16, 2016), and you can find their thoughts in the Comments section.

The additional two photos from The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016) have already been identified as the Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago. Although this was an Indiana operation, some of these cars actually did operate into Chicago, offering through service to 63rd and Stony Island in conjunction with the South Chicago City Railway. The HW&EC frequently leased streetcars from Chicago.

I apologize for the lo-res images (we will soon have better versions of these) but the cars actually did have numbers on the front, just not very visible here. Not sure if that is due to these pictures possibly having been taken with Orthochromiatic film, or if there simply wasn’t sufficient contrast in black-and-white to make them out.

Apparently for most of their life these cars were painted green, and in fact locals knew it as the “Green Line,” but from 1932-40, their final years, they were painted yellow as they were operated by the Chicago and Calumet District Transit Company.

That these cars would so closely resemble those of the Chicago Surface Lines should not be a surprise, as this operator was jointly owned at one time by one of the CSL constituent companies and there was some shuffling of equipment.

The story of the Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago Railway was told in Electric Railway Historical Society Bulletin #8 by James J. Buckley, published in 1953. This, and the other 48 ERHS publications, are contained in The Complete ERHS Collection, an E-book I edited for Central Electric Railfans’ Association, available through them and their dealers.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 139th 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 165,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-4-2015, Etc.

Updates

We are pleased to present a previously unknown two-color version of a 1936 Chicago Surface Lines brochure about the new streamlined PCC streetcars. This material has been added to our E-book Chicago’ PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available from our Online Store.

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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.

Photo Updates

FYI, we now have an improved version of the TMER&T photo reproduced above, since we have been fortunate enough to acquire the original 1949 4″ x 5″ negative. This has been added to our recent post Traction In Milwaukee.

Three more photos have been added to our post West Towns Streetcars In Black-and-White. One of them shows a West Towns streetcar making the connection with its Chicago Surface Lines counterpart at Lake and Austin.

Reader Mail

The following question was posted to the Chicagotransit Yahoo Group by robyer2000:

I was looking at the letters in The Trolley Dodger about the construction of the reversing loop in the Howard Yard in 1949. The letter from the man at CTA public affairs indicated that before skip stop service trains that terminated at Howard were usually yard put-ins. That seems unlikely, at least since the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943, after which most Jackson Park trains terminated at Howard, other than during owl hours.

My question is this: before they built the reversing loop, just how did they reverse trains at Howard that weren’t put-ins?‎ In rush hours, they were 8 car trains. Where did they switch ends?

I replied:

You must be referring to our recent post Railfan Ephemera.

There is some circa 1975 correspondence between Tom Buck, then Manager of the CTA’s Public Affairs department, and an individual who had asked about a 1949 photo showing the construction of a turnaround loop in the Howard Yard.

The photo is reproduced, along with a brochure detailing the changes brought about by the adoption of A/B “skip-stop” service on the North-South L in 1949.

Previously, there were many trains that terminated at other places such as Wilson.

As Graham Garfield’s web site notes:

North Side “L” service used to be more commonly through-routed into Evanston, with Evanston trains running through to Jackson Park on what’s now the Green Line, from 1913 to 1949. In 1949, the CTA instituted a North-South service revision, at which time the suburban portion was divorced into its own line, running as a shuttle to meet the new North-South trunk line at Howard. Thus was the modern Evanston Route, with the shuttle service at all times and downtown rush hour express service, born.

Starting in 1949, there were a lot more trains terminating at Howard, both from the north and the south.  Meanwhile, North Shore Line trains continued to pass through via the Skokie Valley and Shore Line Routes.

Around this time, CTA proposed turning over the Evanston/Wilmette service to the North Shore Line, in exchange for having all NSL service terminate at Howard.  As CNS&M already wanted to abandon the Shore Line Route, this proposal went nowhere.

Robyer2000 wrote:

I don’t ever like to doubt Graham, but at least after the State Street Subway opened in 1943, few, if any, day time subway trains went past Howard and‎ fewer still terminated at Wilson unless they were putting in there. Consider there were only 455 steel cars that could operate in the subway and alternate daytime trains ran to Kimball, and assume 10 pct. of the cars were needed for spares, 410 steel cars were available for schedules of which 205 would have been in Howard service.   That would be enough for 25 Howard – Jackson Park trains. If the route took 125 minutes round trip with lay over (remember in one direction it had to make all stops from Indiana to Congress), that would have been a steel train to Howard every 5 minutes, or a total of only 24 trains an hour through the subway. Even if I am wrong with my assumptions or my arithmetic, how wrong can I be?

I have seen many pictures of Howard Street Express Via Subway t:rains over the years, but never one signed Evanston Express via Subway, although I know it was an available route on the sign curtain because I have one.

Additionally, that red brochure the CTA issued on the opening of the subway indicated Jackson Park trains would terminate at Howard, except after midnight.

I know too that after 1943 there were Evanston Express via “L” Loop trains that circled the Loop at least many of which ran express south of Loyola and which presumably had wooden consists.

So the question remains, what was the operation for reversing trains at Howard before the reversing loop was built?

I know that what became the loop track at Howard Yard terminated in a bumping post at the landfill to Evanston before the loop was built by tunneling across the landfill. If they used that track to reverse ends, the trains must have had to go through the yard switches to that track, reverse ends and then return through the yard switches.

I replied:

Hopefully, someone here will know the answer.

If they did in fact use the yard track to change ends, they either would have needed personnel at both ends of the train, ready to reverse course, or the motorman would have had to walk through the train to do so, making it more difficult to maintain tight schedules.

The City realized that operating the subway with the 455 steel cars (there was actually a 456th but it was an older, experimental one, not part of the 4000s fleet) was not the optimal situation, but it was enough to get service going in the State Street subway in 1943.

Of course, they still had the “L” route to the Loop, so there were many additional wood car trains going that way besides.

M. E. answered:

I’m averse to posting in threads, but I want to chime in about the L turnaround at Howard St.

I grew up on Green St. south of 63rd. Between our residence and the L, the city tore down all the houses to make a parking lot for businesses on 63rd St. So I had a bird’s-eye view of the L.

Plus I rode the L a lot, by myself, when I was young. These days that’s a no-no, but back then it was safe.

The timing for all this was the late 1940s, after the State St. subway opened. I don’t remember seeing wooden cars on the Englewood L.

I rode the Englewood/Ravenswood L a lot, all the way to Lawrence and Kimball and back. I don’t think I ever changed to the Jackson Park L to go north past Belmont.

As an aside, I also remember wooden cars on the Kenwood L sharing the track with south side steel cars between Indiana and 18th St.

I distinctly remember that the Jackson Park L went north only to Howard. Not into Evanston.

Also, I remember being surprised one day by seeing that the CTA built a loop north of Howard to reverse direction. I don’t exactly remember when that was, just that I was surprised by it.

Given that the Jackson Park L terminated at Howard, and there was no reversing loop yet, there are several possibilities:

(1) The Rapid Transit system put two crewmen on every Jackson Park train — one at the south end, the other at the north end. This would have made it simple to reverse at Howard (as well as at 63rd and Stony Island). But very expensive to operate. This would also have had to be true of any other stub-ending L line with long trains.

(2) At Howard, trains pulled in from the south, changed crew at the station, and took off again heading south, all within a very short time. This seems not too feasible because it would probably delay Evanston and CNS&M trains from using the station.

(3) Suppose the trains proceeded north of Howard into the yard. Perhaps a new crew boarded the south end of the northbound train (which I want to call Train 1) at the Howard station. Then Train 1 pulled straight into the yard. The new crew at the south end took over and brought Train 1 back into Howard station heading south. Then at Howard the northbound crew got off.

(4) Train 1 arrived from the south at Howard. Its crew got off, and walked to the south end of the platform. Two other crews, assigned only to work at Howard, boarded Train 1 — one crew at the north end of the train, the other crew at the south end. These two crews took the train into the yard, reversed direction, and brought Train 1 south to the Howard station. There, the “road” crew, which had previously walked to the south end of the platform, re-boarded Train 1 and took it south from Howard. After that, the two Howard-only crews repeated to handle subsequently arriving trains from the south.

The more I look at these possibilities, I like #4 the best.

When I use the term “crew”, I mean motorman. That’s because on L trains back then, there were conductors between every car. Yes, really. Apparently there was no central control for opening and closing doors, so one conductor could control only his car’s doors. Also, every conductor from rear to front had to ring a bell twice to indicate all was clear to proceed. Those bells rang in each car, one at a time, from rear to front.

Furthermore, to my recollection, the longest trains through the subway had six cars. Not eight. For six cars there were five conductors. Another reason I say six cars is that station platforms were lengthened to accommodate eight cars. Those longer sections were narrower (not as deep) as the original platforms. In fact, the northmost track at the 63rd and Loomis terminal was extended over Loomis to accommodate eight-car trains. By that time there were no more double-deck buses on Loomis to preclude extending the L structure over the street.

Also, there were no married pairs of steel cars at that time. I remember seeing one-car trains on Sunday mornings. Consider also the Normal Park branch. Before it became a shuttle from 69th to Harvard, the Normal Park car coupled onto the back of an Englewood train. West of Harvard, people on the tracks coupled or uncoupled the Normal Park car, which had its own motorman and conductor. With a maximum of six cars, this means an Englewood train west of Harvard would have had only five cars max, so that the Normal Park car became the sixth car.

I have seen pictures of two-car Normal Park trains, but I never saw that personally.

I concede it’s possible that there were six cars on Englewood trains, plus one Normal Park car, total seven cars. I’m just not sure.

Everything I say here is based on 65-year-old memories. I may have some facts wrong, but I simply don’t know.

Then, robyer2000 wrote:

Thank you for your post. It is fascinating to me to hear your memories.

They in fact used 8 car trains, but due to the door control issues you mentioned, the furthest front and back doors were not used so an 8 car train could berth at a platform which would be a 6 car platform today.

I believe that trains of all 4000 series car only needed what they called a “gateman” every other car because the far doors of a car could be separately controlled at the opposite end of the car. One of the gateman was the conductor, I’m not sure where he stood in a long train. Logically, he would have been at the rear as he had to ascertain the train was properly berthed before opening the doors, but he may have been near the middle if at that time they already had lines drawn on the platform edge to assist the conductor.

Train door control wasn’t instituted until 1952-1954.

Your alternative 2 doesn’t sound possible because of the necessity of moving the train to the Southbound platform at Howard.

And then, M. E. wrote:

Some things I thought of after sending my last note:

Exit doors on 4000-series steel cars were at the ends of the cars. So at any coupled cars, there were exit doors at the rear of the first car and exit doors at the front of the second car. The conductor assigned to that location stood outside, over the coupling, and operated controls for the exit doors immediately to either side of him. The conductor could see the unloading and loading activity at each of the two exit doors, so he knew when all that activity was finished. He then rang the bell twice to indicate that his station was clear. As anyone can imagine, during winter the conductor had a very cold job.

The rearmost conductor was the first to ring the bells twice, then the second rearmost conductor, and so on to the frontmost conductor, who was stationed between cars one and two.

Because there was no conductor at the rear of the train, nor one at the front, passengers could not use the exit doors at the very rear and the very front. At the front, the motorman’s cabin occupied the right-side exit door area. And the motorman did not operate the left-side front exit door.

There was no public address system on those cars. Each conductor had to enter each of the two cars at his station to announce the next stop.

At that time it was permissible to walk between cars. Every car had doors at the ends of the cars that passengers could open to change cars. For safety, over the coupling area there were extended metal plates to walk on, and there were chains at each side of the walkway. (In effect, cars were connected not only with couplers but with chains too.) There were three chains vertically on each side of the walkway, from about knee height up to below chest height.

Unlike in the 6000-series cars, there was no railfan seat at the front opposite the motorman. As I recall, in 4000-series cars the seats closest to the exit doors were side-facing, and there was a solid partition between the seats and the exit door area. The only way to watch the track ahead was to stand at the front, next to the motorman’s cabin, and look through the glass in the end-facing door. Yes, there was a front-facing window in the exit door area, but that window was blocked by the route sign on the front of the train. The sign itself was wooden and was hung onto grillwork that spanned the window.

Earlier I mentioned another cold winter job: Coupling and uncoupling Normal Park cars to the rear of Englewood trains. Not only was it cold, it was also dangerous, because it was close to third rails. I cannot imagine the Environmental Protection Agency ever permitting such work today.

What became of the Normal Park car’s motorman and conductor? After a northbound run from 69th to the Englewood line west of Harvard, the Normal Park motorman likely detrained at Harvard, walked downstairs, across to the other side, and up to the south platform. Then he waited for the next southbound Englewood train, boarded it, and took his position in the last car, the one destined for Normal Park. Meanwhile, the northbound Normal Park conductor would have to stay with the Englewood train to be assigned to the newly coupled cars. In the southbound direction, the conductor assigned between the rearmost two cars on Englewood trains would therefore go to Normal Park after the uncoupling.

CSL Work Car Info

Following up on our earlier series about Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars (Part One here, Part Two there), Andre Kristopans writes:

I am sending you eight scans for your viewing (and distributing) pleasure. Four hand-written ones were copied from Jim Buckley’s notes in Roy Benedict’s possession by me years ago. The two lists of trailers were made from CTA records.You notice it goes back to 1914, and includes cars never r# by CSL.

Here is some more stuff:

Salt Cars
AA1 17266 12/27/55 ex 1430
AA2 17266 12/27/55 ex 1431
AA3 13266 08/02/51 ex 1433
AA4 13266 10/26/51 ex 1435
AA5 13266 07/03/51 ex 1437
AA6 13266 12/17/51 ex 1440
AA7 17266 09/08/55 ex 1441
AA8 19141 05/17/58 ex 1443
AA9 18181 09/27/56 ex 1444
AA10 16283 02/18/55 ex 1445
AA11 13266 10/26/51 ex 1446
AA12 16283 09/09/54 ex 1447
AA13 16283 09/09/54 ex 1448
AA14 16283 10/07/54 ex 1459
AA15 13266 01/07/52 ex 1462
AA16 13266 01/25/52 ex 1474
AA17 13266 10/30/51 ex 1475
AA18 13266 11/06/51 ex 1482
AA19 13266 01/07/52 ex 1483
AA20 16283 10/07/54 ex 1488
AA21 16283 05/26/55 ex 1492
AA22 13266 08/02/51 ex 1493
AA23 16283 09/09/54 ex 1496
AA24 16283 09/09/54 ex 1501
AA25 17266 09/08/55 ex 1502
AA26 19141 05/17/58 ex 1107
AA27 19141 05/17/58 ex 1142
AA28 18181 12/14/56 ex 1145
AA29 18181 12/14/56 ex 1166
AA30 17266 12/27/55 ex 1183
AA31 17266 09/08/55 ex 1198
AA32 18181 12/14/56 ex 1205
AA33 17266 12/27/55 ex 1213
AA34 16283 10/07/54 ex 1215
AA35 12603 02/09/51 ex 1219
AA36 19141 05/17/58 ex 1220
AA37 19141 05/17/58 ex 1224
AA38 18181 09/27/56 ex 1231
AA39 16283 09/23/54 ex 1235
AA40 13266 08/10/51 ex 1239
AA41 13266 11/06/51 ex 1240
AA42 13266 11/21/51 ex 1241
AA43 16283 10/07/54 ex 1243
AA44 13266 10/05/51 ex 1248
AA45 12391 08/24/50 ex 1249
AA46 17266 12/27/55 ex 1250
AA47 13266 10/26/51 ex 1252
AA48 13266 07/20/51 ex 1255
AA49 14175 05/27/52 ex 1259
AA50 17266 12/27/55 ex 1260
AA51 17266 12/27/55 ex 1266
AA52 17266 09/08/55 ex 1277
AA53 19141 05/17/58 ex 1302
AA54 18181 12/14/56 ex 1303
AA55 16283 11/10/54 ex 1304
AA56 17266 12/27/55 ex 1305
AA57 18181 12/14/56 ex 1306
AA58 18181 09/27/56 ex 1307
AA59 18181 09/27/56 ex 1308
AA60 17266 12/27/55 ex 1309
AA61 18181 09/27/56 ex 1310
AA62 18181 09/27/56 ex 1311
AA63 10218 03/11/59 ex 1374 to ERHS
AA64 16283 11/10/54 ex 1451
AA65 15451 04/05/54 ex 1453
AA66 19141 05/17/58 ex 1454
AA67 13266 08/17/51 ex 1455
AA68 13266 12/17/51 ex 1457
AA69 18181 12/14/56 ex 1458
AA70 15451 07/17/54 ex 1463
AA71 13266 08/02/51 ex 1465
AA72 19209 02/28/58 ex 1467 to ERHS
AA73 16283 09/27/56 ex 1468
AA74 16283 11/10/54 ex 1471
AA75 18181 09/27/56 ex 1472
AA76 19141 05/17/58 ex 1477
AA77 18181 09/27/56 ex 1478
AA78 17266 12/27/55 ex 1480
AA79 15451 04/05/54 ex 1481
AA80 16283 09/09/51 ex 1484
AA81 18181 12/14/56 ex 1487
AA82 13266 07/20/51 ex 1489
AA83 16283 10/07/54 ex 1494
AA84 15451 02/17/54 ex 1495
AA85 18181 09/27/56 ex 1497
AA86 18181 12/14/56 ex 1498
AA87 13266 01/25/52 ex 1499
AA88 13266 07/03/51 ex 1500
AA89 16283 09/09/54 ex 1503
AA90 18181 09/27/56 ex 1504
AA91 17266 09/08/55 ex 1545 /48 10143
AA92 17266 12/27/55 ex 2826
AA93 19141 05/17/58 ex 2841
AA94 13266 08/17/51 ex 2842
AA95 10218 06/18/59 ex 2843 to ERHS
AA96 17266 12/27/55 ex 2844
AA97 19141 05/17/58 ex 2845
AA98 10218 12/05/58 ex 2846 to ERHS
AA99 none 08/20/48 ex 2847 (replaced with another retired car from AFR 10412)
AA99 2nd 18181 06/06/56 ex 5031
AA100 13266 07/03/51 ex 2848
AA101 18181 12/14/56 ex 2849
AA102 13266 08/10/51 ex 2851
AA103 15451 02/17/54 ex 2852
AA104 18181 12/14/56 ex 2853
AA105 15451 02/17/54 ex 2854
AA106 13266 10/11/51 ex 2855
AA107 13266 01/25/52 ex 2856
1466 13059 03/09/51
2626 13059 /51
4001 T12 /53 to shed; from Pass 1948 S10143
7001 T12 /53 to shed; from Pass 1948 S10143

AA1-AA52 to salt cars 1930-31, AA53-AA62 01/34, AA6306/33; AA1-AA25 r# 10/1/41, AA26-AA90 r# 04/15/48

additional salt car conversions:
1122 scr 04/23/37
1188 scr 04/30/37
1201 return to passenger 3/6/43
1208 return to passenger 3/4/43
1211 destroyed 1/30/39 111th/Sacramento vs GTW, scr 3/8/39
1212 return to passenger 2/20/43
1223 return to passenger 4/11/43
1225 return to passenger 3/4/43
1226 r# 1357 1937, return to passenger 5/15/43
1228 return to passenger 5/29/43
1229 return to passenger 3/27/43
1234 return to passenger 3/5/43
1238 return to passenger 5/15/43
1244 return to passenger 3/12/43
1245 return to passenger 3/8/43
1251 return to passenger 5/9/43
1253 r# 1257 1937, return to passenger 5/11/43
1254 return to passenger 6/11/43
1257 r# 1253 1937, r# 1385 1937, return to passenger 3/11/43
1280 return to passenger 1/13/44
1286 return to passenger 7/3/43
1466 to instruction car 1/13/13
1486 to instruction car 9/30/12, sold 11/12/17 to Tri-City Ry (IA)

Interestingly, Andre’s information shows that CSL Mail Car H2, pictured as being operable and in its original paint scheme in 1938 (see our post Chicago Surface Lines Work Cars – Part 1), was apparently scrapped in 1942. This explains why H2 was not used in the 1943 parade celebrating the opening of the State Street Subway, or in the one day revival of street railway post office service for a convention in 1946.

Andre also wrote:

You have mentioned several times the B&OCT line that runs along the Eisenhower Xway. A couple of items of note: 1) The B&OCT ownership extends to Madison St, where SOO ownership started. CGW’s started at Desplaines Ave Jct. 2) Note I said B&OCT – this is still the legal owner of all CSX track north and west of Clark Jct in Gary. In fact, B&O still has its own employees, train service and others, and in a really odd twist, is the legal owner of a substantial number of CSX’s new GE locomotives!

Finally, for a while in the late 1950’s, B&OCT used the old L tracks from Desplaines to west of Central while their right-of-way was being dug out. Considering that this was light rail to begin with, and well worn at that, it must have been somewhat frightening to run a freight train thru there!

I replied:

Very interesting information. Wasn’t there some steam train type commuter rail service out to Forest Park along these lines?

I still wonder just why CTA paid the CA&E $1m for their fixed assets between Laramie and DesPlaines Avenue in 1953.

They didn’t buy the land, which I think was bought by the state for the highway project. They didn’t buy the Forest Park terminal, either. CA&E still had at least a partial ownership in this when passenger service was suspended in 1957 (I think Cook County had bought some for the highway project).

So, what did CTA buy other than some worn rail, signals, roadbed, stations, etc. that were all going to be replaced within a few years anyway?

Andre wrote:

Basically they bought the right to continue running to Desplaines after the line was rebuilt. Otherwise, if CA&E still owned it, the state would have been dealing with CA&E, and if CA&E just said “screw it”, the Congress L would have ended at Laramie. Remember, we are dealing with accounting stuff here. What was there then wasn’t worth much, though the ROW was probably CA&E owned, which CTA then bought and sold/traded to the state for where the L is today.

Back in the days of the “primordial ooze” there was service on the B&OCT out to Forest Park. This was part of the Randolph St business and the line out 16th St to Harlem. But it was all gone by early 1900’s, especially after the Met L was built.

SOO did run a more-or-less commuter round trip for many years, actually a local from I think Waukesha that ran at the right time.

We thank all our contributors. Keep those cards and letters coming in.

-David Sadowski

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West Towns Streetcars in Black-and-White

C&WT 155 during winter. Bill Shapotkin says, "I believe this photo is Hillgrove/LaGrange -- the short-lived terminal located east of LaGrange Rd after (sewer work(?)) cut the line back from Brainard Ave. View looks east."

C&WT 155 during winter. Bill Shapotkin says, “I believe this photo is Hillgrove/LaGrange — the short-lived terminal located east of LaGrange Rd after (sewer work(?)) cut the line back from Brainard Ave. View looks east.”

The Chicago and West Towns Railways ran a very interesting streetcar system that meandered through Chicago’s western suburbs until the last car ran in 1948. But service continued with buses and in the 1980s, the West Towns became part of today’s PACE suburban bus system.

We ran a color feature on the West Towns sometime back (February 10) and here are several more classic C&WT shots in black-and-white.

Although not commonly thought of as an interurban, a 1943 Rand McNally Street Guide of Chicago identified it as such:

misc124

Perhaps this is because it ran between several different suburbs. But the C&WT also had some extensive sections of private right-of-way, especially along its busiest line, which ran between Cicero and LaGrange and, from 1934 to 1948, provided direct service to the Brookfield Zoo.

The word “interurban” has largely fallen out of favor today, but it was thrown around rather loosely in the 1940s and 50s. When the Chicago Transit Authority cut back the Douglas Park line from Oak Park Avenue to 54th Avenue in 1952, the replacement service was referred to as an “interurban bus,” presumably meaning that it was not going to be allowed to make local stops.

The Chicago Transit Authority took a serious look at buying the West Towns in the late 1940s but ultimately decided against it, after determining it was not worth the necessary investment. The West Towns charged some of the highest streetcar fares in the entire country and seemed to be a financial basket case for much of its history.

Yet somehow it managed to hang on and remained independent and privately owned until the late 1980s, far longer than most of its contemporaries. The service filled a real need and still does today.

The CTA did manage to stick its toe into suburban bus waters after abandoning the Westchester branch of the “L” in December 1951. But even then, the route 17 “interurban” bus relied on the facilities of the West Towns to operate. So to some extent the CTA was actually paying the C&WT for the privilege of competing against it.

CTA service continued on route 17 for 60 years, by which time PACE had a competing route 317 of its own. CTA finally gave up on it as of December 16, 2012.

Anyone who rode a Chicago Surface Lines streetcar back in the day had to change to the West Towns at the the city limits, if they wanted to continue into the western suburbs. There were several places where this happened, and a few (Cermak and Kenton, Lake and Austin) are shown in our photographs.

About 10 years ago, the Central Electric Railfans’ Association published The Chicago & West Towns Railways by James J. Buckley, and edited by Richard W. Aaron, as Bulletin 138. This is by far the best and most comprehensive book on the C&WT. You can purchase this directly from CERA.*

There was an earlier, and much slimmer volume on C&WT written by Robert W. Gibson, Bulletin 3 of the Electric Railway Historical Society. This has been out of print for many years, but is now available in digital form as part of the Complete ERHS Collection, again available from CERA.*

Antone who is interested in delving into the history of this fascinating street railway would do well to check these out.

In addition, there is an excellent overview of the West Towns on the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society web site.

You can find a 1913-1948 map of the West Towns on the http://www.chicagorailfan.com web site, along with another showing service from 1889-1913.

The closest thing you can experience today to the thrill of riding a West Towns streetcar would be to take a trip out to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, where you can ride car 141, the sole survivor of the fleet, which has been beautifully restored back to operating condition.

Finally, two of our photos show the old Park Theatre, located at 5962 W. Lake Street in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Cinema Treasures has a page devoted to this theatre, and just about every other in the country, whether currently in operation, closed, or demolished.

-The Editor

PS- We thank our readers for helping us establish a new record during July, with 13,271 page views.

PSS- Our friends at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Pennsylvania have an important event coming up soon:

Rockhill Trolley Museum, Three Generation Celebration

Saturday, August 22, 2015 – New Start Time 10:00am to 4:30pm

Help us welcome the return of trolleys from three different generations.

Come witness the dedication of Johnstown Traction Company 311, fresh from its restoration, Philadelphia PCC car 2743 car, body restoration and new paint work, and San Diego LRV car 1019, in its official welcoming to Pennsylvania – the first LRV preserved and operated at a museum in the Eastern United States.

For more information e-mail Bill Monaghan, RTY-1267@Comcast.net

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

The Chicago & West Towns also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

The Chicago & West Towns also had some private right-of-way in the western suburbs. Car 160 is shown near LaGrange in December 1945.

According to Don’s Rail Photos, C&WT sweeper 9 was “9 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1928. It was sold to Sand Springs Ry in 1948.” This picture may have been taken at the Harlem and Cermak car barn.

Chicago & West Towns 102 is shown at Cermak and Kenton in October 1935, with a Chicago Surface Lines route 21 car at rear. Within a few years, C&WT streetcars were repainted into the more familiar blue. Bill Shapotkin adds, "By the way, what bus is that depicted at left in this photo at Cermak/Kenton? Presume it is a West Towns bus (in the "sun burst" paint job) -- but if so, what route is it working? If not a West Towns' bus, then whose might it be and what route is it working?"

Chicago & West Towns 102 is shown at Cermak and Kenton in October 1935, with a Chicago Surface Lines route 21 car at rear. Within a few years, C&WT streetcars were repainted into the more familiar blue. Bill Shapotkin adds, “By the way, what bus is that depicted at left in this photo at Cermak/Kenton? Presume it is a West Towns bus (in the “sun burst” paint job) — but if so, what route is it working? If not a West Towns’ bus, then whose might it be and what route is it working?”

Car 127, signed for Maywood, is turning onto Madison Street. Bill Shapotkin says, "I believe thIs is a pull-out for the Madison line. Car is turning from S/B Harlem into W/B Madison. View looks north. Believe this is first time I've ever seen a pic looking N/B on Harlem before. Have seen pix looking east on Madison and west on Madison, but never north on Harlem. The reason tracks to right (operating in Madison, x/o Harlem) curve is due to jog in Madison St at this point -- which does not make the location obvious."

Car 127, signed for Maywood, is turning onto Madison Street. Bill Shapotkin says, “I believe thIs is a pull-out for the Madison line. Car is turning from S/B Harlem into W/B Madison. View looks north. Believe this is first time I’ve ever seen a pic looking N/B on Harlem before. Have seen pix looking east on Madison and west on Madison, but never north on Harlem. The reason tracks to right (operating in Madison, x/o Harlem) curve is due to jog in Madison St at this point — which does not make the location obvious.”

Harlem and Madison today. Forest Park is on the left, and Oak Park on the right. Madison does take a slight jog here. A pull-out in the previous picture makes sense as it would have come from the C&WT car barn on Lake Street just east of Ridgeland (torn down in the 1980s and replaced with a Dominick's Finer Foods).

Harlem and Madison today. Forest Park is on the left, and Oak Park on the right. Madison does take a slight jog here. A pull-out in the previous picture makes sense as it would have come from the C&WT car barn on Lake Street just east of Ridgeland (torn down in the 1980s and replaced with a Dominick’s Finer Foods).

This picture of C&WT 159 may have been taken on Harlem Avenue between Cermak and 26th.

This picture of C&WT 159 may have been taken on Harlem Avenue between Cermak and 26th.

It's April 3, 1948, and the end of C&WT streetcar service will soon be at hand. This photo may be at Cermak and Kenton. There was a fantrip on the LaGrange line the day after service ended, something which occasionally happened on other properties. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

It’s April 3, 1948, and the end of C&WT streetcar service will soon be at hand. This photo may be at Cermak and Kenton. There was a fantrip on the LaGrange line the day after service ended, something which occasionally happened on other properties. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

This would appear to be the corner of Harlem and Cermak. C&WT cars 160 and 157, going to the Brookfield Zoo and LaGrange, would have turned south here for a half mile before heading west on 26th Street. After streetcar service ended in 1948, and until the early 1970s, you could usually find a Good Humor man parked in what had been the trolley median just south of this location.

This would appear to be the corner of Harlem and Cermak. C&WT cars 160 and 157, going to the Brookfield Zoo and LaGrange, would have turned south here for a half mile before heading west on 26th Street. After streetcar service ended in 1948, and until the early 1970s, you could usually find a Good Humor man parked in what had been the trolley median just south of this location.

Harlem and Cermak today. From the 1950s through the 1970s, there was a Peter Pan family restaurant where the McDonald's is today.

Harlem and Cermak today. From the 1950s through the 1970s, there was a Peter Pan family restaurant where the McDonald’s is today.

C&WT 116, 115, and 158 are lined up at Cermak and Kenton, the eastern end of the LaGrange line. A CSL streetcar is at rear. This is the border between Cicero and Chicago.

C&WT 116, 115, and 158 are lined up at Cermak and Kenton, the eastern end of the LaGrange line. A CSL streetcar is at rear. This is the border between Cicero and Chicago.

CSL 1583 is parked in front of the old Park Theatre, which was located at 5962 W. Lake Street in Chicago's Austin neighborhood. Chicago & West Towns car 145 is in the background in Oak Park, on the other side of Austin Boulevard. The Park opened in 1913 and continued in operation until the 1950s. When this picture was taken, they were showing a double feature of Trade Winds and Shall We Dance, which came out in the late 1930s, but this picture seems to have been taken some years later from the looks of the autos. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo) Bill Shapotkin adds, "Shows car #1583 working Through-route 16 (Lake-State - displaying the (according the Al Lind's CHICAGO SURFACE LINES (Pages 272-276)) rush-hour only operation 119th/Morgan)."

CSL 1583 is parked in front of the old Park Theatre, which was located at 5962 W. Lake Street in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood. Chicago & West Towns car 145 is in the background in Oak Park, on the other side of Austin Boulevard. The Park opened in 1913 and continued in operation until the 1950s. When this picture was taken, they were showing a double feature of Trade Winds and Shall We Dance, which came out in the late 1930s, but this picture seems to have been taken some years later from the looks of the autos. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo) Bill Shapotkin adds, “Shows car #1583 working Through-route 16 (Lake-State – displaying the (according the Al Lind’s CHICAGO SURFACE LINES (Pages 272-276)) rush-hour only operation 119th/Morgan).”

Another view of a Lake Street car at the west end of the line, at Lake and Austin, in September 1939. Car 1579 is parked in front of the Park Theatre, this time showing a double feature of Four's a Crowd and Stronger Than Desire. Meanwhile, it looks the the motorman and conductor are taking a break at curbside. The Park is still advertising that it shows "Talkies," which became popular in 1927, and the sign that says "Refrigeration" means that the theatre was already air-conditioned. The streetcar is working through-route 16 and is signed for State-79th.

Another view of a Lake Street car at the west end of the line, at Lake and Austin, in September 1939. Car 1579 is parked in front of the Park Theatre, this time showing a double feature of Four’s a Crowd and Stronger Than Desire. Meanwhile, it looks the the motorman and conductor are taking a break at curbside. The Park is still advertising that it shows “Talkies,” which became popular in 1927, and the sign that says “Refrigeration” means that the theatre was already air-conditioned.
The streetcar is working through-route 16 and is signed for State-79th.

5962 W. Lake Street as it appears today.

5962 W. Lake Street as it appears today.

C&WT 103 at the east end of the Lake Street line at Austin Boulevard in 1938, waiting to meet a Chicago Surface Lines car on the other side of the street.

C&WT 103 at the east end of the Lake Street line at Austin Boulevard in 1938, waiting to meet a Chicago Surface Lines car on the other side of the street.

The Park Theatre appears shuttered in this early 1950s view of CTA 6183 at the west end of the Lake route at Austin Boulevard. Eventually, the building itself would be torn down.

The Park Theatre appears shuttered in this early 1950s view of CTA 6183 at the west end of the Lake route at Austin Boulevard. Eventually, the building itself would be torn down.

C&WT 140, still in the old paint scheme, on February 23, 1939.

C&WT 140, still in the old paint scheme, on February 23, 1939.

C&WT 165 on February 23, 1939. This car has already been repainted into the familiar blue and white colors.

C&WT 165 on February 23, 1939. This car has already been repainted into the familiar blue and white colors.

C&WT 104 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn on April 3, 1948, less than two before the end of streetcar service. One of the replacement buses is at right. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

C&WT 104 at the Harlem and Cermak car barn on April 3, 1948, less than two before the end of streetcar service. One of the replacement buses is at right. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)

C&WT line car 15, with its famous bent pole. The defect was apparently accidental, but it was certainly distinctive.

C&WT line car 15, with its famous bent pole. The defect was apparently accidental, but it was certainly distinctive.