This amazing photo is from a glass plate negative we recently purchased, and shows a Chicago Union Traction streetcar RPO (railway post office) unpowered trailer car. CUT existed between 1899 and 1908, which helps date the photo. This car may previously have been a cable car trailer, before being pressed into mail service.
Instead of trains, planes, and automobiles, today we have a generous helping of classic bus, trolley, and train images courtesy of noted transit historian William Shapotkin. We thank Bill very much for sharing these with our readers. Even if you are not a huge fan of buses per se, and some electric traction fans aren’t, you still may appreciate seeing some of these locations, which offer views that you typically don’t see here on this blog. Many are contemporary to other streetcar pictures we have run, and show what types of equipment the CTA was running along with the “L” cars and streetcars that we often feature.
On the other hand, if you do like rubber-tired vehicles, then “hop on the bus, Gus!” And even if you don’t, chances are there are still plenty of railed vehicles here to keep you happy.
Please note: All photos in this section are from the collections of William Shapotkin.
This photo shows an old wooden Met car on the CTA’s Kenwood shuttle in the 1950s. The view looks east from the Indiana Avenue station. The south side main line continues off to the right. Service on the Kenwood branch ended in 1957.
This image, showing CTA bus 3676 on Route 82A, was not identified, but it clearly shows the Logan Square “L” terminal with connecting bus transfer area in the early 1960s.
CTA buses at the Western and 79th loop.
The old South Shore Line station in Gary, Indiana in July 1984. (Paul Johnsen Photo)
CTA Route 59 bus 5610 is at 59th and State on April 26, 1972.
CTA trolley bus 9392 is at the Montrose and Narragansett loop in 1965. This loop has since been removed.
A Metra train stops at the Mont Clare station on the former Milwaukee Road West Line on April 13, 1999. The original station at this location was demolished in 1964, and my father and I sifted through the rubble. We found several tickets, some dating back to the 1880s, which we donated to a local historical society. As far as I know, these are still on display at the Elmwood Park Public Library.
Chicao, IL: looking south on Holden Court (under the south side “L”) toward grade-separated crossing with the St. Charles Air Line from 15th Street in March 2000. (William Shapotkin Photo)
The Roosevelt Road streetcar extension, crossing the Illinois Central on its way back from the Field Museum and Soldier Field. The date is unknown, but service ended in 1953.
CTA 518 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. Streetcar service on Halsted ended three months later. (James J. Buckley Photo)
CTA 652 and 678 pass each other at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)
CTA 6148 at Halsted and 75th on February 22, 1954. (James J. Buckley Photo)
Chicago Aurora & Elgin 434 at the Seashore Trolley Museum in July 1963.
A Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight train at National Street in Elgin. The style of Kodachrome slide mount dates this picture to between 1955 and 1959. (Although passenger service ended in 1957, freight continued for nearly two more years.)
CSL 5130. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This is an E/B 31st car, having just crossing under the South Side ‘L’. View looks west (from Wabash).” We ran another picture of 5130 on the same route on our previous post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).
CSL 5154. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This is a W/B 31st car at State St (South Side “L” in background). View looks east.” Again, we previously ran another picture of this same car on the same route in our post Spring Forward (April 19, 2018).
CTA bus 2566 is at 119th and Western, running on Route 49A.
CTA bus 5723 is at the Western and 79th loop, probably in the 1960s.
CTA bus 6541 is at the Western and 79th loop in 1953. Meanwhile, a postwar PCC (built by the St. Louis Car Co.) goes around the loop. Streetcar service on Western ended in June 1956. Jeff Wien writes, “The caption states that it is 1953 in this photo. I would guess 1948 not long after the loop opened. There is virtually no landscaping anywhere and the sidewalks look like they were recently laid. Later pictures of this loop showed green grass and bushes which was typical of CTA loops until they decided to asphalt over everything (ie: Clark-Arthur loop).” Andre Kristopans: “Bus 6541 at 79th/Western is definitely soon after loop opened. After 79th was converted, this spot is where 79th buses loaded, and 49A’s loaded about three bus lengths back, on the left side of the driveway (see 2578 shot following for new location).”
CTA bus 2578, running on Route 49A, is at the Western and 79th loop. When PCCs were introduced to Western Avenue in 1948, buses were substituted on the north and south ends of the line, which were spun off into extensions of Route 49. New loops were built, this being the one on the south end of the line.
CTA bus 5066 is turning north from Leland onto Western, running Route 49B in 1958. Here, riders could change to the Ravenswood “L”, today’s Brown Line. The station has since been rebuilt. Jeff Wien adds, “I believe that the photo of CTA 5066 at Western & Leland was taken in 1956 rather than 1958 as stated in the caption. Route 49 was converted to motor bus in June 1956. The photo shows the streetcar tracks still exposed as well as the overhead wires in place. I would imagine that the wires would have been removed by 1958, and I seem to recall that the City paved Western Avenue not long after the streetcars were removed. The City built the obnoxious overpass at Western and Belmont shortly after the streetcars were removed in 1956.”
Passengers board CTA bus 5470 at the Western and Berwyn loop on Chicago’s north side. Route 49B was the northern extension of the Western line.
CTA bus 3528 is on Route 54B (South Cicero) on Cicero at 26th, circa the late 1950s.
CTA bus 2543 is heading east on 103rd Street at Longwood Drive on Route 103 (103rd-106th Streets) in the late 1950s. The building directly behind the bus is now occupied by a Starbucks. Our resident south side expert M. E. writes, “Not showing in this picture (because of the trees) is Chicago’s only castle, on the northwest corner of 103rd and Longwood. (Longwood is at the bottom of the “hill”. Did you know: The land atop the “hill” is geologically called Blue Island? It begins north of 87th St. where the Dan Ryan’s Woods toboggan slide was.)” On the other hand, Stu Slaymaker says, “The shot of ACF-Brill bus that is labeled, 103rd and Longwood, was actually taken at 111th and Longwood. My old neighborhood. Out of the picture behind the photographer, is the R. I. Suburban Line Morgan Park-111th station. The used car lot on the right corner, was a Texaco station in the 1960s. The trees are so lush, you can’t see the Walker Branch Library, at the top of the hill.”
CTA 3449 is on Route 31 (31st Street). Not sure which cross street the streetcar is on.
CSL 3425 is on Route 31 (31st Street) at Pitney Court. However, the date provided (1946) must be wrong, since this line was not converted to bus until February 29, 1948. (Thanks to Daniel Joseph for pointing that out.)
CTA 5493 is heading south from the Western and Berwyn loop, on Route 49B (North Western). This picture was taken after streetcar service ended in 1956, as the tracks appear to already be paved over and overhead wires removed.
On August 9, 1953 CTA bus 5306 heads west on Route 6 – Van Buren Street at Racine, next to new temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage that went into service the following month. at right, you can see the existing “L” structure, which was torn down the following year.
CTA bus 5499 is at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park, running on Route 17 – Westchester, which replaced the Westchester “L” in 1951.
CTA 2365 is operating on Route 58 – Ogden at 26th and Cicero Avenue in the late 1950s.
CTA 6814 is on 115th Street at Michigan Avenue on Route 115 in the 1960s. Bill Shapotkin adds, “This view (correctly identified as 115th/Michigan) looks east.”
CTA 2718 and 2734 at 74th and Damen.
CTA 3620 at 54th Avenue in CTA 3620 at 54th Avenue in Cicero, the end of the line for the Douglas Park “L” (now the Pink Line).
CTA 2603 at 119th and Western, the south end of Route 49A.
CTA 6532 at the Western and 79th loop, running on Route 79.
Chicago & West Towns 848 at the DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal on August 7, 1980. The second overpass, behind the bus, was for the Chicago Great Western freight line. That bridge and tracks have since been removed. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)
Westbound Rock Island train #113 at the 91st Street depot on April 5, 1970. Our resident south side epert M. E. adds, “The caption says this view is “at the 91st Street depot.” Not quite. The view faces north. The train is curving from west (along 89th St.) to south. Notice the railroad crossing signals and gates in the background. That trackage joined with the CRI&P traffic to the east. On that trackage ran the B&O Capitol Limited on its way to Washington DC, as captured in https://thetrolleydodger.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/proofs288.jpg , although in that photo the Capitol Limited is inbound to Chicago.”
The interlocking levers at the 91st Street Rock Island Tower on July 3, 1969.
The lineup board at the Rock Island 91st Street Tower on July 3, 1969.
The interlocking levers at the Rock Island’s 61st Street Tower on January 5, 1969.
Tower man Roy Bliss and Assistant Tower man Jack Poehron are flagging all trains by the burned-out Rock Island 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967. The wooden tower had opened in 1898.
Rock Island train #11 (with engine #621) passes the burned-out 61st Street Tower on April 20, 1967, the day after the fire. 61st was the end of the four-track section running from LaSalle Street Station in downtown Chicago.
Rock Island train #19, as seen from the 61st Street Tower.
Rock Island 61st Street Tower on December 8, 1968. (Looking north at movable point crossing- RI “in” (L), NYC “out” (R).
The Rock Island 91st Street Tower on April 5, 1970.
The Rock Island’s 91st Street Tower, where the railroad crossed the PRR “Panhandle” route, as it looked on August 17, 1974. As you can see, the tower has received a new coat of paint since the last picture.
Baltimore & Ohio #5, the Capitol Limited, passing by the Beverly Junction Tower one hour and 50 minutes late, on April 5, 1970.
CTA bus 8829 is at Ashland and 95th in 1973. Daniel Joseph adds, “If the destination sign is reliable, I believe this bus is on the #45 Ashland Downtown and not on #9 Ashland.”
CTA 2528 is at Ogden and Cermak on Route 58 on April 29, 1961. Bill Shapotkin adds, “Yes, this is indeed Cermak/Ogden — the view looks west.”
CTA 5863 at the Ashland and 95th Street terminal, south end of Route 9, on June 20, 1973. (John Le Beau Photo)
Chicago & West Towns bus 777 at the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal on March 17, 1974. The terminal has since been redone. The two sets of stairs on DesPlaines Avenue appear to provide a way for pedestrians to cross a busy street where there are no stoplights. (John Le Beau Photo)
CTA “New Look” bus 9441, running on Route 17 – Westchester, is at the DesPlaines terminal on June 28, 1977. Since the previous picture was taken, the set of stairs on the west side of DesPlaines Avenue has been removed. Since the other stair still appears to be in use, it seems as though the CTA decided to extend the walkway to the platform area, so that commuters would not need to go up and down so many stairs.
CTA 9461 is at Catalpa and Broadway, operating on Route 84 – Peterson on September 1, 1980. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)
CTA 8417 is on Route 17 – Westchester in June 1971. (John Le Beau Photo)
PACE 6338 is heading south on Harlem Avenue on Route 305, having just gone under the CTA Green Line “L” in December 2012. (Mel Bernero Photo)
PACE 6225 heads west on Route 309 – Lake Street at Harlem Avenue. To the left, just out of view, is the former Marshall Field’s store in Oak Park, a local landmark. It later housed a Border’s bookstore, now also gone. This photo must have been taken a few years ago, as you would see some new tall buildings if you took the same picture today. Unable to move outward, Oak Park is moving “up.” (John Le Beau Photo)
CTA 2527 is at 25th and Laramie in Cicero, the west end of Route 58 – Ogden. The date appears to be the late 1950s.
Chicago & West Towns buses 839 and 804 are laying over in the middle of the street at Cermak and 47th Street in January 1979. This is near the border between Cicero and Chicago, and also adjacent to the old Western Electric plant.
RTA bus 8107 at the West Towns bus garage in oak Park on April 12, 1981. (John Le Beau Photo)
RTA 8049 at the West Towns garage in Oak Park on May 28, 1978. This is now the site of a Pete’s Fresh Market. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)
PACE bus 2092 is exiting from the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in April 1992. Where the bus is, was once the approximate location of Chicago Great Western freight tracks, which spanned DesPlaines Avenue via a bridge and then connected with the Baltimore & Ohio Chicago Terminal tracks. That portion of the old CGW right-of-way between here and First Avenue has been paved, and provides a connection to the Prairie Path, which starts at First Avenue.
CTA 1806 is on Route 84 – Peterson at Western Avenue on April 21, 1957. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)
This slide was labeled “Oak Park,” but actually, it’s on the border between Elmwood Park and River Grove. PACE bus 22550 is heading east on Grand Avenue, going over the long crossing of the Metra Milwaukee District West Line on route 319 on May 8, 1993. There has een much talk over the years of grade-separating these tracks, where some accidents have occurred, but so far nothing has come of it. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)
RTA bus 496 is at the Brookfield Zoo on December 11, 1977. Andre Kristopans adds, “Bus 496 is on an OSA (Omnibus Society of America) charter. Note the “9” covered with tape.” (John Le Beau Photo)
RTA bus 8044 is at the old West Towns garage in Oak Park in March 1983.
CTA bus 4580 heads west on Harrison at Springfield on March 7, 1991.
CTA bus 1112 is at 115th and Perry in February 1983.
South Suburban Safeway Lines bus 702 is northbound at 119th and Western, probably around 1970. Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “South Suburban Safeway Lines went north on Western to 63rd, then east to Halsted, the heart of Englewood. Actually, east to Union, south to 63rd Place, and west to the L station at Halsted and 63rd Place, where it ended its northbound run. Southbound, it first took Halsted north to 63rd, then west to Western, etc. The other thing to notice in this picture is that Western Ave. was not as wide south of 119th. This is because the Chicago city limit is 119th, and south of that is Blue Island.”
South Suburban Safeway Lines 714 on Western at 79th on October 4, 1975. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)
CTA 871, running on Route 49B North Western, is at the Western Avenue stop on the Ravenswood “L” in June 1973. (Michael N. Charnota Photo)
CTA 5567 is on Western near 63rd Street on April 20, 1972 (Route 49). Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Notice Cupid Candies on one corner and Fannie May Candies across the street.” Jeff Weiner adds, “CTA 5567 appears to be at Western and 62nd, as the City maintained a traffic signal there for the Sears store. Until a closed-loop system was installed, the 62nd signal operated fixed-time during store hours, and went on yellow-red flash when the store was closed. After it was modernized, the operation was semiactuated, with coordination to the other signals on Western. Until it was modernized, the median signals were on concrete “blockbuster” foundations, replaced with mast arm signals afterwards.”
CTA 5978 is at the Western and 79th loop on June 20, 1973. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)
CTA Pullman 312 on Kedzie. Bill Shapotkin adds, “Car is working #52 — Kedzie-California and is laying over in California at Roscoe. View looks north.”
CTA Pullman 444 at Armitage and California in January 1950.
CTA one-man car 6184 at Lawrence and Luna in 1949.
CTA 336, in June 1952, is on California Avenue at Augusta Boulevard.
Chicago Surface Lines 474 is on Belmont at Clark in May 1947.
CSL 1644 is on Route 6 at Division and California in May 1942. The Divison and Van Buren car lines were through-routed starting in 1937.
CTA 5574 at an unknown location. Jon Habermaas writes, “Photo appears to be on the Halsted route where the line is on private right of way along Vincennes Ave., paralleling the Rock Island mainline… in the background you can see the Washington Heights Rock Island depot and a cross buck along the Pennsy’s Panhandle division, which crosses Vincennes Avenue and the Rock Island just south of 103rd Street. The car would be around 104th and Vincennes Ave.” Our resident south side expert M. E. adds, “Mr. Habermaas’s description is accurate. I will add that this private right of way started at 89th St., just south of the CRI&P Beverly branch viaduct, and ended around 107th St. where Vincennes veered farther west from the CRI&P main line. And more historically, this right-of-way originated for the Kankakee car, which had its barn at 88th and Vincennes and ran on Halsted as far north as Englewood.” Andre Kristopans: “Car 5574 SB at 105th or so. You can just make out the 104th RI station in the back, and PRR crossbuck to the right in the distance.” (Robert W. Gibson Photo)
CTA 1749, one of the few old streetcars repainted in green, is at Cermak and State in January 1954, running on Route 21. Note the steam engine in the background.
CTA prewar PCC 4038 is eastbound on 63rd Street. PCCs ran on this line between 1948 and 1952. If the address on the building is any guide, this is probably 122 East 63rd Street.
Illinois Central Electric bi-level car 1514 at the Blue Island Yards on April 23, 1978.
CTA trolley bus 9553 is on its last run, a fan trip held on April 1, 1973. Here it is on Fullerton Avenue near the Milwaukee Road freight line. This was one week after trolley buses were taken out of service.
CTA Marmon-Herrington trolley bus 535 at North and Cicero.
BEDT 0-6-0 #16 in Brooklyn, NY on October 9, 1982.
Chicago Subway Lecture
Samuel D. Polonetzky makes a point during his presentation at the Chicago Maritime Museum on July 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)
On July 25 2018, Samuel D. Polonetzky, P.E., B.Sc. gave a presentation before the Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago, of which he is a member. The topic was “Crossing of the Chicago River by the State Street Subway.” He showed actual motion pictures of the construction of the Subway in 1938-40.
Mr. Polonetzky is a Civil Engineer who served the City of Chicago, Department of Streets & Sanitation for thirty five years, rising from Engineer-In-Training to Acting Chief Engineer. During this tenure he acquired a deep knowledge of Chicago’s public rights-of-way and the underground infrastructure. He is also an active member of the Illinois Railway Museum at Union IL and a Life Member of the American Public Works Association.
The Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago meets in the Chicago Maritime Museum located in the Bridgeport Arts Center, 3400 S. Racine Av. Chicago Ill. 60609.
The film shown is called Streamlining Chicago (1940), and you can watch it here:
Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways
There are three subway anniversaries this year in Chicago: 60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958) 75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943) 80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.
While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!
Title Building Chicago’s Subways Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
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Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 216th 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 425,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
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CTA Pullman 143 changing ends at Grand and Harlem in July 1949. It appears that the motorman is just about ready to head east and switch over to the other track. Before the advent of shopping centers, this was one of the busiest shopping districts in the entire city. Note the 1949 Ford just to the right of the streetcar, with some sort of advertising sign on top. My Dad had a ’49 Ford, but I doubt he ever put any advertising on it. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)
Everyone wants to go home for the holidays, even if just in spirit. So, for this, our latest batch of classic views of Chicago streetcars, we have made sure to include some pictures from our old stomping grounds.
I grew up near Grand and Harlem on Chicago’s west side, in the Mont Clare neighborhood, then one of the busier shopping areas outside of the Loop. The Grand Avenue streetcar stopped running in 1951, three years before I was born, so I don’t remember that. Today, however, we have not one but two photos showing the west end of the line. I can assure you that such pictures are rare indeed.
I do fondly recall the Grand trolley bus, which terminated at Grand and Noridca, an off-street loop about two blocks east of Harlem, which the CTA still uses for various bus routes (65 – Grand and 74 – Fullerton). The #90 – Harlem bus used to terminate here, but now goes south all the way to the CTA Green Line in Forest Park. I’ve been told that the CTA would have preferred to put the loop closer to Harlem, but this was the closest point at which the necessary land was available.
I recall walking over to Grand and Harlem along with my mother and siblings to go shopping on many occasions. With the rise of various shopping centers within easy driving distance, the Grand and Harlem area went into a gradual decline in the 1970s and 80s, resulting in many empty storefronts and, eventually, demolished buildings.
The great Montclare theatre opened around 1929, prospered for decades, and eventually sputtered into permanent closure in the mid-80s. It is now but a memory along with many other local landmarks of my youth. We saw films all the time at the Mont Clare, which at one time had an expensive organ. I even worked there for six weeks in 1970 as an usher, and some years later, my sister worked at the candy counter.
We also have a few pictures of the route 16 – Lake streetcar. Again, I am too young to remember this (it quit six months before I was born) but I certainly recall riding the Lake Street “L” many times when it still ran at ground level for the two-and-a-half miles west of Laramie.
Nowadays, the CTA doesn’t even offer bus service on Lake Street, which was at one time an important route. For a time, CTA used special narrow buses to navigate around the “L” support columns on Lake. Streetcars, of course, could operate on much closer clearances, since they were on rails.
Fortunately, we still have our memories and these great pictures, which date to the “red car” era in Chicago.
As always, if you can help identify locations, or have interesting facts or reminiscences to add, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. You can leave comments on this post, or write us directly at:
FYI there will be additional posts in this series coming up in the near future, so watch this space. To see previous posts in this series, use the search window on this page.
Yesterday, we reached another milestone with 100,000 page views in less than 11 months since our first post on January 21st. We must be doing something right and hope to do even better in 2016. Thank you for spending time with us.
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 103rd 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 100,000 page views from approximately 29,000 individuals.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
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New Addition to Our Collection of Traction Audio CDs – Toronto Streetcars
It’s always a good day when we can expand our offerings of traction audio CDs. We have several additional steam titles that are coming down the pike, but there just happen to have been a lot fewer audio recordings made of streetcars and interurbans in the classic era.
We thank collector Kenneth Gear for sharing a 1962 recording of Toronto streetcars (described below) with us. This features Peter Witts and PCCs.
It has been our intent to pair up traction LPs on CDs, to give our customers the best value for their money. The only traction CD in our collection that still was not paired up with another recording is Interurban Memories, which has audio from both Pacific Electric and the North Shore Line recorded circa 1959-60, the waning days of both these great interurbans.
Combining these two LPs onto a single CD results in a running time of more than 73 minutes, at no additional cost to you. All our traction CDs are new 2015 digital remasters, using the modern technology, from the best available sources. In some cases, we have compared multiple versions of the same recording in order to pick the best one to use.
We are glad to make these long out-of-print public domain recordings available once again at very reasonable prices. Many of these “orphan works” of long-gone enterprises like the Railroad Record Club have been rescued from the dustbin of history and are now sounding better than ever. Eventually, we hope to have all the Railroad Record Club recordings available once again.
IM & TS
The Sounds of Toronto Streetcars
# of Discs – 1
Interurban Memories features Hi-Fi audio of the Pacific Electric and the North Shore Line in their twilight years 1959-1960. The Sounds of Toronto Streetcarswas recorded in 1962.
You will hear sounds at trackside and on board trains. The North Shore Line portion, from 1960, includes a run from Skokie (Dempster Street) to Edison Court. The Pacific Electric recordings were made on the line between L. A. and Long Beach, including the Watts Local that quit in late 1959. You will hear both the Blimps and the Hollywood Cars.
The Toronto streetcar audio recordings include both a Peter Witt car and a PCC. While streetcars still do run in Toronto, both these types of cars have long since been replaced with more modern equipment.
Both these recordings were originally issued on LP by record companies that have long been out of business.
Total time – 73:42
CTA 927 at Grand and Harlem, then the west end of route 65 – Grand. Note the S. S. Kresge dime store at right. There were once three different dime stores in this shopping area (Kresge’s, Neisner’s, and Woolworth’s). There were still two of these when I was growing up. All are long gone now. The buildings at right, which were probably built circa 1910-1915, have since been torn down and there is a Chase Bank facility there now. Behind the streetcar, you can just catch a glimpse of Ablin Drugs, a local landmark for many decades. There is an Alden’s department store visible. They were considerably downmarket from stores like Marshall Field’s. This picture was probably taken in July 1949. Alden’s and Ablin’s were in suburban Elmwood Park. There is a Caputo’s Fresh Market on that corner now. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)
The corner of Grand and Harlem, looking to the southwest into Elmwood Park. A West Towns bus is turning west on Grand; a double-ended CTA route 65 streetcar is parked in the street, and will soon head back east; and a CTA route 90 – Harlem bus is parked at the corner and will then make a right turn and head north. Note that the trolley seems to have parked far enough off from Harlem to permit cars to make left turns. In 1951, the streetcar was replaced with a trolley bus that terminated a couple blocks east of here at Grand and Nordica, which then became the transfer point for the CTA Harlem bus. In the 1980s, the West Towns was purchased by Pace and this bus route became today’s route 307. Nowadays the CTA #90 bus continues south of here to the Green Line in Oak Park. (Illinois Digital Archives Photo)
National was a popular grocery chain in postwar Chicago. This is how their new location at 1705 N. Harlem Avenue (a few blocks south of Grand ) looked on July 18, 1949, three days before opening. The building eventually became an Osco Drug and was torn down several years ago when Osco moved to a new building on the next block north. (Bob Kotalik Photo)
This is what the the area near Grand and Nordica looked like before things got very built up. Service was extended west to Harlem in 1911. The date given for this picture is 1916, but by then at least some of the retail buildings at Grand and Harlem had already been built. We are looking to the west. In the late 1800s, this area had been farmland. Local pioneer Harriet Sayre’s house was located not far from here at the corner of Grand and Sayre. I recall seeing it demolished in 1960 to make way for a bank. A few blocks to the south, Sayre elementary school opened in 1929. My father went to school there, and I also went there through the fifth grade. (Illinois Digital Archives Photo)
The Grand Avenue streetcar at the end of the line in 1921. 72nd Avenue was later renamed Harlem. (Illinois Digital Archives Photo)
A 1960 CTA photo of the Grand and Nordica off-street bus loop. Route 65 – Grand trolley buses began operating from here in 1951, as did route 90 – Harlem buses. 74B West Fullerton buses began using the loop on December 12, 1955.
This image from http://www.trolleybuses.net, credited to the Scalzo collection, shows a Grand trolleybus, Marmon 9437, at Grand and Nordica on October 12, 1968. There was a grocery next to the loop, which later became a thrift store.
Marmon 9437 westbound on Grand at Newland on September 7, 1969, again from http://www.trolleybuses.net and the Scalzo collection. From 1954 to 1964, my family lived just south of here on Medill. The Rambler dealer later became AMC, then Jeep, Chrysler-Jeep and is now demolished. We are a short distance from the Grand-Nordica loop.
The CTA bus loop at Grand and Noridca as it appears today. The two halves of the loop are bisected by retail, which once included the Terminal Grill, which had pictures of Grand Avenue streetcars hanging on the wall. From 1951 to 1973, CTA route 65 trolley buses turned back here.
CSL 1616 heads west towards Lake and Austin, while running parallel to a ramp just west of Laramie that will bring the Lake Street “L” down to ground level. Both lines will then run side-by-side for a few blocks. At rear, an eastbound “L” train is changing over from overhead wire to third rail. By 1961, the changeover point had been moved further west as part of the process that eventually relocated this portion of “L” to the nearby Chicago & North Western embankment. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
A contemporary view looking east on Lake Stret just west of Laramie. Until October 1962, the “L” descended onto the left portion of Lake Street and ran at ground level to Forest Park.
CSL 1627, heading west on route 16 – Lake, prepares to cross the ground-level tracks of the Lake Street “L” at Pine Avenue, one block east of Central. It will then proceed just over half a mile before turning back at Austin Boulevard. This is also where Lake Street itself takes the same jog. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Lake and Pine today, the same general view as the previous photo.
CTA 6172 passes under the Chicago & North Western overpass near the west end of route 16 – Lake in June 1952. We are facing south, and the streetcar would also have just crossed the Lake Street “L” tracks on the other side of the viaduct. The ground-level portion of Lake was elevated onto the embankment in 1962. Route 16 ended a short distance west of here at Austin Boulevard, the city limits.
Pine Avenue at Lake Street, looking south. This is the same view as in the previous photo showing where the Lake streetcar went under the C&NW embankment until the end of May, 1954.
CSL 3144 is eastbound on route 16 – Lake, just west of where the line passed under the C&NW.
The view today looking west on Lake Street at Pine Avenue, where Lake and its streetcar crossed under the C&NW embankment. This is approximately the same view as the previous photo.
In 1946, my grandparents on my mother’s side bought a wooden frame house at 6226 South Honore Street in Chicago. Previously, they had lived in Lakeview on Newport starting in 1937. This is what their block on Honore looked like in 1946. The jalopy at left, which looks like a Model A Ford, was their car and must have been the oldest one on the block. The house remained in the family until the early 1970s when my uncle sold it. It has since been demolished, as have most of the other homes on this block. They lived just north of 63rd Street, which had a busy streetcar line, and less than a mile away from Loomis, west end of the Englewood branch of the south side “L”. In 1969 the “L” was extended west a few blocks to Ashland, a more logical place to transfer to buses.
CTA Pullman 133, eastbound on 63rd Place private right-of-way between Narrangansett and Central on the 63rd Street line.
PCC 7023 heads west on the mile-long private right-of-way at the west end of the 63rd Street line. This is a built-up residential neighborhood today.
CTA prewar PCC 7012 at the west end of the 63rd Street line (63rd Place and Narragansett). Not sure which direction we are facing.
A view of the CTA bus loop at 6400 West 63rd Place as it appears today. The wooden frame building at right looks very much like one in the previous prictrue. According to Andre Kristopans, the loop was reduced in size to make room for the new Chicago Public Library branch at rear.
CTA 3167 and 479 at Cermak and Kenton on May 16, 1954, by the massive Western Electric plant. 479 was there on a “farewell to red cars” fantrip sponsored by Central Electric Railfans’ Association, which was organized by Bernard Rossbach.
CTA regular service car 3167, painted green, is at Cermak and Kenton, west end of route 21. Red cars 479 and 473, at the rear, are on the famous CERA “farewell to red cars fantrip.” The date is May 16, 1954, two weeks before the end of red car service in Chicago.
CTA 1728 and 3127 at Cermak and Kenton in May 1952. This was the western end of route 21 – Cermak.
CTA 1724 is westbound at Ogden and Cicero on June 24, 1951.
CTA Pullman 144 in fantrip service, April 1956. Regular use of these cars had ended nearly two years before. This car is now preserved in operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum. George Trapp adds, “144 is actually westbound on Devon at Ravenswood, (the) photographer must have been on the Chicago & NorthWestern’s viaduct. Track curving off to the left was used by Route 36 Broadway cars, by this date the State end had been bustituted. Out of sight was a track curving from eastbound Devon to northbound Ravenswood used by Western pull ins to Devon Depot. Eastbound track on Devon between Ravenswood and Clark not used for regular service after Dec. 1947.”
CTA 3207 is signed for the 93rd-95th route on June 27, 1948. This was early in the CTA era, and this car does not appear to have either a CTA or CSL logo on its side. M. E. writes, “CTA 3207 is signed for the 93rd-95th route on June 27, 1948.” The railroad on the right is the east-west line (I believe the Rock Island) that ran at about 94th Place. If this picture had been taken about a block behind the current camera location, it would show the north-south railroad that crosses the east-west railroad. So this view faces east and is situated at about 94th Place and a block west of Stony Island Ave. The streetcar is heading west. The 93rd-95th line wiggled a bit in this area. It went west on 93rd St. to Stony Island Ave., south on Stony Island to about 94th St., west a half-block or so, south another half-block (the streetcar trackage at the left of the picture), then west alongside the east-west railroad. It is this last-mentioned turn that is photographed.” Andre Kristopans: “Regarding the PROW west of Stony Island – there are THREE railroads to the right – nearest is the Belt Ry of Chicago, furthest is the Rock Island, both heading for South Chicago, and coming into the middle from the right is the Chicago & Western Indiana from State Line. The CWI crossed the RI and the Nickel Plate (New York Chicago & St Louis) which headed north towards the NYC at 75th St at what was called Pullman Junction. Also, the reason for the PROW was because before Calumet Yard was built by the Nickel Plate about 1950, their yard was between 83rd and 93rd, and thus 93rd St was never put thru.”
CTA 5309 is running a charter on the 59th-61st Street line, July 4, 1949 (date of an ERA fantrip). (Charles K. Willhoft Photo) M. E. writes, “Based on the L in the background, this picture shows either the Englewood L station at State St. south of 59th St. or the Jackson Park L station at 61st St. and Prairie Ave. If the former, this view faces north on State St. from about 61st St. If the latter, this view faces west on 61st St. from about 600 east.” Another reader says, “I do not believe that this is 61st and State because the street is too narrow to be State Street. Take a look at (Bill) Hoffman’s photos of State & 62nd Place on route 36 (in CERA Bulletin 146) and you can see how wide State Street was and is today. “
CTA 5257 at 79th and Western on July 31, 1948. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)
CTA 3262, signed for route 28, is at the Vincennes Avenue shops on July 4, 1949. (Charles K. Willhoft Photo) This picture may have been taken during an ERA fantrip. One of our readers opines, “Burnside Station at 93rd & Drexel (possibly).”
CTA 3232 is on route 67 at 71st and California, the west end of the line.
CTA Pullman 187 is southbound on route 9 – Ashland in a winter wonderland. M. E. writes, “The only at-grade railroad crossing I know of on Ashland Ave. is the one at 89th St., trackage used by Rock Island Beverly branch commuter trains (Metra trackage today) and the daily B&O Capitol Limited. Because the streetcar’s destination sign reads Ashland and 69th, this car is probably heading north on Ashland.”
CTA 523 on a Madison Street shoo-fly, during construction of lower Wacker Drive in the early 1950s. (C. Edward Hedstrom Photo)
CTA Pullman 426 on route 52 – Kedzie-California on July 23, 1953, at California-Roscoe.
CTA 255 on Route 52 – Kedzie-California, with its two-man crew on July 23, 1953, at California-Roscoe.
CTA Pullman 509, an Ashland car at Southport-Clark.
CSL 1731 at Armitage Station (car house) in War Bond livery, July 1942.
CTA 6297 stops to let off passengers just south of the Loop. The sign advertising the Stevens Hotel should provide a clue as to the location. This is now the Hilton Chicago, located at 720 S. Michigan, but of course no streetcars ran on Michigan downtown. (The second trolley pole you see at rear is on another streetcar that is hidden from view by this one.) M. E. writes, “These cars, called Sedans, ran on Cottage Grove Ave., sometimes in conjunction with the pre-war PCC cars. The Cottage Grove route downtown used Wabash Ave. Now let’s talk about the big buildings. The two big buildings at the left are the back side of the Stevens Hotel, which fronted on Michigan Ave. The sign advertising the Stevens Hotel is on a separate building along Wabash. Another factor is the intersecting street, which must be Balbo (700 South). Balbo ran along the north side of the Stevens Hotel. Ergo, this picture is at Wabash and Balbo, facing southeast, and the streetcar is southbound.”
CSL 6177 southbound at State and Wacker on July 26, 1939. George Trapp: “Photo of car 6177 on State just south of Wacker, car is empty and is probably laying over as it’s on the northbound track. After closure of old State Street bridge it was a good place for short turn State Downtown cars to lay over. Side sign says State-Michigan.”
CSL 1910 at the eastern end of the Chicago Avenue line in April, 1941.
CTA 5457 at 79th and Western on May 29, 1949. Note the PCC in the nearby loop at rear. M. E. writes, “The PCC loop was at the south end of the Western Ave. streetcar line. The loop itself was on the east side of Western at about 78th Place. Car 5457 is at the end of the westbound track on 79th St. east of Western. The trolley has been reversed and the car is ready to head back east on 79th St. To the left of car 5457 is the intersection of 79th and Western.”
CSL 2802 on a charter, possibly a July 4, 1949 fantrip held by the Electric Railroaders’ Association on various south side lines. Bill Shapotkin writes: “Believe this pic is in the streetcar terminal next to the 63/Halsted ‘L’ station (where the C&IT cars and later busses of South Suburban Safeway and Suburban transit began their runs). View looks east.” M. E. adds, “Bill Shapotkin is correct. This view faces east along 63rd Place on the south side of the 63rd and Halsted (Englewood) L station, which was east of Halsted. One small nit about Bill’s text: The bus lines were named Suburban Transit System and South Suburban Safeway Lines.” C&IT stands for the Chicago & Interurban Traction Company. Don’s Rail Photos says, “The Chicago & Interurban Traction Company was incorporated in February 1912, taking over all trackage outside Chicago in March 1912 (all trackage in the City of Chicago went to the Chicago City Railway Company). C&IT interurban service continued from the south side Engelwood Elevated Station at 63rd and Halsted (trackage in Chicago was leased along with the shops at 88th and Vincennes) to Kankakee.” Samuel Insull took over the C&IT in 1922 and tried to revive the line, but when the competing Illinois Central elevated much of their line and electrified, the C&IT could not compete and interurban service was abandoned in 1927.
The “L” station at 63rd and Halsted as it looks today.