Roy G. Benedict

Some very sad news via Eric Bronsky:

We rail preservationists and historians have lost an important member of our community. Roy G. Benedict, prolific writer and historian active with several rail organizations over the course of 60+ years, passed away unexpectedly. He was 78.

Among other activities, Roy was long involved with CERA publications and also served a term as editor of First & Fastest, published by the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society. His historic research and writings were meticulous, thorough and accurate. A native of Chicago’s South Side, he was considered a ‘walking encyclopedia’ of Chicago Surface Lines routes and operations.

Roy was a bachelor who lived alone on Chicago’s Northwest Side. He was employed as a schoolteacher. After retiring, he started Roy G Benedict Publisher’s Services as a sole proprietorship. He did not own a car and used public transportation to get wherever he needed to go, traveling frequently to Indiana to observe NICTD board meetings or to distant libraries to research electric railways. When invited to ride with others to railroad museums, model meets, and other events not accessible by bus or train, Roy was always grateful for the opportunity to tag along.

Roy would occasionally join me, Dan Joseph, and others on day trips. The photo below shows Roy enjoying Bob Olson’s South Bend Electric Railway in October of 2016. Dan spoke with Roy only last Wednesday, inviting him to join us Sunday to visit the Illinois Railway Museum. Our pickup point was the CTA Belmont Blue Line station. Roy, normally punctual, was not there when we arrived. We tried calling his home and mobile phone but there was no answer. Growing concerned, we made several phone calls in an attempt to find someone who could check on Roy. Our worst fears were confirmed on Monday.

There will be no funeral service. Roy bequeathed his collection to the Illinois Railway Museum’s Strahorn Library. I have no other information.

— Eric

Jeff Wien notes:

Roy was one of the most intelligent people that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Roy G. Benedict started out as a mapmaker as a teenager in the 1950s. An early example of his work, a mimeographed track map of the Chicago Aurora & Elgin, is reproduced below.

He was the co-author, along with James R. MacFarlane, of Not Only Passengers: How the Electric Railways Carried Freight, Express, and Baggage, Bulletin 129 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (1992).

Roy was very helpful to Carl Bajema, offering helpful advice on the book that became The Street Railways of Grand Rapids (co-author: Tom Maas), Bulletin 148 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association (2017). He was a stickler for getting details correct, and did not suffer fools gladly. If you disagreed with Roy, you had better have the facts at hand to make your case.

Mr. Benedict was interviewed on-camera for the Chicago Streetcar Memories DVD produced by Jeff Wien and the late Bradley Criss for Chicago Transport Memories. He was also a contributor to Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936-1958, by Jeffrey L. Wien and myself, (Bradley Criss Photo Editor), published in 2015 by Central Electric Railfans’ Association as Bulletin 146.

In recent years, Roy had also been very active in the yearly Hoosier Traction Meet that takes place in Indianapolis each September.

This is a great loss to the railfan community. He will be missed.

-David Sadowski

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 234th 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 527,000 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 web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Our Third Anniversary

One of the two brand-new North Shore Line Electroliners at the Milwaukee terminal in June 1941.

One of the two brand-new North Shore Line Electroliners at the Milwaukee terminal in June 1941.

For the longest time, January 21 has been a dark day in the railfan hobby as this was when the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee ceased operations in 1963. That was 55 years ago today.

We run North Shore Line pictures all the time, all through the year. Every day is a day to celebrate that storied interurban.

But January 21st is also the anniversary of when we started this blog. We have been here now for three whole years, with 206 posts and 362,000 page views to date. We hope to be here for a long time to come. That is another reason to celebrate.

Here are some more great traction photos for your enjoyment. We thank our readers for sharing them.

-David Sadowski

Annual Fundraiser

In about 10 day’s time, our annual bill to fund this site and its web domain comes due.  That comes to $400, or just over $1 per day for the entire year.  So far, we have collected $370 of the required amount. If you have already contributed, we are particularly grateful.

Any additional funds collected over this amount will be used to pay for research materials for our next book, which we are currently hard at work on. We currently have a unique opportunity to purchase some rare images that would be wonderful additions to the book. This opportunity is fleeting, however.

If you make a donation towards research, we will make note of this in the book itself as our way of saying “thank you.” We expect the book will be published later this year.

If you enjoy reading this blog, and want to see it continue, we hope you will consider supporting it via a donation.  You can also purchase items from our Online Store. With your help, we cannot fail.

Recent Finds

"Former North Shore derrick car 607 and car 237, both now owned by Chicago Hardware Foundry Co., at North Chicago, Illinois, November 14, 1953." Don's Rail Photos adds: "237 was built by Cincinnati in May 1924, #2720, as a merchandise dispatch car. It was rebuilt with 2 motors and later as a sleet cutter," and "607 was built by Cincinnati in November 1924, #2730. It was retired in 1949 and sold to Chicago Hardware Foundry in 1950 and renumbered 239." North Chicago was also the original home of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. (Photo by Robert Selle)

“Former North Shore derrick car 607 and car 237, both now owned by Chicago Hardware Foundry Co., at North Chicago, Illinois, November 14, 1953.” Don’s Rail Photos adds: “237 was built by Cincinnati in May 1924, #2720, as a merchandise dispatch car. It was rebuilt with 2 motors and later as a sleet cutter,” and “607 was built by Cincinnati in November 1924, #2730. It was retired in 1949 and sold to Chicago Hardware Foundry in 1950 and renumbered 239.” North Chicago was also the original home of the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. (Photo by Robert Selle)

"Views of North Shore Line #189 and 150 at Highwood Shops, Saturday noon, August 7, 1955." (Robert Selle Photo)

“Views of North Shore Line #189 and 150 at Highwood Shops, Saturday noon, August 7, 1955.” (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 403 "coming into Aurora from Wheaton (stopped to let off passengers)." This picture was taken on Wednesday afternoon, July 14, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 403 “coming into Aurora from Wheaton (stopped to let off passengers).” This picture was taken on Wednesday afternoon, July 14, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

"CA&E freight train headed by loco 2001, to Wheaton from Aurora (taken at Batavia Junction), Saturday noon, April 25, 1953." Notice all the platform extensions here have been turned up to provide the train with enough clearance to pass. They were flipped down for use by passenger trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

“CA&E freight train headed by loco 2001, to Wheaton from Aurora (taken at Batavia Junction), Saturday noon, April 25, 1953.” Notice all the platform extensions here have been turned up to provide the train with enough clearance to pass. They were flipped down for use by passenger trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

"CTA 1-man arched roof 3162 (in green and cream) on Lake Street, just west of Kostner (4400W), Saturday noon, November 28, 1953." This was one of a handful of older streetcars that were repainted into a dark green by the CTA circa 195-54. (Robert Selle Photo)

“CTA 1-man arched roof 3162 (in green and cream) on Lake Street, just west of Kostner (4400W), Saturday noon, November 28, 1953.” This was one of a handful of older streetcars that were repainted into a dark green by the CTA circa 195-54. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Transit Authority PCCs 7229 and 7090 at 77th and Vincennes, along with salt spreader AA46. The date was May 16, 1954, when Central Electric Railfans' Association held a red car fantrip. Don's Rail Photos: "AA46, salt car, was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUTCo 4779. It was renumbered 1250 in 1913 and became CSL 1250 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car in 1931 and renumbered AA46 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on December 27, 1955." (James C. Barrick Photo)

Chicago Transit Authority PCCs 7229 and 7090 at 77th and Vincennes, along with salt spreader AA46. The date was May 16, 1954, when Central Electric Railfans’ Association held a red car fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos: “AA46, salt car, was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUTCo 4779. It was renumbered 1250 in 1913 and became CSL 1250 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car in 1931 and renumbered AA46 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on December 27, 1955.” (James C. Barrick Photo)

CTA 3093 encounters a flock of pigs at the Stock Yards on March 13, 1948. The streetcar is southbound on Throop at Hilleck Street on the Morgan-Racine line, which was abandoned on July 24 of that year. (Malcolm D. McCarter Collection)

CTA 3093 encounters a flock of pigs at the Stock Yards on March 13, 1948. The streetcar is southbound on Throop at Hilleck Street on the Morgan-Racine line, which was abandoned on July 24 of that year. (Malcolm D. McCarter Collection)

"3 CTA Big Pullmans: #400, 295 and 374, in the yards at the end of the Kedzie barn (5th and Kedzie), August 9, 1953." (Robert Selle Photo)

“3 CTA Big Pullmans: #400, 295 and 374, in the yards at the end of the Kedzie barn (5th and Kedzie), August 9, 1953.” (Robert Selle Photo)

"8:05 am, Thursday morning, March 31, 1955: Chicago & North Western loco 654 (4-6-2), with commuter train, coming east toward camera at high speed at Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, Il." (Robert Selle Photo)

“8:05 am, Thursday morning, March 31, 1955: Chicago & North Western loco 654 (4-6-2), with commuter train, coming east toward camera at high speed at Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, Il.” (Robert Selle Photo)

"Saturday afternoon, May 24, 1958: eastbound South Shore Line passenger train #109 at head end; has a silver roof. Michigan City, Ind." The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip, using Illinois Central Electric cars on the South Shore Line. The IC train is just visible behind some poles in the center of the picture. (Robert Selle Photo)

“Saturday afternoon, May 24, 1958: eastbound South Shore Line passenger train #109 at head end; has a silver roof. Michigan City, Ind.” The occasion was a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip, using Illinois Central Electric cars on the South Shore Line. The IC train is just visible behind some poles in the center of the picture. (Robert Selle Photo)

These photos have been added to our previous post The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7, 2017), which also featured several images from the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway:

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)

Here are some classic photos from the collections of William Shapotkin. We thank Bill for sharing these:

Chicago Transit Authority bus 9085 on Route 9 - Ashland on August 24, 1979. (Ron Sullivan Photo)

Chicago Transit Authority bus 9085 on Route 9 – Ashland on August 24, 1979. (Ron Sullivan Photo)

CTA car 6186, working a southbound trip on Route 9 - Ashland, has just arrived at the south end of the line at 95th Street in May 1951. The view looks northeast.

CTA car 6186, working a southbound trip on Route 9 – Ashland, has just arrived at the south end of the line at 95th Street in May 1951. The view looks northeast.

South Suburban Safeway Lines bus 458 in May 1971. (Richard R. Kunz Photo)

South Suburban Safeway Lines bus 458 in May 1971. (Richard R. Kunz Photo)

CTA 6213 at 95th and State Streets in 1949.

CTA 6213 at 95th and State Streets in 1949.

Chicago Surface Lines 6212 on 93rd near Blackstone on August 13, 1947.

Chicago Surface Lines 6212 on 93rd near Blackstone on August 13, 1947.

CTA 745 at 4544 W. 26th Street in March 1950. The cross-street, described as Kenton, is not quite accurate as Kenton does not run in this area, which is the border between Chicago and Cicero.

CTA 745 at 4544 W. 26th Street in March 1950. The cross-street, described as Kenton, is not quite accurate as Kenton does not run in this area, which is the border between Chicago and Cicero.

CSL 5250 at 79th and Brandon.

CSL 5250 at 79th and Brandon.

CTA 3219 changing ends at 87th and Commercial.

CTA 3219 changing ends at 87th and Commercial.

CTA trolley bus 9584 at "Six Corners" (Cicero, Milwaukee and Irving Park) in April 1969, heading south on Route 54 - Cicero Avenue. Who would have thought when this picture was taken that this would someday become the very last Sears store in Chicago?

CTA trolley bus 9584 at “Six Corners” (Cicero, Milwaukee and Irving Park) in April 1969, heading south on Route 54 – Cicero Avenue. Who would have thought when this picture was taken that this would someday become the very last Sears store in Chicago?

CTA 214 at Belmont and Western on December 31, 1948. At right is the famous Riverview amusement park, which closed abruptly after the 1967 season. The tall structure is the parachute jump, which I once rode on as a kid. It was a terrifying and exhilarating ride, especially since the harness was not especially tight.

CTA 214 at Belmont and Western on December 31, 1948. At right is the famous Riverview amusement park, which closed abruptly after the 1967 season. The tall structure is the parachute jump, which I once rode on as a kid. It was a terrifying and exhilarating ride, especially since the harness was not especially tight.

CSL 2598 at 138th and Leyden in April 1934.

CSL 2598 at 138th and Leyden in April 1934.

CSL 881 at Lawrence and Austin on Route 81 in March 1939. As you can see, this northwest side area was not very built up yet.

CSL 881 at Lawrence and Austin on Route 81 in March 1939. As you can see, this northwest side area was not very built up yet.

CTA 357 at California and Roscoe in March 1951 on Route 52.

CTA 357 at California and Roscoe in March 1951 on Route 52.

The old Chicago and North Western station in July 1966. (Joe Piersen Photo)

The old Chicago and North Western station in July 1966. (Joe Piersen Photo)

Milwaukee Road loco 93A shoves an eastbound "Scout" under Lake Street. The view looks east-southeast.

Milwaukee Road loco 93A shoves an eastbound “Scout” under Lake Street. The view looks east-southeast.

CTA 4013is at the east end of Route 63 at Stony Island and 63rd on November 29, 1951. This was also the terminus of the Jackson Park branch of the "L", which has since been cut back. I believe this is a Truman Hefner photo.

CTA 4013is at the east end of Route 63 at Stony Island and 63rd on November 29, 1951. This was also the terminus of the Jackson Park branch of the “L”, which has since been cut back. I believe this is a Truman Hefner photo.

CTA 7011 is eastbound at 63rd and Western on June 4, 1950.

CTA 7011 is eastbound at 63rd and Western on June 4, 1950.

CTA 743 at Clinton and Adams on Route 60 in May 1948.

CTA 743 at Clinton and Adams on Route 60 in May 1948.

We previously ran another version of this photo in our post Surface Service (July 11, 2017) where it was credited to Joe L. Diaz. CSL 5094 is at Root and Halsted on Route 44 - Wallace/Racine in 1945. That's the Stock Yards branch of the "L" at back.

We previously ran another version of this photo in our post Surface Service (July 11, 2017) where it was credited to Joe L. Diaz. CSL 5094 is at Root and Halsted on Route 44 – Wallace/Racine in 1945. That’s the Stock Yards branch of the “L” at back.

CSL one-man car 3286 is at Montrose and Broadway on Route 78 in April 1942.

CSL one-man car 3286 is at Montrose and Broadway on Route 78 in April 1942.

CSL one-man car 3116 is at 18th and LaSalle.

CSL one-man car 3116 is at 18th and LaSalle.

CTA 7027 is picking up a crowd of shoppers as it heads eastbound at 63rd and Halsted, sometime between 1948 and 1951.

CTA 7027 is picking up a crowd of shoppers as it heads eastbound at 63rd and Halsted, sometime between 1948 and 1951.

CTA 177 is westbound on 63rd and State in March 1950, having just passed under the viaduct near Englewood Union Station.

CTA 177 is westbound on 63rd and State in March 1950, having just passed under the viaduct near Englewood Union Station.

CTA 478 is westbound on 63rd Street at Harvard in 1952. That's the old Harvard "L" station on the Englewood branch at rear, which closed in 1992.

CTA 478 is westbound on 63rd Street at Harvard in 1952. That’s the old Harvard “L” station on the Englewood branch at rear, which closed in 1992.

309 W. 63rd Street today. Additional steel was placed under the "L" when 63rd was widened.

309 W. 63rd Street today. Additional steel was placed under the “L” when 63rd was widened.

Jeff Marinoff writes:

I’ve been meaning to contact you for a long time, but I never seem to get around to it. I have a huge collection of original 8 x 10 transportation photos and vintage post cards. Many of which are from the Chicago area. Attached is just a ‘very small’ sample of what I have.

Well, we are certainly very appreciative of this. Thank you for sharing these great pictures with our readers.

Wes Moreland’s Chicago in 1/4″ Scale

Eric Bronsky recently posted this video, featuring some incredibly detailed models made by Wes Moreland:

Pacific Electric, Hollywood Freeway

FYI, John Bengston runs a blog called Chaplin-Keaton-Lloyd film locations (and more). Streetcars and interurbans appear frequently in his posts.

We recently sent Mr. Bengston a suggestion for an article, covering filming locations for the 1941 W. C. Fields film Never Give a Sucker an Even Break. There are some shots of the Pacific Electric in this film, in particular the Glendale-Burbank line, and also the Hollywood Freeway, which was new at the time.

He does a tremendous job with his research, and he certainly took the ball and ran with it.

Part two has just been published and can be found here. You can find part one here.

Jack Bejna writes:

Congratulations on your third anniversary. I’m happy that I get a chance to enhance your fine posts once in awhile. I hope that there are many more posts to come.

Here’s a few winter shots on the CA&E. You’ll notice on the plow shots that they would put a plow on

just about any motor when they needed to clear the yard, and, probably along the main line if needed.

Ingenuity in action on the “Roarin’ Elgin!”

Don's Rail Photos: ""Carolyn" was built by Niles Car in 1904. It was rebuilt as 209, a trailer coach, in 1924 and rebuilt in May 1939. It was retired in 1959." From Ed Halstead's blog Modeling Insull's Empire in O Scale: "Parlor-buffet service was initiated in 1904. The parlor-buffet car Carolyn, although built after the original series of cars, was built much to the standards of the original cars. The Florence was built in 1906 and was slightly longer then the cars built before it. The Carolyn was a trailer while the Florence was a half-motor." A half-motor car had two motors instead of the usual four. It could run in a train at normal speeds, but reduced the power consumption on the line.

Don’s Rail Photos: “”Carolyn” was built by Niles Car in 1904. It was rebuilt as 209, a trailer coach, in 1924 and rebuilt in May 1939. It was retired in 1959.” From Ed Halstead’s blog Modeling Insull’s Empire in O Scale: “Parlor-buffet service was initiated in 1904. The parlor-buffet car Carolyn, although built after the original series of cars, was built much to the standards of the original cars. The Florence was built in 1906 and was slightly longer then the cars built before it. The Carolyn was a trailer while the Florence was a half-motor.” A half-motor car had two motors instead of the usual four. It could run in a train at normal speeds, but reduced the power consumption on the line.

CA&E car 308, built by Niles in 1906.

CA&E car 308, built by Niles in 1906.

CA&E car 309, built by Hicks in 1908.

CA&E car 309, built by Hicks in 1908.

CA&E cars 315 and 207. Don's Rail Photos: "315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962. 207 was built by Niles Car in 1904. It was rebuilt in September 1940 and retired in 1955."

CA&E cars 315 and 207. Don’s Rail Photos: “315 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1909, #404. It was modernized at an unknown date and sold to Rockhill Trolley Museum in 1962. 207 was built by Niles Car in 1904. It was rebuilt in September 1940 and retired in 1955.”

CA&E suburban streetcar 500, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1927.

CA&E suburban streetcar 500, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1927.

CA&E loco 2002 with snow plow attached. It was built by G. E. in 1920.

CA&E loco 2002 with snow plow attached. It was built by G. E. in 1920.

Again, CA&E loco 2002 with snow plow attached. It was built by G. E. in 1920.

Again, CA&E loco 2002 with snow plow attached. It was built by G. E. in 1920.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E 3 "was built in the company shops in 1909 as a plow."

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E 3 “was built in the company shops in 1909 as a plow.”

CA&E locos 3003 and 3004 were built by Westinghouse in 1923.

CA&E locos 3003 and 3004 were built by Westinghouse in 1923.

At left CA&E 453, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945, and at right, 413, built by Pullman in 193.

At left CA&E 453, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945, and at right, 413, built by Pullman in 193.

As always, we thank Jack for sharing these wonderful pictures.

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

gh1

This is our 206th 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 362,000 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 web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Holiday Spirit

Here's Eric Bronsky's 2017 holiday card. Alluding to some Comments that were made about a different picture in our last post (Reader Showcase, 12-11-2017), we are certain that this image of the new Chicago Transit Authority "L" station at Washington and Wabash has been worked over in Photoshop. But such is our desire to see North Shore Line trains running again, that we freely admit we believe it must be true!*

Here’s Eric Bronsky’s 2017 holiday card. Alluding to some Comments that were made about a different picture in our last post (Reader Showcase, 12-11-2017), we are certain that this image of the new Chicago Transit Authority “L” station at Washington and Wabash has been worked over in Photoshop. But such is our desire to see North Shore Line trains running again, that we freely admit we believe it must be true!*

Christmas Eve is here once again, and we’re sharing some holiday joy from our readers. Thanks to everyone who let us use their pictures. Whatever your beliefs, we hope for a joyous holiday season for all.

-David Sadowski

From John F. Bromley:

From Kenneth Gear:

From Alan Wickens:

Alan Wickens produces a monthly magazine about Wellington, New Zealand’s (now former) trolleybus system. This was the November ‘special’ to mark the very last day of trolleybus operation there. Click this link to read it.

From Bob Carroll:

Pittsburgh, 1975.

Pittsburgh, 1975.

From Charles Seims:

Jack Bejna writes:

Here’s an early Xmas present for the blog. My favorite CA&E cars are by far the original several orders of woodies, especially before they lost their original window configuration. It’s too bad we didn’t have modern cameras to capture these wooden beauties in all their original configuration. Merry Christmas and a great New Year as well.

And I know I join our readers in wishing the same to you as well, thanks!

CA&E 12 was built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 12 was built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 14, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 14, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 24, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 24, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 26, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 26, built by Niles in 1902.

CA&E 30, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 30, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 34, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 34, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 46, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 46, built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 48 as new. It was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 48 as new. It was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 54 was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 54 was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 103, a trailer, was built by Stephenson in 1902.

CA&E 103, a trailer, was built by Stephenson in 1902.

Recent Finds

Here are three Red Border Kodachrome slides we recently acquired, plus one circular:

A train of CTA 4000s prepares to head east at DesPlaines Avenue, west end of the Garfield Park "L", on May 26, 1956.

A train of CTA 4000s prepares to head east at DesPlaines Avenue, west end of the Garfield Park “L”, on May 26, 1956.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train loops at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park on May 26, 1956, while a CTA Route 17 bus waits in the background. That was the replacement service for the Westchester branch of the "L", which uit in 1951.

A two-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train loops at DesPlaines Avenue in Forest Park on May 26, 1956, while a CTA Route 17 bus waits in the background. That was the replacement service for the Westchester branch of the “L”, which uit in 1951.

On July 4, 1953, we are looking north from the stairway to the CTA's "L" station at State and Van Buren. Streetcars are still running on State Street, via tracks laid in concrete about ten years before when the State Street subway was built. The nearby subway entrances are in their original configuration. State did not get those "preying mantis" street lights until 1959.

On July 4, 1953, we are looking north from the stairway to the CTA’s “L” station at State and Van Buren. Streetcars are still running on State Street, via tracks laid in concrete about ten years before when the State Street subway was built. The nearby subway entrances are in their original configuration. State did not get those “preying mantis” street lights until 1959.

Unfortunately, one tour that you can't take via interurban any longer...

Unfortunately, one tour that you can’t take via interurban any longer…

Santa Is Coming…

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad, that is, in vintage 1959 recordings prepared for the Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, Wisconsin, but previously unissued, now digitally remastered for your enjoyment on compact disc:

From the introduction to the record:

This is Pete Brett. What you are about to hear is a recording of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad in 1959. Engine number 21, Mikado type, 2-8-2, oil burning.

Regular service in 1959, on the Santa Maria Valley, freight only. My recording depicts a composite of different recordings, of different operations. Our train switches in Santa Maria, some switching operation at the John Inglis Frozen Food Company, just outside Santa Maria, which we’ll hear some sounds of mechanical reefers, along with whistles.

Some on-line recordings, as the train proceeds to Betteravia Junction. There, some of the cars are cut out, the engine backs up to Betteravaia, switches, drops off some cars, picks some up, goes back to Betteravia Junction, picks up the rest of the train; we proceed on to Guadalupe, and our junction with the Southern Pacific. There, some switching operations, as some cars are dropped off, others picked up. Later on, the train returns to Betteravaia Junction. Once again, the train splits in two, part of it going to Betteravia, the switching operation there, the train then proceeding on to Santa Maria.

Santa Maria Valley Railroad, 1959.

The remainder of the CD includes 14 additional steam railroad tracks recorded by William A. Steventon, for use in a presentation he gave, demonstrating various types of sounds involved in basic railroad operations.

Total Time: 70:26

A History of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad

From the railroad’s website:

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad (SMVRR.com) has a rich and interesting history, and can be credited, at least in large part, with the Santa Maria Valley becoming an economic powerhouse by building up primarily the agricultural and industrial segments of its economy.

The Santa Maria Valley Railroad commenced construction on July 11, 1911 by an English oil syndicate to haul oil and asphalt from Roadamite to Guadalupe. The SMVRR reached Santa Maria on October 7, 1911 and was completed to Roadamite on November 5, 1911. The SMVRR took over switching operations for Union Sugar Plant. The railroad was initially successful but in the 1920s the sugar plant closed and the railroad drifted into bankruptcy in 1925.

Captain G. Allan Hancock purchased the railroad in 1925 in a bankruptcy auction on the steps of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse and proceeded to build many industries which complemented the railroad. Captain Hancock built a state of the art, fully-equipped engine house to maintain his locomotives and equipment. He invested heavily in the railroad, installing new ties and new rail, and buying locomotives. Captain Hancock developed agriculture in the Santa Maria Valley, introducing new irrigation methods, and invested heavily in packing sheds, an ice plant, and Rosemary Farms. By the mid 1930s the SMVRR was hauling many carloads of sugar beets to the Union Sugar Plant in Betteravia, and crude oil and vegetables out of the valley. The SMVRR was one of the busiest shortline railroads on the west, hauling over 20,000 carloads per year.

At the start of World War II, the SMVRR purchased the old Pacific Coast (narrow gauge) Railroad right-of-way to the Airbase, now the location of the Santa Maria Airport. The Airbase Branch is actually the oldest railroad right-of-way on the SMVRR system, originally constructed in April 1882. In fact, the Airbase Branch is the only Pacific Coast right-of-way still in operation as a railroad.

Roadamite ceased operations in the late 1940s and the line was abandoned from Sisquoc to Roadamite in 1949. The last major track construction was in 1950 when the Battles Branch was built to service a refinery.

The SMVRR was one of the last railroads on the West Coast to run main line steam locomotives. On February 24, 1962, the last run of steam engine 21, with Captain Hancock at the throttle and Walt Disney in the cab, occurred. The SMVRR had purchased its first diesel-electric locomotives, the GE 70-tonners, in 1948. The GE 70-tonners proved to be excellent work horses for the SMVRR and they eventually displaced the steam locomotives.

Captain Hancock passed away in 1965. Two Hancock family trusts took over the SMVRR: the Marian Mullen Trust, controlled by Hancock’s third wife Marian Hancock; and the Rosemary Trust, the descendants of Rosemary, Hancock’s only daughter. Through the years many of the loose carload merchandise business went to trucking and by the late 1970s the fresh vegetable market was gone. Oil produced in the valley eventually left the rails. In August 1993, Holly Sugar closed down the sugar plant in Betteravia. This resulted in the loss of 90% of the railroad’s remaining traffic. The Hancock Trusts eventually concentrated on their more lucrative real estate holdings and the railroad continued to lose its customer base.

The Rosemary Trust took complete control of the railroad in 1999 and worked to turn the fortunes around for the railroad. An intense marketing campaign brought some new customers aboard. The railroad divested its right-of-way east of Highway 101 in Santa Maria and the main line trackage was reduced to 14 miles.

In October 2006 the SMVRR was purchased by the Coast Belle Rail Corporation from the descendants of the Hancock family, ending more than 80 years of control by the Hancock Family. New ownership embarked on a daunting task of rebuilding the line and rebuilding the customer base. To raise public and customer awareness and to raise much needed capital, the SMVRR hosted special events and dinner excursions.

On November 9, 2006 the SMVRR chartered the private car Silver Lariat for a freight customer appreciation excursion. That night was the first public excursion since 1962. On December 9, 2006 the SMVRR held its first ever public open house, the first of several events to reintroduce the public to the railroad. On the weekend of April 5, 2008 the former SMVRR Railbus No. 9 made a cameo appearance during a Motorcar Operators West excursion.

In September 2008 the SMVRR moved its yard and office facilities out of downtown Santa Maria and relocated at the former sugar plant in Betteravia. The new location offers full transload services with team track, dock track and ramp track as well as many acres of on-ground storage.

In July 2016, the SMVRR Headquarters relocates to its new Osburn Yard.

Today, history continues to be made. The past two years were the busiest since the sugar beet plant closed in 1993. New customers have come on board as well as current customers increasing their carloadings. The SMVRR is now a full-service shortline railroad company, performing contract switching, contract track repairs and inspections, and car repairs.

Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad

The Friends of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad (Friends-SMVRR.org) was formed in 2007 to preserve the history of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad and to educate its members on the current railroad industry. Tours and lectures cover the current railroad business, railroad safety, as well as the history of the railroad.

On May 13, 2017, the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum opened an exhibit entitled, “Two Centuries…One Dream”, the story of the Santa Maria Valley Railroad.

Here are some pictures taken on the occasion of the last steam operation on the Santa Maria Valley on February 24, 1962. I would expect that the “Ward” in one picture was Ward Kimball (1914-2002), one of Disney’s “Nine Old Men”:

A dream that fortunately did not come true: CHICAGO'S LOOP ELEVATED TRACKS TO GO January 4, 1974 - This is a view looking south of the Elevated tracks of Chicago's CTA system on Wabash Avenue. This section along with other portions that formed "The Loop" is scheduled to be taken down sometime in the future with the building of a subway that is to take its place.

A dream that fortunately did not come true:

CHICAGO’S LOOP ELEVATED TRACKS TO GO
January 4, 1974 – This is a view looking south of the Elevated tracks of Chicago’s CTA system on Wabash Avenue. This section along with other portions that formed “The Loop” is scheduled to be taken down sometime in the future with the building of a subway that is to take its place.

*Here’s the original message Eric sent out with his card:

40 years ago, who would have imagined that Chicago’s Loop ‘L,’ long reviled as an eyesore and a deterrent to urban revitalization, would one day be viewed as an iconic landmark? The turnaround began soon after the city axed a harebrained scheme to tear down the ‘L’ and replace it with a single subway route under Franklin Street. Property values adjacent to the structure have since risen, and in mild weather you can even dine at a sidewalk café in the shadow of the ‘L’ (Mort’s Deli once offered “‘L’-egant dining under the cars”).

To date, the 120-year-old Loop ‘L’ structure has been restored and all except two of the aging stations have been renovated or replaced. Most recently, Washington/Wabash, a completely new and accessible ‘L’ station with wide platforms beneath a striking glass-and-steel canopy with LED lighting replaced two historic but obsolete stations at Randolph and Madison Streets.

In the spirit of CTA’s annual Holiday Train and Elves’ Workshop Train, and also the “Heritage Fleet,” we digitally enhanced the new Washington/Wabash station with some red-and-green stuff. The North Shore train is grafted from an original photo by William E. Robertson. The elf (someone you know?) is waiting for the train to Santa’s workshop. You might need to enlarge the image to spot some of the other oddities. It’s sort of like a “What’s wrong with this picture” … or should we say, “What’s right with this picture?”

— Eric

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.

HOLIDAY SPECIAL! This book makes an excellent gift. For a limited time only, we have reduced the price to just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the regular price.

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Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Eleven

In this scene at Kedzie station (car house), we have CSL prewar PCC 7019, along with cars 3376, 3381, 3355, 6076, 3007, and 6072, with another PCC behind it. PCC service on busy route 20 - Madison was supplemented with some of the 1929 Sedans since the 83 cars purchased in 1936 were not enough for the line, which needed about 100 cars total in the late 1930s. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

In this scene at Kedzie station (car house), we have CSL prewar PCC 7019, along with cars 3376, 3381, 3355, 6076, 3007, and 6072, with another PCC behind it. PCC service on busy route 20 – Madison was supplemented with some of the 1929 Sedans since the 83 cars purchased in 1936 were not enough for the line, which needed about 100 cars total in the late 1930s. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

For today’s post, we offer another ample selection of Chicago Surface Lines photos from the George Trapp collection. To find earlier posts in this series, just type “George Trapp” into the search window at the top of this page.

As always, if you can help us with locations and other tidbits of information about what you see here, don’t hesitate to let us know so we can update the captions and share the information with our readers. You can comment on this post, or write us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

We are very grateful for the generosity of George Trapp in sharing these great classic images with us. We also wish to thank the original photographers who took these pictures, most notably the late Edward Frank, Jr. and Joe Diaz, who tirelessly roamed the streets of Chicago in the 1930s and 1940s to document what was then the largest streetcar system in the world. In addition, we should also thank Fred J. Borchert, who took similar photos going back to the 1910s and 1920s, Robert V. Mehlenbeck, and George Krambles, who got a very early start as a railfan, as you can see in some of these pictures.

Unfortunately, all five of these individuals are gone from the scene, but fortunately, we can still benefit from all their hard work in taking these wonderful old photographs. Let us never forget that we are, as Sir Issac Newton said, “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Since Monday is Labor Day, we have been sure to include some photos of CSL work cars too.

-David Sadowski


CSL 1767 on Broadway-State. One of our regular readers writes, "On Broadway SB near Surf Street (my best guess) post 1937." (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 1767 on Broadway-State. One of our regular readers writes, “On Broadway SB near Surf Street (my best guess) post 1937.” (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

This sure looks like the same building as in the previous picture. It's around 2883 N. Broadway, which is just north of Surf.

This sure looks like the same building as in the previous picture. It’s around 2883 N. Broadway, which is just north of Surf.

CSL 6211 on the Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago (Indiana) route, which was jointly operated as a through-route with, logically enough, the Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago Railway. As the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society notes, "Common ownership with the South Chicago City Railway Company brought through operation into Chicago as early as 1896. Similarly, Chicago cars ran to Hammond and East Chicago. However, each company advertised the service on its side of the state line as a local route, retaining the fares from that portion." Service ended in 1940. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 6211 on the Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago (Indiana) route, which was jointly operated as a through-route with, logically enough, the Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago Railway. As the Shore Line Interurban Historical Society notes, “Common ownership with the South Chicago City Railway Company brought through operation into Chicago as early as 1896. Similarly, Chicago cars ran to Hammond and East Chicago. However, each company advertised the service on its side of the state line as a local route, retaining the fares from that portion.” Service ended in 1940. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

The presence of Chicago's famous Como Inn restaurant (which closed in 2001, after being in business for 77 years) helps identify this location as the "six corners" intersection of Halsted, Milwaukee and Grand. Andre Kristopans: "The street you are looking down is Milwaukee, cars could be Milwaukee, Elston, or Division routes. The 1900 on the left in the first photo is on Grand, and Halsted crosses both left to right." Scott writes, "The photographer is looking northwest up Milwaukee Avenue; the “turtleback” car at the left in the first picture is on Grand. The block in the background (with the corner bar and Schlitz billboard) was recently torn down for new construction; the buildings had all been painted a bluish-gray and left to deteriorate for years." We posted a later photo showing a PCC car at this location in our post Chicago PCC Updates (August 30, 2015). (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

The presence of Chicago’s famous Como Inn restaurant (which closed in 2001, after being in business for 77 years) helps identify this location as the “six corners” intersection of Halsted, Milwaukee and Grand. Andre Kristopans: “The street you are looking down is Milwaukee, cars could be Milwaukee, Elston, or Division routes. The 1900 on the left in the first photo is on Grand, and Halsted crosses both left to right.” Scott writes, “The photographer is looking northwest up Milwaukee Avenue; the “turtleback” car at the left in the first picture is on Grand. The block in the background (with the corner bar and Schlitz billboard) was recently torn down for new construction; the buildings had all been painted a bluish-gray and left to deteriorate for years.” We posted a later photo showing a PCC car at this location in our post Chicago PCC Updates (August 30, 2015). (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 3058 passes car 687 on Milwaukee at the intersection with Grand and Halsted. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 3058 passes car 687 on Milwaukee at the intersection with Grand and Halsted. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

The same location today. Grand is on the left, Milwaukee on the right.

The same location today. Grand is on the left, Milwaukee on the right.

CSL 6259 at the Imlay loop, the north end of the Milwaukee Avenue route. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 6259 at the Imlay loop, the north end of the Milwaukee Avenue route. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL Sedan (Peter Witt) 3367 in service on the Cottage Grove route. Andre Kristopans: "Sedan 3367 is turning west to north at 95th and Cottage Grove." M. E. writes, "The photo titled “CSL Sedan (Peter Witt) 3367 in service on the Cottage Grove route” must have been taken at 95th and Cottage Grove, because the streetcar is turning from one road to another. At 95th St. there were actually two Cottage Grove Aves.– one heading north along the west side of the Illinois Central main line, the other heading south along the east side of the IC main line. To connect from one Cottage Grove to the other (whether north- or southbound), the streetcars turned left onto 95th St., went under the IC, then turned right on the other Cottage Grove. As for which side of the IC this picture depicts, I believe it is the west side, because I recall a wall along the south side of 95th St. Ergo, this view is west on 95th and the streetcar is heading north." (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL Sedan (Peter Witt) 3367 in service on the Cottage Grove route. Andre Kristopans: “Sedan 3367 is turning west to north at 95th and Cottage Grove.” M. E. writes, “The photo titled “CSL Sedan (Peter Witt) 3367 in service on the Cottage Grove route” must have been taken at 95th and Cottage Grove, because the streetcar is turning from one road to another. At 95th St. there were actually two Cottage Grove Aves.– one heading north along the west side of the Illinois Central main line, the other heading south along the east side of the IC main line. To connect from one Cottage Grove to the other (whether north- or southbound), the streetcars turned left onto 95th St., went under the IC, then turned right on the other Cottage Grove. As for which side of the IC this picture depicts, I believe it is the west side, because I recall a wall along the south side of 95th St. Ergo, this view is west on 95th and the streetcar is heading north.” (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

The same location today. We are looking west along 95th, and Cottage Grove is to the right.

The same location today. We are looking west along 95th, and Cottage Grove is to the right.

CSL 3113 on the Ashland route. Andre Kristopans: "3113 is at Ashland and Irving Park, on the NORTH ASHLAND shuttle route between Irving Park and Fullerton. It was made part of the main route in the 1930’s when the Ashland bridge over the North Branch was built." (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 3113 on the Ashland route. Andre Kristopans: “3113 is at Ashland and Irving Park, on the NORTH ASHLAND shuttle route between Irving Park and Fullerton. It was made part of the main route in the 1930’s when the Ashland bridge over the North Branch was built.” (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

Ashland and Irving Park today. We are looking east.

Ashland and Irving Park today. We are looking east.

CSL 1260 on Montrose. Andre Kristopans: "1260 on Montrose might be at Knox. Does not appear to be at Milwaukee, but that was a 1930 extension, and this is likely before then." (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

CSL 1260 on Montrose. Andre Kristopans: “1260 on Montrose might be at Knox. Does not appear to be at Milwaukee, but that was a 1930 extension, and this is likely before then.” (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

One of our regular readers says that CSL Pullman 184 is in the Clark-Arthur Loop, across the street from Devon Station. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

One of our regular readers says that CSL Pullman 184 is in the Clark-Arthur Loop, across the street from Devon Station. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo, Joe L. Diaz Collection)

Motion blur makes it hard to read the car number, but this is a Pullman in the (natch) "Pullman green" color scheme prior to the adoption of red in the 1920s. One of our regular readers writes, "Chicago Railways Pullman No. 191. Note the Chicago Railways logo on the side of the car. The CRys logo was very similar to the CSL logo. This photo was probably taken between 1908 and 1914 when CSL started operations. The cars were not painted red and cream until the early 1920s when CSL adopted that color scheme." (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Motion blur makes it hard to read the car number, but this is a Pullman in the (natch) “Pullman green” color scheme prior to the adoption of red in the 1920s. One of our regular readers writes, “Chicago Railways Pullman No. 191. Note the Chicago Railways logo on the side of the car. The CRys logo was very similar to the CSL logo. This photo was probably taken between 1908 and 1914 when CSL started operations. The cars were not painted red and cream until the early 1920s when CSL adopted that color scheme.” (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

This is a circa 1940 view taken by Edward Frank, Jr. showing the old Edgewater car house. We previously posted a Fred J. Borchert photo showing a street railway post office car at this location, in Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part One (November 3, 2015). Such services ended in 1915. According to www.chicagorailfan.com: CHICAGO NORTH SHORE STREET RAILWAY EDGEWATER 5847 N. Broadway (near Ardmore Ave.) Opened in 1893 Replaced by Devon car house in 1901 Used as Ardmore bus garage 1937-1950 Building remains standing, abandoned except for CTA substation within northwest corner. Chicago North Shore Street Railway Co. was sold in 1894 to North Chicago Electric Railway Co., and merged in 1899 into Chicago Consolidated Traction Co.

This is a circa 1940 view taken by Edward Frank, Jr. showing the old Edgewater car house. We previously posted a Fred J. Borchert photo showing a street railway post office car at this location, in Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part One (November 3, 2015). Such services ended in 1915. According to www.chicagorailfan.com:

CHICAGO NORTH SHORE STREET RAILWAY
EDGEWATER
5847 N. Broadway (near Ardmore Ave.)
Opened in 1893
Replaced by Devon car house in 1901
Used as Ardmore bus garage 1937-1950
Building remains standing, abandoned except for CTA substation within northwest corner.
Chicago North Shore Street Railway Co. was sold in 1894 to North Chicago Electric Railway Co., and merged in 1899 into Chicago Consolidated Traction Co.

 

5847 N. Broadway today.

5847 N. Broadway today.

I'm not sure of the exact location of this car at Chicago's lakefront. Is this Navy Pier? Oak Street beach? Or somewhere else entirely? Andre Kristopans: "The lakefront shot is indeed Oak St, the Chicago Ave loop which was on the NORTH side of Grand about where the entrance to the water filtration plant now is." George Foelschow: "The lakefront picture features the Furniture Mart at Lake Shore Drive at Erie Street, built in 1926 and the largest building in Chicago for a time. The tiny beach would be at Ohio Street. The Chicago Avenue line approached Navy Pier until the drive was “improved”, though I believe its tracks were separate from the Grand Avenue line." M. E. writes, "The photo titled “I’m not sure of the exact location of this car at Chicago’s lakefront” is probably, as you surmise, at Navy Pier. There was a huge building on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, which I think was the Furniture Mart. That would have been only a block north of Grand Ave., where Navy Pier is. There were no streetcars anywhere near the Oak St. beach."

I’m not sure of the exact location of this car at Chicago’s lakefront. Is this Navy Pier? Oak Street beach? Or somewhere else entirely? Andre Kristopans: “The lakefront shot is indeed Oak St, the Chicago Ave loop which was on the NORTH side of Grand about where the entrance to the water filtration plant now is.” George Foelschow: “The lakefront picture features the Furniture Mart at Lake Shore Drive at Erie Street, built in 1926 and the largest building in Chicago for a time. The tiny beach would be at Ohio Street. The Chicago Avenue line approached Navy Pier until the drive was “improved”, though I believe its tracks were separate from the Grand Avenue line.” M. E. writes, “The photo titled “I’m not sure of the exact location of this car at Chicago’s lakefront” is probably, as you surmise, at Navy Pier. There was a huge building on the west side of Lake Shore Drive, which I think was the Furniture Mart. That would have been only a block north of Grand Ave., where Navy Pier is. There were no streetcars anywhere near the Oak St. beach.”

The number on this car at Navy Pier looks like 3010, which would make it a Brill. Andre Kristopans: "3010 at Navy Pier is probably working Stony Island-Wabash. This was the “short loop” roughly in the middle of Navy Pier Park, surrounded by Streeter Drive. Grand cars turned back next to the ramp on the left, which had once had streetcar track going to the upper level of the pier, but by this point was for truck access. The short loop was paved for trolley bus use in 1951, and by 1955 or so replaced by a new TT loop which was accessed from Streeter & Illinois, which lasted until the complete rebuilding of the area in the 1990’s." (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

The number on this car at Navy Pier looks like 3010, which would make it a Brill. Andre Kristopans: “3010 at Navy Pier is probably working Stony Island-Wabash. This was the “short loop” roughly in the middle of Navy Pier Park, surrounded by Streeter Drive. Grand cars turned back next to the ramp on the left, which had once had streetcar track going to the upper level of the pier, but by this point was for truck access. The short loop was paved for trolley bus use in 1951, and by 1955 or so replaced by a new TT loop which was accessed from Streeter & Illinois, which lasted until the complete rebuilding of the area in the 1990’s.” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

This is the old LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel, seen here north of Randolph. The tunnel was in use from 1871 until 1939, when it became an access point for construction of the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

This is the old LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel, seen here north of Randolph. The tunnel was in use from 1871 until 1939, when it became an access point for construction of the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

The old LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel, north of Randolph. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

The old LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel, north of Randolph. (Fred J. Borchert Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Perhaps one of our readers can help identify this bridge. Andre Kristopans: "The first bridge photo is Kedzie across the Sanitary & Ship Canal. The IC bridge in the background is still there, the Kedzie bridge was replaced mid-1960’s, which caused the conversion of the Kedzie-California trolley bus route to motor buses, because CTA did not want to put wires on the shoo-fly." Bill Shapotkin adds, "This is the Kedzie Ave bridge over the river south of 31st St. View looks E-N/E. Note the still-in-service IC bridge in background (which I did ride over under Amtrak)." (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Perhaps one of our readers can help identify this bridge. Andre Kristopans: “The first bridge photo is Kedzie across the Sanitary & Ship Canal. The IC bridge in the background is still there, the Kedzie bridge was replaced mid-1960’s, which caused the conversion of the Kedzie-California trolley bus route to motor buses, because CTA did not want to put wires on the shoo-fly.” Bill Shapotkin adds, “This is the Kedzie Ave bridge over the river south of 31st St. View looks E-N/E. Note the still-in-service IC bridge in background (which I did ride over under Amtrak).” (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Again, maybe one of our readers can help identify this bridge. Andre Kristopans: "The second bridge photo is much harder to ID. However, notice that while the bridge is for lanes, the streetcar is on the “wrong side”, as both tracks are on the near half of the bridge!" Perhaps the bridge was expanded at some point, and the car tracks were left on the one side only. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Again, maybe one of our readers can help identify this bridge. Andre Kristopans: “The second bridge photo is much harder to ID. However, notice that while the bridge is for lanes, the streetcar is on the “wrong side”, as both tracks are on the near half of the bridge!” Perhaps the bridge was expanded at some point, and the car tracks were left on the one side only. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)

Eric Bronsky writes:

This photo shows a car operating northbound on South Western Ave. Bridge over the Chicago Drainage Canal (known today as the Sanitary & Ship Canal), probably in the 1930s. This center pier swing bridge was built in 1906 and removed in 1939. Actually this bridge carried two separate thoroughfares – S. Western Ave. and S. Western Blvd., the latter being a component of Chicago’s historic boulevard system with limited access to local streets between 31st Blvd. and 54th St. Then as now, both thoroughfares were bi-directional. The car tracks were on the avenue (westernmost) side of the bridge.

The main problems with the old swing bridge were its low clearance and the center pier obstructing river traffic. The current bridge, originally completed in 1940 as a fixed span, was soon converted to a vertical lift bridge to accommodate WWII traffic from a shipyard along the canal. It was later converted back to a fixed span.

I have attached a photo which you may use in the blog. Dated Sept. 8, 1938, it looks north. Evidently S. Western Ave. was widened at some point after the bridge was built, but the car tracks were not relocated to the center of the rebuilt roadway, which would explain the offset on the curved approach to the bridge. Please credit Eric Bronsky Collection.

Thanks very much, Eric. There were other places along Western Avenue where the streetcar tracks ended up being offset after the street was widened. You can see such pictures, and a variety of pictures showing the 1940 replacement bridge, in Central Electric Railfans’ Association Bulletin 146, Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: the PCC Car Era 1936-1958.

S Western Ave Br Over S&S Canal lkg N 9-8-039

According to the caption on this Chicago Historical Society photo, we are looking east at Devon station on September 23, 1923. This is a new repair bay at teh west end of the new pit, after much of the building here was destroyed by fire in early 1922.

According to the caption on this Chicago Historical Society photo, we are looking east at Devon station on September 23, 1923. This is a new repair bay at teh west end of the new pit, after much of the building here was destroyed by fire in early 1922.

Looking east at Clark and north of Schreiber, this February 10, 1922 Chicago Historical Society photo shows the aftermath of the fire that burned down half of Devon station (car house).

Looking east at Clark and north of Schreiber, this February 10, 1922 Chicago Historical Society photo shows the aftermath of the fire that burned down half of Devon station (car house).

One of our regular readers thinks this photo shows Evanston Avenue (now Broadway) between Devon and Lawrence. "I believe that the streetcar is a Chicago Union Traction car, but it is too far away in the photo to identify. I believe that the view is looking north somewhere in Edgewater."

One of our regular readers thinks this photo shows Evanston Avenue (now Broadway) between Devon and Lawrence. “I believe that the streetcar is a Chicago Union Traction car, but it is too far away in the photo to identify. I believe that the view is looking north somewhere in Edgewater.”

CSL Snow Plow F28. Don's Rail Photos says, "F28, plow, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924. It was retired on December 14, 1956." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL Snow Plow F28. Don’s Rail Photos says, “F28, plow, was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1924. It was retired on December 14, 1956.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Don's Rail Photos says, "E57, sweeper, was built by Russell in 1930. It was retired on March 11, 1959." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Don’s Rail Photos says, “E57, sweeper, was built by Russell in 1930. It was retired on March 11, 1959.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

This, and the series of photos that follow, were taken between 1930 and 1932 by George Krambles at the Devon car house, where a lot of very old equipment (including single-truck streetcars) was stored. Since GK was born in 1915, he would have been in high school at this time. CSL often kept obsolete equipment for decades. Some of these cars were used for work service. Another reason for keeping them was their potential sale as assets, in case transit unification came to pass. The young man at left is unidentified. (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

This, and the series of photos that follow, were taken between 1930 and 1932 by George Krambles at the Devon car house, where a lot of very old equipment (including single-truck streetcars) was stored. Since GK was born in 1915, he would have been in high school at this time. CSL often kept obsolete equipment for decades. Some of these cars were used for work service. Another reason for keeping them was their potential sale as assets, in case transit unification came to pass. The young man at left is unidentified. (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL Sand Car R4 at Clark and Devon, circa 1930-32. Don's Rail Photos says, "R4, sand car, was rebuilt by Chicago Rys in 1913 as M4. It came from 5569, passenger car. It was renumbered R4 in 1913 and became CSL R4 in 1914. It was retired in 1942." (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL Sand Car R4 at Clark and Devon, circa 1930-32. Don’s Rail Photos says, “R4, sand car, was rebuilt by Chicago Rys in 1913 as M4. It came from 5569, passenger car. It was renumbered R4 in 1913 and became CSL R4 in 1914. It was retired in 1942.” (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Ancient CSL car 2144 at Clark and Devon, c1930-32. The side sign reads, "Base Ball." (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

Ancient CSL car 2144 at Clark and Devon, c1930-32. The side sign reads, “Base Ball.” (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL 1142 at Devon car house. Many cars in this series were sold in 1946 for use as temporary housing. I am not sure if this picture was taken around 1930-32 like the few that precede it. (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL 1142 at Devon car house. Many cars in this series were sold in 1946 for use as temporary housing. I am not sure if this picture was taken around 1930-32 like the few that precede it. (George Krambles Photo, Edward Frank, Jr. Collection)

CSL Supply Car S201. Don's Rail Photos: "S201, supply car, was built by Chicago City Ry in 1908 as CCRy C45. It was renumbered S201 in 1913 and became CSL S201 in 1914. It was retired on September 27, 1956." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL Supply Car S201. Don’s Rail Photos: “S201, supply car, was built by Chicago City Ry in 1908 as CCRy C45. It was renumbered S201 in 1913 and became CSL S201 in 1914. It was retired on September 27, 1956.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1465 was called a "Bowling Alley" car due to its sideways seating. Don's Rail Photos says, "1465 was built by CUT in 1900 as CUT 4514. It was rebuilt as 1465 in 1911 and became CSL 1465 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car and renumbered AA71 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on August 2, 1951." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 1465 was called a “Bowling Alley” car due to its sideways seating. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1465 was built by CUT in 1900 as CUT 4514. It was rebuilt as 1465 in 1911 and became CSL 1465 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car and renumbered AA71 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on August 2, 1951.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

As we near the end of summer here in Chicago, we will leave you with this wintry scene of CSL 1455. Don's Rail Photos says, "1455 was built by CUT in 1900 as CUT 4504. It was rebuilt as 1455 in 1911 and became CSL 1455 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car and renumbered AA67 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on August 17, 1951." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

As we near the end of summer here in Chicago, we will leave you with this wintry scene of CSL 1455. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1455 was built by CUT in 1900 as CUT 4504. It was rebuilt as 1455 in 1911 and became CSL 1455 in 1914. It was rebuilt as (a) salt car and renumbered AA67 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on August 17, 1951.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 154th 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 193,000 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. You can make a contribution there as well.

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

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The Roebuck Stops Here

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That's Sears at left. The 'L' station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash 'L' station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

This 1939 view looks east on Congress from State St.. That’s Sears at left. The ‘L’ station in the foreground is the Old Congress St. stub terminal, and the Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station is directly behind it. After the Congress stub was no longer needed for rush-hour rapid transit service, the North Shore Line continued to use it as a baggage terminal. (Eric Bronsky Collection)

From guest contributor Eric Bronsky:

Sears has been in the news lately. The onetime catalog/mail order champion is fading fast. I was never a fan of Sears, but I was curious to see what this company has brought to the table over the years. One thing led to another and I ended up writing a piece about Sears’ State Street stores (that’s right, there were two Sears flagships in downtown Chicago). I illustrated it with my own photography plus some great historic images from my collection (including the monorail ride in Sears’ toy department).

The file ended up being too big to send as an email attachment, so I posted it online. To view, click on this link:

The Roebuck Stops Here

As a bonus, here are then-and-now photos of Congress Street.

Here's the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash 'L' station was razed during the '50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the 'L' visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Here’s the same view in November, 2015. During the 1950s, Congress St. was rebuilt into an artery feeding the Congress (now Eisenhower or I-290) Expressway. Street widening required cutting through Sears (and other buildings) to build arcaded sidewalks. The Congress & Wabash ‘L’ station was razed during the ’50s and the stub terminal followed in 1964. CTA Green and Orange Line trains currently run on the ‘L’ visible in the distance. The building which once housed Sears is now Robert Morris Center. CERA meetings are currently held in University Center, the building at right.

Several major department stores along State Street once had direct connections to ‘L’ stations on Wabash and subway stations along State. The first downtown Sears established a direct basement-level entrance to the Van Buren & Congress mezzanine of the Jackson & State station in 1943. When that store closed, this station entrance also closed. The basement arcade of the building at 22 W. Madison / 2 N. State (the Boston Store until 1948) had a subway entrance, but the new Sears store never used that entrance and it remained sealed. Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s) connection to the State St. subway is the last remaining department store entrance.

Of course, you are welcome to share this with others! You may also print out The Roebuck Stops Here or download it to save on your computer.

— Eric

Selected FSA/OWI Photos, 1935-45

The Library of Congress has uploaded a great many photos taken between 1935 and 1945 by the Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information. You can search through their collections here.

We have selected some Chicago-area photos from this archive to share with you. These are mainly the ones that are, in some fashion, transportation related, although I have also included a few that aren’t. I hope that you will enjoy them.

There is not a lot of information provided with each photo, but our readers should be able to figure out most of the locations without too much difficulty. I think the picture showing sidewalks in an area where there aren’t any houses yet may be Westchester, where development started in the late 1920s and was delayed until after the end of World War II by the Great Depression.

The pictures of the “L” are from the south side. You should have no difficulty recognizing the Maxwell Street market, the Stockyards, etc. etc. The train station pictures are from Union Station. One photo shows the Illinois Central electric suburban commuter service, today’s Metra Electric.

I only found a few streetcar pictures in the archive. It may not be possible to determine where some were taken due to the fog.

-David Sadowski

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Finally, here are a few from Milwaukee, circa WWII. I believe these may show the old Milwaukee Electric interurban right-of-way going west of the city, which was known as the “Rapid Transit” line. Portions of this are now taken up by an expressway.

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Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 121st 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 127,000 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. You can make a donation there as well.

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

We thank you for your support.


New From Trolley Dodger Press:

P1060517

American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929

Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:

Baltimore
Boston
Brooklyn
Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Rochester, New York
St. Louis
San Francisco
Seattle
Washington, D.C.


*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.

Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.

The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.

These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.

# of Discs – 1
Price: $19.95