An Easter Parade of Traction

The throngs of people in this June 1926 photograph were attending the Catholic Church's 28th International Eucharistic Congress in Mundelein. Note the variety of rail cars being used to move the masses. After the Congress ended, ridership on the North Shore Line's Mundelein-Libertyville branch was sparse enough that service was provided by a single city streetcar.

The throngs of people in this June 1926 photograph were attending the Catholic Church’s 28th International Eucharistic Congress in Mundelein. Note the variety of rail cars being used to move the masses. After the Congress ended, ridership on the North Shore Line’s Mundelein-Libertyville branch was sparse enough that service was provided by a single city streetcar.

As this is Easter weekend, here is a veritable “Easter Parade” of Illinois traction pictures for your enjoyment. No matter what your religious preference may be, we hope that you will not pass over them.

-David Sadowski

CTA 1767, signed for Route 58 - Ogden, is actually heading east on Randolph at Green Street in this early 1950s view.

CTA 1767, signed for Route 58 – Ogden, is actually heading east on Randolph at Green Street in this early 1950s view.

Randolph and Green Streets today.

Randolph and Green Streets today.

CSL 5644 is on Lincoln Avenue and signed to go to both Riverview Park and Harrison and State. 5644 was known as a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. Don's Rail Photos says, "5622 thru 5650 were built by Brill in 1909, #16952, for Southern Street Ry which was a subsidiary." (Southern Street Railway was one of the underlying companies that formed CSL.) Jim Huffman adds, "Probably a Riverview-Larrabee or aka Lincoln-Riverview car. Route Western & Roscoe crossover (later a loop west side of Western), EB to Damen, SB to Belmont, EB to Lincoln, SB to Larrabee thence into Downtown. Ended Sept 1947. A shuttle bus service on Roscoe to the Lincoln Ravenswood station remained for many years. Clybourn was another route that also at times that loop on Western, Clybourn’s actual crossover was at Western, but tracks continued north onto Western with switches into that loop. Western NB short turn cars also used that loop. At times there were cars from three routes in that loop. There were not that many turn-around loops with that many routes." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5644 is on Lincoln Avenue and signed to go to both Riverview Park and Harrison and State. 5644 was known as a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “5622 thru 5650 were built by Brill in 1909, #16952, for Southern Street Ry which was a subsidiary.” (Southern Street Railway was one of the underlying companies that formed CSL.) Jim Huffman adds, “Probably a Riverview-Larrabee or aka Lincoln-Riverview car. Route Western & Roscoe crossover (later a loop west side of Western), EB to Damen, SB to Belmont, EB to Lincoln, SB to Larrabee thence into Downtown. Ended Sept 1947. A shuttle bus service on Roscoe to the Lincoln Ravenswood station remained for many years. Clybourn was another route that also at times that loop on Western, Clybourn’s actual crossover was at Western, but tracks continued north onto Western with switches into that loop. Western NB short turn cars also used that loop. At times there were cars from three routes in that loop. There were not that many turn-around loops with that many routes.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 7005, still looking shiny, at the Madison-Austin loop. I would date this picture to circa 1937 as the paint has not yet dulled on the car.

CSL 7005, still looking shiny, at the Madison-Austin loop. I would date this picture to circa 1937 as the paint has not yet dulled on the car.

The same buildings are across the street from the east side of the Madison-Austin loop even today. But the flow of vehicles through the loop has been reversed, compared to how it was in streetcar days.

The same buildings are across the street from the east side of the Madison-Austin loop even today. But the flow of vehicles through the loop has been reversed, compared to how it was in streetcar days.

CTA Pullman 691 at Belmont and Central in November 1948. (Jack Gervais Photo)

CTA Pullman 691 at Belmont and Central in November 1948. (Jack Gervais Photo)

CSL 6200 on the Windsor Park line. This was a Multiple-Unit car. Don's Rail Photos adds, "6200 was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932." Andre Kristopans adds, "One funny thing about this location, when the CTA started the automated stop announcements on the buses, the southbound stop, which is where the B&O crossing was a bit south of 83rd Place, is announced as “Commercial Avenue at Railroad crossing”, even though the tracks have been gone since the 1970’s sometime!" (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 6200 on the Windsor Park line. This was a Multiple-Unit car. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “6200 was built by CSL in 1924. It was rebuilt as one man service in 1932.” Andre Kristopans adds, “One funny thing about this location, when the CTA started the automated stop announcements on the buses, the southbound stop, which is where the B&O crossing was a bit south of 83rd Place, is announced as “Commercial Avenue at Railroad crossing”, even though the tracks have been gone since the 1970’s sometime!” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Here, CSL 2811 is outbound on the Riverdale line private right-of-way, headed for Michigan and 119th. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

Here, CSL 2811 is outbound on the Riverdale line private right-of-way, headed for Michigan and 119th. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 6238 on the 67-69-71 line. This was known as a Multiple-Unit car. Don's Rail Photos adds, "6238 was built by Lightweight Noiseless Streetcar Co in 1924. It was rebuilt (for) one man service in 1932."

CSL 6238 on the 67-69-71 line. This was known as a Multiple-Unit car. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “6238 was built by Lightweight Noiseless Streetcar Co in 1924. It was rebuilt (for) one man service in 1932.”

CTA Marmon trolley buses 9586 and 9594 at the North Avenue garage.

CTA Marmon trolley buses 9586 and 9594 at the North Avenue garage.

CTA Marmon trolley bus on North Avenue.

CTA Marmon trolley bus on North Avenue.

CTA trolley bus 9462 at the Cicero and Montrose loop. The McDonald's at rear says 9 billion hamburgers have been sold, which would help date this photo to perhaps the mid-1960s. I believe this was the first McDonald's in the City of Chicago.

CTA trolley bus 9462 at the Cicero and Montrose loop. The McDonald’s at rear says 9 billion hamburgers have been sold, which would help date this photo to perhaps the mid-1960s. I believe this was the first McDonald’s in the City of Chicago.

CTA trolley bus 9631 is westbound on Belmont at Cicero circa 1970.

CTA trolley bus 9631 is westbound on Belmont at Cicero circa 1970.

9462 at the Cicero and Montrose loop.

9462 at the Cicero and Montrose loop.

Illinois Central electric suburban cars 1125 and 1226 in downtown Chicago on July 17, 1965.

Illinois Central electric suburban cars 1125 and 1226 in downtown Chicago on July 17, 1965.

Don's Rail Photos says: "415 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1924, #1324, as CO&P (Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria) 64. It became C&IV (Chicago & Illinois Valley) 64 in 1929. It was rebuilt as IT (Illinois Terminal) 415 on September 16, 1934. and sold to Illinois Electric Railway Museum on October 19, 1956."

Don’s Rail Photos says: “415 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1924, #1324, as CO&P (Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria) 64. It became C&IV (Chicago & Illinois Valley) 64 in 1929. It was rebuilt as IT (Illinois Terminal) 415 on September 16, 1934. and sold to Illinois Electric Railway Museum on October 19, 1956.”

Chicago and Joliet Electric car 242, known as the "Ottawa," after the 1934 abandonment.

Chicago and Joliet Electric car 242, known as the “Ottawa,” after the 1934 abandonment.

As Loop ridership increased, platforms were extended to create more room to berth trains. Eventually, some stations on the Van Buren and Wells legs of the Loop had continuous platforms connecting them—which may have inspired continuous platforms in Chicago’s two first subways. Here, Randolph and Wells is being extended in the early 1920s to connect with Madison and Wells. We are looking north.

As Loop ridership increased, platforms were extended to create more room to berth trains. Eventually, some stations on the Van Buren and Wells legs of the Loop had continuous platforms connecting them—which may have inspired continuous platforms in Chicago’s two first subways. Here, Randolph and Wells is being extended in the early 1920s to connect with Madison and Wells. We are looking north.

Here, we are looking north on Wabash at Van Buren, near Tower 12, circa the 1940s.

Here, we are looking north on Wabash at Van Buren, near Tower 12, circa the 1940s.

This is the old State and Van Buren station on the Loop "L", looking east towards Tower 12. This station was closed in 1972 and demolished. It has since been replaced, due to its proximity to the Harold Washington Library.

This is the old State and Van Buren station on the Loop “L”, looking east towards Tower 12. This station was closed in 1972 and demolished. It has since been replaced, due to its proximity to the Harold Washington Library.

A snowy scene at Wabash and Lake, site of the tightest curve on the "L".

A snowy scene at Wabash and Lake, site of the tightest curve on the “L”.

CTA gate car 1050 at Howard on the Evanston shuttle.

CTA gate car 1050 at Howard on the Evanston shuttle.

We originally ran another version of this photo in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Five (Spetember 26, 2016), where it was identified as Noyes Street in Evanston looking south. This version of the photo has less cropping and is dated August 10, 1928. Work is underway on elevating this portion of the Evanston "L".

We originally ran another version of this photo in our post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Five (Spetember 26, 2016), where it was identified as Noyes Street in Evanston looking south. This version of the photo has less cropping and is dated August 10, 1928. Work is underway on elevating this portion of the Evanston “L”.

This is an inspection train at the Lake Street Transfer "L" station, which provided connections between the Lake Street "L", on the lower level, and the Metropolitan above. The higher level station was closed in February 1951, when the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened.

This is an inspection train at the Lake Street Transfer “L” station, which provided connections between the Lake Street “L”, on the lower level, and the Metropolitan above. The higher level station was closed in February 1951, when the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened.

CRT 1715 at Marion Street in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L". It is signed as a local and is about to head east. This car was originally built by St. Louis Car Conpany in 1903 for the Northwestern Elevated Railway as car 715 and was renumbered to 1715 in 1913.

CRT 1715 at Marion Street in Oak Park on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L”. It is signed as a local and is about to head east. This car was originally built by St. Louis Car Conpany in 1903 for the Northwestern Elevated Railway as car 715 and was renumbered to 1715 in 1913.

CTA 1780 heads up an "A" train at Marion Street in Oak Park. The ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture was probably taken between 1948 and 1955.

CTA 1780 heads up an “A” train at Marion Street in Oak Park. The ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” was relocated onto the nearby C&NW embankment in 1962. This picture was probably taken between 1948 and 1955.

A CRT gate car on the Stock Yards branch of the "L".

A CRT gate car on the Stock Yards branch of the “L”.

This picture, taken on May 21, 1934, shows how the CRT Stock Yards "L" branch was extensively damaged by fire two days earlier. Service west of Halsted did not resume until January 16, 1935.

This picture, taken on May 21, 1934, shows how the CRT Stock Yards “L” branch was extensively damaged by fire two days earlier. Service west of Halsted did not resume until January 16, 1935.

The single-track Stock Yards loop.

The single-track Stock Yards loop.

CRT 4318 at one of the ground-level stations on the west end of the Garfield Park line, headed for Westchester. The fencing at left may be related to construction work on the Congress Expressway, which resulted in this line being relocated.

CRT 4318 at one of the ground-level stations on the west end of the Garfield Park line, headed for Westchester. The fencing at left may be related to construction work on the Congress Expressway, which resulted in this line being relocated.

CA&E 46 on the west end of a six-car train at Laramie Yards.

CA&E 46 on the west end of a six-car train at Laramie Yards.

CA&E 424 loops at DesPlaines Avenue circa 1953-57, with a Chicago Great Western freight train in the background. We are looking north.

CA&E 424 loops at DesPlaines Avenue circa 1953-57, with a Chicago Great Western freight train in the background. We are looking north.

The CA&E off-street terminal at Aurora. There is a sign indicating this is the new terminal, opening on December 31st (1939). Since there are trains in the station,I would date this picture to circa 1940. Previously, trains ran on city streets in downtown Aurora.

The CA&E off-street terminal at Aurora. There is a sign indicating this is the new terminal, opening on December 31st (1939). Since there are trains in the station,I would date this picture to circa 1940. Previously, trains ran on city streets in downtown Aurora.

This view of the CA&E Aurora terminal is from the early 1950s.

This view of the CA&E Aurora terminal is from the early 1950s.

The CA&E Wheaton station in the early 1950s.

The CA&E Wheaton station in the early 1950s.

A view of the CA&E Wheaton Yards.

A view of the CA&E Wheaton Yards.

This picture shows CA&E car 425 at Glen Oak on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. The date was September 2, 1940.

This picture shows CA&E car 425 at Glen Oak on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. The date was September 2, 1940.

CA&E wood car 318, at right, is making a photo stop at Clintonville on the Elgin branch, during an early Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip. Presumably the 415 at left is a regular service car.

CA&E wood car 318, at right, is making a photo stop at Clintonville on the Elgin branch, during an early Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip. Presumably the 415 at left is a regular service car.

A close-up of the previous picture.

A close-up of the previous picture.

Not-So-Recent Correspondence

We recently acquired a letter and some photographs that were sent by the late William E. Robertson (1920-2003) of Wilmette, Illinois to George (Krambles?):

Sep/22/1951

Dear George,

Here are a few photographs taken on the North Shore Line some years ago, hope they will be of general interest. Regret delay in posting them to you, after your promptness in (sending) Fort Dodge photos to me!

In two weeks I am taking a big eastern trip through Canada and New England where I hope to get many electric railway pictures. Will not be home until the opening of November, but still look for(ward to) your visit here. No other news for now.

Sincerely, Bill

Bill Robertson was part of the “Greatest Generation” of early railfans.  The letter does not say whether Mr. Robertson took these photos, but that’s a good inference.

Among other things, Bill Robertson was an inventor, and had a few patents in his name, including one for a “High-Speed Transportation System.” This must have had some utility, as it has been cited by several other later patents.

Chances are, Bill Robertson took all six pictures. The captions shown are his:

#1 Sweeper on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette, Ill., Shore Line Route. Jan/31/1940.

#1 Sweeper on Greenleaf Avenue in Wilmette, Ill., Shore Line Route. Jan/31/1940.

#2 Waukegan city car barn, North Chicago, Ill. This car long since scrapped, photo taken in September 1939.

#2 Waukegan city car barn, North Chicago, Ill. This car long since scrapped, photo taken in September 1939.

#3 Shore Line train, Greenleaf Avenue, Wilmette, Ill. Taken about 1944. Southbound.

#3 Shore Line train, Greenleaf Avenue, Wilmette, Ill. Taken about 1944. Southbound.

#4 North Chicago barns, Birney car that later went to Milwaukee, Wis. Scrapped in 1947. Photo taken in September 1939. Car shown in 2 at left.

#4 North Chicago barns, Birney car that later went to Milwaukee, Wis. Scrapped in 1947. Photo taken in September 1939. Car shown in 2 at left.

#5 Chicago Limited in Milwaukee, date unknown, but after 1939.

#5 Chicago Limited in Milwaukee, date unknown, but after 1939.

#6 Worst North Shore wreck, at Burlington Road, Kenosha, Wis. Sunday night, Feb. 23, 1930. 11 killed, 100 injured and one car so smashed it was never returned to service (No. 745).

#6 Worst North Shore wreck, at Burlington Road, Kenosha, Wis. Sunday night, Feb. 23, 1930. 11 killed, 100 injured and one car so smashed it was never returned to service (No. 745).

Recent Correspondence

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave,

Another great post! I can’t imagine how you find the time to put these excellent posts together; I’m just glad you do! If your readers haven’t sat in front of a computer Photoshopping for hours on end to improve a single image they can’t possibly know how much work goes into your posts. I’m sending along some images of the Wheaton depot and shop areas.

Thanks for all the wonderful photos you have shared with our readers. You do a fantastic job! I appreciate your kind words.

North Shore Line Abandonment Petition

In 1962, the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railway petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the entire interurban. The railroad convinced the ICC that there was no hope to restore profitability in this era before government subsidies. The last trains ran in the early hours of January 21, 1963.

There were various groups trying to save the railroad. This document, published by the North Shore Line, tends to undercut various arguments made by these outside groups. An impression is conveyed that operations were already quite lean, and that further significant cost savings were not realistic.

In sum, the only thing that could have saved the interurban at this stage would have been subsidies. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The Chicago Transit Authority had reached the same conclusion in the late 1950s, and it is only due to such subsidies, staring in the mid-1960s, that we have any public transit to speak of in this country today.

At any rate, this makes fascinating reading for North Shore Line fans.

-David Sadowski

Finally, Tom Morrow writes:

An Electric Transit Easter Parade cannot be complete without Pullman 441 from Dayton. Circa 1962.

Photo by Cliff Scholes.

Take care.

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. Lots of work has been done on the text, and the final selection of photos has been made. We will keep you advised as things progress.

street-railwayreview1895-002

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Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 2-28-2016

In 1957, CTA PCC 7271 and 7215 pass on Clark Street, just north of North Avenue. The old Plaza Hotel, located at 59 W. North Avenue, is in the background. A Hasty Tasty restaurant was located in the building, with a Pixley and Ehler's across the street. These were "greasy spoon" chains that were known for offering cheap eats. Local mobsters were known to hang out at the Plaza. The Chicago Historical Society, now known as the Chicago History Museum, would be just to the left, out of view in this picture. The Moody Bible Institute would be out of view on the right. (Russel Kriete Photo)

In 1957, CTA PCC 7271 and 7215 pass on Clark Street, just north of North Avenue. The old Plaza Hotel, located at 59 W. North Avenue, is in the background. A Hasty Tasty restaurant was located in the building, with a Pixley and Ehler’s across the street. These were “greasy spoon” chains that were known for offering cheap eats. Local mobsters were known to hang out at the Plaza. The Chicago Historical Society, now known as the Chicago History Museum, would be just to the left, out of view in this picture. The Moody Bible Institute would be out of view on the right. (Russel Kriete Photo)

In this close-up, that looks like 7215 at right. Photographer Russel A. Kreite (1923-2015), of Downers Grove, Illinois, was a member of the Photographic Society of America and had many of his photos published in books and magazines.

In this close-up, that looks like 7215 at right. Photographer Russel A. Kreite (1923-2015), of Downers Grove, Illinois, was a member of the Photographic Society of America and had many of his photos published in books and magazines.

Chicago PCC Station Assignments

Robert Dillon writes:

For the last several months I have been over and thoroughly enjoying CERA Bulletin 146 and your compendium “Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story”. It brings back a wealth of wonderful memories from my childhood growing up in Rogers Park. I was a frequent rider on the “Clark Street Car” and was immediately smitten with the post-war PCC from the day in 1947 that I first heard the gong and witnessed an otherwise unbelievably silent arrival and breathtaking appearance of a Howard bound PCC at Clark Street and Morse Avenue.

The trivia set forth on page 429 of Bulletin 146 indicates that 400 Pullman and St Louis post-war PCCs were assigned to the Clark-Wentworth and Broadway-State routes for runs out of the Clark-Devon and 77th-Vincennes Carbarns. What I have not been able to find in any of the literature is how those 400 cars were allocated by post-war PCC manufacturer and/or by car number series to those stations. Were there an equal number of Pullmans and St. Louis PCCs at each of Clark-Devon and 77th-Vincennes? I would imagine that after 49 Western was equipped exclusively with St.Louis PCCs in 1948 the St.Louis PCCs would have predominated at Clark-Devon.

There are several other car assignment questions that arise from the PCC Trivia Page. Thus, during 1948 and 1949 when the 69th St. Carbarn was handling both Western Ave and 63rd St. PCC-assigned runs, it presumably stabled all 83 of the pre-war PCCs, but how many St. Louis post-war PCCs were also then housed at 69th Street?

It is indicated that by the end of 1948, there were a few PCC cars assigned to the Cottage Grove-38th Street Carbarn Were these pre-war or post-war PCCs (Pullman or St.Louis) and what routes were they used on?

Finally, I am aware there were a number of 8 Halsted runs out of Limits Carbarn. And, maybe some Broadway-State runs as well. That suggests there were Pullman and/or St.Louis PCCs stationed at Limits, at least during the earlier 1950s. If that is true, is there any info as to the number of Pullmans vs St. Louis PCCs at Limits?

I would be very grateful for any illumination you could provide on the questions set forth above. Or, if you could point me toward resources where I might be able to find answers that would be very much appreciated as well.

Thanks very much for all of your terrific efforts on the Chicago PCCs. I can’t begin to express how much enjoyment it has given me.

There are a few different ways we can approach these questions. First of all, it’s possible that CTA records indicating which cars were assigned to which stations (car barns) and routes may still exist and can provide the necessary information.

In the absence of that, a lot can be learned by studying photographs. This would be a statistical approach. It would take some time and effort, but a lot could be learned that way. I would have to create a spreadsheet and compile data from a large number of images.

Over time, the number of cars required for each individual route changed. In general, the numbers declined since there were substantial ridership losses during the first decade of the CTA era. Some of the brochures CTA distributed when routes were changed over from streetcars to buses give the numbers of PCCs that were in use at the time of the switch to buses.

When Madison first got PCCs in late 1936, the route needed about 100 cars as I recall. Since there were only 83 prewar PCCs made, some of the 1929 Sedans filled out the schedule. These were fast cars and could keep up with the PCCs.

By the time PCCs were taken off Madison in 1953, I doubt this many cars were needed.

This reduction in the number of cars on individual routes also helps explain why it was possible for CTA to use the postwar PCCs on more routes than the four that were originally planned. Between 1947 and 1958, ridership on the CTA’s surface system was nearly cut in half.

I would be interested to know what information our readers can share with us. Hopefully, some of our frequent contributors can weigh in on this subject, thanks.

M. E. writes:

Your latest blog update contains a question about the 38th St. car barn: Which streetcar lines were served by the PCCs kept there?

It seems to me the answer is easy: Only 4 Cottage Grove. This line received some pre-war PCC cars a few years before it was converted to bus. (I have seen photos of post-war PCCs on Cottage Grove, but that would have been short-lived.)

The other south side PCC lines used south side barns as follows:

36 Broadway-State, 22 Clark-Wentworth, 8 Halsted, and 42 Halsted-Archer-Clark (all post-war PCC lines) used the barn at 77th and Vincennes. Line 22 ran in front of the barn. Line 36 ran behind the barn a few blocks on State St., and likely used 79th St. west to Vincennes to reach the barn.. I believe Halsted cars used 79th St. east to Vincennes to reach the barn (although I am not certain).

63 63rd St. (pre-war PCC) and 49 Western (post-war PCC) used the barn at 69th and Ashland. 63rd St. cars used Ashland south to 69th to reach the barn.

When the 69th and Ashland barn closed, I’m pretty sure 63rd was no longer a streetcar line, and Western Ave. cars used 69th St. east to Wentworth, south to Vincennes, southwest to 77th and Vincennes.

Andre Kristopans has a great answer:

Jan 1951:
Prewar – 75 69th, 8 Kedzie
St Louis 40 Limits, 50 69th, 199 Devon
Pullman 225 77th, 85 Kedzie

May 1953:

Prewar 83 Cottage Grove
St Louis 20 Cottage Grove, 66 77th, 41 69th, 160 Devon
Pullman 215 77th, 63 Kedzie, 31 Limits

March 1954:

Prewar 83 Cottage Grove
St Louis 20 Cottage Grove, 74 77th, 38 69th, 155 Devon
Pullman 87 77th

June 1957

4372-4411 77th
7136-7181 Devon
7182-7224 77th

Prior to 1957, assignment sheets only showed series by barn, not actual car numbers.

To get more specific than that, we would have to study photos to figure out where particular cars were assigned at various times. By 1957, all remaining cars in use were made by St. Louis Car Company in 1946-48.

Regarding 4391, the only postwar car saved, I know it spent time on Western Avenue before ending its days on Wentworth. According to the excellent Hicks Car Works blog, it was assigned to 69th station and later 77th. Therefore it was spared a lot of outdoor storage, which would have been the case at Devon.

There were various mechanical differences between the postwar Pullmans and the St. Louis cars. Some stations (car barns) were equipped to handle both types, and others were not.

These mechanical differences were spelled out in detail in a 24-page CTA troubleshooting manual for PCC operators. If anyone has a copy of this manual and can provide us with the information, we would very much appreciate it. This brochure was a greatly expanded version of one that CSL issued in 1946, which was only four pages.

The same location as above, perhaps taken a few years earlier.

The same location as above, perhaps taken a few years earlier.

plazahotel

Clark Street at North Avenue today. We are looking south. A bank has replaced the Pixley's, and the Latin School of Chicago now occupies the location of the old Plaza Hotel.

Clark Street at North Avenue today. We are looking south. A bank has replaced the Pixley’s, and the Latin School of Chicago now occupies the location of the old Plaza Hotel.


1920s Mystery Photos Redux

These two pictures appeared in The Rider’s Reader (January 31, 2016):

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is "State and Washington looking south." This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is “State and Washington looking south.” This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

Our readers have identified this as being "Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago." The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Our readers have identified this as being “Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago.” The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Miles Beitler writes:

I’m writing about two unidentified photos on your trolleydodger.com blog. The captions state that the photos appear to be of State Street in the loop in the 1920s or 1930s. One reader suggested that it was part of the 1926 Eucharistic Congress.

I don’t think it was the Eucharistic Congress (which I know was held that year in Mundelein) but I do think the year was 1926. All of the flags and patriotic decorations lead me to believe that it was the celebration of the United States sesquicentennial (150th birthday) which would have been July 4, 1926.

That’s an interesting suggestion, thanks. But one picture does show a large crowd outside Holy Name Cathedral. What would that have to do with the Fourth of July?

Miles replied:

The two photos might have nothing to do with each other except for the fact that both show patriotic decorations along State Street. I was referring to those decorations which I believe were there for the sesquicentennial.

The crowd outside Holy Name Cathedral could have been there for the Eucharistic Congress (although the Congress was held far away in Mundelein), or for a special Sesquicentennial Mass, or maybe even for the funeral of a prominent local politician or notorious gangster. But someone at Holy Name should be able to tell you.

Your blog also has a photo of a NSL Electroliner speeding through Skokie at “East Prairie Road circa 1960”, and a current photo of the CTA Yellow Line labeled “East Prairie Road looking east along the CTA Yellow Line today”. I believe the “today” photo is actually looking WEST; you can see the remnants of the Crawford Avenue station, as well as Crawford Avenue itself, one block to the west. As for the Electroliner photo, the eastbound and westbound mainline tracks are closer together near the CTA Skokie Shops than this photo indicates. So I think it might be just east of Kostner Avenue; there was a half-mile long siding along the westbound track which ended at that point, as well as a crossover between the two mainline tracks which is visible in the distance.

You may be correct about the North Shore Line picture. I will revise the caption accordingly.

The other two pictures appear to have been taken at one time and so I am inclined to think they relate to the same event, whatever it was.

Thanks.

Finally, Miles wrote:

I did some quick research and it seems clear that the photo of Holy Name Cathedral is indeed of the Eucharistic Congress procession. There was an outdoor mass at Soldier Field in addition to the larger one held in Mundelein. The photo of State and Washington Streets seems to depict similar decorations which may have been placed along the route to Soldier Field.

Thanks for your interesting blog and photos!

Well, thank you for all your help. As we have noted before, the information that comes with photos may or may not be correct. There were a couple of instances recently where the this info turned out not to be correct. This sometimes happened when the photographer was from out-of-town and thus was not as familiar with locations as one of the locals.

In the case of the North Shore Line photo, what’s written on the negative envelope actually matches what you say. I chose the opposite direction since I was unaware of the siding you mention. Now it all makes sense. However, further research has led me to think the photo was taken

Here is the photo in question, which originally appeared in Lost and Found (February 12, 2016):

An Electroliner at speed near Crawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA's Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

An Electroliner at speed near Crawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA’s Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)

Today's CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Today’s CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.

Detail from an old CERA North Shore Line map, with the location of this photo indicated.

Detail from an old CERA North Shore Line map, with the location of this photo indicated.

The True Colors of Chicago’s Postwar PCCs

Although signed for Clark-Wentworth, this shot of 4160 is actually on Madison in Garfield Park. (CSL Photo) George Trapp says he got this picture from the late Robert Gibson.

Although signed for Clark-Wentworth, this shot of 4160 is actually on Madison in Garfield Park. (CSL Photo) George Trapp says he got this picture from the late Robert Gibson.

Pantone 151 is Swamp Holly Orange.

Pantone 151 is Swamp Holly Orange.

On the Chicagotransit Yahoo group, Damin Keenan writes:

What recommendations would you have for matching CTA’s colors using model paints?

Specifically I need Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange and Mint Green and Alpine White.

Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange are famous among railfans as the original color scheme adopted by the Chicago Surface Lines for their 600 postwar PCC streetcars. Some of these paints were also used on cars and trucks in that era.

FYI, I found a 1950 truck paint called Swamp Holly Orange:

http://paintref.com/cgi-bin/colorcodedisplay.cgi?color=Swamp%20Holly%20Orange

Ironically, this color was associated with the Yellow Freight Lines. According to the Wikipedia:

In 1929, A.J. Harrell enlisted the help of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company to improve highway safety by determining the vehicle color that would be the most visible on the nation’s highways. After the review was completed, it was determined that the color of the Swamp Holly Orange would be most visible from the greatest distance. Swamp Holly Orange became the color used on all company tractors.

There is also a commercially available enamel paint by that name:

https://www.imperialsupplies.com/item/0850700

However, to my eye these may look darker than what I recall seeing from photos. This was all in an era before the Pantone Matching System. Apparently, Swamp Holly Orange is Pantone 151.

You might try this for Mercury Green:

Click to access paintcodes.pdf

Croydon Cream is a color used on Harley-Davidson motorcycles:

http://www.harleydavidson-paint.com/croyden-cream.html

Mint Green and Alpine White shouldn’t bee too hard to find, but then again, there are many variables that determine how color will look, which include indoor viewing, outdoor viewing, how many coats there are, etc. plus how much sun and weathering the paint got prior to when pictures were taken.

Even in the old days, you will notice how touch-up paints did not always match the original. That was one factor that led CTA to switch to a darker green on the PCCs in the early 1950s.

Modern paints are also, most likely, made of somewhat different ingredients than the original paints were.

You might do just as well to try and “eyeball” the color based on good quality photographs. Even in the old days, I expect there were variations in these colors, as there were in such things as “Traction Orange.”

I recall hearing a story that there was a heated argument out at IRM between some people who were wrangling over what constituted Traction Orange. Finally, they consulted an old-timer who told them that it was simply whatever was on sale at the paint store at that particular time.

Some of these issues were discussed in a blog post I wrote a while back:

https://ceramembersblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/any-color-you-like-transit-trivia-1/

Pay particular attention to the comments, thanks.

PS- Here are a few formulas for Swamp Holly Orange, from the October 1988 issue of Model Railroader:

Accu-Paint: 2 parts AP-72 D&RGW Yellow, 1 part AP-73 Chessie Yellow

Floquil: 3 parts D&RGW Yellow, 1 part Reefer Yelow

Polly S: 2 parts Reefer Yellow, 1 part Reefer Orange

Scalecoat: 1 part 15 Reefer Yellow, 1 part 39 D&RGW Old Yellow

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks! Especially if they have a streetcar RPO postmark (see below). You can reach us either by leaving a comment on this post, or at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 124th 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 130,000 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


The Rider’s Reader

The Rider's Reader was a small four page periodical put out by CTA and distributed via buses, streetcars, and "L" cars between 1948 and 1951.

The Rider’s Reader was a small four page periodical put out by CTA and distributed via buses, streetcars, and “L” cars between 1948 and 1951.

One of the advantages of an electronic book, besides the ease of use on your home computer, is that it can easily be updated when new information becomes available. We have recently obtained14 additional issues of the CTA Rider’s Reader, which was published from 1948 to 1951. In addition, we now have the 1964 CTA rapid transit system track map.

Since we already had two copies of Rider’s Reader before, this brings our collection to 16 out of what appear to be 18 issues in all:

Volume 1, Number 1 – March 1948
Volume 1, Number 2 -May 1948
Volume 1, Number 3 – July-August 1948
Volume 1, Number 4 – October 1948
Volume 1, Number 5 – December 1948
Volume 2, Number 1 – March 1949
Volume 3, Number 1 – May 1949
(appears to be a numbering error– should be Volume 2, Number 2)
Volume 2, Number 3 – August 1949
Volume 2, Number 4 – November 1949
Volume 2, Number 5 – December 1949
Volume 2, Number 6 – February 1950
Volume 3, Number 1 – May 1950
Volume 3, Number 2 – July 1950
Volume 3, Number 3 – October 1950
Volume 3, Number 5 – February 1951
Volume 4, Number 1 – June 1951

The final issue has a very different format than the others, de-emphasizing the Rider’s Reader name, probably suggesting a change in direction at CTA that led to this publication being discontinued. Perhaps it was felt preferable to use flyers that were targeted to more specific topics. It’s been our experience that such publications often include a lot of useful tidbits of information not found elsewhere.

We are still in need of Volume 3, Number 4 – late 1950 or early 1951. If any of our readers can help us fill out our collection, we would be greatly appreciative. (We’re not entirely sure, but there may also have been a Volume 3, Number 6 in early 1951, which would make 19 issues in all. If so, we need that one too.)

High-resolution scans have been made of these issues, and the 14 additional ones have now been added our two E-books that cover the CTA:

Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story – DVD02
The “New Look” in Chicago Transit: 1938-1973 – DVD03

While most of the material on these discs is unique, there is inevitably some overlap between them, there is inevitably some overlap, since CTA publications often covered both the surface system and rapid transit. But in general, DVD02 concentrates on streetcars, while DVD03 favors the rapid transit and buses.

You will find these and other fine products in our Online Store.

Update Service

We haven’t forgotten those who have already purchased these DVD data discs from us. If you bought one of these before, and now wish to have an updated disc, we can send you one for just $5.00 within the United States. Just drop us a line and we can send you an online invoice.

Your other alternative is to download the updated files via Dropbox, a cloud-based file sharing service that you can use for free. That is usually the preferred alternative if you live outside the US.

We will continue to add to both these titles in the future.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 116th 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 118,000 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.


Some highlights from the Rider’s Reader:

CTA surface system improvements for the second quarter of 1948 included putting PCC streetcars on Madison and 63rd Street. They were already running on Clark-Wentworth and Broadway-State. They would be put on Western Avenue in the third quarter, which involved a partial substitution by buses on the outer ends of the route.

CTA surface system improvements for the second quarter of 1948 included putting PCC streetcars on Madison and 63rd Street. They were already running on Clark-Wentworth and Broadway-State. They would be put on Western Avenue in the third quarter, which involved a partial substitution by buses on the outer ends of the route.

"Another New CTA Bus," in this case, is a trolley bus. These were put into service on Montrose Avenue in late March, 1948.

“Another New CTA Bus,” in this case, is a trolley bus. These were put into service on Montrose Avenue in late March, 1948.

CTA A/B "skip stop" service, introduced on the Lake Street "L" in April 1948, may very well have saved this line from eventual elimination. A/B service was soon expanded to other routes but has since been discontinued.

CTA A/B “skip stop” service, introduced on the Lake Street “L” in April 1948, may very well have saved this line from eventual elimination. A/B service was soon expanded to other routes but has since been discontinued.

The #97 was CTA's first suburban bus route and replaced the Niles Center "L" service on March 27, 1948. Just over 16 years later, however, CTA introduced the Skokie Swift over the same trackage. The #97 bus continued in service.

The #97 was CTA’s first suburban bus route and replaced the Niles Center “L” service on March 27, 1948. Just over 16 years later, however, CTA introduced the Skokie Swift over the same trackage. The #97 bus continued in service.

Artist's rendering of a "flat door" 6000-series "L" car. These were needed to begin service in the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway. As it turned out, deliveries did not begin until 1950 and the subway opened in February 1951.

Artist’s rendering of a “flat door” 6000-series “L” car. These were needed to begin service in the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway. As it turned out, deliveries did not begin until 1950 and the subway opened in February 1951.

Once A/B service was put into effect on the LakeStreet "L" in 1948, CTA considered the Market Street stub terminal unnecessary and it was torn down. At the time, it was also reported that the City of Chicago wanted it removed, probably because it stood in the way of eventual construction of Lower Wacker Drive, which was related to the Congress Expressway project.

Once A/B service was put into effect on the LakeStreet “L” in 1948, CTA considered the Market Street stub terminal unnecessary and it was torn down. At the time, it was also reported that the City of Chicago wanted it removed, probably because it stood in the way of eventual construction of Lower Wacker Drive, which was related to the Congress Expressway project.

9763, the CTA's first and only articulated trolley bus, was termed the "Queen Mary" by fans. It seems to have been a semi-official name since it is called that in an issue of the Rider's Reader. It has since been preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

9763, the CTA’s first and only articulated trolley bus, was termed the “Queen Mary” by fans. It seems to have been a semi-official name since it is called that in an issue of the Rider’s Reader. It has since been preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

In this 1950 diagram, CTA explained why it was sometimes necessary to use switchbacks to prevent the bunching up of streetcars.

In this 1950 diagram, CTA explained why it was sometimes necessary to use switchbacks to prevent the bunching up of streetcars.

The Rider's Reader gave a rundown on the Met "L" bridge over the Chicago River, which was actually two bridges with a total of four tracks. Since this bridge served three lines, service could continue to operate even if something happened to one of the bridges. This river bridge, unlike the others, was operated by CTA and not the city.

The Rider’s Reader gave a rundown on the Met “L” bridge over the Chicago River, which was actually two bridges with a total of four tracks. Since this bridge served three lines, service could continue to operate even if something happened to one of the bridges. This river bridge, unlike the others, was operated by CTA and not the city.

CTA reproduced this Minneapolis Star editorial cartoon in July 1950. We will let the readers decide whether this was indicative of an increasing anti-streetcar sentiment on the part of CTA.

CTA reproduced this Minneapolis Star editorial cartoon in July 1950. We will let the readers decide whether this was indicative of an increasing anti-streetcar sentiment on the part of CTA.

The first train of new 6000-series cars put into service in 1950.

The first train of new 6000-series cars put into service in 1950.

CTA streetcars in the winter of 1950-51. One of our readers says this is "Clark Street looking north around Hubbard."

CTA streetcars in the winter of 1950-51. One of our readers says this is “Clark Street looking north around Hubbard.”

We have three of the four 1948 issues.

We have three of the four 1948 issues.

Five issues came out in 1949.

Five issues came out in 1949.

We have four out of the five issues from 1950.

We have four out of the five issues from 1950.

Only two issues appear to have come out in 1951. The final issue has a completely different format.

Only two issues appear to have come out in 1951. The final issue has a completely different format.

The October 1964 CTA rapid transit track map joins the June 1958 version in two of our publications.

The October 1964 CTA rapid transit track map joins the June 1958 version in two of our publications.

Mystery Photos

Finally, here are a couple of “mystery photos” from downtown Chicago in the late 1920s or early 1930s. If you can help us figure out the locations and what event this might have been, we would appreciate it:

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is "State and Washington looking south." This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is “State and Washington looking south.” This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.

Our readers have identified this as being "Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago." The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Our readers have identified this as being “Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago.” The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.

Recently, there was another such mystery posed to the Chicagotransit Yahoo group by P. Chavin:

Roughly a quarter of the way down on the web page linked below, at “May 23, 2015 – 6:24 pm”, is a color photo of a streetcar and a wide boulevard. The caption reads: “PHOTO – CHICAGO – DOUGLAS PARK – PULLMAN STREETCAR – 1951 – EDITED FROM AN AL CHIONE IMAGE”

I assume this photo shows a westbound Ogden Ave. car at about S. California Ave. and that the view is northeasterly down Ogden Ave. (Blvd.).

If anyone can confirm or correct my assumption, I’d appreciate it.

https://chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com/2015/05/

 

That sounds plausible. There is some evidence in the picture that we are near a park. But what is the explanation for the streetcar taking a jog at this point?

If this is Ogden and California, then there don’t appear to be any of the old buildings left that could be checked against the picture. (PS- I note there are a few pictures on that page that could have been lifted from The Trolley Dodger, but that’s OK.)

P. Chavin:

Thanks, David, for giving it a shot. At least I know my query wasn’t completely underwhelming to the group. The explanation for the streetcar taking a jog could well be that the car was coming off tracks that were on the sides of the wide boulevard but at this point, they were narrowing to a normal middle-of-the-street double track layout.

 

Later, Dennis McClendon came up with a very good answer:

The sun angle, the US34 and US66 signs, the view of the Board of Trade, and the park benches on the left all make me think we’re indeed looking northeast across California. The four-story round-cornered apartment building on the corner matches the fire insurance map.

Why are the tracks shifting from the service drives to the center roadway? My only theory is that the Park District was in charge of the service drives through Douglas Park, but not the original width of Ogden (which predated establishment of the West Parks Commission), and declined to permit the streetcar line to occupy the park service drives. The 1938 and 1953 aerial photos aren’t clear enough to show the tracks.

 


Daniel Joseph
writes:

I rode this part of the Ogden streetcar line many times as a child and can explain the “what” but not the “why”. North east of the location of this photo (which is about mid way between Sacramento and California) the streetcar tracks were in the service drive until Roosevelt Road. East of Ogden on Roosevelt the tracks continued in the service drive until Ashland. On Ogden. west of the location of the photo, the track continued in the center of the street and the service drive was a boulevard until the end at Albany.

 

Ogden and California Avenue today, looking to the northeast.

Ogden and California Avenue today, looking to the northeast.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can leave a comment on this or any other post directly, or you can drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski


PS- Thanks to the generosity of Mark Llanuza, we have added a few more pictures to our previous post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 1-29-2016:

The CERA fantrip train in Lombard, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The CERA fantrip train in Lombard, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the April 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern." This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the April 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern.” This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)