Ravenswood Rarities

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood "A" train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA's historical fleet.

CTA 4271-4272 head up a Ravenswood “A” train leaving Kimball and Lawrence on October 21, 1973. This shows how this pair of cars looked before they were renovated as part of CTA’s historical fleet.

This time around, we have lots of classic traction photos for your consideration. For whatever reason, many of them were taken in the vicinity of Lawrence and Kimball, terminus of the CTA Brown Line (formerly known as the Ravenswood “L”).

There was a recent fantrip on the CTA “L” system, using historic cars 4271-4272. This sold out quickly, and unfortunately, we were not able to participate. But it did help raise money for two very worthy causes. Besides helping to keep these early 1920s railcars running on the CTA, funds also went to assist the Fox River Trolley Museum recover from the vandalism they suffered last year. We encourage our readers to help with these efforts by contacting those organizations directly.

We do have several images of 4271-4272 from previous fantrips, however (and one, at the top of this page, from one of the last times they were used in regular service).

Many of these images come courtesy of Bill Shapotkin. We hope that you will support Mr. Shapotkin’s efforts by attending his programs, which include the upcoming Hoosier Traction Meet this September. More about that will be found further down in this post. We also have some additional recent photo finds of our own.

Just to dispel any notion that these images always looked this way, this time we have included some “before” shots that you can contrast with the “after” ones. There is a lot of work that goes into making these images look better.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- A few of our readers have pointed out that in our last couple of posts, clicking on the various images with your mouse would not bring up a larger version of that picture, so you can study it more closely. We have fixed that issue in this new post, and promise we will go back soon and correct it on those two as well.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

CTA PCC 4380 on the Wentworth line on June 16, 1958, less than a week before the end of streetcar service in Chicago.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

This is a duplicate slide, but started out as a 1958 Ektachrome slide, where the color layers other than red were unstable and faded badly. This left very little to work with, but I did the best I could.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

Here it is again, tweaked by our good friend J. J. Sedelmaier.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

This and several other similar photos were seriously underexposed.

CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA "Met" cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA “Met” cars at Kimball Yard, being used either as offices or for storage, in August 1967. (Compare with the picture of these same cars a few years later, showing how they had deteriorated somewhat after being stored outdoors.)

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

CTA 5001 in the Kimball Yard on July 14, 1961.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

Restoring this photo was particularly satisfying.

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don's Rail Photos: "2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858."

CTA 2858 at Kimball on the Ravenswood line on April 14, 1957. I believe the occasion was a charter trip, held by the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. Don’s Rail Photos: “2858 was built by Pullman in 1906 as M-WSER 858. In 1913 it was renumbered 2858 and in 1923 it became CRT 2858.”

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 4063 at Kimball and Lawrence on January 31, 1958.

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6706 at the Kimball Yard on November 1, 1986. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6049-6050 at Kimball Yard on March 16, 1980.

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6041-6042 at Kimball and Lawrence on March 2, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 and 3441-3442 at Lawrence and Kimball. These cars were used on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip in 2000. (John Allen Photo)

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

CTA 2411-2412 have derailed at Kimball Yard on August 25, 1978.

Here, a couple of old CTA "Met" cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

Here, a couple of old CTA “Met” cars are being used as either offices or storage at Kimball Yard in April 1974.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 6643-6644 in the Kimball Yard on February 1, 1987.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 4387 and 4432 in the Kimball yard on July 25, 1970.

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today's Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6165-6166 at Kimball, the outer terminal on the Ravenswood line (today’s Brown Line), on May 21, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA's Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6166-6165, working a westbound trip on CTA’s Ravenswood Line, approaches the Kimball and Lawrence terminal on June 20, 1952.

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on November 13, 1977. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 4271-4272 at Kimball and Lawrence., during an NRHS fantrip on December 13, 1998. During the fantrip, these cars were operated between the terminal and the storage yard, for the benefit of ticket-holders. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

On December 13, 1998, CTA historic cars 4271-4272 are being operated as part of an NRHS fantrip. At left, 3455-3456 has just arrived as an in-service train, and is about to be moved to the yard. The view looks north, off the south end of track 3. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

CTA gate car (either 280 or 390) at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Associaiton fantrip in the 1950s. (Ken Rieger Photo)

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

As you can see, the original for this 1950s slide was somewhat washed out and devoid of much color.

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans' Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 2769-2770 at Kimball and Lawrence on a Central Electric Railfans’ Association fantrip on August 29, 1994. (William Shapotkin Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 at Kimball and Lawrence in March 1993. (John J. Le Beau Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6139-6140 at Kimball and Lawrence on June 12, 1976. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

It appears CTA 6138 is at the tail end of a train that is approaching the Ravenswood terminal at Kimball and Lawrence in August 1978.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA articulated 5003 near Kimball and Lawrence on September 9, 1958.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

CTA gate car 270 at Kimball yard on September 13, 1953.

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and "Traction Orange."

There is a difference between the faded-out brown here, and “Traction Orange.”

CTA wooden "L" cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA wooden “L” cars 361 and 257 in the Kimball Yard on February 4, 1951.

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

CTA 6103-6104 are at the head of a 6-car Ravenswood train at Kimball and Lawrence on January 23, 1979. (Ronald J. Sullivan Photo)

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car Skokie Swift train near Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-300 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-324 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-329 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1500 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop "L" on September 13, 1976.

A train of CTA 2000s (on the Lake-Dan Ryan line) are on the Loop “L” on September 13, 1976.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

The CTA Randolph and Wells station on September 13, 1976. This station has since been replaced by Washington and Wells.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

I was particularly happy that I could improve this picture, which is practically monochrome.

At left, CTA's Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

At left, CTA’s Tower 18, at the junction of Lake and Wells, on September 13, 1976. The view looks north.

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don's Rail Photos: '5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001."

CTA articulated train at Skokie Shops in August 1986. Here, it has been repainted to its original Chicago Rapid Transit Company livery. Don’s Rail Photos: ‘5001 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1947, #6747. It was renumbered 51 in 1963 and acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1986. It was restored as 5001.”

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

CTA Flatcar S-1501 at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series "L" cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

A CTA work train, powered by 6000-series “L” cars, including S-406, at Skokie Shops on May 21, 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

The CTA bridge over the Chicago & North Western, used by the Lake-Dan Ryan line, in September 1977.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA 4271 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The front trucks of CTA 4271, at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with an airfoil pan trolley, on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

If you are used to seeing old slides that look this way, you may not realize that much of the original color has faded, or that it is even possible to bring it back now.

A train of CTA 2200-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2200-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake branch of the Lake-Dan Ryan line in September 1977. the view looks west.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars, running on the Lake-Dan Ryan line, approaches the bridge over the Chicago & North Western in September 1977, heading westbound.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

Bringing back the color in this shot made this photo into something special.

A train of CTA 2000-series "L" cars at Clinton on the Lake Street "L" (today's Green Line) in September 1977.

A train of CTA 2000-series “L” cars at Clinton on the Lake Street “L” (today’s Green Line) in September 1977.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

A CTA single-car unit, equipped with trolley poles, is running on the Evanston branch near Howard on May 28, 1977. Although overhead wire was no longer being used on Evanston, poles were left on a few such cars to serve as backups on the Skokie Swift if needed.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don's Rail Photos: "S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum." With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA Line Car S-606 at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977. Don’s Rail Photos: “S-606 was built by Cincinnati in January 1923, #2620, as Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee 606. In 1963 it became CTA S-606 and burned in 1978. The remains were sold to the Indiana Transportation Museum.” With the demise of the ITM site in Noblesville, Indiana in 2018, the 606 was acquired by another group, with the intention of restoring it.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

CTA historic cars 4271-4272 on the Skokie Swift on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The east side of Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

The CTA junction of Lake and Wells, by Tower 18, on September 13, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA MoW car S-365 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

CTA Wheel Car S-313 at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

The CTA Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line) on December 11, 1976.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today's Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

A CTA single car unit on the Skokie Swift (today’s Yellow Line), on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

CTA 6000s on the Evanston branch at Howard Yard on May 28, 1977.

A CTA 6000-series "L" car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

A CTA 6000-series “L” car at Skokie Shops on December 11, 1976.

Hoosier Traction 2019

This PDF file explains what’s happening in Indianapolis this September 6-7:

hoosiertractionmeet_2019_05_public

Recent Finds

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: "There's a rather long story behind this. Yes, it's a Steinway car, and yes, it's on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the "Toonerville Trolley" cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony."

Steinway Lines Birney car 1660 in September 1937, signed for the H line in Pelham Manor, NY. According to a knowledgable historian: “There’s a rather long story behind this. Yes, it’s a Steinway car, and yes, it’s on the TARS line in Westchester County. (The specific line was the route from New Rochelle to Pelham Manor.) Fontaine Fox, a Pelham native and creator of the “Toonerville Trolley” cartoons, said that he used this line as his original inspiration for the cartoon. So when the line was discontinued in 1937, the locals put on a big celebration at which Fox held forth as honored guest. For the occasion, TARS imported the Birney from Queens as the closest thing to the Toonerville Trolley. (Normal service was TARS convertibles or 700s.) The photo shows the car some time before or after the ceremony.”

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 - 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were "tiger stripes," intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Prewar Chicago PCC 7010 is at the western terminal of Route 63 – 63rd Street, located at 63rd Place and Narragansett Avenue. After streetcars were cut back to this loop in 1948 (double-ended cars had previously gone a half mile west to Oak Park Avenue) this became a transfer point for buses heading west. This bus is heading to Argo, which is not the name of a suburb, but the name of a factory in suburban Summit that produced Argo corn starch. If you could see the front of the PCC, there were “tiger stripes,” intended to make the cars more visible to motorists and pedestrians. PCCs ran on 63rd Street from 1948-52. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: "It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer." (Wien-Criss Archive)

Here, we see CTA PCC 7236, a postwar product of the St. Louis Car Company. Jeff Wien: “It is on Western Avenue Avenue during the one man period 1955-56. Because of the grass in the foreground, it seems park-like, which was the case where Western Avenue was paralleled by Western Blvd., which I believe extended from Archer to Garfield. I would guess that the slide is on Western Ave south of Archer.” (Wien-Criss Archive)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car 18, a double-ended product of St. Louis Car Company that closely resembled a PCC but had conventional running gear, at the end of the line in West Chester. Rail service on this long interurban line was replaced by buses in June 1954.

CTA 4355 and it's semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street "L", on September 10, 1957.

CTA 4355 and it’s semi-permanently attached mate (not sure of the #) at Marion Street, on the ground level portion of the Lake Street “L”, on September 10, 1957.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 50 (with 44 at left) at the Wheaton yards on September 13, 1953. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin car 428 at the Forest Park loop at DesPlaines Avenue on October 10, 1953. Less than a month earlier, CA&E trains stopped running downtown, and a new terminal arrangement was hurriedly put into use, so riders could switch between CA&E and CTA trains. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park "L". The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

A three-car Chicago Aurora & Elgin train , including cars 316 and 314, as seen from the Halsted Street platform of the Garfield Park “L”. The view looks east on June 18, 1953, about three months before CA%E service was cut back to Forest Park. (Robert Selle Photo)

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

Someone gave me this slide. I am not sure of the circumstances, but it seems to show Blue Bird Coach Lines bus #1.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park "L" in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train-- it's a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden "L" cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina "L" crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street "L", as the Pink Line does today.

This is an interesting photo for several rasons. It shows the temporary ground-level operation on the Garfield Park “L” in the south portion of Van Buren Street, used from 1953-58 while construction of the new Congress rapid transit line was underway in the nearby expressway. But this is not a regular service train– it’s a fantrip for the Illinois Electric Railway Museum. By the time this photo was taken (circa 1955), wooden “L” cars were no longer in use on this line. The second car has been repainted for use in work service. We are at Van Buren and Ogden. In the distance, you can see the old Paulina “L” crossing Ogden. By this time, it was being used by Douglas Park trains to reach the Lake Street “L”, as the Pink Line does today.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin interurban box motor 5 at Wheaton in 1949.

A single CTA wooden "L" car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street "L" circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A single CTA wooden “L” car heads east on the ground-level portion of the Lake Street “L” circa 1955. This was relocated onto the adjacent Chicago & North Western embankment in 1962.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in June 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

A mother and her two kids have just gotten off a northbound Evanston train of 4000s at Isabella in June 1972. This station closed on July 16, 1973 and within a short period of time, all traces of it were removed, as it was a short distance from the Linden terminal and had low ridership. That same year, the Evanston branch was converted to third rail operation, and overhead wire was removed.

Recent Correspondence

Andre Kristopans
writes:

In 1935 CSL and CRT began exchanging transfers. In 1936 CMC and CRT transfers followed.Some time soon, exact date unknown to me, CRT and West Towns transfers followed, but these were gone sometime after 1938. Each transfer type was its own color as follows:

CRT to CSL – yellow (actually “newsprint?”)
CRT to CMC – green
CRT to West Towns – pink
CSL to CRT – blue
CMC to CRT – unknown to me
CWT to CRT – unknown – any ideas what they looked like?

In 1943 CSL and CMC transfers began and colors were revised:

CRT – CSL – blue
CRT – CMC – green
CMC – CSL – pink

Around 1947 CMC to CSL and CRT became orange. Once CTA was formed all L transfers became blue, both to CTA durface system and to CMC, while surface to CMC remained green and CMC to CTA surface or L remained orange. In 1953 orange transfers were eliminated as former CMC routes were put on regular surface transfers. L transfers remained blue until about 1962 when they became green.

If anybody has any additional information or can offer any corrections, they would be very welcomed!

Jon Roma writes:

I can offer the attached color image of CNS&M/C&NW Ryan Tower, given your recent feature on the subject along with the statement that there are few shots of the location. This is digitized from a slide by unknown photographer that resides in my collection; it’s obviously a railfan excursion taken on or about March 1962. Please feel free to use if you’d like.

We thank all our contributors!

TRACTION AUDIO, NOW AVAILABLE ON COMPACT DISC:

CDLayout33p85

RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.

Total time – 73:14


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 230th 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 513,000 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.

More Railroad Record Club Rarities

Waterloo Cedar Falls and Northern car 100. This car is featured on Railroad Record Club LP #2. Don’s Rail Photos: “100 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1914. It was built as a second motor to operate behind the 140s as a two car train. The baggage compartment was a kitchen, and the rear end was an open platform observation. The buffet section was replaced with coach seats in 1918. The car was then rebuilt with a control station and baggage compartment in 1928 and the rear platform was enclosed at that time. It was the last interurban left on the WCF&N when it became diesel freight, and it was donated to the Iowa Chapter of the NRHS in 1956. It was moved to Centerville and operated on the Southern Iowa Ry. When the SI cut back its operation and dieselized, the Iowa Chapter transferred the car to the Iowa Terminal RR in 1966. Shortly after it was repainted and put into charter service, it was destroyed in the carbarn fire early November 24, 1967. It had been the only car saved from the WCF&N roundhouse fire on October 31, 1954, when the other two cars of its class burned.”

No one person has been more responsible for preserving the historic artifacts connected with William A. Steventon‘s Railroad Record Club than our good friend Kenneth Gear. A while back, Ken acquired many of the original RRC tape recordings, some of which were never issued.

I have referred before to the RRC output being the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak, and thanks to Ken, we are beginning to see what the rest of the RRC archive consisted of. While we had already issued some “new” RRC recordings, taken from discs found in the Steventon archive, we have something even more exciting to announce today– newly uncovered audio recordings of the Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban, the fabled North Shore Line, unheard for perhaps as much as 60 years.

These recordings have been digitized from original RRC tapes that Ken purchased, and are now available for the first time on compact disc. More details about that will be found at the end of this post.

Because we feel it is important for Ken to get back at least some of the substantial investment he has made, in order to preserve these and other historic materials, we are paying Ken a royalty of $5 for each disc sold. Our humble offerings are already reasonably priced, and we don’t make much money from them. On top of that, the Trolley Dodger has, to date, operated at a loss for every year. Our original losses were in excess of $10k per year. This was reduced to $6k in 2017, and we recently did our taxes and are pleased to report that we cut the loss to just $1400 in 2018.

Our goal with this enterprise is historic preservation and education, to provide an archive where people can get, and exchange information about electric railways. In some ways it is the modern equivalent of what my friend Ray DeGroote calls the “intelligence network” of railfans, which has been around since the 1930s or even earlier, just updated for the Internet age.

It used to be that you had to know somebody to be part of this intelligence network, and information was passed from one person to another. Now, it is accessible to anyone and everyone who wants it, via the world wide web.

With that in mind, our goal has always been to break even, in order to make the Trolley Dodger a self-sustaining enterprise.

But we have to give credit where credit is due. Without Kenneth Gear’s personal sacrifices, it’s possible that these materials would have been lost forever, and would have ended up in a dumpster somewhere. You never would even have known they existed.

That’s why I hope you will help support Ken’s gallant efforts by purchasing a copy of this new CD offering.

Because we are not entirely mercenary, Ken is also sharing dozens of classic railfan photos which he purchased as part of the Railroad Record Club archive. Presumably, all or nearly all of these were taken by the late William A. Steventon (1921-1993) himself, as many reflect the areas he lived, worked, and traveled to in his career.

A few of these we already published, but most of these appear here for the first time.

As always, if you can help provide any additional information about these photos, we would love to hear from you.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

Altoona and Logan Valley car 74. Don’s Rail Photos: “74 was built by Osgood-Bradley Car Co in 1930.”

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

This photo was originally misidentified, but actually shows Indianapolis Railways Peter Witt car #132, apparently on a fantrip, probably circa 1950. The streetcar was a Master Unit (that was a Brill trade name), built circa 1932-33, making it one of the last such orders before the PCC era. Master Units were supposed to be a standardized car, but in actuality I believe no two orders were exactly the same.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Chicago, Aurora & Elgin train street running in Aurora in 1931. The CA&E was relocated off-street here in 1939.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

A Capital Transit PCC and bus at Catholic University in the Washington, DC area.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 476, which was featured on Railroad Record Club LP SP-1.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Denver and Rio Grande Western 481.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa cars #1701 and 1704 in the scrap line, November 19, 1939.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa #1705 in October 1938.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

Des Moines and Central Iowa car 1710.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

East Broad Top #15 on a rainy day, very likely while Railroad Record Club LP #3 was being recorded.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Evansville and Ohio Valley car #134.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick #19 in Frederick, MD on May 30, 1939.

The same picture cropped.

The same picture cropped.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

A Hagerstown and Frederick work car in Fredercik, MD on May 30, 1939.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Hagerstown and Frederick 164.

Illinois Terminal car 285. Don’s rail Photos: “285 was built by St Louis Car in 1914. It was rebuilt as a parlor car in 1024 and as a coach in December 1928. It was air conditioned in August 1938 and got new seating in December 1952. It was sold for scrap to Hyman Michaels Co. on May 16, 1956.”

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

An Illinois Terminal local on Caldwell Hill in East Peoria about 1936.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A fuzzy picture of Illinois Power Company loco #1551.

A builder's photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

A builder’s photo of Illinois Terminal #207.

Illinois Terminal 1201 at Peoria. Don’s Rail Photos: “1201 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1910 as an express motor with 20 seats at the rear. In 1919 it was rebuilt with a small baggage section at the front and the trucks were changed from Curtis to Baldwin.”

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad box car #550.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad loco #752 waiting for loads at a mine scale.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64. Howard Pletcher adds, “Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #64 is at the Fort Wayne passenger terminal.”

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

The Indiana Railroad passenger terminal in Fort Wayne. (Howard Pletcher Collection)

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad #93 at Anderson, IN on September 4, 1938.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad box motor #722.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car #80 on an Indianapolis local. It was built by Pullman in 1931 and scrapped in 1941.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad box motor #115.

Indiana Railroad car #375. Don’s Rail Photos: “375 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1926 as Indiana Service Corp 375. It was ass1gned to IRR as 375 in 1932 and rebuilt as a RPO-combine in 1935. It was sold to Chicago South Shore & South Bend in 1941 as 503 and used as a straight baggage car. It was rebuilt in 1952 with windows removed and doors changed.”

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #446.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad car #730.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

Indiana Railroad loco #792.

The same picture, restored.

The same picture, restored.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Railroad Vigo with rails ripped out.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corp., looking forward from car at speed on Spy Run Avenue showing car on #6 line, May 22, 1939.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corporation #820 at Wabash station on August 3, 1936.

Indiana Service Corp View across the Broadway bridge, showing double truck car in distance, August 18, 1940. (But what city is this?) Mike Peters writes: “he ISC city car is in Fort Wayne, a block away from the south end of the Broadway line. The bridge carries Bluffton Road and the ISC interurban to Bluffton over the Saint Marys River. A good map of the Ft. Wayne system can be found in “Fort Wayne’s Trolleys” (George Bradley). ISC did provide service in several smaller cities, but these lines did not survive the 1930’s.”

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car #711, ex-Indiana Public Service Corporation 427, on September 3, 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Interstate car 711 on shop siding west of Greencastle on June 3 1939.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #94. Don’s Rail Photos: “90 thru 99 were built by Cummings in 1930 as Northern Indiana Ry 350 thru 359. In 1935, they were returned to Cummings, who rebuilt them and sold them to the IRR. They were retired in 1940.”

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad line car 763 at the Muncie station on May 19, 1940.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car 96.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth's at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #90 at New Castle, IN on July 4, 1936. Note the Woolworth’s at right.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #95 at the Indianapolis terminal.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad lightweight car #99.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Indiana Railroad #787.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #795.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #797.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

Lake Erie and Northern car #939.

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

A Lehigh Valley Transit Allentown Limited on the Liberty Bell Route, descending the ramp at Norristown (where LVT shared tracks with the Philadelphia & Western for access to Philadelphia, at least until 1949).

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Lehigh Valley Transit lightweight high-speed car 1002, presumably in Allentown PA.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (photo restored).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #34 (unrestored photo).

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #106.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake car #14.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Mason City and Clear Lake steeple cab #52.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway yard.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway snow plow.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A Niagara St. Catharines and Toronto Railway trolley.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date-- March 31, 1936.

A nice right-of-way photo with no information, other than the date– March 31, 1936.

Jeff Wien: “TMER&T, route 13: Clybourn Downtown Milwaukee.”
.

No information.

No information.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

This is a three-car train of Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speeds in multiple-unit service on a fantrip, circa 1938-40.

No information (photo restored).

No information (photo restored).

No information (unrestored photo).

No information (unrestored photo).

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Does ST F Co RR stand for Santa Fe? At any rate, this is car #54 at Farmington, MO.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Salt Lake and Utah loco #101.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Sand Springs Railway (Oklahoma) loco #1001.

Unidentified car and person. Mike Peters: “The photo of 817 and employee would also be Fort Wayne. After passenger operations ceased, this motor was retained for switching the Spy Run power plant and several nearby industries. The roster in “Fort Wayne and Wabash Valley Trolleys” (CERA #122) shows the 817 as being retired in 1952.”

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Unidentified steeple cab locomotive.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Union Electric Railway loco #80.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Utah Idaho Central #905 in June 1945.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

Washington and Old Dominion car #44 and a Railway Express Agency truck in Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion locomotive.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

A Washington and Old Dominion RPO (Railway Post Office) on a mail run outside Rosslyn VA.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

The Washington and Old Dominion shops.

Recent Finds

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

The CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal in Forest Park in July 1955. This is an unusal view, looking west from Desplaines Avenue. At left, you can just barely see some streetcar tracks, which were used by West Towns Railways trolleys no later than 1948. That could be a CTA Route 17 bus, and you can also see some Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban cars in the station. The CA&E cut back service to here in 1953.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 1775 at Cermak and Kostner on March 21, 1954, about two months before streetcar service ended on Route 21.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 - Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

CTA 7213 on Route 49 – Western on August 2, 1949. This car would later become the last Chicago streetcar to operate.

North Shore Line 254

North Shore Line 254 “at freight station on “L”structure near Loop – January 27, 1962.”

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

The North Shore Line shops interior in Milwaukee, September 24, 1961.

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

Chicago Surface Lines 5258 at Lowe Avenue in the 1940s (not sure of main street, perhaps 79th?).

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an

CTA 6180, a one-man car, picks up passengers at an “L” station in the early 1950s.

CTA 7216, a St. Louis Car Company PCC, is northbound on Route 36 – Broadway in the 1950s. Jeff Wien: “Cars laying over on 119th at Morgan.”

CTA 4362, a Pullman PCC, on Route 8 – Halsted, most likely in the late 1940s. Jeff Wien adds, “Rt. 8 car has just pulled off of Broadway onto Waveland to head south on Halsted to 79th Street loop. Photo ca 1951 when Halsted was operated with PCCs, most Pullmans.”

TRACTION AUDIO, NOW AVAILABLE ON COMPACT DISC:

CDLayout33p85

RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963

Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.

Total time – 73:14


Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 229th 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 507,000 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.

An Artist’s Impressions

-our Charter

-our Charter

Having been on lots of fantrips myself over the years, I have come to learn that sometimes numerous people on such trips end up with, essentially, the same pictures. Such is surely not the case for today’s guest contributor, photographer Laura Hedien, who promotes her work under the moniker Storm Clouds Photography.

The occasion was a recent fantrip to raise money for the Fox River Trolley Museum, which suffered a tremendous amount of damage earlier this year, due to the vandalism caused by two teenagers. While many people have already donated to help restore the museum’s priceless collection, the need is still great and ongoing. You can donate through their web page, linked above.

An artist can see things that most of us would pass by. Sometimes, we can all benefit by looking at the “same old, same old,” through another person’s eyes.

We are very grateful to Laura for sharing her great images with our readers. I regret that I could not attend the trip myself, as we were recently in the middle of moving. If you haven’t moved in several years, I am sure you can appreciate how much work that can be.

Laura is very active on Facebook, and when presenting her work, did not arrange these images in a chronological order. They are more like a succession of fleeting images than a standard narrative.  The captions are hers.

We hope that you will enjoy them as much as we have. After seeing Laura’s work, I will never look at fantrip photos the same way again, but will instead try to find something new and different to photograph, as she has so ably done. She looked at it as more than just an opportunity to photograph some railcars, but instead viewed the entire “L” in the context of the great city it passes through.

-David Sadowski

PS- Thanks to all of those who came out to meet us at last week’s event at Centuries and Sleuths bookstore in Forest Park.

-train tunnel just north of Linden Av Wilmette

-train tunnel just north of Linden Av Wilmette

sweeping into the City...

sweeping into the City…

-coming around the bend! heads up!

-coming around the bend! heads up!

-LOL.. now that I know how to shoot sun flares.. this won't happen again....

-LOL.. now that I know how to shoot sun flares.. this won’t happen again….

-steel of the city Not sure which wins out... a little of the wild and the city is a good mix I guess...

-steel of the city
Not sure which wins out… a little of the wild and the city is a good mix I guess…

-right behind us!

-right behind us!

-not just ANY fire escape.... but a RED one!!! LOL...

-not just ANY fire escape…. but a RED one!!! LOL…

-a shapely pic... all sorts of triangles...

-a shapely pic… all sorts of triangles…

Cityscape...

Cityscape…

-Howard Yard near Evanston -- at Chicago, Illinois

-Howard Yard near Evanston — at Chicago, Illinois

-stop near Evanston

-stop near Evanston

-we used eight of the 2400s cars....

-we used eight of the 2400s cars….

north Howard Yard

north Howard Yard

-Howard Yard

-Howard Yard

-Tom had more fun than the picture tells.. honest! LOL...

-Tom had more fun than the picture tells.. honest! LOL…

-CTA Yellow Line out of Howard St...

-CTA Yellow Line out of Howard St…

-more Howard Yard. Looks like the trains are charging but held in check by the curve... LOL...

-more Howard Yard. Looks like the trains are charging but held in check by the curve… LOL…

-oh no!! Not those again!

-oh no!! Not those again!

-Wilson Av stop... supposed to be redone in the old style of the '20s....

-Wilson Av stop… supposed to be redone in the old style of the ’20s….

-big curve

-big curve

-couple sweeping curves

-couple sweeping curves

-cemetery coming into the city..

-cemetery coming into the city..

Go Cubbies!!

Go Cubbies!!

-nothing special... just repeating forms, shapes....

-nothing special… just repeating forms, shapes….

-yikes

-yikes

-so many shapes... triangles, cures, squares, circles....

-so many shapes… triangles, cures, squares, circles….

-street view from the L

-street view from the L

-a curve on the L in the Loop...

-a curve on the L in the Loop…

-curve coming into the city...

-curve coming into the city…

-repeating lines, shapes.....

-repeating lines, shapes…..

-big sweeping arch.. and train tracks!!!

-big sweeping arch.. and train tracks!!!

-a people pic! And a child no less!!! LOL...

-a people pic! And a child no less!!! LOL…

-a lot of space in the front of this pic.... a lot going on in the back...

-a lot of space in the front of this pic…. a lot going on in the back…

-L train bridge... so happy to be able to take pics on the train without the third degree.... These fan trips are fun!

-L train bridge… so happy to be able to take pics on the train without the third degree…. These fan trips are fun!

-our Special comin' round the bend! They let us catch a train ahead of us so we could get off to shoot our train...

-our Special comin’ round the bend!
They let us catch a train ahead of us so we could get off to shoot our train…

-perspective is different... moody...

-perspective is different… moody…

-another long, sweeping curve....

-another long, sweeping curve….

-Chicago River on the L bridge

-Chicago River on the L bridge

-AUGH! Those damn fire escapes!!!!

-AUGH! Those damn fire escapes!!!!

-large walkway, concrete arch... angles....

-large walkway, concrete arch… angles….

-was trying to get pics of the motorman but the reflection was too strong... sometimes accidents are good.

-was trying to get pics of the motorman but the reflection was too strong… sometimes accidents are good.

-backwards shot in the Loop

-backwards shot in the Loop

-strange perspective with this.... wide angle lenses do that...

-strange perspective with this…. wide angle lenses do that…

-cityscape... never the same... be that good or bad...

-cityscape… never the same… be that good or bad…

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We were recently asked by WGN radio here in Chicago to discuss our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 224th 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 466,000 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.

Giving Thanks

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden "L" cars on the CTA's temporary Garfield Park "L" trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden “L” cars on the CTA’s temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This year, in this holiday season, we give thanks for many things… among them, our health, our friends, and our family. And on behalf of this blog, I am thankful for you, our readers, for it is due to your generous support that we can continue to share these fine, old photos with you here.

Today, we have a 1959 CTA commemorative booklet, shared by Miles Beitler, plus some interesting recent finds of our own. Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

We were recently asked by WGN radio here in Chicago to discuss our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.

Meet the Author

FYI, I will be at Centuries and Sleuths bookstore in suburban Forest Park, Illinois from 3 to 5 pm on Saturday, November 24th, to discuss and sign copies of my new book Building Chicago’s Subways. We hope to see you there.

Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore
7419 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130
(708)771-7243

1959 CTA Commemorative Brochure

Miles Beitler writes:

In 1959, a commemorative booklet was issued by the CTA as the new Congress line (referred to at the times as the “West Side Subway”) was being completed. I have had the booklet since that time.

The entire booklet is 23 pages (page 2 was omitted as it is blank), and although it features the West-Northwest route, it also covers the other CTA rail lines in operation at that time, along with bus lines, streetcar service which had just ended, Chicago transit history, and future plans for Chicago area transit. There are numerous photos as well.

Thanks!


Recent Finds

CSL 4081 and 7074 are heading northbound on Clark Street near Wacker Drive on June 13, 1947.

CSL 4081 and 7074 are heading northbound on Clark Street near Wacker Drive on June 13, 1947.

CSL 5814 is southbound on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. In the background, you can see how Roosevelt Road streetcars crossed over the Illinois Central tracks (and around Central Station) to reach the Field Museum and Soldier Field. This extension was built for the 1933-34 A Century of Progress world's fair.

CSL 5814 is southbound on Wabash at Roosevelt Road on June 13, 1947. In the background, you can see how Roosevelt Road streetcars crossed over the Illinois Central tracks (and around Central Station) to reach the Field Museum and Soldier Field. This extension was built for the 1933-34 A Century of Progress world’s fair.

CSL 5960 is westbound on Grand Avenue at Wabash on August 21, 1947.

CSL 5960 is westbound on Grand Avenue at Wabash on August 21, 1947.

CSL 5395 is westbound on 6rd Street at the Illinois Central underpass, east of Dorchester, on June 13, 1947. The "L" has since been cut back to a point west of here at Cottage Grove. Its eventual destination will be Oak Park Avenue.

CSL 5395 is westbound on 6rd Street at the Illinois Central underpass, east of Dorchester, on June 13, 1947. The “L” has since been cut back to a point west of here at Cottage Grove. Its eventual destination will be Oak Park Avenue.

Philadelphia Transportation Company Birney car #1, signed for a fantrip sponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Philadelphia Transportation Company Birney car #1, signed for a fantrip sponsored by the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) "Master Unit" car 83 is at the end of the line in West Chester, PA. Service on this interurban was replaced by bus in 1954, to facilitate the widening of West Chester Pike.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) “Master Unit” car 83 is at the end of the line in West Chester, PA. Service on this interurban was replaced by bus in 1954, to facilitate the widening of West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow cars 82 and 80 are on the West Chester line, at a passing siding. This interurban was mostly single track, operating alongside West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow cars 82 and 80 are on the West Chester line, at a passing siding. This interurban was mostly single track, operating alongside West Chester Pike.

Red Arrow car 78, built by Brill in 1932, is at Newtown Siding in Newtown Square, PA on May 30, 1949 (on the West Chester route).

Red Arrow car 78, built by Brill in 1932, is at Newtown Siding in Newtown Square, PA on May 30, 1949 (on the West Chester route).

Red Arrow car 22, a double-ended 1949 product of St. Louis Car Company, is presumably at the west end of the Media interurban line. These cars, which closely resemble PCCs, are not classified as such as they used standard interurban undergear.

Red Arrow car 22, a double-ended 1949 product of St. Louis Car Company, is presumably at the west end of the Media interurban line. These cars, which closely resemble PCCs, are not classified as such as they used standard interurban undergear.

CTA gate cars and Met cars are on display at Laramie Yard in this August 1948 view (on the Garfield Park "L").

CTA gate cars and Met cars are on display at Laramie Yard in this August 1948 view (on the Garfield Park “L”).

North Shore Line 715 is on the Mundelein branch in July 1950.

North Shore Line 715 is on the Mundelein branch in July 1950.

On August 17, 1966, Pittsburgh Railways PCC 1542 is on Route 71 - Highland Park. (Richard S. Short Photo)

On August 17, 1966, Pittsburgh Railways PCC 1542 is on Route 71 – Highland Park. (Richard S. Short Photo)

Chicago Rapid Transit Company 2731 is at Laramie Yard (on the Garfield Park "L") in September 1936.

Chicago Rapid Transit Company 2731 is at Laramie Yard (on the Garfield Park “L”) in September 1936.

CRT 2881 is at Gunderson Avenue (in suburban Oak Park), one of the ground-level stations on the Garfield Park "L", on September 19, 1934. This location is now the site of I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway.

CRT 2881 is at Gunderson Avenue (in suburban Oak Park), one of the ground-level stations on the Garfield Park “L”, on September 19, 1934. This location is now the site of I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway.

CTA 3164 is at the Hamlin station on the Lake Street "L" in August 1948.

CTA 3164 is at the Hamlin station on the Lake Street “L” in August 1948.

CA&E 421 is at Wheaton Yard in September 1936.

CA&E 421 is at Wheaton Yard in September 1936.

Don's Rail Photos says CA&E express motor 5 "was built by Cincinnati Car in 1921 to replace 1st 5 which was built by American Car in 1909 and wrecked in 1920. It was retired in 1953." Here, we see it in Wheaton in August 1948.

Don’s Rail Photos says CA&E express motor 5 “was built by Cincinnati Car in 1921 to replace 1st 5 which was built by American Car in 1909 and wrecked in 1920. It was retired in 1953.” Here, we see it in Wheaton in August 1948.

CTA PCC 4390 is presumably northbound at 95th Street, heading towards Broadway and Devon on Route 36 in August 1955. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

CTA PCC 4390 is presumably northbound at 95th Street, heading towards Broadway and Devon on Route 36 in August 1955. (Roy W. Bruce Photo)

Building Chicago's Subways is dedicated to the late Charlie Petzold. His widow Beverly sent us this newspaper clipping, showing him with various family members in 1984, when the "L" was extended to O'Hare airport.

Building Chicago’s Subways is dedicated to the late Charlie Petzold. His widow Beverly sent us this newspaper clipping, showing him with various family members in 1984, when the “L” was extended to O’Hare airport.

An early 1900s view of Chicago's Union Stock Yards. The Stock Yards "L" branch can be seen at left. It closed in 1957.

An early 1900s view of Chicago’s Union Stock Yards. The Stock Yards “L” branch can be seen at left. It closed in 1957.

CTA 6565 is eastbound on the Congress rapid transit line at Morgan on July 16, 1971.

CTA 6565 is eastbound on the Congress rapid transit line at Morgan on July 16, 1971.

A train of CTA 6000s waits for the signal to leave the terminal at Lawrence and Kimball on April 21, 1965. The Ravenswood "L" is now the Brown Line.

A train of CTA 6000s waits for the signal to leave the terminal at Lawrence and Kimball on April 21, 1965. The Ravenswood “L” is now the Brown Line.

CTA prewar PCC 4023 is northbound on Route 4 - Cottage Grove circa 1952-55, having just crossed under the Illinois Central tracks.

CTA prewar PCC 4023 is northbound on Route 4 – Cottage Grove circa 1952-55, having just crossed under the Illinois Central tracks.

CTA 4054 is on private right-of-way on the south end of the Cottage Grove line, running parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service.

CTA 4054 is on private right-of-way on the south end of the Cottage Grove line, running parallel to the Illinois Central Electric suburban service.

The date on this slide mount is March 1964. If so, this two-car train on the CTA Skokie Swift must be a test train, prior to the beginning of regular service in April.

The date on this slide mount is March 1964. If so, this two-car train on the CTA Skokie Swift must be a test train, prior to the beginning of regular service in April.

CTA "Peter Witt" car 6287 is on the Cottage Grove private right-of-way on June 10, 1951.

CTA “Peter Witt” car 6287 is on the Cottage Grove private right-of-way on June 10, 1951.

North Shore Line freight motor 456 is running on battery power on a siding, as there are no overhead wires present.

North Shore Line freight motor 456 is running on battery power on a siding, as there are no overhead wires present.

On June 27, 1964, a two-car train of CTA 4000s is inbound running local service at Isabella. This station closed in the early 1970s and was quickly removed.

On June 27, 1964, a two-car train of CTA 4000s is inbound running local service at Isabella. This station closed in the early 1970s and was quickly removed.

CTA red Pullman 238 is on Kedzie Avenue on a snowy January 17, 1951.

CTA red Pullman 238 is on Kedzie Avenue on a snowy January 17, 1951.

CTA PCC 4405 is southbound on Western Avenue on August 5, 1949.

CTA PCC 4405 is southbound on Western Avenue on August 5, 1949.

CTA 6205, a one-man car, is on 87th Street in April 1951.

CTA 6205, a one-man car, is on 87th Street in April 1951.

CTA 6203, another one-man car, is on the 93rd Street line in March 1951.

CTA 6203, another one-man car, is on the 93rd Street line in March 1951.

Since CTA 4406 is on a charter, this is most likely the fantrip that took place on October 21, 1956.

Since CTA 4406 is on a charter, this is most likely the fantrip that took place on October 21, 1956.

MBTA (Boston) double-end PCC 3335 (ex-Dallas) is at Milton on the Ashmont-Mattapan line in the 1960s (Photo by Frederick F. Marder)

MBTA (Boston) double-end PCC 3335 (ex-Dallas) is at Milton on the Ashmont-Mattapan line in the 1960s (Photo by Frederick F. Marder)

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden "L" cars on the CTA's temporary Garfield Park "L" trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

This photo is interesting, as it shows a 6-car train of old wooden “L” cars on the CTA’s temporary Garfield Park “L” trackage in Van Buren Street, possibly before service was transferred there in September 1953.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 223rd 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 464,000 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.

75 Years of Chicago’s Subways

Mayor Kelly celebrates the first ceremonial trips (using one track and only two of the stations) on the State Street Subway in April 1943, just prior to a mayoral election.

Mayor Kelly celebrates the first ceremonial trips (using one track and only two of the stations) on the State Street Subway in April 1943, just prior to a mayoral election.

Chicago’s first subway opened 75 years ago today, on October 17, 1943. To help commemorate this milestone in Chicago history, we wrote the book Building Chicago’s Subways, which is now available from us and wherever Arcadia Publishing books are sold. More information can be found at the end of this post, or via our Online Store.

Today, we are featuring over 100 images that were considered for use in our new book, but for various reasons did not make the cut. We hope you will enjoy them.

The story of Chicago’s subways is a long an convoluted one, beginning 150 years ago with the first transportation tunnels under the Chicago River, and continuing with the extensive system of freight tunnels built in the early 1900s downtown.

Wrangling over what type of subways to build, where to build them, and how to pay for them, continued for 40 years and divided Chicagoans. Then, in 1938, the City of Chicago and the FDR Administration agreed on plans to build the State Street and Dearborn-Milwaukee Subways, which opened in 1943 and 1951.

In turn, this was all part of a larger plan which included Chicago’s first true expressway in Congress Street (now the I-290 Eisenhower). Construction for the highway began in 1949 and ultimately relocated the entire Garfield Park “L” into the Congress rapid transit line, also known as the West Side Subway.

Construction of Chicago’s first subways began in 1938, and the Congress line was not 100% complete until 1960, so this was a huge construction project that lasted for more than 20 years and transformed the city forever.

The story of how this came to be is detailed in my new book.

David Sadowski

PS- I salute those Chicagoans old enough to remember the opening of the Chicago Subway. Those first-day riders included Raymond DeGroote Jr., the dean of Chicago railfans, and my two uncles Robert and Raymond Wakefield, all still going strong at age 88.

A Review of Building Chicago’s Subways by Kenneth Gear

Readers of the Trolley Dodger will certainly enjoy reading David’s new book BUILDING CHICAGO’S SUBWAYS.

I’ve visited Chicago about a dozen times in my railfanning pursuits and my interests were always confined to the yards, mainlines, and junctions of the freight railroads. I was only vaguely aware that Chicago even had a subway system. After reading this book, my next trip to the windy city will definitely include a ride on the subway.

As David has done with his previous book CHICAGO TROLLEYS, he has taken a very complex subject, spanning many decades and personalities, and whittled it down to the essential facts. He then presents these facts in a clear, understandable, and entertaining manner. The photographs are all of excellent quality, properly exposed and in razor sharp focus. David is apparently very particular and extremely selective when it comes to the photos in his books. The photographs don’t only showcase the transit equipment and property, but also include many photos of the people involved with the story of the subways. He has also included scenes of Chicago’s neighborhoods, buildings, and streets that were affected by the subways.

These are historical photos that will be of interest to any Chicagoans who have an eye for the past. The book tells the interesting story of the subway’s part in hastening the demise of the Chicago Aurora, and Elgin and the impact subways had on the famous “L”. Also much insight is given on the building of the Congress Expressway (now Eisenhower Expressway). I was also very interested in the chapter about the freight tunnels under the city. I recently watched the 1950 movie UNION STATION with William Holden and the climax of the film takes place in those tunnels.

The photographic efforts and concise writing go a long way to making David’s Arcadia books among the best the publisher has to offer.

How Chicago Kept its Subway Plan on Track

I wrote to Ron Grossman at the Chicago Tribune several months ago, suggesting they do an article for the 75th anniversary of the Chicago subway. Here is that article.

Cable cars in the LaSalle tunnel.

Cable cars in the LaSalle tunnel.

A river tunnel entrance during cable car days. This is either the Washington or LaSalle tunnel.

A river tunnel entrance during cable car days. This is either the Washington or LaSalle tunnel.

I believe this shows the Van Buren river tunnel during cable car days, prior to its lowering for use by streetcars.

I believe this shows the Van Buren river tunnel during cable car days, prior to its lowering for use by streetcars.

The Van Buren Street river tunnel in streetcar days.

The Van Buren Street river tunnel in streetcar days.

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The Washington Street tunnel in 2017. (Roman Vovchak Photo)

The steel tubes used to lower the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel in 1911-1912. This same method was used in 1939 for the State Street Subway.

The steel tubes used to lower the LaSalle Street streetcar tunnel in 1911-1912. This same method was used in 1939 for the State Street Subway.

Chicago Tunnel Company trains hauling ashes away from the freight tunnels, probably for use as landfill.

Chicago Tunnel Company trains hauling ashes away from the freight tunnels, probably for use as landfill.

The freight tunnels were used to haul merchandise as well as coal and ashes beneath Chicago's downtown.

The freight tunnels were used to haul merchandise as well as coal and ashes beneath Chicago’s downtown.

The freight tunnels used electric locomotives and overhead power.

The freight tunnels used electric locomotives and overhead power.

A freight tunnel intersection.

A freight tunnel intersection.

Chicago's freight tunnels.

Chicago’s freight tunnels.

Chicago badly needed subways to help reduce congestion on the Loop "L", here shown in the early 1900s at Lake and Wells.

Chicago badly needed subways to help reduce congestion on the Loop “L”, here shown in the early 1900s at Lake and Wells.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, approved federal funding for Chicago's first subways.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, shown here in Chicago in 1943, approved federal funding for Chicago’s first subways.

Indirect lighting was used in the newe Moscow Subway, shown here in 1936, and would also feature in Chicago's tube.

Indirect lighting was used in the newe Moscow Subway, shown here in 1936, and would also feature in Chicago’s tube.

A New York subway passage in 1937, showing the widespread use of subway tile. Chicago's subways were in turn influenced by New York's far more extensive system.

A New York subway passage in 1937, showing the widespread use of subway tile. Chicago’s subways were in turn influenced by New York’s far more extensive system.

The results of a fire that destroyed several wooden el cars on New York's system.. Wooden cars were banned from use in the Chicago subways for safety reasons.

The results of a fire that destroyed several wooden el cars on New York’s system.. Wooden cars were banned from use in the Chicago subways for safety reasons.

Wooden "L" cars were also less safe in crashes.

Wooden “L” cars were also less safe in crashes.

Subway plans from the late 1930s, showing new railcars similar to contemporary ones used in New York.

Subway plans from the late 1930s, showing new railcars similar to contemporary ones used in New York.

The BMT Bluebirds in New York.

The BMT Bluebirds in New York.

The Chicago Rapid Transit Company ordered four sets of articulated rapid transit trainsets, which were delivered in 1947-48 and largely patterned after the Bluebirds used by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT).

The Chicago Rapid Transit Company ordered four sets of articulated rapid transit trainsets, which were delivered in 1947-48 and largely patterned after the Bluebirds used by Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT).

Chicago's subways were opened using 1920s-era steel rapid transit cars, where the conductors had to stand between cars to open and close the doors.

Chicago’s subways were opened using 1920s-era steel rapid transit cars, where the conductors had to stand between cars to open and close the doors.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

The first subway construction site.

An air lock used in subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

Early subway construction.

Early subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

An air lock used in subway construction.

Mining clay in the Chicago subway.

Mining clay in the Chicago subway.

A subway tunnel before the addition of concrete.

A subway tunnel before the addition of concrete.

Mining clay in the subway.

Mining clay in the subway.

Early "cut and cover" construction near a subway station.

Early “cut and cover” construction near a subway station.

The two steel tubes for the State Street Subway's crossing of the Chicago River, before they were sunk into place in 1939.

The two steel tubes for the State Street Subway’s crossing of the Chicago River, before they were sunk into place in 1939.

Subway construction.

Subway construction.

The old Masonic Temple, world's tallest building when it first opened in 1892, efll victim to subway construction in 1939 due to its foundation being in the way of construction. Here it is seen being torn down.

The old Masonic Temple, world’s tallest building when it first opened in 1892, efll victim to subway construction in 1939 due to its foundation being in the way of construction. Here it is seen being torn down.

In the Loop, building the subways involved a mining operation and used similar equipment.

In the Loop, building the subways involved a mining operation and used similar equipment.

Subway construction, circa 1939-40.

Subway construction, circa 1939-40.

Building subway kiosks on State Street in 1942.

Building subway kiosks on State Street in 1942.

A typical mezzanine station entrance in the Loop.

A typical mezzanine station entrance in the Loop.

The new State Street tube prior to opening.

The new State Street tube prior to opening.

An obviously posed photo prior to the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943.

An obviously posed photo prior to the opening of the State Street Subway in 1943.

The unfinished subway, circa 1941.

The unfinished subway, circa 1941.

The continuous platform in the State Street Subway, 1943.

The continuous platform in the State Street Subway, 1943.

The new subway featured automatic block signals. If a train went past a red signal, brakes were automatically applied. There were also timed signals on curves. Previously, most of the "L" used "on-sight" operation.

The new subway featured automatic block signals. If a train went past a red signal, brakes were automatically applied. There were also timed signals on curves. Previously, most of the “L” used “on-sight” operation.

CRT motorman Charles R. Blade activates a signal override in the State Street Subway, early in 1943.

CRT motorman Charles R. Blade activates a signal override in the State Street Subway, early in 1943.

The incline leading to the north end of the State Street Subway in early 1943.

The incline leading to the north end of the State Street Subway in early 1943.

A snowy scene at the north portal of the State Street Subway, early 1940s.

A snowy scene at the north portal of the State Street Subway, early 1940s.

A map of the completed State Street Subway in 1944.

A map of the completed State Street Subway in 1944.

The first ceremonial train in the State Street Subway, April 1943.

The first ceremonial train in the State Street Subway, April 1943.

Final touches on the State Street Subway in April 1943.

Final touches on the State Street Subway in April 1943.

An old-time Chicago political boss enters the State Street Subway.

An old-time Chicago political boss enters the State Street Subway.

Mayor Kelly on the ceremonial train, surrounded by reporters.

Mayor Kelly on the ceremonial train, surrounded by reporters.

A ticket taker at the April 1943 event.

A ticket taker at the April 1943 event.

The unfinished Dearborn tube in 1943. Work was halted due to materials shortages during WWII.

The unfinished Dearborn tube in 1943. Work was halted due to materials shortages during WWII.

The north State Street Subway portal in 1943.

The north State Street Subway portal in 1943.

A northbound train enters south portal of the State Street Subway in the 1940s.

A northbound train enters south portal of the State Street Subway in the 1940s.

No tracks here yet.

No tracks here yet.

Subway riders downtown could get a "walking transfer," good for 15 minutes, to change to "L" trains above.

Subway riders downtown could get a “walking transfer,” good for 15 minutes, to change to “L” trains above.

In 1950, the first of the CTA's new 6000-series rapid transit cars, on display in the North Water Street stub-end terminal.

In 1950, the first of the CTA’s new 6000-series rapid transit cars, on display in the North Water Street stub-end terminal.

When the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened in 1951, parts of the "L" were closed. Here. we see a Logan Suare-bound train on the Paulina portion of the Metropolitan "L", soon the be closed, probably in 1950.

When the Dearborn-Milwaukee subway opened in 1951, parts of the “L” were closed. Here. we see a Logan Suare-bound train on the Paulina portion of the Metropolitan “L”, soon the be closed, probably in 1950.

The north portal of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway at Evergreen Street.

The north portal of the Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway at Evergreen Street.

Construction of the Van Buren temporary trackage in 1951-52.

Construction of the Van Buren temporary trackage in 1951-52.

From 1951 to 1958, the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway ended at a stub-end terminal at LaSalle and Congress. The station was then called Congress Terminal.

From 1951 to 1958, the Milwaukee-Dearborn Subway ended at a stub-end terminal at LaSalle and Congress. The station was then called Congress Terminal.

The Garfiled Park temporary tracks in the south half of Van Buren Street. The old Throop Street shops are at right.

The Garfiled Park temporary tracks in the south half of Van Buren Street. The old Throop Street shops are at right.

At right, the ramp going down from the existing Met main line at right to the an Buren temporary trackage at street level. On the left, the Congress median line looks like it is almost ready to be put into service.

At right, the ramp going down from the existing Met main line at right to the an Buren temporary trackage at street level. On the left, the Congress median line looks like it is almost ready to be put into service.

In 1958, work was being done to connect the Douglas Park "L" with the new Congress line.

In 1958, work was being done to connect the Douglas Park “L” with the new Congress line.

The old Met main line "L" crossed the footprint of the Northwest Expressway, then being built in 1958, and had to be shored up. Once the Congress line opened, this section of "L" was removed. The new highway opened in 1960.

The old Met main line “L” crossed the footprint of the Northwest Expressway, then being built in 1958, and had to be shored up. Once the Congress line opened, this section of “L” was removed. The new highway opened in 1960.

A crossover in the Congress median.

A crossover in the Congress median.

The Congress line opens in June 1958 with three branches (Congress, Douglas, and Milwaukee).

The Congress line opens in June 1958 with three branches (Congress, Douglas, and Milwaukee).

In the late 1950s, the CTA envisioned a sort of "bus rapid transit" line in the median of the planned Southwest (now Stevenson) Expressway. Three buses are coupled together and are running along a guide rail, and presumably would uncouple and go their separate ways at the end of the journey,

In the late 1950s, the CTA envisioned a sort of “bus rapid transit” line in the median of the planned Southwest (now Stevenson) Expressway. Three buses are coupled together and are running along a guide rail, and presumably would uncouple and go their separate ways at the end of the journey,

The DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal, after its 1959 renovation. You can just barely see where the CA&E tracks were rebuilt at right. Unfortunately, no trains ran on them.

The DesPlaines Avenue CTA terminal, after its 1959 renovation. You can just barely see where the CA&E tracks were rebuilt at right. Unfortunately, no trains ran on them.

The new Congress rapid transit line, aka the "West Side Subway" as it is below grade.

The new Congress rapid transit line, aka the “West Side Subway” as it is below grade.

Garfield Park trains crossing DesPalines Avenue at grade in Forest Park. Tracks in the foreground were once used by West Towns Railways streetcars.

Garfield Park trains crossing DesPalines Avenue at grade in Forest Park. Tracks in the foreground were once used by West Towns Railways streetcars.

The CTA issued these button in 1969-70 when two new expressway median lines were opened. The Kennedy line also included a new one-mile subway along Kimball and Milwaukee.

The CTA issued these button in 1969-70 when two new expressway median lines were opened. The Kennedy line also included a new one-mile subway along Kimball and Milwaukee.

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There are three subway anniversaries this year in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)

To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

While the elevated Chicago Loop is justly famous as a symbol of the city, the fascinating history of its subways is less well known. The City of Chicago broke ground on what would become the “Initial System of Subways” during the Great Depression and finished 20 years later. This gigantic construction project, a part of the New Deal, would overcome many obstacles while tunneling through Chicago’s soft blue clay, under congested downtown streets, and even beneath the mighty Chicago River. Chicago’s first rapid transit subway opened in 1943 after decades of wrangling over routes, financing, and logistics. It grew to encompass the State Street, Dearborn-Milwaukee, and West Side Subways, with the latter modernizing the old Garfield Park “L” into the median of Chicago’s first expressway. Take a trip underground and see how Chicago’s “I Will” spirit overcame challenges and persevered to help with the successful building of the subways that move millions. Building Chicago’s subways was national news and a matter of considerable civic pride–making it a “Second City” no more!

Bibliographic information:

Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages

Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960

Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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For Shipping Elsewhere:

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

Redone tile at the Monroe and Dearborn CTA Blue Line subway station, showing how an original sign was incorporated into a newer design, May 25, 2018. (David Sadowski Photo)

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From the Collections of Bill Shapotkin

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left)."

On August 13, 1971 Chicago Rock Island & Pacific #303 and 125 are backing into Blue Island (Burr Oak) yard. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The train is a ROCK Mainline Suburban train (if it had operated via Beverly, it would be west of the depot (to left).”

Today, we feature more classic photos of buses, trolleys, and trains, courtesy of Bill Shapotkin, long a friend of this blog. Mr. Shapotkin should be well-known to many of you from his longtime activities as a transit historian, author, and the many informative programs he has given over the years.

Today’s sampling from the Shapotkin Collection includes some rare pictures of Chicago & North Western RDCs (Budd Rail Diesel Cars), which were self-propelled and ran in Chicago area commuter train service for a short period of time in the 1950s. They replaced steam-powered trains and were in turn replaced by the familiar push-pull diesel bi-levels still in use today.

In addition, there are several pictures of Grand Central Station, a Chicago landmark in use between 1890 and 1969, which was torn down in 1971. We have some interesting correspondence, plus some new images of our own.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- We have done our part to make these old images look as good as they possibly can. The C&NW RDC pictures were all shot around 1956 on early Ektachrome film, whose dyes turned out to be unstable and quickly shifted to red. (Technically, the red layer was relatively stable, while the green and blue layers faded.)

It used to be some people thought these sorts of images were only suitable for use as black-and-whites. But with modern technology, it is possible, to some extent, to bring back the original colors. This was easier to do on some than others, but the results look much better than you might expect. If you have ever seen one of these early red Ektachromes, you will know what I mean. Modern films are much more stable and resistant to dye fading.

I would be remiss without mentioning Bill has been involved for many years with the annual Hoosier Traction meet, which takes place in September:

It is that time of year again — the 35th annual gathering of the Hoosier Traction Meet is being held Fri-Sat, Sept 7-8 in Indianapolis, IN. The meet includes two full days of interesting presentations on a variety of subjects, as well as our “Exhibition Room” of vendors — with everything from transfers to track charts available. Book now and you can join us for just $25.00 ($40.00 at the door). We recommend that once you book hotel accommodations as early as possible, as there is an event scheduled at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that same weekend. By calling the number of the Waterfront Inn (where our event is being held), by mentioning that you are with the Hoosier Traction Meet, you should be able to register at our group rate.

For those of you would are unable to attend both days, we have a special “Saturday Only” rate of just $15.00 ($25.00 at the door). As many of our Friday presentations are repeated on Saturday, you will be able to partake of a wide variety of subjects and presenters.

We hope you are able to join us for what many consider to be THE electric railway gathering in the country…see you there!

Thanking you in advance,

Bill Shapotkin

The Milwaukee Road's Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, "The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St."

The Milwaukee Road’s Elgin terminal in August 1970. Bill Shapotkin adds, “The MILW depot in Elgin was built 1948. It is the second depot constructed at the same site. View looks south from Chicago St.”

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, built in 1928 by the St. Louis Car Company, is seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in May 1977. It ran in Milwaukee and Waukegan as a North Shore Line city streetcar.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.

The Chessie Steam Special in Wellsboro, IN on June 17, 1978.