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.

Never Too Late

Former Chicago Surface Lines mail car 6, built in 1891, as it looked on May 25, 1958. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum, where it was recently vandalized. You can see a black-and-white photo of this car, taken at the same time as this one, in our previous post Throwback Thursday (January 7, 2016). To see a picture of West Chicago Street Railway car 4, also taken the same day, there's one in our post Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015).

Former Chicago Surface Lines mail car 6, built in 1891, as it looked on May 25, 1958. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum, where it was recently vandalized. You can see a black-and-white photo of this car, taken at the same time as this one, in our previous post Throwback Thursday (January 7, 2016). To see a picture of West Chicago Street Railway car 4, also taken the same day, there’s one in our post Chicago Streetcars In Color (February 22, 2015).

Recent news reports that eight historic railcars at the Fox River Trolley Museum were vandalized to the tune of perhaps as much as $150,000 brought back some memories.

Back in 1961, when I was six years old, my family took a Sunday drive out to the Chicago Aurora & Elgin’s Wheaton Yards to take one last look at their fleet. We had read in the news that efforts to save the CA&E had failed, and that the entire line was being abandoned forever.

I never did get to ride the CA&E, which stopped running passenger service in 1957. But I did at least get to see the railcars on their home turf in Wheaton. I distinctly recall being gratified that they did not appear to be vandalized. I did not see any broken windows.

Not all of these cars were saved, but some did make it off the property and several lived to run again in museum service in various parts of the country. (We ran some pictures of the “hospital train” in our post Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 1-29-2016.)

That anything at all got saved was, in my humble opinion, a miracle. Now it is true that in the waning days of traction, there were fans who “liberated” various bits and pieces of trolleys that were destined for the scrap heap. Their goal was to preserve history, not desecrate it. In some cases, these original parts have since been put back onto historic equipment, or are now in the collections of railroad museums. At least they were saved for future generations.

Railroad museums across the country depend on small groups of dedicated volunteers. Occasionally, entire museum operations have either failed or have been obliged to relocate. The sad situation faced by the Indiana Transportation Museum, which was recently evicted from its home in Noblesville, is but the latest example.

Let’s take a closer look at Aurora, Elgin & Fox River car 304. This fine specimen of a 1920s interurban car, which returned to run on the small surviving portion of its home rails at the Fox River Trolley Museum, was damaged by the two young vandals. It is not just a piece of equipment that was injured. This was a senseless attack on the history of an entire region.

While this blog is not affiliated with the Fox River Trolley Museum, we wholeheartedly support their efforts, and historic preservation. Insurance, unfortunately, will only cover a small portion of the cost of replacing all the broken glass and other damage. The bulk of funds will have to come from private donations.

The museum has begun a fundraising campaign, which must be successful. I realize many of us are angry about this senseless destruction, but let’s turn our anger into something constructive.

We are but the current caretakers of precious artifacts of the past. If we fail to preserve them, it will be a loss to all who come after us. We can all lament that a couple of young kids did a tremendous amount of harm here, but it’s never too late for the rest of us to do the right thing, right now.

-David Sadowski

The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains

We recently acquired the original artwork for this January 17, 1938 Toonerville Trolley comic panel by the great Fontaine Fox (1884-1964).

We recently acquired the original artwork for this January 17, 1938 Toonerville Trolley comic panel by the great Fontaine Fox (1884-1964).

In a time when trolley lines criss-crossed this country, and were a part of everyday life for Americans, there was even a railfan comic strip. Or, better put, a comic strip by a railfan, Fontaine Fox.

His “Toonerville Trolley” comic ran in newspapers from 1913 until he retired in 1955. Over time, he even grew to resemble the “Skipper,” his own creation. Fox even answered his voluminous fan mail using letterhead he had printed up for the Toonerville Electric Railway Company.

Here is what the Filson (Kentucky) Historical Society has to say about Fontaine Fox:

Fontaine Talbot Fox III, creator of the famous Toonerville Trolley, was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1884. He started his career as a reporter for the Louisville Herald, but soon abandoned this course to pursue his true passion of drawing cartoons. During a visit to the small town of Pelham, New York, Fox received inspiration for what would become one of the nation’s most beloved comics. While in Pelham, he rode on the local trolley car, where the conductor’s unhurried manner and penchant for gossiping with his passengers gave Fox the idea for his own comic strip. By 1915, the resulting comic series, Toonerville Folks, had come to the attention of the Wheeler Syndicate and was soon published in newspapers across the nation.

The Filson’s collections contain a number of items documenting the life and career of this celebrated cartoonist, including photographs of Fox and his family, as well as some of his correspondence and several scrapbooks with clippings of his cartoons. Notable among Fox’s papers are a collection of twenty-one original pen and ink cartoons from his beloved Toonerville Folks. Set in the fictional town of Toonerville, the single-paneled cartoon featured a rickety trolley car and a glimpse into suburban life in the early twentieth century. Fox created a cast of characters that charmed a nation: the Terrible-Tempered Mr. Bang, the Powerful Katrinka, Mickey (Himself) McGuire (the town bully), Aunt Eppie Hogg (the fattest woman in three counties), and of course the Skipper, who piloted the beloved trolley car. Toonerville Folks ran in hundreds of newspapers nationwide for over forty years, until Fox’s retirement in 1955. His comics would become an inspiration for a future generation of cartoonists.

Actually, it was a single panel cartoon six days a week. On Sunday, it was in color, in multiple panels. The strip had various names, including The Toonerville Trolley That Meets All the Trains and Toonerville Folks. Eventually, the adventures of the “Skipper” and his rickety trolley car only took up a part of the action, as Fox developed a variety of memorable characters for Toonerville.

Blake A. Bell
writes an excellent blog called Historic Pelham, and has written extensively about Fox, the Toonerville Trolley, and its connection to the area.

While the phrase “Toonerville Trolley” eventually became synonymous with any rural streetcar or interurban running on poorly maintained track, Pelham, NY, its inspiration, is actually a suburb, located 14 miles from Midtown Manhattan in Westchester County. It is near the city of New Rochelle, made famous as the home of Rob and Laura Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966).

The Toonerville Trolley ran in over 200 daily newspapers in its heyday, and was popular enough to inspire numerous motion pictures. The first series, circa 1920-21, was silent and produced by the Betzwood Studios in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (more on that in our book review section). You can watch one of those films here.

Next, a young Mickey Rooney (1920-2014) later starred in 78 short films based on the Toonerville character Mickey McGuire, made between 1927 and 1934. This was Mickey Rooney’s first big break in show business. He even attempted, unsuccessfully, to legally change his name to Mickey McGuire.

There were also some Toonerville Trolley animated shorts, made in 1936 by Van Beuren Studios, which can be seen on Youtube. Here is one example:

By the late 1930s, trolley lines were starting to disappear from the American scene. On July 31, 1937 the Pelham Manor “H” trolley line ran its last. Fontaine Fox used the popularity of his comic strip to turn this into a major event.

From Historical Treasures of Westchester County:

On July 31, 1937, the H-Line Trolley that inspired Fontaine Fox was shut down for good – replaced by a bus line. That day the Village of Pelham Manor hosted a celebration attended by about 8,000 people for the last run of the “Toonerville Trolley”.

This “pass,” signed by Fontaine Fox who attended the event, entitled the bearer to ride the trolley car during its last trip. That trip took hours to travel only a couple of miles due to the crowds and the antics of local residents dressed as various characters from the “Toonerville Folks” comic strip.

The Hagerstown & Frederick interurban, which we have featured in a variety of posts, is an example of a country interurban that was frequently called a “Toonerville Trolley.” Its last passenger interurban ran on February 20, 1954.

Perhaps inspired by this, around this time Fontaine Fox bowed to the inevitable, and “retired” the trolley from his strip, replacing it with a bus. But such was the popularity of the old contraption that I believe he brought it back, prior to the strip’s demise in 1955 with Fox’s retirement. He donated some of his original artwork to a trolley museum.

As a tribute to Fontaine Fox, here we present an entire month’s worth of daily Toonerville panels, from June 1927. You will note that only some of the dailies include the trolley and Skipper (who, apparently, was based on real-life Pelham operator James (“Old Jim”) Bailey, who lived in the Bronx). Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-1974) made his historic non-stop flight from New YHork to Paris on May 20-21, 1927 and “Lindbergh mania” is reflected in many of the strips shown here, suggesting that Fox was working on some of these panels not long before they appeared in newspapers.

Fontaine Fox in retirement:

Book Reviews



Montgomery County Trolleys
by Mike Szilagyi, with a Foreword by Andrew W. Maginnis
Arcadia Publishing, 2018

We recently received a copy of Montogomery County Trolleys from the author, as we had provided a couple of images he used in the book. Otherwise, chances are we might not have seen this fine addition to Arcadia’s Images of Rail series, which we are also involved with (see below for information on Building Chicago’s Subways, and our Online Store for copies of Chicago Trolleys).

Author Mike Szilagyi was no stranger to us, as we had corresponded concerning a different book project he was involved with as mapmaker. This was eventually published as Riding the Bell: Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell Route by Ron Ruddell, Bulletin 147 of the Central Electric Railfans’ Association (2015).

Naturally, the maps Mr. Szilagyi made for this new book are excellent. But the entire thing is well done, from the scope the author set out to cover, the organization of the chapters, picture selection, text, and captions.

Here is a capsule description:

Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, was once served by 140 miles of trolley lines. In the first half of the 20th century, a wide array of trolley cars rolled over Montgomery County’s rails, from quaint open streetcars rumbling through borough streets to sleek 80-mile-an-hour trolleys sailing across open fields in Upper Gwynedd and Hatfield Townships. The cars had zero emissions, and some lines were powered by renewable hydroelectric power. Taking the trolley was a convenient, affordable option for those travelling and commuting in Montgomery County, nearby Philadelphia, and points beyond. Freight was also carried on board trolleys, with prompt parcel delivery service. Fortunately, many years ago, dedicated trolley fans had the foresight to aim their cameras at these unique vehicles, providing rare glimpses not just of the trolleys but also of Montgomery County’s rapidly changing landscapes.

Mike Szilagyi’s interest in trolleys was sparked at a young age by the sight of big green streamliners gliding down Old York Road near his grandmother’s house in the Logan neighborhood of Philadelphia. Today, Szilagyi lives and works in Montgomery County, where he plans and designs bicycle paths and serves on the North Wales Historic Commission.

This volume’s foreword was written by noted transit historian and longtime Montgomery County resident Andrew W. Maginnis.

In addition to detailed captions for each photograph, the book offers a brief history of transportation in Montgomery County, placing the trolley era in its historical context. The timeline of travel may be very generally summed up as:

dirt roads – canals – railroads – trolleys – motor vehicles

Rather than each mode supplanting the previous, there were varying degrees of overlap between them. That said, the use of animals for motive power was there from the beginning, only fading as motor vehicles gained prominence in the 1910s and 1920s. The bicycle came on the scene in a big way in the 1890s, never really completely disappeared, and is today enjoying widespread resurgence.

By concentrating on Montgomery County, the author is able to provide tremendous variety, as he was therefore able to include the Lehigh Valley Transit’s Liberty Bell interurban, the Philadelphia & Western High-Speed Line to Norristown, numerous small-town trolleys, and even a bit of Philadelphia streetcars (Route 6 went into the county). Although very little of this remains, back in the day I did manage to ride Bullets and Strafford cars on the Norristown line (which still operates, with more modern equipment) as well as PCCs on SEPTA’s Route 6, which was replaced by buses in January 1986, subjects covered in this book.

Montgomery County Trolleys is dedicated to the memory of the late Harry Foesig (1897-2003) whose long life spanned parts of three centuries. He was co-author, along with Dr. Harold E. Cox, of Trolleys of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (1968). This was an obvious inspiration for this new volume, which can be thought of as a kind of “spiritual descendant” of that earlier tome. That book also included some excellent maps, rendered by Foesig.

Anyone who has an interest in the subject, and the rich heritage of Keystone-state traction, would do well to pick up copies of each. While the earlier book is long out of print, you should have little difficulty in finding a used copy at a reasonable price. Mine only cost about $10, which is perhaps about half what you should expect to pay for Montgomery County Trolleys.

Interestingly, longtime railfan Andrew W. Maginnis contributed to both books, 50 years apart. Perhaps the 50-year anniversary was also a factor that motivated the author to put this new collection together, just as I was inspired by some anniversaries to do my new book (see below).

-David Sadowski

Pre-Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

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 will be published on October 1, 2018. Order your copy today, and it will be shipped on or about that date. All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 215th 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 422,000 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.

A New Year- A New Beginning

2017 in Review

Another year has come and gone.  How quickly time flies.  For this blog, it was another successful year, with 118,985 page views from 34,503 visitors.  These numbers are more than 2015, but less than 2016.

We made fewer posts last during 2017, but they tended to be longer overall.  Some had more than 100 images, and there are over 100 in this post.  To date, we have posted over 30gb of classic images via this blog. It’s no coincidence that when I do Google searches on traction subjects, it seems like half the “hits” that come up are from The Trolley Dodger.

One of our goals has always been to provide a resource where people can find this type of information. I believe we have succeeded, and will continue to build on that success. There are some who think our hobby is on the decline, but I believe we have shown just the opposite.

Our average number of page views per post has continued to increase.  In 2015, it was 995 per post; in 2016, this increased to 1744, and in 2017 we reached 3718 page views per post.

2017 was also notable for the publication of our book Chicago Trolleys, which has been very well received.

While at this stage, it is impossible to know how many posts we will have this year, we are committed to maintaining a high standard of quality on whatever we do present.

Among our other recent posts, we are particularly proud of The Fairmount Park Trolley (November 7, 2017), which included dozens of rare images, most from the original medium format negatives. It took us nearly three years to collect all this material, which probably represents a total cost of about $1000- and this was just one post.

As an example of how we have inspired additional research, I would point to our post The “Other” Penn Central (May 29, 2016), which has gradually gotten longer and longer, thanks to additions from our ever-inquisitive readers.

In addition, as time goes on, we have more and more friends who share their material with our readers.  Today we feature the contributions of noted author Larry Sakar. The pictures are his, unless otherwise noted.

Happy New Year! May you and your family have health, wealth, and happiness in 2018.

-David Sadowski

PS- In about 30 day’s time, our annual bill to fund this site and its web domain comes due.  That comes to $400, or just over $1 per day.  If you enjoy reading this blog, and want to see it continue, we hope you will consider supporting it via a donation.  You can also purchase items from our Online Store. With your help, we cannot fail.

Early Trolley Museum Visits

Larry Sakar writes:

You’ve been posting a lot of photos of CA&E cars of late, which reminded me of a day 47 1/2 years ago when I went to a trolley museum for the very first time. For several years, I would see the ads for IRM in Trains, Railroad (before it became Railfan & Railroad) and Model Railroader and I wanted to go there. Asking my father would have been useless. He wouldn’t have taken me in a million years. Neither of my parents approved of my interest in trolleys.

Luckily I had met Bill Beaudot in 1967, when he was the librarian in charge of the Local History Room at the Central Library downtown. My regular visits to read and reread CERA B-97, “The Electric Railways of Wisconsin” got him wondering what that was all about. All the remaining CERA Bulletins and other traction books had been removed from circulation, and placed under lock and key in the Local History Room.

And so it was that on a warm Saturday afternoon in August of 1970, I went with Bill and his family to my first trolley museum. But it was not IRM, well not initially anyway. The first museum we visited was then called RELIC in South Elgin, IL. RELIC was an acronym for the Railway Equipment Leasing and Investment Corp. Today we know it as the Fox River Trolley Museum.

CA&E wood car 20 was in operation that day, and we rode it from South Elgin to the end of the line at the I.C. bridge over the Fox River at Coleman. When they told the history of the line, I remembered that this was the line from which Speedrail cars 300 and 301 originated.

Of course, they spent 25 years in Cleveland operating on the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, but so what? It was still nice to see where those cars began their service lives. And sitting on a side track was a car I had heard and read about innumerable times: NSL Tavern Lounge 415. Some years later they sold the car to Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine.

CA&E car 20 at the RELIC museum, August 1970.

CA&E car 20 at the RELIC museum, August 1970.

The interior of CA&E car 20 in August 1970.

The interior of CA&E car 20 in August 1970.

CA&E 300-series car at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

CA&E 300-series car at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

CA&E 300-series car at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

CA&E 300-series car at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

The Illinois Central interchange at Coleman with the ex-AE&FRE right-of-way, at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

The Illinois Central interchange at Coleman with the ex-AE&FRE right-of-way, at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

North Shore Line tavern-lounge car 415 at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

North Shore Line tavern-lounge car 415 at the RELIC museum in August 1970.

Leaving South Elgin and RELIC we headed for Union, Illinois and IRM. As we crossed the museum line and entered the grounds, I saw Milwaukee streetcar 972 with CSL 144 behind it loading at the station. Instantly, I felt like a kid again, when I would get excited as my grandfather drove my grandmother and me to the Harwood Avenue terminus of the No. 10 Wells Streetcar line in Wauwatosa.

In those days you turned from Wauwatosa Ave. west to Harwood. You found yourself at the top of a very steep hill that dropped down into the Menomonee River Valley, and crossed the Milwaukee Road mainline at grade. And on the west side of those tracks sat the Harwood terminal and the No. 10 Wells streetcar line. A 100-car plus Milwaukee Road freight would cause a monumental traffic jam on both sides of the Harwood hill. In the ’80’s a bypass was built, and traffic no longer has access via the old route. Just as well. Both the streetcar and terminal are long gone.

Anyway, I did get to ride 972 and it felt like 1957-58 all over again. I even made sure to relive my childhood memory of streetcar rides with my grandmother by walking to the opposite end of 972 and sitting in the motorman’s seat. The only difference was I no longer needed someone to boost me up and hold me in the seat!

So here are scans of the prints from the pictures I took that day. I had a great shot of TM 972 speeding down the mainline, but I gave it away about 10 years ago, unfortunately.

While looking through some other pictures, I came across four pictures I took at IRM sometime in the 1980s or ’90s. Two are of my favorite car (after TM 972) Indiana RR 65 and 2 are of AE&FR 306 currently undergoing restoration. Car 65 was flying white flags and was not in regular service. It had been taken out for use in some movie.

I don’t remember much of the detail I heard, but it involved George Krambles in some way. That’s as much as I can recall. 306 was in the car barn parked next to IT 101. I did ride 65 on a member’s weekend once years ago. We reached the end of the line at the Kishwaukee River crossing. They threw whatever electric switches they had to in order to put control over to the back-up controller in the rear of the car, but it refused to budge. Our motorman had to radio for a car to come to our rescue. They sent down C&ME 354.

That was my first and to date only ride on that car. I’ve heard that 65 does not operate very often. While going thru a large group of my slides last Thursday that I had marked as “unidentified,” I found the interior photo I knew I’d taken of CRANDIC 111 at Rio Vista in 2000. I need to look thru the slides I have in my metal slide box #2 of 3. I’m sure I took at least one exterior of CRANDIC 111 that day.

Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric 306 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the 1980s or 90s.

Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric 306 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the 1980s or 90s.

Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric 306 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the 1980s or 90s.

Aurora Elgin & Fox River Electric 306 at the Illinois Railway Museum in the 1980s or 90s.

CSL 144 at the IRM depot in August 1970.

CSL 144 at the IRM depot in August 1970.

CSL 144 with TM 972 ahead, August 1970.

CSL 144 with TM 972 ahead, August 1970.

Illinois Terminal 415 at speed on the IRM main line in August 1970.

Illinois Terminal 415 at speed on the IRM main line in August 1970.

The interior of Illinois Terminal 415 at IRM in August 1970.

The interior of Illinois Terminal 415 at IRM in August 1970.

Illinois Terminal 415 at the IRM depot in August 1970.

Illinois Terminal 415 at the IRM depot in August 1970.

Indiana Railroad 65 at IRM in the 1980s or 90s.

Indiana Railroad 65 at IRM in the 1980s or 90s.

Indiana Railroad 65 at IRM in the 1980s or 90s.

Indiana Railroad 65 at IRM in the 1980s or 90s.

A North Shore Line 700-series car at IRM in August 1970.

A North Shore Line 700-series car at IRM in August 1970.

Following the RELIC and IRM pix are a set of pictures taken on a PA Transit PCC in Pittsburgh in the winter of 1971-72. I did not take these pictures. My good friend Bill did, and gave them to me because he knew I liked PCCs.

Because I have never been to Pittsburgh, I am unable to tell the readers where these pictures were taken. PA Transit, for anyone not familiar with it, was the municipal agency that took over the Pittsburgh Railways Co. in 1967. PA stands for Port Authority, not Pennsylvania.

It has always struck me as unusual that streetcar service would be run by the Port Authority, but the Port Authority of Allegheny County was given the task of transit operations, odd though that may seem.

I can still remember the controversy in Railroad Magazine over how the Pittsburgh PCCs were painted in the late ’60s and perhaps early ’70s. Many were painted in three colors, each color being placed on one-third of the car. In keeping with the times one PCC was painted in this wild looking paint scheme and dubbed the “Psychedelic trolley.”

PA Transit 1727 in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

PA Transit 1727 in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

PA Transit 1727 in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

PA Transit 1727 in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

The interior of PA Transit 1727. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

The interior of PA Transit 1727. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

A PA Transit PCC with the motorman using a switch iron in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)A PA Transit PCC with the motorman using a switch iron in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

A PA Transit PCC with the motorman using a switch iron in 1972. (Bill Beaudot Photo)

I’ll finish up with a few shots of the Illinois Central Electric (later METRA Electric) Highliners taken mostly as 115th St. Kensington station around 1975. I remember when I.C. first got them, and now they too are history.

-Larry

An ICG Highliner at Randolph Street in 1975.

An ICG Highliner at Randolph Street in 1975.

An ICG Highliner at 115th in Kensington in 1975.

An ICG Highliner at 115th in Kensington in 1975.

Looking north at the Kensington station, as a South Shore Line train approaches in 1975.

Looking north at the Kensington station, as a South Shore Line train approaches in 1975.

Looking north along the northbound track at Kensington station in 1975.

Looking north along the northbound track at Kensington station in 1975.

Looking south from the Kensington ICG station, with the tower to the left.

Looking south from the Kensington ICG station, with the tower to the left.

ICG Highliner interior.

ICG Highliner interior.

An ICG Highliner at 115th Street in Kensington in 1975.

An ICG Highliner at 115th Street in Kensington in 1975.

Sunny California

For all readers of The Trolley Dodger who are shivering in this arctic cold here’s a posting that will let you temporarily escape to a much warmer place; sunny California. During the 50s, 60s and 70s, California (except for San Francisco) shed its electric traction lines as fast as they could.

Much of this was due to a company called National City Lines. In city after city they bought up the rail lines (San Diego Electric Railway, Los Angeles Railway, Pacific Electric, Key System Transit), abandoned all rail service and replaced it with Mack or GM Buses running on Firestone Tires and probably burning diesel fuel supplied by Phillips Petroleum. And they didn’t limit their destructive efforts to just California.

Then came the 1980s, and slowly California began to wake up from its love affair with freeways. And it all started with the San Diego Trolley in 1981. So, it’s only appropriate that we begin our look at traction in the Golden State there.

The San Diego Trolley's original cars were built by Duewag of Dusseldorf, Germany with help from Siemens.

The San Diego Trolley’s original cars were built by Duewag of Dusseldorf, Germany with help from Siemens.

Originally, the San Diego Trolley line to the Mexican border started here.

Originally, the San Diego Trolley line to the Mexican border started here.

Self-service. Passengers entered the car by pressing the black button, seen to the lower right of the door.

Self-service. Passengers entered the car by pressing the black button, seen to the lower right of the door.

Trains bound for the Mexican border had a San Ysidro destination sign.

Trains bound for the Mexican border had a San Ysidro destination sign.

The interior of the beautifully restored ex-Santa Fe (now Amtrak) San Diego station.

The interior of the beautifully restored ex-Santa Fe (now Amtrak) San Diego station.

Look at that beautiful tile work, including the Santa Fe logo on the wall.

Look at that beautiful tile work, including the Santa Fe logo on the wall.

Interior of a Duewag car - spartan, but functional.

Interior of a Duewag car – spartan, but functional.

No controller, no brake handle - computerized push-button control.

No controller, no brake handle – computerized push-button control.

A typical stop on city streets.

A typical stop on city streets.

The maintenance facility on the line to San Ysidro.

The maintenance facility on the line to San Ysidro.

A modern-day Southern California car barn, San Diego style.

A modern-day Southern California car barn, San Diego style.

More of the maintenance facility.

More of the maintenance facility.

City College stop. Fare checkers board here.

City College stop. Fare checkers board here.

Amtrak Redondo engine maintenance facility.

Amtrak Redondo engine maintenance facility.

Arrival at San Diego. looking toward the rear of the train.

Arrival at San Diego. looking toward the rear of the train.

Arrival at San Diego. looking forward toward the front of the train.

Arrival at San Diego. looking forward toward the front of the train.

Curving southeast through an industrial area. Note signal at right.

Curving southeast through an industrial area. Note signal at right.

Curving southeast through an industrial area.

Curving southeast through an industrial area.

Leaving LAUPT, passing Mission Tower.

Leaving LAUPT, passing Mission Tower.

Now you know why the line was renamed the San Diego Surfliner.

Now you know why the line was renamed the San Diego Surfliner.

Oceanside, CA - quite literally.

Oceanside, CA – quite literally.

I can’t think of a city that so completely turned its back on electric rail transit and embraced freeways the way Los Angeles did except for Milwaukee.

In her 1969 Grammy Award winning song, composed by the magnificent team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Dionne Warwick asked the question, “Do you know the way to San Jose?” One of the lines in the song says, “LA is a great big freeway. Put a hundred down and buy a car.”

I can’t speak to “putting a hundred down to buy a car,” other than to say perhaps in 1969, but very unlikely in 2018! But I can attest to the sentiment that LA was and still is “a great big freeway.” There are two Amtrak routes between San Francisco and LA. The Coast Starlight is a long-distance train operating once daily between Seattle and LA. But like any long-distance train, it is often subject to delays. Even on time, arrival in LA is not until 9:00 pm.

The other San Francisco to LA train is a corridor train called the San Joaquin, operating between Jack London Square station in Oakland and Bakersfield. All Amtrak service between San Francisco and other cities arrives and departs from either Jack London Square station in Oakland or Emeryville station. Emeryville is a separate city, 12 miles north of Oakland.

And yes, it is the Emeryville where the Key System had its shops.

Passengers going to San Francisco are bused across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge via Amtrak Thru-Way buses. In the golden age of rail passenger service, trains such as SP’s San Joaquin Daylight, the Lark and the Owl plied the tracks between San Francisco and LA. But when Amtrak took over in 1971 the SP and later UP which now owns the tracks forbade Amtrak trains to continue over the Tehachapi Mountains from Bakersfield to LA.

Therefore, passengers such as me boarded an LA bound Amtrak Thru-Way bus on August 7th at Bakersfield for the two-and-a-half hour ride down I5 and the Hollywood Freeway to LAUPT. This was not my first trip between Bakersfield and LA, so I knew what to expect the closer we got to LA. From the Magic Mountain Amusement park in Valencia to Glendale, where my bus was making a stop, I5 was a sea of cars in both directions.

As bad as that seemed, the Hwy 1012 Hollywood Freeway to downtown LA was even worse. It made rush hours on the Kennedy and Eisenhower look like child’s play! I kept asking myself, “How does anyone put up with this, on a daily basis?” And gas prices in California were at least $1.00 per gallon higher than here in the Midwest. In fact, I think it safe to say everything costs more out there!

So, what brought about this miraculous turnaround from asphalt and concrete to rail? I could tell you, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. I took this photo from the Griffith Park Observatory which is perched some 1300+ feet above LA in the summer of 1980 just before the rail renaissance began. Note that orange cloud on the far horizon. That is smog and it coats LA like a blanket daily. It is unhealthy to say the least and extremely bad for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. I can only guess that one day, someone woke up and pondered, “How did we get ourselves into this mess?” That’s easily answered. You allowed National City Lines and Metropolitan Coach Lines to take over and destroy Los Angeles Railways and Pacific Electric the system that literally helped build southern California.

The last PE line from LA to Long Beach was abandoned by the LAMTA– an agency formed to save remaining rail transit in LA but which, because it was controlled by some of the same people who ran Metropolitan Coach Lines, did the exact opposite. That was in April1961, but luckily the right of way between LA and Long Beach was saved, as parts of it were used by Southern Pacific (of which PE was a part) for freight service.

So, it was only fitting that after an absence of almost 30 years, electric transit service between LA and Long Beach was reborn in the form of the new LA Metro Blue Line on July 14, 1990. And just two-and-a-half years after that, the new LA Metro Red Line subway between downtown and North Hollywood opened for service.

Ironically, the new subway was built just one block (in places) from the old PE Belmont Subway. (Note: Though often referred to as the Hollywood subway because PE trains headed there and to other locations in and near the San Fernando Valley such as Universal City and North Hollywood as well as Glendale and Burbank) operated thru it. But its official name was the Belmont subway, no relation to Belmont Avenue in Chicago.

LA from the Griffith Park Observatory in 1980.

LA from the Griffith Park Observatory in 1980.

The LA Red Line subway at the 7th Street/Union Station stop in 2001. The LA Red Line subway is used by passengers to reach the Blue Line to Long Beach. Long Beach trains end in their own subway a few blocks from the Staples Center (LA's version of the United Center). I believe these are Japanese Kawasaki-built cars.

The LA Red Line subway at the 7th Street/Union Station stop in 2001. The LA Red Line subway is used by passengers to reach the Blue Line to Long Beach. Long Beach trains end in their own subway a few blocks from the Staples Center (LA’s version of the United Center). I believe these are Japanese Kawasaki-built cars.

Long before BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) began service between Oakland and Fremont in 1972, there was the Key System. Started in 1903 by a man called “Borax” Smith, who became a millionaire mining Borax. If you’re around my age perhaps you remember the 19670’s TV show “Death Valley Days” hosted by actor Dale Robertson which was sponsored by 20 Nuke Team Borax.

The line got its name because, when viewed on a map, the 5 East Bay lines were designated by letters:
A: Downtown Oakland later extended to East Oakland on the tracks of the Interurban Electric Ry. an SP subsidiary which was abandoned in 1941
B: Lakeshore and Trestle Glen
C: Piedmont
D: Never used. Reserved for a line to Montclair alongside the Sacramento Northern Interurban which was never built
E:Claremont
F: Berkeley

They resembled the top part of a skeleton key, the straight bottom portion represented by the Key Pier, which jutted out into the Bay 1.3 miles from the Oakland shore. San Francisco-bound passengers transferred to Key System Ferry boats at the Key pier for the trip to the San Francisco Ferry Building at the foot of Market St.

In January 1939 Key System trains began using the newly constructed San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Tracks were laid on the lower deck of the bridge which was reserved for trucks and buses. A newly constructed terminal at 1st & Mission Streets in San Francisco (initially called the “East Bay Terminal” and then the “Trans Bay Transit Terminal”) served as the station for Key System trains, as well as Sacramento Northern and Interurban Electric. The latter two systems both abandoned service in 1941. Key took over some on the former IER trackage in and around Berkeley.

In 1938 newly-built articulated trains replaced the original wood center-entrance cars. As the saying goes, looks can be deceiving, and such was the case with the new articulated trains. They were, in fact, a new body placed atop salvaged components from the original wood cars, which consisted of everything from trucks to controllers. Worse yet, the new bodies had a major design flaw. They lacked proper ventilation. They were not air conditioned and did not have openable windows. Cars ran on third rail between the Trans Bay Terminal and the Key Bridge Yards in Oakland which abutted the Oakland toll plaza.

The Bay Bridge, like the Golden Gate Bridge and every Transbay bridge in San Francisco, is a toll bridge operated by the California Toll Bridge Authority. Each of the companies running trains across the Bay Bridge were required to deed a certain number of cars to Toll Bridge Authority ownership. This would prove fortuitous as the cars now preserved at the Western Railway Museum in Suisun City, CA and the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Riverside, CA were ones deeded to the Toll Bridge Authority.

Key System 187 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

Key System 187 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

A Key System Transit train in the Trans Bay Terminal in 1953.

A Key System Transit train in the Trans Bay Terminal in 1953.

Key System 182 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

Key System 182 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

Key System 182 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

Key System 182 at the Western Railway Museum in 2000.

The Trans Bay Transit Terminal at 1st and Mission in San Francisco, razed in 2011.

The Trans Bay Transit Terminal at 1st and Mission in San Francisco, razed in 2011.

In 1946, the Lundeberg management sold its interest in the Key System to National City lines. As was almost always the case with any rail lines acquired by NCL, the streetcar lines in and around Oakland, operated by Key subsidiary East Bay Transit Company, were converted to bus operation in 1948. Key trains operated until April 1958 when the last trains crossed the Bay Bridge for the final time. The State of California spent huge sums of money to remove the overhead wires and rails from the Bay Bridge and Trans Bay Terminal to accommodate Key System Transit’s new Mack and GM Buses.

In 1960 Key System was acquired by A.C. Transit which still operates buses across the Bay Bridge to East Bay points to this day. A.C. stands for the two counties who operate the bus line, Alameda and Contra Costa.

The Transbay Transit Terminal was razed in 2011 and is being replaced by a new facility a few blocks away on Folsom Street. Unfortunately, the new terminal, which had been due to be completed in 2017, has been stopped from completion by a lawsuit filed by the nearby Millennium Towers Condos Building. The 58-story building with luxury condos, selling for upwards of $3 million and home to celebrities such as Joe Montana, is sinking into its foundation at an alarming rate and is also tilting as a result.

Its developers blame the contractor building the new Trans Bay Terminal claiming he drained out too much of the ground water causing the Millennium building foundation to shift in the sands which anchor it. The contractor for the new Trans Bay Terminal has counter-sued claiming that the Millennium Tower’s builder should have anchored the building’s foundation in the bed rock 200 feet below. Until the issue is resolved, a temporary Transit Terminal is open at 200 Folsom Street.

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority operates buses and one light rail line from Santa Teresa to Alum Rock in the San Mateo-San Jose area. It will connect with BART when the line is extended into San Mateo County. At least three major Silicon Valley companies will be served: Cisco Systems, eBay and Adobe.

The light rail line operates between Santa Teresa and Alum Rock. The car seen here, and its mates, were sold to the Sacramento RTD when VTA purchased new low-floor cars.

An VTA Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority LRV at Santa Teresa station in 2000.

An VTA Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority LRV at Santa Teresa station in 2000.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD at Roseville Yards in 2004.

Sacramento RTD service started between Watt I-80 and the Historic Folsom District on 3-12-87.Within the past year a branch to Consumes River College was opened. The maintenance facility for the Sacramento RTD is located in adjacent Roseville, north of Sacramento, a city located at the southern base of the Sierras. The four photos seen here were taken from Amtrak Train #5, the California Zephyr, on the way to Emeryville in 2004.

A year before the Key System abandoned rail service in April 1958, planning for some sort of new Transbay rail line was being contemplated. That became the Bay Area Rapid Transit district. This was a county-based, special-purpose district formed to construct and operate a rail transit system in the five counties that initially formed the district: The city and county of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo.

Though invited to participate, Santa Clara county declined to join until 2018 when BART will enter San Mateo County, with the extension to Milpitas and Berryessa. In 1962 San Mateo County supervisors voted to leave BART, claiming their voters would be paying taxes for riders primarily from Santa Clara County. San Mateo eventually formed its own transit agency called SAMTRANS. The departure of San Mateo County lead to the departure of Marin County as well.

Construction of BART began in 1964, but it would not be until 1972 that the first trains operating between Fremont and Oakland would begin service. Initially, there was a debate about how BART trains would cross the Bay. Would it be an above ground crossing or a subway tube? The decision was made to dig a trench in the floor of San Francisco Bay and construct a subway tube between San Francisco and Oakland. All other parts of the system would be elevated (parts of Oakland immediately after trains leave the Transbay tube), subway (through Berkeley) or private right-of-way, often in the median of existing expressways.

Author Harre Demoro frequently insisted, in his books, that BART was neither the modern day Key System or Sacramento Northern. I disagree. In my opinion it is both. It serves many of the same cities served by Key or SN, and even utilizes parts of the old SN right of way in Concord, Rockridge, and West Pittsburg.

When I visited the Western Railway Museum for the first time in 1996, I rode an interurban saved from a system I’d never heard of, called the Peninsular Railway. A Google search revealed that the line had run in the San Mateo/San Jose area now known as “Silicon Valley”. One of the stations served by the Peninsular Railway was Berryessa. In 2018 the new BART extension into San Mateo County will provide service to two new stations; Milpitas and Berryessa. The Peninsular Railway abandoned service in 1934. It has taken 84 years, but electric rail transit is back in Berryessa. Let’s go for a ride on BART.

-Larry

Along the right of way to Milbrae and the SFO International Airport.

Along the right of way to Milbrae and the SFO International Airport.

Another view of the BART Oakland yards.

Another view of the BART Oakland yards.

Approaching the station loading area.

Approaching the station loading area.

A BART C train, built by Alstom circa 1995.

A BART C train, built by Alstom circa 1995.

The BART SFO International Airport station in 2004.

The BART SFO International Airport station in 2004.

A BART train arriving at the SFO International Airport in 2004.

A BART train arriving at the SFO International Airport in 2004.

C car interior. Note the blue colors, versus brown for the Rohr-built cars.

C car interior. Note the blue colors, versus brown for the Rohr-built cars.

The BART Concord station, on the former Sacramento Northern right-of-way.

The BART Concord station, on the former Sacramento Northern right-of-way.

Concord station, close-up of BART train.

Concord station, close-up of BART train.

A BART C train at Civic Center station.

A BART C train at Civic Center station.

The interior of a Rohr-built BART car.

The interior of a Rohr-built BART car.

The interior of a Rohr-built BART car.

The interior of a Rohr-built BART car.

Oakland Yards near the MacArthur station.

Oakland Yards near the MacArthur station.

The operator of a BART car signs in.

The operator of a BART car signs in.

The operator's cab in a BART car, all computer controlled, like San Diego.

The operator’s cab in a BART car, all computer controlled, like San Diego.

An original Rohr-built BART train at Balboa Park station.

An original Rohr-built BART train at Balboa Park station.

The people mover at the SFO International Airport.

The people mover at the SFO International Airport.

Pittsburg Bay Point station, the farthest east point on BART.

Pittsburg Bay Point station, the farthest east point on BART.

The BART Pittsburg Bay Point station passageway to the park and ride lot.

The BART Pittsburg Bay Point station passageway to the park and ride lot.

Reflections of a railfan taking a picture of the people mover at the SFO International Airport.

Reflections of a railfan taking a picture of the people mover at the SFO International Airport.

A view of the opposite end of the BART Pittsburg Bay Point station passageway.

A view of the opposite end of the BART Pittsburg Bay Point station passageway.

The rear of the same train at the Balboa Park station.

The rear of the same train at the Balboa Park station.

Chris Barney writes:

HISTORIC BRIDGE DEMOLISHED

The last identifiable bridge from TM interurban operations in Milwaukee County fell to the wrecking ball November 9, 2017. The 1905 Milwaukee Light, Heat & Traction (MLH&T) spandrel-arch bridge over the Root River, near 98th & Layton, met its end after efforts to attain historic status and raising funds to preserve it failed. Robert Roesler, Greenfield Historical Society president, made a concerted effort in this regard and should be commended for it. A We Energies representative even arranged to donate the bridge structure to anyone willing to preserve it, but no one came forward.

The bridge last handled interurban traffic on June 30, 1951, when Speedrail Car 63 made its last inbound run from Hales Corners. Since then, it has weathered 66 years and had deteriorated to the point of being a danger to bicyclists and walkers traversing its span.

I spoke to a dog walker on December 12th who told me he has lived in the area his entire life and remembers when the Brookdale Bridge, which crossed Root River Parkway, was still standing. He lamented the demolition of the Root River span. “It reminded me of a simpler time when things were different – and better.”

February 9, 2017. (Chris Barney Photo)

February 9, 2017. (Chris Barney Photo)

December 12, 2017. (Chris Barney Photo)

December 12, 2017. (Chris Barney Photo)

Recent Finds

Here are a couple of our recent acquisitions, two classic views from the Philadelphia & Western, today’s SEPTA “Red Arrow” Norristown High-Speed Line:

Philadelphia & Western "Strafford" car 170, coming into a station circa 1938. Kenneth Achtert adds, "The photo of Philadelphia & Western 170 is arriving at Villanova station, outbound. This is the last station before the split where the Norristown line diverged from the Strafford line. The small platform between the two tracks was used to allow passengers from an inbound Norristown car to transfer directly to an outbound Strafford car without having to go up and over the overpass shown. This would also work from an inbound Strafford car to an outbound Norristown car. I don’t know how many passengers actually made such a trip, but I do remember seeing such transfers made." The last train ran on the Strafford Branch on March 23, 1956.

Philadelphia & Western “Strafford” car 170, coming into a station circa 1938. Kenneth Achtert adds, “The photo of Philadelphia & Western 170 is arriving at Villanova station, outbound. This is the last station before the split where the Norristown line diverged from the Strafford line. The small platform between the two tracks was used to allow passengers from an inbound Norristown car to transfer directly to an outbound Strafford car without having to go up and over the overpass shown. This would also work from an inbound Strafford car to an outbound Norristown car. I don’t know how many passengers actually made such a trip, but I do remember seeing such transfers made.” The last train ran on the Strafford Branch on March 23, 1956.

Philadelphia & Western "Bullet" car 200 at Conshohocken Road on October 12, 1938, "showing line country and streamlined car stopping at station."

Philadelphia & Western “Bullet” car 200 at Conshohocken Road on October 12, 1938, “showing line country and streamlined car stopping at station.”

W. C. Fields Filming Locations

John Bengston has a great blog, where he writes in great detail about the filming locations used in classic silent films by comedians like Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton.

We recently suggested he might look into the locations used in the chase sequence during the 1941 W. C. Fields film Never Give a Sucker an Even Break. He took the ball and ran with it, and his findings will feature in two posts.

You can read the first installment here.

Here are a few screenshots of our own from that film, which show the Pacific Electric:

During the chase sequence of the picture, Fields' car passes by a new Pacific Electric double-end PCC car. Filming took place in July and August 1941. PE put the first of 30 such PCCs in service the previous November.

During the chase sequence of the picture, Fields’ car passes by a new Pacific Electric double-end PCC car. Filming took place in July and August 1941. PE put the first of 30 such PCCs in service the previous November.

The brand-new Hollywood Freeway shows up in the movie. This is the portion (Cahuenga Pass) where the Pacific Electric ran in the expressway median from 1940 to 1952.

The brand-new Hollywood Freeway shows up in the movie. This is the portion (Cahuenga Pass) where the Pacific Electric ran in the expressway median from 1940 to 1952.

Another section of the Pacific Electric visible in the film.

Another section of the Pacific Electric visible in the film.

We end this post on a hopeful note for 2018. Work on the Milwaukee streetcar project, now called “The Hop,” is ahead of schedule,and the first phase of the line is scheduled to open by year’s end:

Chicago Trolleys

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

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

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

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

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Reader Showcase, 12-11-17

Here's a mystery photo, showing a Birney car (#512) being worked on, signed for Fruitridge Avenue. My guess is this may be the Terre Haute Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company in Indiana. If so, Don's Rail Photos says that Birneys 490 thru 514 were "built by American Car Co in December 1919, (order) #1228 as THI&E 490 thru 514." There is a Fruitridge Avenue in Terre Haute. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

Here’s a mystery photo, showing a Birney car (#512) being worked on, signed for Fruitridge Avenue. My guess is this may be the Terre Haute Indianapolis & Eastern Traction Company in Indiana. If so, Don’s Rail Photos says that Birneys 490 thru 514 were “built by American Car Co in December 1919, (order) #1228 as THI&E 490 thru 514.” There is a Fruitridge Avenue in Terre Haute. (Kenneth Gear Collection)

Here we are again, just in time for the holiday season, bringing many gifts. Like our last post (Reader Showcase, 11-30-17) we are featuring contributions recently sent in by our readers. These include some rare traction shots.

Again, our thanks go out to Jack Bejna, Kenneth Gear, and Larry Sakar for their great contributions and hard work.

In addition, just to keep a hand in, I have added some of our own recent finds that you may enjoy.

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

Kenneth Gear shared some additional photos from the collections of the late William A. Steventon of the Railroad Record Club:

Salt Lake, Garfield and Western 401 was former Salt Lake and Utah 104. It changed hands in 1946, and is seen here in December 1952.

Salt Lake, Garfield and Western 401 was former Salt Lake and Utah 104. It changed hands in 1946, and is seen here in December 1952.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway locos 14 and 18.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway locos 14 and 18.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway 130.

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway 130.

Altoona & Logan Valley Railway sweeper 50a in Altoona.

Altoona & Logan Valley Railway sweeper 50a in Altoona.

A North Shore Line Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal.

A North Shore Line Electroliner at the Milwaukee terminal.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight locos 2001 and 2002.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin freight locos 2001 and 2002.

Jack Bejna writes:

Hi Dave,

I got back to work on my CA&E project and here are some shots of the final order of steel cars. In many cases I have more than one shot of individual cars so if you need any more images I may be able to help. This group of cars completes my coverage of CA&E’s fleet of passenger cars. I’ll move on to the freight motors and other miscellaneous cars that the railroad owned.

In 1941, CA&E ordered 10 new cars (451-460) from the St. Louis Car Company. This final order was not delivered until October 1945, after World War II ended. The new cars were compatible (and could train) with the Pullman and Cincinnati cars, and were used for all types of service. These cars were lighter and included many improvements.

I know our readers appreciate your fine work, and we will be glad to share any and all images you want to share with us.  Thanks again.

CA&E 451.

CA&E 451.

CA&E 452 as new.

CA&E 452 as new.

CA&E 453 plus one on a CERA inspection trip.

CA&E 453 plus one on a CERA inspection trip.

CA&E 454.

CA&E 454.

CA&E 455.

CA&E 455.

CA&E 456, eastbound at Lombard.

CA&E 456, eastbound at Lombard.

CA&E 457 and three more cars at Wheaton.

CA&E 457 and three more cars at Wheaton.

CA&E 457.

CA&E 457.

(See Comments section) Jack Bejna: "Here's the image that I started with, as found on one of my searches of the internet. As you can see, I just Photoshopped the end of the car so as to present a nice ¾ view. I never noticed the lettering was unusual and didn't do any work on it. In future posts, if I change/modify an image I will clearly label it as such!"

(See Comments section) Jack Bejna: “Here’s the image that I started with, as found on one of my searches of the internet. As you can see, I just Photoshopped the end of the car so as to present a nice ¾ view. I never noticed the lettering was unusual and didn’t do any work on it. In future posts, if I change/modify an image I will clearly label it as such!”

CA&E 458.

CA&E 458.

CA&E 459, eastbound at Wheaton.

CA&E 459, eastbound at Wheaton.

CA&E 460 at Collingbourne.

CA&E 460 at Collingbourne.

Larry Sakar writes:

TM 978 at San Francisco Muni's Geneva Yard in September 1983.

TM 978 at San Francisco Muni’s Geneva Yard in September 1983.

I was going thru my Milwaukee streetcar photos and ran across the one and only shot I got of the 978 in San Francisco. I had to climb on to this concrete wall in front of the yard and hold on to the cyclone fence with one hand and snap the picture with the other. The ledge was quite narrow.

Here is some valuable background for the Los Angeles streetcar and Pacific Electric Railway material. (Editor’s Note: See our previous post Reader Showcase, 11-30-17.

The Los Angeles Railway company operated a large network of streetcar Ines covering every part of Los Angeles. Los Angeles’ streetcar system was a cable railway in its early beginnings, which accounts for the fact that it was narrow gauge for its entire existence. On a number of streets in downtown LA, both the Pacific Electric and LARY operated on the same tracks. In those instances, there were three versus the standard two rails. Both lines shared the outer rail, but LA Railway cars had their own second rail “farther in”.

By the turnoff the 20th Century, the LA system was acquired by the great Henry Huntington. Huntington was the nephew of Collis P. Huntington, one of the big four involved in the creation of the transcontinental railway along with other eventual luminaries like Mark Hopkins, Leland Stanford, and Theodore Judah. Huntington headed the Central Pacific RR which ultimately became the Southern Pacific RR. The Pacific Electric RR was a wholly owned subsidiary of the SP, as were the Interurban Electric RR and Northwestern Pacific RR in the San Francisco Bay area. Henry Huntington transformed the former cable railway into the magnificent Los Angeles Railways Co. He was also the President and CEO of the Pacific Electric Railway, often referred to as “the interurban that helped build southern California.”

As was the case in so many cities, the rise of the private automobile began to take a toll on the streetcar lines, until the outbreak of WWII on December 7, 1941. Every available car was pressed into service. By the war’s end in 1945, the LA streetcar system was in need of renovation. Although both LARY and PE purchased new PCC cars, they could not overcome the post war turn towards freeways. PE’s right-of-way was beset with numerous additional grade crossings thus making the cars slower than competing automobiles and buses. By 1950 the LA Freeway system was knocking at PE’s door. there was little doubt of the eventual outcome. It remained only a matter of when PE would finally be killed off by the highway interests and one other well known menace, National City Lines.

First to succumb to the rail-destroying conglomerate (NCL) was LARY sold by Henry Huntington’s heirs in 1945. The company was renamed Los Angeles Transit Lines and equipment wore the well-known NCL “fruit salad” colors of yellow, green and white. Remarkably the LA system outlasted both Chicago and Milwaukee, abandoning the final five streetcar lines in March 1963. Some of the older equipment, like the sow bellies and Huntington Standard streetcars, were acquired by museums and one was “preserved” at the Travel Town Museum in LA’s Griffith Park. Several LARY PCCs also went to the Orange Empire Trolley Museum in Perris, CA. The remaining and newest PCCs were sold to Cairo, Egypt in 1963.

PE fared no better. Interurban lines on each of the four operating districts, as PE called them, (designated by direction) were abandoned even before the company was sold to bus operator Metropolitan Coach lines in 1953. Supposedly, MCL owner Jesse Haugh, a former officer with Pacific City lines (an NCL company), nearly had a heart attack when he saw the MCL emblem on the PE Interurban cars.

In 1958, both LATL and PE became part of the newly created Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority. But the MTA was, in reality, nothing more than a continuation of the pro-bus MCL/LATL managements. The two-tone green colors of the MTA were the colors of Metropolitan Coach Lines. The last PE line (to Long Beach) went to its grave in April 1961.

As stated previously, streetcar service under the MTA continued until March of 1963. Some of PE’s older 1200-series interurbans and all 20 of the Pullman built PCCs were sold to the General Urguiza Railway in 1959. Four years of storage in the damp, abandoned Hollywood subway brought an early end to their second lives in Argentina.

But the worst insult to transit came next. In 1963, the LAMTA became the SCRTD, Southern California Rapid Transit District. Never has a bus system been so misnamed. There was absolutely nothing “rapid transit” about it!

But when all hoped for California to wake up and return to its past, a transit revolution took place down the California Coast. A brand new light rail line was opened in San Diego in 1980. Known as the San Diego Trolley, it would start a transit revolution that rocked California. True, BART started up in the San Francisco Bay area in 1972, but San Francisco never lost touch with the streetcar the way LA did.

By 1990, LA was beginning to rise out of the dense smog that blanketed the area on a daily basis. It was then that the newly formed Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Commission opened its first light rail line, the Blue Line running between downtown LA and Long Beach via the right of way once used by the PE red cars. The line begins in a subway that one connects with via the LA METRO Red Line subway from LAUPT, Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (Amtrak and Metrolink Commuter Rail).

Since then, two additional former PE lines to Pasadena and Santa Monica have been rebuilt and placed in service. Diesel commuter rail service, operated by Metrolink, serves other points once served by PE such as Glendale and Burbank. The service extends all the way up the California Coast to San Luis Obispo and south to Oceanside. Here, one can take the frequent trains on Amtrak’s San Diego Surfliner route or the commuter train from Oceanside to San Diego known as the Coaster. The Coaster operates equipment that resembles Toronto’s GO Transit system. Perhaps they are the same type of cars. Somebody familiar with both systems will undoubtedly know.

I went into my timetables and documents collection and found the 1983 San Francisco Historic Streetcar Festival brochure which pictured the cars that were going to operate. You’ll see that TM 978 was one of them. I had to scan it in part and then move it slightly to get the rest of it scanned as it was too long for my screen. I found some interesting things in my timetables and transfers that you are welcome to post if you wish.

Thanks!

San Francisco MUNI Part 3 by Larry Sakar

(Editor’s note: Parts 1 and 2 appeared in our last post, referenced above.)

SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL RAILWAY STREETCAR LINES

The San Francisco Municipal Railway operates 8 streetcar lines. Although that may seem like a substantial number of streetcar lines, it is a fraction of the streetcar lines that once operated in the city by the Golden Gate. The 8 lines serve nearly every part of San Francisco. Within the last few years MUNI was reorganized into the SFMTA –San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency. The Market Street Railway which owns the historic streetcars is not a part of MUNI and receives no transit funding.

The Municipal Railway or MUNI for short uses letters rather than route numbers to identify the streetcar lines. Of course with the exception of the F-Line all of the other routes used modern Light Rail Vehicles with brand new cars now arriving and undergoing testing. The 8 lines are as follows:

E-Embarcadero (south of Market to Cal Train station)
F-Market St. & Wharves
J-Church St.
K-Ingleside
L-Taraval
M-Ocean View
N-Judah
T-Third St.

All trains entering the “downtown” area operate in the Market Street subway (with the exception of the E, F & T lines) to the end of the MUNI subway at Embarcadero station. The Market Street subway is a two-level tube. MUNI streetcars operate on the upper level with BART trains running in the lower tube. The MUNI subway ends at Embarcadero station but BART continues across the bay in a subway laid on the floor of the bay. The tube runs relatively close to the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.

In the opposite direction BART turns off toward Daly City and eventually Milbrae and the line to San Francisco International Airport. However, they are still in close proximity at the BART Balboa Park station which is near the Curtis Green Light Rail facility. Let’s take a ride on MUNI:

Before the Market St. subway was built, streetcars operated down the center of Market St. from 1st to Duboce, where they turned off and entered the Twin Peaks tunnel. It is one of two streetcar tunnels, the other being the Sunset tunnel.

THE PHOTOS

1-3. I took the first three photos in late December 1973. If it looks like the car is running the wrong way that’s because it is. Long before passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, protestors decided to call attention to their plight by blocking the tracks on Market Street. PCCs put up their rear poles and ran the wrong way back down Market Street. At least two of the cars seen here were the 1006 thru 1015, which were double ended cars. Note the differing paint schemes between the PCCs.

4. We have operated thru the Twin Peaks tunnel and have arrived at West Portal station. This was the point where the various routes diverged and remains so today. The station was completely rebuilt when the LRVs took over from the PCCs and no longer looks like this.

5. This is the interior of one of the double ended PCCs.

6-7: By 1983 when I took these next two pictures the PCCs had been replaced by new Boeing-Vertol LRVs. The Boeing cars had many problems. When the new F-Market surface line opened in 1995, commuters flocked to the surface cars to avoid the delays caused by malfunctioning Boeing cars in the subway.

8. An interior view of one of the Boeing LRVs, which were articulated. Unlike TMER&L, who assigned numbers to each car of their articulated streetcars and interurbans, MUNI LRVs carried the same car number on each end, with one designated as “A” and the other “B”.

9-10: The Boeing LRVs were replaced by new LRVs built by BREDA. I don’t especially like the boxy looking front end of these cars. When I was in San Francisco on August 5th & 6th of this year (2017), MUNI was testing brand new LRVs which will replace the BREDA cars.

11-13: Three interior views of the BREDA LRVs. Like the Boeing cars before them, these cars have a unique but necessary feature. While operating thru the Market Street subway, steps are not needed as the floors are at platform height. As the cars depart West Portal station a warning bell goes off and a red light begins to flash. The floor then descends to reveal the steps needed to enter the cars from the city streets over which they operate. The door in the rear car has permitted fare cheaters to escape paying a fare. I saw school kids at various stops watch for that door to open. One would then jump in, thus blocking it from closing, while his cohorts scrambled aboard without paying a fare. The motorman was probably well aware of it, but knew better than to challenge the cheaters and risk potential assault. It surprises me that MUNI does not assign undercover personnel to catch these brats in the act.

14-17: This is the Curtis Green Light Rail Center near Balboa Park.

18. A BREDA two-car train lays over in front of the old Geneva car house. Look between the UPS truck and the train, and you’ll see that the old car house is fenced off. The building suffered extensive damage in the 1989 earthquake. MUNI plans to restore it when funding permits. The M-Ocean View, K-Ingleside and J-Church light rail lines all meet here.

19-22: Without question is MUNI’s most scenic streetcar line is the J-Church. A portion of the line operates on private right-of-way along the western edge of Mission Dolores park providing a spectacular view of San Francisco.

Recent Finds

Postwar PCC 4300, heading northbound on Route 42 (which was an offshoot of the Halsted line), has just passed under the New York Central on its way towards Clark and Illinois Streets. That's a Rock Island train passing by, with a Railway Express car.

Postwar PCC 4300, heading northbound on Route 42 (which was an offshoot of the Halsted line), has just passed under the New York Central on its way towards Clark and Illinois Streets. That’s a Rock Island train passing by, with a Railway Express car.

Four CTA prewar PCCs, led by 7033, are lined up on Cottage Grove at 115th in the early 1950s.

Four CTA prewar PCCs, led by 7033, are lined up on Cottage Grove at 115th in the early 1950s.

This one is probably late 1960s, as buildings around the funicular have already been cleared away as part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill area.

This one is probably late 1960s, as buildings around the funicular have already been cleared away as part of the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill area.

This view of the Angel's Flight Railway looks more like the early 1950s.

This view of the Angel’s Flight Railway looks more like the early 1950s.

Angel's Flight in the mid-1960s.

Angel’s Flight in the mid-1960s.

Don's Rail Photos says, "707 was built by Alco-General Electric in June 1931, #68270, 11193, as NYC 1242, Class R-2. It was renumbered 342 in August 1936. In July 1967 it was rebuilt as CSS&SB 707. It was scrapped in April 1976." Here, we see it prior to the 1967 rebuilding.

Don’s Rail Photos says, “707 was built by Alco-General Electric in June 1931, #68270, 11193, as NYC 1242, Class R-2. It was renumbered 342 in August 1936. In July 1967 it was rebuilt as CSS&SB 707. It was scrapped in April 1976.” Here, we see it prior to the 1967 rebuilding.

South Shore Line 108 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 108 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 111 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 111 in Michigan City.

South Shore Line 211.

South Shore Line 211.

South Shore Line 111 in the mid-1960s. Not sure if this is in Michigan City or South Bend.

South Shore Line 111 in the mid-1960s. Not sure if this is in Michigan City or South Bend.

To me, this looks like the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it appeared on April 4, 1959. Work was underway to both reconfigure the terminal and build the adjacent Congress expressway. We are looking east.

To me, this looks like the CTA DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it appeared on April 4, 1959. Work was underway to both reconfigure the terminal and build the adjacent Congress expressway. We are looking east.

North Shore Line 714 on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment. 714 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

North Shore Line 714 on January 20, 1963, the last full day of service before abandonment. 714 is now at the Illinois Railway Museum.

North Shore Line cars 715 and 748 at the Milwaukee terminal on January 20, 1963. 715 is now preserved at the Fox River Trolley Museum.

North Shore Line cars 715 and 748 at the Milwaukee terminal on January 20, 1963. 715 is now preserved at the Fox River Trolley Museum.

CTA PCC 7215 on July 9, 1957. Notice the large dent on the front of the car. In our previous post One Good Turn (January 20, 2017), we ran another picture of this car taken on August 21, 1956 showing the same dent. Chances are, CTA chose not to repair this, as streetcar service was being phased out. This car was retired about two weeks before the Wentworth line was converted to bus on June 21, 1958.

CTA PCC 7215 on July 9, 1957. Notice the large dent on the front of the car. In our previous post One Good Turn (January 20, 2017), we ran another picture of this car taken on August 21, 1956 showing the same dent. Chances are, CTA chose not to repair this, as streetcar service was being phased out. This car was retired about two weeks before the Wentworth line was converted to bus on June 21, 1958.

CTA PCC 7184 is southbound on Clark Street on July 9, 1957. I realize that some people might not like this photo, since it is not perfect and part of the streetcar is blocked by a moving vehicle. But such pictures do give you a sense that these were vehicles in motion.

CTA PCC 7184 is southbound on Clark Street on July 9, 1957. I realize that some people might not like this photo, since it is not perfect and part of the streetcar is blocked by a moving vehicle. But such pictures do give you a sense that these were vehicles in motion.

This view of two Garfield Park "L" trains is somewhere west of the Loop and was taken on April 13, 1957.

This view of two Garfield Park “L” trains is somewhere west of the Loop and was taken on April 13, 1957.

Indiana Railroad 375, probably on a 1938-40 fantrip. 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 375, probably on a 1938-40 fantrip. 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.”

From the picture, it's hard to tell, but this is either Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 35 or 55. If it is 55, that later went to Lehigh Valley Transit and became their car 1030, which is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum. Again, this appears to be a late 1930s fantrip.

From the picture, it’s hard to tell, but this is either Indiana Railroad lightweight high-speed car 35 or 55. If it is 55, that later went to Lehigh Valley Transit and became their car 1030, which is now at the Seashore Trolley Museum. Again, this appears to be a late 1930s fantrip.

Indiana Railroad 375. This car has been preserved as South Shore Line baggage car 503 since 1996 in Scottsburg, Indiana.

Indiana Railroad 375. This car has been preserved as South Shore Line baggage car 503 since 1996 in Scottsburg, Indiana.

Chicago Rapid Transit Door Control on 4000s

As late as 1950, the Chicago Transit Authority, which took over the Chicago Rapid Transit Company in 1947, was still using a very old-fashioned and labor-intensive method of door control on its 4000-series “L” cars, which were built between 1913 and 1924.

CRT had been unable to invest in more modern methods, which had been introduced in New York in the early 1920s, due to its lack of capital. Ironically, such an investment in multiple-unit door control (with a starting signal supplied to the motorman) would have saved CRT a great deal in labor costs.

If you’ve ever wondered how the old system worked, here is a detailed explanation from a rare 1950 CTA training brochure.  Conductors rode outside between cars, even on some of the newer post-World War II rapid transit cars, before the conductor’s position was moved to a greater place of comfort and safety inside the new “married pairs” of cars.

This brochure suggests that as of March 1950, all 4000-series rapid transit cars had been made into semi-married pairs.  As built, they were all single-car units.  The last single car units (the 1-50 series) were built for the CTA in 1960.

Knittin’ Pretty

Here is a real curiosity. Reading this 1954 brochure through, you might at first think it is simply encouraging people to ride the CTA in order to save a few pennies.

However, as the text goes on, it becomes an argument in favor of the CTA’s “PCC Conversion Program,” whereby 570 fairly new postwar PCC streetcars were scrapped, and some of their parts were used to build a like number of 6000-series rapid transit cars.

The cost of a rapid transit car with all new parts is quoted as $50-60k, while St. Louis Car Company offered to build them for just $32,332 each. Thus a savings between $17-27k per car is implied.

After doing some research, I eventually found a CTA document that gives the actual costs incurred. The first 250 curved-door 6000s, with some recycled parts, actually cost the CTA $54,727.64 apiece.

From this, two conclusions can be drawn. First, that the contract between CTA and SLCC allowed for price adjustments that increased costs by more than 67% over the bid price.

Second, that the PCC Conversion Program did not actually save the CTA between $17-27k as was implied in this brochure (and similar figures claimed elsewhere). Since the cost of the previous order for one hundred 6000s with all new parts was $40,904.01, somehow the cost per car actually increased by nearly $14k per unit.

The difference can be explained in how the program worked. Over time, CTA sold 570 PCCs to SLCC for $14k each. This figure is confirmed on page 13 of the 1961 CTA Annual Report. Meanwhile, the cost for each new rapid transit car ordered appears to have increased by approximately the same amount, at least for the first 250 cars ordered under this arrangement.

The cost per car for subsequent rapid transit car orders, in general, shows a gradual increase. 120 cars purchased in 1957 had a cost of $59,368.84 per car, or $4,600 higher than the first 250.

Perhaps part of this increase is due to inflation, but it is likely that the age and condition of the parts being recycled was another factor.

In light of this, a case can be made that, from a materials standpoint in constructing 570 rapid transit cars, this program did not save any money at all, compared to what it would have cost to build the same number of vehicles with all new parts. In fact, since the recycled parts were not new, chances are the program was a disadvantage, as old parts cannot last as long, or serve as well, compared to new.

The actual goal, it would seem, of the PCC Conversion Program, was to get rid of the PCC streetcars in such a way as to take them off the books without showing a loss compared to their depreciated value. The 570 cars involved were between five and ten years old when scrapped. As we know, there are PCCs that are still being used in regular service by a few transit systems. The newest of these were built 65 years ago.

The CTA had other reasons for wanting to eliminate even the modern PCC streetcars. Curiously, the costs of maintaining track and wire were not cited in any of the various documents I have seen.

On the other hand, the 1951 DeLeuw, Cather consultant’s report recommended that CTA not buy any additional electric vehicles, streetcar or trolley bus, due to the supposed high cost of electricity purchased from Commonwealth Edison. As it turned out, no additional electric vehicles were purchased for the surface system until the recent experiments with battery powered buses.

CTA saved money by eliminating two-man streetcars, through reduced labor costs, but the CTA Board was told in 1954 not to expect any further savings in this regard (after the elimination of red car service). The reasons may be two-fold: in some cases, on the heaviest lines, it was likely advantageous to use two-man PCCs, and some PCCs had been converted to one-man operation, or could be used either way.

The Chicago Transit Authority had an decade-long flirtation with propane buses during the 1950s. Propane was then quite cheap, but the buses so used were severely under-powered and had difficulty maintaining schedules. The service thus provided on the surface system by such buses was of lower quality than the PCC streetcars and may have contributed to continued ridership losses on the surface system in the late 1950s.

One can argue that it might have actually worked to CTA’s advantage to continue operating the PCCs instead of scrapping them.

-David Sadowski

FYI, the above graph shows the costs for various rapid transit car orders placed between 1947 and 1958. A couple things are worth noting. The first four cars were the experimental articulated 5001-5004 units, which were each approximately equivalent in length to two standard "L" cars. This, and their experimental nature, helps explain the relatively high per-unit cost. The 1958 total includes the 50 single car units (#1-50), but does not break down the cost relative to the final 50 married-pair units it is lumped in with.

FYI, the above graph shows the costs for various rapid transit car orders placed between 1947 and 1958. A couple things are worth noting. The first four cars were the experimental articulated 5001-5004 units, which were each approximately equivalent in length to two standard “L” cars. This, and their experimental nature, helps explain the relatively high per-unit cost. The 1958 total includes the 50 single car units (#1-50), but does not break down the cost relative to the final 50 married-pair units it is lumped in with.

Railroad Record Club News

Additional tracks have been added to two of our Railroad Record Club CD releases, which are available through our Online Store.

An additional 11:24 has been added to this disc, which now has a running time of 75:41. Source: The Silverton Train (Your Sound of Steam Souvenir #2, 1964).

We recently obtained another handmade Railroad Record Club acetate disc with some new material on it, which has been added to our RRC Steam Rarities CD. One more track from the East Broad Top has been added, and the Illinois Central track has been improved. The new running time for this disc is 76:34.

Chicago Trolleys

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

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

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

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

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More CA&E in Color

CA&E 410 (plus one), westbound at Fifth Avenue in Maywood.

CA&E 410 (plus one), westbound at Fifth Avenue in Maywood.

A friend recently gave me a stack of Chicago Aurora & Elgin slides, which make up the bulk of today’s post. Some we have run before, but I don’t think too many of you will mind seeing them again, this time from a different source. Others, you haven’t seen.

Scanning an image is just a starting point in this whole process. Mostly, these were dupe slides made using Kodachrome, which is not what commercial labs used for this purpose. A regular lab would have used special low-contrast Ektachrome duplicating film.

Contrast is your enemy when copying things film-to-film, and Kodachrome is contrasty– great for original slides, not as good for dupes. So these were likely homemade dupes, and a lot of them were not color-corrected. I spent a great deal of time working these over in Photoshop, but in some cases, imperfections remain.

I don’t think there is a single image that I didn’t try to improve in some way, and I included a few of the original scans, just to show you how some of them looked before corrections were applied.

As always, if you have location information, or other factual tidbits to share, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- Each image has a unique number. When referring to individual images, please use the image name/number, i.e. pict763. To find this, hover your mouse over the image.

CA&E 456 on a snowy Chicago day. I'm wondering if this is Wells Street Terminal.

CA&E 456 on a snowy Chicago day. I’m wondering if this is Wells Street Terminal.

A CA&E train headed up by one of the ex-North Shore Line woods that CA&E purchased in 1946. This one could be car 141. The train is heading west, crossing over Union Station.

A CA&E train headed up by one of the ex-North Shore Line woods that CA&E purchased in 1946. This one could be car 141. The train is heading west, crossing over Union Station.

A six-car CA&E train at the Halsted curve.

A six-car CA&E train at the Halsted curve.

CA&E 428 plus one at Pulaski Road on the Garfield Park "L".

CA&E 428 plus one at Pulaski Road on the Garfield Park “L”.

A classic view of the CA&E in Elgin, with a beautiful reflection from the Fox River. A sign advertises the Rialto Theatre, which burned down in 1956. The fiim being advertised, The Big Sky starring Kirk Douglas, was released in August 1952, which is most likely when this picture was taken. George Foelschow adds: "Four cars at the Elgin terminal. This must be a fantrip, as single cars were the rule on the Elgin branch, except for weekday rush hours and Sunday afternoons for visitors to the Elgin State Hospital."

A classic view of the CA&E in Elgin, with a beautiful reflection from the Fox River. A sign advertises the Rialto Theatre, which burned down in 1956. The fiim being advertised, The Big Sky starring Kirk Douglas, was released in August 1952, which is most likely when this picture was taken. George Foelschow adds: “Four cars at the Elgin terminal. This must be a fantrip, as single cars were the rule on the Elgin branch, except for weekday rush hours and Sunday afternoons for visitors to the Elgin State Hospital.”

310 on a fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch. I believe the date was 1955.

310 on a fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch. I believe the date was 1955.

A westbound CA&E train crossing over the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell, shortly before sundown.

A westbound CA&E train crossing over the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell, shortly before sundown.

CA&E 426 near West Chicago, on its way to the Aurora terminal. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

CA&E 426 near West Chicago, on its way to the Aurora terminal. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

A CA&E train crossing over Route 83 in 1955. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

A CA&E train crossing over Route 83 in 1955. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)

CA&E 403 at the Wheaton station. (Steven P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 403 at the Wheaton station. (Steven P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 415 at Wheaton Yard, in War Bond livery (probably during the Korean War). (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 415 at Wheaton Yard, in War Bond livery (probably during the Korean War). (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 20 at Wheaton Yard. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 20 at Wheaton Yard. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E bus 101 at Wheaton Yard. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E bus 101 at Wheaton Yard. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E loco 2001 in Maywood. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E loco 2001 in Maywood. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 427 at the Aurora Terminal. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 427 at the Aurora Terminal. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 421 at the Wheaton station. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

CA&E 421 at the Wheaton station. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)

A CA&E train at the Sacramento curve on the Garfield Park "L". You can see that construction is already underway at left on a ramp that will connect with the temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58 (but not by the interurban, which cut back service to Forest Park). The area to the right of the ramp is where the new Congress Expressway was to be built. This picture was probably taken circa 1952. George Foelschow: " The view is looking northeast, presumably from the Sacramento station platform, not southeast."

A CA&E train at the Sacramento curve on the Garfield Park “L”. You can see that construction is already underway at left on a ramp that will connect with the temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58 (but not by the interurban, which cut back service to Forest Park). The area to the right of the ramp is where the new Congress Expressway was to be built. This picture was probably taken circa 1952. George Foelschow: ” The view is looking northeast, presumably from the Sacramento station platform, not southeast.”

This looks to be the same train as in the previous picture, taken a few seconds later. CA&E 460 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited.

This looks to be the same train as in the previous picture, taken a few seconds later. CA&E 460 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited.

CA&E 414 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited train at one of the west side Garfield Park "L" stations. This and the next few pictures were all taken at this same location, a station near a curve. The consensus is this is the Kedzie station, which was near a curve. CA&E trains stopped there, which would have given the photographer more time to get a shot of each car. We are looking east, and the Sacramento curve is in the distance about two blocks away.

CA&E 414 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited train at one of the west side Garfield Park “L” stations. This and the next few pictures were all taken at this same location, a station near a curve. The consensus is this is the Kedzie station, which was near a curve. CA&E trains stopped there, which would have given the photographer more time to get a shot of each car. We are looking east, and the Sacramento curve is in the distance about two blocks away.

CA&E wood car 34 heads up this westbound train.

CA&E wood car 34 heads up this westbound train.

CA&E 318 is at the front of a three-car westbound train.

CA&E 318 is at the front of a three-car westbound train.

Two "Roarin' Elgin" trains pass on the Garfield Park "L". Cliff W. says we are "looking east from Pulaski with the single crossover just east of the station visible."

Two “Roarin’ Elgin” trains pass on the Garfield Park “L”. Cliff W. says we are “looking east from Pulaski with the single crossover just east of the station visible.”

CA&E 457 heads a westbound train at Kilbourn.

CA&E 457 heads a westbound train at Kilbourn.

CA&E 458 heads westbound at Laramie, along with two other curved-sided cars, all built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company.

CA&E 458 heads westbound at Laramie, along with two other curved-sided cars, all built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company.

CA&E 459. George Foelschow: "This is the Collingbourne flag stop on a banked curve on the Elgin branch, presumably on a fantrip."

CA&E 459. George Foelschow: “This is the Collingbourne flag stop on a banked curve on the Elgin branch, presumably on a fantrip.”

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957.

CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957.

CA&E 451. Mike Schattl: "The location is the bridge over the CNW in Wheaton."

CA&E 451. Mike Schattl: “The location is the bridge over the CNW in Wheaton.”

CA&E 423 (plus one) head east towards Chicago, while a freight is on a nearby spur line. Bill Shaptokin says this and the next two pictures are "at Renwick -- interchange with the MILW south of Elgin."

CA&E 423 (plus one) head east towards Chicago, while a freight is on a nearby spur line. Bill Shaptokin says this and the next two pictures are “at Renwick — interchange with the MILW south of Elgin.”

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.

3003 and 3004 again, with a fairly substantial (for the CA&E) freight train.

3003 and 3004 again, with a fairly substantial (for the CA&E) freight train.

CA&E 421. Bill Shapotkin says this is "Dunham Rd on the Elgin Branch. The car is E/B."

CA&E 421. Bill Shapotkin says this is “Dunham Rd on the Elgin Branch. The car is E/B.”

The same picture as it looked before color restoration in Photoshop.

The same picture as it looked before color restoration in Photoshop.

A single CA&E car on a single-track right of way, which could mean the Aurora, Batavia, or Elgin branches west of Wheaton.

A single CA&E car on a single-track right of way, which could mean the Aurora, Batavia, or Elgin branches west of Wheaton.

A single car near the Fox River. Bill Shapotkin: "This pic is in Batavia (NOT Aurora). Shot is between Batavia Station and Glenwood Park." On the other hand, George Foelschow writes, "This is most assuredly on the south side of Elgin, near the point of changeover between trolley and third rail. Not for nothing is Elgin, my hometown, called “The Bluff City”, also the name of the municipal cemetery, served at one time by Grove Avenue streetcars."

A single car near the Fox River. Bill Shapotkin: “This pic is in Batavia (NOT Aurora). Shot is between Batavia Station and Glenwood Park.” On the other hand, George Foelschow writes, “This is most assuredly on the south side of Elgin, near the point of changeover between trolley and third rail. Not for nothing is Elgin, my hometown, called “The Bluff City”, also the name of the municipal cemetery, served at one time by Grove Avenue streetcars.”

Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: "This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west."

Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west.”

CA&E cars at Lockwood Yard, including 48 and 314. Cliff W.: "In the wide shot there are Met cars in the right background. This is the south storage track with Flournoy in the foreground."

CA&E cars at Lockwood Yard, including 48 and 314. Cliff W.: “In the wide shot there are Met cars in the right background. This is the south storage track with Flournoy in the foreground.”

CA&E 48 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 48 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 314 at Lockwood Yard.

CA&E 314 at Lockwood Yard.

This picture may possibly have been taken just west of Laramie.

This picture may possibly have been taken just west of Laramie.

CA&E 459 and 452 are part of an eastbound train somewhere in either Oak Park or Forest Park, where the B&OCT ran parallel to the interurban.

CA&E 459 and 452 are part of an eastbound train somewhere in either Oak Park or Forest Park, where the B&OCT ran parallel to the interurban.

Here, we are looking west along the CA&E right-of-way at possibly Central or Austin. In the rear, you can see a large gas holder in nearby Forest Park. Andre Kristopans: "Photo on ground level with middle track is at Gunderson station. Middle track was so CAE could pass L trains. Abandoned after Westchester L’s were dropped in 1951." Gunderson is a short distance west of Ridgeland. The street was named after the developer who first built homes in this area. The new (early 1900s) development explains why there was a rapid transit stop on a sidestreet. When the CTA rebuilt this line in the late 1950s, they chose not to put a stop at either Gunderson or Ridgeland. Instead, auxilliary entrances were added to the Oak Park and Austin stops, at East Avenue and Lombard, respectively.

Here, we are looking west along the CA&E right-of-way at possibly Central or Austin. In the rear, you can see a large gas holder in nearby Forest Park. Andre Kristopans: “Photo on ground level with middle track is at Gunderson station. Middle track was so CAE could pass L trains. Abandoned after Westchester L’s were dropped in 1951.” Gunderson is a short distance west of Ridgeland. The street was named after the developer who first built homes in this area. The new (early 1900s) development explains why there was a rapid transit stop on a sidestreet. When the CTA rebuilt this line in the late 1950s, they chose not to put a stop at either Gunderson or Ridgeland. Instead, auxilliary entrances were added to the Oak Park and Austin stops, at East Avenue and Lombard, respectively.

Westbound CA&E car 428 crosses the B&OCT in Forest Park. This was also where the Chicago Great Western, now long abandoned, branched off.

Westbound CA&E car 428 crosses the B&OCT in Forest Park. This was also where the Chicago Great Western, now long abandoned, branched off.

The same location as the previous picture, with the iconic gas holder visible. The crossing was located between Harlem and DesPlaines, at approximately the same location where there is now a flyover eliminating this bottleneck.

The same location as the previous picture, with the iconic gas holder visible. The crossing was located between Harlem and DesPlaines, at approximately the same location where there is now a flyover eliminating this bottleneck.

I believe this is DesPlaines Avenue, and we are looking west. This picture was taken before the station was reconfigured in 1953. At this time, the station was located on the east side of DesPlaines, behind the photographer. The Acme Feeds towers, located at 7715 W. Van Buren are visible at right. These towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

I believe this is DesPlaines Avenue, and we are looking west. This picture was taken before the station was reconfigured in 1953. At this time, the station was located on the east side of DesPlaines, behind the photographer. The Acme Feeds towers, located at 7715 W. Van Buren are visible at right. These towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.

CA&E 418 is westbound approaching the DesPlaines River, passing by Concordia Cemetery.

CA&E 418 is westbound approaching the DesPlaines River, passing by Concordia Cemetery.

CA&E 454 is westbound, about to cross First Avenue in Maywood.

CA&E 454 is westbound, about to cross First Avenue in Maywood.

Commonwealth Edison just west of the DesPlaines River. Meanwhile, 452 heads west.

CA&E 429 heads east near the Commonwealth Edison just west of the DesPlaines River. Meanwhile, 452 heads west.

One of the St. Louis-built 1945 cars (454?) crosses First Avenue in Maywood, heading east. We are looking north. There was a Refiner's Pride gas station located between the CA&E and Chicago Great Western tracks, on the west side of First.

One of the St. Louis-built 1945 cars (454?) crosses First Avenue in Maywood, heading east. We are looking north. There was a Refiner’s Pride gas station located between the CA&E and Chicago Great Western tracks, on the west side of First.

Shapotkin: "Yes, this IS Glen Oak. If you look hard enough, you can see the house I grew up in (at right in the distance)."

A westbound six-car train of CA&E woods stops at Glen Oak. Bill
Shapotkin: “Yes, this IS Glen Oak. If you look hard enough, you can see the house I grew up in (at right in the distance).”

CA&E 310 on a fantrip at Glen Oak.

CA&E 310 on a fantrip at Glen Oak.

CA&E 422 and 434 at Wheaton station.

CA&E 422 and 434 at Wheaton station.

Not sure where this curved-sided CA&E car is. Cliff W.: "The single Saint Louis car going over the bridge is passing over Liberty Street in Wheaton directly north of the shops and approaching the bridge over the C&NW on the Elgin branch. If you look very closely at the far right of the picture you can see a CA&E car sitting in the yard." Bill Shapotkin: "This car is x/o Liberty Drive in Wheaton (on the Elgin Branch): (View looks E/B on Liberty)."

Not sure where this curved-sided CA&E car is. Cliff W.: “The single Saint Louis car going over the bridge is passing over Liberty Street in Wheaton directly north of the shops and approaching the bridge over the C&NW on the Elgin branch. If you look very closely at the far right of the picture you can see a CA&E car sitting in the yard.” Bill Shapotkin: “This car is x/o Liberty Drive in Wheaton (on the Elgin Branch): (View looks E/B on Liberty).”

CA&E 454 is westbound at the bridge over Winfield Creek (on the Elgin branch near Lincoln Avenue).

CA&E 454 is westbound at the bridge over Winfield Creek (on the Elgin branch near Lincoln Avenue).

A CA&E train passes a two-car train of CTA Met "L" cars at the Halsted Curve.

A CA&E train passes a two-car train of CTA Met “L” cars at the Halsted Curve.

The CA&E's Lockwood Yard, also known as "The Orchard," was a small storage area just west of Laramie. This view is looking northwest across the main line.

The CA&E’s Lockwood Yard, also known as “The Orchard,” was a small storage area just west of Laramie. This view is looking northwest across the main line.

CA&E 52 pilots a three-car train of woods on the old Met main line near Racine. You can see the new (in 1953) ramp at left, heading down to the Van Buren Street temporary trackage, which would shortly be put into use. It connected with the "L" structure at Aberdeen. Expressway construction is underway at right.

CA&E 52 pilots a three-car train of woods on the old Met main line near Racine. You can see the new (in 1953) ramp at left, heading down to the Van Buren Street temporary trackage, which would shortly be put into use. It connected with the “L” structure at Aberdeen. Expressway construction is underway at right.

Much the same location as the previous picture, but perhaps a year earlier in 1952, as construction of the ramp has just started. This was very late in the afternoon, and it was difficult to correct for the yellowish-reddish late afternoon light. But don't forget, they called it the "Sunset Lines" for a reason!

Much the same location as the previous picture, but perhaps a year earlier in 1952, as construction of the ramp has just started. This was very late in the afternoon, and it was difficult to correct for the yellowish-reddish late afternoon light. But don’t forget, they called it the “Sunset Lines” for a reason!

Racine station on the old Met main line, with the Throop Street Shops in the background. This picture was taken sometime between 1950 and 1953, as there are some "flat door" 6000s present (along with Met car 2880).

Racine station on the old Met main line, with the Throop Street Shops in the background. This picture was taken sometime between 1950 and 1953, as there are some “flat door” 6000s present (along with Met car 2880).

Throop Street Shops in its last days (1953)

Throop Street Shops in its last days (1953)

CA&E 404 eastbound at Marshfield Junction, where three different Met lines (Douglas, Garfield, Logan Square/Humboldt Park) came together. Note the CA&E-only platform at right.

CA&E 404 eastbound at Marshfield Junction, where three different Met lines (Douglas, Garfield, Logan Square/Humboldt Park) came together. Note the CA&E-only platform at right.

A train of CA&E woods, headed up by 302, goes up the ramp to cross over the C&NW/PRR right-of-way at Rockwell. The "L" was raised up when the line it crossed was elevated onto an embankment. That explains why there are brick bases for some of the "L" support columns.

A train of CA&E woods, headed up by 302, goes up the ramp to cross over the C&NW/PRR right-of-way at Rockwell. The “L” was raised up when the line it crossed was elevated onto an embankment. That explains why there are brick bases for some of the “L” support columns.

The CA&E crossing the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell.

The CA&E crossing the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell.

Not sure of this location. Cliff W. says this we are "at Prince Crossing on the Elgin branch looking west." Bill Shapotkin: "View looks N/W."

Not sure of this location. Cliff W. says this we are “at Prince Crossing on the Elgin branch looking west.” Bill Shapotkin: “View looks N/W.”

CA&E 454 is eastbound at Jewell Road in Wheaton on the Elgin branch.

CA&E 454 is eastbound at Jewell Road in Wheaton on the Elgin branch.

A line-up of cars at Wheaton Yard.

A line-up of cars at Wheaton Yard.

Wheaton yard.

Wheaton yard.

From left to right: 430, 315, 425, and 310 at Wheaton Yard.

From left to right: 430, 315, 425, and 310 at Wheaton Yard.

Some ex-North Shore Line woods are in dead storage at the west end of Wheaton Yard, circa 1954, shortly to be scrapped.

Some ex-North Shore Line woods are in dead storage at the west end of Wheaton Yard, circa 1954, shortly to be scrapped.

Cars 435 and 436, possibly in dead storage at the same location as the previous picture, circa 1953-57 when the CA&E no longer needed so many cars.

Cars 435 and 436, possibly in dead storage at the same location as the previous picture, circa 1953-57 when the CA&E no longer needed so many cars.

CA&E electric locos 2002, 2001, 3003 and 3004 in Wheaton.

CA&E electric locos 2002, 2001, 3003 and 3004 in Wheaton.

CA&E 310 on the west side of Mannheim Road near Roosevelt. The occasion was a fantrip.

CA&E 310 on the west side of Mannheim Road near Roosevelt. The occasion was a fantrip.

According to what's written on this slide, CA&E locos 4004 and 4005 are in North Aurora in August 1952. On the other hand, Bill Shapotkin writes: "This pic is Aurora Ave on the Aurora Branch."

According to what’s written on this slide, CA&E locos 4004 and 4005 are in North Aurora in August 1952. On the other hand, Bill Shapotkin writes: “This pic is Aurora Ave on the Aurora Branch.”

The same picture before color restoration in Photoshop.

The same picture before color restoration in Photoshop.

CA&E 310 in 1955 on the Mt. Carmel branch on a fantrip.

CA&E 310 in 1955 on the Mt. Carmel branch on a fantrip.

CA&E 310 on the same fantrip as the previous picture.

CA&E 310 on the same fantrip as the previous picture.

The previous picture as it appeared before color restoration.

The previous picture as it appeared before color restoration.

The 310 running along the west side of Mannheim near Roosevelt Road.

The 310 running along the west side of Mannheim near Roosevelt Road.

CA&E 406 in fantrip service at State Road on the Batavia branch. Due to the width of the crossing, trains switched from third rail to overhead wire at this location.

CA&E 406 in fantrip service at State Road on the Batavia branch. Due to the width of the crossing, trains switched from third rail to overhead wire at this location.

CA&E 406 and 418 at the end of the line in Aurora.

CA&E 406 and 418 at the end of the line in Aurora.

Loco 2001.

Loco 2001.

Locos 2001, 2002 and train.

Locos 2001, 2002 and train.

CA&E 453 is eastbound at Batavia Junction as a Chicago Local.

CA&E 453 is eastbound at Batavia Junction as a Chicago Local.

CA&E 458 eastbound at Warrenville.

CA&E 458 eastbound at Warrenville.

Recent Correspondence

Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.

Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.

Steve DeRose writes:

You have managed to get me in one of your photographs of the 4000s at Clark and Lake (see above).

Here is the shot I got from that image. I did not get a poster. If I had, I would have folded it flat to fit it in my satchel (which you can glimpse hanging from my left shoulder).

I did not ride the 4000s this day. I did ride the 2400s. Most of my photographs (and videos) were shot on the Inner Loop @ Quincy and Wells.

Also, after having a late lunch at Mr. Beef On Orleans, I was walking to the Chicago Brown Line “L” station and espied the 4000s deadheading back to Skokie Shops.

My images are Creative Commons – Noncommercial – Allow Derivative Works – Share Alike. I’m not a copyright czar.

-Steve De Rose 8=)}

My picture originally ran in our post Chicago’s “L” Turns 125 (June 7, 2017). I guess, by looking at your picture, that you are the guy in gray, kneeling behind the person with the white shirt.

Thanks for sharing these pictures with our readers. FYI, the CTA is still selling those same posters through their gift shop, so you still have a chance to get one.

New CD Releases

We are fortunate this time to have two new traction titles to go along with a new steam release:

DC
DC Transit, 1959
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

DC Transit, 1959
Streetcars have now returned to Washington, D.C., but this vintage 1959 hi-fi recording reminds us of the system we once had. This excellent quality recording documents both PCCs and historic car 766 in action, with both trackside sounds and a night ride over private right-of-way to Cabin John. Capital Transit became DC Transit in 1955.

Total time – 49:47


SN
Sacramento Northern Electrics
Pacific Electric
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Sacramento Northern Electrics
The Sacramento Northern Railway (reporting mark SN) was a 183-mile (295 km) electric interurban railway that connected Chico in northern California with Oakland via the California capital, Sacramento. It ran directly on the streets of Oakland, Sacramento, Yuba City, Chico, and Woodland and ran passenger service until 1941 and freight service into the 1960s. Electric operation ceased in 1965.

These recordings, which make up the bulk of this CD, were made on the SN in 1962, and feature both trolley freight operations, mainly in city streets, plus fantrips using passenger combine 1005, which had been saved for use as a maintenance-of-way car. A very rare recording!

Pacific Electric
We hear the distinctive sounds of the Big Red Cars in their final days of operation on the 20-mile LA to Long Beach line in 1961. Who could have known that, 30 years later, this same line would be reincarnated as “light rail,” running in almost the same exact right-of-way? Pacific Electric may be long gone, but it is certainly not forgotten!

Total time – 49:11

Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don's Rail Photos says, "1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962." (William R. Smith Photo)

Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962.” (William R. Smith Photo)


NW
Norfolk & Western
Virginia Blue Ridge
# of Discs – 1
Price: $14.95

Norfolk & Western
The bulk of this record documents the final days of steam power on the Norfolk and Western in 1959, both freight operations and the final fantrip with the famous J-611 that truly signaled the end of an era. Except for the occasional fantrip now with the 611, steam may be long gone from the N&W, but it certainly went out in great style, as you will hear on these classic recordings.

The N&W did not even begin the transition to diesel until 1955, being the most notable proponent of steam in the 1950s.

Virginia Blue Ridge
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (reporting mark, VBR) was a small, historic short line system tucked away near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because of this, as well as the road’s secluded nature, it received little coverage and often went unnoticed by rail enthusiasts. However, the VBR offered all the things which made short lines fascinating; friendly service, a leisurely schedule, and small power. It also gained recognition for utilizing steam locomotives into the early 1960s. When first conceived the VBR was envisioned as a logging/timber operation. However, this traffic was short-lived and after nearly going under the railroad returned to prosperity beginning in the 1930s by hauling other natural resources. As the years passed, the VBR’s customer base dwindled and service was eventually discontinued in 1980. The recordings heard here were made in 1959.

Total time – 54:11


Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

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

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

We are pleased to report that our new book Chicago Trolleys will be released on September 25th by Arcadia Publishing. You can pre-order an autographed copy through us today (see below). Chicago Trolleys will also be available wherever Arcadia books are sold.

Overview

Chicago’s extensive transit system first started in 1859, when horsecars ran on rails in city streets. Cable cars and electric streetcars came next. Where new trolley car lines were built, people, businesses, and neighborhoods followed. Chicago quickly became a world-class city. At its peak, Chicago had over 3,000 streetcars and 1,000 miles of track—the largest such system in the world. By the 1930s, there were also streamlined trolleys and trolley buses on rubber tires. Some parts of Chicago’s famous “L” system also used trolley wire instead of a third rail. Trolley cars once took people from the Loop to such faraway places as Aurora, Elgin, Milwaukee, and South Bend. A few still run today.

The book features 226 classic black-and-white images, each with detailed captions, in 10 chapters:

1. Early Traction
2. Consolidation and Growth
3. Trolleys to the Suburbs
4. Trolleys on the “L”
5. Interurbans Under Wire
6. The Streamlined Era
7. The War Years
8. Unification and Change
9. Trolley Buses
10. Preserving History

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467126816
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date: 09/25/2017
Series: Images of Rail
Pages: 128

Meet the Author

David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.

Images of Rail

The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.

Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.

We appreciate your business!

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall

The Postcards of America Series

Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 192nd 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 314,000 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.

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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.

Remembering Truman Hefner (1926-2017)

This picture was taken prior to September 20, 1953, looking east from the old DesPlaines Avenue station. The eastbound CA&E train is about to cross the B&O, a source of many delays. Due to expressway construction in the city, the CA&E stopped running east of here, and a new terminal facility was constructed to the west of this one, where riders could switch to CTA trains for the trip downtown. (Truman Hefner Photo)

This picture was taken prior to September 20, 1953, looking east from the old DesPlaines Avenue station. The eastbound CA&E train is about to cross the B&O, a source of many delays. Due to expressway construction in the city, the CA&E stopped running east of here, and a new terminal facility was constructed to the west of this one, where riders could switch to CTA trains for the trip downtown. (Truman Hefner Photo)

Recent Correspondence

Stewart Odell writes:

I’m hoping you can help clarify something for me.  A dear family friend of many years passed this weekend in OKC. In searching his official obit I have come across a reference to him in your August 2015 blog. Truman Hefner was from Cook County and lived with his family for many years in OKC, where I met him.

I’m trying to determine how he might have come to be mentioned in your column. The coincidence of 1) his birthplace- 2) His name and- 3) the fact that he was a miniature railroad enthusiast to the point where he built a miniature railroad in his back yard for his children and the neighborhood kids to enjoy, is uncanny to me. It only follows that he might have also been an amateur photographer.

Truman also traveled the state of Oklahoma (and probably the country) pursuing his enthusiasm for both miniature and full-size rail systems and their history.

Have you any idea how the lone reference on your site may have come to be? Not a show-stopper, just sentimental, and interested. Meanwhile, I’ve discovered your amazing site.

Thanks for writing. I am very sorry to hear that Truman Hefner has passed away.

I knew him as one of the very best railfan photographers, whose work has been widely distributed, including any number of books. When I was involved with putting together Central Electric Railfans’ Association bulletin 146, we used several of his color images of Chicago PCC streetcars.

I spoke to him on the phone several times, and he was always very cheerful, upbeat, enthusiastic, and generous.

In September 2014, when CERA held an event called the Chicago Streetcar Pictorial Round Table, we invited him to attend. He bought a plane ticket, but unfortunately there was some sort of computer problem at O’Hare that day that prevented flights from arriving or departing.

Still, he did participate in the meeting by telephone. At the time, he was about 88 or 89 years old.

He told me that he only took railfan photos for a few years, and described his camera to me. It was made in Germany and had an excellent quality lens. He still had the camera, but said it was no longer working.

I would imagine he was excited about the prospect of streetcars returning to Oklahoma City.

My sincere condolences go out to his family.

He’s mentioned in four of my blog posts.
The one titled CA&E Mystery Photos Answers – Part 1 has an image of his in it, taken from an original slide in my collection. The very first picture in the post titled The CTA, the CA&E, and “Political Influence” is Mr. Hefner’s.

He is also mentioned in a few posts on the blog I did before this one. That was in connection to the Chicago Streetcar Pictorial Round Table. For that event, I designed a poster that featured a photo of Mr. Hefner’s. It shows a Chicago PCC at the Museum Loop near Soldier Field, and was taken on April 26, 1951, the day that Gen. Douglas MacArthur spoke to a large crowd there.

From his Legacy remembrance page:

Truman Dale Hefner

October 24, 1926 – May 21, 2017

Truman passed away at his home in Oklahoma City. He was born in Lexington, Illinois to parents, Guy and Ferne Hefner. Most of his early life was in Berwyn, Illinois, where after graduating high school in 1944, he enlisted in the Air Force. He was called into the service in 1945, and was discharged at the end of the war. Truman continued his military service with the Air Force Reserves and reached the rank of first lieutenant. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and went on to work for Motorola and Eureka Williams before transferring to Oklahoma City in 1958 to work for Western Electric where he remained until his retirement in 1989.

Truman’s lifelong interest in trains sparked his other interest of photography. He loved to travel with family and friends, always taking pictures and movies of their journeys. The 1/8 scale model train hobby was his true passion. He enjoyed traveling near and far visiting many club and friend’s tracks. He was one of the founding members of the Locomotive Operators of Central Oklahoma, a member of the Oklahoma Railroad Museum and many more railroad clubs over the years. Truman and his partner, Jim Murray, started a business, Cannonball, to supply hobbyists with railroad equipment.

Truman is survived by his wife of 69 years, Vera (Hoch) Hefner; daughters Trudy Hefner, Nancy and Herb Conley, Susan Carey and Marshall Lee, Barbara and Philo Hatch; daughter-in-law Ellyn Novak Hefner; 9 grandchildren; 6 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Anna Mae Meyer and his only son Jimmy Hefner.

Truman Hefner took many great pictures with a German Karomat camera similar to this one, which has a high-quality Schneider lens.

Truman Hefner took many great pictures with a German Karomat camera similar to this one, which has a high-quality Schneider lens.

CA&E 453 in a winter scene. Here, we are looking east from Halsted. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CA&E 453 in a winter scene. Here, we are looking east from Halsted. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 586 at Milwaukee and Canal on route 56 in October 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

CTA 586 at Milwaukee and Canal on route 56 in October 1951. (Truman Hefner Photo)

This was perhaps Truman Hefner's best-known photograph. Please note, the Trolley Dodger blog is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans' Association.

This was perhaps Truman Hefner’s best-known photograph. Please note, the Trolley Dodger blog is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.

I found two videos showing Mr. Hefner and his miniature railroad train.

Over the Years at Mexican Hat (the C&IG RR from April 1986 to May 2009) by Truman Hefner

Over the Years at Zuni by Truman Hefner

He will be missed by everyone in the railfan community.

Genevieve Heydt writes:

Dear Trolley Dodger,
While working on a group history project with some friends, I stumbled upon your website while tracking some train cars from the AE&FRE line that was shut down during the Great Depression and had some questions regarding some of these lines and what was going on with them in certain periods because I struggled to find answers myself online. I noticed a trend of cars being sold from CI/SHRT to Speedrail in 1950 to Speedrail and then being scrapped in 1952. Regarding these trends, I was wondering if you had any information or speculations around these events.

If you could, a response between now and Thursday night would be appreciated because we present on Friday and I would love to learn more before we present.

Thank you,
Genevieve Heydt
Sophomore of the Gifted Academy in Elgin Highschool

Thank you for writing.

To answer your question, it helps to know the history of the various properties involved.

The AE&FRE halted passenger service in 1935, so all their rolling stock would have been put up for sale. Lighweight interurban cars 300-304 and 306 (not sure what happened to 305, perhaps it was involved in a wreck or used for parts) were sold to the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit line, which still exists in Cleveland.

These fine cars (built by St. Louis Car Co.) were just over 10 years old at the time and were well suited for use on the SHRT, which was by then completely grade-separated and did not run in traffic on city streets at all.

SHRT also bought a half-dozen lightweight interurban cars of another type, known as “Cincinnati curved-side cars.” These were built by the Cincinnati Car Co. in 1928-29 and were a popular style, used by many properties across the country.

Between 1947 and 1953, SHRT modernized its fleet by purchasing PCC streetcars, which had become the industry standard. Some were bought new, and others second-hand.

Having newer equipment meant they no longer needed some of these older cars, which were put up for sale. By this time, streetcars and interurbans were getting to be fewer and fewer, and the market for such vehicles was shrinking.

The last new PCC car was built in 1952. It was nearly 25 years before another new American streetcar was built.

Meanwhile, in the Milwaukee area, the once mighty Milwaukee Electric interurban was in decline. Parts were abandoned and replaced by buses. By 1949, the last remaining segment, running from Milwaukee to Waukesha, was sold to Jay Maeder, who renamed it Speedrail.

As much as possible, he wanted to replace their heavyweight equipment with lighter cars that would use less electricity. Speedrail bought several of the Cincinnati curved-side cars from SHRT, and a couple from Lehigh Valley Transit.

These were refurbished and continued in use until 1951, when Speedrail shut down in the aftermath of a horrific head-on collision in which several people were killed. A heavy car struck a lighter one on a fantrip, with Jay Maeder at the controls.

The Speedrail cars were put up for sale, but there were no buyers and all were cut up for scrap in 1952.

In 1954, SHRT sold six cars (300-304, 306) to Gerald E. Brookins, a developer who had built a trailer park in the Cleveland suburbs. He built a streetcar line in this development to take people back and forth from their trailers to his general store.

This development was called Trolleyville, USA and continued in use for many years. The first car ran in 1963.

You could consider this something akin to an operating museum for trolleys.

After Mr. Brookins died, his family kept Trolleyville going for some time, but eventually decided to sell the trailer park. There was an attempt to create a museum operation that would run on the SHRT, and some of the Trolleyville cars did actually operate there briefly, but ultimately the plans came to naught and all their collection was sold to various trolley museums at an auction.

Fortunately, AE&FRE car 304 was purchased by the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin, so it now operates on a small portion of its original tracks.

I have posted pictures of AE&FRE equipment on my blog, including passenger cars in service, and electric freight operations in South Elgin after 1935.

I hope this helps.

Good luck with your presentation.

PS- One of my posts has several pictures from Trolleyville USA.

Jack Bejna has shared more of his wonderful restoration work with us. This time, the pictures feature Chicago, Aurora & Elgin cars built by the Niles Car & Manufacturing Co. in 1902.

From Don’s Rail Photos:

Niles Cars 10 thru 28 even

These 10 motor cars were built by Niles Car & Mfg Co. in 1902 and were part of the original stock. 10 was rebuilt with a baggage compartment in 1910. It was later removed, but then reinstalled in April 1933 for funeral service. It was wrecked September 10, 1948, and scrapped. 12 was modernized in April 1940 and retired in 1955. 14 was modernized in December 1939 and retired in 1955. 16 was modernized in December 1939 and retired in 1959. 18 was modernized in March 1941 and retired in 1955. 20 is preserved at the R.E.L.I.C. museum at South Elgin. 22 was wrecked on October 12, 1911, at Waller Avenue, and scrapped. 24 was modernized in July 1943 and retired in 1959. 26 was modernized in June 1943 and retired in 1959. 28 was modernized at an unknown date and retired in 1959.

10 was built by Niles Car in 1902. It was rebuilt with a baggage compartment in 1910. It was later removed, but then reinstalled in April 1933 for funeral service. It was wrecked September 10, 1948, and scrapped.

CA&E Car 10 and trailer 5, CERA fantrip #12, August 6, 1939.

CA&E Car 10 and trailer 5, CERA fantrip #12, August 6, 1939.

CA&E Car 12.

CA&E Car 12.

CA&E Car 14.

CA&E Car 14.

CA&E Car 16.

CA&E Car 16.

CA&E Car 18.

CA&E Car 18.

CA&E Car 20.

CA&E Car 20.

CA&E Car 24.

CA&E Car 24.

CA&E Car 26.

CA&E Car 26.

CA&E Car 28 west of DesPlaines Avenue.

CA&E Car 28 west of DesPlaines Avenue.

Joe Kaczynski writes:

Hello David,

I was going thru some things and found the attached photo that I had gotten on E-Bay several years ago. It’s the West Town neighborhood where I grew up. I was born in ’57 and sadly missed the streetcar era. But fondly recall the Marmon-Herrington trolley buses that ran in their place until 1967.

In all probability the photo was taken from the Chicago Ave. El platform on the old Logan Square Line. It’s a westbound streetcar on Route #66 Chicago Ave., just having crossed Paulina St.

On the rear of the photo is written:

“CTA 3165
Chicago-Paulina
8-27-50
T.H. Desnoyers”

I don’t recall ever seeing this photo on your website.

Thanks! Thomas H. Desnoyers (1928-1977) took many great photographs, but unfortunately died before his time.

CTA 3165 at Chicago and Paulina, August 27, 1950. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo)

CTA 3165 at Chicago and Paulina, August 27, 1950. (Thomas H. Desnoyers Photo)

On a personal note, since this is Memorial Day, I thought I would share a blog post written about my uncle, Frank Sadowski, Jr. (1921-1945). The “Bobbie” mentioned there is my father, Edmund Robert Sadowski (1924-1996). Both served their country during World War II. My aunt Margaret (1922-2004), who drove an ambulance during the war, is also mentioned.

-David Sadowski

Chicago Trolleys

Work continues on our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys, which is now in the layout and proofreading stage. The expected publication date is September 25th of this year. We will keep you advised as things progress.

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Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 183rd 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 288,000 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.

Under Our Tree

Here are some Christmas colors for you. On January 23, 1954, CTA 1782 passes 1774 at the west end of the Lake Street line near Austin Boulevard. Since 1782 has already been repainted green, it most likely could not have been the car in the 1780 series that was oddly renumbered as "78" on the Madison-Fifth shuttle a short time later (see a picture on our previous post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White (January 23, 2015). The Park Theater, by then already shuttered, was behind the two streetcars.

Here are some Christmas colors for you. On January 23, 1954, CTA 1782 passes 1774 at the west end of the Lake Street line near Austin Boulevard. Since 1782 has already been repainted green, it most likely could not have been the car in the 1780 series that was oddly renumbered as “78” on the Madison-Fifth shuttle a short time later (see a picture on our previous post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White (January 23, 2015). The Park Theater, by then already shuttered, was behind the two streetcars.

I'm having difficulty identifying this car. But note it has a "continental" spare tire, implying it is not one of the cheaper models. The newest it could be is a 1954. The 1955 models wouldn't have been on the market until some months after streetcars quit on Lake Street. So far, my best guess is this may be a 1953 Dodge Coronet. Gary Kleinedler: I believe that the CTA 1782 & 1774 photo shows a 1953 Dodge Coronet Diplomat 2-door hardtop. All 1952 Dodge models had separate, bolted-on rear fenders; the photo shows a straight fender sideline. The 1953 Coronet series was the top trim line (Meadowbrook--Coronet; Wayfarer models were discontinued after 1952), and a Coronet 2-door hardtop would have a three-piece wraparound rear window and V-8 Hemi engine. The 1954 Dodge Coronet (and new top-line Royal) models had the model name in script on the rear fenders, which doesn't seem to be present in the photo. A Continental spare wheel kit and wire wheels (which appear to be present) were both offered as factory options in 1953. I took the above info from the Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1974, John Gunnel, ed.

I’m having difficulty identifying this car. But note it has a “continental” spare tire, implying it is not one of the cheaper models. The newest it could be is a 1954. The 1955 models wouldn’t have been on the market until some months after streetcars quit on Lake Street. So far, my best guess is this may be a 1953 Dodge Coronet.
Gary Kleinedler:

I believe that the CTA 1782 & 1774 photo shows a 1953 Dodge Coronet Diplomat 2-door hardtop. All 1952 Dodge models had separate, bolted-on rear fenders; the photo shows a straight fender sideline. The 1953 Coronet series was the top trim line (Meadowbrook–Coronet; Wayfarer models were discontinued after 1952), and a Coronet 2-door hardtop would have a three-piece wraparound rear window and V-8 Hemi engine. The 1954 Dodge Coronet (and new top-line Royal) models had the model name in script on the rear fenders, which doesn’t seem to be present in the photo. A Continental spare wheel kit and wire wheels (which appear to be present) were both offered as factory options in 1953. I took the above info from the Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1974, John Gunnel, ed.

A 1953 Dodge Coronet.

A 1953 Dodge Coronet.

dodge-coronet-1953-7


There are lots of great photos under the Trolley Dodger tree this year. Besides the color shots, we have many rare, classic black-and-whites, which came out of one railfan’s scrapbook and were taken in the early-to-mid 1930s. Many of these were taken by one Earl W. McLaughlin of Chicago. There was a man by the same name who worked for the CTA in 1958 (and did some reporting for the Transit News, their employee publication), but I am not yet sure if they are one and the same.

Some railfans like to ride, and others prefer to take pictures. Edward Frank, Jr., whose work we have featured on many occasions, was in the latter category– he rode his bicycle everywhere instead of taking the streetcar, in order to save up money for film. Given the number of shots Mr. McLaughlin took at ends of various lines, I’d say he liked to ride as well as photograph.

As always, if you have any interesting tidbits of information to add to the discussion, after seeing these pictures, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

Happy Holidays!

-David Sadowski

PS- So far, I have determined that Earl W. McLaughlin was born in 1915 and died in 1969. For much of his life, he lived on the north side of Chicago, and died in Des Plaines. In 1940, his profession was grading furs.

Illinois Central Electric car 1210 heads up a Randolph St. Express on September 9, 1959. Don's Rail Photos adds, "1100 thru 1239 were built by Pullman in 1929. 1198 went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1972." (Clark Frazier Photo) Andre Kristopans: "IC 1210 – arriving at 91st/South Chicago. Tracks on right were B&O. Note trailers were always at the NORTH end of an IC Electric train, as only a trailer would fit under the old South Water St entrance to Randolph St Station, so in order to use the full track length, trailers always had to lead north." Daniel Gornstein adds, "I'm not sure if anyone else has replied on the IC 91st St. photo yet, but the unquestionable answer is on the catenary pole. If you look closely on the macro view you will see, arranged vertically, this: "SC4-33," meaning South Chicago Subdistrict, located at MP 4.33. The 2 branches used to have independent MP's, but are now shown on Engineering Dept. files as the same distance to South Water St., as the Univ. Pk. mainline does. To the photographer's rear is 91st St. and in the distance, just north of 90th St., is NB signal 420, or approx. MP 4.2. IRM's operable "Suburban Unit" is motor 1198, as noted, and trailer 1380."

Illinois Central Electric car 1210 heads up a Randolph St. Express on September 9, 1959. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1100 thru 1239 were built by Pullman in 1929. 1198 went to Illinois Railway Museum in 1972.” (Clark Frazier Photo) Andre Kristopans: “IC 1210 – arriving at 91st/South Chicago. Tracks on right were B&O. Note trailers were always at the NORTH end of an IC Electric train, as only a trailer would fit under the old South Water St entrance to Randolph St Station, so in order to use the full track length, trailers always had to lead north.” Daniel Gornstein adds, “I’m not sure if anyone else has replied on the IC 91st St. photo yet, but the unquestionable answer is on the catenary pole. If you look closely on the macro view you will see, arranged vertically, this: “SC4-33,” meaning South Chicago Subdistrict, located at MP 4.33. The 2 branches used to have independent MP’s, but are now shown on Engineering Dept. files as the same distance to South Water St., as the Univ. Pk. mainline does. To the photographer’s rear is 91st St. and in the distance, just north of 90th St., is NB signal 420, or approx. MP 4.2. IRM’s operable “Suburban Unit” is motor 1198, as noted, and trailer 1380.”

This picture, showing a Skokie Swift single car unit at the Dempster terminal, was taken on August 11, 1964. We see an interesting variety of 1960s cars in the parking lot, including a first-generation Corvair. The slide says this is car #30, but under magnification, the number looks more like 39. However, as far as I know, car 39 was then being used in Evanston service with trolley poles. So perhaps 30 is correct. That car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Douglas N. Brotjahn Photo)

This picture, showing a Skokie Swift single car unit at the Dempster terminal, was taken on August 11, 1964. We see an interesting variety of 1960s cars in the parking lot, including a first-generation Corvair. The slide says this is car #30, but under magnification, the number looks more like 39. However, as far as I know, car 39 was then being used in Evanston service with trolley poles. So perhaps 30 is correct. That car is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum. (Douglas N. Brotjahn Photo)