Anniversaries

For fans of the North Shore Line interurban, January 21, 1963 will always be a day that will “live in infamy,” to borrow a phrase from Franklin D. Roosevelt, as that was the date of abandonment.

But January 21 is also the day we started this blog, four years ago. We can’t do anything to bring back the NSL, but we can honor its memory going forward, and a lot of other memories besides, in this space.

As far as we are concerned, every day is a day to celebrate the North Shore Line. But today, as we begin our fifth year, we are fortunate to have much NSL material to share. First, courtesy of Jim Huffman, we have nearly 60 images of North Shore Line posters. To these, we have added some additional classic photos from the collections of William Shapotkin.

To round things out, we have some recent photo finds of our own, plus some interesting correspondence from Jeff Marinoff.

Throughout its existence, the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee prided itself on SERVICE. In our own small way, we try to do the same for you and the railfan community.

-David Sadowski

Annual Fundraiser

Thanks to the generosity of our readers, we have already exceeded our goal of raising $436 by the end of this month. To date, we have received $725. We have tried to personally thank everyone who contributed. Unfortunately, a couple of e-mail addresses we were given, along with these donations, appear to be out of date, as our thank you messages were returned by the mail server. So, if you did not receive a thank you note from us, that is probably why, but we are still thankful nonetheless.

It is a fact of life that this blog has run at a deficit since it began. Our goal is to get it to a point where it can be self-sufficient. We lost at least $10k in each of our first two years, and $6k in our third year.

While we have not yet determined the amount of loss for last year, it is expected to have been less than $6k.

It costs real money to bring you many of these classic images. We have already paid our fees for the coming year, and additional donations in excess of that goal will be used to pay for more images that will show up in future posts.

On average, it probably costs about $10 for each image we purchase for this blog. So if you have 50 images in a post, that represents a $500 expenditure, and $1000 for 100 images. Now you can see the challenge, and how beneficial it is when individuals share their material with us.

We also hope to work on another book project this year. The costs of doing the necessary research on our first two volumes are far in excess of the revenue received. But it is possible these books will continue to sell over time, and in the long run, may also eventually reach a break-even point.

So, while we have now met our immediate goal, the need is ongoing throughout the year. Your generous contributions are always appreciated, in whatever amount you choose to give.

You will find links for donations at the end of this post.

Thanks.

North Shore Line Posters

Again, we thank Jim Huffman for sharing these with our readers. There are color variations for a few of the posters. Presumably, these went through more than one printing.

As you can see, many of these iconic posters have little, if anything, to do with actually riding on the North Shore Line. But they were tremendously successful in promoting the North Shore itself, its beauty, charm, and history, along with the idea of easy and convenient travel, resulting in a greater sense of freedom and ultimate satisfaction in life. Now, they are an important part of our history.

North Shore Line Photos

These are from the collections of William Shapotkin:

CNS&M 756 is at the rear of the 10:55 am train to Milwaukee, leaving Roosevelt Road station on November 7, 1962. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CNS&M 756 is at the rear of the 10:55 am train to Milwaukee, leaving Roosevelt Road station on November 7, 1962. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CNS&M Electroliner 802-801 at Roosevelt Road in Chicago on November 11, 1962. (William Shapotkin Collection)

CNS&M Electroliner 802-801 at Roosevelt Road in Chicago on November 11, 1962. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The Roosevelt Road/Holden Court station on the South Side "L". The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

The Roosevelt Road/Holden Court station on the South Side “L”. The view looks north. (William Shapotkin Collection)

North Shore Line cars are stored on the center track at the CTA's Roosevelt Road station on November 7, 1962. The view looks south. CNS&M had exclusive use of the station from 1949 to 1963, as rapid transit cars on North-South were routed through the State Street subway. The station was eventually removed, but since put back. (William Shapotkin Collection)

North Shore Line cars are stored on the center track at the CTA’s Roosevelt Road station on November 7, 1962. The view looks south. CNS&M had exclusive use of the station from 1949 to 1963, as rapid transit cars on North-South were routed through the State Street subway. The station was eventually removed, but since put back. (William Shapotkin Collection)

North Shore Line Electroliner 801-802 at Roosevelt Road in Chicago, 1962. (William Shapotkin Collection)

North Shore Line Electroliner 801-802 at Roosevelt Road in Chicago, 1962. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Recent Finds

CTA 6186 heads east over the Illinois Central right-of-way in the early 1950s, heading towards the Field Museum and Soldier Field. This extension of the Roosevelt Road streetcar line was built for A Century of Progress, the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair.

CTA 6186 heads east over the Illinois Central right-of-way in the early 1950s, heading towards the Field Museum and Soldier Field. This extension of the Roosevelt Road streetcar line was built for A Century of Progress, the 1933-34 Chicago World’s Fair.

CTA 3173, at right, is a one-man car running on Route 38, as is the red car it is passing. At left is a Route 4 - Cottage Grove prewar PCC. We are looking south on Wabash Avenue, just north of the Chicago River, in the early 1950s.

CTA 3173, at right, is a one-man car running on Route 38, as is the red car it is passing. At left is a Route 4 – Cottage Grove prewar PCC. We are looking south on Wabash Avenue, just north of the Chicago River, in the early 1950s.

CTA 4180 heads southbound at State and 86th Streets in May 1952. (John D. Koschwanez Photo)

CTA 4180 heads southbound at State and 86th Streets in May 1952. (John D. Koschwanez Photo)

CTA 4164, a Pullman PCC, heads north on Clark Street circa 1948, ready to cross LaSalle Drive, which runs at an angle at this point. In the background, you can see the Chicago Historical Society (now Chicago History Museum) building. The Standard gas station at right is now a BP.

CTA 4164, a Pullman PCC, heads north on Clark Street circa 1948, ready to cross LaSalle Drive, which runs at an angle at this point. In the background, you can see the Chicago Historical Society (now Chicago History Museum) building. The Standard gas station at right is now a BP.

CTA 4111 heads south on Route 22 - Clark-Wentworth in this undated view. This image was restored from a badly faded Kodacolor print.

CTA 4111 heads south on Route 22 – Clark-Wentworth in this undated view. This image was restored from a badly faded Kodacolor print.

Chicago Surface Lines 7008, in "tiger stripes," is in the Madison-Austin loop, circa 1945-46. (Robert J. Mahar Photo)

Chicago Surface Lines 7008, in “tiger stripes,” is in the Madison-Austin loop, circa 1945-46. (Robert J. Mahar Photo)

Four generations of Chicago rapid transit cars, as they were posed in Forest Park on January 9, 1994-- cars 6102, 1992 (formerly 2008), 1, and 4271. After this, their fates diverged; car 1 is now at the Chicago History Museum, 1992 eventually went to the Illinois Railway Museum for parts scrapping, 4271 is still part of the CTA's Heritage Fleet, and 6102 was stored at the Fox River Trolley Museum for several years, before returning to CTA in 2017, where it will hopefully one day run again. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

Four generations of Chicago rapid transit cars, as they were posed in Forest Park on January 9, 1994– cars 6102, 1992 (formerly 2008), 1, and 4271. After this, their fates diverged; car 1 is now at the Chicago History Museum, 1992 eventually went to the Illinois Railway Museum for parts scrapping, 4271 is still part of the CTA’s Heritage Fleet, and 6102 was stored at the Fox River Trolley Museum for several years, before returning to CTA in 2017, where it will hopefully one day run again. (Bruce C. Nelson Photo)

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car #17 is near West Chester on May 1, 1954. Much of this line was single track, running along the side of West Chester Pike.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (aka Red Arrow Lines) car #17 is near West Chester on May 1, 1954. Much of this line was single track, running along the side of West Chester Pike.

Recent Correspondence

Jeff Marinoff writes:

Among the several post cards that I’ve added to my collection lately are two awesome Chicago Union Traction Company cards from 1906. Note that car # 4911 is pulling an open trailer. Also, if you zoom in on the rear of car # 4911, you’ll see on the opposite track in the distant background is another car pulling an open trailer car in the other direction.

Also of interest is the wooden roof sign on car # 4911. It reads N. CLARK STREET. The side roll sign on # 4911 reads CLARK – DEVON. The front roll sign reads CLARK ST . Possibly helping to identify the location is the address painted on the window of the building behind car # 4911 which looks like it says 4362. I wonder if this was 4362 North Clark Street. I’m being told that the scene showing # 4911 is in the area of the Devon Station car barn and near the intersection of Clark and Devon. In September 1909, the City of Chicago changed its street numbering system. In the c1906 post card photo, you see the street number 4362. That number was changed in 1909 to 6333 N. Clark, which is about a block south of Devon Avenue, which is 6400 North.

On the card that shows the Chicago Union Traction Company crews in 1906, note that one of the conductors has hung the round metal run number sign on his uniform jacket. A novel place to carry it to his assignment. This post card scene is said to be outside of the Devon Station car barn.

As usual, I am indebted to Walter Keevil for technical info on Chicago Union Traction Company car # 4911.

Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos, plus your research. Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.

-David Sadowski

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 226th 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 483,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

Our 225th Post

A Ravenswood "L" train at State and Lake in April 1964. Trains ran counter-clockwise around the Loop in one direction until the opening of the Dan Ryan line in 1969. Fritzel's restaurant is at left. At right, you can just make out one of those "praying mantis" street lights, installed in 1959. Stee Felsenthal adds, "Ravenswood trains switched to the inner track after stopping on the outer track at Randolph & Wells except during weekdays rush hours during the CTA era from sometime in the early to mid 50s until 1969 when the direction of the inner loop track was reversed."

A Ravenswood “L” train at State and Lake in April 1964. Trains ran counter-clockwise around the Loop in one direction until the opening of the Dan Ryan line in 1969. Fritzel’s restaurant is at left. At right, you can just make out one of those “praying mantis” street lights, installed in 1959. Stee Felsenthal adds, “Ravenswood trains switched to the inner track after stopping on the outer track at Randolph & Wells except during weekdays rush hours during the CTA era from sometime in the early to mid 50s until 1969 when the direction of the inner loop track was reversed.”

Happy New Year! We begin 2019 with classic traction photos for our 225th post. William Shapotkin has generously shared more with us, and we have some recent finds of our own to round things out.

It costs real money to bring you these fine images, and soon the bill will come due for maintaining this site. It’s the time of year for our annual fundraiser, and our goal is to raise $436, to keep the Trolley Dodger blog around for another year. Can you help us?

We thank you in advance for your generosity in helping to keep this site going and free of advertising.  If you wish to contribute, there are links at the end of this post.

We finished 2018 with 122,358 page views from 38,469 visitors.  Page views increased by nearly 3% from the year before, making this our second-best year to date.  We had about 10% more visitors than the year before, and in that category, it was our best year yet.

January 21 marks our fourth anniversary, and we will have another new post for you then.

During 2018, we made 22 posts in all. While this was less than in previous years, several of these posts had more than 100 images apiece (as does this one). With 225 posts, we have achieved our initial goal of creating an online archive and resource for people who are interested in vintage transit images. Our current goal is to keep the quality high while avoiding repeating ourselves.

We also published Building Chicago’s Subways, our second book in two years. Information on that book can be found at the end of this post.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

From the William Shapotkin Collection

Classic South Shore Line Photos

Here are 49 great South Shore Line images, all from the William Shapotkin Collection. We are very grateful to Mr. Shapotkin for his generosity in sharing these photos with our readers and the railfan community.

#8 heads up train #511 at Miller on May 30, 1988. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#8 heads up train #511 at Miller on May 30, 1988. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#44 at Dune Park, headquarters of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District that funded the electric operation and the new cars. This was a charter train. (Walter Veilbaum Photo)

#44 at Dune Park, headquarters of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transit District that funded the electric operation and the new cars. This was a charter train. (Walter Veilbaum Photo)

#3 at Michigan City in 1938. (C. V. Hess Photo)

#3 at Michigan City in 1938. (C. V. Hess Photo)

#4 at Gary on June 16, 1946. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#4 at Gary on June 16, 1946. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#6 at Michigan City in 1938. (C. V. Hess Photo)

#6 at Michigan City in 1938. (C. V. Hess Photo)

#12 at Michigan City in 1939. (C. V. Hess Photo)

#12 at Michigan City in 1939. (C. V. Hess Photo)

#22 in East Chicago, Indiana in 1953. (Richard Brown Photo)

#22 in East Chicago, Indiana in 1953. (Richard Brown Photo)

#26 in Gary on October 29, 1949. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#26 in Gary on October 29, 1949. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#30 at South Bend in August 1938. (C. V. Hess Photo)

#30 at South Bend in August 1938. (C. V. Hess Photo)

#30 at Tremont on May 17, 1941. (Charles Savage Photo)

#30 at Tremont on May 17, 1941. (Charles Savage Photo)

#32 at South Bend on September 15, 1948. (Paul Stringham Photo)

#32 at South Bend on September 15, 1948. (Paul Stringham Photo)

#34 at Michigan City in September 1953. That's the note that came with the photo... on the other hand, Spence Ziegler says, "Looks more like CSS&SB Car #34 is in the South Bend coach yard." (Richard Brown Photo)

#34 at Michigan City in September 1953. That’s the note that came with the photo… on the other hand, Spence Ziegler says, “Looks more like CSS&SB Car #34 is in the South Bend coach yard.” (Richard Brown Photo)

#100 at Chicago on February 8, 1944. The only patriotic car of CSS&SB. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) (Editor's note: there is a different picture of car 100 in this paint scheme in my book Chicago Trolleys.)

#100 at Chicago on February 8, 1944. The only patriotic car of CSS&SB. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo) (Editor’s note: there is a different picture of car 100 in this paint scheme in my book Chicago Trolleys.)

#100 at South Bend, apparently in the 1940s. (Charles Savage Photo)

#100 at South Bend, apparently in the 1940s. (Charles Savage Photo)

Another photo of #100 at South Bend, but not taken at the same time. Note how the windows have been changed, with the installation of air conditioning. This photo appears to date to the early 1950s. (Charles Savage Photo)

Another photo of #100 at South Bend, but not taken at the same time. Note how the windows have been changed, with the installation of air conditioning. This photo appears to date to the early 1950s. (Charles Savage Photo)

#100 at Wagner Siding, east of Gary, on May 30, 1940. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

#100 at Wagner Siding, east of Gary, on May 30, 1940. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

#100 at Wagner Siding, east of Gary, on May 30, 1940. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

#100 at Wagner Siding, east of Gary, on May 30, 1940. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

#103 on September 20, 1942. (Paul Stringham Photo)

#103 on September 20, 1942. (Paul Stringham Photo)

#106A at Chicago on August 22, 1968. (Will Whittaker Photo)

#106A at Chicago on August 22, 1968. (Will Whittaker Photo)

#102 at South Bend on July 8, 1947. At right, the auto appears to be a 1947 Studebaker, known as the "which way is it going" model. (Charles Savage Photo)

#102 at South Bend on July 8, 1947. At right, the auto appears to be a 1947 Studebaker, known as the “which way is it going” model. (Charles Savage Photo)

#201 at Michigan City in September 1953. (Richard Brown Photo)

#201 at Michigan City in September 1953. (Richard Brown Photo)

Trailer #203 at South Bend in October 1938. (C. V. Hess Photo)

Trailer #203 at South Bend in October 1938. (C. V. Hess Photo)

Dining car #301 in 1939. (Photo by A. Q.)

Dining car #301 in 1939. (Photo by A. Q.)

Parlor car #352 at Lydick, Indiana on September 20, 1942. It appears to have been rebuilt later and gone to the Canada Gulf & Terminal Railway. See their car 504 for comparison. (Paul Stringham Photo)

Parlor car #352 at Lydick, Indiana on September 20, 1942. It appears to have been rebuilt later and gone to the Canada Gulf & Terminal Railway. See their car 504 for comparison. (Paul Stringham Photo)

#354 was built by Pullman in 1927 as a parlor car trailer, and rebuilt as a passenger car trailer in 1939.

#354 was built by Pullman in 1927 as a parlor car trailer, and rebuilt as a passenger car trailer in 1939.

Loco #802 at Fremont, Indiana in June 1956. (Will Whittaker Photo)

Loco #802 at Fremont, Indiana in June 1956. (Will Whittaker Photo)

Loco #701 at Michigan City on August 22, 1968. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

Loco #701 at Michigan City on August 22, 1968. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

Loco 702, lettered for South Shore RR.

Loco 702, lettered for South Shore RR.

Loco #900. (R. Biermann Photo)

Loco #900. (R. Biermann Photo)

Loco #903 (ex-IC), and #503 (ex-Indiana Railroad #375.

Loco #903 (ex-IC), and #503 (ex-Indiana Railroad #375.

Loco #1005 at Michigan City in April 1940.

Loco #1005 at Michigan City in April 1940.

Locos #1009 and 1004 at Michigan City in June 1939. (Birney Miller Photo)

Locos #1009 and 1004 at Michigan City in June 1939. (Birney Miller Photo)

Loco #1013 at Michigan City. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

Loco #1013 at Michigan City. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

Loco #1014 at Michigan City. (C. V. Hess Photo)

Loco #1014 at Michigan City. (C. V. Hess Photo)

Line car #1100. (Gus Wilson Photo)

Line car #1100. (Gus Wilson Photo)

Line car #1100 at Chicago on June 28, 1986 (for a fantrip, which I also attended). (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

Line car #1100 at Chicago on June 28, 1986 (for a fantrip, which I also attended). (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#1100 in Chicago on June 28, 1986. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#1100 in Chicago on June 28, 1986. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

Don's Rail Photos says, "73 was built by Niles in 1908. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005. There were delays when Bob had a heart attack. There is a recent report on June 17, 2017."

Don’s Rail Photos says, “73 was built by Niles in 1908. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005. There were delays when Bob had a heart attack. There is a recent report on June 17, 2017.”

#1100 at Hudson Lake on June 28, 1986. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#1100 at Hudson Lake on June 28, 1986. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#1100 at Dune Park on June 28, 1986. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

#1100 at Dune Park on June 28, 1986. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

Loco #1014A at New Carlisle, Indiana on August 7, 1938, during an Illinois Central excursion. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

Loco #1014A at New Carlisle, Indiana on August 7, 1938, during an Illinois Central excursion. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

Line car #1101, formerly a passenger car, at Michigan City in April 1940. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

Line car #1101, formerly a passenger car, at Michigan City in April 1940. (Eugene Van Dusen Photo)

#1126 in August 1938. (Photo by R. S.)

#1126 in August 1938. (Photo by R. S.)

CSS&SB combo, used by railfans at South Bend on March 22, 1938.

CSS&SB combo, used by railfans at South Bend on March 22, 1938.

An 8-car train at Lake Park in Fall 1940.

An 8-car train at Lake Park in Fall 1940.

RTA loco #126 heads a leased 10-car train, which supplemented electric service for a time due to a car shortage. It made one round-trip a day out of Michigan City.

RTA loco #126 heads a leased 10-car train, which supplemented electric service for a time due to a car shortage. It made one round-trip a day out of Michigan City.

Loco #2000 at Michigan City in May 1988. (Walter H. Vielbaum Photo)

Loco #2000 at Michigan City in May 1988. (Walter H. Vielbaum Photo)

#2004 and caboose #003 at Michigan City in May 1988. (Walter H. Veilbaum Photo)

#2004 and caboose #003 at Michigan City in May 1988. (Walter H. Veilbaum Photo)

Misc. Photos From the Shapotkin Collection

On July 25, 1943 several railfans posed on the northbound platform of the as-yet unopened State Street Subway station at North and Clybourn. From left to right, we have John Goehst, O. Scheer, George Krambles, N. Strodte, John R. Williams, J. E. Merriken Jr., R. Burns, J. Hughes, and R. E. Geis. (William Shapotkin Collection)

On July 25, 1943 several railfans posed on the northbound platform of the as-yet unopened State Street Subway station at North and Clybourn. From left to right, we have J. Goehst, O. Scheer, George Krambles, N. Strodte, John R. Williams, J. E. Merriken Jr., R. Burns, J. Hughes, and R. E. Geis. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A train station at an unidentified location in February 1970. (William Shapotkin Collection)

A train station at an unidentified location in February 1970. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This is car #202 of the Chippewa Valley Electric in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (William Shapotkin Collection)

This is car #202 of the Chippewa Valley Electric in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Grand River Railway (Canada) baggage car 622. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Grand River Railway (Canada) baggage car 622. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Yakima (Washington) trolley #1776 in 1976. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Yakima (Washington) trolley #1776 in 1976. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Two CTA 4000-series "L" cars in Sylvania, Ohio in August 1976. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Two CTA 4000-series “L” cars in Sylvania, Ohio in August 1976. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Recent Finds

We have a picture of South Shore Line car 100 of our own. This one was taken on October 15, 1967 at the shops in Michigan City.

We have a picture of South Shore Line car 100 of our own. This one was taken on October 15, 1967 at the shops in Michigan City.

This picture shows CTA trolleybus 234 (prior to the renumbering, where a "9" was added before all TB #s) running on the 51st-55th line. Perhaps the machine at left is removing streetcar track. Presumably this is the early 1950s. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

This picture shows CTA trolleybus 234 (prior to the renumbering, where a “9” was added before all TB #s) running on the 51st-55th line. Perhaps the machine at left is removing streetcar track. Presumably this is the early 1950s. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA trolleybus 9672 and red Pullman 685 are near the Montgomery Wards complex at Chicago and Larrabee. This would be a Halsted streetcar, running on diversion trackage via Division to Crosby and Larrabee, then Chicago to Halsted, when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. That dates the picture to 1953-- after Marmon trolleybuses were delivered, but before streetcars stopped running on Halsted in 1954. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

CTA trolleybus 9672 and red Pullman 685 are near the Montgomery Wards complex at Chicago and Larrabee. This would be a Halsted streetcar, running on diversion trackage via Division to Crosby and Larrabee, then Chicago to Halsted, when work was being done on the Halsted Street bridge over the Chicago River. That dates the picture to 1953– after Marmon trolleybuses were delivered, but before streetcars stopped running on Halsted in 1954. (William Hoffman Photo, Wien-Criss Archive)

Chicago's Initial System of Subways originally had parcel lockers for public use. This picture helps explain why they were eliminated. In this April 17, 1962 photo, bomb squad detectives are carefully removing some hand grenades that were found in just such a locker at State and Randolph, along with machine gun ammunition.

Chicago’s Initial System of Subways originally had parcel lockers for public use. This picture helps explain why they were eliminated. In this April 17, 1962 photo, bomb squad detectives are carefully removing some hand grenades that were found in just such a locker at State and Randolph, along with machine gun ammunition.

Jim Huffman: Pix #564 & 565 (below) are SB Cottages returning from Grand and State on Wabash. The #38 Indiana north terminal was Navy Pier via Wabash and Grand, when it ended as a route, the #4 Cottage took its place north to Grand on State & south on Wabash, for awhile.

CTA 4056 is running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in 1953. This is one of the postwar PCCs that was converted to one-man operation.

CTA 4056 is running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in 1953. This is one of the postwar PCCs that was converted to one-man operation.

CTA 7013 running on Route 4 - Cottage Grove in 1953.

CTA 7013 running on Route 4 – Cottage Grove in 1953.

A colorized postcard view of a two-car Lake Street train crossing the Chicago River in the early 1900s. The postcard itself was mailed in 1907.

A colorized postcard view of a two-car Lake Street train crossing the Chicago River in the early 1900s. The postcard itself was mailed in 1907.

This transit worker is wearing a Chicago Union Traction cap, and a Chicago Railways jacket. This may help date the photo, as Chicago Railways acquired Chicago Union Traction in 1908.

This transit worker is wearing a Chicago Union Traction cap, and a Chicago Railways jacket. This may help date the photo, as Chicago Railways acquired Chicago Union Traction in 1908.

CSL 7003 on Madison.

CSL 7003 on Madison.

CSL 4018 in experimental colors, at Kedzie Station circa 1945-46. It's signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4018 in experimental colors, at Kedzie Station circa 1945-46. It’s signed for the Madison-Fifth branch line. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA 4012 and 4090 at Kedzie Station. Since neither PCC has a logo, this is probably early in the CTA era that started on October 1, 1947. Both cars would have been running on Route 20 - Madison. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA 4012 and 4090 at Kedzie Station. Since neither PCC has a logo, this is probably early in the CTA era that started on October 1, 1947. Both cars would have been running on Route 20 – Madison. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4047 is running on the 10-cent Madison Shuttle.

CTA prewar PCC 4047 is running on the 10-cent Madison Shuttle.

CSL 7053, 4145, and follower, at the Vincennes and 80th turning loop.

CSL 7053, 4145, and follower, at the Vincennes and 80th turning loop.

CSL 3300 on Montrose. Note the old Divco milk truck at left. Jim Hufman adds that we are "looking west on Montrose from Ashland, the building on the right is on the NW corner." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3300 on Montrose. Note the old Divco milk truck at left. Jim Hufman adds that we are “looking west on Montrose from Ashland, the building on the right is on the NW corner.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA prewar PCC 4007 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, west end of Route 63, on September 11, 1948.

CTA prewar PCC 4007 at 63rd Place and Narragansett, west end of Route 63, on September 11, 1948.

CSL 2730 and 2728, among others, at an unknown location. Jim Huffman: "Seems to be a Riverview-Larrabee car, could be Wrightwood car barn." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2730 and 2728, among others, at an unknown location. Jim Huffman: “Seems to be a Riverview-Larrabee car, could be Wrightwood car barn.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 4080, a Pullman PCC newly delivered at South Shops.

CSL 4080, a Pullman PCC newly delivered at South Shops.

CSL 3210 on Montrose at Milwaukee, west end of the line. Streetcars were replaced by buses on July 29, 1946. Trolley buses ran west o here. The entire line was converted to trolley bus on April 19, 1948, and they continued in used until January 13, 1973. Jim Huffman adds, "car #3310 is behind the car waiting to go east. This was always a problem with PM pull-out trippers at the end of line crossovers. The regular cars would have a longer layover/recovery time than the pull-outs would have. Often the tripper would arrive after their follower, hence the follower at the extreme end with its leader squeezed in so as to leave first. If two followers were there first, one would have to take the crossover & back up on the adjacent track. This I learned from observation when I was younger & also from CSL family members. Buses do not have this problem, they just go around." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3210 on Montrose at Milwaukee, west end of the line. Streetcars were replaced by buses on July 29, 1946. Trolley buses ran west o here. The entire line was converted to trolley bus on April 19, 1948, and they continued in used until January 13, 1973. Jim Huffman adds, “car #3310 is behind the car waiting to go east. This was always a problem with PM pull-out trippers at the end of line crossovers. The regular cars would have a longer layover/recovery time than the pull-outs would have. Often the tripper would arrive after their follower, hence the follower at the extreme end with its leader squeezed in so as to leave first. If two followers were there first, one would have to take the crossover & back up on the adjacent track. This I learned from observation when I was younger & also from CSL family members. Buses do not have this problem, they just go around.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3298 on Montrose. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3298 on Montrose. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5702 on Archer. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5702 on Archer. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5731 on Route 5, South Chicago Avenue. Note two fans on the railroad embankment, taking pictures. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5731 on Route 5, South Chicago Avenue. Note two fans on the railroad embankment, taking pictures. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA 4036 is turning westbound on 63rd Place at Central. There was a section of nearly a mile of private right-of-way west of here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CTA 4036 is turning westbound on 63rd Place at Central. There was a section of nearly a mile of private right-of-way west of here. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3287 on Montrose near Kedzie. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3287 on Montrose near Kedzie. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3307 on Montrose. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3307 on Montrose. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2616, signed for 115th and Halsted. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2616, signed for 115th and Halsted. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2733, signed for Downtown. Jim Huffman: "Riverview-Larrabee." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2733, signed for Downtown. Jim Huffman: “Riverview-Larrabee.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5073, signed for Archer and Western. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 5073, signed for Archer and Western. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2754 on a wintry day, signed or Roscoe and Western. Andre Kristopans writes, "I strongly suspect (2754 is) northbound on Larrabee at Clybourn on Route 40 Riverview-Larrabee." (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2754 on a wintry day, signed or Roscoe and Western. Andre Kristopans writes, “I strongly suspect (2754 is) northbound on Larrabee at Clybourn on Route 40 Riverview-Larrabee.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3298 on Montrose. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 3298 on Montrose. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)

CSL 2816, signed or Cottage Grove and 38th.

CSL 2816, signed or Cottage Grove and 38th.

CTA 4330, a Pullman PCC, heads south on Halsted, crossing a brand-new bridge over the Congress Expressway, then under construction, in 1950. In the background is the Met "L" main line, which remained in use at this location until June 1958. The PCC is signed for Route 42, Halsted-Downtown. M. E. adds, "The streetcar's destination sign reads route 42, but route 42 did not run when and where the picture was taken (Halsted at Congress). At that spot, only route 8 ran. The correct sign would have said 8 Halsted-79." Jim Huffman adds, "The motorman saw the 79th thru the little view window & stopped there."

CTA 4330, a Pullman PCC, heads south on Halsted, crossing a brand-new bridge over the Congress Expressway, then under construction, in 1950. In the background is the Met “L” main line, which remained in use at this location until June 1958. The PCC is signed for Route 42, Halsted-Downtown. M. E. adds, “The streetcar’s destination sign reads route 42, but route 42 did not run when and where the picture was taken (Halsted at Congress). At that spot, only route 8 ran. The correct sign would have said 8 Halsted-79.” Jim Huffman adds, “The motorman saw the 79th thru the little view window & stopped there.”

CTA 282 and 285 at 63rd and Kedzie in August 1953.

CTA 282 and 285 at 63rd and Kedzie in August 1953.

CTA 6101-6102 on the Paulina Connector, crossing the Congress rapid transit line, on April 21, 1991. This trackage is now used by the CTA Pink Line. Ater being stored at the Fox River Trolley Museum for many years, these cars are now back on CTA property as part of their historical collection and it is hoped they will someday run again. (Albert J. Reinschmidt Photo)

CTA 6101-6102 on the Paulina Connector, crossing the Congress rapid transit line, on April 21, 1991. This trackage is now used by the CTA Pink Line. Ater being stored at the Fox River Trolley Museum for many years, these cars are now back on CTA property as part of their historical collection and it is hoped they will someday run again. (Albert J. Reinschmidt Photo)

CTA red Pullman 225 and PCC 4406 on an October 21, 1956 fantrip. M. E. adds, "This picture is at 16th and Clark, facing north. Streetcars had their own private right-of-way west of Clark going under the two railroad viaducts located here."

CTA red Pullman 225 and PCC 4406 on an October 21, 1956 fantrip. M. E. adds, “This picture is at 16th and Clark, facing north. Streetcars had their own private right-of-way west of Clark going under the two railroad viaducts located here.”

CA&E #321 is on the back of an outbound train at Marshfield Junction.

CA&E #321 is on the back of an outbound train at Marshfield Junction.

A train of CA&E woods near Wells Street Terminal in downtown Chicago.

A train of CA&E woods near Wells Street Terminal in downtown Chicago.

CTA 2067-2068 head up a westbound Lake Street train in June 1965.

CTA 2067-2068 head up a westbound Lake Street train in June 1965.

CTA 2175-2176, a northbound Lake-Dan Ryan "B" train, near Adams and Wabash station on August 2, 1974. (Douglas N. Grotjahn Photo)

CTA 2175-2176, a northbound Lake-Dan Ryan “B” train, near Adams and Wabash station on August 2, 1974. (Douglas N. Grotjahn Photo)

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car #30. Don's Rail Photos notes, "These 15 motor cars and 5 trailers were built by Stephenson Car Co. in 1903 and were part of the original stock. 30 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was retired in 1959."

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin wood car #30. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “These 15 motor cars and 5 trailers were built by Stephenson Car Co. in 1903 and were part of the original stock. 30 was built by Stephenson in 1903. It was retired in 1959.”

North Shore Line city streetcar #354, which once ran on the streets of Milwaukee and Waukegan, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, September 15, 1957.

North Shore Line city streetcar #354, which once ran on the streets of Milwaukee and Waukegan, at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago, September 15, 1957.

CTA Pullman PCC 4111 heads west on Monroe Street in 1950, running on Route 20 - Madison.

CTA Pullman PCC 4111 heads west on Monroe Street in 1950, running on Route 20 – Madison.

A two-car train of CTA 6000s heads east on Garfield Park temporary trackage at Paulina on April 3, 1954. The photographer was standing on the platform of the Met "L" station at Marshfield Junction, then still in use or Douglas Park trains.

A two-car train of CTA 6000s heads east on Garfield Park temporary trackage at Paulina on April 3, 1954. The photographer was standing on the platform of the Met “L” station at Marshfield Junction, then still in use or Douglas Park trains.

Red Arrow Brilliner #9 at the end of the Ardmore line in May 1965.

Red Arrow Brilliner #9 at the end of the Ardmore line in May 1965.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) #17, a double-ended interurban car built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1949, is at the west end of the long West Chester line, which was bussed in 1954 to facilitate the widening of West Chester Pike.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) #17, a double-ended interurban car built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1949, is at the west end of the long West Chester line, which was bussed in 1954 to facilitate the widening of West Chester Pike.

Philadelphia Transportation Co. PCC #2031 is on a section of private right-of-way at the end of Route 6 in the early 1950s. That looks like aa 1953 Cadillac at right. This section of route was eventually cut back due to highway construction. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Philadelphia Transportation Co. PCC #2031 is on a section of private right-of-way at the end of Route 6 in the early 1950s. That looks like aa 1953 Cadillac at right. This section of route was eventually cut back due to highway construction. (Walter Broschart Photo)

Public Service #2695 is inbound on the Hudson line on the old Hoboken elevated near the Summit turnoff at Palisade Avenue.

Public Service #2695 is inbound on the Hudson line on the old Hoboken elevated near the Summit turnoff at Palisade Avenue.

A Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit articulated "Bluebird" set of cars, on its inaugural run in 1939.

A Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit articulated “Bluebird” set of cars, on its inaugural run in 1939.

A set of articulated Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit "Bluebird" cars on Fulton Street at Tompkins Avenue.

A set of articulated Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit “Bluebird” cars on Fulton Street at Tompkins Avenue.

We recently purchased some original plans from the Initial System of Subways, which detail where various utilities were intended to be relocated at the subway station at Grand and State. This just goes to show the incredible level of detail required for a project of this sort. Interestingly, these plans were in London, England and have now been repatriated back to Chicago. They are dated October 1939, and this document was voided out in December of that same year (and no doubt replaced with an updated version, based on the actual locations of utilities).

Recent Correspondence

Ashley Koda writes:

I came across your website while researching the history of my apartment building. I have the attached photo reflecting a Chicago Surface Line Car No. 3098 on the corner of Erie & Bishop. I understand that this line was in operation between 1913-1947. I found a photo on your website of a 3098 car at Erie & Racine which looks identical to the one attached, so I was hoping you could please help me narrow the time frame of this photo or perhaps point me to some resources that may assist.

Thanks for writing.

Your note doesn’t mention which route the streetcar is on, and neither does the caption on the picture you found on my blog. However, it is probably this one, although the dates don’t quite match up with 1913-1947 (information from www.chicagorailfan.com):

23 Morgan-Racine
Horse car route introduced by Chicago Passenger Railway
Streetcar route introduced by West Chicago Street Railroad/Chicago Railways (north of 21st St.)
Streetcar route introduced by Southern Street Railway (21st St. to Archer)
Streetcar route introduced by Chicago City Railway (south of Archer)

1886 – horse car service introduced primarily on Erie between downtown and Ashland
1886 – horse car service introduced on Racine between downtown and 21st St.
1896 – service on Erie and Racine converted to electric streetcar
1898 – Racine streetcar extended south via Throop and Morgan to Union Stockyards
12/1/12 – Through Route streetcar introduced, combining Erie and Racine routes
7/25/48 – streetcar route converted to buses
9/13/81 – discontinued

Through Route operated between Union Stockyards and near northwest side. Segment between 21st St. and Archer actually introduced by Chicago General Railway Co., acquired by Southern Street Railway Co. in 1905.

Midday service discontinued 9/10/61

Car House: Noble (until 8/31/47)
Blue Island (8/31/47-7/25/48)
Bus Garage: Blue Island (7/25/48-1/16/55)
Archer (1/16/55-9/13/81)

As for the streetcar itself, Don’s Rail Photos gives the following information:

3098 was built by CSL in 1922. It was scrapped in 1948.

More pictures of streetcars were taken by fans in the 1940s than in the 1930s, perhaps in part because it was widely known that the older ones would soon be disappearing. So while there may not be much in the picture that can help date it, chances are it is from the period 1940-1948 than anything earlier than that, just due to statistics.

I hope this helps.

-David Sadowski

PS- Here is the other picture of 3098 that we previously ran.

Andre Kristopans: "3098 SB turning off Erie into Racine." (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

Andre Kristopans: “3098 SB turning off Erie into Racine.” (Railway Negative Exchange Photo)

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 225th 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 480,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

An Artist’s Impressions

-our Charter

-our Charter

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

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

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

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

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

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

-David Sadowski

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

-train tunnel just north of Linden Av Wilmette

-train tunnel just north of Linden Av Wilmette

sweeping into the City...

sweeping into the City…

-coming around the bend! heads up!

-coming around the bend! heads up!

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

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

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

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

-right behind us!

-right behind us!

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

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

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

-a shapely pic… all sorts of triangles…

Cityscape...

Cityscape…

-Howard Yard near Evanston -- at Chicago, Illinois

-Howard Yard near Evanston — at Chicago, Illinois

-stop near Evanston

-stop near Evanston

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

-we used eight of the 2400s cars….

north Howard Yard

north Howard Yard

-Howard Yard

-Howard Yard

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

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

-CTA Yellow Line out of Howard St...

-CTA Yellow Line out of Howard St…

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

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

-oh no!! Not those again!

-oh no!! Not those again!

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

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

-big curve

-big curve

-couple sweeping curves

-couple sweeping curves

-cemetery coming into the city..

-cemetery coming into the city..

Go Cubbies!!

Go Cubbies!!

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

-nothing special… just repeating forms, shapes….

-yikes

-yikes

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

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

-street view from the L

-street view from the L

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

-a curve on the L in the Loop…

-curve coming into the city...

-curve coming into the city…

-repeating lines, shapes.....

-repeating lines, shapes…..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-perspective is different... moody...

-perspective is different… moody…

-another long, sweeping curve....

-another long, sweeping curve….

-Chicago River on the L bridge

-Chicago River on the L bridge

-AUGH! Those damn fire escapes!!!!

-AUGH! Those damn fire escapes!!!!

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

-large walkway, concrete arch… angles….

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

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

-backwards shot in the Loop

-backwards shot in the Loop

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

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

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

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

The Trolley Dodger On the Air

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

Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

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

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

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

Bibliographic information:

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

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

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

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

For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

gh1

This is our 224th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we have received over 466,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store.

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

We thank you for your support.

DONATIONS

In order to continue giving you the kinds of historic railroad images that you have come to expect from The Trolley Dodger, we need your help and support. It costs money to maintain this website, and to do the sort of historic research that is our specialty.

Your financial contributions help make this web site better, and are greatly appreciated.

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

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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.

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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.