Back in Boston

This August marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston. This picture of MBTA 3295 was taken on Beacon Street on August 31, 1967, and shows the PCCs just as I remember them from that time. (Frederick F. Marder Photo)

This August marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston. This picture of MBTA 3295 was taken on Beacon Street on August 31, 1967, and shows the PCCs just as I remember them from that time. (Frederick F. Marder Photo)

This summer marks 50 years since my first trip to Boston, which quickly became one of my favorite cities. I came there as a 12-year-old, to attend my uncle Robert’s wedding along with my mother.

I was astonished to find that Boston still had PCC streetcars, of a type very similar to those Chicago had retired nearly a decade earlier. While my relatives were out making merry, I went off to ride all the various lines.

I have returned to Boston numerous times since then. Recently, I spent a few days there to help my uncle celebrate his 87th birthday.

While PCCs are long gone from the MBTA Green Line, a few still soldier on between Ashmont and Mattapan. This “high-speed trolley” has been running in an old railroad right-of-way since the 1920s, on private right-of-way with just a couple of grade crossings. Along with the MBTA’s Riverside line, which began service in 1959, it is considered a forerunner of modern light rail.

Although I did not have time to do as much railfanning as I might have hoped, here are some pictures from that trip.

-David Sadowski

PS- We expect to receive our shipment of Chicago Trolleys books by September 22nd, which should allow us to ship all copies that have been pre-ordered by the release date on the 25th. More information is at the end of this post.

This giant steaming teakettle has been a Boston landmark since 1873.

This giant steaming teakettle has been a Boston landmark since 1873.

The subway station at Government Center was closed for renovations when I last visited Boston three years ago, but has since reopened.

The subway station at Government Center was closed for renovations when I last visited Boston three years ago, but has since reopened.

The Green Line subway, oldest in the United States, first opened in 1897. I believe this is Government Center.

The Green Line subway, oldest in the United States, first opened in 1897. I believe this is Government Center.

The Red Line subway.

The Red Line subway.

It's incredible that this PCC is still in service. According to Don's Rail Photos, "3087 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6710A. It was rebuilt in 2000 for service." Here, we see it pulling in to the Ashmont Terminal, where riders can switch to the Red Line subway. Unlike the other light rail lines, the Ashmont-Mattapan line is considered part of the Red Line. When we were there, it was operating as a free shuttle, although the trains had fare boxes.

It’s incredible that this PCC is still in service. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “3087 was built by Pullman-Standard in 1945, #W6710A. It was rebuilt in 2000 for service.” Here, we see it pulling in to the Ashmont Terminal, where riders can switch to the Red Line subway. Unlike the other light rail lines, the Ashmont-Mattapan line is considered part of the Red Line. When we were there, it was operating as a free shuttle, although the trains had fare boxes.

3087 at Mattapan.

3087 at Mattapan.

The turnaround loop at Mattapan.

The turnaround loop at Mattapan.

The PCCs are not air conditioned, but have forced-air ventilation and sealed windows.

The PCCs are not air conditioned, but have forced-air ventilation and sealed windows.

3087 at Ashmont.

3087 at Ashmont.

The Red Line at Ashmont.

The Red Line at Ashmont.

Out of Town News, which occupies the famed former Harvard Square subway kiosk built in 1928, may eventually be forced out as part of a redevelopment scheme.

Out of Town News, which occupies the famed former Harvard Square subway kiosk built in 1928, may eventually be forced out as part of a redevelopment scheme.

A trip to Harvard Square would not be complete without visiting Leavitt & Peirce, which has been there since 1884.

A trip to Harvard Square would not be complete without visiting Leavitt & Peirce, which has been there since 1884.

This "cigar store Indian" princess graces the store's entry way.

This “cigar store Indian” princess graces the store’s entry way.

Besides cigars, they sell chess sets at Leavitt and Peirce.

Besides cigars, they sell chess sets at Leavitt and Peirce.

The Green Line at Park Street, where you can switch between the B, C, D, and E branches or change to the Red Line.

The Green Line at Park Street, where you can switch between the B, C, D, and E branches or change to the Red Line.

Currently, the Green Line's northern end is at Lechmere, although there are plans to extend it another 4.7 miles to Somerville and Medford.

Currently, the Green Line’s northern end is at Lechmere, although there are plans to extend it another 4.7 miles to Somerville and Medford.

These "Type 7" LRVs were built between 1986 and 1997, and have been rehabbed since I was last in Boston three years ago. Now they are all paired in service with the newer Type 8s, which are handicapped accessible.

These “Type 7” LRVs were built between 1986 and 1997, and have been rehabbed since I was last in Boston three years ago. Now they are all paired in service with the newer Type 8s, which are handicapped accessible.

On our way to Logan airport, I had time to take a few shots at the west end of Green Line route "B," which goes to Boston College.

On our way to Logan airport, I had time to take a few shots at the west end of Green Line route “B,” which goes to Boston College.

My final MBTA shots were taken near the west end of Green Line route "C", which is Beacon Street. It is a bit confusing that the B line runs on Commonwealth Avenue, while the C line is on Beacon. But the lines were assigned letters due to their position on maps. Watertown was assigned "A" as it was furthest north, but rail service there was abandoned in 1969, before the letters were used on any roll signs. The best explanation for why Watertown got bussed is that streetcars had to go against traffic on a one-way expressway feeder ramp that became a real bottleneck. It was easier to re-route buses around this, although the tracks and wire remained for many years for access to Watertown Yard.

My final MBTA shots were taken near the west end of Green Line route “C”, which is Beacon Street. It is a bit confusing that the B line runs on Commonwealth Avenue, while the C line is on Beacon. But the lines were assigned letters due to their position on maps. Watertown was assigned “A” as it was furthest north, but rail service there was abandoned in 1969, before the letters were used on any roll signs. The best explanation for why Watertown got bussed is that streetcars had to go against traffic on a one-way expressway feeder ramp that became a real bottleneck. It was easier to re-route buses around this, although the tracks and wire remained for many years for access to Watertown Yard.

There is a station called Fenway on Boston's Green Line, but that's not where you want to go to see a ballgame. Kenmore Square is closer, and three of the four Green Line branches stop there.

There is a station called Fenway on Boston’s Green Line, but that’s not where you want to go to see a ballgame. Kenmore Square is closer, and three of the four Green Line branches stop there.

It's been 40 years since I first visited Fenway Park. On this night, the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-3.

It’s been 40 years since I first visited Fenway Park. On this night, the Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-3.

Fenway is one of the most beloved ballparks in Major League Baseball, in part because of its 40-foot "Green Monster" wall in left field.

Fenway is one of the most beloved ballparks in Major League Baseball, in part because of its 40-foot “Green Monster” wall in left field.

Boston double-end PCC 3327, signed for Heath on the MBTA Green Line "E" branch (formerly called Arborway), is heading up the Northeastern Incline from the Huntington Avenue Subway in this March 1974 view.

Boston double-end PCC 3327, signed for Heath on the MBTA Green Line “E” branch (formerly called Arborway), is heading up the Northeastern Incline from the Huntington Avenue Subway in this March 1974 view.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.), see Comments below.

A period illustration for the M.T.A. song (aka Charlie on the M.T.A.), see Comments below.

Horsecars in Roxbury

While visting the Simon Willard House and Clock Museum, I was intrigued by this early photograph, which shows a horse car near the First Church of Roxbury. The picture was dated as "circa 1910," but must have been taken many years before that.

While visting the Simon Willard House and Clock Museum, I was intrigued by this early photograph, which shows a horse car near the First Church of Roxbury. The picture was dated as “circa 1910,” but must have been taken many years before that.

A close-up of the photo, showing a horse car on the line to Norfolk House, operated between Boston and Roxbury by the Metropolitan Railroad Co., which operated between 1856 and 1886.

A close-up of the photo, showing a horse car on the line to Norfolk House, operated between Boston and Roxbury by the Metropolitan Railroad Co., which operated between 1856 and 1886.

While researching when the above photograph could have been taken, I learned quite a bit about the early history of public transit in Boston. Roxbury was once its own municipality, but was annexed into Boston in 1868.

Before horse-drawn streetcars, there was the “Omnibus.” This was a large passenger coach, similar to a stagecoach, that ran on a fixed route between Boston and Roxbury, and offered frequent service (hourly, in some places). This ran from 1832 until 1856.

Streetcars offered some advantages, as they ran on tracks laid in city streets, which were frequently unpaved in this era and could be turned to a muddy mess when it rained. Often pedestrians would walk along the middle of the tracks.

One source says horse cars “began at Boylston Market to Norfolk House in Eliot Square, (and a) second line met at Tremont House, traveled over the neck to Norfolk House and then via Center Street over Hogs Bridge to West Roxbury.”

The Metropolitan Railroad Co. continued to operate horsecars until 1886, when it was bought out by the West End Street Railway Co. Thus, the dates when this photo could have been taken are probably between 1856 and 1886.

West End sought to improve service and reduce costs. After looking into the feasibility of building cable car lines, the railroad became aware of a new invention, electric streetcars. After examining Frank J. Sprague’s pioneering operation in Richmond, Virginia, the West End introduced electric streetcars to Boston in 1889.

I was unable to find a definitive date when horsecars stopped running in Boston. The various dates I did find were 1891, 1895, and 1900. But the latter seems unlikely.

During construction of the open-cut MBTA Orange Line in the 1980s, which replaced an elevated, the former site of a Metropolitan R. R. horsecar barn was excavated, and thousands of artifacts recovered. You can read a full report here, in someone’s masters thesis.

Interestingly, the First Church of Roxbury building, which dates to about 1804, is still there, although the steeple had to be replaced after it was damaged by rough weather in 1954.

Norfolk House was built in 1853 and is also still standing. The four-and-a-half story building has now been converted to condos.

-David Sadowski

The Right Here in Roxbury Wiki says: "The Norfolk House has served as a hotel and public house when Roxbury was a prominent stop on the road out of Boston. Later it was converted to a settlement house with a branch of the Boston Public library. Currently the first floor is retail space and the upper floors are condominiums."

The Right Here in Roxbury Wiki says: “The Norfolk House has served as a hotel and public house when Roxbury was a prominent stop on the road out of Boston. Later it was converted to a settlement house with a branch of the Boston Public library. Currently the first floor is retail space and the upper floors are condominiums.”

This early 19th century gallery clock is the original from the First Church of Roxbury, and is on loan to the Willard House. Meanwhile, an exact replica was made and hangs in the church.

This early 19th century gallery clock is the original from the First Church of Roxbury, and is on loan to the Willard House. Meanwhile, an exact replica was made and hangs in the church.

Recent Finds

This January 1962 image shows DC Transit pre-PCC car 1053, just prior to the end of streetcar service in our nation's capitol. Unfortunately, this historically important streetcar was later destroyed in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 2003.

This January 1962 image shows DC Transit pre-PCC car 1053, just prior to the end of streetcar service in our nation’s capitol. Unfortunately, this historically important streetcar was later destroyed in a fire at the National Capital Trolley Museum in 2003.

You might be mistaken for thinking this funicular was in a rural location, but this picture (and the next) shows the Angel's Flight Railway in Los Angeles in August 1968. By then, much of the surrounding area in the Bunker Hill neighborhood had been cleared for redevelopment. Angel's Flight itself was dismantled in 1969, as part of the hill was leveled. After being in storage for many years, it was finally relocated and has now once again resumed operations, with important new safety features after a series of accidents.

You might be mistaken for thinking this funicular was in a rural location, but this picture (and the next) shows the Angel’s Flight Railway in Los Angeles in August 1968. By then, much of the surrounding area in the Bunker Hill neighborhood had been cleared for redevelopment. Angel’s Flight itself was dismantled in 1969, as part of the hill was leveled. After being in storage for many years, it was finally relocated and has now once again resumed operations, with important new safety features after a series of accidents.

Sacramento Northern MW-302 on an early 1960s fantrip. Don's Rail Photos: "1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962."

Sacramento Northern MW-302 on an early 1960s fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos: “1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962.”

A postwar Pullman-built PCC prepares to cross the Chicago River on Madison Street, probably in the early 1950s. That's the old Chicago Daily News building in the background.

A postwar Pullman-built PCC prepares to cross the Chicago River on Madison Street, probably in the early 1950s. That’s the old Chicago Daily News building in the background.

Postwar Pullman PCC 4112, signed to go west on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20, turns onto Franklin Street, probably in the early 1950s.

Postwar Pullman PCC 4112, signed to go west on the Madison-Fifth branch of Route 20, turns onto Franklin Street, probably in the early 1950s.

This picture shows a CTA crane in operation on the old Metropolitan or Garfield Park "L" in the early 1950s. You can see how many nearby buildings have already been cleared away in order to build the Congress Expressway.

This picture shows a CTA crane in operation on the old Metropolitan or Garfield Park “L” in the early 1950s. You can see how many nearby buildings have already been cleared away in order to build the Congress Expressway.

A wooden Met car on the CTA's Kenwood shuttle in August 1957, just a few short moths before this branch line was abandoned. The CTA (and CRT before it) was a tenant and this complicated operation of the line. In addition, the CTA during this period closed several branch lines, in their efforts to consolidate and streamline service.

A wooden Met car on the CTA’s Kenwood shuttle in August 1957, just a few short moths before this branch line was abandoned. The CTA (and CRT before it) was a tenant and this complicated operation of the line. In addition, the CTA during this period closed several branch lines, in their efforts to consolidate and streamline service.

This picture of CTA postwar PCC (built by St. Louis Car Company) at South Shops was probably taken at around the same time (and by the same unknown photographer) as the Kenwood picture, i.e. August 1957. The nearby bus is 3625. If the date is correct, all the postwar Pullmans had been gone from the property for more than two years already.

This picture of CTA postwar PCC (built by St. Louis Car Company) at South Shops was probably taken at around the same time (and by the same unknown photographer) as the Kenwood picture, i.e. August 1957. The nearby bus is 3625. If the date is correct, all the postwar Pullmans had been gone from the property for more than two years already.

Quincy Station Landmarking Recommendation Approved by Commission on Chicago Landmarks

Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) is very pleased to announce that the final recommendation for landmarking the Quincy Elevated Station at 220 S. Wells Street was recently approved at the September 7, 2017 meeting of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Opened for service on October 3, 1897, the Quincy Elevated Station has served generations of Chicagoans and visitors to the City, and remains the best example of an original Loop “‘L’ Station.

More information here.

Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys

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

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

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

Overview

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

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

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

Product Details

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

Meet the Author

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

Images of Rail

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

The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping.

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

We appreciate your business!

For Shipping to US Addresses:

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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection

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

The Postcards of America Series

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

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

Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!

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Reader Showcase

CTA 1758 at Randolph and Clark in the 1950s, with the Woods Theater in the background. It closed in 1989. "The Beauty and the Outlaw," playing at the Woods, is more typically known as Ride, Vaquero!. This western starred Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner and was released on July 15, 1953, which helps date the photo.

CTA 1758 at Randolph and Clark in the 1950s, with the Woods Theater in the background. It closed in 1989. “The Beauty and the Outlaw,” playing at the Woods, is more typically known as Ride, Vaquero!. This western starred Robert Taylor and Ava Gardner and was released on July 15, 1953, which helps date the photo.

As we work hard to finish our new book Chicago Trolleys, we thought we would take this opportunity to share some interesting images that our readers recently shared with us. Most of these are from a single individual who would prefer to remain anonymous.

Many of these are slides that were sold by the late Jack Bailey, under the name Ashland Car Works. Mr. Bailey also sold models using the ACW brand name.

The collector who shared these purchased most of the black-and-white prints from Downtown Hobby, which is now called Chicagoland Hobby.

That doesn’t tell you who took the pictures, in most cases, but that is where they came from.

We thank everyone for their contributions.

-David Sadowski

CTA PCCs 7070 and 7168 at Clark and Howard, the north end of route 22 - Clark-Wentworth, in the 1950s. (Ashland Car Works)

CTA PCCs 7070 and 7168 at Clark and Howard, the north end of route 22 – Clark-Wentworth, in the 1950s. (Ashland Car Works)

A CTA Sedan at 115th adn St. Lawrence, near the south end of the Cottage Grove line.

A CTA Sedan at 115th adn St. Lawrence, near the south end of the Cottage Grove line.

CTA PCC 4019 heads east on 63rd Place private right-of-way in 1949. This is a completely built up residential area today.

CTA PCC 4019 heads east on 63rd Place private right-of-way in 1949. This is a completely built up residential area today.

Patrick wirites,"CTA 1733 is actually on 25th Street east of Laramie. Ogden is a diagonal street and the street is too narrow for Cermak. The bank building seen over the top of 1733 is still there." This would be the west end of route 58 - Ogden.

Patrick wirites,”CTA 1733 is actually on 25th Street east of Laramie. Ogden is a diagonal street and the street is too narrow for Cermak. The bank building seen over the top of 1733 is still there.” This would be the west end of route 58 – Ogden.

Andre Kristopans: "Re 723 at 'Pulaski and North' – no way. However, look carefully at the front truck of 723. It is not following the curve to its right, but is turning left. Seems like we are looking east on Harrison at Halsted and that is a Blue Island car about to go down Blue Island Av. That was a very awkward intersection before Circle Campus street realignments."

Andre Kristopans: “Re 723 at ‘Pulaski and North’ – no way. However, look carefully at the front truck of 723. It is not following the curve to its right, but is turning left. Seems like we are looking east on Harrison at Halsted and that is a Blue Island car about to go down Blue Island Av. That was a very awkward intersection before Circle Campus street realignments.”

CTA 7260 at 119th and Morgan. One of our regular readers writes, "I seem to recall that this photo was taken by Bill Janssen on December 4, 1955, the last day (early morning) that route 36 Broadway-State still existed. It is a Broadway-State car laying over, waiting to head north to Clark and Schreiber. It is not Broadway and Ardmore." We were only going by what was written on the slide, which appears to be in error, thanks. This picture appears to be a time exposure (see the light streaking at right). My guess is that the photographer had his camera on a tripod, and used an exposure time of a few seconds for each picture.

CTA 7260 at 119th and Morgan. One of our regular readers writes, “I seem to recall that this photo was taken by Bill Janssen on December 4, 1955, the last day (early morning) that route 36 Broadway-State still existed. It is a Broadway-State car laying over, waiting to head north to Clark and Schreiber. It is not Broadway and Ardmore.” We were only going by what was written on the slide, which appears to be in error, thanks. This picture appears to be a time exposure (see the light streaking at right). My guess is that the photographer had his camera on a tripod, and used an exposure time of a few seconds for each picture.

CTA 4408 is southbound on Clark at Lake Street.

CTA 4408 is southbound on Clark at Lake Street.

CTA 653 is northbound on Dearborn.

CTA 653 is northbound on Dearborn.

CTA 144 on a fantrip at Broadway and Ardmore, with a PCC behind.

CTA 144 on a fantrip at Broadway and Ardmore, with a PCC behind.

The view looking north from State and Van Buren in the 1950s.

The view looking north from State and Van Buren in the 1950s.

CTA 7193 heads south on State Street in the 1950s.

CTA 7193 heads south on State Street in the 1950s.

CTA 7192 northbound on Dearborn, after both Clark and Dearborn were converted to one-way streets.

CTA 7192 northbound on Dearborn, after both Clark and Dearborn were converted to one-way streets.

CTA 7175 is westbound and Polk and Dearborn.

CTA 7175 is westbound and Polk and Dearborn.

CTA 7210, southbound at Clark and Van Buren.

CTA 7210, southbound at Clark and Van Buren.

CMC GM bus 624 on route 34 - Diversey in the early 1950s. The fare at this time was 13 cents.

CMC GM bus 624 on route 34 – Diversey in the early 1950s. The fare at this time was 13 cents.

Chicago Motor Coach bus 1281, newly painted, at Wilcox garage on May 11, 1946. The CMC assets were purchased by the Chicago Transit Authority on October 1, 1952. Route 26 - Jackson became CTA route 126.

Chicago Motor Coach bus 1281, newly painted, at Wilcox garage on May 11, 1946. The CMC assets were purchased by the Chicago Transit Authority on October 1, 1952. Route 26 – Jackson became CTA route 126.

CMC double-decker 146 in July 1936.

CMC double-decker 146 in July 1936.

CMC double-decker 146 in the 1930s.

CMC double-decker 146 in the 1930s.

CMC 61.

CMC 61.

CMC Mack bus 1005, eastbound on Addison near Wrigley Field. Andre Kristopans: "Cmc Mack was built in 1951."

CMC Mack bus 1005, eastbound on Addison near Wrigley Field. Andre Kristopans: “Cmc Mack was built in 1951.”

In this tricked-up photo, we see a GM demo bus, the design of which eventually became the 500 series, at an unidentified location (not Chicago) circa 1950. George Trapp adds, "The bus is the GM Model TDH5502 Demo which became Chicago Motor Coach #500 in 1951. This bus may have been the first paired window version of the Yellow/GM so called "Old Look" buses. It differed somewhat from the production buses #501-600 delivered from Oct. - Dec. 1948. The demo lacks the "Michigan marker lights" front and rear and has two rectangular shaped vents between the headlights which the 501-600 lacked. The CMC TDH5103's 601-650 of 1950 and 651-700 of late 1951 as well as Fifth Avenue Coach TDH-5104's of 1952 also lacked them." Dan Cluely adds, "I believe that the demo bus picture is downtown Pontiac MI. The S.S. Kresge store seem to match, and this would only be a short distance from GM’s bus plant."

In this tricked-up photo, we see a GM demo bus, the design of which eventually became the 500 series, at an unidentified location (not Chicago) circa 1950. George Trapp adds, “The bus is the GM Model TDH5502 Demo which became Chicago Motor Coach #500 in 1951. This bus may have been the first paired window version of the Yellow/GM so called “Old Look” buses. It differed somewhat from the production buses #501-600 delivered from Oct. – Dec. 1948. The demo lacks the “Michigan marker lights” front and rear and has two rectangular shaped vents between the headlights which the 501-600 lacked. The CMC TDH5103’s 601-650 of 1950 and 651-700 of late 1951 as well as Fifth Avenue Coach TDH-5104’s of 1952 also lacked them.” Dan Cluely adds, “I believe that the demo bus picture is downtown Pontiac MI. The S.S. Kresge store seem to match, and this would only be a short distance from GM’s bus plant.”

Fifth Avenue Coach Company (NYC) double-decker 2030.

Fifth Avenue Coach Company (NYC) double-decker 2030.

CSL gas bus #1 in the 1930s.

CSL gas bus #1 in the 1930s.

A CTA Lawrence Avenue trolley bus turning from Leland onto Broadway in the 1950s. This is how Lawrence TBs looped at the east end of the route. Notice the trolley bu wires were not shared with Broadway streetcars. (Gary Johnson Photo)

A CTA Lawrence Avenue trolley bus turning from Leland onto Broadway in the 1950s. This is how Lawrence TBs looped at the east end of the route. Notice the trolley bu wires were not shared with Broadway streetcars. (Gary Johnson Photo)

The famous Norfolk and Western Class J steam engine 611. Retired in 1959, and resurrected 21 years later, the 611 has three excursions planned for this April.

The famous Norfolk and Western Class J steam engine 611. Retired in 1959, and resurrected 21 years later, the 611 has three excursions planned for this April.

Illinois Terminal double-end PCC on the St. Louis-Granite City route.

Illinois Terminal double-end PCC on the St. Louis-Granite City route.

CTA's historical cars 4271-4272, now 95 years young.

CTA’s historical cars 4271-4272, now 95 years young.

1898 - General Electric and the forerunner to the Chicago Transit Authority make history with the world's first electric multiple-unit cars. That must be inventor Frank Julian Sprague at the front of the car.

1898 – General Electric and the forerunner to the Chicago Transit Authority make history with the world’s first electric multiple-unit cars. That must be inventor Frank Julian Sprague at the front of the car.

In 1972, CTA 4358 emerged as rail grinder S-I "Shhhicago." Don's Rail Photos: "4358 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1924, (order) #2860."

In 1972, CTA 4358 emerged as rail grinder S-I “Shhhicago.” Don’s Rail Photos: “4358 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1924, (order) #2860.”

A CTA wooden "L" car, signed as a Lake Street "B" train.

A CTA wooden “L” car, signed as a Lake Street “B” train.

The Lake Street Elevated Railroad in the 1890s, when it was steam-powered.

The Lake Street Elevated Railroad in the 1890s, when it was steam-powered.

A train of CTA 2000s on the Lake Street "L".

A train of CTA 2000s on the Lake Street “L”.

CTA GMC New Look bus 1305, on State near the Chicago Theater.

CTA GMC New Look bus 1305, on State near the Chicago Theater.

Chicago Motor Coach double-decker buses on Michigan Avenue.

Chicago Motor Coach double-decker buses on Michigan Avenue.

Chicago Motor Coach double-decker buses on Michigan Avenue. Note Kroch's bookstore, which later became Kroch's and Brentano's.

Chicago Motor Coach double-decker buses on Michigan Avenue. Note Kroch’s bookstore, which later became Kroch’s and Brentano’s.

Although the Chicago Surface Lines built some replica vehicles in the 1930s, North Chicago Street Railroad car 8 is not among them. An original built in 1859, we see it here in demonstration service during the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair on the lakefront. This car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Although the Chicago Surface Lines built some replica vehicles in the 1930s, North Chicago Street Railroad car 8 is not among them. An original built in 1859, we see it here in demonstration service during the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair on the lakefront. This car is now preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.

Chicago Motor Coach Ford bus 434, circa 1946.

Chicago Motor Coach Ford bus 434, circa 1946.

An artist's rendering of a CTA New Look bus.

An artist’s rendering of a CTA New Look bus.

This is the upper deck of CMC double-decker bus 146.

This is the upper deck of CMC double-decker bus 146.

A CSL streetcar at Western and Devon in the 1930s, near the old Nortown Theater. That appears to be a Chrysler Airflow in front of the streetcar.

A CSL streetcar at Western and Devon in the 1930s, near the old Nortown Theater. That appears to be a Chrysler Airflow in front of the streetcar.

CTA 7155 signed for route 49 - Western.

CTA 7155 signed for route 49 – Western.

CTA 4160 on Madison near the Garfield Park field house. George Trapp notes, "CSL PCC #4160 on Madison, while photographed on Madison in Garfield Park, this is a publicity photo. The side sign reads Clark-Wentworth and was probably taken in the summer of 1947 before cars in this series, although not necessarily this one, went to Madison."

CTA 4160 on Madison near the Garfield Park field house. George Trapp notes, “CSL PCC #4160 on Madison, while photographed on Madison in Garfield Park, this is a publicity photo. The side sign reads Clark-Wentworth and was probably taken in the summer of 1947 before cars in this series, although not necessarily this one, went to Madison.”

CTA 225 in the 1950s, probably at 77th and Vincennes prior to a fantrip. This car is now preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.

CTA 225 in the 1950s, probably at 77th and Vincennes prior to a fantrip. This car is now preserved at the Seashore Trolley Museum in Maine.

CSL 297 on Belmont.

CSL 297 on Belmont.

It's hard to make out the number, but this shows a CSL one-man car at Armitage and Hudson in the 1940s. That is not far from Lincoln Avenue.

It’s hard to make out the number, but this shows a CSL one-man car at Armitage and Hudson in the 1940s. That is not far from Lincoln Avenue.

Recent Correspondence

1917-uniform

Neil Pantelis writes:

Thank you for such a great page and for sharing an incredible amount of information.

Can you tell me by looking at this photo if the subject is wearing the uniform of a conductor, driver, motorman etc?  He is in a group photo from my grandparents engagement party.

The photo is from the Douglas Park area of Chicago in the year 1917. It is very likely near the intersection of California and Ogden.

Anyone working for the Chicago Surface Lines in 1917 would most likely have had a CSL badge, with a number, on their hat. The resolution on this picture is such that it’s difficult to tell whether or not there is such a badge.

Perhaps our readers can weigh in on this. This appears to be but a portion of a larger photo. If I could see the rest, perhaps we can try to put this into the proper context.

Glad you like the blog.

A Chicago City Railway Co. hat badge.

A Chicago City Railway Co. hat badge.

Spence Ziegler writes:

I tried to access this website recently and I noticed that it’s gone; do you know anything about this?  Any information or thoughts on this would greatly be appreciated. It’s address was CAERR.com.

Thank you in advance.

Looks like someone didn’t pay for the domain renewal.  Julie Johnson died in 2011, and presumably left some money to pay for this, and now the registration has run out. Not sure who else was involved with this web site.

I did a “Whois” search and it looks like someone updated the site several months ago, so someone else must be involved:

Expires On 2017-02-14
Registered On 2000-02-14
Updated On 2016-06-22

Jack Bejna writes:

I enjoy the Trolley Dodger immensely, especially anything CA&E! I grew up in Broadview and walked to Proviso High School every day along the CA&E right of way from 9th avenue to 5th Avenue. This month’s CA&E images are some that I haven’t seen before and are great, especially since they’re medium format images. I have a request… I would like to see a good image of the old dispatcher’s office (before it was repainted and the upper windows covered over. I’m sure someone took pictures of the office but I’ve never seen one.

Thanks for all you do; it sure makes my day!

PS- Here are some CA&E shots that I have Photoshopped. All of them except CA&E 26 are from the JJ (Julie Johnson) collection.

What you call “Photoshopping” is nothing new, when you consider that retouching and airbrushing has been around for a long time.  There is nothing wrong with creating idealized versions of photographs that eliminate unnecessary parts of the background that are distracting, as long as everyone realizes what they are.

If anyone is familiar with promotional materials from General Motors, St. Louis Car Company, Chicago Surface Lines, etc., you will see all sorts of retouched and airbrushed images. Photoshop is just a different way of achieving the same result.

My own approach to photo restoration is to eliminate imperfections to make the image look more realistic. It’s a big world, and there is plenty of room for both approaches, as long as there is “truth in packaging,” so people will know the difference.

Thanks for sharing these with our readers.  Another good reason for posting these is that Julie Johnson’s web site has, for the moment, disappeared.

-David Sadowski

CA&E 46: This builders photo of CA&E 46 was too good not to improve; looks a lot better.

CA&E 46: This builders photo of CA&E 46 was too good not to improve; looks a lot better.

CA&E 28: A really poor print that I worked on to improve; not a bad shot.

CA&E 28: A really poor print that I worked on to improve; not a bad shot.

CA&E 26: The nice original was marred by the fence in front of it so I removed it and it looks much better.

CA&E 26: The nice original was marred by the fence in front of it so I removed it and it looks much better.

CA&E 24: A washed out shot that deserved to be worked on a bit.

CA&E 24: A washed out shot that deserved to be worked on a bit.

CA&E 14: Pretty much the same as CA&E 12.

CA&E 14: Pretty much the same as CA&E 12.

CA&E 12: The original was coupled to another car and looked a little crowded, so I got rid of the car and cleaned up the image as well.

CA&E 12: The original was coupled to another car and looked a little crowded, so I got rid of the car and cleaned up the image as well.

In my search for CA&E car Photos, sometimes you just can"t find what you want. Recently, I was looking at an image from the WCJ collection - ETRM, specifically car 46, a 1902 Stephenson Motor. I had been searching for a good image of car 101, a 1902 Stephenson trailer. Hmmm, the wheels started turning and here you see the result. I'm sure a purist would be able to pick apart some details, etc., but it sure looks like CA&E trailer 101 to me! (Editor's note: I assume WCJ stands for early railfan William C. Janssen.)

In my search for CA&E car Photos, sometimes you just can”t find what you want. Recently, I was looking at an image from the WCJ collection – ETRM, specifically car 46, a 1902 Stephenson Motor. I had been searching for a good image of car 101, a 1902 Stephenson trailer. Hmmm, the wheels started turning and here you see the result. I’m sure a purist would be able to pick apart some details, etc., but it sure looks like CA&E trailer 101 to me!
(Editor’s note: I assume WCJ stands for early railfan William C. Janssen.)

cae-dining-car-carolyn-niles-1905

cae-car-309-3-hicks-1908-end

cae-car-101-trailer-stephenson-1902

street-railwayreview1895-002

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