CA&E 410 (plus one), westbound at Fifth Avenue in Maywood.
A friend recently gave me a stack of Chicago Aurora & Elgin slides, which make up the bulk of today’s post. Some we have run before, but I don’t think too many of you will mind seeing them again, this time from a different source. Others, you haven’t seen.
Scanning an image is just a starting point in this whole process. Mostly, these were dupe slides made using Kodachrome, which is not what commercial labs used for this purpose. A regular lab would have used special low-contrast Ektachrome duplicating film.
Contrast is your enemy when copying things film-to-film, and Kodachrome is contrasty– great for original slides, not as good for dupes. So these were likely homemade dupes, and a lot of them were not color-corrected. I spent a great deal of time working these over in Photoshop, but in some cases, imperfections remain.
I don’t think there is a single image that I didn’t try to improve in some way, and I included a few of the original scans, just to show you how some of them looked before corrections were applied.
As always, if you have location information, or other factual tidbits to share, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or drop us a line at:
PS- Each image has a unique number. When referring to individual images, please use the image name/number, i.e. pict763. To find this, hover your mouse over the image.
CA&E 456 on a snowy Chicago day. I’m wondering if this is Wells Street Terminal.
A CA&E train headed up by one of the ex-North Shore Line woods that CA&E purchased in 1946. This one could be car 141. The train is heading west, crossing over Union Station.
A six-car CA&E train at the Halsted curve.
CA&E 428 plus one at Pulaski Road on the Garfield Park “L”.
A classic view of the CA&E in Elgin, with a beautiful reflection from the Fox River. A sign advertises the Rialto Theatre, which burned down in 1956. The fiim being advertised, The Big Sky starring Kirk Douglas, was released in August 1952, which is most likely when this picture was taken. George Foelschow adds: “Four cars at the Elgin terminal. This must be a fantrip, as single cars were the rule on the Elgin branch, except for weekday rush hours and Sunday afternoons for visitors to the Elgin State Hospital.”
310 on a fantrip on the Mt. Carmel branch. I believe the date was 1955.
A westbound CA&E train crossing over the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell, shortly before sundown.
CA&E 426 near West Chicago, on its way to the Aurora terminal. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)
A CA&E train crossing over Route 83 in 1955. (A. C. Kalmbach Photo)
CA&E 403 at the Wheaton station. (Steven P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E 415 at Wheaton Yard, in War Bond livery (probably during the Korean War). (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E 20 at Wheaton Yard. This car is now at the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E bus 101 at Wheaton Yard. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E loco 2001 in Maywood. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E 427 at the Aurora Terminal. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
CA&E 421 at the Wheaton station. (Stephen P. Hyett Photo)
A CA&E train at the Sacramento curve on the Garfield Park “L”. You can see that construction is already underway at left on a ramp that will connect with the temporary trackage in Van Buren Street, which was used from 1953-58 (but not by the interurban, which cut back service to Forest Park). The area to the right of the ramp is where the new Congress Expressway was to be built. This picture was probably taken circa 1952. George Foelschow: ” The view is looking northeast, presumably from the Sacramento station platform, not southeast.”
This looks to be the same train as in the previous picture, taken a few seconds later. CA&E 460 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited.
CA&E 414 is at the head of a westbound Aurora-Batavia Limited train at one of the west side Garfield Park “L” stations. This and the next few pictures were all taken at this same location, a station near a curve. The consensus is this is the Kedzie station, which was near a curve. CA&E trains stopped there, which would have given the photographer more time to get a shot of each car. We are looking east, and the Sacramento curve is in the distance about two blocks away.
CA&E wood car 34 heads up this westbound train.
CA&E 318 is at the front of a three-car westbound train.
Two “Roarin’ Elgin” trains pass on the Garfield Park “L”. Cliff W. says we are “looking east from Pulaski with the single crossover just east of the station visible.”
CA&E 457 heads a westbound train at Kilbourn.
CA&E 458 heads westbound at Laramie, along with two other curved-sided cars, all built in 1945 by St. Louis Car Company.
CA&E 459. George Foelschow: “This is the Collingbourne flag stop on a banked curve on the Elgin branch, presumably on a fantrip.”
CA&E 459 at Raymond Street in Elgin, June 9, 1957.
CA&E 451. Mike Schattl: “The location is the bridge over the CNW in Wheaton.”
CA&E 423 (plus one) head east towards Chicago, while a freight is on a nearby spur line. Bill Shaptokin says this and the next two pictures are “at Renwick — interchange with the MILW south of Elgin.”
CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.
CA&E 3003 and 3004 hauling freight.
3003 and 3004 again, with a fairly substantial (for the CA&E) freight train.
CA&E 421. Bill Shapotkin says this is “Dunham Rd on the Elgin Branch. The car is E/B.”
The same picture as it looked before color restoration in Photoshop.
A single CA&E car on a single-track right of way, which could mean the Aurora, Batavia, or Elgin branches west of Wheaton.
A single car near the Fox River. Bill Shapotkin: “This pic is in Batavia (NOT Aurora). Shot is between Batavia Station and Glenwood Park.” On the other hand, George Foelschow writes, “This is most assuredly on the south side of Elgin, near the point of changeover between trolley and third rail. Not for nothing is Elgin, my hometown, called “The Bluff City”, also the name of the municipal cemetery, served at one time by Grove Avenue streetcars.”
Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west.”
CA&E cars at Lockwood Yard, including 48 and 314. Cliff W.: “In the wide shot there are Met cars in the right background. This is the south storage track with Flournoy in the foreground.”
CA&E 48 at Lockwood Yard.
CA&E 314 at Lockwood Yard.
This picture may possibly have been taken just west of Laramie.
CA&E 459 and 452 are part of an eastbound train somewhere in either Oak Park or Forest Park, where the B&OCT ran parallel to the interurban.
Here, we are looking west along the CA&E right-of-way at possibly Central or Austin. In the rear, you can see a large gas holder in nearby Forest Park. Andre Kristopans: “Photo on ground level with middle track is at Gunderson station. Middle track was so CAE could pass L trains. Abandoned after Westchester L’s were dropped in 1951.” Gunderson is a short distance west of Ridgeland. The street was named after the developer who first built homes in this area. The new (early 1900s) development explains why there was a rapid transit stop on a sidestreet. When the CTA rebuilt this line in the late 1950s, they chose not to put a stop at either Gunderson or Ridgeland. Instead, auxilliary entrances were added to the Oak Park and Austin stops, at East Avenue and Lombard, respectively.
Westbound CA&E car 428 crosses the B&OCT in Forest Park. This was also where the Chicago Great Western, now long abandoned, branched off.
The same location as the previous picture, with the iconic gas holder visible. The crossing was located between Harlem and DesPlaines, at approximately the same location where there is now a flyover eliminating this bottleneck.
I believe this is DesPlaines Avenue, and we are looking west. This picture was taken before the station was reconfigured in 1953. At this time, the station was located on the east side of DesPlaines, behind the photographer. The Acme Feeds towers, located at 7715 W. Van Buren are visible at right. These towers caught fire in 1980 and were demolished.
CA&E 418 is westbound approaching the DesPlaines River, passing by Concordia Cemetery.
CA&E 454 is westbound, about to cross First Avenue in Maywood.
CA&E 429 heads east near Commonwealth Edison just west of the DesPlaines River. Meanwhile, 452 heads west.
One of the St. Louis-built 1945 cars (454?) crosses First Avenue in Maywood, heading east. We are looking north. There was a Refiner’s Pride gas station located between the CA&E and Chicago Great Western tracks, on the west side of First.
A westbound six-car train of CA&E woods stops at Glen Oak. Bill Shapotkin: “Yes, this IS Glen Oak. If you look hard enough, you can see the house I grew up in (at right in the distance).”
CA&E 310 on a fantrip at Glen Oak.
CA&E 422 and 434 at Wheaton station.
Not sure where this curved-sided CA&E car is. Cliff W.: “The single Saint Louis car going over the bridge is passing over Liberty Street in Wheaton directly north of the shops and approaching the bridge over the C&NW on the Elgin branch. If you look very closely at the far right of the picture you can see a CA&E car sitting in the yard.” Bill Shapotkin: “This car is x/o Liberty Drive in Wheaton (on the Elgin Branch): (View looks E/B on Liberty).”
CA&E 454 is westbound at the bridge over Winfield Creek (on the Elgin branch near Lincoln Avenue).
A CA&E train passes a two-car train of CTA Met “L” cars at the Halsted Curve.
The CA&E’s Lockwood Yard, also known as “The Orchard,” was a small storage area just west of Laramie. This view is looking northwest across the main line.
CA&E 52 pilots a three-car train of woods on the old Met main line near Racine. You can see the new (in 1953) ramp at left, heading down to the Van Buren Street temporary trackage, which would shortly be put into use. It connected with the “L” structure at Aberdeen. Expressway construction is underway at right.
Much the same location as the previous picture, but perhaps a year earlier in 1952, as construction of the ramp has just started. This was very late in the afternoon, and it was difficult to correct for the yellowish-reddish late afternoon light. But don’t forget, they called it the “Sunset Lines” for a reason!
Racine station on the old Met main line, with the Throop Street Shops in the background. This picture was taken sometime between 1950 and 1953, as there are some “flat door” 6000s present (along with Met car 2880).
Throop Street Shops in its last days (1953)
CA&E 404 eastbound at Marshfield Junction, where three different Met lines (Douglas, Garfield, Logan Square/Humboldt Park) came together. Note the CA&E-only platform at right.
A train of CA&E woods, headed up by 302, goes up the ramp to cross over the C&NW/PRR right-of-way at Rockwell. The “L” was raised up when the line it crossed was elevated onto an embankment. That explains why there are brick bases for some of the “L” support columns.
The CA&E crossing the C&NW/PRR at Rockwell.
Not sure of this location. Cliff W. says this we are “at Prince Crossing on the Elgin branch looking west.” Bill Shapotkin: “View looks N/W.”
CA&E 454 is eastbound at Jewell Road in Wheaton on the Elgin branch.
A line-up of cars at Wheaton Yard.
From left to right: 430, 315, 425, and 310 at Wheaton Yard.
Some ex-North Shore Line woods are in dead storage at the west end of Wheaton Yard, circa 1954, shortly to be scrapped.
Cars 435 and 436, possibly in dead storage at the same location as the previous picture, circa 1953-57 when the CA&E no longer needed so many cars.
CA&E electric locos 2002, 2001, 3003 and 3004 in Wheaton.
CA&E 310 on the west side of Mannheim Road near Roosevelt. The occasion was a fantrip.
According to what’s written on this slide, CA&E locos 4004 and 4005 are in North Aurora in August 1952. On the other hand, Bill Shapotkin writes: “This pic is Aurora Ave on the Aurora Branch.”
The same picture before color restoration in Photoshop.
CA&E 310 in 1955 on the Mt. Carmel branch on a fantrip.
CA&E 310 on the same fantrip as the previous picture.
The previous picture as it appeared before color restoration.
The 310 running along the west side of Mannheim near Roosevelt Road.
CA&E 406 in fantrip service at State Road on the Batavia branch. Due to the width of the crossing, trains switched from third rail to overhead wire at this location.
CA&E 406 and 418 at the end of the line in Aurora.
Locos 2001, 2002 and train.
CA&E 453 is eastbound at Batavia Junction as a Chicago Local.
CA&E 458 eastbound at Warrenville.
Hundreds attempt to board the special train at Clark and Lake.
Steve DeRose writes:
You have managed to get me in one of your photographs of the 4000s at Clark and Lake (see above).
Here is the shot I got from that image. I did not get a poster. If I had, I would have folded it flat to fit it in my satchel (which you can glimpse hanging from my left shoulder).
I did not ride the 4000s this day. I did ride the 2400s. Most of my photographs (and videos) were shot on the Inner Loop @ Quincy and Wells.
Also, after having a late lunch at Mr. Beef On Orleans, I was walking to the Chicago Brown Line “L” station and espied the 4000s deadheading back to Skokie Shops.
My images are Creative Commons – Noncommercial – Allow Derivative Works – Share Alike. I’m not a copyright czar.
-Steve De Rose 8=)}
My picture originally ran in our post Chicago’s “L” Turns 125 (June 7, 2017). I guess, by looking at your picture, that you are the guy in gray, kneeling behind the person with the white shirt.
Thanks for sharing these pictures with our readers. FYI, the CTA is still selling those same posters through their gift shop, so you still have a chance to get one.
New CD Releases
We are fortunate this time to have two new traction titles to go along with a new steam release:
DC Transit, 1959
# of Discs – 1
DC Transit, 1959
Streetcars have now returned to Washington, D.C., but this vintage 1959 hi-fi recording reminds us of the system we once had. This excellent quality recording documents both PCCs and historic car 766 in action, with both trackside sounds and a night ride over private right-of-way to Cabin John. Capital Transit became DC Transit in 1955.
Total time – 49:47
Sacramento Northern Electrics
# of Discs – 1
Sacramento Northern Electrics
The Sacramento Northern Railway (reporting mark SN) was a 183-mile (295 km) electric interurban railway that connected Chico in northern California with Oakland via the California capital, Sacramento. It ran directly on the streets of Oakland, Sacramento, Yuba City, Chico, and Woodland and ran passenger service until 1941 and freight service into the 1960s. Electric operation ceased in 1965.
These recordings, which make up the bulk of this CD, were made on the SN in 1962, and feature both trolley freight operations, mainly in city streets, plus fantrips using passenger combine 1005, which had been saved for use as a maintenance-of-way car. A very rare recording!
We hear the distinctive sounds of the Big Red Cars in their final days of operation on the 20-mile LA to Long Beach line in 1961. Who could have known that, 30 years later, this same line would be reincarnated as “light rail,” running in almost the same exact right-of-way? Pacific Electric may be long gone, but it is certainly not forgotten!
Total time – 49:11
Sacramento Northern Maintenance of Way car 302 at Mallard, California on November 29, 1953 on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Association fantrip. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1020 was built by Hall-Scott Motor Car Co in 1913, as OA&E 1020. It became SF-S 1020 in 1920 and SN 1020 in 1928. It was renumbered as MW302 in 1941 and went to Western Railway Museum in 1962.” (William R. Smith Photo)
Norfolk & Western
Virginia Blue Ridge
# of Discs – 1
Norfolk & Western
The bulk of this record documents the final days of steam power on the Norfolk and Western in 1959, both freight operations and the final fantrip with the famous J-611 that truly signaled the end of an era. Except for the occasional fantrip now with the 611, steam may be long gone from the N&W, but it certainly went out in great style, as you will hear on these classic recordings.
The N&W did not even begin the transition to diesel until 1955, being the most notable proponent of steam in the 1950s.
Virginia Blue Ridge
The Virginia Blue Ridge Railway (reporting mark, VBR) was a small, historic short line system tucked away near the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because of this, as well as the road’s secluded nature, it received little coverage and often went unnoticed by rail enthusiasts. However, the VBR offered all the things which made short lines fascinating; friendly service, a leisurely schedule, and small power. It also gained recognition for utilizing steam locomotives into the early 1960s. When first conceived the VBR was envisioned as a logging/timber operation. However, this traffic was short-lived and after nearly going under the railroad returned to prosperity beginning in the 1930s by hauling other natural resources. As the years passed, the VBR’s customer base dwindled and service was eventually discontinued in 1980. The recordings heard here were made in 1959.
Total time – 54:11
Pre-Order Our New Book Chicago Trolleys
On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)
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.
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
David Sadowski has been interested in streetcars ever since his father took him for a ride on one of the last remaining lines in 1958. He grew up riding trolley buses and “L” trains all over Chicago. He coauthored Chicago Streetcar Pictorial: The PCC Car Era, 1936–1958, and runs the online Trolley Dodger blog. Come along for the ride as we travel from one side of the city to the other and see how trolley cars and buses moved Chicago’s millions of hardworking, diverse people.
Images of Rail
The Images of Rail series celebrates the history of rail, trolley, streetcar, and subway transportation across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the people, places, and events that helped revolutionize transportation and commerce in 19th- and 20th-century America. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.
The book costs just $21.99 plus shipping. Shipping within the US is included in the price. Shipping to Canada is just $5 additional, or $10 elsewhere.
Please note that Illinois residents must pay 10.00% sales tax on their purchases.
We appreciate your business!
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NEW – Chicago Trolleys Postcard Collection
We are pleased to report that selected images from our upcoming book Chicago Trolleys will be available on September 25th in a pack of 15 postcards, all for just $7.99. This is part of a series put out by Arcadia Publishing. Dimensions: 6″ wide x 4.25″ tall
The Postcards of America Series
Here in the 21st century, when everyone who’s anyone seems to do most of their communicating via Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to wax a little nostalgic when it comes to days gone by. What happened to more personal means of communication like hand-written letters on nice stationery? Why don’t people still send postcards when they move someplace new or go away on vacation?
If that line of thinking sounds familiar, then Arcadia Publishing’s Postcards of America was launched with you in mind. Each beautiful volume features a different collection of real vintage postcards that you can mail to your friends and family.
Pre-Order your Chicago Trolleys Postcard Pack today!
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This famous photo shows Tower 18 at Lake and Wells in 1917, a very busy intersection indeed. We are looking north along Wells. In 1969, the tower was torn down and replaced in a slightly different location, so that Lake Street trains could continue directly east instead of having to turn south on Wells. This was done to facilitate pairing the Lake line with the new Dan Ryan service. (George Trapp collection)
I apologize for the 16-day gap since our last post, but I recently worked 15 straight days as an election judge. It usually takes me a while to recover when I do this. On the other hand, I have friends who say it will take them the next four years to recover from this election, so I should consider myself fortunate.
Today we have another generous selection of Chicago rapid transit photos from the collections of George Trapp. We thank him again for sharing these with our readers.
Today, we are mainly featuring the South Side “L”, used by today’s CTA Green Line, plus Howard Street on the North side, and the Niles Center/Skokie branch, today’s Yellow Line.
As always, if you have anything interesting to add to the discussion, you can either leave a comment here on this post, or contact us directly at:
PS- To find earlier posts in our series, just type “Chicago rapid transit” in the search window at the top of the page.
CTA hi-speed 6129 at Chicago Avenue on the Ravenswood (today’s Brown Line) in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)
CTA high-speeds 32 and 4 at Kimball on the Ravenswood in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)
CTA high-speed 3 at Kimball in 1961. (Pete Busack Photo, George Trapp Collection)
This look like the Linden Yard in Wilmette to me. The date is 1957-58. George Trapp: “Linden Yard but looking North toward Linden Station.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection) This and the other photos taken at the same time are “Kodachrome prints” (see the next picture).
The phrase “Kodachrome print” has gone by the wayside. But back in the old days, there were two different ways to make color prints– a Type C print from a negative, and a Type R print from a slide. You could also have a C print made from a slide by way of an internegative, which somewhat reduced the inevitable buildup in contrast printing direct, but also sacrificed some sharpness. Scanning and modern color printing has replaced much of this.
A pair of flat-door 6000s at Howard Yard circa 1957-58. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
Howard Yard, 1957-58. This was taken at the same time as the previous photo. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
THe view looking north from the transfer bridge at Howard in 1957-58. The tracks going to the north are Evanston; at left, the North Shore Line’s Skokie Valley Route, site of today’s Yellow Line. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
In response to demands that the struggling Chicago Rapid Transit Company replace their aging fleet of wooden cars with modern ones, the company had a mock-up built for a proposed 5000-series car at Skokie Shops. This shows some influence from New York City cars. The 5001-5004 articulated cars that were eventually built in 1947-48 were patterned after the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit “Bluebirds,” but styling from this mock-up does seem to be reflected in the 6000s that followed in 1950. (George Trapp Collection)
CRT gate car 2509, shown here coupled to 4395, is signed for Westchester, so this may be Laramie Yard on the Garfield Park “L”. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
A Niles Center car at Main Street in Skokie. (George Trapp Collection)
When the Niles Center branch ran (1925-1948), Chicago’s rapid transit lines depended on a lot of walk-in riders from the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, large parts of Skokie were not built up until after World War II. (George Trapp Collection)
CRT 1804, shown here at Crawford, has just changed over from overhead wire to third rail on its inbound journey. George Trapp: “This car, built by A. C. F., was originally a trailer as were all the cars from 1789-1815. These cars are quite similar to the 1769-1788 built by Pullman in 1909.” (George Trapp Collection)
CRT 1807 in the pocket track at Dempster, northern end of the Niles Center branch. (George Trapp Collection)
A train of CRT 4000s on the North Shore Line. (George Trapp Collection)
The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)
The north end of Howard Yard in CRT days. George Trapp: “Note cars 1776 and 1779, which head up the two trains at right. Built by Pullman in 1909, these were the last wooden cars built new in Chicago.” (George Trapp Collection)
Construction at Skokie Shops. By comparing this photo to a similar one on Graham Garfield’s web site, we can date this to about 1930. George Trapp: “Construction at Skokie (Niles Center at time of photo) is late 1920’s or early 1930’s. Wood cars at right are in CRT Green and Orange scheme.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
The view looking north from Howard Street. George Trapp dates this to the “late 1920’s – 1930’s.” (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
The Ravenswood terminal at Lawrence and Kimball in CRT days. (George Trapp Collection)
CTA high-speed car 4, built by St. Louis Car Company in 1960, at Skokie Shops in December 1962. (George Trapp Photo)
CTA 29 outbound from Howard on the new Skokie Swift in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)
CTA high-speed car 2 at Skokie Shops in June 1962. (George Trapp Photo)
CTA car 4 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)
CTA car 2 near Howard in 1964. (George Trapp Photo)
CRT 4320 at Skokie Shops, freshly repainted. George Trapp: “CRT 4320 not CTA, car is freshly painted in CRT Green and Orange and is a Met assigned car note position of safety springs and Van Dorn coupler.” Comparison with a similar photograph dates this one to 1937. (Allen T. Zagel Photo, George Trapp Collection)
Gate cars at Howard. (George Trapp Collection)
A CTA single car unit (28) at Howard on the Evanston shuttle. (Lou Gerard Photo, George Trapp Collection)
George Trapp: “Car 2788 is probably at 54th Avenue yard on Douglas Park branch as that is what rear side sign says.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
An old postcard view of the Wells Street bridge over the Chicago River. I assume we are looking north. The clock tower is part of the old Chicago & North Western station. It would be nice to see this one in color. (George Trapp Collection)
Metropolitan Elevated Railway car 800 heads up a train in the early 1900s at the old Glenwood amusement park in Batavia on the Aurora, Elgin & Chicago (later the CA&E). That’s the branch’s large powerhouse in the background. Circa 1960, this was considered (but rejected) as the new home for the fledgling Illinois Electric Railway Museum. (George Trapp Collection)
Unlike this one, most 4000-series “L” cars did not have giant thumbprints on them. So, either the Cardiff Giant has paid a visit, or someone put their thumb onto a wet print or negative. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
This photo of two gate cars on the Loop “L” is a bit scratchy, but I think I recognize the Insurance Exchange Building at right, which would make this the Wells leg of the Loop, looking north. (George Trapp Collection)
The South Side “L” crossing Garfield Boulevard (55th), circa the 1920s. (George Trapp Collection)
CRT gate car 50. Don’s Rail Photos says, “50 was built by Jackson & Sharpe in 1892 as SSRT 50. It became CERy 50 in 1913 and CRT 50 in 1923. It was rebuilt as S2 in 1939.” (George Trapp Collection)
CRT 4265 heads up a northbound train going into the State Street subway not far south of Roosevelt Road. It is signed as going to both Howard and Skokie. This picture must have been taken between 1943 and 1948. (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
61st Street on the South Side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)
M. E. says this is “the view facing west at Indiana, again while the Kenwood line was a through line.” George Trapp: “The center-door steel car is a loop-bound Kenwood train, shown at the junction with the main South Side “L”. The 4-car train is a north-south through train. The wood train about to cross in front of the Kenwood train is probably a Loop-bound Englewood train.” The tracks at right were used for freight. This photo was taken from the roof of the building shown on the left of the next picture that follows. Contrast this with a photo taken circa 1955-57 at much the same spot in our previous post Chicago Rapid Transit Photos, Part Three (March 23, 2016). (George Trapp Collection)
I thought perhaps this was a Stock Yards train, but close examination of the sign seems to indicate it’s a Kenwood instead. If you zoom in, you can also see freight tracks at left, which paralleled the Kenwood line on an embankment. If so, we are looking east from where the Kenwood branch met the South Side main line near Indiana Avenue. (George Trapp Collection)
An enlargement of the previous photo, showing the Kenwood right-of-way adjacent to freight tracks on an embankment. I am not sure which movie theater that is in the background– the only Park Theater I know of was located at Lake and Austin. This picture was probably taken in Kenwood shuttle days on the CTA (1949-1957), since there is only the one track connecting it with the main line. Two tracks were visible in the earlier picture taken from the roof of a nearby building. Chris Cole adds, “The Park Theater is listed in Cinema Treasures at 3955 S King Dr. That matches the location in the picture.”
The facade of the old Park Theater, located at 3955 S. Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. Drive, is still there, next to the abandoned embankment that once housed the Kenwood “L”.
M. E. writes: “The sign says Kenwood to Indiana Ave., which was the shuttle service.”
We are looking east from the Indiana Avenue station. Off in the distance, more or less straight ahead, is the Kenwood branch of the “L”. The north-south main line heads off to the right (south) at this point, and Stock Yards service would go behind us to the west. M. E. adds: “The caption also says Stock Yards service is behind the photographer. It would be more accurate to say the Stock Yards L used the south side of the south platform, which is visible in the picture. From there the Stock Yards L headed west (behind the photographer) to Halsted, then into the stock yards. This picture was taken while the Kenwood line was still a through line into the Loop (and possibly north to Wilson). The same view after the Kenwood line was cut back to a shuttle is in photo dave408.” George Trapp adds: “straight ahead with jog is the Kenwood Branch, which shared embankment with Chicago Junction Ry.” (George Trapp Collection)
David Vartanoff noticed that this Chicago Blues LP features a cover shot of the “L”, taken where Kenwood branched off from the main line.
61st Street on the South side “L”. (George Trapp Collection)
George Trapp: “The pair of South Side gate cars are at Lake between State and Wabash on a Wilson Ave. Local, probably originating on the Kenwood Branch.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo, George Trapp Collection)
This old photo shows South Side Rapid Transit car 131 at 63rd Street in 1899. (George Trapp Collection)
South Side Rapid Transit car 139 rounding the curve at Harrison and State, probably in the late 1890s. George Foelschow: “The photo of South Side car 139 on the Harrison curve April 16, 1898 appears on page 35 of CERA B-131, authored by Bruce Moffat. Multiple-unit inventor Frank Sprague may be at the controls, since he is pictured on the following page the next day on an M-U test at 61st Street yard. These tests presaged the steam to electric conversion on the South Side “L”.” (George Trapp Collection)
It is not widely known, but during its first few years, the South side “L” was powered by steam. This picture was taken at Indiana Avenue in the 1890s. (George Trapp Collection)
Finally, here are a few more pictures from a 4000s fantrip on the Skokie Swift in the late 1970s or early 1980s:
(George Trapp Photo)
(George Trapp Photo)
(George Trapp Photo)
(George Trapp Photo)
(George Trapp Photo)
(George Trapp Photo)
Adam Platt from Minneapolis writes:
Hello David… very much enjoy the blog and look forward to your posts.
A couple of notes regarding the current post.
—Re Kenwood shuttle–The Park theater at 40th and Grand Blvd opened as the Grand Oak, a vaudeville house, but became the Park during the period 1937-1958.
—The single unit at Howard NB on Evanston shuttle is car 28. Throughout the late 1960s and 70s, the car assignments on Evanston (still hard to think of it as the Purple Line) were single units 27, 28, 39-50. I practically lived on these cars growing up in east Wilmette. Later the CTA moved single units 5-22 and 31-38 from the Ravenswood to Linden and they operated in rush hour Evanston Express service, but I believe lacking fireboxes, they did not run in shuttle service.
1-4 were retired early, though I remember riding 4 on Skokie in the 1970s, in normal green/white CTA paint, though service there was held down mostly by cars 23-26, 29-30, which had pan trolleys, with doodlebugs 51-54 running in rush hour. Ultimately all 5-50 finished their lives on Evanston, I believe, though perhaps the Skokie cars migrated straight to the scrapper.
The Evanston shuttle operation was really one of the most interesting in the system because it ran one-man with the motorman collecting fares from many of the low volume Evanston stations until approx 1980. And notably, these motormen managed to collect fares, operate the doors, and run the line faster than most current CTA one-man operators. And Evanston ran one-man all but roughly 35 hours a week, which is amazing when you consider today’s volumes, though I think there are half as many off peak runs on Evanston than there were back in single unit days. I recall 4 cars typically active at once (but don’t hold me to it). Of course, some stations had agents in rush hours, some in middays. I do believe around 1980 CTA went to mostly two-car trains on Evanston shuttle and this unique operation was history.
And of course after I sent this I discovered that all the 5-50 cars ended their life running infrequently on weekends on the Blue Line, as the CTA could not retire them due to the constraints of a federally funded rehab.
Stephen M. Scalzo, In Memoriam
We are shocked by the news that long-time railfan historian Stephen M. Scalzo has died at the age of 73. His family has graciously shared the notice they have prepared with us. You can read it here.
Steve was a long-time member of the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group, and had a background as a railfan journalist and historian going back more than 50 years. He will be sorely missed by all of us.
In the first few days of November, we passed last year’s total of 107,460 page views, even though there have been fewer posts (57 vs. 108). This year’s posts, on the other hand, are longer and contain more pictures. Our current total of 218,332 page views in less than two years now exceeds that of the previous blog we worked on, and we have done this in a shorter period of time.
We must be doing something right, eh?
New Book Project
We are now working on a new paperback book Chicago Trolleys, that we expect will be published in 2017. Original research does cost money, so please consider making a donation to cover our costs. We will keep you updated as we progress, and thank you in advance for your help.
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 165th 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 218,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a contribution there as well.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
Here is CSL 2802 on a July 13, 1941 CERA fantrip alongside the South Chicago branch of the Illinois Central Electric suburban service. That nattily dressed man has been identified as none other than George Krambles (1915-1998). We ran another picture from this trip in an earlier post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six (February 22, 2016). Known as a Robertson Rebuild, Don’s Rail Photos says, “2802 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1901 as CCRy 2554. It was sold as C&CS 702 in 1908 and renumbered 2802 in 1913. It became CSL 2802 in 1914.” A circa-1940 Packard prepares to go around the car. (Hochner Photo)
Today, we’ve assembled some of our recent photo finds into this post, which takes us north, south, east, and west around the Chicago area. As always, if you have any interesting tidbits of information to share regarding these pictures, don’t hesitate to either leave a Comment on this post, or contact us directly at:
CSL/CTA Sedan 3327 is shown in the late 1940s at Cottage Grove and 115th, south end of route 4. The Illinois Central Electric suburban service is at left on an embankment.
CSL 5197 was a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. Don’s Rail Photos notes, “5001 thru 5200 were built by Brill in 1905, #14318, for the Chicago City Ry. where they carried the same numbers. They were rebuilt in 1908 to bring them up to the standard of the later cars.” This photo was taken at 31st and Lake Park. On the back of this photo, it notes, “Abandoned 2/28/48.” That’s when route 31 was “bustituted.”
CSL Sedan 3332 is southbound at Lincoln Park on the Clark-Wentworth line, where they ran from 1929 until 1946, when they were replaced by PCCs. As this is a Tom Desnoyers photo, it is probably from the 1940s.
Evanston Railways car #5 after abandonment. Although this picture is undated, streetcar service was replaced by buses in 1935, so chances are this is the late 1930s. To the best of my knowledge, this was part of an order for 12 cars placed with the St. Louis Car Company in late 1913. The late James J. Buckley wrote a short (40 pages) book The Evanston Railway Company, published in 1958 as Bulletin #28 of the Electric Railway Historical Society. This has been long out-of-print, but it is now available as part of The Complete ERHS Collection, an E-book put out by the Central Electric Railfans’ Association in 2014 (which I edited). The Diner Grill (at 1635 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago) is said to be built around the bodies of two Evanston streetcars.
CSL/CTA Pullman 441 on Roosevelt Road, west of the Illinois Central station, circa the 1940s. Not sure what the bus is at rear.
CSL/CTA 5357 at 63rd Place and Oak Park Avenue. As http://www.chicagrailfan.com notes, “The 63rd St. and the Argo streetcar routes were split at Oak Park Ave. And when the Argo streetcar route was replaced with the West 63rd bus route, the split point was relocated east to Narragansett Ave. Narragansett Ave. remained the split point after the main 63rd St. route was converted to buses. After opening of rapid transit line to Midway Airport, 63rd St. service restructured to terminate at Midway Airport terminal, with new route 63W operating west of Cicero Ave.” Therefore, this picture cannot date later than April 11, 1948, when the Argo streetcar route was replaced by the route 63A bus. (Charles Able Photo)
This photo shows CSL work car N5 on December 27, 1940. (Max Miller Photo)
On November 29, 1949 it was reported: “At least 14 persons were reported injured, one critically, when two streetcars crashed at a busy intersection on the south side this afternoon. Several pedestrians were among the injured.” You can just barely see a CTA wrecker in the lower right corner of the picture. M. E. writes: “The smashup dated 29 November 1949 is at 63rd and Halsted, looking northwest at the Ace department store. About that store, I remember it was rather dowdy and had no air conditioning. It had lots of ceiling fans instead. So it was hot in summer. On the southwest corner was an SS Kresge dime store. In the window was a doughnut-making machine, which was probably 15 feet long, most of which was a chute in which the donuts took shape. The price was 3 cents per doughnut. Kresge was predecessor to K-Mart. On the southeast corner were small stores, the largest of which was a Stineway drug store. Notice the spelling: Stineway rather than Steinway as in pianos. On the northeast corner was a big Sears department store, with a Hillman’s grocery in the basement. I think I heard once that this Sears was the largest in Chicago other than the downtown Sears at State and Van Buren.”
This looks like an even more serious accident. The caption from this November 15, 1954 photo reads, “One person was killed and about 30 others injured here when this streetcar collided with a furniture truck on south Western Avenue. Dead man identified as James K. Siegler, 2534 W. 68th Street, a CTA bus driver who was a passenger in the streetcar.” I do not know which car this was, or whether it was ever repaired.
I have seen similar publicity photos taken in 1948 for the Chicago & West Towns Railways. On the back of this print, it was dated Spring 1954, but one of our regular readers thinks otherwise: “Starting in 1950, CTA only purchased propane buses, most of which were built by Fageol Twin Coach or Flxible Twin Coach. 50 were built by ACF-Brill in 1951 and another 100 by Mack in 1957. The old look GM bus on the right is number 6618 which was built by GM in 1948. It was part of a group of diesel buses ordered by CSL and delivered to the CTA. They were used on the lighter CTA bus lines like 115th, 111th. The photo appears to be at South Shops and the year would seem to be 1948, not 1954.” (Library of Congress Photo) (Editor’s note- 111th and 115th were converted to bus as of 9/23/45.)
CTA 5259 is at Waveland and Broadway, northern end of route 8 – Halsted. This was a Brill-American-Kuhlman car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “5251 thru 5300 were built by Brill in 1906, #15365, for CCRy. They were brought up to higher standards in 1909.” This photo was likely taken just prior to PCCs replacing older cars on Halsted. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
CSL Pullman 335 at Jefferson and 14th, probably in the mid-1930s. (Edward Frank, Jr. Photo)
Before experimental CSL car 4001, there was this articulated “duplex” car 4000. Don’s Rail Photos says, “4000 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as Chicago Union Traction Co as 4633 and 4634. They were renumbered 1104 and 1105 in 1913 and became CSL 1104 and 1105 in 1914. They were renumbered 1101 and 1102 in 1925. They were rebuilt as an articulated train using a Cincinnatii Car steel vestibule drum between the bodies. It was completed on August 3, 1925, and scrapped on March 30, 1937.” (CSL Photo, car shown on Cicero Avenue.)
CSL/CTA 1142, a Small St. Louis car, as it appeared on April 7, 1946. Don’s Rail Photos adds, “1142 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1903 as CUT 4671. It was renumbered 1142 in 1913 and became CSL 1145 in 1914. It was rebuilt as a salt car in 1930 and renumbered AA27 on April 15, 1948. It was retired on May 17, 1958.” This was a sister car to 1137, which was recently rediscovered after having been converted to housing in Wisconsin. We wrote about that in our post Lost and Found: Chicago Streetcar #1137 (June 3, 2015). (Meyer Photo)
The old Lake Transfer station was unique in that one “L” branch crossed over another. Here, a Met train is at top, passing over the Lake Street “L”, in this circa 1914 postcard view.
Marshfield Junction looking east, from a circa 1909 postcard. Three Metropolitan “L” branches converged here– from left to right, the Logan Square/Humboldt Park, Garfield Park, and Douglas Park branches. Although an expressway now occupies this site, depressed in an open cut, there is still a track connection here (via a ramp) between the former Douglas branch (today’s Pink Line) and the Blue Line.
Gate car 2705 is signed for both Douglas Park and the old Wells Street terminal, where Chicago, Aurora & Elgin service terminated. That would seem to date this picture to before December 9, 1951, when CTA trains stopped using the Wells terminal, which continued to be used by CA&E until September 1953. Of this class of rapid transit car, Don’s Rail Photos notes, “2701 thru 2756 were built by Barney & Smith in 1895 as M-WSER 701 thru 756. In 1913 they were renumbered 2701 thru 2756 and in 1923 they became CRT 2701 thru 2756.” (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Wooden “L” cars are still in use on the Lake Street “L” in this July 1951 view. The outer 2.5 miles of line ran on the ground, alongside auto traffic next to the Chicago & North Western embankment, where the tracks were relocated in 1962. The last woods ran on this line circa 1955. The distinctive old fashioned street lights and the Brooks Laundry and Dry Cleaning company peg this as Oak Park, but not all the right-of-way through the village was fenced off as we see here. Overhead wire was used. (Subsequent research shows that the Brooks Laundry was located at the corner of North Boulevard and East Avenue, so we are a block or two west of there along South Boulevard.)
Here is a contemporary view, looking east along South Boulevard, just east of Euclid. Note the relative position of the tree at right (quite close to the sidewalk) and compare that to the 1951 picture. Could be the same tree.
Oak Park in Vintage Postcards, by Douglas Deuchler, says: “Designed in 1903, the Vogue Shirt Factory, 600 North Boulevard at East Avenue, cost $18,000 to construct and was one of Oak Park’s few industrial ventures. Later occupied by Brooks Laundry, the E. E. Roberts building was demolished in the 1950s.” The same author, speaking of the early 1900s, “One popular option was sending clothes out to “power laundries,” such as the Brooks Laundry on North Boulevard at East Avenue. Their delivery wagons would pick up your laundry for you. Brooks charged a nickel a pound. Their ads indicated that since the “average family washing weighs 7 pounds, your laundry will cost you but 35 cents.””
A wood CA&E car in the 140-series heads west of the Loop on the four-track section of the Met “L” in the early 1950s. Below the “L”, you see the Union Station train sheds where the Burlington Northern commuter trains run.
Here is a very interesting photograph that could only have been taken in a limited time period. It shows the 4-track Met “L” right-of-way looking east from Marshfield, with a train of newish flat-door 6000s assigned to Douglas. The street at left is Van Buren, and while the area has been cleared out for construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway (I290), work has not yet begun on the temporary right-of-way that would replace the “L” structure in this area starting in September 1953. I believe this work began in late 1951, shortly after streetcar service on Van Buren was replaced by buses. The first 6000s assigned to Douglas were sent there between September and December 1951. Since this is a wintry scene, chances are the date of this photo is circa December 1951. The building protruding at the center is the old Throop Street Shops.
There is only a limited time when this picture could have been shot. It shows the temporary Harlem station on today’s CTA Blue Line in suburban Oak Park, during construction of what is now I290. These are the permanent tracks, still in use today, but the new Harlem station was still under construction, so this temporary one, on the east side of Harlem, was used from March 19 to July 29, 1960. The freight tracks to the right of the CTA belong to the B&OCT. Incredibly, the highway opened in this area on October 12, 1960, just months after this picture was taken. The single car units making up the two-car train were first put in service in 1959, and have provisions for trolley poles. These were intended for use on the Evanston branch, although they did not run there until 1961. The temporary station was built on top of a crossover, which cannot be seen in this view.
This composite photograph shows I290 under construction just east of Oak Park Avenue, circa 1959-60. The permanent CTA station at left does not appear to be in service yet. It opened on March 19, 1960.
A four-car CA&E train gives a nice reflection in the Fox River at the Elgin terminal in the 1950s.
The CA&E yard in Wheaton in the early 1900s, when the railroad was still called the AE&C.
The Chicago & West Towns Railways:
Chicago & West Towns Railways line car #15. I believe this is crossing the DesPlaines River, possibly on a 1948 fantrip just prior to abandonment, and the buildings shown are on the east bank. Don Ross: “15 was built by Pullman Car in 1897 as Suburban RR 512. It was renumbered 515 and rebuilt as 15 in 1927. It was rebuilt in 1940 and scrapped in 1948.” (Charles Able Photo)
C&WT 101 on the Madison line. Don Ross: “101 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1917. It was scrapped in 1948.” Our reader mdfranklinnascar writes: “This is looking north on 19th St across the C&NW tracks in Melrose Park, IL.”
C&WT 106, signed for the Brookfield Zoo. Don Ross: “106 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1915. It was dismantled in 1943.”
C&WT 111 at the Harlem and 22nd car barn. Don Ross: “111 was built by McGuire-Cummings in 1912. It was scrapped in 1948.”
C&WT 157 was built by Cummings Car Co. in 1927 and I assume it was scrapped in 1948. It is shown here on the LaGrange line.
C&WT 106 again, at the same location.
FYI, this photo has been added to Our 150th Post (August 6, 2016), joining two other pictures of the same car:
Here is Johnstown 311 on June 30, 1957.
A Fare Exchange
We had some recent discussion about Chicago Surface Lines (and Chicago Transit Authority) fares recently on the Chicagotransit Yahoo discussion group. I’ll reproduce some of that here. It also prompted some reminiscences from one of our regular readers.
Someone has written me, regarding how her aged mother, who can no longer answer such questions, would have used transit in Chicago in 1932. I still don’t know where she lived, or where she was going.
But how much was the CSL fare back then? Was it a nickel? And how much for a transfer?
(The transfer would only have worked on the Surface Lines, since transfers to the “L” only began in 1935. I think the date was even later if you include the Chicago Motor Coach company.)
I have a question too. When did the L stop using fare tickets?
The only fare tickets I have seen pictures of were from the World War I era…
I know there were CRT tickets because I saw images of them in the L book that came out several years ago and I know they used tickets at Howard street because it operated with open platforms, perhaps into the CTA era. I have a duplex ticket of unknown vintage but issued by cRT, one coupon valid In the inner zone and the other valid in the outer zone. I believe the company was already in receivership when the form was printed.
Thanks… there are still some things missing in the information provided on these two comprehensive sites.
For example, when did reduced fares for students begin? I am sure they would have started in the CSL era.
(Those proponents of privatized transit ought to know that the private operators were often bitterly opposed to such things as reduced fares for students.)
Transfer regulations are also not fully sketched out. I get the impression that at one time, by reading these articles, that at one time CSL transfers did not cost anything? Andre mentions that they cost a nickel starting in 1961. Nothing before that?
When I was growing up, a paper transfer could be used twice within two hours, and each time it would be punched by the operator on the new vehicle. Reverse riding was prohibited, meaning you generally had to pay a second full fare for your return trip, unless there was a creative way of doing it.
For example, someone could head south to downtown on route 22 (Clark) and head north on 36 (Broadway), since as long as you were going only as far as Diversey, they were going over much the same route. This you could do with a paper transfer.
There was also a thing called a “Supertransfer” for a while, that allowed unlimited rides (but cost more money).
Reverse riding on the same route is permitted today under transfer regulations.
Andre’s article does not mention that at some point in the early CTA era, when they were trying to put pressure on the Chicago Motor Coach company, you had to pay a fare differential when transferring from CMC to the CTA.
I think the CMC fare was 15c, CTA 20c. So if you went from CMC to CTA, you had to pay an additional 5c. (CTA and CMC sued each other over stuff like this, and both lawsuits were dropped when CMC sold out.)
This went away, of course, as of 10-1-1952, when CTA purchased the CMC assets (but not the name, which is why there is a different Chicago Motor Coach bus operation today). At that point, all former CMC routes began charging CTA fares, which must have been quite a jolt for regular riders.
CTA had tried to soften the blow by selling tokens in packs of 10 at a discount.
Before 1961 transfers were free. I don’t know about transfers to the CRT from CSL where there was a fare differential as that was before my time on this earth.
I would think that CSL-CRT transfers (which started in 1935) were free. This was a step in the City of Chicago’s path towards transit unification. To some extent, the two systems competed with each other, and it was realized that eventually, they were going to be joined and would have to operate in a more rational and cooperative fashion.
Transfers to CMC came later (1943?).
In the late CSL/CRT and into the CTA era, the principle followed was “one city – one fare”. I don’t recall a maximum number of rides on one transfer. You could go from the far Northwest Side at the border with Park Ridge to the Indiana state line on one fare. A trip starting on the surface (white paper) permitted more than one ride, punched each time, a transfer to rapid transit, changing routes if needed within the paid area, and transfer back to surface lines for one or more rides, punching the time when leaving the rapid transit system. A trip starting on rapid transit (blue paper) was valid for the surface after a time punch, and back to rapid transit, but not again on the surface.
I would do this by boarding a Garfield Park train at Desplaines after a CA&E ride from Elgin, transfer to a trolley bus on Central, Cicero, Pulaski, or Kedzie, and board a Lake Street train for the Loop, avoiding the slow trip on VanBuren Street, in the same amount of time. I remember passengers form a Central Avenue bus literally throwing pennies at the “L” agent and running for the train.
Reverse riding could be successful with advance planning. I recall taking the Milwaukee Avenue subway from downtown to Division and transferring to a eastbound 70-Division bus for the return trip downtown.
M. E. adds:
Regarding your recent discussion on Yahoo groups about CSL and CRT, and some of the replies:
I confirm that a free CSL transfer could be used on three conveyances maximum. That includes either three CSL lines; or CSL + CRT + another CSL. Using free connections on the CRT, it was indeed possible to go from the northwest corner of Chicago to the Indiana state line on a single transfer. I think, though, there were extra fares on the CRT Evanston and Niles Center lines because they entered suburbs. I don’t know whether there were extra fares outside Chicago on the Lake St., Garfield Park or Douglas Park CRT lines.
CRT transfers were also free, issued at the start of a trip. But as I recall, they were not blue, they were dark green. Sorry, I don’t remember whether a station agent had to punch a CRT transfer before issuing it.
To transfer from CRT to CSL, the user had to insert the left side of a CRT transfer into a time validation machine at the conclusion of the CRT trip. The validation machine was located at ground level just before exiting the pay area. I’m not certain whether in the three-conveyance scenario (CSL then CRT then CSL), the CSL transfer had to be time-stamped before exiting the CRT. I don’t recall seeing any space for a time validation on a CSL transfer. The left side of a CSL transfer was where a clock was printed; the CSL bus driver or streetcar conductor punched that clock before issuing the transfer at the start of the first CSL trip.
I never did a trip CRT then CSL then CRT, so I don’t know how the CRT transfers worked in that situation. Your other responders who did this kind of trip may know.
In the early 1950s, I wasn’t yet age 12, so I traveled using kids’ fares. I think the kids’ fare on the CRT was 10 cents cash, but 8 cents with a ticket. I distinctly remember buying five tickets for 40 cents. The tickets were orange, with black print.
As for reverse-direction travel on a single fare, the L system made it easy. oarding at 63rd and Halsted, I could travel either to Lawrence and Kimball, cross the platform, and board the next departure south; or I could travel as far north as Jarvis, cross the platform, and return. During my lifetime, the Englewood L first ran to Ravenswood, while the Jackson Park L ran to Howard. Later, both the Englewood and Jackson Park ran to Howard.
Off-topic somewhat: BART in San Francisco told people they could board at one station, travel the system, and return to the original station for a fixed price. It wasn’t cheap. But, where stations were close together, it was much cheaper to board at one station, travel the system, and return to a station close to, but not, the original. The fare software calculated all this travel as just a short trip between the original and final stations. This was a long time ago. Maybe by now BART has caught on and eliminated this possibility.
Another off-topic: Using Wikipedia, I see that the date was January 1, 1952 when the Post Office raised the price of postcards 100%, from 1 to 2 cents. People used postcards a lot back then. Compounding the price increase, the Post Office began charging $1.10 for 50 postcards pre-wrapped. People quickly caught on and asked for 49. The Post Office didn’t take long to rescind the premium charge.
Thanks! Since you mention the 1950s, I assume you are writing about the Chicago Transit Authority, even though you refer to CSL and CRT.
Andre Kristopans adds:
Child fares (7-11 years old) apparently date back to at least 1908. Rate was 3 cents, two kids for 5 cents. High school students were added to the half-fare rate September 1956.
CMC-CSL transfers started 10/1/43. CSL to CMC were salmon, CMC to CSL were green. I believe CMC-CRT started at the same time.
Supertransfers were indeed Sundays (and holidays) only. Started June 1974. Ended about 1996.
Transfers were free until 7/23/61, then a 5 cent rate was started. Increased to 10 cents 7/8/70.
Paper transfers as we knew them were replaced by magnetic transfer cards 6-15-97, when magnetic fare cards went into general use.
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks.
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 152nd 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 188,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a contribution there as well.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
NSL 420 heading south at Dempster, current end of the line for the CTA Yellow Line (aka the “Skokie Swift”), which revived a small portion of the old interurban a year after service ended in January 1963.
The Trolley Dodger blog has reached another milestone with this, our 150th post since we started on January 21, 2015. As time goes on, it becomes both easier and harder to come up with new ideas. On the one hand, we have to work harder to avoid repeating ourselves, since we have already posted thousands of images to date.
On the other hand, there always seems to be more material out there to be had. So in that sense, it seems unlikely that we will ever run out of new material. However, it’s always good to remind our faithful readers that all this historical research costs real money. It costs nothing to read our blog, of course, but the quality and frequency of future posts is entirely dependent on the financial support we get from you.
We are committed to maintaining a very high quality standard in what we put out, and our goal is not only to share information, but to create something of lasting value. We will let others be the judge of whether or not we have succeeded to date, but it’s interesting to note that I often find my own posts coming up to the top of Google searches, when I am researching things.
What makes a good blog post? Well, as I have said before, in general my idea is to use pictures to tell a story. But beyond that, it becomes more difficult to put your finger on what works and what doesn’t.
I would liken it to being a chef in a restaurant who takes whatever fresh ingredients are on hand, and tries to whip them up into a tasty dish. Since our first post featured the North Shore Line, we have a generous helping of classic CNS&M images on today’s menu.
In addition, we have a sprinkling of Chicago, Aurora & Elgin photos, plus some other Chicago/Illinois material, since that is where we are from. Hopefully, all this adds up to a complete “meal,” a feast for the eyes that is also designed to make you think.
But we have not forgotten “dessert.” Our last post (More Mystery Photos, July 29, 2016) included a picture of what appeared to be a Birney car that was not, according to Frank Hicks, an actual Birney. (If anyone is interested in learning what attributes of a streetcar make it into a “true” Birney, look no further than Dr. Harold E. Cox’s book on just that subject. What constitutes a PCC car is also somewhat debatable, another area where the esteemed Dr. Cox has weighed in with an expert opinion.)
While Birney cars, due to their small size, were unsuccessful in larger cities like Chicago, there can be no doubt they were a great success in Fort Collins, Colorado, the “Birney-est” place of all. The Fort Collins Municipal Railway purchased nine such cars for use between 1919 and 1951, a couple for parts. Of these, there’s been a pretty good survival rate, with fully five cars (#s 20, 21, 22, second 25, and 26) still extant.
These cars were so beloved in the area that they never completely left, and efforts to restore a car and revive at least a small portion of service began as early as the 1970s. Service on a mile-and-a-half line began in 1984 and continue to this day, meaning that the resurrected Birney car service in Fort Collins has lasted 32 years now, the same length of time that the original service ran.
The last regular operation of Birney cars in the U. S. was in Fort Collins, CO. The line was originally built by the Denver & Interurban Ry in 1907. In July 1918, the D&I stopped operating the local lines. A bus system was tried, but was very unpopular. In January 1919, the voters, by an 8 to 1 majority, decided to take over the system. Four Birneys were purchased from American Car of St. Louis and began operation in May. Over the years additional cars were added and replaced. Finally, in 1951, the system was abandoned on June 30th. The city had grown beyond the car lines, and riders had gone to the automobile. Car 21 was preserved locally. Other cars were saved at other locations. A local group began to restore 21 in 1977, and operation began on Mountain Avenue on December 29, 1984. Over the next two years, 1.5 miles of track was restored for operation. For a complete story about this system, check out their web site.
But wait, there’s more! There was also a double-truck version of the Birney, so we have posted a couple pictures of Johnstown 311, a much-loved car by the fans who took it on many trips back in the day. It ran in service in Pennsylvania until 1960 and has been preserved at the Rockhill Trolley Museum.
We are featuring color photos today, and will have several new black-and-white images to share in the near future. Thanks for coming along for the ride.
PS- If you can help identify any of missing locations, or have other interesting thoughts on these pictures, don’t hesitate to drop us a line, either as a Comment here, or via:
Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee (aka North Shore Line)
NSL 706 heads south from Dempster in this June 9, 1961 photo by Clark Frazier. This is the current terminal of the CTA Yellow Line. The area under the electrical tower at left is where the “pocket” track went, when this was the end-of-the-line for the CRT’s Niles Center Branch. This local service ended in 1948. CTA “L” service resumed here in 1964.
A solitary North Shore Line car crosses the Chicago River at Wacker Drive on the “L”.
NSL 739 and train at Lake Bluff.
NSL 737 at the Loyola curve on the CTA.
NSL 713 heads up a five-car train at Sedgwick in October 1958.
NSL 737 and head “at speed” near Sheridan Elms in Lake Forest.
NSL 735 et al at North Chicago.
“Silverliner” 756 and train in Skokie.
A southbound Electroliner at Edison Court.
NSL 182 and train at St. Mary’s Road (Thornbury Village) on the Mundelein branch on May 31, 1962. Notice the difference in right-of-way construction here, versus the main line.
NSL 743 and train at Green Bay Junction. Jerry Wiatrowski: “NSL 743 and train are on the Skokie Valley route westbound crossing the Mundelein branch at Lake Bluff. The Green Bay Road overpass can be seen in the background.” Joey Morrow: “NSL 743 is at Green Bay junction, the catenary poles are still there today. It parallels IL-176 (Rockland Ave).”
NSL “Greenliner” 751 and a Silverliner at Lake Bluff in June 1962.
A photo run-by on a February 21, 1960 North Shore Line fantrip.
I don’t know just when this picture of a North Shore Line “special” train was taken, but Gustafson Motors was located in Libertyville, along the Mundelein branch. FYI, we have several North Shore Line audio recordings available on compact disc in our Online Store, including some from the Mundelein branch. Garrett Patterson: “nsl003 would have been taken just weeks before the end of service system-wide. The 1962 Bel Air in the lot dates the photo.” One of our regular readers adds: “This was the CERA fantrip that was operated in April 1962. George Krambles operated the train in Evanston, and there are movies and slides of the train going south from Isabella going up the hill to the North Shore Channel bridge. The scene is seen in The Tribute to the North Shore Line video, which has been presented at January CERA meetings (although it is not commercially available). Of course the above photo is at Libertyville (which was a beautiful place in the country at one time).”
NSL 705 and 709 are near the Mundelein terminal on March 25, 1962.
Chicago, Aurora & Elgin
CA&E 460 and an older car are in fantrip service during the late 1950s. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp writes: “This is at West Street looking west in Wheaton. The bridge over Liberty Drive at the start of the Elgin branch is seen in the background.”
CA&E 452 at Geneva Road on March 9, 1957. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This is in Winfield. I believe looking north.”
CA&E 404 is part of a two-car train at the Halsted curve on the old Garfield Park “L”, probably not long before the end of downtown service in September 1953.
CA&E 423 is part of a two-car train at Collingbourne. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “Collingbourne is along the Elgin branch near Raymond St. and Elgin Ave.”
One can only wish that the photographer had aimed the camera a bit lower, but nonetheless, CA&E 428 is part of a four-car train in July 1953 on the Halsted curve.
CA&E 454 at an unidentified location. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This slide was identified by someone in a Wheaton FB group as being taken in 1952 at Jewell Road in Wheaton. Another person in the group said he believed it was looking south. He thinks that is Electric Avenue on the right or west.”
CA&E work motors 2001 and 2002 in service in March 1959. By this time, it had been nearly two years since the end of passenger service. Freight only continued for a few more months after this. (B. J. Misek Photo)
We are not sure of the location where this picture of CA&E 403 was taken. Presumably, the box the conductor is carrying holds work-related materials. George Foelschow: “I believe CA&E Pullman 403 and unattached car 410 or 419 are on the eastbound track at Wheaton station. Presumably the two cars, one each from Aurora and Elgin, will be joined for the trip east, and the conductor of 403 would be redundant and no doubt be on the next Fox Valley train due in a few minutes to be split. One could travel between Elgin and Aurora in the same time as a City Lines bus taking a more direct route along the Fox River.” Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “I agree. Definitely at Wheaton station.”
CA&E 420 at Church Road (Aurora).
CA&E 424 near the end of the line, along the Fox River in Elgin. Meister Brau was a well-known Chicago beer for many years. Each spring, they would sell “Bock” beer, a stronger concoction made (I think) by scraping the bottom of the barrel. They introduced Meister Brau Lite in 1967. After Meister Brau got into financial difficulty in 1972, their brands were bought by Miller, who used Meister Brau Lite as the basis for developing Miller Lite.
CA&E 405 is part of a two-car train. Nancy Grove Mollenkamp: “This is identified by Mark Llanuza as being taken in 1956 between the College Ave station in Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. Photographer unknown.”
CA&E 317 is part of a four-car train of woods.
Chicago and Illinois
Indiana Railroad hi-speed lightweight interurban car 65 at the Illinois Electric Railway Museum in North Chicago in October 1956. It had last run in 1953 on the CRANDIC (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City) before being purchased by the museum as their first acquisition. That’s Chicago & Milwaukee Electric 354, another early purchase, behind it.
Illinois Terminal double-end PCC 457 is part of a two-car train, northbound at 19th and State in the mid-1950s. Don’s Rail Photos says, “457 was built by St Louis Car Co in 1949, #1672. It was sold for scrap to Biermann Iron & Metal Co on July 24, 1959, and was scrapped in 1964.”
The same location today.
In this undated photo, probably taken circa 1952, tracks are being laid in the southern half of Van Buren Street to create a temporary right-of-way for the Garfield Park “L”, to allow the demolition of 2 1/2 miles of the old structure that were in the way of Congress (now Eisenhower) expressway construction. At right, you can see the old Throop Street Shops. This temporary alignment was used from September 1953 to June 1958.
A two-car train of CTA 4000s heads west on temporary trackage at Van Buren and Western on July 1, 1956. This was just two weeks after streetcar service ended on Western Avenue. This picture was taken around the time that the sounds of 4000-series “L” cars were recorded on the Garfield Park “L” for Railroad Record Club LP #36, which has been digitally remastered and is now available on compact disc in our Online Store.
Western and Van Buren today, looking to the northeast.
Since CTA PCC 4406 is signed for charter service, this picture was probably taken on October 21, 1956, when this car ran on a fantrip with red Pullman 225. We have run photos from that fantrip before. You can see one in our post Chicago Surface Lines Photos, Part Six (February 22, 2016). Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me can tell which station (car barn) this is, whether Devon or 77th. Car 4406 lasted until the end of Chicago streetcar service and had a scrap date of June 23, 1959.
A two car train of Lake Street “L” cars crosses the Chicago River with the Merchandise Mart in the background, probably in the early 1950s.
CSL/CTA Y303 is listed as a “baggage car,” although some have called it a MoW or maintenance of way car. It was retired on September 27, 1956. Don’s Rail Photos says, “Y303. baggage car, was built by C&ST in 1911 as 59. It was renumbered Y303 in 1913 and became CSL Y303 in 1914.”
This 1920s-era Chicago Surface Lines trailer was looking pretty shopworn by the 1950s, when this picture was taken at South Shops.
CSL/CTA streetcar 1497 was renumbered as AA85 for work service as a salt spreader, the configuration we see it in here in this 1950s photo. It was scrapped on September 27, 1956. This was known as a “Bowling Alley” car. Don’s Rail Photos: “1497 was built by CUTCo in 1900 as CUT 4546. It was rebuilt as 1497 in 1911 and became CSL 1497 in 1914. It was rebuilt as salt car and renumbered AA85 on April 15, 1948.”
According to Graham Garfield’s excellent web site www.chicago-l.org, “CTA work car S-328 — built by American Car & Foundry in 1907 as Northwestern Elevated trailer 1283, motorized and renumbered to 1792 in 1914 by the CER — was converted for work service and renumbered in 1958.” It was retired in August 1970 and scrapped. Wooden “L” cars were last used in regular service by the CTA in 1957. After spending their final days in work service, cars like these were replaced by retired 4000-series “L” cars. Here we see S-328 at DesPlaines Avenue terminal in June 1962. (George Niles Photo)
In this June 1962 view. we see the CTA’s DesPlaines Avenue terminal as it had been reconfigured in 1959. these very basic amenities continued n use until the station was rebuilt in the 1980s. I would assume that the pile of rubble in the foreground was related to the recent construction of a new maintenance facility here. The nearby expressway had been in operation since 1960. Presumably, the CTA bus is running route 17, which replaced the Westchester “L” branch in 1951. (George Niles Photo)
A pair of old Metropolitan “L” cars, now in work service, share space with CTA curved-door 6000s in this June 1962 view at DesPlaines Avenue. The new shops facility is at left. The large gas holder at right was a Forest Park landmark for many years. (George Niles Photo)
Authentic Birney Cars
This circa 1940 postcard shows the Ft. Collins Birneys in a different paint scheme, which is actually the one currently being used for the one operating car. Caption: “The intersection of College and Mountain Avenues is the 42nd and Broadway of Ft. Collins. It is the heart of the business district, the crossroads of the town. Where all street cars meet and all highways converge.”
Car 26 in the Fort Collins car barn in June 1948.
Fort Collins Municipal Railway Birney car 22 in the city park on April 30, 1947.