The Sunset Lines

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 453, which will soon find a new home at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)

Chicago Aurora and Elgin car 453, which will soon find a new home at the Illinois Railway Museum. (William Shapotkin Collection)

It is a shame that only four out of ten postwar interurban cars built in 1945 for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin were saved, after that railroad ceased operations in the late 1950s.

Having only been in service for a dozen years or so, these cars could have been a nice addition to the North Shore Line, but that interurban ceased operations in 1963. There was also an unrealized plan to use them on an extension of the Cleveland rapid transit line to the local airport. The extension was delayed for several years, and ultimately new cars were ordered.

That any of the ten were saved is due to Gerald E. Brookens, who bought them in 1962 for his Trolleyville U.S.A. operation in Ohio. They were cars that could be put into service right away, with minimal effort, on his new line serving a trailer park, where operations began in 1963. There they remained until the Brookens family decided to sell the trailer park. An attempt to use the collection, or parts of it, in Cleveland did not pan out, and the collection was put up for sale in 2009, ultimately dispersed among a consortium of railway museums.

Cars 451 and 460 went to the Illinois Railway Museum. 458 was purchased by the Fox River Trolley Museum in South Elgin. The fourth car (453) traveled to Pennsylvania and the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton. They originally planned to restore it as an ersatz Laurel Line interurban, since no cars from that line were saved after it quit in 1952.

Fortunately for us, the folks in Scranton changed their minds, and recently put the 453 up for sale instead. Thanks to a quick fundraiser, it will now be coming to the Illinois Railway Museum. All four surviving cars in the 451-460 series will be back in Illinois for the first time since 1962, with three of the four at IRM.

As the Hicks Car Works blog reported:

We are overjoyed to announce that the fund-raising drive has been successful in raising the money needed to purchase, transport, and store car 453! It will be coming soon to a museum near you!

A large number of people contributed to make this possible, and we thank you all. Two donors in particular gave substantial amounts. One of them came from a long-time member, who wishes to remain anonymous, in celebration of his 45th year since joining the Museum in 1974. The other came from Jeffrey L. Wien. Jeff comments: “I felt that I was playing the role of a White Knight in making my donation…. I donated to the 453 fund because the 450 class were the last interurbans built in the U.S. and to me were very aesthetically attractive. Now we will have 75% of the surviving 450 class! It should also be mentioned that as a former North Shore Line employee, that I have always favored North Shore equipment, but this time I wanted to make sure that a rare piece of CA&E history is preserved. Julie Johnson would be pleased.”

It has often been stated that the ten curved-sided CA&E cars were the “last” interurbans built in the United States. To accept this, some caveats come into play.

First of all, what constitutes an interurban? Depending on how you define this, why wouldn’t the PATCO Speedline, which runs between Philadelphia and Camden County, New Jersey qualify as an “interurban,” even though it did not begin service until 1969?

What about the double-ended cars built by St. Louis Car Company for the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Co. (aka Red Arrow) in 1949? They ran on the line between Philadelphia and West Chester, which is generally considered an interurban. But they resembled PCC cars, although they had conventional motors and were not “offically” considered PCCs.

Actual PCC cars were used in interurban service by Pittsburgh Railways, to Charleroi and Washington, PA until 1953.  Some of these cars were built in 1949.

The Norristown High-Speed Line in suburban Philadelphia has also at times been considered an interurban.  So when rapid transit cars from the Chicago Transit Authority were used there, in the 1980s and 90s, did they become interurban cars?

Perhaps it is fair to say that the CA&E cars were the last classic or conventional interurban cars built in the United States. There have been other interurban cars built since 1945 outside of the US, such as the cars operated on the South Shore Line.

An interurban is as much a sociological concept as anything, and has come to represent a particular era in American history. Pacific Electric ran an interurban between Los Angeles and Long Beach until 1961. But when service between those two cities was restored in 1990, via the Blue Line Metro, it was called light rail, even though much of the line runs in the same alignment that Pacific Electric used.

For that matter, is the South Shore Line, the so-called “last” interurban that survived, still an interurban?  Or would most of its riders today think of it as commuter rail?

To celebrate the return of car 453, we present many classic black-and-white views of the Chicago Aurora and Elgin from the collections of William Shapotkin, and as always, we thank him for his generosity in sharing them with our readers. These were scanned from small prints of the type once sold by the late Barney Neuberger and others, most of which did not have any information along with them.

There are a few things we can do know, however. The two pictures of crossings on the ground-level tracks west of Laramie, at Oak Park Avenue and Ridgeland in suburban Oak Park, were taken in 1935. The pictures of street running are most likely in Aurora. In 1939, the Aurora terminal was relocated to off-street trackage. The pictures of two wood cars while it is snowing were most likely taken during the final passenger fantrip in December 1958.

There are a couple wreck pictures. We don’t know the circumstances, or even if they are from the same incident. Someone on Facebook was recently wondering if the CA&E had any fatal accidents. We know that the employees were very conscientious, and had an admirable safety record, but I am sure there were some.

There was only a brief period of time (1953) when the picture showing CA&E cars on the Met main line at Halsted, next to the newly completed bridge over the Congress Expressway construction site, could have been taken.

When we scanned these prints, there were a few duplicates. If we did not weed out all of these, we hope you will forgive us.

If you do have useful information to add, you can make a Comment on this post. Be sure to refer to the pictures by their file names, which can be found by hovering your mouse over the image. For example, the fist picture in this post is img989. That will be more helpful to us than just saying, “the third picture down,” or some such.

As you enjoy your Labor Day holiday weekend, we hope you will appreciate all the labor that has gone into preserving the memory of the Sunset Lines, as the CA&E was once fondly named.  Thanks to the work of many dedicated volunteers, we hope the sun will never truly set on the Sunset Lines.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

Now Available On Compact Disc
CDLayout33p85
RRCNSLR
Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
# of Discs – 1
Price: $15.99

Railroad Record Club – North Shore Line Rarities 1955-1963
Newly rediscovered and digitized after 60 years, most of these audio recordings of Chicago, North Shore and Milwaukee interurban trains are previously unheard, and include on-train recordings, run-bys, and switching. Includes both Electroliners, standard cars, and locomotives. Recorded between 1955 and 1963 on the Skokie Valley Route and Mundelein branch. We are donating $5 from the sale of each disc to Kenneth Gear, who saved these and many other original Railroad Record Club master tapes from oblivion.
Total time – 73:14
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Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 3Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 2Tape 4 switching at Roudout + Mundeline pic 1Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 2Tape 3 Mundeline Run pic 1Tape 2 Mundeline pic 3Tape 2 Mundeline pic 2Tape 2 Mundeline pic 1Tape 1 ElectrolinerTape 1 Electroliner pic 3Tape 1 Electroliner pic 2Notes from tape 4Note from tape 2

RRC-OMTT
Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes
# of Discs- 3
Price: $24.99


Railroad Record Club Traction Rarities – 1951-58
From the Original Master Tapes

Our friend Kenneth Gear recently acquired the original Railroad Record Club master tapes. These have been digitized, and we are now offering over three hours of 1950s traction audio recordings that have not been heard in 60 years.
Properties covered include:

Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick), Capital Transit, Altoona & Logan Valley, Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, Pennsylvania Railroad, Illinois Terminal, Baltimore Transit, Niagara St. Catharines & Toronto, St. Louis Public Transit, Queensboro Bridge, Third Avenue El, Southern Iowa Railway, IND Subway (NYC), Johnstown Traction, Cincinnati Street Railway, and the Toledo & Eastern
$5 from the sale of each set will go to Kenneth Gear, who has invested thousands of dollars to purchase all the remaining artifacts relating to William A. Steventon’s Railroad Record Club of Hawkins, WI. It is very unlikely that he will ever be able to recoup his investment, but we support his efforts at preserving this important history, and sharing it with railfans everywhere.
Disc One
Potomac Edison (Hagerstown & Frederick):
01. 3:45 Box motor #5
02. 3:32 Box motor #5, May 24, 1953
03. 4:53 Engine whistle signals, loco #12, January 17, 1954
04. 4:13 Loco #12
Capital Transit:
05. 0:56 PCC car 1557, Route 20 – Cabin John line, July 19, 1953
06. 1:43
Altoona & Logan Valley:
07. 4:00 Master Unit car #74, August 8, 1953
Shaker Heights Rapid Transit:
08. 4:17 Car 306 (ex-AE&FRE), September 27, 1953
09. 4:04
10. 1:39
Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1s:
11. 4:35 August 27, 1954
12. 4:51
Illinois Terminal:
13. 5:02 Streamliner #300, northward from Edwardsville, February 14, 1955
14. 12:40 Car #202 (ex-1202), between Springfield and Decatur, February 1955
Baltimore Transit:
15. 4:56 Car 5706, January 16, 1954
16. 4:45 Car 5727, January 16, 1954
Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto:
17. 4:19 Interurbans #83 and #80, October 1954
18. 5:20 #80, October 1954
Total time: 79:30
Disc Two
St. Louis Public Service:
01. 4:34 PCCs #1708, 1752, 1727, 1739, December 6, 1953
Queensboro Bridge Company (New York City):
02. 5:37 Cars #606, 605, and 601, December 31, 1954
03. 5:17
Third Avenue El (New York City):
04. 5:07 December 31. 1954
05. 4:47 Cars #1797, 1759, and 1784 at 59th Street, December 31, 1954
Southern Iowa Railway:
06. 4:46 Loco #400, August 17, 1955
07. 5:09 Passenger interurban #9
IND Subway (New York City):
08. 8:40 Queens Plaza station, December 31, 1954
Last Run of the Hagerstown & Frederick:
09. 17:34 Car #172, February 20, 1954 – as broadcast on WJEJ, February 21, 1954, with host Carroll James, Sr.
Total time: 61:31
Disc Three
Altoona & Logan Valley/Johnstown Traction:
01. 29:34 (Johnstown Traction recordings were made August 9, 1953)
Cincinnati Street Railway:
02. 17:25 (Car 187, Brighton Car House, December 13, 1951– regular service abandoned April 29, 1951)
Toledo & Eastern:
03. 10:36 (recorded May 3-7, 1958– line abandoned July 1958)
Capital Transit:
04. 16:26 sounds recorded on board a PCC (early 1950s)
Total time: 74:02
Total time (3 discs) – 215:03



The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago last November, discussing our book Building Chicago’s Subways on the Dave Plier Show. You can hear our 19-minute conversation here.
Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938-- Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway. Chicago, Illinois, December 17, 1938– Secretary Harold Ickes, left, and Mayor Edward J. Kelly turn the first spadeful of earth to start the new $40,000,000 subway project. Many thousands gathered to celebrate the starting of work on the subway.
Order Our New Book Building Chicago’s Subways

There were three subway anniversaries in 2018 in Chicago:
60 years since the West Side Subway opened (June 22, 1958)
75 years since the State Street Subway opened (October 17, 1943)
80 years since subway construction started (December 17, 1938)
To commemorate these anniversaries, we have written a new book, Building Chicago’s Subways.

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

Bibliographic information:
Title Building Chicago’s Subways
Images of America
Author David Sadowski
Edition illustrated
Publisher Arcadia Publishing (SC), 2018
ISBN 1467129380, 9781467129381
Length 128 pages
Chapter Titles:
01. The River Tunnels
02. The Freight Tunnels
03. Make No Little Plans
04. The State Street Subway
05. The Dearborn-Milwaukee Subway
06. Displaced
07. Death of an Interurban
08. The Last Street Railway
09. Subways and Superhighways
10. Subways Since 1960
Building Chicago’s Subways is in stock and now available for immediate shipment. Order your copy today! All copies purchased through The Trolley Dodger will be signed by the author.
The price of $23.99 includes shipping within the United States.
For Shipping to US Addresses:

For Shipping to Canada:

For Shipping Elsewhere:

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

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This is our 237th 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 542,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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

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More Color Restorations

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban car 460 at Trolleyville USA in July 1963. This was part of an order of 10 cars built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945-46. Brookins managed to save four of these cars.

Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban car 460 at Trolleyville USA in July 1963. This was part of an order of 10 cars built by St. Louis Car Company in 1945-46. Brookins managed to save four of these cars.

Time was, faded-out color slides, usually old Ektachromes from around 1956 that had turned red, were considered a “lost cause,” suitable only for converting to black-and-white. But today’s software and digital technology has made it possible to bring many of these old images back to life, with spectacular results.

However, we tackle an even more intractable problem today- Anscochrome, a “grade Z” cheaper alternative to Kodak film that appealed to thrifty photographers back in the 1950s and 60s. These images have not held up well over the years, exhibiting color shifts that are all over the place. In some cases, it may not be possible to make these pictures look 100% normal, even with all the tools in our digital toolbox.

We have also included some faded Ektachrome slides, and even one Kodachrome example. For many years, Kodachrome was the benchmark, the “gold standard” against which all other slide films had to be judged, in terms of dye stability and color accuracy.

By the 1990s, Fujichrome Velvia had caught up to Kodachrome in terms of sharpness, color, and resistance to fading. With the rise of digital photography, demand for Kodachrome slide film gradually declined, to the point where Kodak discontinued it, and the last roll was developed in 2010. It used a considerably more complicated and difficult developing process than other slide films.

Most pictures in today’s post were shot on Anscochrome in the early 1960s, at two early railway museum operations in Ohio, Trolleyville USA and the Ohio Railway Museum. Presumably, they were taken by the same unidentified photographer.

The former operation is now history, after an aborted effort to re-establish it in Cleveland, while the latter has had its problems over the years. (As of this writing, the Ohio Railway Museum has not yet opened for the 2016 season, with an August 21 date scheduled.)

Trolleyville USA was a labor of love for the late Gerald E. Brookins, who owned a trailer park in Olmsted Township, Ohio. He built an operating trolley to bring people who lived in the trailer park to his general store. Starting around 1954, Mr. Brookins developed an extensive collection of equipment, and was responsible for saving many streetcars and interurbans from what would have been certain destruction.

While the Brookins concern no longer exists, much of its collection lives on in a variety of other places, such as the Illinois Railway Museum. (To see a list of equipment owned at various times by the Ohio Railway Museum, go here.)

In addition, there are a few interesting shots taken on other electric railways of the 1950s and 60s. I have only included a few of the “before” pictures, but except for the two shots from 1972, all of the originals looked just as bad as the samples shown.

These images will give you a good idea of what these two early museum operations were like in the 1960s. Recently, we learned that North Shore Line car 154 (a sister to the 160 at Union), built in 1915 and now 101 years old, has deteriorated so much in outdoor storage at the Ohio railway Museum that it is going to be scrapped.

Norfolk and Western steam engine 578, shown in operation below, last ran in 1978.

This makes the point that historic preservation will likely always be two steps forward and one step backward, in spite of everyone’s best efforts. However, there is also good news– Chicago “L” car 24, built in 1898, is far along in its restoration at IRM, and recently ran under its own power for the first time in more than 50 years.

In a few instances, we show the process of color restoration step-by-step. Of course, we can only work with what’s already there to begin with. There is a difference between color restoration such as this, and “colorizing” a black-and-white image. To see examples of colorized railfan images, you can check out Rick Foss‘ work on his Facebook page.

Enjoy!

-David Sadowski

PS- This article is intended to be a brief introduction to the subject of color-correcting badly faded images. It’s been pointed out to me that several of these still have a definite color cast.

In most cases, I spent only a few minutes working on each one. Otherwise, this post would still be far off in the future. Sometimes it is necessary to work for hours on a single image to make it look “right,” if it can be made to look that way.

However, using the right tools, including Photoshop, even the worst of the images shown here is a definite improvement on its badly faded original. It’s remarkable that ANY of these pictures can be color-corrected, all things considered.

In some cases, you may get lucky, and it may take a few brief minutes to make your problem picture look 100% better.

Chances are, I will continue to work on these as time permits, and will post improved versions of some images in future.

As always, you can leave a Comment on this post, or contact us directly at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com


Trolleyville USA (most pictures taken in July 1963):

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

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Here is Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 36 at Trolleyville sometime in mid-1962. This car left Wheaton on April 14, 1962, and had already been repainted by January 1, 1963, so this picture must have been taken between those dates.

Here is Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 36 at Trolleyville sometime in mid-1962. This car left Wheaton on April 14, 1962, and had already been repainted by January 1, 1963, so this picture must have been taken between those dates.

This is CA&E car 36 after being repainted at Trolleyville sometime during 1962.

This is CA&E car 36 after being repainted at Trolleyville sometime during 1962.

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These last two pictures were taken a few years later, circa 1972:

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Ohio Railway Museum, circa 1965:

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Montreal and Southern Counties interurban (quit in 1956):

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Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee (North Shore Line, including a CERA fantrip:

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The location of this photo has puzzled even some experts. However, one of our regular readers may have the answer: "I think that it is looking north on the old Shore Line route post abandonment say in 1957 or 1958 when brush had grown up on the right of way. I would say that the location is where the old Lake Bluff Shore Line station was located, you can see a part of the old platform on the left side of the photo. If you go to that location today, the North Shore bike path curves slightly just south of where the Mundelein-Lake Bluff shuttle used to pass under the CNW. One track of the Shore Line route was retained from North Chicago Jct to the Highwood Shops until the last day of service. That was how they got cars to the Highwood Shops to be serviced and painted. The train is on the remaining track that led south to Highwood."

The location of this photo has puzzled even some experts. However, one of our regular readers may have the answer: “I think that it is looking north on the old Shore Line route post abandonment say in 1957 or 1958 when brush had grown up on the right of way. I would say that the location is where the old Lake Bluff Shore Line station was located, you can see a part of the old platform on the left side of the photo. If you go to that location today, the North Shore bike path curves slightly just south of where the Mundelein-Lake Bluff shuttle used to pass under the CNW. One track of the Shore Line route was retained from North Chicago Jct to the Highwood Shops until the last day of service. That was how they got cars to the Highwood Shops to be serviced and painted. The train is on the remaining track that led south to Highwood.”

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South Shore Line/Illinois Central Electric:

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Red Ektachromes

Noted railfan Ray DeGroote recently celebrated his 86th birthday. In his honor, I have attempted to color-correct an Ektacrhome slide he shot in 1955.

The original Ektachrome had a film speed of 32, slow by today’s standards, but preferable to its contemporary, Kodachrome 10. Unfortunately, the dyes used in early Ektachrome were unstable. This problem was corrected by the early 1960s.

Ray DeGroote took this picture at the old CTA Garfield Park "L" Laramie stop on May 1, 1955. We are looking to the west. About 30 years later, he had a duplicate slide made for me. That's what I scanned. Chances are, the original slide looks even more red than this today.

Ray DeGroote took this picture at the old CTA Garfield Park “L” Laramie stop on May 1, 1955. We are looking to the west. About 30 years later, he had a duplicate slide made for me. That’s what I scanned. Chances are, the original slide looks even more red than this today.

First, I brought the image up in Photoshop, and let the program try to color-correct the image automatically. As you can see, it already looks better but still has a ways to go.

First, I brought the image up in Photoshop, and let the program try to color-correct the image automatically. As you can see, it already looks better but still has a ways to go.

Next, I added some yellow to remove an overall blue cast. But due to how the original color dyes had faded, the resulting image is lacking in color intensity. It looks "flat." Keep in mind that the amount of red had to be greatly reduced to match the intensity of the greens and blues, which were greatly diminished.

Next, I added some yellow to remove an overall blue cast. But due to how the original color dyes had faded, the resulting image is lacking in color intensity. It looks “flat.” Keep in mind that the amount of red had to be greatly reduced to match the intensity of the greens and blues, which were greatly diminished.

Here, I increased the overall color saturation and tweaked the color balance a bit. The picture looks better now, but we are not yet satisfied.

Here, I increased the overall color saturation and tweaked the color balance a bit. The picture looks better now, but we are not yet satisfied.

Finally, I boosted the color saturation again. This seems to me about the best result. The sky is blue, the grass is green, and the top of the railcars are close to a neutral grey. While the platforms may be slightly red, they may have looked that way, and meanwhile the lighter parts of the CTA cars look slightly cyan. Since we do not want to add any more red back into the picture, this is where we stop and say we are done.

Finally, I boosted the color saturation again. This seems to me about the best result. The sky is blue, the grass is green, and the top of the railcars are close to a neutral grey. While the platforms may be slightly red, they may have looked that way, and meanwhile the lighter parts of the CTA cars look slightly cyan. Since we do not want to add any more red back into the picture, this is where we stop and say we are done.

I also corrected a couple of Ektachrome slides from 1959 that have shifted to red. They show D.C. Transit car 766 in fantrip service. These are extreme cases, and it wasn’t possible to bring the color back to 100% normal for these two slides:

Don’s Rail Photos says:

766 was built by Kuhlman Car Co in 1918 as Capital Traction Co 27. It was rebuilt in 1931 and became Capital Transit 766 in 1934. It is now at the National Capital Trolley Museum.

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Here’s a picture showing Pacific Electric 1543 and others in a yard in the Los Angeles area on August 11, 1959:

Here is the original faded slide.

Here is the original faded slide.

Here, we have applied the auto color function in Photoshop. It has taken us part of the way, but we are not done yet.

Here, we have applied the auto color function in Photoshop. It has taken us part of the way, but we are not done yet.

We have reduced the amount of red further, and increased color saturation a bit. The picture is starting to look better.

We have reduced the amount of red further, and increased color saturation a bit. The picture is starting to look better.

Finally, we boosted the contrast a bit to give the image some "snap." Now we are finished. The dirt is red, but that is probably how things looked, since the sky is blue, without any trace of red.

Finally, we boosted the contrast a bit to give the image some “snap.” Now we are finished. The dirt is red, but that is probably how things looked, since the sky is blue, without any trace of red.


Faded Kodachrome

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a faded Kodachrome slide. This 1939 photo of the Trylon and Perisphere at the New York World's Fair has shifted to magenta over the years. Apparently, the dyes in the earliest Kodachromes were nowhere near as stable as they soon became.

Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as a faded Kodachrome slide. This 1939 photo of the Trylon and Perisphere at the New York World’s Fair has shifted to magenta over the years. Apparently, the dyes in the earliest Kodachromes were nowhere near as stable as they soon became.

We have eliminated the magenta cast, but now there hardly seems to be any color at all. It's almost monochrome now.

We have eliminated the magenta cast, but now there hardly seems to be any color at all. It’s almost monochrome now.

Here, we have boosted color saturation and have added some yellow. Unfortunately, it looks like we have gone too far, since the sky is now beginning to turn yellow as well.

Here, we have boosted color saturation and have added some yellow. Unfortunately, it looks like we have gone too far, since the sky is now beginning to turn yellow as well.

Here, we have backed off a bit on color saturation and while there is still a bit of yellow in the sky, the image overall looks much better than it originally did.

Here, we have backed off a bit on color saturation and while there is still a bit of yellow in the sky, the image overall looks much better than it originally did.


Recent Correspondence

Spence Ziegler writes, regarding the Illinois Central Electric suburban service (now the Metra Electric):

Dates of all of the station closures, last run of the turnaround trains (Hyde Park, 72nd St., Burnside) and on what date the original Blue Island Coach yard closed and when the CJ/CR&I viaduct was removed. Any information would greatly be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

We will try to find answers to your questions, thanks.


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 151st 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 185,000 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.”

We thank you for your support.

Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 1-29-2016

Our previous post Trolley Dodgers (January 15, 2016) included a photo of the old Market Street stub terminal in downtown Chicago. Here is another view, probably from the late 1930s. It was torn down in 1948 after the CTA introduced A/B "skip-stop" service on the Lake Street "L", which rendered it unnecessary. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

Our previous post Trolley Dodgers (January 15, 2016) included a photo of the old Market Street stub terminal in downtown Chicago. Here is another view, probably from the late 1930s. It was torn down in 1948 after the CTA introduced A/B “skip-stop” service on the Lake Street “L”, which rendered it unnecessary. (Chicago Transit Authority Photo)

The Trolley Dodger mailbag is pretty full today, since we have received a lot of interesting correspondence lately. Mark Llanuza writes:

How did you get so interested in the CA&E?

I have lived in Chicago’s western suburbs pretty much my entire life. I was born in 1954 and therefore never rode the CA&E. As it was, my mother says she only rode it once, in 1946 as part of an outing with other people from the office she worked in downtown.

I know my mother took the Garfield Park “L” downtown when she worked there in 1952-53, after she married to my dad. They lived in Forest Park for a time.

In general, however, after my parents moved to the Mont Clare neighborhood, we took either the Lake Street “L” or the Logan Square line. (Although we lived very close to the Milwaukee Road commuter train, we didn’t ride it that much.)

When it was reported in the press in 1961 that the CA&E would be dismantled forever, my family took a Sunday drive out to Wheaton, where we looked forlornly at the cars in dead storage in the yard. I recall being glad at the time that they had not been vandalized.

When the Illinois Railway Museum began rail operations around 1966, we drove out there to ride the trains. And I have been back many, many times since.

As I grew up, I learned more and more about the CA&E, and am still learning.

Mark continues:

There were three final passenger trips that took place at year’s end in 1958. On Oct 26th the Central Electric Railfans’ Association chartered three cars (with a fourth car added later due to extra loading). It was listed as the last steel car trip and went to Elgin .

The second trip was charted on Nov 21st by a church group, and went from Glen Ellyn to Clintonville station, to the Fox Valley RR club.

The final one was on December 7th 1958, which I sent you many photos of, but I may have some more.

Mark did in fact send us more images, reproduced below. The ones from the final fantrip have also been added to our previous post A Cold Last Ride (January 25, 2016). We thank him for his generosity in sharing them with our readers.

Mark Llanuza's collection of CA&E slides include Kodachromes and Ektachromes. Kodachrome II was an improved version (with the film speed increased to ISO 25) released near the end of 1961. The original photographer's name is not known. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

Mark Llanuza’s collection of CA&E slides include Kodachromes and Ektachromes. Kodachrome II was an improved version (with the film speed increased to ISO 25) released near the end of 1961. The original photographer’s name is not known. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

The CERA fantrip train on the CA&E at Raymond Street, October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection) This is the same curve where several photos were taken during the December trip, where we got them identified as near the Corrugated Box Company.

The CERA fantrip train on the CA&E at Raymond Street, October 26, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection) This is the same curve where several photos were taken during the December trip, where we got them identified as near the Corrugated Box Company.

The CERA fantrip train at 5th Avenue in Maywood, looking east, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958 and the photographer was standing at the end of the platform, which is why the position is slightly elevated. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

TThe CERA fantrip train at 5th Avenue in Maywood, looking east, still just three cars at this point. The date is October 26, 1958 and the photographer was standing at the end of the platform, which is why the position is slightly elevated. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Fifth Avenue in Maywood as it looks today. We are facing east.

Fifth Avenue in Maywood as it looks today. We are facing east.

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The four-car CERA fantrip train at Raymond Street in Elgin. Mark Llanuza says the entire day was cold and rainy, and they had to add a fourth car at Wheaton because of the large number of people on this trip. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320-319 near the Corrugated Box Company on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320-319 near the Corrugated Box Company on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320 and engineer at the Lakewood station in West Chicago, December 7, 1958. As the CA&E operations wound down, starting with the abandonment of passenger service in 1957, employees were retained on the basis of seniority. Newer ones were let go while the oldest and longest serving employees remained. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

320 and engineer at the Lakewood station in West Chicago, December 7, 1958. As the CA&E operations wound down, starting with the abandonment of passenger service in 1957, employees were retained on the basis of seniority. Newer ones were let go while the oldest and longest serving employees remained. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

319-320 near the Clintonville Station on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

319-320 near the Clintonville Station on the Elgin branch, December 7, 1958. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Mark also sent us a couple of before and after pictures:

1953 and 2015 compared in South Elgin. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 compared in South Elgin. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 at Lakewood. (Mark Llanuza Photo)

1953 and 2015 at Lakewood. (Mark Llanuza Photo)


We also came across some CA&E ephemera:

Lucian C. Sprague (1882-1960) was president of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway from 1935 to 1954, and received this pass from the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Officials from various railroads gave each other these sorts of passes as a professional courtesy. The Chicago & North Western bought the Minneapolis and St. Louis in 1960.

Lucian C. Sprague (1882-1960) was president of the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway from 1935 to 1954, and received this pass from the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Officials from various railroads gave each other these sorts of passes as a professional courtesy. The Chicago & North Western bought the Minneapolis and St. Louis in 1960.

There was recently some discussion on Facebook regarding CA&E’s extensive use of uncovered third rail without fencing. It was noted that this arrangement had been in place since 1902 and residents of Chicago’s western suburbs were used to it. However, there were various signs warning of the dangers. If the CA&E had survived to the present time, no doubt there would be more protections in place.

This metal sign, said to have been used on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, recently sold on eBay for $280.

This metal sign, said to have been used on the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin, recently sold on eBay for $280.

caesign2


The CA&E 315 Story

Joel Salomon writes:

Thanks for the recent posting of all the great CA&E pictures on The Trolley Dodger blog. Some really fascinating images in that post.

I am a member and long time volunteer at the Rockhill Trolley Museum in Rockhill Furnace, PA. We have CA&E 315 at our museum and we are in the process of restoring the car to its original condition as built in 1909,or as close as we can make it.

One question that had always wondered me and others at the museum is how did 315 get out of Chicago and are there any photos of the car after the CA&E abandoned operations? We know the car was stored in a CN&W roundhouse for nearly a year and copies of that invoice are enclosed. But the big question is when did 315 leave the CA&E for the last time and are there any photos of that move? We do know when the car was ready to be moved to Pennsylvania the car was placed on a depressed flatcar and the trucks placed in a gondola car and moved to Mt. Union, PA. It was moved by a highway truck 11 miles to the museum site.

Do you know anyone that I might contact to help with this unknown part of the 315 story? I would appreciate knowing anyone that might be able to answer some of these questions or have pictures of 315 during its years on the CA&E as well as after abandonment.

Thanks for your help with these questions.

Thanks for writing. If, as I suspect, you are related to the late Gerhard Salomon, you might like to know I regard him as a hero for all his preservation efforts over the decades. I can only wish I had met the man to thank him personally.

While I do not have immediate answers to your various questions, I am confidant that I can help you find out, with the help of our readers.

One of my recent blog posts mentioned how the 320 (now at Mt. Pleasant) was the only car taken off the property that did not leave via a temporary interchange track with the C&NW.

It may very well be that the 315 left at the same time as some other cars that were saved, especially the ones that were heading east.

With any luck, I hope it will be possible to visit your fine museum sometime this year.

-David Sadowski

Joel Salomon is too modest. He is in fact the president of the museum. The images that follow are courtesy of Joel Salomon and the Rockhill Trolley Museum:

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RTY-PP CAE 315 184

315 flatcar side

RTY 315 Moving to RTM 038

Perhaps somewhat coincidentally, Mark Llaunza writes:

Here are some interesting last CA&E moves from April 1962. An interchange track was built at Wheaton to pick up cars from the yards. Trains were bought over to West Chicago to run around them, and they then headed back to Chicago.

While these photos do not necessarily help answer Mr. Salomon’s question, they do show seven CA&E cars being moved off the property in April 1962. If there were, as I have read, three such trains of cars, with the 320 being handled separately, then perhaps we have a one in three chance that the 315 was part of this train movement.

Since one of the invoices shown above pro-rated the cost for moving the 315 as 1/7th of the total, that would be another indication that it may have been in the group shown in these pictures. There most likely could not have been three such trains, as I recall only around 19 cars were saved. Maybe that improves our odds to 50% or perhaps greater.

The only car whose number I can recognize in these photos is the 303, which originally went to Trolleyville USA in Ohio. However, none of the cars in this photo have curved sides, so the four cars from the 451-460 series, which also went to the Gerald E. Brookins operation, are not among them and would have been moved in a different trip.

The 303 is preserved today at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. The 315 has been owned by the Rockhill group all along.

Update:

Frank Hicks writes:

IRM and RELIC each had their own “hospital train” and the 320 left separately so, by process of elimination, we can figure that the 315 was indeed in the seven-car “eastern museums” train in Mark’s photos. It looks to me like the order was 303-409-319-36-315-308-318.

BINGO! Thanks so much.

PS- The Railway Equipment Leasing and Investment Co. was the predecessor of the Fox River Trolley Museum.

Leaving the Wheaton interchange with the C&NW, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

Leaving the Wheaton interchange with the C&NW, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Wheaton in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Wheaton in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The saved CA&E cars on the C&NW in West Chicago, April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Western Avenue in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

On the C&NW at Western Avenue in April 1962. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the March 24, 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern." This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

This must be the March 24, 1962 train taking CA&E equipment purchased by RELIC, the predecessor to the Fox River Trolley Museum. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “11 was built by Brill in 1910, (order) #16483. It was rebuilt to a line car in 1947 and replaced 45. It was acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1962 and came to Fox River Trolley Museum in 1984. It was lettered as Fox River & Eastern.” This picture was taken in Glen Ellyn along the C&NW. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

From www.thegreatthirdrail.org: The end has come for the Roarin’ Elgin. The rails have rusted over and the hallmark of the railroad, the third rail, has already been taken off of the third rail chairs. Fortunately all isn’t lost. On March 24, 1962, we see EJ&E 212 hauling several CA&E cars past the Wheaton station and Main Street to be preserved at RELIC (today’s Fox River Trolley Museum). Photo by TH Desnoyers, from the Krambles-Peterson Archive

From http://www.thegreatthirdrail.org: The end has come for the Roarin’ Elgin. The rails have rusted over and the hallmark of the railroad, the third rail, has already been taken off of the third rail chairs. Fortunately all isn’t lost. On March 24, 1962, we see EJ&E 212 hauling several CA&E cars past the Wheaton station and Main Street to be preserved at RELIC (today’s Fox River Trolley Museum).
Photo by TH Desnoyers, from the Krambles-Peterson Archive

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)

The rescue train taking CA&E cars purchased by RELIC through Glen Ellyn. (Mark Llanuza Collection)


The Trolley Motel

Ruth Morgan writes:

There is a thesis at Mississippi State University on Land Use in Starkville. It is about 4 inches thick. I am attaching the pages on a trolley motel which is thought to have been the largest in the world. The trolleys were purchased by Vernon Chesteen from Birmingham and made into his motel prior to building one. It had a nice gas island with a streetcar diner. I located an aerial photo. I write an article for the Starkville paper entitled From Days Past and am trying to verify information. What I send you is true. The motel was on Highway 182 about a block west of town.

I wasn’t able to come up with anything about this Trolley Motel via a Google search. Perhaps my readers might know something more.

On Don’s Rail Photos, there is a page with information on the Birmingham streetcars themselves. Note this part:

Then, in August, 1941, cars 812, 816, 817, 830 thru 833, 835, and 838 were scrapped. A number of these car bodies were saved for non rail use, such as sheds and cabins.

Chances are those were the nine cars that were used for the Trolley Motel and associated diner. There is a picture of one such type car, which is known as a double-truck Birney. These cars were built in 1919 and 1920 by the Cincinnati Car Company, and were originally double-ended. They were eventually converted into single-end cars.

When these trolley cars were taken out of service, the motors, wheels, seats and control equipment would have been removed and saved for use on the remaining cars in that series. The car bodies would have been offered for sale, and would have been especially desirable in the immediate post-WWII era, when there was a housing shortage.

Back in those days, postcards were made of just about anything. It’s quite possible that a picture postcard may exist somewhere showing the Trolley Motel. Perhaps our readers may know something.

Ruth replies:

According to the thesis Lucille Liston Mitlin submitted to MSU to receive her master’s in geology and geography in August 1975, entitled “The Historical Development of Land Use in Starkville Mississippi, a Small University City,” it shows there was not much in the area during her days on campus.

The Trolley Motel was replaced by the University Motel about 1960 and all the “stars” who performed at MSU stayed there, including Johnny Cash. The motel no longer exists. Thank you so much for your research.

(Images below are courtesy of Ruth Morgan.)

This section of a 1975 dissertation describes how nine streetcar bodies from Birmingham, Alabama were used in a "Trolley Motel" in Mississippi. Eight were used as cabins and the ninth was a diner.

This section of a 1975 dissertation describes how nine streetcar bodies from Birmingham, Alabama were used in a “Trolley Motel” in Mississippi. Eight were used as cabins and the ninth was a diner.

An aerial photo, probably from the late 1940s, where you can just barely make out (at right) some of the streetcars in the Trolley Motel.

An aerial photo, probably from the late 1940s, where you can just barely make out (at right) some of the streetcars in the Trolley Motel.

Above is a 1952 MSU annual showing ads for the Gas Island, mentioning the diner and tourists.

Above is a 1952 MSU annual showing ads for the Gas Island, mentioning the diner and tourists.

Ruth sent us another note after this was posted:

THANK YOU! You are to be commended for the excellent job you do. This is the most reliable website I have seen. I talked to Mrs. V. J. Robinson, the sister-in-law of Mrs. Vernon Chesteen (about 90 years old). She remembers the trolley car motel. She said each trolley had 2 rooms so that would have been 16 rooms for the motel. Her two sisters worked in the trolley that was the diner. She is searching for old photos. Her mind is still clear as can be She has fond memories of the trolley car motel. Our town was crowded with students coming to Mississippi State University after the war. We had our largest increase in students during this time. Thank you again.

We are only too glad to help out. It’s worth pointing out that calling a double-truck Birney streetcar the largest in the world is a bit of hyperbole. I’m sure it was large, but of the same general size as plenty of other streetcars.


North Shore Line Abandoned Track?

Our youthful railfan Joey Morrow writes:

Does the North Shore Line have any abandoned track? The Skokie Valley doesn’t count because it was not abandoned when the NSL closed it’s doors. But I’ve found some track from the late 90’s though:

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Skokie Valley? Nope that track was used after the abandonment. But the Shore Line might have some abandoned platforms– the Winnetka platform was still there in 2014. According to (http://www.sarahrothschild.com/real-estate–history-blog/archives/12-2014). The Indian Hill platform was still there in the late 90’s according to http://www.chicagorailfan.com/mpupn.html.
But the tracks… To find both the southbound and the northbound tracks, they weren’t dug up. They were surrounded in concrete almost impossible to notice. But… On 27 Ct. and 52 St. you will see them!

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(Be aware this is in July 2012 not 2016) I was so happy I almost started crying! To know that the fate of a few yards of track on the Chicago Aurora and Elgin, would be the same for a few yards of track on the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee! North of this location but before the line turns towards Racine, there might be some more. North of 45th St. I want to check it out, but I don’t live in Kenosha anymore, not even in the Midwest. No where near where I want to be.

Good work, Joey. Perhaps one of our readers can tell us whether your detective work is correct. And in the meantime, keep trying to turn your dreams into your realities. That’s what life is all about.

-David Sadowski

Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can either leave a comment on this or any other post, or reach us at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com


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