October Surprises

Chicago Railways Pullman 513. This picture dates to between 1909 and 1920. I was fortunate to purchase this photo postcard recently, and cleaned up many of the imperfections in Photoshop. The caption on back reads, "Uncle Herbert Phipps, Chicago. This was taken during the summer. Your humble is stood with his hand(s) crossed. I look older in the picture than what I do in person. This picture reminds me of my grandfather. He looked a good deal like I do here." This may be the same person: "Born in New Whittington, Derbyshire, England on 7 May 1876 to George Phipps. Herbert Phipps married Frances Jane Fox and had 5 children. He passed away on 18 Oct 1928 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA." See the Recent Correspondence section for more discussion about this picture.

Chicago Railways Pullman 513. This picture dates to between 1909 and 1920. I was fortunate to purchase this photo postcard recently, and cleaned up many of the imperfections in Photoshop. The caption on back reads, “Uncle Herbert Phipps, Chicago. This was taken during the summer. Your humble is stood with his hand(s) crossed. I look older in the picture than what I do in person. This picture reminds me of my grandfather. He looked a good deal like I do here.” This may be the same person: “Born in New Whittington, Derbyshire, England on 7 May 1876 to George Phipps. Herbert Phipps married Frances Jane Fox and had 5 children. He passed away on 18 Oct 1928 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA.” See the Recent Correspondence section for more discussion about this picture.

October is often full of surprises, especially during an election year. Here are some surprisingly good traction photos for your enjoyment. Some, we were fortunate enough to purchase. We missed out on others, but they are still worth including. We also have some excellent Chicago streetcar pictures from the collections of William Shapotkin, plus some interesting correspondence from our readers. We thank all our contributors.

As always, if you have questions or comments about anything you see here, we are glad to hear from you. It helps to refer to individual photos by their file name, which you can find by hovering your mouse over the image.

-David Sadowski

PS- We have received more than 100,000 page views this year. This is the sixth straight year we have done this. We are very grateful for our readers. Thank you for stopping by.

Facebook Auxiliary Group

It seems we always have things left over after each new post. So, we thought it would be a good idea to create a Facebook auxiliary group for The Trolley Dodger. You can find it here. People can post pictures, links, have discussions, etc. etc., thanks.

Recent Finds

The Merchandise Mart station, looking south, on September 26, 1944. Those tracks at left went to the old North Water Terminal. This version of the image is a composite made up by combining the scans from two different prints, and shows slightly more of the overall scene than either would individually.

The Merchandise Mart station, looking south, on September 26, 1944. Those tracks at left went to the old North Water Terminal. This version of the image is a composite made up by combining the scans from two different prints, and shows slightly more of the overall scene than either would individually.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 317 at Wheaton Yards on June 28, 1957. Passenger service ended on July 3rd. (Paul Stringham Photo)

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 317 at Wheaton Yards on June 28, 1957. Passenger service ended on July 3rd. (Paul Stringham Photo)

CA&E 430 and 315 at Wheaton Yards on August 7, 1954.

CA&E 430 and 315 at Wheaton Yards on August 7, 1954.

North Shore Line four-truck loco 459 at Pettibone Yards in North Chicago, IL on October 23, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo) Sderailway notes, "North Shore Line freight motor 459, one of two large four truck motors purchased from Oregon Electric, 459 was built in 1941 and sold to the North Shore Line in 1946. The large motors supplemented NSL’s smaller, slower, lower horse powered fleet of steeple cabs. With 459 being only 5 years old when purchased from OE it seems with only 17 years more years in NSL service, it still had a lot of “life” left in it."

North Shore Line four-truck loco 459 at Pettibone Yards in North Chicago, IL on October 23, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo) Sderailway notes, “North Shore Line freight motor 459, one of two large four truck motors purchased from Oregon Electric, 459 was built in 1941 and sold to the North Shore Line in 1946. The large motors supplemented NSL’s smaller, slower, lower horse powered fleet of steeple cabs. With 459 being only 5 years old when purchased from OE it seems with only 17 years more years in NSL service, it still had a lot of “life” left in it.”

CTA subway wash car S-108 is in front of trailer 1199 at the "L" supply yards at 63rd and South Park on January 9, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

CTA subway wash car S-108 is in front of trailer 1199 at the “L” supply yards at 63rd and South Park on January 9, 1954. (Robert Selle Photo)

Robert Selle captured this picture of Milwaukee Road steam locomotive 163 (4-6-2) pulling a commuter train just north of Lake Street in downtown Chicago on August 18, 1953. My family moved to the Mont Clare neighborhood in 1954, and we lived a block from the Milwaukee Road. My mother would hang her wash out to dry behind where we lived, and she told me her clothes were dirtied by the smoke from the steam engines (which were fast disappearing from the scene).

Robert Selle captured this picture of Milwaukee Road steam locomotive 163 (4-6-2) pulling a commuter train just north of Lake Street in downtown Chicago on August 18, 1953. My family moved to the Mont Clare neighborhood in 1954, and we lived a block from the Milwaukee Road. My mother would hang her wash out to dry behind where we lived, and she told me her clothes were dirtied by the smoke from the steam engines (which were fast disappearing from the scene).

Erie Lackawanna 3357 on the Gladstone branch in New Jersey on October 4, 1970. These cars somewhat resembled the Illinois Central Electric commuter trains built in 1936. The 3357 was built by Pullman in 1920 as a trailer and was retired in 1984. The inly information I could find is that it may be stored inoperable at Steamtown in Scranton, PA. The Gladstone Branch, currently operated by NJ Transit, had many of the attributes of an old-fashioned interurban, and our good friend Kenneth Gear has written about it on this site. (James C. Herold Photo)

Erie Lackawanna 3357 on the Gladstone branch in New Jersey on October 4, 1970. These cars somewhat resembled the Illinois Central Electric commuter trains built in 1936. The 3357 was built by Pullman in 1920 as a trailer and was retired in 1984. The inly information I could find is that it may be stored inoperable at Steamtown in Scranton, PA. The Gladstone Branch, currently operated by NJ Transit, had many of the attributes of an old-fashioned interurban, and our good friend Kenneth Gear has written about it on this site. (James C. Herold Photo)

The North Shore Line interurban operated city streetcars in Milwaukee and Waukegan. Here's what Don's Rail Photos tells us about this car: "313 and 315 were built by St. Louis Car in 1915 as 313 and 315 of the Empire State Ry for service in Oswego, NY. After only two years, they were sold to the North Shore in June 1918. 313 was rebuilt to one man service on March 12, 1919, and retired in 1941. 315 was rebuilt on February 24, 1919, and retired in 1940. Both were scrapped in 1945." Don Ross adds, "North Shore 313 was taken at Waukegan. I don’t think it never ran in Milwaukee. We had the 2 door Birneys and 2 350s in Milwaukee until Waukegan quit. We got the 250s and the Birneys were dumped. The 500s were for Milwaukee but switched to Waukegan when the Birneys came."

The North Shore Line interurban operated city streetcars in Milwaukee and Waukegan. Here’s what Don’s Rail Photos tells us about this car: “313 and 315 were built by St. Louis Car in 1915 as 313 and 315 of the Empire State Ry for service in Oswego, NY. After only two years, they were sold to the North Shore in June 1918. 313 was rebuilt to one man service on March 12, 1919, and retired in 1941. 315 was rebuilt on February 24, 1919, and retired in 1940. Both were scrapped in 1945.” Don Ross adds, “North Shore 313 was taken at Waukegan. I don’t think it never ran in Milwaukee. We had the 2 door Birneys and 2 350s in Milwaukee until Waukegan quit. We got the 250s and the Birneys were dumped. The 500s were for Milwaukee but switched to Waukegan when the Birneys came.”

Chicago Rapid Transit 3048 at Marion Street in Oak Park, part of a Lake Street "L" train in the 1940s. Don's Rail Photos: "3001 thru 3100 were built by Gilbert in 1893 as Lake Street Elevated RR 1 thru 100. In 1913 they were renumbered 3001 thru 3100 and became Chicago Rapid Transit 3001 thru 3100 in 1923."

Chicago Rapid Transit 3048 at Marion Street in Oak Park, part of a Lake Street “L” train in the 1940s. Don’s Rail Photos: “3001 thru 3100 were built by Gilbert in 1893 as Lake Street Elevated RR 1 thru 100. In 1913 they were renumbered 3001 thru 3100 and became Chicago Rapid Transit 3001 thru 3100 in 1923.”

Brill built experimental pre-PCC 7001 in 1934, signed for Broadway-State. The picture can be dated because it ran direct service to A Century of Progress during the second season of this Chicago World's Fair.

Brill built experimental pre-PCC 7001 in 1934, signed for Broadway-State. The picture can be dated because it ran direct service to A Century of Progress during the second season of this Chicago World’s Fair.

Likewise, this picture of CSL 7001 can be dated to 1936, since it is signed as part of the opening ceremonies for the new Ashland Avenue bridge, which connected both parts of the Ashland car line. As the new PCCs weren't delivered until later in the year, 7001 was CSL's newest car and thus was featured along with a parade of historical equipment. As we have shown in other posts, the interior was similar to the pre-PCC cars built in 1935 for Washington, DC. It was retired in 1944 and unfortunately, scrapped in 1959.

Likewise, this picture of CSL 7001 can be dated to 1936, since it is signed as part of the opening ceremonies for the new Ashland Avenue bridge, which connected both parts of the Ashland car line. As the new PCCs weren’t delivered until later in the year, 7001 was CSL’s newest car and thus was featured along with a parade of historical equipment. As we have shown in other posts, the interior was similar to the pre-PCC cars built in 1935 for Washington, DC. It was retired in 1944 and unfortunately, scrapped in 1959.

More That Got Away

The Trolley Dodger competes with many other people to buy images for this site. Here are some that we noticed recently that slipped through our fingers. As they say, you can’t win ’em all.

North Shore Line observation parlor car 420.

North Shore Line observation parlor car 420.

The CRT Laramie Shops, adjacent to the ground-level "L" station. We are looking east.

The CRT Laramie Shops, adjacent to the ground-level “L” station. We are looking east.

CRT 4322, signed for Garfield Park and Maywood, is most likely at Laramie in this photo.

CRT 4322, signed for Garfield Park and Maywood, is most likely at Laramie in this photo.

A Chicago Rapid Transit Company one-car train on the Niles Center (Skokie) line.

A Chicago Rapid Transit Company one-car train on the Niles Center (Skokie) line.

The north portal of the State Street Subway, probably in the 1940s.

The north portal of the State Street Subway, probably in the 1940s.

A train of wooden "L" cars rounds the curve at Sedgwick.

A train of wooden “L” cars rounds the curve at Sedgwick.

An eastbound two-car train of CTA 4000s on the Lake Street "L" in 1964.

An eastbound two-car train of CTA 4000s on the Lake Street “L” in 1964.

Chicago Surface Lines 563 on Madison Street in 1928, in front of the old Northwestern Station.

Chicago Surface Lines 563 on Madison Street in 1928, in front of the old Northwestern Station.

Old and new control towers at Logan Square in 1966.

Old and new control towers at Logan Square in 1966.

The CTA Canal Street station on the Met main line, probably in the early 1950s. "L" cars and CA&E interurbans are present.

The CTA Canal Street station on the Met main line, probably in the early 1950s. “L” cars and CA&E interurbans are present.

A CA&E maintenance of way vehicle at the Wheaton Shops.

A CA&E maintenance of way vehicle at the Wheaton Shops.

MTA 3323 is a double-ended PCC built by Pullman for the Dallas system in 1945. It was sold to Boston in 1959, as more cars were needed once the new Riverside line opened.

MTA 3323 is a double-ended PCC built by Pullman for the Dallas system in 1945. It was sold to Boston in 1959, as more cars were needed once the new Riverside line opened.

Chicago Surface Lines 5377 was built by Brill-Kuhlman in 1907. This photo postcard was purchased by Jeff Marinoff.

Chicago Surface Lines 5377 was built by Brill-Kuhlman in 1907. This photo postcard was purchased by Jeff Marinoff.

Red Arrow car 19 has just departed the end of the line of the Ardmore line on June 11, 1966, about six months before buses replaced rail here.

Red Arrow car 19 has just departed the end of the line of the Ardmore line on June 11, 1966, about six months before buses replaced rail here.

This is where the trolley line ended in Ardmore. It has been turned into a pocket park and parking lot.

This is where the trolley line ended in Ardmore. It has been turned into a pocket park and parking lot.

MBTA 3271 running as part of a multiple unit train on Tremont Street in Newton, MA on May 30, 1982. This may be a fantrip, as regular streetcar service on these tracks ended in 1969. Seeing a car signed for Route A - Watertown is quite rare, as the lettered routes were just being introduced around the time Watertown was bussed. The tracks and overhead remained in place for many years, for access to the Watertown car house, but have since been removed. The Watertown line fell victim to a car shortage in the late 1960s. It also had to cross an expressway and run against one-way traffic, another factor.

MBTA 3271 running as part of a multiple unit train on Tremont Street in Newton, MA on May 30, 1982. This may be a fantrip, as regular streetcar service on these tracks ended in 1969. Seeing a car signed for Route A – Watertown is quite rare, as the lettered routes were just being introduced around the time Watertown was bussed. The tracks and overhead remained in place for many years, for access to the Watertown car house, but have since been removed. The Watertown line fell victim to a car shortage in the late 1960s. It also had to cross an expressway and run against one-way traffic, another factor.

The same location today.

The same location today.

Red Arrow car 24 is at Darby and Brookline Roads in Havertown, PA on May 29, 1958, on the Ardmore line.

Red Arrow car 24 is at Darby and Brookline Roads in Havertown, PA on May 29, 1958, on the Ardmore line.

The same location today.

The same location today.

The interior of New Orleans Public Service 924 on April 19, 1958, as photographed by Bob Selle. Note the ugly signs, evidence of the racial segregation of the time.

The interior of New Orleans Public Service 924 on April 19, 1958, as photographed by Bob Selle. Note the ugly signs, evidence of the racial segregation of the time.

On July 15, 1955 C&NW 4-6-2 #511 pulls a commuter train in Chicago. Bi-levels were pulled by steam, but here we see steam right next to some bi-levels.

On July 15, 1955 C&NW 4-6-2 #511 pulls a commuter train in Chicago. Bi-levels were pulled by steam, but here we see steam right next to some bi-levels.

CTA 45 and 46 are part of a work train in Evanston on May 30, 1994.

CTA 45 and 46 are part of a work train in Evanston on May 30, 1994.

CTA 22 and 32 are part of a work train in Evanston on May 30, 1994.

CTA 22 and 32 are part of a work train in Evanston on May 30, 1994.

CA&E 34 and many others at the Wheaton yard in 1962, after abandonment of the railroad, but before the equipment was disposed of.

CA&E 34 and many others at the Wheaton yard in 1962, after abandonment of the railroad, but before the equipment was disposed of.

Logan Square yard in 1966.

Logan Square yard in 1966.

A North Shore Line train stops at Zion, illinois for a photo stop in June 1961. The religious community here made the interurban put in a much larger station than ridership required, because they believed their community would grow rapidly.

A North Shore Line train stops at Zion, illinois for a photo stop in June 1961. The religious community here made the interurban put in a much larger station than ridership required, because they believed their community would grow rapidly.

Two "L" trains pass at the Merchandise Mart station circa 1955.

Two “L” trains pass at the Merchandise Mart station circa 1955.

Kodak did not stamp the processing date on slides until around 1958, but this appears to be around 1955 from the autos. The Garfield Park "L" crossing over the Chicago River near Union Station. We are looking to the northwest.

Kodak did not stamp the processing date on slides until around 1958, but this appears to be around 1955 from the autos. The Garfield Park “L” crossing over the Chicago River near Union Station. We are looking to the northwest.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 309 appears to be on a fantrip. Not sure of the location.

Chicago Aurora & Elgin 309 appears to be on a fantrip. Not sure of the location.

Red Arrow car 22 is at Sheldon and Spring Avenue in September 1965 on the Ardmore line. At the end of 1966, it was converted to buses.

Red Arrow car 22 is at Sheldon and Spring Avenue in September 1965 on the Ardmore line. At the end of 1966, it was converted to buses.

The same location today.

A CTA Garfield Park train heads west on Van Buren at Western. Streetcars crossed here until June 1956. Tracks are still evident, but I don't see any wire, so this could be after that.

A CTA Garfield Park train heads west on Van Buren at Western. Streetcars crossed here until June 1956. Tracks are still evident, but I don’t see any wire, so this could be after that.

Don's Rail Photos" "S-347 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1922, #2660, as 4323. It was rebuilt on February 26, 1965, as S-347 and sold to Indiana Transportation in June 1979." Perhaps this picture was taken in Indiana. The museum has since lost this location.

Don’s Rail Photos” “S-347 was built by Cincinnati Car in 1922, #2660, as 4323. It was rebuilt on February 26, 1965, as S-347 and sold to Indiana Transportation in June 1979.” Perhaps this picture was taken in Indiana. The museum has since lost this location.

CTA 7180 is about to depart the terminal loop just south of Howard Street on Clark. Where the PCCs are is now a restaurant patio area.

CTA 7180 is about to depart the terminal loop just south of Howard Street on Clark. Where the PCCs are is now a restaurant patio area.

A westbound Garfield Park train at Sacramento. You can see the beginnings of the temporary ramp at this location, which connected to the ground-level right-of-way used in Van Buren Street from 1953 to 1958. That was north of the old right-of-way. Sacramento was one of two points where the old "L" crossed the right-of-way of the Congress Expressway, then under construction.

A westbound Garfield Park train at Sacramento. You can see the beginnings of the temporary ramp at this location, which connected to the ground-level right-of-way used in Van Buren Street from 1953 to 1958. That was north of the old right-of-way. Sacramento was one of two points where the old “L” crossed the right-of-way of the Congress Expressway, then under construction.

CTA 7169 is southbound on Route 22 Clark-Wentworth. Perhaps this is somewhere on the south side, as I don't recall such a hill on the north side. Andre Kristopans: "PCC on hill is a pullout heading east on 69th at Parnell." On the other hand, our resident south side expert M.E. writes, "No scenes along Wentworth or Vincennes looked like this. So right away I thought this photo had to be along 81st St. Sure enough -- read the street sign at the left: 81st and Parnell." Robert Lalich: "M.E. is correct on the location of CTA 7169. The street sign plainly shows 81st and Parnell. The WB car is about to duck under the C&WI tracks. Two of the three buildings on the left are still there."

CTA 7169 is southbound on Route 22 Clark-Wentworth. Perhaps this is somewhere on the south side, as I don’t recall such a hill on the north side. Andre Kristopans: “PCC on hill is a pullout heading east on 69th at Parnell.” On the other hand, our resident south side expert M.E. writes, “No scenes along Wentworth or Vincennes looked like this. So right away I thought this photo had to be along 81st St. Sure enough — read the street sign at the left: 81st and Parnell.” Robert Lalich: “M.E. is correct on the location of CTA 7169. The street sign plainly shows 81st and Parnell. The WB car is about to duck under the C&WI tracks. Two of the three buildings on the left are still there.”

This is the Isabella station on the Evanston branch (today's CTA Purple Line) in 1970. That's a two-car train of 4000s. Note the lack of third rail.

This is the Isabella station on the Evanston branch (today’s CTA Purple Line) in 1970. That’s a two-car train of 4000s. Note the lack of third rail.

Some fans are shooting a South Shore Line freight in Gary, Indiana. The car looks like about a 1936 Lincoln Zephyr.

Some fans are shooting a South Shore Line freight in Gary, Indiana. The car looks like about a 1936 Lincoln Zephyr.

Don's Rail Photos: "South Shore Line 1126 was a work motor built by Niles in 1908 as CLS&SB 73. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005." The sign says South Bend Limited.

Don’s Rail Photos: “South Shore Line 1126 was a work motor built by Niles in 1908 as CLS&SB 73. In 1927 it was rebuilt into work motor 1126. In 1941 it was sold and converted to a house. In 1994 it was purchased for restoration from a buyer who had picked it up the month before for back taxes. He really did not want the car, just the land. Bob Harris began restoration in 2005.” The sign says South Bend Limited.

Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern (Iowa) car 82 in 1947. That car at left is probably from the late 1920s, though.

Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern (Iowa) car 82 in 1947. That car at left is probably from the late 1920s, though.

This Kodachrome slide is from 1943 and shows the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, NJ, which converted to buses the following year. This is a resort town and business was hurt during the war, as there were nighttime blackouts.

This Kodachrome slide is from 1943 and shows the Five Mile Beach Electric Railway in Wildwood, NJ, which converted to buses the following year. This is a resort town and business was hurt during the war, as there were nighttime blackouts.

North Shore Line 178 at Harrison Street in Milwaukee in 1955. Don's Rail Photos: "178 was built by Cincinnati Car in September 1920, #2455."

North Shore Line 178 at Harrison Street in Milwaukee in 1955. Don’s Rail Photos: “178 was built by Cincinnati Car in September 1920, #2455.”

A Des Moines, Iowa streetcar in the 1940s.

A Des Moines, Iowa streetcar in the 1940s.

A westbound Lake Street "A" train, when the outer portion of that line ran at ground level west of Laramie. This is somewhere in Oak Park, perhaps between Home Avenue and Kenilworth.

A westbound Lake Street “A” train, when the outer portion of that line ran at ground level west of Laramie. This is somewhere in Oak Park, perhaps between Home Avenue and Kenilworth.

From the Collections of William Shapotkin:

All the pictures in this section have been graciously shared by our good friend Bill Shapotkin.

CSL 106 in May 1947.

CSL 106 in May 1947.

CTA 123 at Kedzie and Van Buren in December 1948.

CTA 123 at Kedzie and Van Buren in December 1948.

CSL 135.

CSL 135.

CSL 204 in December 1946.

CSL 204 in December 1946.

CTA 5512 at 79th and Wentworth in January 1948. Correction- Robert Lalich writes, "Photo rbk612 shows car 5512 crossing the B&O Brookdale Branch at 79th and Oglesby."

CTA 5512 at 79th and Wentworth in January 1948. Correction- Robert Lalich writes, “Photo rbk612 shows car 5512 crossing the B&O Brookdale Branch at 79th and Oglesby.”

CSL 6013 at Kedzie and Bryn Mawr in 1946.

CSL 6013 at Kedzie and Bryn Mawr in 1946.

CSL 5087 at State and 13th in June 1939, during construction of the State Street Subway.

CSL 5087 at State and 13th in June 1939, during construction of the State Street Subway.

CSL 1994 at Division and Lavergne in May 1943.

CSL 1994 at Division and Lavergne in May 1943.

CTA 6148.

CTA 6148.

CSL 1825 at West Shops.

CSL 1825 at West Shops.

CTA 3315.

CTA 3315.

CSL 1398 at 21st and Marshall Boulevard on July 6, 1946.

CSL 1398 at 21st and Marshall Boulevard on July 6, 1946.

CTA 225 on Route 9 - Ashland. This car went to the Seashore Trolley Museum in 1957, where it remains today.

CTA 225 on Route 9 – Ashland. This car went to the Seashore Trolley Museum in 1957, where it remains today.

CSL 401 at Cicero and Belden in May 1946.

CSL 401 at Cicero and Belden in May 1946.

CTA 117 on North Avenue by the Chicago River in April 1949.

CTA 117 on North Avenue by the Chicago River in April 1949.

CTA 6209 on Route 93 by the Belt Railway, between Kenwood and Harper on August 13, 1948. M.E. notes, "The destination sign begins with "89 Avenue", so this car is running east. Lind's book confirms the eastern terminus was at 89th and Avenue O."

CTA 6209 on Route 93 by the Belt Railway, between Kenwood and Harper on August 13, 1948. M.E. notes, “The destination sign begins with “89 Avenue”, so this car is running east. Lind’s book confirms the eastern terminus was at 89th and Avenue O.”

CTA 6050 on Route 55 just south of Lake Street.

CTA 6050 on Route 55 just south of Lake Street.

CTA 7217 on Route 36 - Broadway-State. (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CTA 7217 on Route 36 – Broadway-State. (Robert W. Gibson Photo)

CTA 4401 at Skokie Shops in 1972, after retirement.

CTA 4401 at Skokie Shops in 1972, after retirement.

CSL 2919 at 26th and Halsted in 1946.

CSL 2919 at 26th and Halsted in 1946.

CSL 1423 on 26th Street on September 27, 1946. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

CSL 1423 on 26th Street on September 27, 1946. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)

CTA 214 on Belmont at Western Avenue, with Riverview amusement park in the background. The tall structure is the parachute jump. I rode that once (the park closed after the 1967 season). This picture was taken on December 31, 1948.

CTA 214 on Belmont at Western Avenue, with Riverview amusement park in the background. The tall structure is the parachute jump. I rode that once (the park closed after the 1967 season). This picture was taken on December 31, 1948.

CSL 1007 at Wabash and 8th Street. The 8th Street Theater at right is where the WLS National Barn Dance did their weekly broadcast for several years. (Heier Industrial Photo)

CSL 1007 at Wabash and 8th Street. The 8th Street Theater at right is where the WLS National Barn Dance did their weekly broadcast for several years. (Heier Industrial Photo)

CTA 177 on Halsted on February 22, 1954, running northbound at the intersection of Halsted, Grand, and Milwaukee.

CTA 177 on Halsted on February 22, 1954, running northbound at the intersection of Halsted, Grand, and Milwaukee.

CTA 4405 on Clark Street at Chicago Avenue. Bill Barber writes, "I believe this photo in your Oct 12th email is misdated. The blue station wagon in front of the PCC is a 1956 Plymouth and the yellow and white car immediately behind the PCC is a 1955 Chevy. Considering that new automobile models were introduced, at that time, in September of the year before the actual model year, the earliest that this photo could be is late 1955."

CTA 4405 on Clark Street at Chicago Avenue. Bill Barber writes, “I believe this photo in your Oct 12th email is misdated. The blue station wagon in front of the PCC is a 1956 Plymouth and the yellow and white car immediately behind the PCC is a 1955 Chevy. Considering that new automobile models were introduced, at that time, in September of the year before the actual model year, the earliest that this photo could be is late 1955.”

CTA 1752 at Cottage Grove and Cermak on September 8, 1951.

CTA 1752 at Cottage Grove and Cermak on September 8, 1951.

The South Shore Line in East Chicago, Indiana, when it ran on the street. In 1956, this trackage was relocated to run parallel to the new Indiana Toll Road. Robert Lalich: "Photo 683 was taken at White Oak and Chicago Ave in East Chicago. The train is WB and is about to curve to the north onto private right of way before crossing the B&OCT near Columbia Ave. Notice the unusual placement of flashers on the left to warn westbound motorists."

The South Shore Line in East Chicago, Indiana, when it ran on the street. In 1956, this trackage was relocated to run parallel to the new Indiana Toll Road. Robert Lalich: “Photo 683 was taken at White Oak and Chicago Ave in East Chicago. The train is WB and is about to curve to the north onto private right of way before crossing the B&OCT near Columbia Ave. Notice the unusual placement of flashers on the left to warn westbound motorists.”

Since we posted this picture, two people have identified it as Kedzie and Van Buren.

Since we posted this picture, two people have identified it as Kedzie and Van Buren.

CTA sprinkler D-203.

CTA sprinkler D-203.

CTA Peter Witt 3375 at Wabash and 18th, running on Route 4 in 1948.

CTA Peter Witt 3375 at Wabash and 18th, running on Route 4 in 1948.

Recent Correspondence

The unrestored version of the postcard shown at the top of this post.

The unrestored version of the postcard shown at the top of this post.

This postcard of Pullman streetcar 513 generated some discussion with our friend Jeff Marinoff, and additional comments from some others.

Jeff Marinoff writes:

Here is the info I received from Walter Keevil on Chicago Railway Company car # 513:

It is car 513 at a very early date. The number is readable on the side of the car as well as the front, though the middle digit is washed out on the front. There were three digit car numbers from 101 to 999. 513 was a Large or Old Pullman delivered in 1908-09 to Chicago Railway Co. before CSL took over management. The cars were originally painted a ‘medium’ green with red sash and doors so the photo shows everything black. The numbers were gold which also appears very dark. The well known red and cream didn’t come until 1920. I don’t know when the car numbers on the sides were moved to the center instead of the ends. The car in the photo looks a bit beat up, not the way CSL kept its cars until WW II.

Andre Kristopans adds:

Noticed that too, rather shabby condition. Maybe during WW1? Suppose maintenance went down on account of war and Spanish Flu at the same time.

Sandy Terman adds:

Regarding photo 513. Appears the big Pullmans were manufactured w/o the eight roof ventilators (4 on each side of the top hat) and w/o boarding air doors which were installed on the 500 series in later years. Question is why were the vents not manufactured on the baby Pullmans that were very similar?

We recently received an interesting comment on our previous post The Green Hornet Streetcar Disaster (May 19, 2015). It was directed at Craig Allen Cleve, who authored a book by that title, so we forwarded it to him and he in turn replied.

Bren Sheriff writes:

Mr. Cleve,
The NAACP has owned 11 contiguous lots on the east side of State Street between 62nd and 63rd for over 30 years; the lot addresses are 6209-6251 S State. I bet there is a story behind how the donor acquired the lots and why they made the decision to donate them to the NAACP. Unfortunately, no one in the unit knows. In your research did you come across any land ownership info. The public records online only go back to 1988. Perhaps I’ll get down to look at the original entry books.

We are contemplating developing the lots and putting up a memorial plaque. Not that it matters, but how many victims, both the 34 dead and 50 injured, were Black?

I am one of the few folks that I know that can remember this tragic accident. The reason I remember it so well is because my family went through several hours of anguish waiting to hear from my mother; she often rode the State Street Green Hornet home from work.

My mom worked at Spiegel’s on 35th near Morgan, we lived on 69th and Michigan; she often rode home on the State Street line. On the day of the accident she decided to go shopping for a graduation gift for my cousin, she had not told my aunt. When she was not home by 6pm, as usual, it concerned my aunt. However, all of us were put into a panic when the thick dark plumes of smoke rose from the enflamed accident site and filled the sky. One of our neighbors told us that there had been an accident on State between a street car and gasoline truck.

My cousin and a friend got on their bikes and rode over to State Street to try to see the site, unsuccessfully – it had been cordoned off. On their way home they saw my mom walking from Wentworth to Michigan on 69th Street. Seeing her enter the back gate was one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen, even to this day.

She is now 95 and aphasic. Over the years, we never discussed that day nor the horrific accident.

Craig Allen Cleve replies:

Hello, Ben. Thanks for your question. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

1. Regarding the properties along the east side of the 6200 block of S. State St., I never looked into records regarding ownership. In hindsight, it might have been worthwhile, considering reports that about 120 people were left homeless after the fire. There were only five structures that were completely destroyed, including the large tenement adjacent to the entrance to the turnaround loop. I’m guessing absentee landlords and severe overcrowding. I never researched ownership of the land post fire;

2. Thirty-three people died in the blaze, although several papers reported thirty-four. This was most likely due to the frightful condition of the bodies, particularly those who died at the rear of the trolley. Subsequent examinations put the number at thirty-three;

3. Of the 33, to my best recollection, the following victims were African-American:
Marietta Catlin
Minnnie Banks Dade
Clara Dobson
Bertha Dowdell
George Dowdell
Alean Fisher
Floreine Foster
Marie A. Franklin
Tishie Mae Johnson
Daisy Palmer
Luella Phillips
Julia Piercefield
Annie Richardson
Mamie Robinson
Rosa Saunders
Earl Sue Sharp
Ollie Smith
Dorothy Townsend
Douglas Turner

That’s about 60%. A good portion of those folks were on their way to Princeton Park, located at about 91st. St. and Wentworth Ave. Princeton Park was a housing development which targeted middle-class blacks in its ad campaigns.

4. I happy to hear that if the land is developed, that the idea of a memorial of some kind is at least being considered. Please let me know if I can help in any way. I hope this info was helpful.

Cordially,

Craig Cleve

Jon Roma writes:

David, in a recent post to The Trolley Dodger (The End of Summer – September 1, 2020), you have two news photographs of a derailment on the Rapid Transit at Wabash and Van Buren in May 1942. Attached is the article and pictures from the Chicago Daily Tribune from the following day’s newspaper (May 14, 1942).

I’m not certain how a fire a block away from Tower 12 caused this derailment, but my educated guess is that the disruption threw the towerman off his game, leading him to inadvertently throw a switch under a train, jackknifing it into the tower. One CRT employee was killed in this.

Thanks for sharing! The caption on one of the two press photos we posted also mentions that some trains were being rerouted because of the fire. That could also have been a factor in the interlocking switches not getting set correctly.

Wally Weart writes:

As I grew up in Chicago post WW II, many of these pictures bring back lots of memories, I grew up on the North Side but had family on the South Side so I was able to see a lot of Chicago streetcars and “L”s. I rode all the interurbans in the Midwest that were still operating. Please keep up your work, I really enjoy it.

We will do our best, thanks.  Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks!

-David Sadowski

New Steam Audio CD:

FYI, we have digitally remastered another classic steam railroad audio LP to Compact Disc. Many additional titles, including the complete output of the Railroad Record Club, in our Online Store.

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STEAM CDs:

RGTS
Rio Grande to Silverton:
A Sound Portrait of Mountain Railroading

These are vintage 1960 narrow gauge steam train recordings, in true stereo, and originally released on LP in 1961.  It is long out of print.
Includes:
01. Riding The Train To Silverton
02. Photo Run At Elk Park
03. Arriving At Silverton
04. Train Time At La Jara
05. Illini Special At Cumbres Pass
06. Doubleheader Starting At Monero
07. Eastbound Freight
08. Arriving At Chama
09. Whistles At Coxo
10. Freight With Pusher At Coxo

Gone are the nostalgic sounds of steam echoes and thundering exhausts, but the memory is immortal. May they live on in the locomotive lexicon, as a monument to the era when trains were pulled by STEAM POWER.

As with all of our recordings, this CD comes with the complete, original liner notes.

Total time – 45:49

The Trolley Dodger On the Air
We appeared on WGN radio in Chicago in November 2018, 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)

Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 257th 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 679,000 page views, for which we are very grateful.

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Trolley Dodger Mailbag, 10-31-2016

NJ Transit's Gladstone Branch took on the appearance of an Interurban railroad once it reached the open country side of Somerset County New Jersey. Close head ways, fast running, wooden catenary poles, and 1930's era MU equipment combined to create that Interurban look. This photo shows clearly the wooden catenary poles as a fast running Gladstone bound train of Ex-DL&W DC electric MU cars fly down the track near Bernardsville, NJ on June 2, 1983. (Kenneth Gear Photo)

NJ Transit’s Gladstone Branch took on the appearance of an Interurban railroad once it reached the open country side of Somerset County New Jersey. Close head ways, fast running, wooden catenary poles, and 1930’s era MU equipment combined to create that Interurban look. This photo shows clearly the wooden catenary poles as a fast running Gladstone bound train of Ex-DL&W DC electric MU cars fly down the track near Bernardsville, NJ on June 2, 1983. (Kenneth Gear Photo)

Reader’s Photos

Kenneth Gear writes:

On the subject of the The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection*, I am, as you said (you were referring to me?), looking forward to seeing the Gladstone Branch material on it.

NJ Transit’s Gladstone operation is about as close as I ever got to riding and photographing a true Interurban Railroad. I think it was very close, with it’s DC electric MUs and wooden catenary poles. It sure had the “feel” of an interurban, at least it did to me. I attached two photos to illustrate my point. One of my “railfan regrets” is never getting over to SEPTA’s Norristown line and riding and photographing the Bullet cars. I always meant to, but somehow it never happened. Another regret is that when I made a railfan trip to Chicago back in 1982 I did not ride the CSS&SB’s old MUs. I did however, photograph ONE train of them, I attached the photos as well.

Looking at this CSS&SB photo gave me an idea for the Trolley Dodger. Perhaps you could ask people to send in a few of their traction photographs to use in a “Readers Photos” section. These photos would not necessarily pertain to the subject of the post, just a little gallery of unrelated traction photos. It might come in handy if you need to fill out a Trolley Dodger post that’s a little short. It’s just an idea.

*See our post Guy Wicksall and His Films, October 11, 2016.

Thanks! I will run your pictures. Once people see how it’s done, they will probably be inspired to send others of their own. And yes, I was referring to you.

Does the Gladstone branch retain any of that interurban character today? Interesting that it was so interurban-ish, yet was probably never classified as one. Unfortunately, I never got to ride it before the old cars were replaced.

Ken replied:

I’d say the Gladstone Branch does retain it’s Interurban look, too a lesser degree. It’s still a single track main line with many passing sidings where, during rush hours, a lot of meets are done. The headways are still rather short between trains and the Gladstone end of the line has not changed all that much. It is an affluent area and land owners like their large estates and are not so willing to sell out for strip malls and housing developments.

What mostly made me think of Interurban trains on this line were the original Lackawanna RR DC electric MU cars, With their replacement, a good deal of that “charm” disappeared (daily commuters on those cars would most likely disagree). The wooden catenary poles have also been recently replaced with metal ones.

njt-mu-far-hills-12-15-14

I’ve attached a recent photo of a NJT train of ARROW MUs departing the Far Hills station to show you how it looks now, still somewhat Interurban if you ask me. The photo was taken in December of 2014.

njt-mu-millington-nj-8-23-84

I forgot to attach a photo of the Lackawanna MUs in traction orange. This scene, too me, has a very strong interurban flavor. It was taken in the last weeks of DC electric service and the lead MU looks a little rough around the edges, but I really like the shot. It was taken at Pond Hill Road near Millington NJ on August 23, 1984.

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csssb-108-6-23-82

South Shore coach/baggage car # 108 is the last car of a afternoon rush hour train. Seen from East Balbo Avenue, Chicago on June 23, 1982.

mushoboken1980

Hoboken sure don’t look like this any more! The Ex-DL&W MUs are gone, the cranes along the long slip are gone, and the World Trade Center Towers are gone. This Kodachrome slide was taken on a gloomy day in March of 1980, just outside of the MU shed.

img108-copy

A nice broadside view of an afternoon rush hour Gladstone Branch train of NJ Transit (Ex-DL&W) DC electric MUs. The train is approaching the station stop at Far Hills, NJ on June 2, 1983. The Interurban RR look of this operation must not have been lost on someone in NJ Transit’s employ. When these cars needed repainting they were not given another coat of olive green paint- NJT painted them in a nice bright paint job of traction orange!


PS- I may be able to shed a little light on the mystery of the Lehigh Valley RR Baldwin switcher under catenary on the DVD.

Mr. Wicksall says in the narration that the scene may have been filmed on the North East Corridor in New Jersey. I think that is correct. It may have very likely been shot between Edison, NJ (at the time it may still have been called Stelton) and Metuchen. In this area was a former military base called Camp Kilmer. It was served by three railroads, the Pennsylvania (off the mainline), Lehigh Valley (off the Perth Amboy Branch), & Reading (off the Port Reading Branch). By the 1960s’ when that film was shot the base was closed and the land was being sold off for business redevelopment. Before this happened some of the base trackage was removed and that may have caused one railroad to use the tracks of another while serving the various industries on the former base property. I know the relationship among the competing RRs was not always friendly there. The Penn Central & Reading ended up in court fighting over who had the right to switch a chemical factory located on the Kilmer land.

Anyway, that is, in my humble opinion, the most likely reason for the LV train having been seen on PC electric trackage.

The only other place I know of that LV trains were regularly seen under PRR catenary was at “NK” tower in Newark, NJ where the “Hunter” connecting track linked the PRR NEC to the LV mainline. This was primarily a track used in the days of LV passenger service (which ended in 1961). Here LV diesels or steam was changed for PRR GG-1s (and reverse) for the trip into or out of Pennsylvania Station, New York. I believe a small amount of freight was interchanged here but the film footage on the DVD does not appear to have been shot here.

Thanks! I will forward this to Guy.


Another Mystery Photo

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moosic%20lk%20trolley%20gap%205

Tony Zadjura of the Jefferson Township (Pennsylvania) Historical Society writes:

Hi Dave! Help! Need your help again. I don’t know what we have here. Overall view shows “Cobbs Gap” as it was called years ago. Present day PA Rt 435 runs below the cliffs, known as Greenville Cliffs years ago, in the background. The second photo is a cropped enlargement of the same. The car has the Erie logo, and the number 200. Thanks in advance.

Hopefully some of our readers can shed some light on this mystery photo, thanks.


Early CTA Schedules, Fares

Andre Kristopans recently sent us several scans, including a CTA schedule summary for Westchester trains, fare changes over the years, and CRT schedules as of the CTA takeover. Note Sunday only North-South. Other routes ran 24 hours terminal to terminal on Sunday.

Regarding fare changes, Andre adds:

A few items of interest:

On 10/1/47 CTA raised the fare from 8 cents to 10 cents. Chicago Motor Coach had already been 10 cents, so now inter-company transfers were free. CTA kept raising the fares, to 11c 5/11/48, and 13c 6/20/48, while CMC did not follow to 13c until 9/18/48. CTA again upped to 15c 10/15/49, while CMC did not follow until 11/8/51, but then CTA again went up, to 20c 6/1/52, which CMC did not match. So much of the time, CMC fares were LOWER than CTA.

Transfers were free until 7/23/61, then charge 5 cents. Went up to 10 cents 7/8/70.

Supertransfer (Sundays only) started 6/2/74

I replied:

Thanks. So, in 1952 if you transferred from CMC to CTA, you had to pay a nickel?

Andre:

Yes indeed! Additional amount was, as far as I can tell, paid to the receiving agency, in this case the CTA bus driver. But you can tell that towards the end, passengers were probably not too happy with this, because until 10/1/47 the extra fare was the other way!

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Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks. You can always drop us a line at:

thetrolleydodger@gmail.com

-David Sadowski


New From Trolley Dodger Press

VIDEOS ON DVD:

DVD05CoverA.pmd

The Guy Wicksall Traction Collection (1963-1975)

Our latest release, by special arrangement with Guy Wicksall, features video transfers of rare, high quality 16mm color films of electric railroads taken across the country between 1963 and 1975. These are much better quality than the more typical 8mm films railfans used back then. If you like classic railfan videos, you are sure to enjoy this collection, which features narration by the photographer. Mr. Wicksall receives a royalty on each disc sold.

Disc 1: 38 Chicago and New York Commuter Trains, 1963-1964 (18:24)
Includes Illinois Central Electric, South Shore Line, Chicago Transit Authority “L” trains in the Loop, on Lake Street, Howard, and Evanston lines, Chicago & North Western and Milwaukee Road commuters, Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central, Long Island Rail Road, New Haven, and New York elevated trains.

Disc 2: 48 Commuter Trains, 1968-1975 (57:22)
Includes San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) PCCs (some double-ended), trolley buses, and cable cars, Philadelphia Suburban (Red Arrow Lines), including Straffords and Bullets), Penn Central, New Haven, Erie Lackawanna, South Shore Line, Illinois Central Electric, and more.

Total time – 75:46

# of Discs – 2
Price: $24.95


Help Support The Trolley Dodger

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This is our 164th 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 213,000 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.

Night Beat, Jersey Style

NJT Arrow III MU # 1322 is the lead car, the train is awaiting departure time to head east to Hoboken Terminal on December 15, 1991.

NJT Arrow III MU # 1322 is the lead car, the train is awaiting departure time to head east to Hoboken Terminal on December 15, 1991.

Editor’s Note: Today’s post features photographs taken by Kenneth Gear, a longtime friend and supporter of this blog. Ken was inspired by the nocturnal shots in our post Night Beat (June 21, 2016), and has some great ones of his own. The pictures and comments that follow are all Ken’s, and we thank him as always for his generosity in sharing them with our readers. You can see some of Ken’s daytime shots in our post Remembering Newark’s PCCs (December 19, 2015).

First off I want to thank David for giving me the opportunity to share my photographs on the pages of the Trolley Dodger. I enjoy pulling out a few boxes of slides from time to time and reliving some of the experiences I had taking them.

I try to keep my photography, both day and night, as simple as possible. I carry as little as possible and avoid complicated set-ups. If there was any kind of “philosophy” applied to my night photography it was simply this, I wanted the scene I was photographing to look like it was taken at night. That is to say that I didn’t want to pop off ten flashbulbs along the side of a locomotive. I did not want the picture to look as if I photographed a locomotive in full 3/4 sunshine, cut the locomotive out of the picture, and than pasted it to black construction paper.

I always use as much available light as possible, saving any flashes for fill-in light in the dark areas. There are some places where it would be ill-advised to use any type of flash, such as around electrified railroad tracks. A few flashes, I was told, could bring police thinking it was some sort of electrical malfunction. I would instead use a good flashlight to fill in the dark spots providing there were no moving trains around or railroad employees present. I wouldn’t want my flashlight to be mistaken as a hand signal being given to a train crew.

I’ve never given up my day job to pursue photography and I don’t profess to be an expert. I only intend to explain the way I took the photos shown here. All I can say is that it worked for me.

All of these photos were shot on slide film, mostly Kodachrome 64. Perhaps not the best film for night work because of it’s slow speed, but it was what I usually had on hand. When I got trackside at night the first thing I did was to check out how much light was falling on the equipment I wanted to photograph.

If the train was sitting in a nice bright beam from the yard lights, I would use the built in light meter of my Canon Alan 7 to get a base line exposure. Knowing my light meter usually under exposed such a scene I would begin bracketing my exposures toward being lighter. I would also use the exposure the camera picked and then bracket toward being darker. I would increase/decrease exposures in one stop intervals up to four times. This would yield as many as ten slides depending upon how sure I was of the exposures.

Out of the ten, perhaps half were worth keeping, the rest were thrown away. Twenty years ago film was inexpensive enough that I would gladly sacrifice six frames to get four really nice night shots. I kept records of the exposures I used so I would know which ones made for the best photos. When I went back to that same location I could use those same exposures again. At night with the same lights shining on trains in the same location, the exposures never changed and I could significantly reduce the amount of discarded slides.

If there was no or very little light on the train I would use a base line exposure of 30 seconds at F4 (for asa 64). This long exposure would give me plenty of time to “paint” the nose or side of the locomotive with light from my flashlight. I would bracket these shots sometimes as well. when I saw the resulting slides I could, next time, adjust the exposure times accordingly.

Now with digital I can see what I got in the LED screen immediately and adjust exposures on the spot. I go home knowing I got the shots! I do, however, fondly remember the film days when the excitement would build as I opened that little yellow box of slides. Would my expectations be met… exceeded… or would bitter disappointment await!

The photos included here represent the times when I was very happy with the results. In keeping with the Trolley Dodger‘s traction theme, I only included photos of electric railroad equipment.

There was probably a better and more efferent way to do this sort of night railroad photography with film, but this was the way I did it!

-Kenneth Gear

Here is the first bunch of night photos. All of the photos were taken at Dover, New Jersey on NJ Transit’s Morris & Essex Line. The date was December 15, 1991:

An NJ Transit train of Arrow MU cars wait at the Ex-DL&W station. The station now has high level platforms so this shot cannot be repeated today.

An NJ Transit train of Arrow MU cars wait at the Ex-DL&W station. The station now has high level platforms so this shot cannot be repeated today.

The view from the platform shows signal lights and the Catenary wires.

The view from the platform shows signal lights and the Catenary wires.

A train of Arrow MUs about to depart into the night.

A train of Arrow MUs about to depart into the night.

Next bunch. All photos were taken at Gladstone, NJ on September 7, 1996:

NJT MU # 1309 at the Gladstone station

NJT MU # 1309 at the Gladstone station

NJT MU # 1306 in the Gladstone lay-up yard.

NJT MU # 1306 in the Gladstone lay-up yard.

NJT MU 1309 again, from other side.

NJT MU 1309 again, from other side.

NJT MU # 1309 in a wide shot of the station area.

NJT MU # 1309 in a wide shot of the station area.

More Gladstone photos, taken August 31, 1997:

A wide shot of the station area showing both the passenger station and, on the right, the freight house.

A wide shot of the station area showing both the passenger station and, on the right, the freight house.

NJT MU 1310 at the Gladstone station.

NJT MU 1310 at the Gladstone station.

A NJT ALP-44 electric locomotive.

A NJT ALP-44 electric locomotive.

NJT yard line-up showing Comet coaches, Arrow MUs and a ALP-44 locomotive.

NJT yard line-up showing Comet coaches, Arrow MUs and a ALP-44 locomotive.

Still more Gladstone photos:

NJT ALP-44 # 4418 & Arrow III MU # 1313 spend the night in the yard 5/15/98

NJT ALP-44 # 4418 & Arrow III MU # 1313 spend the night in the yard 5/15/98

A NJT train of Arrow MUs about to depart the Gladstone station 5/15/98

A NJT train of Arrow MUs about to depart the Gladstone station 5/15/98

NJT Arrow MU 1331 5/15/98

NJT Arrow MU 1331 5/15/98

A NJT ALP-44 & a ARROW MU in the yard 12/11/98

A NJT ALP-44 & a ARROW MU in the yard 12/11/98

NJT ALP-44 # 4404 12/11/98

NJT ALP-44 # 4404 12/11/98

ALP-44 # 4405 12/11/98

ALP-44 # 4405 12/11/98

The headlight of an approaching train illuminates the sides of a Arrow MU set in the Gladstone yard 12/11/98

The headlight of an approaching train illuminates the sides of a Arrow MU set in the Gladstone yard 12/11/98

More Gladstone photos ( I went there a lot!):

NJT ALP-44 # 4426 3/24/00

NJT ALP-44 # 4426 3/24/00

A NJT ALP-44 electric under "blue flag" protection 3/24/00

A NJT ALP-44 electric under “blue flag” protection 3/24/00

NJT MU # 1520 in the Gladstone yard 3/24/00

NJT MU # 1520 in the Gladstone yard 3/24/00

Brand new NJT ALP-46 # 4605 under the yard lights at Gladstone. This was the first time I saw one of these locomotives. I was very happy to find it in the yard that night and I think the photo came out quite well. Usually when a locomotive has had a lot of reflective tape applied to it's side, it is very difficult to photograph at night. This was not the case here, I actually shined a flashlight along the 4605 to light up the tape. 10/12/02

Brand new NJT ALP-46 # 4605 under the yard lights at Gladstone. This was the first time I saw one of these locomotives. I was very happy to find it in the yard that night and I think the photo came out quite well. Usually when a locomotive has had a lot of reflective tape applied to it’s side, it is very difficult to photograph at night. This was not the case here, I actually shined a flashlight along the 4605 to light up the tape. 10/12/02

Another shot of brand new ALP-46 4605. 10/12/02

Another shot of brand new ALP-46 4605. 10/12/02

NJT ALP-46 # 4605 in broadside. 10/12/02

NJT ALP-46 # 4605 in broadside. 10/12/02

A NJT Gladstone branch train is about to depart and make a night time run to Summit, NJ. 10/12/04

A NJT Gladstone branch train is about to depart and make a night time run to Summit, NJ. 10/12/04

Last bunch of Gladstone photos. These are some of my favorites because I had a full moon along with some fast moving clouds playing across the sky. This made for some very interesting effects above the trains! The photos were all taken on the same night; March 6, 2004:

NJT ALP-44 in the yard and under the moon.

NJT ALP-44 in the yard and under the moon.

NJT Arrow MU # 1512 at the Gladstone station.

NJT Arrow MU # 1512 at the Gladstone station.

NJT MU # 1512 under a cloud cloaked full moon.

NJT MU # 1512 under a cloud cloaked full moon.

NJ Transit Arrow MU cars 1331 & 1308 spend the night in the yard.

NJ Transit Arrow MU cars 1331 & 1308 spend the night in the yard.

NJT MUs 1331 & 1308 in the moonlight.

NJT MUs 1331 & 1308 in the moonlight.

ALP-44 # 4404 with a coach wrapped with an advertisement for Continental Airlines.

ALP-44 # 4404 with a coach wrapped with an advertisement for Continental Airlines.

All the trial and error (mostly error) that goes into night film photography becomes worth every lousy slide tossed in the trash when you get just one that turns out like this! NJ Transit Arrow MU cars # 1331 and 1308 pose under a spectacular sky at Gladstone.

All the trial and error (mostly error) that goes into night film photography becomes worth every lousy slide tossed in the trash when you get just one that turns out like this! NJ Transit Arrow MU cars # 1331 and 1308 pose under a spectacular sky at Gladstone.

NJ Transit Hoboken Terminal 3/30/02

NJ Transit Hoboken Terminal 3/30/02

NJ Transit Hoboken Terminal with the World Trade Center Tribute In Light beaming up from the site of the twin towers. The site, when this photo was taken, was still just a big hole in the ground- no Freedom tower yet. 3/30 02

NJ Transit Hoboken Terminal with the World Trade Center Tribute In Light beaming up from the site of the twin towers. The site, when this photo was taken, was still just a big hole in the ground- no Freedom tower yet. 3/30 02

NJ Transit Hoboken Terminal main entrance 3/30/02

NJ Transit Hoboken Terminal main entrance 3/30/02

A NJ Transit ALP-44 along side the terminal's Bush train shed.3/30/02

A NJ Transit ALP-44 along side the terminal’s Bush train shed.3/30/02

NJT ALP-44 locomotives in the yard at Long Branch NJ 11/7/92

NJT ALP-44 locomotives in the yard at Long Branch NJ 11/7/92

A train of NJT Arrow MU cars at the TRENTON NJ station 2/9/02

A train of NJT Arrow MU cars at the TRENTON NJ station 2/9/02

On February 9, 2002 I was out riding and photographing trains on Amtrak's North East Corridor. After riding all day and as as night approached, I arrived at Trenton NJ on a SEPTA train. My intent was to catch a connecting NJ Transit train to continue east and head for home. As luck would have it, a Conrail train snagged and pulled down the catenary wires somewhere close by and just like that, the trains stopped running. I was stranded for a while so I took advantage of the situation and started taking night photos. I had no tripod so I had to make do with what was available, like taking off my shoe and putting the camera in it! This photo shows Amtrak E-60 # 602 with Train # 40 the THREE RIVERS stopped at Trenton. It is illuminated by the headlight of a NJT train.

On February 9, 2002 I was out riding and photographing trains on Amtrak’s North East Corridor. After riding all day and as as night approached, I arrived at Trenton NJ on a SEPTA train. My intent was to catch a connecting NJ Transit train to continue east and head for home. As luck would have it, a Conrail train snagged and pulled down the catenary wires somewhere close by and just like that, the trains stopped running. I was stranded for a while so I took advantage of the situation and started taking night photos. I had no tripod so I had to make do with what was available, like taking off my shoe and putting the camera in it! This photo shows Amtrak E-60 # 602 with Train # 40 the THREE RIVERS stopped at Trenton. It is illuminated by the headlight of a NJT train.

On February 9, 2002 I was out riding and photographing trains on Amtrak's North East Corridor. After riding all day and as as night approached, I arrived at Trenton NJ on a SEPTA train. My intent was to catch a connecting NJ Transit train to continue east and head for home. As luck would have it, a Conrail train snagged and pulled down the catenary wires somewhere close by and just like that, the trains stopped running. I was stranded for a while so I took advantage of the situation and started taking night photos. I had no tripod so I had to make do with what was available, like taking off my shoe and putting the camera in it! This photo shows Amtrak E-60 # 602 with Train # 40 the THREE RIVERS stopped at Trenton. It is illuminated by the headlight of a NJT train.

On February 9, 2002 I was out riding and photographing trains on Amtrak’s North East Corridor. After riding all day and as as night approached, I arrived at Trenton NJ on a SEPTA train. My intent was to catch a connecting NJ Transit train to continue east and head for home. As luck would have it, a Conrail train snagged and pulled down the catenary wires somewhere close by and just like that, the trains stopped running. I was stranded for a while so I took advantage of the situation and started taking night photos. I had no tripod so I had to make do with what was available, like taking off my shoe and putting the camera in it! This photo shows Amtrak E-60 # 602 with Train # 40 the THREE RIVERS stopped at Trenton. It is illuminated by the headlight of a NJT train.

Amtrak HHP-8 # 650 with Regional Train # 178 sits and waits for catenary repairs at Trenton.

Amtrak HHP-8 # 650 with Regional Train # 178 sits and waits for catenary repairs at Trenton.

This photo shows Amtrak E-60 # 602 with Train # 40 the THREE RIVERS stopped at Trenton. It is illuminated by the headlight of a NJT train.

This photo shows Amtrak E-60 # 602 with Train # 40 the THREE RIVERS stopped at Trenton. It is illuminated by the headlight of a NJT train.

This was shot from the end of the passenger platforms looking west. A train with an ALP-44 is sitting in the yard 3/30/02

This was shot from the end of the passenger platforms looking west. A train with an ALP-44 is sitting in the yard 3/30/02

SEPTA Silverliner # 424 at Trenton, NJ

SEPTA Silverliner # 424 at Trenton, NJ

A train of SEPTA Ex-READING Silverliner MUs waits in the yard at West Trenton NJ. 4/6/01

A train of SEPTA Ex-READING Silverliner MUs waits in the yard at West Trenton NJ. 4/6/01

SEPTA Silverliner MU # 9006 has just led a train into West Trenton and is awaiting it's departure time to return east 4/6/01

SEPTA Silverliner MU # 9006 has just led a train into West Trenton and is awaiting it’s departure time to return east 4/6/01

SEPTA Silverliner MUs under the yard lights at West Trenton, NJ 4/6/01

SEPTA Silverliner MUs under the yard lights at West Trenton, NJ 4/6/01

SEPTA Siverliner IV # 332 sits in the yard at West Trenton over the weekend awaiting Monday Morning. 4/6/01

SEPTA Siverliner IV # 332 sits in the yard at West Trenton over the weekend awaiting Monday Morning. 4/6/01

A train of SEPTA Silverliner IV MU cars is sitting in front of "TRENT" tower and will soon pull east to the passenger station to pick up riders for Philadelphia. 4/6/01

A train of SEPTA Silverliner IV MU cars is sitting in front of “TRENT” tower and will soon pull east to the passenger station to pick up riders for Philadelphia. 4/6/01

This is the same SEPTA train of Silverliners that is seen in the previous photo. I walked around "TRENT" tower and took this photo looking east. The Ex-Reading Company passenger station is just visible past the tower to the right center of the photo. 4/6/01

This is the same SEPTA train of Silverliners that is seen in the previous photo. I walked around “TRENT” tower and took this photo looking east. The Ex-Reading Company passenger station is just visible past the tower to the right center of the photo. 4/6/01

On November 2, 2002 the Wilmington (Delaware) chapter of the NRHS hosted a PCC night photo trip through the streets of Philadelphia. Members of the NRHS chapter used the open flash photography method to light the car, yielding good results. (” open flash” means that the entire scene was illuminated solely with flashes, avoiding as much light from other sources as possible. Also the flashes were not connected to each other or any of the cameras. They were popped with hand held flash guns or battery operated strobes).

While I have shot my share of flashbulbs over the years, my preferred method is to use flashes very sparingly. I like to use bulbs only for fill-in flash to send some light in to the dark spots that the ambient light doesn’t reach. I’ll include a few of the flashed photos but I prefer the shots I took using the available light with perhaps just one or two flashes popped. The photos taken at the Elmwood car house are more to my liking. They were shot either with only the yard lights or with just a flash or two to light the front of the equipment.

-Kenneth Gear

This slide was made using only the available light at the Mount Moriah Loop.

This slide was made using only the available light at the Mount Moriah Loop.

This photo is more to my liking. Just one flash to light the PCC's nose. The photo was taken at 39th Street & Filbert Street, west Philadelphia.

This photo is more to my liking. Just one flash to light the PCC’s nose. The photo was taken at 39th Street & Filbert Street, west Philadelphia.

SEPTA historic PCC # 2732. Enough light was flashed on the car to nicely show-off the classic green & cream paint scheme of the Philadelphia Transit Company. West Philadelphia, PA

SEPTA historic PCC # 2732. Enough light was flashed on the car to nicely show-off the classic green & cream paint scheme of the Philadelphia Transit Company. West Philadelphia, PA

PCC # 2732 is again assaulted by "flashers" as she poses for photos in West Philadelphia.

PCC # 2732 is again assaulted by “flashers” as she poses for photos in West Philadelphia.

A line-up of SEPTA Kawasaki LRVs or "K Cars" are under the yard lights waiting for the next call of duty.

A line-up of SEPTA Kawasaki LRVs or “K Cars” are under the yard lights waiting for the next call of duty.

The fan trip being over, PCC # 2732 returned to the Elmwood Car house in Southwest Philadelphia and was posed with some work equipment. PCC 2732 is shown here next to PCC work car # 2187

The fan trip being over, PCC # 2732 returned to the Elmwood Car house in Southwest Philadelphia and was posed with some work equipment. PCC 2732 is shown here next to PCC work car # 2187

Two SEPTA PCCs street car and work car versions.

Two SEPTA PCCs street car and work car versions.

Close-up of work car # 2187

Close-up of work car # 2187

SEPTA work car # 2187, PCC # 2732 & motor flat # W61

SEPTA work car # 2187, PCC # 2732 & motor flat # W61


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