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.
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:
Trolleyville USA (most pictures taken in July 1963):
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.
These last two pictures were taken a few years later, circa 1972:
Ohio Railway Museum, circa 1965:
Montreal and Southern Counties interurban (quit in 1956):
Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee (North Shore Line, including a CERA fantrip:
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.”
South Shore Line/Illinois Central Electric:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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In 1957, CTA PCC 7271 and 7215 pass on Clark Street, just north of North Avenue. The old Plaza Hotel, located at 59 W. North Avenue, is in the background. A Hasty Tasty restaurant was located in the building, with a Pixley and Ehler’s across the street. These were “greasy spoon” chains that were known for offering cheap eats. Local mobsters were known to hang out at the Plaza. The Chicago Historical Society, now known as the Chicago History Museum, would be just to the left, out of view in this picture. The Moody Bible Institute would be out of view on the right. (Russel Kriete Photo)
In this close-up, that looks like 7215 at right. Photographer Russel A. Kreite (1923-2015), of Downers Grove, Illinois, was a member of the Photographic Society of America and had many of his photos published in books and magazines.
Chicago PCC Station Assignments
Robert Dillon writes:
For the last several months I have been over and thoroughly enjoying CERA Bulletin 146 and your compendium “Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story”. It brings back a wealth of wonderful memories from my childhood growing up in Rogers Park. I was a frequent rider on the “Clark Street Car” and was immediately smitten with the post-war PCC from the day in 1947 that I first heard the gong and witnessed an otherwise unbelievably silent arrival and breathtaking appearance of a Howard bound PCC at Clark Street and Morse Avenue.
The trivia set forth on page 429 of Bulletin 146 indicates that 400 Pullman and St Louis post-war PCCs were assigned to the Clark-Wentworth and Broadway-State routes for runs out of the Clark-Devon and 77th-Vincennes Carbarns. What I have not been able to find in any of the literature is how those 400 cars were allocated by post-war PCC manufacturer and/or by car number series to those stations. Were there an equal number of Pullmans and St. Louis PCCs at each of Clark-Devon and 77th-Vincennes? I would imagine that after 49 Western was equipped exclusively with St.Louis PCCs in 1948 the St.Louis PCCs would have predominated at Clark-Devon.
There are several other car assignment questions that arise from the PCC Trivia Page. Thus, during 1948 and 1949 when the 69th St. Carbarn was handling both Western Ave and 63rd St. PCC-assigned runs, it presumably stabled all 83 of the pre-war PCCs, but how many St. Louis post-war PCCs were also then housed at 69th Street?
It is indicated that by the end of 1948, there were a few PCC cars assigned to the Cottage Grove-38th Street Carbarn Were these pre-war or post-war PCCs (Pullman or St.Louis) and what routes were they used on?
Finally, I am aware there were a number of 8 Halsted runs out of Limits Carbarn. And, maybe some Broadway-State runs as well. That suggests there were Pullman and/or St.Louis PCCs stationed at Limits, at least during the earlier 1950s. If that is true, is there any info as to the number of Pullmans vs St. Louis PCCs at Limits?
I would be very grateful for any illumination you could provide on the questions set forth above. Or, if you could point me toward resources where I might be able to find answers that would be very much appreciated as well.
Thanks very much for all of your terrific efforts on the Chicago PCCs. I can’t begin to express how much enjoyment it has given me.
There are a few different ways we can approach these questions. First of all, it’s possible that CTA records indicating which cars were assigned to which stations (car barns) and routes may still exist and can provide the necessary information.
In the absence of that, a lot can be learned by studying photographs. This would be a statistical approach. It would take some time and effort, but a lot could be learned that way. I would have to create a spreadsheet and compile data from a large number of images.
Over time, the number of cars required for each individual route changed. In general, the numbers declined since there were substantial ridership losses during the first decade of the CTA era. Some of the brochures CTA distributed when routes were changed over from streetcars to buses give the numbers of PCCs that were in use at the time of the switch to buses.
When Madison first got PCCs in late 1936, the route needed about 100 cars as I recall. Since there were only 83 prewar PCCs made, some of the 1929 Sedans filled out the schedule. These were fast cars and could keep up with the PCCs.
By the time PCCs were taken off Madison in 1953, I doubt this many cars were needed.
This reduction in the number of cars on individual routes also helps explain why it was possible for CTA to use the postwar PCCs on more routes than the four that were originally planned. Between 1947 and 1958, ridership on the CTA’s surface system was nearly cut in half.
I would be interested to know what information our readers can share with us. Hopefully, some of our frequent contributors can weigh in on this subject, thanks.
M. E. writes:
Your latest blog update contains a question about the 38th St. car barn: Which streetcar lines were served by the PCCs kept there?
It seems to me the answer is easy: Only 4 Cottage Grove. This line received some pre-war PCC cars a few years before it was converted to bus. (I have seen photos of post-war PCCs on Cottage Grove, but that would have been short-lived.)
The other south side PCC lines used south side barns as follows:
36 Broadway-State, 22 Clark-Wentworth, 8 Halsted, and 42 Halsted-Archer-Clark (all post-war PCC lines) used the barn at 77th and Vincennes. Line 22 ran in front of the barn. Line 36 ran behind the barn a few blocks on State St., and likely used 79th St. west to Vincennes to reach the barn.. I believe Halsted cars used 79th St. east to Vincennes to reach the barn (although I am not certain).
63 63rd St. (pre-war PCC) and 49 Western (post-war PCC) used the barn at 69th and Ashland. 63rd St. cars used Ashland south to 69th to reach the barn.
When the 69th and Ashland barn closed, I’m pretty sure 63rd was no longer a streetcar line, and Western Ave. cars used 69th St. east to Wentworth, south to Vincennes, southwest to 77th and Vincennes.
Andre Kristopans has a great answer:
Jan 1951: Prewar – 75 69th, 8 Kedzie St Louis 40 Limits, 50 69th, 199 Devon Pullman 225 77th, 85 Kedzie
Prewar 83 Cottage Grove St Louis 20 Cottage Grove, 66 77th, 41 69th, 160 Devon Pullman 215 77th, 63 Kedzie, 31 Limits
Prewar 83 Cottage Grove St Louis 20 Cottage Grove, 74 77th, 38 69th, 155 Devon Pullman 87 77th
4372-4411 77th 7136-7181 Devon 7182-7224 77th
Prior to 1957, assignment sheets only showed series by barn, not actual car numbers.
To get more specific than that, we would have to study photos to figure out where particular cars were assigned at various times. By 1957, all remaining cars in use were made by St. Louis Car Company in 1946-48.
Regarding 4391, the only postwar car saved, I know it spent time on Western Avenue before ending its days on Wentworth. According to the excellent Hicks Car Works blog, it was assigned to 69th station and later 77th. Therefore it was spared a lot of outdoor storage, which would have been the case at Devon.
There were various mechanical differences between the postwar Pullmans and the St. Louis cars. Some stations (car barns) were equipped to handle both types, and others were not.
These mechanical differences were spelled out in detail in a 24-page CTA troubleshooting manual for PCC operators. If anyone has a copy of this manual and can provide us with the information, we would very much appreciate it. This brochure was a greatly expanded version of one that CSL issued in 1946, which was only four pages.
The same location as above, perhaps taken a few years earlier.
Clark Street at North Avenue today. We are looking south. A bank has replaced the Pixley’s, and the Latin School of Chicago now occupies the location of the old Plaza Hotel.
This picture, and the next, appear to have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The banners would indicate an event, but we are not sure of the occasion. One of our readers says this is “State and Washington looking south.” This could also be circa 1926 at the time of the Eucharistic Congress.
Our readers have identified this as being “Holy Name Cathedral at State and Chicago.” The occasion may be the Eucharistic Congress in 1926.
Miles Beitler writes:
I’m writing about two unidentified photos on your trolleydodger.com blog. The captions state that the photos appear to be of State Street in the loop in the 1920s or 1930s. One reader suggested that it was part of the 1926 Eucharistic Congress.
I don’t think it was the Eucharistic Congress (which I know was held that year in Mundelein) but I do think the year was 1926. All of the flags and patriotic decorations lead me to believe that it was the celebration of the United States sesquicentennial (150th birthday) which would have been July 4, 1926.
That’s an interesting suggestion, thanks. But one picture does show a large crowd outside Holy Name Cathedral. What would that have to do with the Fourth of July?
The two photos might have nothing to do with each other except for the fact that both show patriotic decorations along State Street. I was referring to those decorations which I believe were there for the sesquicentennial.
The crowd outside Holy Name Cathedral could have been there for the Eucharistic Congress (although the Congress was held far away in Mundelein), or for a special Sesquicentennial Mass, or maybe even for the funeral of a prominent local politician or notorious gangster. But someone at Holy Name should be able to tell you.
Your blog also has a photo of a NSL Electroliner speeding through Skokie at “East Prairie Road circa 1960”, and a current photo of the CTA Yellow Line labeled “East Prairie Road looking east along the CTA Yellow Line today”. I believe the “today” photo is actually looking WEST; you can see the remnants of the Crawford Avenue station, as well as Crawford Avenue itself, one block to the west. As for the Electroliner photo, the eastbound and westbound mainline tracks are closer together near the CTA Skokie Shops than this photo indicates. So I think it might be just east of Kostner Avenue; there was a half-mile long siding along the westbound track which ended at that point, as well as a crossover between the two mainline tracks which is visible in the distance.
You may be correct about the North Shore Line picture. I will revise the caption accordingly.
The other two pictures appear to have been taken at one time and so I am inclined to think they relate to the same event, whatever it was.
Finally, Miles wrote:
I did some quick research and it seems clear that the photo of Holy Name Cathedral is indeed of the Eucharistic Congress procession. There was an outdoor mass at Soldier Field in addition to the larger one held in Mundelein. The photo of State and Washington Streets seems to depict similar decorations which may have been placed along the route to Soldier Field.
Thanks for your interesting blog and photos!
Well, thank you for all your help. As we have noted before, the information that comes with photos may or may not be correct. There were a couple of instances recently where the this info turned out not to be correct. This sometimes happened when the photographer was from out-of-town and thus was not as familiar with locations as one of the locals.
In the case of the North Shore Line photo, what’s written on the negative envelope actually matches what you say. I chose the opposite direction since I was unaware of the siding you mention. Now it all makes sense. However, further research has led me to think the photo was taken
Here is the photo in question, which originally appeared in Lost and Found (February 12, 2016):
An Electroliner at speed near Crawford looking west. This picture was taken from a passing train in 1960, three years before the North Shore Line quit. CTA’s Skokie Swift began running in 1964. (Richard H. Young Photo)
Today’s CTA Yellow Line looking west from Crawford.
Detail from an old CERA North Shore Line map, with the location of this photo indicated.
The True Colors of Chicago’s Postwar PCCs
Although signed for Clark-Wentworth, this shot of 4160 is actually on Madison in Garfield Park. (CSL Photo) George Trapp says he got this picture from the late Robert Gibson.
What recommendations would you have for matching CTA’s colors using model paints?
Specifically I need Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange and Mint Green and Alpine White.
Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange are famous among railfans as the original color scheme adopted by the Chicago Surface Lines for their 600 postwar PCC streetcars. Some of these paints were also used on cars and trucks in that era.
FYI, I found a 1950 truck paint called Swamp Holly Orange:
In 1929, A.J. Harrell enlisted the help of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company to improve highway safety by determining the vehicle color that would be the most visible on the nation’s highways. After the review was completed, it was determined that the color of the Swamp Holly Orange would be most visible from the greatest distance. Swamp Holly Orange became the color used on all company tractors.
There is also a commercially available enamel paint by that name:
Mint Green and Alpine White shouldn’t bee too hard to find, but then again, there are many variables that determine how color will look, which include indoor viewing, outdoor viewing, how many coats there are, etc. plus how much sun and weathering the paint got prior to when pictures were taken.
Even in the old days, you will notice how touch-up paints did not always match the original. That was one factor that led CTA to switch to a darker green on the PCCs in the early 1950s.
Modern paints are also, most likely, made of somewhat different ingredients than the original paints were.
You might do just as well to try and “eyeball” the color based on good quality photographs. Even in the old days, I expect there were variations in these colors, as there were in such things as “Traction Orange.”
I recall hearing a story that there was a heated argument out at IRM between some people who were wrangling over what constituted Traction Orange. Finally, they consulted an old-timer who told them that it was simply whatever was on sale at the paint store at that particular time.
Some of these issues were discussed in a blog post I wrote a while back:
PS- Here are a few formulas for Swamp Holly Orange, from the October 1988 issue of Model Railroader:
Accu-Paint: 2 parts AP-72 D&RGW Yellow, 1 part AP-73 Chessie Yellow
Floquil: 3 parts D&RGW Yellow, 1 part Reefer Yelow
Polly S: 2 parts Reefer Yellow, 1 part Reefer Orange
Scalecoat: 1 part 15 Reefer Yellow, 1 part 39 D&RGW Old Yellow
Keep those cards and letters coming in, folks! Especially if they have a streetcar RPO postmark (see below). You can reach us either by leaving a comment on this post, or at:
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 124th 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 130,000 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 donation there as well.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
We thank you for your support.
New From Trolley Dodger Press:
American Streetcar R.P.O.s: 1893-1929
Mainline Railway Post Offices were in use in the United States from 1862 to 1978 (with the final year being operated by boat instead of on rails), but for a much briefer era, cable cars and streetcars were also used for mail handling in the following 15 cities*:
New Bedford, Massachusetts
New York City
Rochester, New York
*As noted by some of our readers, this list does not include interurban RPOs.
Our latest E-book American Streetcar R.P.O.s collects 12 books on this subject (over 1000 pages in all) onto a DVD data disc that can be read on any computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software. All have been out of print for decades and are hard to find. In addition, there is an introductory essay by David Sadowski.
The rolling stock, routes, operations, and cancellation markings of the various American street railway post office systems are covered in detail. The era of the streetcar R.P.O. was relatively brief, covering 1893 to 1929, but it represented an improvement in mail handling over what came before, and it moved a lot of mail. In many places, it was possible to deposit a letter into a mail slot on a streetcar or cable car and have it delivered across town within a short number of hours.
These operations present a very interesting history, but are not well-known to railfans. We feel they deserve greater scrutiny, and therefore we are donating $1 from each sale of this item to the Mobile Post Office Society, in support of their efforts.
We’ve been asked to help determine the authentic colors this rare model should be painted in.
An “O” scale streetcar model, probably dating to the 1950s, recently sold for $520 on eBay, even though it is unpainted and needs a motor, wheels, and a trolley pole.
That might seem like quite a lot of money, until you consider that this is an extremely rare brass model of the Chicago Surface Lines 1934 Brill pre-PCC car 7001. This model, made by Kidder, could be the only version that was ever made.
The famous St. Petersburg Tram Collection models are made of urethane, not brass, and so far, they have not issued a 7001 model, although they have made one for the 4001, the other experimental 1934 CSL car, made by Pullman-Standard. The actual 7001 itself, a one-off, was quite influential on the eventual body style chosen for the PCC car starting in 1936. Unfortunately, it was scrapped in 1959.
The eBay auction winner contacted us for help in determining what colors the 7001 was painted in, when first delivered to Chicago. This is not as easy a task as you might imagine.
The earliest color photo I have seen of 7001 dates to 1941, by which time the car had been repainted to match the 83 PCC cars delivered to CSL in 1936-37. There are several black and white pictures circulating, but while they tell us how light or dark various parts of the car were painted, they can’t help us figure out colors.
There may not actually be any color photos that show what the 7001 looked like before it was repainted.
There were no true color standards in 1934, such as today’s Pantone Matching System. Complicating matters further, in the 1930s not all black and white films were “panchromatic,” meaning they react the same to different colors. Some were still “orthochromatic” and had exaggerated sensitivity to certain colors.
Kodak did not introduce Kodachrome film until 1935, and it was rarely used to take 35mm slides before 1939.
There were some experimental color films shot during the 1933 season of A Century of Progress (early three-strip Technicolor), and we linked to some of those in an earlier post (February 20th). 7001 wasn’t delivered until 1934, and it was not there for the entire season in any case; during September it spent some time in Cleveland at a trade convention.
While there was a 1934 Brill trade ad, showing an artist’s rendering of 7001 in color, these aren’t the right colors– the body is too dark. Interestingly, the color scheme in the ad looks remarkably similar to the one CSL used on the 1936 PCCs.
Hoping to find a consensus, we reached out to Frank Hicks of the Hicks Car Works blog, author of an excellent article detailing the story behind both the 7001 and 4001. In that article, Mr. Hicks says that the 7001 was originally painted a light green.
We also consulted two expert modelers, who prefer to remain nameless. Here is what the experts have to say:
Interesting question! This is my kind of conundrum. 🙂
I’d be happy to cite my source. “Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History, Third Edition” by Alan Lind, 1986, page 121. To wit: “Everywhere it  went, riders commented favorably on its sleek shape, set off to advantage with a paint scheme of aluminum and two shades of green with orange trim.” I’m not sure what the primary source for this account was, I’m afraid.
I’ve also seen photos of (the painted 7001) model and it has struck me as looking quite plausible, though I’ve never seen a color photo of either 4001 or 7001 in its original livery. I also haven’t seen the illustration you mention. The 4001 had a very simple livery consisting of only two colors while the 7001’s livery evidently featured five colors: roof, lower body, upper body, belt rail and striping. Judging from various photos of the 7001 that show the belt rail alternately as very dark or quite light, I’d guess the belt rail was orange and that we’re seeing – respectively – orthochromatic or panchromatic views. Photos I’ve seen also strongly suggest the roof and front visor were a metallic color, surely silver.
I decided to see if I could find a newspaper account of the 7001’s debut – and I did! I found two mentions within a few minutes of Googling. There’s an article on page 3 of the March 21, 1934 Tribune at http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1934/03/21/ which describes the car’s colors to be “silver and gray.” There’s another account in the July 9, 1934 issue on page 7 (http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1934/07/09/). This article focuses on the newly-delivered 4001 but includes the line “The new car was demonstrated to a party of engineers, car line officials, and newspapermen, beside the streamlined silver and green vehicle recently placed in operation.” Then just a few lines later it refers to the Brill car as “silver and gray.”
So, I don’t know. The 7001 may have been more of a green-grey than a bright Mercury green-like shade. It’s also possible that the 7001’s primary body color was grey, that Lind’s color description was correct but simply left out the gray color, and that the belt rail, striping, and secondary body color were some combination of two shades of green and orange. A third possibility I would forward is that the car was mainly green and that what we’re seeing is a transcription or typesetting error – swapping out the word “green” for the word “gray.” It may be a bit of a stretch but I’ve done my share of poring over old newspapers and accuracy is not a word I’d generally associate with newspaper articles! Either way I haven’t seen any contemporary evidence to support that flyer’s suggestion that the Brill car was, in common with the Pullman car, blue.
The color is not Mercury Green but I don’t know the name of the shade. It is lighter than Mercury. Brill used the same shade on the first Brilliner delivered to the Atlantic City & Shore then owned by the PRR. That car had narrow gold stripes on it similar to the Raymond Loewy styling of the 1938 Broadway Limited trains. There are color renditions of the Brilliner in (that) shade of green in numerous trade journals of the time.
As you may recall, Mercury Green seemed to be darker in some photos than in others. Perhaps the Mercury Green color had variations, some lighter and some darker. I recall hearing talk about what was Traction Orange, and the reply was whatever they could get that seemed close to Traction Orange! It was not an exact science so there were variations.
Having looked at Black & White movies of car 7001 in service as well as B&W photos, I can see how one could feel comfortable with a Mercury Green color on the lower body of the car. The paint was probably not called Mercury Green in those days, but it might have been very close in hue.
After I sent Mr. Hicks a copy of the 1934 trade ad, he wrote:
Thanks for forwarding these photos; interesting stuff! Did you say that Transit Journal illustration of the 7001 was from 1934? That’s pretty intriguing to me mainly because the color scheme is extremely similar to the prewar PCC cars, suggesting that perhaps the decision on what color those cars should be was made well before the cars themselves were even ordered. Or who knows, maybe someone at CSL just saw this illustration and thought it would look nice in real life. Neat! And Modeler A’s statement that the green on the 7001 was very similar to that on the Atlantic City demonstrator does make some sense; I wouldn’t be at all surprised. It also looks more toned-down than Mercury green so perhaps that’s where the disagreements in the newspaper over whether the car was grey or green came from.
Yes, the Brill illustration was from 1934. By 1935 they were touting the Washington, D. C. pre-PCC cars.
Could be Brill worked up several different color schemes for 7001 and they just happened to pick this particular one for the advertisement, even though the car itself was painted differently.
I know that Brill had a styling department in this period, since they worked as consultants on the 1939-41 modernization program for Lehigh Valley Transit. (See photo below.)
So yes, the original color scheme for the 1936 Chicago PCCs, built by St. Louis Car Company, may have actually originated with Brill, who never actually built any PCC cars.
Modeler A added:
My enlightenment on the topic of color for the 7001 comes from Bob Gibson, Joe Diaz, Jim Konas, Fielding Kunecke, and Bob Konsbruck, all sadly now deceased. These fellows, all older than me, saw the car and rode it in service. Bob Gibson rode it every day, in blue, of course, on his way home from Austin High School. It ran as a PM school tripper on Madison Street, always with the same crew, familiar with the operating characteristics of the car, the hydraulic brakes, for example. Its unfortunate that we cannot get their testimony today but I can carry on their remarks. Joe Diaz, an avid follower of the Pennsylvania RR, included all things Pennsy in his historic trek and he identified the color as identical to the Brilliner demonstrator delivered to the PRR-Atlantic City & Shore. You can take it for what its worth or stay with whatever the news reporter felt like writing that day.
I would value eyewitness accounts such as you describe over the offhand remarks made in a newspaper article. The people who wrote those articles weren’t fans, while your sources were all sticklers for accuracy.
Modeler B adds:
I would say that the photo (of the Atlantic City Brilliner) showing the two tone green colors adds credence to the attractive rendition as seen on Modeler A’s model of 7001. Using the lighter color green below the belt rail and the darker color green for the thin lines that flow around the car body.
Say what you may, these color combinations are exactly what CSL used on the Post War PCCs. Mercury Green below the belt rail, Swamp holly Orange Belt Rail, and Cream colored roof. The colors were always separated by a dark green line of paint. Some people thought that the thin line was Black, but it is a very dark shade of green, not unlike the Green shown on the Atlantic City Brilliner.
In conclusion, we all now seem to agree that the 7001 was indeed first painted in colors like those shown on the model. In turn, this color scheme is remarkably similar to the classic combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange that Surface Lines picked for the 600 postwar PCCs.
Therefore, it is one of the ironies of history that J. G. Brill, who never made a single PCC streetcar, due to their refusal to pay royalties on the patents, appears to have played an important role, albeit indirect, in the process of developing the color schemes ultimately used on the entire Chicago PCC fleet– all 683 cars.
And, the more you look at it, that $520 winning bid for the 7001 model starts to look like a real bargain.
In this Brill trade ad, which appeared in a 1934 issue of Transit Journal, 7001 looks quite a lot like the PCCs Chicago got in 1936– from the St. Louis Car Company. But it does not appear to have been painted in these colors in 1934. Interestingly, it was later repainted to look a lot more like this.
CSL 7001 at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. (Historical Society of Pennsylvania Photo)
CSL 7001 in World’s Fair service in 1934. (George Kanary Collection)
This 1935 CSL brochure shows experimental pre-PCC car 7001 painted mainly in red, which it never was.
CSL 7001 at Clark and Ridge in 1938. (M. D. McCarter Collection)
A 1950s brass model of 7001.
To the best of our knowledge, this is how 7001 looked as delivered to the Chicago Surface Lines in 1934.
According to Don’s Rail Photos, “Atlantic City and Shore 6891 was built by Brill in July 1938, #23646. It was renumbered 6901 in 1940 and renumbered 201 in 1945. It was scrapped in 1956.” The light green color on this car is said to be an exact match for how 7001 was originally painted. (General Electric Photo)
Now perhaps we know the origins of the famous color combination of Mercury Green, Croydon Cream, and Swamp Holly Orange, used on 600 postwar Chicago PCC cars. (David Sadowski Photo)
Brill stylists worked as consultants on the brilliant 1939-41 modernization of Lehigh Valley Transit’s fleet. Here, ex-Indiana Railroad car 55 is shown at Fairview Shops in Allentown, PA in May 1941, in the process of being converted for service on the Liberty Bell Limited. Notice how the “55” has been crossed out on the side of the car and replaced with “1030.” After the end of LVT interurban service in 1951, this car was sold to the Seashore Trolley Museum, where it remains today.
CSL 7001 as it looked after being repainted circa 1941.
Here’s a real mystery photo for you. This very worn looking city streetcar is definitely lettered for the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin and appears to be at Wheaton Shops. Where did it come from and how did CA&E use it on the interurban? (See answers below.)
Mystery Photo Answers
Interesting mystery photo. It is CA&E #500 acquired in 1927 to replace standard cars on the Batavia Branch. As you can see from the photo does not appear to have been a success. It was loaned to the North Shore to help alleviate equipment needs during the war. It operated in city service as CN # 361…a brief history of this car can be found in Don Ross rail pictures of North Shore Line city cars. Due to the differences in mechanical equipment it was not popular during use on the North Shore. Another mystery surrounding this car is how it was moved from the CA&E to the North Shore…since it was 3rd rail equipped it could have traveled on the L but as far as I know this has never been confirmed.
As Ed Halstead has noted (see comment below):
The August 2013 issue of “First & Fastest” had a great article “A Secornd Hand Rose” regarding the CA&E 500/NSL 361. Included in the article is a photo of the CA&E 500 loaded on a flat car on its way to the NSL.
The article answers any questions you may have regarding the CA&E 500.
There was one additional car which almost fits into this series. Car 361 was built by St. Louis Car in 1927, just like the 350s, but it had different motors, control, and braking equipment. It was built as 500 for the Chicago Aurora & Elgin. It was used to replace standard interurban cars on the Batavia branch, but it quickly proved to be unsatisfactory. It was retired and placed in storage until June 1942, when it was leased to the North Shore. It was repainted and renumbered and put into Waukegan service. After the war, it was purchased by the North Shore in March 1947. It was quickly retired and scrapped in 1948.
So, the photo showing the car out in Wheaton lettered for CA&E must date to around 1941, probably just prior to it being leased to the North Shore Line. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
If you use the above link to Don Ross’ web site you can see a couple other pictures of car 500/561.
Mike Murray writes:
First off, I want to thank you for your continuing efforts to bring transit history to the web on your blog. I love seeing every new posting.
I hate to be the guy that suggests things but doesn’t do them himself, but I’d love to see a post about the 3rd rail-powered Com Ed line that ran on the city’s north side. John Smatlak has a website dedicated to it, but I’ve never seen much in the way of photos of the line in operation:
I asked George Kanary and Bruce Moffat, but neither had knowledge of any such photos. You seem to have a knack for finding things, or perhaps have a wider circle of friends that are railfans, and thought you might be able to track down more photos than those on the website.
John’s website is pretty thorough, so maybe there isn’t much more to be known about this line, but if there is, I’d love to see more about it.
Thanks again for all that you’re doing.
While I don’t have any such photos myself, perhaps some of our readers might have more information, thanks.
In our post Railfan Ephemera (August 26th), we show a flyer from the early days of the Illinois Railway Museum circa 1959, seeking funds to purchase Chicago, Aurora & Elgin car 309, referred to as the “jewel of the fleet.” We asked Frank Hicks, of the excellent Hicks Car Works blog, why this car in particular was so highly regarded out of all the ones that could have been saved (and it was eventually purchased by IRM, where it remains today).
Here is his reply:
By 1957 the 309 was one of the least-modernized cars in the CA&E fleet. Right up until the end of service it retained its stained-and-varnished mahogany trim, long after most of the cars had seen the entirety of their interiors painted over with some shade of green or tan. Remember too that only cars 309-321 had interior stained glass windows at this time (earlier cars didn’t have double-sash stained glass windows), and most of the Kuhlmans and Jewetts (as well as the 310) had their stained glass windows painted over on the inside.
There were a couple of other Kuhlmans and Jewetts that still had unpainted stained glass windows and trim (318 comes to mind) but the 309 was an older car that hewed more closely to the lines of the original fleet. It was also from a local, and unusual, builder and it had the same electrical equipment as the 1902 fleet, unlike the Kuhlmans and Jewetts which were built with newer equipment. The CA&E didn’t have anything particularly more opulent – no office cars or parlor cars by that time – so why not refer to the 309 as the jewel of the fleet?
More Railfan Ephemera
We recently acquired some items from the early days of Central Electric Railfans’ Association. The seller indicated that some of these were once part of the CERA office files, which were apparently sold off in three different batches during the 1940s and 50s. This story is probably true since one item is a voided out sample fantrip ticket, numbered 0000, and previously unknown. The envelope mailed to a soldier came from a different source. (Please note that Trolley Dodger Press is not affiliated with Central Electric Railfans’ Association.)
These documents shed additional light on the history of that venerable organization and its members. We hope that you will enjoy them. Chances are there are still more additional early documents out there remaining to be discovered.
This brochure is for CERA fantrip #9, which included not only the South Shore Line but the Northern Indiana Railway.
You can see a CERA fantrip picture from the Northern Indiana Railway, possibly taken on this same excursion or a similar one from a year later, here: http://cera-chicago.org/Blog/3319067
The itinerary for CERA fantrip #6, which included a trip over the CA&E Mt. Carmel branch using Chicago Rapid Transit cars. You can see a picture taken on that trip here: http://cera-chicago.org/Blog/3318973 The same photo is also reproduced on page 42 of Trolley Sparks Special #1, published by CERA in 2013 to commemorate their 75th anniversary.
A sample ticket for CERA fantrip #6.
CERA mailed out a copy of Trolley Sparks issue #12 to a soldier in this envelope in June 1945. The first 11 issues were put out by Barney Neuberger independently of CERA.
Help Support The Trolley Dodger
This is our 87th post, and we are gradually creating a body of work and an online resource for the benefit of all railfans, everywhere. To date, we received more than 80,000 page views from nearly 24,000 individuals.
You can help us continue our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.
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Work car AA59 at Devon Station (car house) on November 15, 1953. Andre Kristopans gives a scrap date of 1956 for this car. Don’s Rail Photos says, “These cars were built by St. Louis Car in 1903 and 1906 for Chicago Union Traction Co. They are similar to the Robertson design without the small windows. Cars of this series were converted to one man operation in later years and have a wide horizontal stripe on the front to denote this. A number of these cars were converted to sand and salt service and as flangers.” The “Matchbox” 1374 at IRM is part of this same series (1101-1425). Looks like a Postwar PCC behind it.
Celebrating Labor Day, here is the second in a two-part series featuring Chicago Surface Lines work cars. You can find part one here.
Much of what we know about these cars comes from Don’s Rail Photos, a very comprehensive source of information.
As always, if you know more than we do, please share it with us, so we can improve our efforts. You can leave a comment on this post, or e-mail us directly at: email@example.com
We asked Andre Kristopans if it might be possible that CSL streetcar RPO (railway post office) car H2, shown in our previous post, may be the same car also pictured later as money car M201.
Here is his reply:
CSL did a lot of scrapping in the late 30’s, partially in order to “balance the books” after the pre-war PCC’s came. They had to retire an “equivalent value”, which is why a lot of Matchboxes (1100-1400’s) were scrapped around then, along with old work cars, and interestingly some old single-truckers that had been in storage since about 1918 as what would now be called a “contingency fleet”. More than likely H2 went in that purge, though I can’t say for sure.
Sometimes the Surface Lines kept cars in storage for decades, just in case they might be usable for some purpose in the future.
Sweeper E223 is one of the very few pieces of CSL work equipment that have survived. It was purchased by Dick Lukin in 1956 and eventually made its way to the Illinois Railway Museum.
You can help support our original transit research by checking out the fine products in our Online Store. You can make a donation there as well.
As we have said before, “If you buy here, we will be here.”
We thank you for your support.
This former mail car ended its days as a CSL supply car. Not sure if this is the same car as H201 in our previous post. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
SS1 appears to be a portable substation. (Joe L. Diaz Photo)
Don’s Rail Photos says, “S3 was built by Chicago Rys in 1911 as 3. It was renumbered S3 in 1913 and became CSL S3 in 1914.” Note the trolley coach at rear.
Don’s Rail Photos says, “L202 was built by Chicago City Ry in 1909 as CCRy C50. It was renumbered L202 in 1913 and became CSL L202 in 1914. It was rebuilt as S343 in 1959 and acquired by Railway Equipment Leasing & Investment Co in 1979. It was acquired by Fox River Trolley Museum in 1983 and restored as L202.”
Sweeper E18 in action. From the Park Theatre in the background, we can tell that this is Lake Street at Austin Boulevard, the west city limits and end of the #16 Lake Street route. There are a couple more photos of the same movie theater in our earlier post West Towns Streetcars in Black-and-White.
E304 at work.
E209 at 69th yards in January 1941. (Vic Wagner Photo)
Sweepers E8 and E7. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)
Plow E6 on January 9, 1954. (Gordon E. Lloyd Photo)
CSL 701, built by the Pressed Steel Company in 1909. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “These cars were built to the same design as the Pullmans.” (Earl Clark Photo)
Snow plow F305.
Sand car/snow plow D212 at 70th and Ashland.
Home-made snow plows F301 and F304. Chances are these were scrapped prior to the 1947 CTA takeover of CSL.
Don’s Rail Photos says , “E57 was built by Russell in 1930.” (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)
Sweepers E27, E221, “Matchbox” 1362, and sprinkler/plow D4. Don’s Rail Photos says, “E27 was built by McGuire-Cummings as CRys E27. It became CSL E27 in 1914.”
Sweeper E227 in action.
Apparently this photo, which was mis-marked as Chicago, must be from somewhere else. As Andre Kristopans points out, Chicago’s sweepers were all in an E or F series, and the paint scheme of the streetcar at right is not CSL. Perhaps one of our readers can help us figure out where this is from. (Roy Bruce Photo)
Heavy duty sweeper E18 in action. (Stephen D. Maguire Photo)
Sweeper E25 in action on February 5, 1942. (Robert S. Crockett Photo)
Sand car R202 at South Shops in March 1948. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo)
Sweeper E40 awaiting scrapping at South Shops, with L201 at rear, on February 22, 1955. (C. Edward Hedstrom, Sr. Photo)
Sweeper 0103 on Sloane Avenue in 1941.
While not Surface Lines equipment, electric loco S-104, which CTA inherited from the Chicago Rapid Transit Company, does fit in with the overall theme of this post (labor). Don’s Rail Photos says, “S-104 was built by Baldwin-Westinghouse in August 1920, #53555, as Northwestern Elevated RR S-104. In 1923 it became CRT S-104 and CTA S-104 in 1948. In 1978 it was sold to Toledo Edison Co as 4. It was sold to Rail Foundation in 1996.” This photo was taken in April 1955.
I was born and raised in Jackson, TN. The trolley car photo attached was owned and operated by the Jackson Railway and Light Company.
Can you help me identify the manufacturer, model, year and color scheme? My guess is a Brill about 1918.
Thanks for writing. My initial search did not turn up much, but we will naturally keep looking. This must have been one of the smaller properties. There doesn’t seem to be anything about it on Don’s Rail Photos.
There is a mention in a 1916 issue of Electric Railway Journal that Jackson Railway and Light Company was in the market for a couple of one-man car bodies.
Chances are one of our readers will have an answer. That does look like a Brill, however. (Editor’s note: see comment below by Frank Hicks, which provides an answer.)
From the September 9, 1916 Electric Railway Journal, page 474.
Andrew Schneider writes:
I’m president of a group called Logan Square Preservation and I’m also putting together an exhibit and book on the history of the neighborhood. I found the attached photo on your site and would like permission to use it. We would, obviously, credit you for the image’s use.
If you’re interested, I may also be able to share some photos in our archive of trolley cars in the neighborhood – we have a few – one in color.
Naturally, we are glad to allow such a use, thanks. (The photo in question, reproduced below, originally appeared in our post Chicago Streetcars in Black-and-White, Part 5 (April 18). His group likes this picture so much that they may use it on the cover of their upcoming book.
(This is the photo Mr. Schneider referred to.) CSL 3204-3206 and 3228 on Milwaukee in 1928. Andre Kristopans adds, “Milwaukee looking north at Logan Blvd, from middle of Logan Square. Very rare shot of trains.”
Mr. Schneider, in turn, shared a couple photos with us:
(Andrew Schneider Collection)
A while back, Frank Hicks wrote:
I’ve been enjoying tremendously the CSL photos you’ve been posting on your blog; thanks for putting all of these great photos online!
I am writing because I am working on historical articles about two of the CSL cars in the IRM collection, the two ex-South Chicago City Railway cars, 2843 and 2846. I’ve completed a draft of an article about the 2843 that also describes the SCCR lines on the southeast side, and my hope is to follow it up shortly with an article about the 2846 that focuses more on the interstate routes over the Hammond Whiting & East Chicago. My question for you is, do you have any photos of either the 2841-2845 series Jewetts or the 2846-2856 series “Interstates”? I’m especially looking for photos of these cars in passenger service (pre-1932) but photos of IRM’s cars in work service (CSL 2843 and 2846, later CTA AA95 and AA98) would also be useful. And I’m in search of any photos of South Chicago City Railway cars prior to the CSL unification, including earlier single-truckers.
Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!
The article on CSL 2843 appeared on the excellent Hicks Car Works blog on April 9. At that time, we didn’t have anything to contribute, but a couple things have turned up since.
Mr. Hicks later wrote:
I’m just starting to work on an article about the 2846-2856 series “Interstate” cars and I’m definitely on the lookout for photos of those cars. The cars of that series that were put into salt car service were renumbered AA98-AA107.
Here are the photos we found showing cars in those two series:
CTA work car AA94, the former CSL 2842, at 77th and Vincennes on July 4, 1949. (Charles K. Wilhoft Photo) There is a similar, although not identical photo in the Hicks Car Works article on car 2843.
Don’s Rail Photos says, “2844 was built by Jewett in 1903 as South Chicago City Ry 324. It became Calumet & South Chicago Ry 829 in 1908 and renumbered 2844 in 1913. It became CSL 2844 in 1914 and was later converted to service as a supply car. It was renumbered AA-96 in 1948.” The Hicks Car Works article on car 2843 says, “In October 1942 one of the Jewetts, car 2844, was rehabilitated at South Shops and sent to Burnside car house for service. The station superintendent there wanted nothing to do with the car; even as stretched as the Surface Lines was, an aged car poorly suited for one-man operations was not what was desired. So the car was sent back to South Shops and the decision was made that the Jewetts instead would be converted into salt cars. ” So this photo may date from that brief period late in 1942 when this car was put back into service after having been in dead storage for a decade.
CTA work car AA101 at South Shops on June 14, 1955. According to Frank Hicks, this car was probably CSL 2849. It was originally built by South Chicago City Railway in 1907 and was a sister car to 2846, which is preserved at the Illinois Railway Museum.
M. E. writes:
re: Trackage on page 298 of (CERA) Bulletin #146
In my previous correspondence with you, I mentioned that the interurban car that began at the 63rd Place and Halsted L station went to Kankakee via Halsted, Summit, and Vincennes. I also said there was a car barn at 88th and Vincennes that the interurban line used. I just didn’t remember the name of the interurban company.
Reading through CERA bulletin #146 for a second time, I noticed that the caption on page 298 says the trackage on Halsted south of 120th St. was used by the Chicago & Interurban Traction Co. This contradicts what I know about the interurban trackage.
I still insist I am correct that the interurban line went south on Vincennes rather than Halsted. Reasons:
(2) See http://donsdepot.donrossgroup.net/dr3137.htm . Here is the relevant sentence from that text: “C&IT interurban service continued from the south side Englewood Elevated Station at 63rd and Halsted (trackage in Chicago was leased along with the shops at 88th and Vincennes) to Kankakee.”
(4) Vincennes Ave. goes south into Blue Island. From there, Western Ave. heads south, but soon becomes Dixie Highway, which at one point ran all the way to Florida. Present-day addresses in Google have Dixie Hwy. in Chicago Heights, so it would seem Dixie Hwy. (and the Kankakee cars) went southeast from Blue Island through Harvey, then south through Chicago Heights and Crete.
(5) South Suburban Safeway Lines was formed in 1933 (see http://www.chicagorailfan.com/histcit.html ). That company ran two bus routes from the 63rd and Halsted L station. One went to Harvey, going west on 63rd, south on Western through Blue Island, then south on Dixie Hwy., to Harvey. The other ran straight south on Halsted (with a slight jog to the west in Harvey to meet other routes) to Chicago Heights and Crete. The two bus routes were put in place to replace the interurban.
All of which leads to the question: What line used the trackage on Halsted south of 120th? I have no answer. The Riverdale streetcar ran along Michigan Ave., not Halsted. And the Chicago Surface Lines never ran streetcars on Halsted south of Summit (which meets Halsted at around 85th St.). Perhaps the trackage viewable on page 298 is a stub that may have been used as a terminal by red cars on either the State St. line or the 119th St. line. Or maybe there was a freight customer south of 120th St. Just some guesses.
That’s an interesting question. You can view a map of the Chicago & Interurban Traction Co. here.
Andre Kristopans writes:
Firstly, I do not think there is any dispute of the Kankakee Interurban’s route out of Chicago, namely Halsted, Summit, Vincennes, 127th, Western, Spaulding (alongside GTW), Page, 154th, Park, 157th, PROW to 161st/Halsted then south on Halsted.
Now the matter of the Halsted track: Apparently at one point in history (1890’s) the routing on 119th St instead of continuing west to Vincennes just went to Halsted and then south to 121st. Possibly the intent was to continue to 127th or further, but a crossing of the IC Blue Island branch seems to have become an insoluble problem, and besides, the industrial area along 119th between Morgan and Ashland must have looked a whole lot more inviting and the Halsted track simply fell into disuse, but was not actually taken up for many, many years.
To give our readers an idea of the general area M. E. is talking about, here is an enlargement of a 1941 CSL track map:
You will find the Chicago streetcar track maps for 1941, 1946, 1948, 1952 and 1954 in our e-book Chicago’s PCC Streetcars: The Rest of the Story, available through our Online Store.
Here is a rare photo of the Chicago and Joliet Electric, which provided a connection between the Chicago Surface Lines and the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria:
Chicago and Joliet Electric Railway #242, shown at the Archer and Cicero station in Chicago in September 1933. (Robert V. Mehlenbeck Photo) Mehlenbeck was member #11 of Central Electric Railfans’ Association. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “242 was built by Cummings Car & Coach Co in 1927.” Service on this line, which connected to the Chicago, Ottawa & Peoria, was abandoned on November 16, 1933.
CO&P freight motor 1530 at the Ottawa Shops in 1934. According to Don’s Rail Photos, “1530 and 1531 were built at the Danville shop in 1914 as kits which were then assembled at Ottawa. These were so-called pull cars which were used as locomotives.”
CO&P city car 43 at the LaSalle Car Barns. Don’s Rail Photos says, “41 thru 44 were built by American Car in August, 1905, as trailers for the Aurora Plainfield & Joliet. They were sold before delivery to the CO&P where they were motorized.”
CO&P freight motor 1524 on West 4th Street in Peru in 1934. Don’s Rail Photos says, “1524 was a pull car built by St. Louis in 1915 as Illinois Traction 1514 until it was transferred to Ottawa as 1524 in July, 1925. It was retired in 1934 and scrapped at Ottawa in January, 1935.”